World of Color at Disney California Adventure: Disneyland Touring Tips

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

Photo illustrating Disneyland Resort - Touring

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.

World of Color photo
World of Color

Waiting for World of Color to start, in an excellent viewing location.

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!"



World of Color photo
World of Color

Waiting for World of Color to start, in an excellent viewing location.




About the Author:
Randy Crane is a Travel Consultant affiliated with CruisingCo and MouseEarVacations.com, 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 RandyC@cruisingco.com to book your next incredible vacation!


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Reader Comments:

Wish we had known this last year! Cast Members lined up all the wheelchairs, scooters and walkers along the wall. When they opened the ropes, we all had to navigate to the opening, through the mob, about 20 feet away from where we were told to wait. I was almost knocked off my scooter in the process. By the time we got to the wheelchair section, it was already filled with people who were standing/sitting on the ground. Found room in a back section (not near the rails) and when the show started, everyone stood up, blocking our view! We could barely see anything above the heads in front of us. Getting out at this point was impossible! I spoke with a lot of people in wheelchairs or on scooters and everyone was extremely disappointed. I mean, if DisneyLand is going to take the trouble to set aside a wheelchair section, let us in first.

     lynneeeepooh on March 18, 2012 @ 5:25 pm
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This is some really good information on the World of Color viewing. Do you have any idea what the viewing is like from the bridge on the left side? Apparently this was also a part of the FASTPASS veiwing area (I think it was yellow.) Maybe standing up on that bridge is the best way to get a full shot (in terms of a picture), but ultimately I would think that would put you at an angle which prevents seeing the projections on the fountains as well. I just got to watch World of Color for the first time in February, and my first viewing was with the dinner option. Being down in the very front was awesome and totally immersive as you mentioned. You could see every little detail and it made the Pirates of the Caribbean segment with the fire that much more incredible! You can get so many great up close shots this way. Great first experience. But considering I live in Georgia and go to Disneyworld more often, I knew I wanted to try to see World of Color again during my trip. So I did the FASTPASS option. This unfortunately did not work out so well for me. I learned very quickly that unless you get into the section where you can stand at the front of the terrace, people will block your view b/c the levels are not raised enough. You will miss out on all kinds of detail going on, especially all the smaller fountains down in front. I didn't stay for that show b/c I couldn't see anything, so we just left and started walking around. I really was counting on the FASTPASS to have done me more good, but ultimately in the future the only way I will see World of Color will be with the dinner option. It is really difficult with the way they designed the show for you to get pictures of the entire scope of it.....or even see what's completely going on without a perfect unobstructed view...which there are very few of. It really needs a full stadium like Fantasmic at Disneyworld to be fully appreciated and filled with less hassle. I had the same issue with trying to watch Fantasmic years ago at Disneyland. The way they have that set up is not good, b/c there is just no viewing capacity along the Rivers of America at Disneyland.

Oh well, World of Color was super awesome, one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. But I really wish the viewing situations were better overall.

     PrincessBelle1991 on March 22, 2012 @ 8:29 am
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PrincessBelle1991;3907525 >This is some really good information on the World of Color viewing. Do you have any idea what the viewing is like from the bridge on the left side? Apparently this was also a part of the FASTPASS veiwing area (I think it was yellow.) Maybe standing up on that bridge is the best way to get a full shot (in terms of a picture), but ultimately I would think that would put you at an angle which prevents seeing the projections on the fountains as well.


You're right about the bridge putting you on an angle (and currently it is considered part of the Blue section). Depending on where you are you may still be able to see OK, but you'd miss most, if not all, of the projections. It's definitely a different perspective and can be kind of fun to view from there (as it can be from the back, which doesn't require a FASTPASS), but personally, I wouldn't choose to watch it from there the first time--maybe not even the 3rd or 4th time.

     Belgarion42 on March 29, 2012 @ 10:14 am
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In the interest of making sure the information in this article is as current and accurate as can be, I need to post a correction to what I wrote. After publication, I had someone contact me to ask a couple of questions. In researching the answers for them, I found out that Disney has made a change since I wrote this. Preferred dining viewing now has a different color designation (green) and red is way off to the side.





The second long paragraph starts with:

"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)."





It should read:

"There are multiple, color-coded areas for viewing. For most people, the important ones are blue and yellow. Green section is the best, but you can only get that with the dinner option (and there is no color shown on your FASTPASS, just that it is the Preferred Dining). Next best is yellow, and then blue (blue is still good, but yellow is more centered)."

     Belgarion42 on March 29, 2012 @ 10:16 am
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i went to Disneyland for the first time this summer and I got a fastpass for World of Color. I sat in Yellow. I'm also in a wheelchair and the row they put me in was really good. It wasn't up front but it was kind of in front of The Voyage of The Little Mermaid if I remember correctly. The only issue I had seeing is when this man put his daughter on his shoulders but he ended up moving. This is by far one of the most amazing shows I have seen and I LOVED it!! The row i sat in had a little water feature at the end that sprayed us with water. I definitely didn't expect that!!

     sunshinetaradise on March 29, 2012 @ 11:22 am
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Updated 03-16-2012 - Article #785 



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