Hoping to score the best seats for Fantasmic!?
Fantasmic! is easily my favorite nighttime spectacular at the Walt Disney World Resort. (Okay, I might be a little biased because I worked there during my Disney College Program, but I don’t know…It’s the best either way, in my opinion.)
The show brings together several different kinds of effects including pyrotechnics, projections, lighting, characters, dancers, and more, all to tell the story of Mickey defeating the villains who invade his dream.
Unlike Disney World’s fireworks shows, Fantasmic takes place in its own theater, making it easier to arrive early and wait it out until the show starts from stadium-style seating. The seating inside the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater also helps balance things out in that you will never run into issues you do with other nighttime fireworks spectaculars (ie: Other Guests can’t show up last minute and put a kid on their shoulders to ruin your view, everyone has a view from every seat…Unless you arrive late on a crowded night and end up on the standing pad, but more on that in a few…)
Still, there is a reason why Guests tend to arrive an hour or earlier to grab seats for the show, so I’m going to share my tips for getting the best possible seats.
Which section has the best seats at Fantasmic!?
As with any Disney attraction, you are probably not surprised to learn that the best seats are the center sections of the amphitheater. Even in show attractions where the seat really truly does not matter (3D shows for instance), Guests still have the understandable mentality that they want to be in the middle section.
Fortunately, at Fantasmic! if you do not make it into one of the middle sections, you’ll still have an excellent view of the show. Sitting in the middle just means that you’ll see every scene times exactly as it was intended to be seen (for example, when the princesses come out, if you are on the far end of the theater, you may not see the first float while the spotlight is on it, or you’ll at least see it from a much longer distance.)
Assuming you do sit in the middle sections, should you then sit in the front? Maybe. The front row for Fantasmic! is really up to personal preference and whether or not you are up for getting misted by the water effects. Sitting in the front means a better view of the characters, but sitting further back gives you a better view of the whole stage, so totally up to you. If you are not in the middle, I would recommend sitting in the middle to upper levels of the stadium for the best view.
How can you get the middle seats?
This is where the challenge to getting the best seats for Fantasmic! comes in. The two center sections are reserved for Guests who book dining packages (more on that soon, too.) Without the dining package, you can get seats that are on the ends of the next sections, basically almost in the middle and still with a fantastic view of the show. If you go this route, look for the sections that are roped off, and sit the next section over.
What is the Fantasmic! Dining Package?
The Fantasmic! Dining Package allows Guests to dine at table service restaurants at Disney’s Hollywood Studios with a prix-fixe menu or a buffet/all-you-care-to-enjoy family-style dining experience, at an added cost, that includes vouchers to the reserved seating area of the show.
Prices, according to Disney’s official website, vary based on the restaurant:
- 50’s Prime Time Cafe: $51.00 per adult / $22.00 per child
- Hollywood & Vine: $54.00 per adult / $36.00 per child (breakfast), $71.00 per adult / $47.00 per child (lunch/dinner)
- Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano: $54.00 per adult / $22.00 per child
- Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant: $49.00 per adult / $22.00 per child
- The Hollywood Brown Derby: $73.00 per adult / $29.00 per child
Specifically, the Fantasmic! Dining Package includes one entree plus an appetizer OR dessert per person at regular table service restaurants, or one buffet, with both options including non-alcoholic beverages. (Guests can still order alcoholic beverages or additional appetizers or desserts, they would just be the regular cost on top of the package.
At the end of your meal, a Cast Member will give you vouchers that you can use to get into Fantasmic! and access the reserved seating area. Even though you can sit in the reserved sections, you will still want to arrive early if you want specific seats (like the front) as only the section itself is reserved and individual seats are first come, first served.
First show vs. second show
The number of shows Fantasmic! has varies based on the time of year. Two shows on the calendar means a busier day at the Park, but if you do not mind waiting for the second show, you will often have an easier time finding seats.
If the first show fills to capacity before you are able to get in, or if you want good seats without having to spend extra on the dining package, the second show could be the better option for you.
Final thoughts on the best seats for Fantasmic!
You can bring food and drinks into Fantasmic! and there is a concession stand inside the theater if you are looking to purchase a snack before the show (think soda, beer, popcorn, etc…) If you plan to arrive early to get your seats, you may want to pick up a quick-service dinner elsewhere in the park and bring it into the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater with you so you can eat while you wait.
In years past, FastPass+ was offered for Fantasmic!, which was a mixed bag, honestly, in terms of whether or not it was worth it. Like all shows, FastPass+ (or now, Genie+) does not give you access to see the show sooner than other Guests, but it lets you into the theater earlier. To me, I was never going to arrive at Fantasmic! early enough to justify using a FastPass on it, but some Guests swore by this method, especially during busy weeks at Walt Disney World, and as an alternative to the dining package.
Since Disney made the switch over to Genie+ (essentially a paid version of FastPass+), Fantasmic! has not been offered as an available attraction. In theory, this doesn’t make a difference to me, where I never used FastPass for Fantasmic! before, but one note to make here is that the crowd could be bigger when the theater initially opens, prompting you to want to grab a seat earlier than you would have before when some of those Guests would have had FastPasses.
What about the standing pad?
Oh yeah…that. If you have never attended a showing of Fantasmic! that was at capacity, you may not even realize this, but the “seats” furthest from the stage on the far side of the main walkway into the theater are not seats at all, they’re a place to stand when the show is otherwise at capacity.
If Fantasmic! goes to standing room only, Cast Members will make an announcement, so you should be made aware of this before you get into the theater. In this case, you’re going to run into those problems I mentioned before, where even with the tiered standing room, you now have variables of what Guests in front of you are doing (and if you’re short, or have small kids, it could be tough.)
If you are able to, I would recommend seeing the second show of Fantasmic! or returning to Hollywood Studios another night during your trip to see the show, over watching from the standing pad. Of course, I know this isn’t always the case, if you don’t have Park Hopper tickets, are leaving the next day, etc… In that case, I’d still see the show (you’re already there after all) but the view from the standing pad might not be great so that’s really why you want to arrive early to get any other seat.
Have other questions about seeing Fantasmic!? Leave them in the comments below!