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World of Color at Disney California Adventure: Disneyland Touring Tips

by Randy Crane, PassPorter Guest Contributor
Last modified 03-16-2012

Sometimes the word "spectacular" can be over-used, but in the case of World of Color at Disney California Adventure, it's about as accurate as they come.

Every night, fountains, water screens, fire, and more combine to make one of the most "spectacular" new shows at a Disney theme park. If you want to see it, and enjoy it to the fullest, there are some tips you need to keep in mind, though.

Unlike some theme park shows, where you can decide to attend an hour or less before it starts and still find a good viewing location, World of Color requires some advance planning—and a few tips don't hurt, either.

In order to view World of Color from the front viewing area, you must have a ticket (basically, a FASTPASS) for this show. The show can be viewed from the back and a couple of side viewing areas without this, but you really miss a lot, especially if you’ve never seen the show. There are three ways to get a ticket. Either purchase a World of Color Dinner, a World of Color Picnic Lunch, or get one from the FASTPASS machines. The meals require reserving in advance. If you’re not planning to eat in the park, or if you don’t want to eat at one of the offered dining locations, the FASTPASS is definitely the way to go! The FASTASS machines are located by Grizzly River Run. Go early in the morning to get yours for that night’s show (the busier the parks are, the earlier you should go). Tickets will be distributed for the first show until it is full, then the second.

There are multiple, color-coded areas for viewing. The important ones are red, blue, and yellow. Red section is the best, and you can only get that with the dinner option. Next best is yellow, and then blue (blue is still good, but yellow is more centered). The FASTPASS machines distribute blue area first, then yellow, so if you want the yellow section, don’t get your pass first thing in the morning. Wait a while and then ask a cast member what color section they’re distributing. If you want yellow, you may have to check back a couple of times—but don’t forget! Of course, if you’re nervous about missing it, go ahead and get blue; less-ideal is better than not-at-all, right? If there are multiple performances that night and you wait a little too long to get your FASTPASSes for the first show, you can often still get them for the second show. The second is often a bit less crowded, but waiting for it is just as often less-than-pleasant, so I suggest trying to be at the first show. Of course, this is completely up to you and your preferences (and the makeup of your party).

Now, once you have them, the World of Color FASTPASSes works differently than regular ones. First, having one doesn’t prevent you from getting FASTPASSes for other attractions. Second -- and more importantly -- the return time works differently. For most FASTPASSes, you have a one-hour "return window" -- you can show up any time during that window and will be fine. Even for World of Color, you will get a return window that starts an hour before the show (for example, if the show is at 8:00 pm, the return window will say 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm). Do NOT believe it! That is when they'll start letting guests into the viewing area, but people will begin lining up at least a half hour in advance of that (6:30 pm for an 8:00 pm show). You should consider doing the same—though the taller you are, the less important this is. Still, it's best if you're one of the first people in to get a viewing spot. You will have to stand during the show, but you can sit on the ground during most of the waiting time.

Once in the viewing area, the most important thing is not how close to the water you are, but how close to the front of your "level" you are. The viewing area is terraced, with about five viewing levels. The closer you are to the very front, the more difficult it is to see the whole scope of the show, but the better you can see some of the details (and maybe get to enjoy being "immersed" in the show). Any level is good, but you want to be as close to the railing at the front of your terrace as possible. Beyond that, you can get pretty close to the center point by looking at Mickey's Fun Wheel across the bay. Center is when the Mickey image is looking straight at you.

After you get your location, if there is more than one of you in your party you can come and go as you please (to get food, use the restrooms, etc.). Just be sure one person stays behind to hold your viewing location. As a bonus, one of the best restrooms at the Disneyland Resort is also the one closest to the World of Color viewing area. To get to it, pass alongside the Voyage of the Little Mermaid building, waking towards Grizzly River Run. The restroom is at the end of that walkway, on your right.

As long as you can see Paradise Bay, you will enjoy World of Color, but these tips should boost that enjoyment and take it from "spectacular" to truly "magical!"

About the Author: Randy Crane is a Travel Consultant affiliated with CruisingCo and, and lives with his wife in Southern California. To call him a "Disneyland regular" or a "Disney fan" is a considerable understatement. Contact him by email at to book your next incredible vacation!

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Updated 03-16-2012

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