Must-Have Tips for Seeing Fantasmic! at Walt Disney World

Fantasmic! is one of my favorite experiences at the Walt Disney World Resort. And despite my personal bias toward the show (as I did work there on occasion during my Disney College Program), there are some tips that can really help you make the most of your next show.

Located on Sunset Boulevard, right between the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage, you will find the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater, home to Fantasmic! In this epic nighttime spectacular, guests can take a seat in bleachers spread across a massive stadium to see Mickey Mouse himself take the stage against the villains who invade his dream.

The show brings together iconic Disney heroes and villains, including four new sequences that debuted in 2022, with features from Frozen 2 (2019), Mulan (1998), Aladdin (1992), and Moana (2016). If you saw the show prior to its reopening in 2022, I would note that the previous Pocahontas (1995) sequence has since been removed.

Here’s what you need to know if Fantasmic! is on your must-do list for your next Walt Disney World vacation…

Fantasmic! at Disney's Hollywood Studios
Credit: Disney

Check showtimes for Fantasmic!

Fantasmic! typically runs nightly at Hollywood Studios, though there may be a couple of changes to this depending on when your next trip is planned. During peak seasons (think Christmas week, around Fourth of July, holiday weekends, or busy summer travel dates), you may find that there are two showings of Fantasmic!

If you happen to be visiting Disney World on nights when Fantasmic! performs twice, you may want to consider viewing the second show. It will come with a later start time (usually about 10:00 p.m.) but it is often significantly less crowded meaning you can show up later and still find a seat.

On rare occasions, Fantasmic! might close for a day or two for routine maintenance work. The show can also be impacted by inclement weather conditions. As such, you’ll want to check the specific showtimes and availability during your trip, which can be found on the My Disney Experience app.

Red Sangria and Cobb Salad at the Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge in Disney's Hollywood Studios

Consider booking a dining package

Nearly every seat is a good seat for Fantasmic! but if you truly want the best experience, you may want to consider booking a dining package. The center section of the amphitheater is roped off and reserved exclusively for guests who book the package.

Dining packages (which Disney also offers for festival performances and Candlelight Processional in EPCOT), essentially come as an added fee for a prix-fixe or buffet dining experience at select restaurants prior to a showing of Fantasmic! Prices for the package vary, but at Hollywood Studios, you’ll find that Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater is the most affordable option while the Hollywood Brown Derby (home of the red sangria and famous Cobb Salad pictured above) is the most expensive.

I wrote a full post on how Fantasmic! dining packages work that can help you decide if going this route is right for your next Disney World vacation. You can check it out here.

Characters at Fantasmic! at Disney's Hollywood Studios
Credit: Disney

Take a midday break

Much like the fireworks in Magic Kingdom or EPCOT, seeing Fantasmic! inevitably means you’re in for a late night at Hollywood Studios. As a result, you may want to consider taking a midday break back at your resort to recharge.

Additionally, a late night for any evening performance means you’ll be in a fairly large crowd as you exit the park. Hollywood Studios post-Fantasmic! crowd is much smaller than Magic Kingdom’s, but seeing Fantasmic! may still mean long lines for Disney buses.

I recommend taking the Disney Skyliner if your next destination is on the route, opting for an Uber, Lyft, or Minnie Van, or waiting it out and taking some last-minute photos or checking out the shops on Hollywood Boulevard while the crowds thin out.

Steamboat Willie during Fantasmic! at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World
Credit: Disney

Arrive early

Since Disney ended FastPass+ and made the switch over to Genie+, there is no “skip the line” option for Fantasmic! anymore. The only alternative to entering the show through the standby line is the dining package, which understandably may not be in every budget.

If you are not purchasing the dining package, you’ll want to arrive at the theater early to get your seats. How early? The theater will only open an hour before showtime, and that’s generally what I would recommend unless the parks are particularly crowded during your trip (think Christmas week, when you may see a line formed outside the theater before seating opens.)

The good news about arriving early? Food and drinks are allowed inside, so if I’m waiting in the theater an hour before showtime, I like to pick up a quick-service dinner and bring it in with me. (Additional snacks and beverages are available inside as well.)

Why arrive early? Every seat is a good seat, but it’s understandable that you may want to sit as close to the center as possible, and on some occasions, Fantasmic! does fill up, meaning if you wait you may miss your chance altogether.

Don’t forget, though, if two shows are offered during your trip, the second show will be less crowded and since the first show is ahead of it you won’t be able to arrive as early and you’ll still find a seat!

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