‘Fantasmic’ viewers guide for return of Disneyland nighttime spectacular

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

Sorcerer Mickey and a host of pink elephants, swashbuckling pirates and dancing princesses will once again take over the Rivers of America when “Fantasmic” returns to Disneyland after a yearlong hiatus following a fire that engulfed the nighttime spectacular’s marquee dragon.

Our viewers guide has everything you need to know to catch the return of the fan-favorite nighttime show that has been entertaining crowds since 1992.

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Disneyland will kick off summer with the triumphant return of “Fantasmic” on Friday, May 24.

The 27-minute show will typically play twice a night at 9 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.

Expect massive crowds during opening night and throughout Memorial Day Weekend as fans rush back to Disneyland to catch the updated show that includes a new battle scene between Maleficent and Sorcerer Mickey as well as the return of a beloved Peter Pan scene aboard the Sailing Ship Columbia.

The “Fantasmic” nighttime spectacular returns to the Rivers of America at Disneyland after a yearlong hiatus due to a fire. (Courtesy of Disneyland)

Disneyland crews have been working to repair the “Fantasmic” dragon since the technically impressive 45-foot-tall audio-animatronic burst into flames during a performance of the nighttime spectacular in April 2023.

“Fantasmic” won’t include the dragon figure when the show returns, but will instead feature new special effects during the battle scene between Sorcerer Mickey and Maleficent.

The temperamental 18,000-pound Disneyland dragon — mockingly nicknamed Murphy by fans after Murphy’s Law — had a troubled history of malfunctions and breakdowns stretching back more than a decade.

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Disneyland will also bring back a fan-favorite Peter Pan scene in place of a Pirates of the Caribbean sequence when “Fantasmic” returns.

The returning scene — featuring Peter Pan and Captain Hook sword fighting amid the masts of a pirate ship — was part of the original “Fantasmic” show when the nighttime spectacular first debuted. A Tick-Tock the Crocodile float followed the ship in the original Peter Pan segment of the show.

The Peter Pan scene was replaced by a Pirates of the Caribbean sequence aboard the Sailing Ship Columbia when “Fantasmic” underwent an extensive refurbishment in 2017.

The Pirates of the Caribbean scene featured stunt pirates performing falls and sliding down ropes with Captain Jack Sparrow swinging from the back of the ship in the final sequence.

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Where’s the best place to watch the show?

As with everything at Disneyland now, you can pay your way to get to the front of the line — or in this case, to the best seat in the house.

Dining packages offer a three- or four-course meal along with a reserved prime viewing spot for the show — if you can find a reservation. Tables have been disappearing fast at Blue Bayou, River Belle Terrace and Rancho del Zocalo that offer “Fantasmic” dining packages for $25 to $99 per person.

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The Blue Bayou dining package offers the best viewing spots for “Fantasmic” while the viewing location for the more affordable Rancho del Zocalo package is not quite as good, according to MiceChat.

MiceChat recommends the standard dining package at River Belle Terrace rather than the premium package that comes with a table on the restaurant’s outside terrace to watch the show.

“While this is a convenient option, it isn’t necessarily the best view depending on where you are seated,” according to MiceChat.

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Here are a few viewing tips for watching “Fantasmic” if you can’t get a dining package reservation or don’t want to pay the upcharge fee to secure the best viewing spots.

Disneyland is not using a virtual queue system to manage the “Fantasmic” areas, which means finding a place to watch the show will be on a first come, first served basis.

The best general admission spots are closest to the center of the viewing area along the Rivers of America across from the “Fantasmic” stage on Tom Sawyer Island. Your best bet will be to find a spot in front of River Belle Terrace or Tiana’s Palace.

One of the best places to watch the show is on the bridge over the Pirates of the Caribbean queue — if Disneyland still allows the practice when the show returns.

The spots in front of the Haunted Mansion and Golden Horseshoe are not as good.

Don’t show up too early to stake out a premium spot. Disneyland cast members will likely ask you to keep moving.

“Disney has said that guests may not reserve spots in the viewing area more than two hours prior to the first show time, which should help somewhat with congestion in the area,” according to MousePlanet.

And the most important tip of all: Go to the second show of the night when the crowds are lighter and the park is emptying out.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.