“Some imagination, huh?”
It’s one of Disney’s most beloved shows, featuring characters like Mickey Mouse, Maleficent, Pocahontas, Tinker Bell, and more. And we’re sure we’re not the only ones who call this show a tearjerker!
The popular Disney nighttime spectacular Fantasmic! returned with new sequences and characters after a long closure during the pandemic, returning May 28, 2022 to Disneyland Park and November 3, 2022 to Walt Disney World.
With much anticipation for the new aspects of the show, Guests have been flocking to Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park amphitheater, but what is the secret little tidbit you should know?
When the show returned to Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park at the Walt Disney World Resort, new characters joined Mickey in his imagination. The show sees new scenes from Moana (2016), Frozen (2013), and Aladdin (1992) alongside Ariel, Snow White, and Belle, as well as some updated lighting and effects.
And with all this new Disney Park magic, comes crowds. Fantasmic! takes place down Sunset Boulevard in the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater, which can seat a whopping 6,900 Guests – but often fills up. There is at least one show per night; showtime is typically at either 8:00 p.m. or 9:00 p.m. on evenings with only one show, while twice-nightly performances are usually at 8:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
Guests tend to line up near the Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster on Sunset Boulevard very early to ensure they are able to get into the amphitheater and grab a spot. Once the theater is filled, Guests will not be allowed in.
As of right now, there is currently no Lightning Lane, Genie+, or DAS (Disability Access Service) option for Fantasmic!, so standby seating is a vastly larger section than in the past.
To ensure you get a spot for the showing without a Dining Package booking, we do still recommend lining up early. Seating begins 90 minutes before showtime but usually arriving around 45 minutes before a show will secure you a seat. Remember, the amphitheater design pretty much guarantees everyone a view! Having said that, the closer you can get to the middle section (usually reserved for those with the Dining Package), the more centered to the magic you will be.
If you don’t want to get wet, we recommend avoiding sitting close to the front as you may get sprayed by the water projections.
Something usually recommended on evenings with two showings of Fantasmic! is to aim for the second showing. Even Disney offers this tip, sending push notifications in the My Disney Experience app about the second showing.
The second show typically means getting better seats at a shorter wait, and not missing out on “Park time”. On nights with two showtimes, the first showing tends to be busier than the second, especially with those with younger children wanting to get back to their hotel earlier.
But, is this really the best advice? Well, here’s our Disney tip that goes against what the Mouse would recommend.
If you have accomplished your favorite theme park rides during the day and feel fine using Park hours to see the first showing of Fantasmic!, do it.
Following its November 2022 return, the show runs for 29 minutes from beginning to end. So, here us out. Head to the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater standby entrance around 7:15 p.m. Try and grab a seat near the back of the theater. Enjoy the magic and the fireworks of the 8:00 p.m. spectacular, and as soon as the show ends, rush back out of the Park.
If you haven’t been able to snag a ride on popular attractions like Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Millenium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run, or Slinky Dog Dash, now would be the time to do them.
You’ve now got 30 minutes until Park closing, and everyone else will either be heading to the exit, the gift shops, the closer rides like Tower of Terror, or waiting for the next Fantasmic! showtime.
We’ve done this multiple times, and on average queued about 20 minutes for Rise of the Resistance. It saves us time and means we have a backup plan in case the first showing of Fantasmic! is canceled due to weather or there are technical issues with the famous boat.
It may not be the tip that Disney would recommend, but it works to experience shorter wait times for those rides further across the theme park.
Fantasmic! opened in Walt Disney World in 1998, after originating at Disneyland in 1992. The nighttime show was also previously at Tokyo DisneySea at Tokyo Disney Resort. Fantasmic! takes Guests on a journey through Mickey Mouse’s imagination that culminates in a battle against the Disney Villains. The Florida version of the show takes place at the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater, while Disneyland’s Fantasmic! occurs on the Rivers of America.
It fast became a Hollywood Studios and Disneyland Resort favorite, often beating Magic Kingdom and EPCOT nighttime shows in Guest top lists. With standby seating, reserved seating, and a large viewing area, it’s usually a packed house with those wanting to see Sorceror Mickey, Steamboat Willie, and other Disney characters amidst fireworks, water effects, and pyrotechnics.
If you are planning a trip to the Disneyland Resort soon, you’ll want to confirm that Fantasmic! is still scheduled to happen during your trip. According to Disneyland’s official website, there are no showings of Fantasmic! on the calendar until February 3, 2023.