World of Color has been a California Adventure mainstay for over a decade now, playing nightly to thousands of people who gather in Paradise Gardens Park. The show uses fountains, lasers, projections and pyro all set to a Disney soundtrack, making animated classics (and a few live action movies) come to life. In this post, we’ll give our best viewing tips on seeing World of Color, including when to see it and where to watch it from.
World of Color typically runs every night of the week at 9 and 10:15 PM. The exception is if California Adventure closes early for an event. Unlike Fantasmic or parade viewing, all of World of Color’s viewing area is standing room only unless you do the Dessert Party for the show. That option will cost you $89 and includes reserved seating, desserts and cheeses, two alcoholic beverages for adults and unlimited soft drinks and bottled water. The party usually starts roughly an hour before the actual show. I can’t say I recommend the party at that price but there are worse things to do than eat dessert and watch a cool show!
The dining package isn’t a great bargain either. Guests will dine at Wine Country Trattoria in DCA or Storyteller’s Café in the Grand Californian Hotel. Both options cost $59, which is a pretty steep increase from what a meal actually costs at those two restaurants. I don’t think it’s worth the markup to do the dining package but it will give you a good viewing spot without any other hassle.
Assuming you don’t go with either of those options and join those of us peasants in the general viewing areas, you will need to access the virtual queue. To access the virtual queue guests will need an active ticket and have entered DCA or Disneyland (if you have park hopper) by noon of that day. From there, guests will need the Disneyland App and all of their parties tickets linked.
Select the virtual queue section in the app a minute or two before noon and then select ‘join virtual queue’ when the button appears at noon. For now, World of Color is the only option in that section of the app so it’s fairly easy to navigate and there’s no reason to look at it more than a few minutes before noon as long as all of the tickets are linked.
After you’ve secured a spot in the virtual queue, you will either get the 9 or 10:15 showing and what color section you will be in. This will also tell you what time to return, and the app will remind you when it comes time for that. Then you just look for the color lamppost that you were assigned.
There are a few frustrating aspects of the virtual queue, the biggest of which is that you can’t select which showtime you want. If you get the 9 o’clock show and want the 10:15, you may be able to switch that out if you talk to a cast member. That’s mostly because the later showing is much less crowded. For the most part though, it’s a ‘you get what you get’ situation.
Once in the section assigned to you at the virtual queue, we strongly recommend watching World of Color from the ‘splash zone’. You might get a little bit wet (or really wet if it’s a windy night) but watching the show from the front row really changes the entire experience. This is the biggest tip you’ll get from reading the entire post – put a poncho on, embrace the splash and soak in (pun intended) an unobstructed view of the show! I’ve watched World of Color in nearly every section now and the view from anywhere along that front row easily beats out those up above. This is made even better because you can usually stroll up to these spots mere minutes before the show actually starts.
If you weren’t able to procure a spot in the virtual queue or were arriving late then you’ll have to watch World of Color via standby. In this situation, I would definitely recommend watching the second show. You may be able to get to that splash zone, with an entrance by the Golden Zephyr, if you get there right at the start of the show and it’s not extremely busy. That’s the best option but is certainly risky if you aren’t able to get in.
After that, the options are somewhat limited. Watching from the bridge to Pixar Pier is a decent view but spots are limited. The projections will be askew from that view but the rest of the experience would be great if you’re able to stand right along the fence.
Watching from Pixar Pier is also an option but that is behind the show so you won’t be getting the full picture by any means. If you want a quick view of the show while still getting in as many rides as possible (again, assuming you don’t have a virtual queue spot) then watching from back there is maybe the best way to go.
Finally, watching from behind the reserved spots may be an option and that will give the most straight ahead view from the standby areas. You can always check in with Cast Members, as well, to see what the best standby viewing option is on that particular night. If the shows aren’t as full they may direct you to a better spot.
We don’t enjoy World of Color – ONE nearly as much as the original World of Color but it is still worth seeing. Your mileage may vary with the show but if you watch from the splash zone then I’m confident in saying you’ll enjoy the experience more than you would otherwise, unless you’re allergic to water!
Where’s your favorite place to watch World of Color? Let us know in the comments! Planning a trip to Disneyland? Check out our Planning Guide here. If you enjoy what you are reading here on Wandering in Disney please share this post with your friends, as well as like our social media pages. You can also subscribe to the blog via WordPress or email. All of those links are on the right side of this page. Thank you for reading, we really appreciate it!
Categories: Vacation Tips