The last couple of times that I have gone to the park to see Fantasmic!, I have been surprised that the seating locations for different packages has changed from my information below. I thought about updating my post but as of the date of this update, Fantasmic! will close tomorrow for a year and a half while the Rivers of America undergo significant changes to accommodate the construction of Star Wars Land. So for now, I’ll leave the post as is until I have a chance to go back in the Summer of 2017 to see how things have changed for Fantasmic! Thanks for following!!!
If you’ve read the first part of this story, you know that it’s taken me a few trips to figure out the little bit of information that I have. What I can tell you is that…I’m a fan of the Fantasmic Fastpass.
Initially, I wasn’t really sure but after experiencing it on both the Fastpass side as well as the dining option side, I’m a fan.
On my initial page about Fantasmic, I mentioned the “Blanket Brigade”. That is absolutely gone. As a matter of fact, about 45 minutes before the show begins seating, the area is completely cleared out of all people and strollers. On a side note about the strollers. If you have kids that use strollers, don’t park your stroller anywhere along the Rivers of America anytime after about 7:00 or 7:30 on a Fantasmic night. You will spend 30-45 minutes after getting off of Pirates of the Caribbean or wherever you went, trying to locate where the cast members moved it. It’s not worth it.
Now that the area is clear, they set up there areas. Some of it is with barriers. Some of it is with ropes. And some of it is with tape markers on the ground. Now, let’s start with the top level seating: Blue Bayou. On the above map, that area is in light blue. This is the real estate that the “Blanket Brigade” typically took. For $61.00 per adult and $23.00 per child, you get a three course meal and a Fastpass ticket for each person at your table to the coveted light blue section marked above. Initially, you also got a Fantasmic padded seat cushion but I don’t see anywhere on the Disney website that they’re still offering that. This area is also mandatory seating…no standing during the show.
Next, is the orange section on the map above. This is the River Belle Terrace section, where for $41.99 per adult and $21.99 again, you get a three course meal and one Fastpass ticket for each person at your table. Now this is the option that I took. And I did it on a spur of the moment. It is highly recommended that you make reservations for whichever of the first two options you would like to do. On busy days, you are not guaranteed to be able to walk up and get a table and Fastpasses for the show if they are already booked with reservations for their limit of tickets.
If you know anything about Disneyland, you’re reading this and thinking: River Belle Terrace…reservations? This guy’s crazy. Actually no, I’m not. Typically, the River Belle Terrace is a quick service location where you walk in, grab a tray and pick from the food in front of you. On Fantasmic days however, they serve breakfast until 2:00pm (I’m not kidding) and then at 3:00, they start the Fantasmic dining package with table service and waiters. You get seated, pick your three courses from a preset menu of choices and you are served those three courses.
Now, I will tell you that the food was good. It’s been a while since I did this option and I can’t remember what I had but I do remember it had pasta and chicken and was good. I had a soup to start with and dessert. I was absolutely full when it was over and I was not left wishing it had been better. It was good. Now I will say that if I had paid $41.99 for the meal and got nothing else, I probably would have been a little upset. The food was about as good as you would normally get at the River Belle Terrace, just walked to your table by a waiter. The price you pay is for the seating at Fantasmic. To me, it was worth it.
The next two areas on the map, I may not be exactly right about but it’s what I could gather asking questions of cast members and of my waiter at the River Belle Terrace. From what I can tell, the red section on the map above is the Aladdin’s Oasis grab and go package. Where for $19.99 per adult and $13.99 per child 3-9, you can grab a meal for either lunch or dinner (this package starts serving at 12:00 noon). Reservations can also be made for this package as well. The menu is relatively simple. You get a main course, side salad, roll and dessert. The main courses that I have seen were a beef lasagna, a vegetable lasagna and a grilled chicken breast. And a side note: due to this new dining package, Aladdin, Jasmine and Genie are almost always out for meet and greats now right outside the oasis. They used to be occasionally in the oasis and no one knew they were there. I had a 10 minute conversation with Aladdin and Jasmine once and no else ever came in. So it’s nice to see characters getting the attention they deserve.
The next section again, may not be completely accurate but it’s the purple section on the map above. From best I can tell, that’s the “blue” Fastpass section. These are the first Fastpasses that are given out at the distribution machines. Which, by the way, are located about half way down Big Thunder Trail. Right before Big Thunder Ranch.
The next section on the map is the “yellow” Fastpass section. On the map, this is also the yellow section. Now, the first time I experience this new system, that was where my Fastpass was for. For a viewing option that doesn’t cost anything, this was a great section. I got there early enough before the show to pretty much have my pick of where I wanted to stand. Definitely a better area than I had been getting for the last 2 years with the old system.
For reference, the black section on the map is where the center lighting rig is and where the director and engineers for the show sit at the sound and effects boards.
Now, there is one other viewing option: standby. If you choose not to take advantage of one of the dining packages or you decide not to or can’t get a Fastpass, you can line up in a line that goes down Big Thunder Trail. The first night I saw the line, it started across from the exit of Big Thunder Mountain and went almost all the way to Fantasyland. There are two downsides to standby. First, there is no guarantee that there will be enough area for everyone in standby and second, even if no one eats at the dining package options, standby will not get that space…it will sit empty. The night that I did the River Belle Terrace package, our area was only about a quarter full and no standby people were let in the area.
So, there’s the information that I’ve managed to get. Some of it may not be right but I was asking a lot of questions in the first few weeks of the new system. Not all the cast members knew all the answers.
The final thing I will say about this new system is that I am a huge fan of it. I get to decide how important fantastic seats are to me or if I’m satisfied with trying for standby. What I mean is before, you had to invest at least 2 hours of your valuable time at Disneyland to get an “ok” area. 4 hours if you wanted your choice of seating. That’s excessive for people who only get to make one 4 day trip a year to the park…if they’re lucky.
I’ve read some things where people are not happy about the change. They’ve said that Disney just did it to make more money and to “take advantage” of people. The fact is, Fantasmic costs approximately $75,000 per show to put on and some nights, they do it 3 times…and you can see if for FREE during your visit if you choose. They’re not making that money back on the dining packages. Yes, Disney is making some money…but they’re a business. That’s what they set out to do everyday.
Like I said when I started this blog, you may not agree with me but these are my opinions. I love Disneyland. I go at least once a month. And I am absolutely in favor of the new system.
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