World of Color at California Adventure

Updated November 1, 2017

Ready to see a show unlike any other?

World of Color is it. This has been a favorite of Disney fans for 7 years now and it’s the premiere entertainment option at California Adventure.

There’s a lot to know about this show, including how you can pull FASTPASSES for it, where to stand in those FASTPASS reserved areas, which restaurants host Dining Packages that offer reserved viewing for the show, what the Dessert Party is all about and more.

Let’s get started!

Basic Info

World of Color debuted in 2010 and has been dazzling guests ever since. It’s truly a unique experience in that all images are shown on sprays of water that come together to create a screen to capture the images.

Disney shares:

“To create the approximately 19,000 square-foot projection screen, nearly 1,200 fountains shoot water 200 feet into the air. Watch the water dance and the perfectly timed pyrotechnics explode!

As the show’s extraordinary elements are woven into a kaleidoscope of imagination, the spectacle sweeps and expands across Paradise Bay, while the astonishing soundtrack lifts your spirits, spanning decades of Disney movies from the classics to the most recent releases.”

World of Color shows year round once or twice each day, depending on the season. Visit the Disneyland website to see when the show is running during your dates. Change the calendar at that link to your timing. Entertainment is often added 60 days in advance – sometimes even less. Keep checking back if you don’t see it for your visit.

World of Color – Season of Light shows during Holidays at Disneyland, a seasonal celebration that lands early November and lasts until early January. Visit the Disneyland website to see when the show is running during your dates.

There are four ways that you can see World of Color. Let’s look at what each involves to see what is best for your crew.

Using a FASTPASS to see World of Color

The WOC FASTPASS is the only FASTPASS at California Adventure that is “disconnected”. This means you can hold it and any other FASTPASS at the same time. This is unusual because when you hold any other FASTPASS, you cannot pull another until the time to arrives. So many more details on FASTPASSES can be found in this post. (If you are using MaxPass, you still need to pull a paper FASTPASS for WOC. You won’t be able to on the app. Both it and Fantasmic! will move forward with paper FASTPASSES – disconnected – until further notice.)

Using a FASTPASS for the WOC show allows you to enter designated viewing areas that are close to the water (which is the “stage”), with some allowing front row viewing. Disney wants every guest possible to grab a FASTPASS for the show because it keeps the audience loading in an organized fashion, rather than thousands of people all showing up at once, clamoring for a spot.

I share several strategies on when to grab this FASTPASS during your morning strategy in this post on how to start your day at California Adventure. Check that out to find a game plan that works for your crew.

So, get yours at the start of your day and hold onto it until showtime. The FASTPASSES are free and available to all park guests. You may pull a WOC FASTPASS at the kiosk located to the right of Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, on the path headed from Grizzly Peak to Paradise Pier.

When you pull your FASTPASS, you will be assigned to either the Blue or Yellow section. Blue is distributed first in the morning, followed by Yellow. If there are two shows that evening, the machines will distribute both Blue and Yellow for the first show and then after that, Blue and Yellow for the second show.

You will not get to choose your color, but you may ask the cast member on duty at the kiosk for what is currently being distributed if you’re aiming for one color or the other. I prefer the Blue section, so I encourage you to follow one of the plans in the post linked above on how to start your day at California Adventure, as they all direct you to get your FASTPASS early, which should give you the Blue section.

All guests age 3 and older need a FASTPASS to enter the viewing sections. Children age 2 and under do not need a FASTPASS.

An hour prior to showtime, arrive at the Blue or Yellow section. Your WOC FASTPASS will show that you should not arrive more than 30 minutes prior to showtime, but people will start congregating about an hour prior and I suggest you do the same. You can nominate one person from your group to do so. He or she can politely use a blanket to section off the space needed for everyone in your party. The blanket cannot be left unattended, however. In just about every other post I have written about saving space for parades or shows, I mention how much I love the Matador blanket. It seats 4 adults and folds up to fit in your pocket. I have mine with me at every Disneyland trip, when we go to the beach, at the park, etc. It is worth every penny. Find this blanket in my post on what to buy from Amazon prior to your visit.

So, you’ve arrived. Take a look at where I suggest you set up to watch from each section:

Blue – Stand on the bridge, as close to the railing as possible.

Yellow – Move as close to the water as you can. The Yellow section borders the dining package sections in the middle. You may get wet if you’re front row, so be prepared. If the wind is blowing toward the audience, you can get soaked. At other times, you won’t feel a drop.

Pull your WOC FASTPASS in the morning to the right of Ariel’s Undersea Adventure in Paradise Pier. The FASTPASS kiosks look like this:

Booking a Dining Package to see World of Color

There are three dining packages that provide a similar “FASTPASS” to the ones mentioned above. When dining at one of these options, you will receive this FASTPASS (or return ticket) at the end of your meal when you pay your bill.

You will not dine at any of these locations and view the WOC show from the restaurant. None of the restaurants are set up to accommodate seating during the show.

All guests age 3 and older need one of these FASTPASSES to enter the viewing sections. Children age 2 and under do not need a FASTPASS.

Your three options are:

Carthay Circle – This meal is superior to the other options and takes about 1.5 hours from start to finish. This restaurant is the nicest in DCA. Children are welcome, of course, but not all parents choose this option due to the length of the meal and because you will dine indoors. The viewing section for this dining package is the best of the three and does not share space with any other package.

Wine Country Trattoria – This meal is the second in line as far as meal quality goes. The meal takes about an hour and is a good fit for families with young children, as most of the dining space is outdoors. The viewing section for this dining package shares space with guests who dined with the Ariel’s Grotto WOC package.

Ariel’s Grotto – This option is my least favorite, as I prefer the food and ambiance from the other two. This meal takes about an hour and has seating both inside and outside. Characters are NOT at this dinner, unlike lunch and breakfast at this location. The viewing section for this dining package shares space with guests who dined with the Wine Country Trattoria WOC package.

All three options require reservations. They can all be cancelled, however, within 24 hours of showtime and you will not be charged. If you don’t cancel, your credit card on file will be charged $10 per person on your reservation.

The viewing areas for the dining packages are in a slightly better location than what you get with a standard Blue or Yellow FASTPASS. If you enjoy one of these packages, you do not need to pull the WOC FASTPASS at all. The FASTPASS or return ticket given to you at your meal will grant you entry to the viewing section.

Carthay Circle guests are in the center of the dining sections and have their own section. The other two dining options share space around Carthay Circle.

For each viewing section, I recommend arriving an hour prior to showtime and setting up as close to the water as possible. Your ticket will suggest arriving 30 minutes prior, but people will start to hang out in that area an hour prior.

Some of the areas in these dining sections are tiered with gradual steps that lead down to the front of the viewing area. If you can set up at the edge of one of these tiers, you’ll be 8 inches or so above the people standing in front of you.

For pricing, menus, photos from each restaurant and so much more, visit my post on Special Dining Events. I have dined at each option and have taken many photos so that you can see exactly what each of these options includes.

Booking the Dessert Party to see World of Color

Even more coveted than the premier dining package is the WOC Dessert Party. Why? It’s the only option that includes actual seating. In chairs. Actual chairs.

You’re probably sitting in a chair right now thinking, “What’s the big deal?” It’s a big deal. At the end of a long day in the parks, a seat for this show feels like pure luxury.

I went into this option sure I would think the price was outrageous (it is) and so not worth it. I left wondering if I would ever have to watch WOC in any other way.

This option, too, is the only experience where you “dine” while you watch. Prior to the show, you’ll be offered up to two drinks (alcoholic and/or not), a bread basket, and a lovely plate of desserts. Every person has his or her own plate. No sharing necessary! Eat it all yourself.

So, why doesn’t everyone book the Dessert Party? It’s expensive, at $79 per person – adult or child. This event also requires you to prepay in full, unlike the other options, which require just a reservation. One more thing – Annual Passholder discounts don’t apply. That’s tough. I know. I still love this experience.

Guests age 3 and older must pay the $79 for this experience. Children age 2 and under do not require payment. They can share your plate and drinks. Non-alcoholic, of course. No booze for babies, please.

For lots more details including photos of the food and CHAIRS and everything you can expect, visit this link.

Using the Standby Area to see World of Color

The standby area for World of Color is a bit unpredictable, so I don’t recommend using it. But, if you must depend on this option, the section typically set up directly in front of Ariel’s Undersea Adventure offers a good view.

This section gives you a broad view of the entire show and it’s not bad, but you’re nowhere close to the front of the viewing area.

 

Notes

  • Check out the Fun Wheel Challenge, which is a great way to keep everyone entertained while you wait for the show.
  • World of Color is a super impressive show, but its not without its challenges. I enjoyed it when my kids were younger and the little ones could be held up to see it. Now that they’re older and bigger, I can’t hold them and their view is blocked by adults. The entire viewing section – except for the Dessert Party – is standing room only. Because of that, kids often have difficulty with this show. Your best bet at allowing everyone a good view is to arrive early, get that Blue FASTPASS, and stand on the bridge in the front row.
  • Guests in wheelchairs and ECVs should pull a FASTPASS at the start of the day, along with everyone else in their party. An hour prior to showtime, find a cast member near the entrance to the Blue or Yellow FASTPASS section. That cast member will then escort you and your family/friends to a designated area that will allow you to see the show. Nearly the entire audience of World of Color stands for the show, so it’s imperative that you secure a spot in one of the sections for guests with disabilities. Otherwise, if you are unable to stand, chances are, you won’t have a good view. There are no chairs provided for guests with disabilities. The only option that provides an actual seat is the Dessert Party mentioned above.
  • Strollers are allowed in the FASTPASS and dining package sections.
  • It is possible to watch World of Color from the Cove Bar, but the seats are not easy to get, as many people set up well before the show and wait until it’s over to leave. I don’t recommend counting on this option to work out. Grab a FASTPASS in case you don’t secure a table so that you have a back up option.
  • You might notice a 10:15pm World of Color on the entertainment schedule, even though the park closes at 10:00pm. This show is open to all park guests and is part of the daily schedule. While you can’t get in line for an attraction after 10:00pm, you can stay to watch the latest showing. The park won’t empty until all park guests have been through the line and have enjoyed the last attraction they’re queued for, which can run as late until an hour plus after official park closing, hence the later World of Color showing.

Leave me a comment if you have any questions!

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10 COMMENTS

  1. HI! We will be at Disneyland Dec 7-11 (our 1st time) with our 4 year old daughter. We booked a character lunch at Ariel’s Grotto, do we still get a FASTPASS for the WOC show? Is it that only a dinner option?

    • You will still need a FASTPASS for World of Color, as the meal you’re booked for is a character dining experience and does not include WOC viewing. Definitely grab FASTPASSES in the morning.

  2. Hi There! Have you heard anything about the closing of Ariels Grotto? My husband and I are headed that way in January for his first time and I was really wanting to go to Carthay Circle for it’s dinner package/World of Color but when I went to go book it its not available even though its 60 days in advance!! Was wondering if you heart the scoop on whats going on at California Adventure. 🙂

    • Ariel’s is closing down for a total renovation that includes all of Paradise Pier turning into Pixar Pier. I recommend Carthay Circle for WOC, either way. Keep checking back. They may not have added these options yet. Disneyland isn’t great about the 60 day mark. Keep checking.

  3. Quick clarification-in the Blue section, on the bridge, you can lay out a blanket? Is this a huge bridge? I am having trouble envisioning all sorts of blankets on a bridge!

    • It is a large bridge. Not many people do it and I recommend, of course, being respectful to those around you. But, it’s totally fine to show up an hour prior and section off a small space for your crew. You can’t leave it unattended. But, it’s good to have just a bit blocked off.

  4. Hi Casey!
    We are making the trip back from Nashville and Bringing friends this time!! Last time we had a perfect spot on the bridge with our blue fastpass, as you suggest ;-). My question is…. you say to lay out our Mattador (best buy ever) and have someone stay in our spot. I remember doing this last time, then I had to go down to the base of the bridge to get in a line of people to scan our pass and race back up the bridge to our spot. Is this the same? It ended up being fine, but does everyone need to be in the line and scan their passes and race up to our Mattador spot or can 1 person be in line (scan all of the tickets) and everyone else wait at the spot?
    Thanks for all that you do!
    Christa Patton
    (I gave you all of the photopass screenshots from 2/2017, love seeing my family on your site!)

    • Yay, Christa! I remember you!

      Glad you love the blanket as much as me. I’ve used it dozens of times! In and outside of Disneyland.

      Well, they have cracked down on saving spots for shows since you last visited. You will likely not be able to enter the Blue section until everyone else does. Cast members have been patrolling show areas and advising guests to keep moving until the sections are officially set up. With that in mind, you should be able to scan one of your FASTPASSES, enter the section and secure your spot with the Matador. Then, the rest of your crew can arrive closer to showtime. No reason for you all to have to wait.

      I recommend walking by 1.5 hours before showtime to see what the crowd looks like. Front row Blue is awesome! Worth the time invested.

      Hope to see y’all this trip!

  5. Quick question – I hope! We are going to Disneyland for the first time this October. We are looking forward to seeing World of Color but are curious on the handicap seating situation. My questions are:
    * should we still pull a Fastpass if we plan to use the handicap seating? (my daughter will have a Guest Assist Card if that matters)
    * can the whole family sit with her in the handicap area – there are 4 of us total (including her). In Disney World let allow the whole family stay together for shows.
    * will she be able to see from the handicap area if she is seated in her wheelchair? Will there be people standing in front of her blocking the view?

    Thank you very much! Your site has been super helpful in planning our first trip!

    • Hi, Kris!

      Go ahead and pull FASTPASSES. Just in case. Disability sections at Disneyland can be a little unpredictable. The WOC FASTPASS is disconnected, so getting it won’t prevent you from grabbing another.

      Arrive an hour prior to showtime to inquire where the disability section is. Explain your limits and why you would like to sit in that section. Your whole party should be allowed to join, as you suggested. Also explain your concerns with visibility due to her wheelchair. They should set you up accordingly.

      Have the best time!

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