The Disneyland Resort’s Diamond Celebration will surely dazzle guests from rope drop to closing many most exciting activities will take place after the sun goes down. With the new nighttime shows set to debut on May 22nd the late nights may pose some challenges for parents with young children. There’s so much to see and do that careful planning and preparation is going to be essential. In order to help parents maximize their time and experience all that the nighttime spectaculars have to offer we at the Babes in Disneyland Blog have some helpful tips.
Tip 1: Know Before You Go
Websites such as the Babes in Disneyland Blog and Disneyland Resort official site are excellent sources of information. When planning a trip both of these websites used in conjunction will not only help guests understand what is being offered, but also when it will be offered. In order to make the most of your day we highly recommend doing your research and making an itinerary.
The Disneyland Resort website generally posts the entertainment with dates and time at least 60 days from today’s date. As an example, if you’re traveling on May 23rd the Disneyland Forever fireworks showtime is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. and the Paint the Night Parade has two scheduled times one at 8:50 p.m. and the other at 11:00 p.m.
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Tip 2: Stay Overnight or Arrive Later in the Day
With so much to do and see guests may consider staying one or even two nights in order to see all of the sparkling new shows. While we realize that staying overnight might not be an option for some an alternative might be to arrive at the parks later in the day (after nap time) in order to see as many of the evening entertainment offerings as possible. Given the timing of the shows at both the Disneyland Resort and Disney’s California Adventure park- seeing all of the shows in one night is close to impossible for parents with young children (especially if your kiddos normally have an early bedtime and have spent the entire day having fun in the sun in the parks). Sure, it might be possible with some advanced planning and of course depending on the showtimes on the day in which you visit (and your kids’ stamina).
Tip 3: Two Shows in One Spot & Dining Packages
You might notice from our “Know Before You Go” tip that two of the nighttime spectaculars are offered almost back to back. We highly recommend arriving early for the parade and planning on staying in that spot all the way until the fireworks are over. The masterminds behind the Disney Parks parades and spectaculars have reported that guests in different areas of the park will have unique and immersive experiences based on where they are watching from. For example, those watching Disneyland Forever from the Rivers of America will see and experience different projections and lights than those who are watching from “it’s a small world.” While different areas of the park will offer different vantage points and theming, we suggest getting a seat either along Main Street U.S.A. or near “it’s a small world” for the best view of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle once the Paint the Night parade is over. Be sure to arrive along the parade route early to stake out a good spot.
The best way to get a prime viewing spot for World of Color is to get a FASTPASS, especially for those guests with young children. There are two options for obtaining a FASTPASSES at Disney’s California Adventure. The first is to head over to the FASTPASS kiosk near Grizzly River Rapids (as early in the day as possible), and the second is to book a World of Color Dining Package. Booking a dining package is a great way not only to get a yummy meal but also to obtain a voucher to one of the best World of Color viewing areas. Participating restaurants include Ariel’s Grotto, Carthay Circle Restaurant, and Wine Country Trattoria. Reservations are required and can be made up to 6o days in advance. This option ensures that guests get a great viewing spot and don’t have to hassle with getting right to a FASTPASS kiosk upon arriving at the park.
Although not new to the Resort, Fantastic! is a long-time guest favorite and if you want to see that show, you can also book a dining package or get a FASTPASS, just like World of Color. It is also a prime location for viewing fireworks (more on that below).
Some other things to think about as you consider the nighttime spectacular:
- While it may seem POSSIBLE to see all World of Color, Paint the Night and the Fireworks all in one night, keep in mind that the see of humanity trying to get from one park to the other on crowded nights can be a bit overwhelming and make it quite difficult to get from Disneyland to Disney California Adventure (or visa versa) if you are on a tight schedule.
- If you are opting to get FASTPASSES for World of Color or Fantasmic!, keep in mind you need to get them as early in the day as possible–especially if you want to see the first show of the day. That being said, if you are getting those FASTPASSES early in the morning, you run a bigger risk of the kids pooping out before showtime. You’ll definitely want to schedule a nap. Another thing to note is that a parent/member of your party can’t just go into the park and get FASTPASSES for everyone while the rest of the family sleeps in in the hotel. The tickets getting FASTPASSES must have been used for park admission. Also remember that FASTPASSES for World of Color and Fantasmic! don’t “count against you” and you can still get FASTPASSES for other attractions as normal.
- If you really want to see Fantasmic!, keep in mind that you can also watch fireworks from the Fantasmic! viewing area where the Disney geniuses will utilize the water screens from the show for incredible projections themed with the fireworks show.
- In a perfect world, you really need two (if not three) nights to enjoy the nighttime entertainment.
- One night for World of Color and for some family fun at the Mad T Party–both at Disney California Adventure.
- One night to see Paint the Night (and the fireworks) inside Disneyland.
- One night to see Fantasmic! at Disneyland (if you want to see the fireworks, you will need to see the first show of the night and then stay afterward).
Tip 5: Gear Up & Don’t Be Afraid to Split Up
When traveling with young children the difference between exhausted melting down kiddos and content happy kiddos could be as simple as what you travel with. Bringing or renting a stroller would be especially helpful for naps and carrying blankets, snacks, warm changes of clothes, and sweatshirts. To help pass the time when waiting for the shows to start consider packing an age appropriate game or activity such as cards, stickers, or a color book. You can also pass the time by eating dinner curbside with take-out from your favorite park restaurant. Also, be sure to have your phone or camera charged and ready to capture all of the magic.
And when it comes to that long wait, don’t be afraid to layout out your blanket (and such) and have one adult wait and hold your spot while another takes the kids on rides.
Which nighttime spectacular are you most excited to experience? Let us know in the comments below or via the Babes in Disneyland Facebook page.