Today is Fantasmic’s birthday! The nighttime spectacular debuted at Disneyland on this day in 1992, so it’s been around for 27 years now! I was lucky enough to watch the show last on March 16, 2019, from the Hungry Bear Dining Package location.
Since this show is performed on Tom Sawyer’s Island and the Rivers of America, there is no seating except for the ground. Awhile before the show, cast members will start roping off the areas that are designated for people with Fastpasses and Preferred Viewing tickets from dining packages. The only way to see the show while sitting in a proper chair is to book the upgraded dining package from River Belle Terrace which allows you to watch the show from your table at the restaurant. There are also stand-by or walk up areas that you can view the show if you do not have a Fastpass or Preferred Viewing from a dining package.
The best way to watch the show is to get a Fastpass in the morning. This should be quite easy now that nighttime spectaculars are included in MaxPass. If you don’t have MaxPass, go as early as you can to the kiosk near the dock of the Mark Twain Riverboat. If there are two shows, they will run the first show through the kiosk until tickets run out, and then the second show’s tickets will become available. The dock for the Mark Twain serves as the holding area, and you will want to arrive earlier than the time printed on the ticket in order to get a good spot. I like to be on the rail. If you prefer further back, then you don’t have to wait a long time. My all-time favorite spot is just on the other side of the disability access area where there is a large area roped off for an utility pole. We’ve been able to scrunch in here and let our bags overflow into the utility area. While it’s right of center stage, you have a screen directly in front of you. We can even continue sitting when others have to stand because we are taking up so much less room.
The cheapest reserved seating is a grab and go picnic meal from Hungry Bear. They have a special menu for Fantasmic Packages, but you can order off the regular menu as well. I was by myself when I went last, and missed getting a Fastpass earlier in the day. I was able to walk up to the counter to get this package along with a ticket for Preferred Viewing for the second showing of Fantasmic. Later, I waited around after the fireworks until the cast members designated the lines for each package, which begins near Harbor Galley. The packages get let in one at a time depending on the price you paid, but really, the seating area is the same. This is one of the perks of the package. You get to sit rather than having to stand like you do with a Fastpass.
There is a reason these shows are called “spectaculars”! Fantasmic has it all: practical effects, water screens with clips from your favorite Disney movies, pyrotechnics, all your favorite characters, and fireworks. They even manage to incorporate the Sailing Ship Columbia, the Mark Twain Riverboat, and the rafts to Tom Sawyer Island into the show. It is on the Rivers of America, after all! This show did scare my kids when they were young, so we didn’t really make time to watch it until they were six or older.
Now a trip to Disneyland wouldn’t be complete without watching this show. We love the spectacle of it, plus it’s just a good way to wind down after a full day of being in the Parks. While I do like World of Color, I think I like Fantasmic slightly more due to all that it offers.