Tips and tricks for Fantasmic

(Article last updated: August 17, 2017)

Hollywood Studios' nighttime show is called Fantasmic! and it's well worth your time to see, but it can be tricky to make sure you see it without long waits.

Today I have tips and tricks to help you avoid long lines, get the best seats and make an easy exit from the show.

What it's like

The 26-minute show features lots of Disney characters, projections on water screens, boats, fireworks, water effects and great music. It's a fantastic visual treat, though some little ones may find some of the darker scenes to be scary.

You can see the whole show in the video below, including the Glow with the Show ears which you can purchase (they light up as a choreographed part of the production).

The show is presented in a huge outdoor theater that seats 11,000 people, but during busy times of the year, people are often lined up an hour or more beforehand to get in. I don't wait an hour for anything and don't suggest you do either, so I have some tips on avoiding that plus ways to get better seats.

Fantasmic Dinner Package

My favorite way to avoid the lines and get great seats is by booking a Fantasmic Dinner Package (FDP). This basically means that you book a package to eat in 1 of the restaurants at Hollywood Studios and at your meal, you're given a voucher to sit in your own reserved section during the show (the exact seats aren't reserved, just the section).

The seats are right in the middle and the best sections available. On nights where two Fantasmic shows are scheduled, the FDP is only offered during the first show.

One thing I love about the FDP is that it doesn't cost you anymore than eating in the restaurant itself if you're on the Disney Dining Plan.

Here's the rundown of the FDP restaurant options.

  • Hollywood Brown Derby
    • Available for lunch or dinner
    • Package includes an entree, dessert, drink and seating voucher
    • $62.99 for adults; $21.99 for children
    • Costs 2 Table Service credits on the Disney Dining Plan
  • Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano
    • Available for lunch or dinner
    • Package includes an entree, dessert, drink and seating voucher
    • $44.99 for adults; $17.99 for children
    • Costs 1 Table Service credit on the Disney Dining Plan
  • Hollywood & Vine
    • Available for dinner
    • Package includes an all-you-can-eat buffet and seating voucher. Minnie and pals are at dinner.
    • $53.99 for adults; $32.99 for children
    • Costs 1 Table Service credit on the Disney Dining Plan

So what's the catch?
You might wonder why everyone wouldn't just book the FDP but there is at least 1 downside: the meal times can be weird. Like eat-dinner-at-3:00 weird. If you're OK with eating at off-peak times, this will be a good option for you.

One more possible downside: the show gets canceled due to weather (rain = too slippery for the performers) and sometimes due to technical difficulties. In the event of a cancellation, you won't be issued a new pass for another night or be given a refund. (Note: some people have had success stopping by guest relations and being issued a voucher to return on a different night. Park admission would be required to do that and it's not something that you're guaranteed to get.)

How to book the Fantasmic Dinner Package
The FDP is available 180 days beforehand, just like dining reservations, but it's important that you book the package itself and not a normal dining reservation.

If you're booking online, you should do that at https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/hollywood-studios/fantasmic-dining-package/.

People booking by phone will still use the same number (407-WDW-DINE) but you need to specify the package rather than just the restaurant name.

What if you already have a dining reservation at 1 of the restaurants? Sorry, this package is totally separate so you'll have to book a new FDP reservation and cancel your previous dining reservation.

Fantasmic! Dessert & VIP Viewing Experience

Unlike the Dessert parties for Illuminations, Happily Ever After, and Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular, this experience is a lot more low-key. Instead of attending an actual "party", upon arrival to the theater guests that book the Fantasmic Dessert & VIP Viewing Experience receive a box of Fantasmic themed snacks which will feature both savory and sweet items, a bottle of water and a specialty alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage in a light-up keepsake cup.

In addition to the snacks and light-up cup, guests will also receive a special light-up credential that will be their pass into the reserved "VIP" seating area for the show.

The cost for this experience is $39 for adults and $19 for kids and it can be booked online.

FastPass+ for Fantasmic

If the Fantasmic Dinner Package doesn't appeal to you, you could always try to get a FastPass+ reservation to see the show. I don't recommend it as 1 of your first 3 FastPass+ reservations, but once your first 3 FP+ reservations have been used or expire, you could use the My Disney Experience app or head to a kiosk and look for a 4th FastPass+ reservation that could be used at the show.

Often times there's still availability, even late into the day.

The seating for FastPass+ isn't as good as for the FDP, but you will get an assigned section (to the left of the FDP seating area) and get to avoid waiting in long standby lines.

About the show schedule

The times when the show is offered vary throughout the year, so here's a couple of thoughts on that:

  • The show is often scheduled after the official park closing time. The closing time is really just the time that you need to be in line for an attraction. The park will still be open after that to allow you to take pics, shop, and see Fantasmic.
  • During busier times of year, two shows might be offered. The second one will always be much less crowded but the Fantasmic Dinner Package is only available at the first show.
  • For less busy times, Fantasmic may not be scheduled nightly so check the schedule for your trip dates to make sure it's an option
  • During the winter months, the show is often scheduled pretty early (around 6 or 7), making it much easier to see it for people who can't stay up late

Where to sit

Once in the theater, I would choose seats that are as close to the middle section as possible and at least half way back. Sitting further back will allow you to see the whole show more easily and avoid getting wet (which happens to many people sitting in the first couple of rows). However, people sitting closer to the front can snap better pics of the boats as they float by.

Eating at your seat

Since the theater is outdoors, you can bring food in to eat while you sit.

Making a graceful exit

When you enter the Fantasmic seating area, you'll enter via the upper left. However, if your goal after the show is to exit the park or watch fireworks, I'd suggest exiting to the upper right. That will take you right to the front of the park and allow you to exit easily or give you a great spot to watch fireworks.

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