2024 Ultimate Insider’s Guide to Fantasmic at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

One of the Crown Jewels of Hollywood Studios at Disney is its nighttime spectacular, Fantasmic! It’s the best way to end your park day and highly recommended to at least see once.

You will join Mickey Mouse as he faces off with some familiar Disney villains such as Scar, Ursula, Jafar and Maleficent.

His dreams turn into an overwhelming nightmare and you will dive in with him as he goes through the laughs, romance and adventure that we have seen in some beloved Disney classic films.

But how did such a nighttime spectacular come to be?

Is it one of its kind or one of many?

We will answer these questions and share the history of the show. I’m also going to share some tips and tricks on how to best navigate your journey into Mickey Mouse’s dreams.

Disney Hollywood Studios Mickey Mouse Cavalcade Parade

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Disney’s Fantasmic at a Glance:

  • This amazing show takes you on an animation adventure with some of Disney’s most classic characters
  • Takes place nightly at 9:30 p.m. (times are subject to change)
  • Upgrade your experience with the Fantasmic Dining Package which starts at $51 for adults

Keep reading to get a full guide on how to conquer this Disney Show like a pro!

When did Fantasmic reopen at Disney World?

A few years ago, Fantasmic was stated to return to Walt Disney World on November 3, 2022! A happy return for Disney fans.

Fantasmic at Disney with Mickey Mouse Facing Orange Snake.
Fantasmic! Photo Credit: Disney Company

The majestic aquatic show takes you on an animation adventure with some of Disney’s most classic characters from films such as:

  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Sleeping Beauty
  • The Little Mermaid
  • Aladdin
  • The Lion King
  • Pocahontas
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

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What’s NEW for Fantasmic! at Disney?

According to Disney, the return of Fantasmic! included the debut of an all-new sequence that will bring to life heroic moments from Disney stories such as “Moana,” “Mulan,” “Aladdin,” “Pocahontas,” and “Frozen 2.”

“We get to see some new characters introduced to Fantasmic!, and we get to show their stories in a new, unique way utilizing a combination of projections, lasers and new lighting.”

Matthew Hamel, Show Director for Disney Live Entertainment

Where did Disney’s Fantasmic! start?

To begin our historical dive into Fantasmic! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, one must take a quick journey to Disneyland.

Fantasmic at Disney World Hollywood Studios
Photo Courtesy of Flickr: Josh Hallett

Fantasmic! at Hollywood Studios is the sister of the original which came from Disneyland. There was another at Tokyo DisneySea but it closed in February 2020.

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Hollywood Studios Fantasmic vs Disneyland Fantasmic

There are small differences between the Disneyland and Hollywood Studios versions.

Disneyland Resort Sleeping Beauty Castle

Fantasmic! at Disneyland

Disneyland’s version is shown along the Rivers of America with its projections done on Tom Sawyer Island. It also features 1 or 2 different sequences compared to Hollywood Studios.

Disneyland Steamboat overlooking Frontierland 2 Rivers of America
Disneyland Rivers of America

The Hollywood Studios version is located atop of Hollywood hills at the end of Sunset Boulevard.

Fantasmic at Disney Hollywood Studios with Mary Poppins, Bert, the Genie and Pocahontas.
Photo Courtesy of Flickr: Jeff Kern

The show takes place in the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater and houses a 50 foot tall man made mountain. It can seat 6,900 guests with 3,000 additional if standing.

Disneyland’s version debuted on May 13, 1992 and was so popular with guests, that Disney brought a second version to Walt Disney World.

The Hollywood Studios version debuted October 15, 1998 and 21 years later, it is still a favorite amongst visitors. Both shows have a 25 minute runtime.

Fantasmic! at Hollywood Studios

Fantasmic at Disney’s Hollywood Studios feature water screen projections, pyrotechnics, thrilling and out of this world puppetry.

The moat where the show takes place can hold up to 1,900,000 gallons of water.

Fantasmic Disney Company Photo with sparkles coming out of Mickey Mouse hand.
Fantasmic! Photo Credit: Disney Company

Originally there was to only be one water screen. It was quickly realized that three would be needed in order for all guests to fully enjoy the experience.

This technology has since been incorporated in other Disney shows, like World of Color at Disney California Adventure.

Fantasmic at Disney with Ariel on the Lagoon at Hollywood Studios
Photo Courtesy of Flickr: Jeff Kern

This show boasts and impressive fire on water projection that is run via a natural gas line in the most. It use special technology that will turn it off when the effect isn’t needed.

The Maleficent Dragon sits on an elevator underneath the stage. At full height, it is 45 feet tall and takes 35 seconds to make its onstage appearance.

The recreation of the Steamboat Willie boat boasts 26 of the show’s 50 total performers.

This show is truly a technological marvel in itself.

So many pieces put this spectacular show together, but ultimately it’s the marvelous Cast Members onstage and off that breathe that Disney Magic into it.

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Disney’s Fantasmic! Dining Package Experience

Before we head into the tips and tricks, let’s chat about dining quickly.

You are allowed to bring food from the outside into the amphitheater and there are several Quick Service locations alongside Sunset Boulevard across from the entrance hall where you can grab and go.

Fantasmic Dining Package at Disney Hollywood Studios Minnies Summertime Dine
Minnie’s Summertime Dine at Hollywood and Vine

What’s included in the Fantasmic Dining Package?

You can also partake in the Fantasmic! Dining Package option.

This is where you reservation at one of the restaurants around the park, they give you several different options including the fabulous Hollywood Brown Derby and one of my personal favorites Mama Melrose’s.

The Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge in Hollywood Studios Entrance

You are placed in a VIP seating area with some choice views. For more details, you must call 407-WDW-DINE or book online.

Fantasmic Dining Package Restaurants and Prices:

  • 50’s Prime Time Cafe: Adults $54 and Kids (ages 9 and under) $23
  • Hollywood & Vine: Adults $59 (breakfast) $75 (lunch/dinner) and Kids $39 (breakfast) $49 (lunch/dinner)
  • Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano: Adults $56 and Kids $23
  • Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant: Adults $51 and Kids $23
  • The Hollywood Brown Derby: Adults $77 and Kids $31

Amphitheater Food Options for Fantasmic at Disney World

The amphitheater also has two food stands that serve various items such as hot dogs, dessert trays, pretzels and alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage options.

Fantasmic Dining Package at Disney Hollywood Studios with oysters at the salad bar

As a note, if purchasing alcohol, you will only be served two per customer and must be of the legal drinking age to do so.

You can also grab some souvenir popcorn buckets and drink cups while you’re here as well.

Other Things to Remember for Your Visit to Fantasmic at Disney World

Yes there are restrooms, but if you’re flying solo, which if you’re here I’m sure you are, I would suggest you go prior to entering the amphitheater as no one will save your seat.

Fantasmic Dining Package at Disney Hollywood Studios Admission Card
Special Seating Card for Fantasmic!

Moving is also discouraged while the show is happening as it is very dark.

3 Easy Tips and Tricks for Your Visit to Fantasmic at Disney

Now let’s dive into three simple tips to make your Fantasmic! experience stress free.

Disney Hollywood Studios Entrance Sign. Keep reading for the best rides at Disney World for Genie Plus

1. Use the Genie+ Service at Disney

First, use the Genie+ service if you can spare it.

The theater opens 90-minutes before showtime, but guests are always there an hour before so they can bum rush up the hill to acquire the best seats possible.

Genie Pass Walt Disney World Itinerary
Disney Genie Service

It’s best to just use this service and save yourself the headache.

If you have to wait the hour to grab those special seats, the good news is flying solo in this situation will work in your favor.

I tend to go with one extra person because it allows you more wiggle room to get food, potty-breaks and someone can hold the seats once they are acquired.

2. Find the Best Seat at Fantasmic!

I would shoot for a seat near the VIP section. If it’s a hot, humid Florida summer evening, go to the very front. You will get wet!

Fantasmic Show at Disney World with the characters on a white boat
Photo Courtesy of Flickr: Jeff Kern

Save time and eat before the show. That way you aren’t getting up constantly and you’ll be full and not distracted from the show.

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3. Have Your Exit Plan

My best tip is my exit strategy. This is only recommended if you aren’t a first timer for the show or if you don’t really care to see the finale.

Moana answers the call of the ocean in an all-new sequence as Fantasmic at Disney World Hollywood Studios!
Fantasmic! Photo Courtesy of Disney Co.

As soon as you see the steamboat go past the middle of the moat, start heading out as quickly as possible.

Once the show ends, it’s essentially gridlock and it could take 15-20 minutes to get back onto Sunset Boulevard.

It’s even worse if you are taking the Skyliner or Disney Bus back to your resort hotel. You could be waiting even longer after you escape the crowds. This can be executed easily if you’re doing solo travel or with one or two other solo travelers.

7 Fun Facts and Secrets About Fantasmic at Disney World

Below are some cool little secrets that Disney states about Fantasmic! in Hollywood Studios:

  1. Fantasmic! originally opened at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on October 15, 1998.
  2. This show features animation and characters from more than 25 films.
  3. The moat surrounding the Fantasmic! island stage contains 1.9 million gallons of water.
  4. Maleficent, in dragon form, is the final villain that Mickey Mouse battles, and she stands 40-feet tall.
  5. Besides Maleficent, 10 other villains appear in the show.
  6. In the finale, Mickey Mouse and 35 other characters appear on a steamboat inspired by the one seen in “Steamboat Willie,”
  7. Located off Sunset Boulevard, the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater seats 6,900 guests with additional standing room for about 3,000 guests.

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My Final Thoughts on Fantasmic at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Fantasmic! has been a big part of Disney parks history and continues to be a truly magical treat to the end of your Disney day.

It continues to sport spectacular technology that is seen all over the Disney parks.

Disney Hollywood Studios Ticket Gates

This show embodies the spirit of Mickey Mouse and Disney Magic as a whole. The theater itself is thoroughly impressive with its man made mountain and moat.

Disney World GUIDE Blog Banner

Overall, Fantasmic at Disney is a staple and is a credit to Walt Disney Imagineering and Walt Disney Entertainment.

We hope that these tips and tricks will allow you to have a Fantasmic solo experience with the nighttime spectacular.

Fantasmic Show at Disney Hollywood Studios
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Have you seen the nighttime spectacular at both parks? If so, let us know in the comments!

Until next time, Happy Park Hopping Hipsters!

Victoria Wade Disney Writer at ThemeParkHipster

About the Author

Victoria is a professional solo traveler here to make your solo trips as stress free AND enjoyable as possible for you.

She has over 5 years of Disney and Non-Disney travel experience and was featured by POPSUGAR as one of the Top 50 Black Disney Creators you should follow.

She is a Proud Native to Baltimore, Md but always will call Disney World home. You can find her at Disney Tea with V.

UP NEXT: Hollywood Studios for Adults (Definitive Guide)

(Original Article Date: January 14, 2021/Updated by Editor on January 22, 2024)

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