Description And Comments

Off Sunset Boulevard behind the Tower of Terror, this mixed-media show is staged on an island opposite the 7,900- seat Hollywood Hills Amphitheater. By far the largest theater facility ever created by Disney, the amphitheater can accommodate an additional 2,000 standing guests for an audience of nearly 10,000.

Fantasmic! is the most innovative outdoor spectacle ever attempted at any theme park. Starring Mickey Mouse in his role as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice from Fantasia, the production uses lasers, images projected on a shroud of mist, fireworks, lighting effects, and music in combinations so stunning you can scarcely believe what you’re seeing. The plot is simple: good versus evil. The story gets lost in all the special effects at times, but no matter: It’s the spectacle, not the storyline, that’s powerful.

A Pearland, Texas, mom found Fantasmic! too intense for her young child:

Fantasmic! should come with a warning label. The characters’ larger-than-life laser visages, loud and ominous music, and thundering explosions sent hordes of parents with screaming children fleeing for the exits.

We don't receive many reports of young children being terrified by Fantasmic!, the reader's point is well taken. Spend some time preparing your children for what they will see. You can mitigate the fright factor somewhat by sitting back a bit. Also, hang on to your children after Fantasmic! and to give them instructions for regrouping should you get separated.

Touring Tips

Fantasmic! is presented one or more times each evening, but Disney has been known to change the schedule. Verify before you go. Fantasmic! is to the Studios what IllumiNations is to Epcot. While it’s hard to imagine a 10,000-person stadium running out of space, that’s just what happens almost every time the show is staged. On evenings when there are two shows, the second will always be less crowded. If you attend the first (or only) scheduled performance, then arrive at least an hour in advance; if you opt for the second, arrive 50 minutes early.

Disney offers FastPass+ reservations for Fantasmic!, but we don’t think it’s useful. For one thing, your FastPass+ reservation doesn’t guarantee you a seat; you must still arrive 30 to 60 minutes beforehand to guarantee a good spot. Arrive 5 minutes before the show starts and you’re likely to be turned away, even with FastPass+. Also, there’s no special section reserved for FastPass+ guests, whereas there is for guests who’ve booked the Fantasmic! dinner package. So using FastPass+ at Fantasmic! doesn’t guarantee you a seat, doesn’t save you any time in line, and prevents you from using FastPass+ at Toy Story Mania and Rock 'n' Roller Coaster.

From a Yorktown, Virginia, mom:

You seriously underestimated the time when people should arrive to see Fantasmic! if they want to get a seat. The stadium was already full when we arrived, 45 minutes before the show was scheduled to start, and the remaining seats filled up quickly—and this was during the off-season on a slow day.

A Cross Junction, Virginia, woman offers this tip:

Buy deli sandwiches outside the park, pack them with snacks and water in your backpack, and get a seat early.

A multigenerational family from Barrie, Ontario, makes this suggestion for guests who are short on nature’s upholstery:

Bring pillows or towels to sit on. We were sitting on those benches from 6 p.m. for the 7:30 show, and boy, did our rears hurt by the end!

Rainy and windy conditions sometimes cause Fantasmic! to be cancelled. Unfortunately, Disney officials usually don’t make a final decision about whether to proceed or cancel until just before showtime. We’ve seen guests wait stoically for over an hour with no assurance that their patience and sacrifice will be rewarded. We don’t recommend arriving more than 20 minutes before showtime on rainy or especially windy nights. On nights like these, pursue your own agenda until 10 minutes or so before showtime, then head to the stadium to see what happens.

Exiting Fantasmic! via the show’s single exit can be hair-raising, as this retired elementary-school teacher attests:

It was like a cattle stampede, but at a snail’s pace! Twice I almost ran over toddlers whose mothers didn’t have the sense or energy to carry them.

From a veteran of both Disneyland and Walt Disney World:

I visit Disneyland a lot, and their [crowd-control] cast members push the throngs of guests through the park like clockwork, even when it’s bursting at the seams. At Disney World, it’s basically every man for himself at the end of the spectacles as the cast members retreat, leaving very tired, very cranky guests to duke it out. Such is the case at Fantasmic!—while I was very happy to see a backstage corridor wide open for a quick reroute, the presence of cast members was extremely rare. I was stunned!

Finally, a couple from Alberta, Canada, sums it up for all of us:

For a show so deservedly hyped, I would hope WDW finds ways to make seeing it less stressful.

Special Comments

Fantasmic! Dining Package: If you eat lunch or dinner at Hollywood & Vine, The Hollywood Brown Derby, or Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano, you can obtain a voucher for the members of your dining party to enter Fantasmic! via a special entrance and sit in a reserved section of seats. In return for your patronage of the restaurant, you can avoid 30–90 minutes waiting in the regular line to be admitted. If you know you’re going to eat dinner at one of these locations, the dining package is a better way to see Fantasmic! than using FastPass+.

You must call ☎ 407-wdw-dine (939-3463) 180 days in advance and request the package for the night you want to see the show. Note: This is a real reservation, not an Advance Reservation, and it must be guaranteed with a credit card at the time of booking. There’s no additional charge for the package itself, but there is a $10 charge for canceling a reservation with less than 48 hours’ notice.

Included in the package are fixed-price menus for all three restaurants as follows; respective prices are for adults and kids ages 3–9: Hollywood & Vine: buffet dinner, $40/$21; The Hollywood Brown Derby: lunch and dinner, $57/$17; Mama Melrose’s: lunch and dinner, $38/$13. Nonalcoholic drinks and tax are included; park admission and gratuity are not. Prices fluctuate according to season, so call wdwdine to find out the exact price for a particular date.

You’ll receive your vouchers at the restaurant. After dinner, report to the Highlands Gate on Sunset Boulevard—between Theater of the Stars and the Once Upon a Time store—30–45 minutes before showtime. A cast member will collect your vouchers and escort you to the reserved-seating section of the amphitheater. Though you’re required to arrive early, you can be seated immediately. The reserved seats are in the center of the stadium; you won’t have assigned seats—it’s first-come, first-served—so arrive early for the best choice. Finally, understand that if Fantasmic! is canceled due to weather or other circumstances, you won’t receive a refund or even a voucher for another performance.

Weather notwithstanding, a Waldorf, Maryland, couple thinks the dining package is the only way to go:

We booked dinner at Hollywood & Vine, got our passes for the package, and waltzed on in to the show. We felt like VIPs, and it was so relaxing to see the show without the rush of the crowds.

Special Needs

Additional Resources

Other Attractions in Sunset Boulevard

Touring Plans with Fantasmic!

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