With thrilling action sequences, impressive special effects, familiar music, well-loved characters and an epic battle between good and evil starring Sorcerer Mickey, if there’s one Disney show that’s a must-see, it’s Fantasmic!, Disneyland’s long-running show.
Unfortunately, since this fan-favorite Disney Parks show is as challenging to get a good view as it is iconic, Disney’s Fantasmic! can require a lot of planning. So, if you’re hoping to catch the show on your upcoming vacation, keep reading for our guide on everything from where to watch Fantasmic! to what characters you can see.
What is Disney’s Fantasmic?
Making its debut in 1992, Fantasmic! is a popular nighttime entertainment offering combining pyrotechnics, lasers, unique water and plenty of Disney characters, both actual and through projection. At its core, the storyline pits good (Mickey Mouse, taking up the sorcerer’s apprentice mantle once more, and his pals) against evil (Disney villains like Maleficent in her fire-breathing-dragon form, the Evil Queen and Pirates of the Caribbean. Best of all, this nighttime spectacular is included with the park admission provided with your Disneyland tickets (i.e., completely free!).
Does Fantasmic! show every night?
Disneyland’s Fantasmic! typically runs at least once per night during the off-season or slower nights of the week or twice on busier nights, with showtimes usually at 9 PM and 10:30 PM. Each show lasts 25 minutes. Since the schedule is subject to change and there can be nights with no showings at all, we suggest you refer to the Disneyland app for the daily entertainment schedule. The early show is always the busiest.
Do you need reservations for Fantasmic?
Normally, seating can be reserved with a Disneyland Fantasmic! Dining Package. Reservations are recommended for those booking Fantasmic! dining packages.
What characters are in Fantasmic! Disneyland?
With characters from such beloved films as Tangled, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Aladdin, The Jungle Book and more, Fantasmic! is perfect for Disney character spotting. See everyone from common characters like Cinderella, Snow White and Aurora to Pinocchio, Flynn Rider, Rafiki and Moana. For fans of Disney Villains, the fire-breathing Maleficent dragon is always a crowd-pleaser. And, of course, don’t forget the Big Cheese himself: Mickey Mouse!
Is there seating for Fantasmic Disneyland?
During the original run of Fantasmic at Disneyland, there were no official seating areas for the show. Guests were required to stand if they wanted to view the show around Rivers of America, which is where the Mark Twain Riverboat and Sailing Ship Columbia set sail earlier in the day. However, guests can now reserve seating with the Fantasmic Dining Package, with viewing areas located in New Orleans Square.
Best Viewing Spots for Disneyland Fantasmic!
Closing out your day at Disneyland with a showing of Fantasmic! is a must for anyone visiting The Happiest Place on Earth. So, you’re probably wondering, “Where should I sit for Fantasmic! at Disneyland?”
In general, the show’s central stage area on Tom Sawyer’s Island and three water projection screens make it so you can easily see the show from many areas overlooking Rivers of America, as do the numerous character-laden watercraft that float past. So, as long you arrive early, steer clear of the far-right and far-left sides and have a good view of the stage on Tom Sawyer Island (New Orleans Square is a great spot), you won’t feel like you’re missing out on any of the action. In other words, if you find yourself in front of the Haunted Mansion, you’ve gone too far.
However, that doesn’t mean all seats are created equal. (After all, you don’t want mediocre seats to see Mickey Mouse take on the likes of the Maleficent dragon.) When it comes to the best places to watch Fantasmic! at Disneyland, it depends on which viewing option you choose.
Since everything happens on the water and island, spots closest to the riverside provide the best views (along with the possibility of getting wet). Central viewing locations in front of the stage are the cream of the crop and are reserved for Fantasmic! Dining Package viewers.
While in the past, outer sections of the viewing area along the waterfront have been dedicated to FastPass Fantasmic! viewing. For everyone else that doesn’t secure seating with one of the dining package viewing areas, you’ll have to try your luck finding a spot in the standby area.
Map of Disneyland Fantasmic Viewing and Seating Area
Below you’ll find a map of New Orleans Square with the viewing location for Fantasmic! It has been marked with several different colors to show the best viewing areas for the show.
Blue = Best viewing area
Green = Moderate viewing area
Red = Poor/obstructed viewing area
Purple = Stage area
Standby Viewing for Fantasmic! at Disneyland
As you can imagine, with all the good seats reserved by FastPass/Disney Genie+ and the Fantasmic Dining Package, standby viewing areas offer some of the most lackluster views. Unless you get lucky, they tend to be far away from the water with sideways, occasionally obstructed views of the stage.
They’re also first come, first served. So, unless you want to wait in line for hours to secure a decent view, it’s better to show up early and keep your expectations low. And notice that we called it “standby viewing,” not “standby seating.” That’s right – the Fantasmic standby areas are standing room only.
Overall, this option is suited best for people looking to save money, for those who consider watching Fantasmic! a bonus, or as a backup plan. However, if you do take your chances with this Fantasmic! viewing strategy, we recommend you show up at least an hour before the show starts to plan your attack, two hours before if you’re trying to watch the first showing on standby.
Disneyland cast members can be a great resource on where you might be able to find the best standby views for the night. The front of the standing section directly behind anywhere folks are seated can offer some great views. Otherwise, you can also look around the Pirates of the Caribbean bridge, between the French Market and Cafe Orleans patios and in front of Royal Street Veranda quick-service restaurant.
Disney Genie+ Seating for Fantasmic! at Disneyland
As we mentioned previously, one way to get reserved seating for Disneyland Fantasmic in the past was the now-defunct FastPass. While we thought that they might resume this with its replacement, Disney Genie+, as of right now, this is sadly not the case. There is also no way to score a seat with a virtual queue. However, as all of this is subject to change, stay tuned for any updates that may come in the future.
Disneyland Fantasmic! Dining Packages
Want some of the best seats at Fantasmic without having to wait it out in a long line or pay the extra money for a good view if it gets added to Disney Genie+? Then consider booking a Fantasmic! Dining Package. Disneyland meal packages are the best way to reserve VIP seats for Fantasmic.
Each package gives guests access to some of the best seats in the house, without having to wait in line, while also including meals from some of the park’s most popular restaurants – namely Blue Bayou, River Belle Terrace and Hungry Bear Restaurant.
Advance reservations are highly encouraged, although there may be some same-day reservations available on a limited basis. However, keep in mind that should the show be canceled for whatever reason, no refunds or exchanges will be given.
What does the Fantasmic! Dinner Package include?
When it comes to the Fantasmic! Dining Package, Disneyland guests have a few options: a three-course meal or a convenient, to-go spread. Keep in mind that the prices below reflect the cost of the dining packages prior to the pandemic. So, don’t be surprised if prices increase with the Fantasmic! Disneyland reopening in 2022.
Three-course Disneyland Fantasmic! Dining Packages include an appetizer, entrée and dessert at one of the park’s two most quintessential, table-service eateries, Blue Bayou or River Belle Terrace. The Fantasmic! On-the-Go Package comes with an entrée of your choice, along with a few cozy sides.
All three options also include one reserved viewing area voucher per person, which gives you access to your chosen restaurant’s seats. Although each restaurant typically has its own designated seating area for the first show time, that isn’t always the case if there’s a second showing. So, keep this in mind when you book.
As guests are allowed into the viewing area starting 30 minutes before the show, we suggest you show up 45 minutes prior if you want a seat right in front. Additionally, ground seating is required in the dining package reserved viewing area with the exception of wheelchair and ECV users, who will be located along the rear of each section near the strollers.
Blue Bayou Restaurant
Savor a three-course meal inspired by the flavors of Cajun and Creole cooking at this iconic Disneyland restaurant. The Blue Bayou section is right in the middle of Rivers of America down near the water, which is arguably the best view of any Disneyland Fantasmic Dining Package. Plus, this meal is also the only option to have included seat cushions in the past. Talk about luxury!
Lunch: Seating starts at 11:30 AM; $62 (plus tax & gratuity) per adult, $29 per child (ages 3 to 9)
Dinner: Seating starts at 4 PM; $75 per adult, $30 per child
River Belle Terrace
Tuck into three courses of homey, comfort food classics before enjoying your Fantasmic! Disneyland reserved seats. Seating for the regular package is located to the central right of the stage overlooking the water. Or, upgrade to the premium seating package to get truly VIP seats for Fantasmic! – on the restaurant’s outdoor patio at your dining table on actual chairs – and turn your meal into a makeshift Disney dinner show. (Premium package reservations must be made at the restaurant)
Lunch: Seating starts at 1 PM; $45 per adult, $25 per child
Dinner: Seating starts at 4 PM; $45 per adult, $25 per child
Dinner: Seating starts at 4 PM; $70 per adult, $40 per child
Hungry Bear Restaurant
For reserved seats at a budget-friendly price, the Fantasmic! On-the-Go Package is for you. Choose from a selection of Southern-inspired entrées prior to your arrival day, then pick your feast, along with some yummy sides, between 3 PM and 8 PM. From there, simply eat at one of the restaurant’s tables or anywhere else you’d like around the park before you head to your reserved Fantasmic! seats facing the left side of the stage.
$30 (plus tax) per adult, $20 per child
Is the Fantasmic! Dining Package worth it at Disneyland?
For the reserved seats without a wait and a great meal, we think the Disneyland Fantasmic! Dining Package is definitely worth it. After all, you have to eat anyway! So, you might as well save yourself some sweet seats in the process.
Sure, the prices can get expensive, especially if you eat at Blue Bayou or the premium package at River Belle Terrace. Although taking into account the included seat cushion from Blue Bayou, that steep price tag seems much more worthwhile.
Or, for those on a budget, the On-the-Go Package at Hungry Bear Restaurant and the regular River Belle Terrace option are much more reasonable, especially for a sit-down, three-course meal or a filling, to-go comfort food spread with all the fixins. Add in the convenience of not having to wait it out for a good view, and we think it’s well worth the cost.
Tips & Tricks for Watching Disney’s Fantasmic!
Want to make the most of this quintessential Disneyland experience? Just follow these simple suggestions to make this magical show even more enjoyable.
It’s easier to get a closer view on standby at the second showing of Fantasmic. If you don’t have reserved viewing, you’re better off sticking around to watch Fantasmic’s second showing since there tends to be a post-show exodus, especially on nights with fireworks.
Watch both Fantasmic! and the Disneyland fireworks from Rivers of America. On evenings with fireworks, catch both the pyrotechnic extravaganza and Fantasmic! from Rivers of America. The display’s accompanying music is played, its projections splayed across the mist screens, and it’s truly a delight. For those going to the first show of the night, the fireworks typically start just a few minutes after Fantasmic! ends. Then, once they leave, everyone waiting in the wings can take their place.
Don’t sit near the water if you don’t want to get wet. People sitting closest to the water are apt to get splashed. So, plan to watch from a little (or a lot) further back if you’d rather stay dry.
Keep an eye on your kiddos – the show can be scary for some children. With flashing lights, loud noises and frightening villains, Fantasmic! can be scary for some little ones. So, be prepared to step in with hugs and reassurances if necessary and consider watching the show ahead of time on YouTube to note potentially problematic moments.
Well, Fantasmic! fans, that’s our guide to experiencing this iconic Disneyland attraction. What is your favorite Fantasmic! viewing location? Let us know in the comments!