Disneyland Fantasmic! is the best nighttime show at the Disneyland Resort currently running. Fantasmic! takes place in Frontierland and can be viewed via reserved seating from a dining package or general standby viewing.
In 2023, Fantasmic! turned 30 years old. This incredible nighttime spectacular has been updated and reshaped throughout the years, but the general premise of good vs evil battling it out to the same catchy Fantasmic! tune in Disneyland has remained.
In this guide to Disneyland Fantasmic!, we'll share info on reserved seating and dining packages, the typical nightly schedule and showtimes, tips for getting good seats for the show if you choose not to buy a dining package, and a short history of Fantasmic! at Disneyland.
In this article:
Fantasmic! at Disneyland 2023 Show Times
Currently the Disneyland entertainment schedule indicates that Fantasmic! will perform twice nightly at 9 pm and 10:30 pm.
During off seasons, Fantasmic! show times vary so check the Disney app for the most up-to-date schedule.
Disneyland Fantasmic! Viewing Options
The Fantasmic! show takes place along the Rivers of America in Frontierland and New Orleans Square. The walkways along the river area are roped off leading up to the show to create the Fantasmic! viewing area. The viewing area is really just slightly sloped concrete and brick area so you won't have a proper seat for the show. Part of the magic of this show is that during the day you would never know that as dusk settles the entire area is turned into a high tech performance theater – light towers emerge from the concrete and Tom Sawyer's Island is prepped to become the home of massive set pieces and props.
Prior to each show, two viewing sections are roped off: dining packages viewing and standby viewing. The dining packages have the best viewing placed right in front of the stage along the Rivers of America. Dining package viewers and the closest guests siting in standby will sit for the show. Guests in standby sections further back will remain standing.
Of course this may change depending on crowds so plan accordingly. Ask a Cast Members what is asked of you when you check in!
The standby viewing is first come first serve. Some guests will begin to line up up to 2 hrs before the show in hopes to securing a premium spot. There are designated standby viewing spaces throughout the area including directly in front of Pirates of the Caribbean (the most prime standby general viewing), on the bridge in front of Pirates of the Caribbean, on the upper tiers in front of New Orleans Square, and off center closer to the water. There are three mist screens that play the same video for the show facing center and left and right.
Even for the dining packages, you'll want to arrive earlier than the stated time on the paper reserved seating card so that you can secure a prime spot.
Although you do not need a dining package voucher to view Fantasmic!, standby areas fill up fast and do not guarantee you a place to view. For this reason, we recommend you consider watching the second showing of Fantamsic! of the night as that show has less time for guests to line up and stake out a spot.
You'll want to be in the area for the Disneyland fireworks and then move to secure a spot right as guests from the first show are exiting the viewing areas. The area is hectic and difficult to understand. You will receive conflicting information from Cast Members. During a recent trip we were able to hop into what seemed like a reserved seating area at the last minute because a Cast Member waved us in as we were walking just a short time before the show began. All that said, there isn't much method to the madness beyond our key tips of aiming for the second show or securing a dining package.
When waiting for the second showing of Fantastic! you should watch the Disneyland Forever fireworks from the area between Frontierland and New Orleans Square directly in front of the River Belle Terrace. This is closest to that prime standby viewing that I mentioned above. When the fireworks end, move forward into the seating area. Be sure to check with the crowd control Cast Members to avoid standing in an area that will be cleared for reserved dining package seating.
The better and more directly you can see Tom Sawyer's Island the better your experience watching the show will be. Here's the view from the most prime seat in the house within the dining package area for illustration. You'll locate this view within the reserved seating area by finding a manhole cover directly in front of the director's soundboard.
Is there a Disneyland Fantasmic! Virtual Queue for reserved seating?
Unlike the World of Color which offers guests the ability to secure reserved seating through a virtual queue at the middle of the day via the Disneyland app, Fantasmic! will not be offering a virtual queue for guests. For the World of Color show, the virtual queue fills the first show of the evening and then fills the second show of the evening.
Guests have the option of either purchasing a dining package for reserved seating or lining up to secure general guest viewing.
Disney has not ruled out completely that virtual queues will be used in the future. A Disneyland rep simply shared that there will be no Disneyland virtual queue for Fantasmic! at this time.
Disneyland Fantasmic! Dining Packages – Times, Restaurants, Info
Fantasmic! dining packages provide a pre-fix meal and reserved seating for Fantasmic! along the Rivers of America. Currently the restaurants offering these reserved seating packages are the River Belle Terrace and Hungry Bear Restaurant.
There is typically also a Blue Bayou Fantasmic! dining package, but that restaurant is still in the process of reopening and the Fantasmic! dining package has not yet returned. We expect that it will return sometime this summer.
Let's dive into the bellow dining packages for info how you can secure reserved seating for the shows. Keep in mind that typically you are more paying for the seat than for the food. The food quality ranges by restaurant.
The Blue Bayou
The Blue Bayou Disneyland Fantasmic! dining package offers guests a 3-course meal (starter, entrée, and dessert), an 18 x 18 foam cushion to sit on, and a voucher for a designated viewing of Fantasmic! Each guest in your party must purchase a dining package to receive a voucher. Having purchased this package in the past, I must say that it offers the best viewing of Fantastic! and is well worth the money spent!
Reserved seating at Blue Bayou Restaurant begins daily at 11:30am for lunch and 4:00pm for dinner. Lunch is $59 per adult; $29 per child (ages 3 to 9) – tax and gratuity not included. Dinner is $69 per adult and $29 per child (ages 3 to 9) – tax and gratuity not included.The higher price you pay with this package gets you the best viewing, right in front of the stage.
River Belle Terrace Disneyland Fantasmic! Dining Package
The River Belle Terrace Fantasmic! package includes a 3-course dinner (starter, entrée, and dessert) and reserved seating begins daily at 4:00pm. Dinner is $50 per adult and $30 per child (ages 3 to 9) – tax and gratuity not included.
Another great option with the River Belle Terrace option is the opportunity to upgrade to premium 8:00pm seating for an additional $25 per adult and $15 per child (ages 3 to 9). Guests can enjoy their meal as well as the first performance of Fantasmic! from their seat on the outdoor patio! We don't like this option as much as your view will be partially obstructed and would recommend watching from the closer water viewing area.
Fantasmic! On The Go Package at Hungry Bear Restaurant
If you are short on time, but would still like to take advantage of a Fantasmic! dining package, then simply reserve a dining package from the Hungry Bear Restaurant. Order online or by phone prior to your Disneyland Park visit.
You have the choice between 4 entrees from a menu created especially for this event – cedar salt-roasted sustainable salmon, barbecue chicken, blackberry barbecue pork riblets, or mushroom and leek frittata. All dishes are served with wild rice and cranberry-apricot grains as well as kale and garbanzo bean salad. The cost is $30 per adult and $25 per child.
Fantasmic! Dining Package Details
As with all Fantasmic! dining packages, all guests in each party must purchase a meal in order to receive a voucher. Viewing, with the exception of the River Belle Terrace upgrade, are located outside the restaurants.
The prime viewing areas for Fantasmic! are reserved for these dining packages. Once you are in the viewing areas you'll want to either be up against the railing in the first row or a couple of rows back. We personally choose to sit back a couple of rows to be able to see the entire show more clearly rather than having our faces pressed up against the metal grate. You won't want to sit between the front row and back row as then you'll end up with the top of railing blocking your view.
Some restaurants may allow some minor food substitutions at an additional cost, however, there is no guarantee this may be allowed.
Reservations are highly recommended due to the popularity of the packages. For dinner reservations, book early in the evening (about 2 to 2 1/2 hours before show time) to allow plenty of time to eat your meal. Factor in extra time for any delays. Reserve online up to 60 days before your Disney vacation from the Disneyland app.
Tips for Experiencing Fantasmic!
- Each Fantasmic! show comes with its own unique advantages. The first viewing is always the most crowded; however, this is the show time that you are guaranteed to be seated in your own dining package reserved seating area. During the second show time, sometimes the crowds lighten up, which is great since it is not so crowded, however, sometimes dining package seatings for this show time are combined.
- If you are at the first show time of Fantasmic! and fireworks are scheduled that night, then stay where you are to watch the Rivers of America put on a magical show with projections that play against the screens of water in sync with the fireworks show. Your view of the fireworks may be obscured, however, this is still a great place to be since chances are you may not make it over to the front of the castle to view the fireworks show.
- Be aware that Fantasmic! may be scary for little ones. The show can get bright, loud, and a bit scary at times.
- Blue Bayou is currently the only dining package that offers guests a complimentary seat cushion. No worries! Many gift shops around the Park have them to purchase!
- Since the show takes place on water, guests in front may get wet.
- Keep your Fantasmic! Fastpass in a safe place where you will not lose it because they are not replaceable!
- We prefer to view the show from a couple rows back in the first section instead of right up against the bars. Some call this Fantasmic! jail as it looks like you're looking out of a jail cell while viewing the show so directly up front.
- Know before you go! Do your research before your Disney vacation to ensure most of these fabulous deals are still available!
DAS Pass Fantasmic! – Guests With Disabilities
Guests with disabilities should not rely solely on the viewing area Disney designates for guests with disabilities. This area, near the Haunted Mansion, does not provide the best view of Fantasmic! Instead, guests with disabilities should obtain a dining package voucher and arrive at least an hour before the show starts. Cast Members will assist guests with disabilities and their family on where to go in their designated area.
There is no specific DAS pass offering for Fantasmic! beyond the Cast Members who will be able to assist you with seating.
Brief History of Fantasmic! at Disneyland
In 1992, Disneyland's entertainment department was given the challenge to come up with a new nighttime spectacular, utilizing the Rivers of America. The result was Fantasmic!.
The show includes: fireworks, live performers, water effects, pyrotechnics, music, a few watercrafts, decorated rafts and projections onto extensive mist screens emphasizing reworked Disney animation. It was one of the first of its kind to incorporate all the elements into one amazing performance.
A significant part of the area around the Rivers of America was required to be revamped, including terracing the walkways to accommodate viewing and changing the front section of Tom Sawyer Island with the goal that it could act as a stage for most of the show's live action.
The show was originally set to run for 5 years. Due to the popularity with the resort’s guests, the show has been revamped many times over the years and had the latest technology added in. Five years ago the show went through a large redesign that led to the inclusion of newer characters including Rapunzel and Flynn Rider from Tangled and Captain Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean.
Versions of the show have also been performed at Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World and Tokyo DisneySea at the Tokyo Disney Resort. Fantasmic! at Tokyo DisneySea has been retired and will be replaced with a new nighttime spectacular. During a recent press day at the resort we met a creative headed to Tokyo to continue work on the new show. How exciting!
Below is a little more on the details of Fantasmic! at the Disneyland Resort in California.
Fantasmic! Show Overview, Scary For Kids?
Along the shores of Tom Sawyers Island, within the waters of the Rivers of America, Mickey Mouse creates a spectacular show using his brilliant imagination. Welcome to, Fantasmic! – Mickey transforms into Sorcerer Mickey where he conjures up clips from some favorite Disney movies – Fantasia, Aladdin, The Lion King, Tangled, and Pirates of the Caribbean – all on streaming screens of water.
Live action scenes come alive with such characters as Aladdin and Jasmine emerging from the fog to delight guests with their musical carpet ride; the Sailing Ship Columbia sails by with a ghost crew of pirates right out of the movie Pirates of the Caribbean; and rafts adorned with colorful lights float down the river carrying such princesses as Beauty dancing with Beast, Rapunzel with her prince, Flynn Rider, and Ariel with her love, Eric.
Where there is good, there is always a whole lot of bad. That is true at Disneyland in Fantastic! as well. When Mickey is pulled through the magic mirror, things turn dark. Enter a fantastic show featuring some of Disney’s most infamous villains. Mickey is forced to fight an angry 45-foot dragon, which is the highlight of this amazing show. Of course, with all things Disney, the good prevails. In an epic finale, the Mark Twain Riverboat paddles its way along the river dotted with every Disney character imaginable.
Words alone cannot materialize the images all the fascinating water effects, lasers, pyrotechnics, fireworks, and live action scenes Fantasmic! brings to life.
For a literal play-by-play of the show itself (Note: SPOILERS!), check out this Wikipedia article.
Or, the easier approach: Check out the video below!
Advice for Non-Fantasmic! Viewers – RIDE ON!
If you are not planning on viewing Fantasmic! or have already seen this magical one-of-a-kind show, the best advice I have is to take advantage of this time to experience attractions with a lower wait time throughout Disneyland Park.
Currently there are three nighttime spectaculars playing in Disneyland Park on its own (not even including World of Color in Disney California Adventure). Once the first showing of the Main Street Electrical Parade begins at 8:45 pm, there is an entire block of time occupying a large amount of guests in the parks which will lead to lower wait times. This is a perfect argument for having a three day or longer ticket to the parks. This way you can watch the Disneyland shows one night, World of Color the next, and finally end with low wait times during the shows.
During the Fantasmic! showings during our most recent trip we saw Star Tours with a 10 minute wait, Space Mountain at 45 mins, Rise of the Resistance with a 40 minute wait (!), and Big Thunder Mountain at a 25 min wait during these shows. A great time to ride!
If you decide to experiences attractions in the Frontierland area, be aware of the large crowds around Fantasmic! and that there will be intense guest control efforts to keep you moving through the area. We typically try to avoid the area unless we are walking directly to an attraction like the Haunted Mansion or Pirates of the Caribbean.
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