Fantasmic has returned to the Rivers of America banks in Disneyland! With it has come masses of people who are trying to see the iconic show. In this post, we’ll give our best viewing tips on seeing Fantasmic, including when to see it and where to watch it from.
As of late September 2022, Fantasmic is showing on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at Disneyland. Historically, the show will run more often during busy times of the year like summer and Christmas. Fireworks are often shown on weekend nights at 9:30 and you can watch them from Rivers of America if you so choose. Main Street is probably a better view but there’s nothing wrong with the river view.
In case it’s your first time seeing Fantasmic at Disneyland, the show takes place on Tom Sawyer Island and the river surrounding it. Most of the seating area is in New Orleans Square, looking out into the river, and stretches slightly into Frontierland.
There are two general tips for viewing Fantasmic, before getting into specific options on where to stand. The first thing to know is that there are Fantasmic Dining Packages and they will get you the best possible seat for the show. Three different packages are offered starting with the premium package, currently at River Belle Terrace but this will likely be at Blue Bayou once the restaurant fully reopens. The premium package costs $75/adult and includes a meal along with a centered spot for the first showing.
The standard package is also at River Belle Terrace and costs $50/adult. This package will include a reserved seating area for one of the two shows and lunch or dinner. Finally, there’s the On-The-Go package at Hungry Bear Restaurant which includes a 3-course meal from the counter-service restaurant and reserved seating for one of the 2 shows. This costs $35/adult.
I usually don’t recommend these but I’m going to flip that in this instance especially if you want to see the first showing of Fantasmic. The reserved area for these packages is by far the best seating and the dining packages aren’t over-the-moon expensive. I’d recommend the cheapest option at Hungry Bear Restaurant, settling for a slightly worse seat than paying the $75 for the most expensive. But getting one of these dining packages will save you a major headache and a lot of time for the first showing.
It is difficult to come across dining package reservations in the days before a park trip so try to reserve well in advance. There are a few same day cancellations every day but we haven’t had much luck in going that route.
The second general tip is the same as what we recommend for any nighttime show at Disneyland Resort – see the second showing. This doesn’t apply to the dining packages but for standby guests, it will save you so much time by going for the second show. I’d recommend showing up to the area around the end of the fireworks (about 9:40 PM) or just watch the fireworks from there. That’s less than an hour of waiting for a quality spot unlike the 2 hours or so you’d need for the earlier showing of Fantasmic.
If you noticed, the premium dining package offers spots for the first show but not the second which matches up with what we’ve observed and heard. There are far less dining package reserved areas at the second show. If you know where to go before the second show (keep reading for details), getting a spot to sit near the front row and center is possible where it’s not at all for the first.
There’s a chance that all of the hubbub dies down some as we get farther into the summer and the novelty of the show returning wears off. But I also think that crowd level and demand will be quite high at Disneyland through the end of July. All this to say, save yourself some time by seeing the second showing of Fantasmic.
Here’s this incredibly fancy and very professional map I’ve color-coded for those wondering about standby areas!
Okay, are you done laughing at the wonderful highlighting and writing? Not yet, okay I’ll hold…. Alright, as you can see VIP and Dining get the best spots. For the first show that dining section goes all the way over into the blue highlighted area titled ‘2nd Show?’ We’ll get to that section in a minute.
That leaves the purple, pink, green and yellow highlighted sections left for the first show. The yellow highlights are an afterthought, basically a whatever’s left after the good spots are taken. If you just want to catch a glimpse of the show and not devote time to it (which we do not recommend) then showing up 20 minutes before the show and finding a spot wherever will do. That’s the yellow.
The purple highlighted section will leave you closest to the show via standby but with a few obstructions and nowhere near a straight on view of Mickey fighting a dragon. If you can wiggle your way around a tree or lighting rig being in your way then this is a decent spot to stand. You will ultimately have to stand in this area, as you will in every other non-dining or VIP area.
I think the pink section is the best place to stand for Fantasmic, as it’s the most centered and has an elevated view. Unfortunately, this is also the smallest area as it’s just the bridge above the Pirates queue. If you want to get there a few hours before the show then standing along the rail here, looking out at the river will lead to an excellent experience. It’s just a matter of the amount of time you want to devote to it.
A compromise of these areas is the green section. You won’t have to get there quite as early, as people can start lining the fence at 7. The ground is also heavily sloped so that makes it easier to see over those in front of you. While it’s not as good as standing on the bridge, it will be an easier spot to snag and not as frustrating as dealing with the obstructed views in the purple section.
Finally, the blue area is the very best you can do via standby and, as I mentioned, it’s only available for the 2nd show generally. To get there, line up in the purple area after the fireworks. Get as close to the rope on the left (if facing the water) as possible, as that is where Cast Members will let people into the blue area. I’ll reiterate that this isn’t a guaranteed spot but if they have room then standby guests will be able to get there. Wait until Cast Members give you the all clear to go there, until then stay in the purple section.
One last thing to keep in mind is to please respect the Cast Members who are trying to direct traffic. It is not their fault that the spot you want is taken up by dining packages. They are following orders and trying to get everyone where they should be in a short amount of time. Be kind to them and all of those around you, as it’s a cramped space. Also, go see Fantasmic! It’s amazing.
We’ll keep following how the crowd flow goes at Fantasmic and adjusting strategy as we go! Please let us know any questions or thoughts you might have in the comments below.
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Categories: Vacation Tips