Fantasmic! is the only nighttime show that is performed at multiple parks. It is such great entertainment, but which park wins?
Fantasmic! is a nighttime show performed at Disneyland Park in Disneyland and Hollywood Studios in Disney World. The premise of the show is that Mickey is transported into a dream where he dances along with music, lighting effects, and pyrotechnics. Various characters and scenes from popular Disney movies are part of the sequence as well.
The show takes a bad turn as Mickey is asked to enter the darker realms of his imagination. Maleficent turns out to be the mastermind behind the trap as she wishes to take over Mickey’s dream. Various villains are part of this sequence as he fights the evil dragon.
The overall story is the same for both Disneyland and Disney World, with a only a few minor differences involving the show scenes. Overall, the show is so amazingly done. The storyline has plenty of excitement and drama, and the visual features will keep your attention. The show is wildly popular on both coasts, and as such, Disney offers dining packages that guarantees reserved seating.
So, which show is the better of the two? Let’s take a look at three key categories: show, seating, and dining packages to determine the overall winner!
As I mentioned above the overall story is the same on both coasts. There are a few key differences, however. The introduction and finale of the shows are nearly the same, but a few of the middle sequences have swapped out characters or film scenes.
I do think Disneyland has the better show for a few reasons. First, the Pirates of the Caribbean scene at Disneyland includes the actual pirate ship! I do love mist screens and projections but will always prefer real live props and performers. The villain scene also features more villains in the Disneyland version.
There are also more characters on the Mark Twain Riverboat. Considering the boat is much bigger than the Steamboat Willie boat at Disney World, this makes sense. In any case, Disneyland’s version is much better with all the different characters. It just has a bigger “wow” factor.
Winner: Disneyland’s version of the show is better due to the Pirates of the Caribbean ship and finale with the Mark Twain Riverboat.
Fantasmic! is shown every night at the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater, between the Hollywood Tower Hotel and Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage. The theater has close to 7,000 seats along with space for and additional 3,000 standing people. After a long day in the park, there is nothing quite like having your own seat to sit on while watching the show.
It is entirely possible to get to the theater about 15-30 minutes before the show starts and still have a great spot. There really is no bad spot in the theater except for maybe the far side sections.
At Disneyland, it is performed right on the Rivers of America, and there is only a small dedicated viewing area. Cast Members will not let you stop and stand in the walkway. You have to go to the viewing area to sit/stand or continue walking on the path. This can make it nearly impossible to have a comfortable space to sit and watch the show. It may also mean getting there early to stake out a decent spot which can eat up park touring time.
Winner: Disney World. This is clearly due to the fact that there is an actual theater with actual seats.
At Disney World, there are quite a few restaurants that offer dining packages for Fantasmic!. When you purchase a dining package, not only do you get a meal out of the deal, but you also get guaranteed viewing of the show. It will be in a reserved area front and center of the stage. Pricing varies for each one, but you can look at this post HERE for more details.
- 50’s Prime Time Cafe
- Hollywood and Vine
- Mama Melrose Ristorante Italiano
- Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater
- The Hollywood Brown Derby
See if Maggie thinks these Disney World packages are worth it in her review.
At Disneyland, there are a few different options. The type of package you purchase will determine where you sit. Disneyland is a bit different than Disney World because the show is not viewed in a theater setting with seating like I mentioned above.
Blue Bayou and Hungry Bear offer a voucher to enter a separate viewing area along with your meal. River Belle Terrace has two types of dining packages. The standard package is like Blue Bayou and Hungry Bear. You eat at the restaurant, and then later in the evening you take your voucher to the viewing area and watch the show.
The premium option provides the meal along with viewing the show right from your table as you eat! This is the only restaurant on either coast where you eat during the show. You can read about my experience with the River Belle premium dining package in this review.
Winner: Disney World. There are more participating restaurants which means more availability to get that reserved seating.
You really cannot go wrong with either show. Both are classics that have been around since the 90’s and continue to be fan-favorites today. Out of the three categories, Disney World was the winner mostly due to the fact that Hollywood Studios has a big theater whereas Disneyland Park does not.
Have you seen both versions of Fantasmic! at Disneyland and Disney World? Which is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below and share this post with a friend to continue the discussion.