Description And Comments
Note: From November 10, 2016 through the end of the holiday season, World of Color is transformed into World of Color - Season of Light. This holiday version of the show adds seasonally festive music to the already amazing images and effects.
The 1,200 high-pressure water nozzles installed under the surface of DCA's Paradise Bay are the infrastructure for Disney's $75-million attempt to keep guests in the park (and spending money) until closing time. If you've seen or heard about the spectacular fountain show at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, World of Color is similar but larger, with more special effects and themed to Disney movies.
World of Color incorporates clips from dozens of Disney films, and characters in its 22-minute performance. The show's backdrop includes Mickey's Fun Wheel, which was fitted with special lighting effects for use in the show. Giant projection surfaces sculpted by sprayed water—even larger than those used in Fantasmic!—display custom-made animations, and flamethrowers spew almost enough heat to dry off guests standing in the splash zones. What's most remarkable about the show is how the flashing colored lights and pulsating fountains combine to look like low-level fireworks. The effects are astounding, the colors are vibrant and deep, and and the music includes some beloved Disney songs.
World of Color Dessert Party In Spring of 2016 a dessert party was introduced offering very good views, treats, and wine (for the over-21s). The cost is $79 per person (tax and gratuity included) and reservations are highly recommended.
For the holiday season, World of Color - Season of Light is shown instead of the regular show. Season of Light uses classic Christmas songs and many snow-filled holiday moments from Disney films past and present.
- This attraction may ONLY be experienced via FASTPASS! There is no standby queue.
- FASTPASS for this attraction is "disconnected." By this, we mean that you can get a FASTPASS ticket for World of Color regardless of what other FASTPASS tickets you already have. And having World of Color FASTPASS tickets does not impact your ability to get FASTPASS tickets for other attractions.
Entertainment value aside, World of Color is an operational nightmare. The effects were expressly designed to be viewed from Paradise Park, the tiered area along the lagoon in front of The Little Mermaid attraction. Unfortunately, only about 4,500 people, barely a quarter of the park's average daily attendance, are permitted to stand there for each show. Getting a decent view for World of Color requires time, planning, and/or money, and therefore can almost seem to be more trouble to see than it's worth, but we still consider it not to be missed. A couple from San Jose writes:
Although the [World of Color] FASTPASS line was horrible and waiting for the show was horrible, the show itself was simply amazing.
An Austin, Texas, mom found World of Color challenging:
World of Color was fantastic but hard for kids and shorter adults to see unless they are standing right in front facing Mickey's Wheel. My son could not see the preshow at all, and I had to put him on my shoulders for the [entire] production. My back has not recovered. They need amphitheater reserved seating. We arrived 90 minutes prior to DCA opening to get a FASTPASS and waited 90 minutes for the show to start when admitted.
If you want anything approaching a decent view of World of Color, you'll need a special FASTPASS, the securing of which can be an annoying adventure in and of itself. Here are your options for obtaining FASTPASS tickets, beginning with the easiest (and most expensive) method:
World of Color meal packages are offered by Wine Country Trattoria, Ariel's Grotto, and Carthay Circle Restaurant. The fixed-price dinner runs around $40 per adult (and over $20 for kids) at Wine Country Trattoria and Ariel’s Grotto, and around $60 per adult ($20 for kids) at Carthay Circle Restaurant. Lunch packages (not available at Ariel’s) are around $30 per adult ($20 for kids) at Wine Country Trattoria, and around $40 per adult ($18 for kids) at Carthay Circle. (The above prices do not include tax and tip.)
All viewing package meals include an appetizer, your choice of entree, dessert, and nonalcoholic beverage; selections are from a limited list that is separate from the restaurant's a la carte menu. After your meal, you'll received special Fastpasses for each member of your party, permitting entry into a Preferred Viewing area reserved for dining package patrons. Note that you don't actually watch the show from the restaurant, so you'll want to eat early enough to make it to the viewing area. The viewing section for premium dining patrons is dead center along the waterline. Those standing at the front railing are likely to get soaked; we recommend finding an elevated step in the rear of the dining section (just in front of the Blue section) which will afford a better (and drier) view. To enter the dining FASTPASS area, look for the illuminated white entrance signs between the blue and yellow sections, directly across from the Little Mermaid ride. Though expensive, this is the only way to be guaranteed a central viewing spot with minimal crowding. On nights when there are multiple World of Color performances, early eaters receive passes to the first show, while those eating later get tickets to the later viewing; be sure to confirm when booking your meal which showing you’ll be scheduled to attend.
Free FASTPASSes are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis from the Grizzly River Run FASTPASS machines (tickets are available early to Disneyland Resort hotel guests during Extra Magic Hour). Make sure that you get passes for your whole party at once, or you may end up in different sections or showings. These machines are disconnected from the rest of the park's FASTPASSes system, so your World of Color ticket won't interfere with other attractions. On busy days they may all be claimed by early afternoon. If seeing the first World of Color show of the night is a priority for you, we suggest getting a FASTPASS within the first 30 minutes the park is open. When a second show is scheduled, FASTPASSes for the late performance can often be had well into the afternoon.
Once you have your FASTPASS, you'll notice that you've been assigned one of two color-coded sections. Yellow is the most central viewing area and stretches to the right side (near the Golden Zephyr), and blue includes the left side and and bridge. A special section is available upon request for disabled guests, and a prime area in the middle is reserved for VIPs and dining package purchasers.
Your FASTPASS also includes a return time window. You won't be allowed into Paradise Park before the start time, but the best viewing spots will all be claimed shortly after opening, so don't be surprised to see people lining up an hour before the area opens. Once inside the viewing area, try to move to the front of an elevated area. You're best off at the front of an elevated tier farther back, rather than at the rear of a lower section, as these readers from Langley, British Columbia, discovered:
World of Color was great, but even with FASTPASS it was hard for me to see (wearing flat shoes and being 5'5"). My husband, who is 6'4", also found himself bobbing around trying to see. When we got there, we had good line of sight, but as people stood up and put their kids on their shoulders, it became difficult.
A word to the wise: You may get wet during World of Color. If you stand anywhere near the railing, pay attention to the splash zone signs; on a calm night, you'll be seriously spritzed. When the wind blows the wrong way (which is pretty much always), even those several steps back will get soaked.
If all else fails, it's theoretically possible to view the show from various points around the park, but employees with flashlights will vigorously shoo you away from all the obvious vantage points. The best ticketless viewing spot is next to the Golden Zephyr, to the right of the yellow section. Unticketed viewing is also available immediately in front of The Little Mermaid attraction. You can see many of the fountain and lighting effects from the opposite side of Paradise Pier, near the bases of Mickey's Fun Wheel and Silly Symphony Swings, but the mist projections are illegible from that angle, so we can't recommend it for first-time viewers. On nights when there are multiple performances, you have better odds finding a good spot for the last show.
You can also watch World of Color from the Cove Bar. The view of the projections is less than ideal, but no reservations are required, and you can sit down with an adult beverage during the show.
If you choose to invest $25 in Made with Magic merchandise (mouse ear hats, headbands, gloves, and wands), their lights will illuminate in sync with the show. Better yet, stand toward the rear and freeload by eyeballing others who bought them.
While waiting for the show to start, connect your smartphone to the park's free "PierGames" Wi-Fi network and launch any web browser to join in the Fun Wheel Challenge. Follow the pattern of flashing colored lights on Mickey's Fun Wheel, and duplicate them Simon-style on your device; points are awarded for speed and accuracy, with the winner of each round awarded 30 seconds of control over the giant wheel's light display. The games start 45 minutes prior to the evening's first World of Color show, and stop about 7 minutes before the performance.
After the show, if you are headed to the hotels or Downtown Disney, you can bypass the crowd at the main entrance by exiting through the Grand Californian.
By the way, it is possible (if extremely exhausting) to experience all three of Disneyland Resort’s Diamond Anniversary nighttime spectacular in one evening, provided that you have a parkhopper ticket, and both World of Color and Paint the Night are giving multiple performances. First, secure FASTPASSes for the later World of Color show. Then stake out a spot on along Main Street for the first parade. Watch the parade and the fireworks, then immediate exit Disneyland for DCA in time to find your World of Color viewing section.
Not to be missed.
Other Attractions in Paradise Pier
- California Screamin'
- Disney ¡Viva Navidad!
- Golden Zephyr
- Goofy's Sky School
- Jumpin' Jellyfish
- King Triton's Carousel
- Mickey's Fun Wheel - Non Swinging
- Mickey's Fun Wheel - Swinging
- Paradise Garden Bandstand
- Silly Symphony Swings - Single
- Silly Symphony Swings - Tandem
- The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel's Undersea Adventure
- Toy Story Midway Mania!
Touring Plans with World of Color
- Disney California Adventure One-Day Plan for Adults
- Disney California Adventure One-Day Plan for Parents with Small Children
- Disney California Adventure Late Arrival One-Day Plan for Parents with Small Children
- One Day Plan for the Whole Family