Fantasmic! is one of the most popular shows at the Walt Disney World Resort, and interest in the beloved nighttime spectacular has only continued to grow since new show scenes debuted when it reopened last year.
What’s the best way to ensure you have a chance to see the show, and how can you get the best seats? To answer this question, we recently booked a Fantasmic! dining package. Here’s what we learned.
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What’s included in the Fantasmic! Dining Package?
The Fantasmic! Dining Package basically pairs up dinner (or breakfast or lunch) at select Hollywood Studios restaurants with the show by allowing you to enjoy a delicious meal before taking in the performance. Meals booked as a dining package include one entree and appetizer or dessert or one full buffet, plus a non-alcoholic beverage and access to a reserved seating area at the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater.
Before we get into the dining side of the package (because that will really help weigh whether or not the cost is worth it), let’s cover some of the basics of what’s included at the show itself. Guests who book the Fantasmic! dining package will have a reserved section of the stadium-style seating, but not reserved individual seats (which is totally fine as there is plenty of space, but something to note if you were expecting otherwise.)
Seating for the show with the dining package is “guaranteed,” but really to the extent that you commit to your part of the responsibility here in that you arrive at least 15 minutes prior to showtime. During our recent dinner, a Cast Member recommended that we arrive at Fantasmic! about an hour ahead of showtime if we wanted to grab seats near the front row, but he also warned us that the dining package section could be opened up to other Guests 15 minutes before the show starts if it is crowded enough.
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Fantasmic! really does offer great views of the show no matter where you sit in the stadium, so we can understand if arriving early for the reserved seating area does not sound like your cup of tea. It is worth noting, however, that the dining package section is located right in the center, and while no seat is a bad seat at Fantasmic!, this section is certainly the best.
And by 15 minutes prior to showtime, there was plenty of space available in our section during our recent visit. We’d still recommend arriving at least 20 minutes to a half hour early to be on the safe side, but if you are content not sitting in the first couple of rows, you’ll find plenty of seats in the reserved section whenever you arrive.
Restaurants and pricing
Prices vary by the restaurant for the Fantasmic! dining package, and include the following per Disney’s official website:
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During our last trip to Hollywood Studios, we booked our Fantasmic! dining package at the Hollywood Brown Derby.
For reference, (and as a comparison to the regular menu prices) we ordered the Heirloom Tomato and Burrata Salad ($13) for our appetizer, a filet mignon each for our entrees ($49), and the Decadent Chocolate Cake for dessert ($13). We did not order non-alcoholic beverages and instead opted for a sangria and an Old Fashioned, but soda, tea, juice, and coffee would have been included in the cost of the package, which at Disney World restaurants are typically about $4 each. In total, the package cost us $146 (plus tax, tip, and the added cost of the cocktails), where ordering the same things (with soda) without the package would have run $132 plus tax and tip.
By this calculation, the $14 difference was worth it to us for access to the reserved seating area for Fantasmic! but as you consider going this route for your trip you may want to note that this was for only two Guests, but also at the most expensive restaurant included in the package.
Part of why we chose the Hollywood Brown Derby was because we liked the appetizer and dessert lineup here. I always enjoy the burgers at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater, but paying $49 per person when the only thing I’d want to eat would normally cost just $25 did not seem like the best value. As such, you may want to review menus on Disney’s official website before choosing a restaurant for your next Fantasmic! dining package.
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Should you book the Fantasmic! dining package?
You may want to book the Fantasmic dining package if…
- You have room in your budget to spend a little extra on a meal
- Fantasmic! is on your must-do list, and you want to guarantee yourself a seat, especially if you are visiting during a peak season, like spring break, Fourth of July and the week between Christmas and New Year’s
- The restaurants (and appetizers, entrees, and desserts) included in the package appeal to you
You may want to pass if…
- You’re on a strict budget. The package is a nice convenience, but you could pass and arrive early to the show to get a seat.
- Fantasmic! is not a must-do, or you’re not a big planner. Booking a dining package will lock you into a table service reservation and effectively “force” you to arrive at Fantasmic! at least 45 minutes prior to showtime.
- You order less expensive entrees (like salads, pasta, etc.) You may still find the package worth it for the reserved seating, but the less expensive the entree, the less “value” you may find in the cost of the package.
Ready to book your Fantasmic! dining package? Head over to Disney’s official website for complete details and ways to book.