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by Military Diva

As I begin, I hope you’re all familiar with the spectacular Fantasmic! show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  It is THE-MUST-DO-EVENT for our family when visiting Disney World.  I don’t want to spoil the effect for you if you haven’t attended, so I won’t offer specific details here.  Let’s just say that the show combines live actors and characters with water effects, fire, animation, fireworks and addictive tunes to create a show that you won’t forget.

It is a show that defines Disney for our family. It is a show that stays with you for years.  And for those of you that have seen it, you know that the entire show is replayed in your head just by hearing a few beats of music.

Da-Da-DADA-DAA-Da-Da-Da-Da
(Be honest, how many of you just threw your hands in the air!)
Stand by, Fast Pass or Dining Package...Which Fantasmic! Strategy Works for You?,

Live Characters perform at Hollywood Studios’ Fantasmic!

Fantasmic! is held in the Hollywood Hills amphitheater of Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  Restrooms, snack carts and a small gift shop can be found at the back of the theater.   And, the venue holds close to 10,000 guests with regular seating, handicapped accessible areas and standing room options. However, the theater is still known to reach capacity, especially during crowded park days. If viewing the show is part of your day, you really should have a plan! Fortunately, you have three options available for Fantasmic! Viewing: Stand by, Fast Pass or a Dining Package Seating Voucher.

Stand by, Fast Pass or Dining Package...Whats Your Fantasmic! Strategy?

Mickey Mouse, water features and fireworks keep Fantasmic! guests entertained

Plan A-Stand By Line

The Hollywood Hills amphitheater and snack areas open to guests 90 minutes prior to the show start.  While Disney World recommends you secure your spot in line at least 30 minutes prior to showtime, our experience recommends 60-90 minutes prior.

When using stand by, our family enjoys a quick service dinner on Sunset Boulevard an hour and a half prior to the show.   We don’t rush our meal, but we do monitor the Fantasmic! line as we eat. As soon as the line reaches the Once Upon a Time store (about half way down Sunset Blvd) we wrap up our dinner and jump in the queue. You are welcome to take food and drinks into the theater.

 

Notes

  • In the past, we have been turned away when the line extends beyond the Once Upon a Time storefront. (Theater had met capacity)
  • Stand by seating is located to the right of center with overflow in unoccupied Fast Pass areas to the left of center.  While there aren’t any obstructed views, the side seating doesn’t always offer the best experience.
Plan B-Fast Pass

Fantasmic! is a Fast Pass option and will guarantee you a seat in the amphitheater, as long as you arrive during your Fast Pass window. Most guests use their initial three Fast Pass selections on other attractions then look for a Fantasmic! Fast Pass while in the parks.  This is usually a decent strategy, unless the park is overcrowded or other popular attractions are shut down-leading them to Fantasmic! Fast Passes.

Stand by, Fast Pass or Dining Package...What's Your Fantasmic! Strategy?

After using your initial three fast passes, consider looking for a Fantasmic! pass.

Note

  • Fast Pass seating is located to the left of center.  Again, there aren’t any obstructed views, but the side seating doesn’t always offer the best experience.
Plan C-Fantasmic! Dining Package

The Fantasmic! Dining Package is one of the best ways to stretch your budget at Disney World.  Guests that reserve this package receive an amazing meal at one of three restaurants and a VIP seating voucher for the evening’s Fantasmic! show. With the voucher, guests are able to bypass the stand by line and are offered the best seats in the theater-front and center!!

Additionally, the seating voucher will save you time!  While it is still recommended that you arrive at Fantasmic! 30 minutes prior to showtime, our family has entered as late as 5 minutes prior to the show. No waiting in line and guaranteed Fantasmic! seats in the best section of the theater!  Currently, Hollywood & Vine, Mama Melrose’s and The Hollywood Brown Derby all participate in the Fantasmic! Dining Package.

Notes

  • The reservation must specifically be booked as a Fantasmic! Dining Package reservation in “myDisneyexperience” (or by phone at 1-407-WDW-DINE).  Booking a meal only reservation will not provide Fantasmic! seating.
  • Guests paying out-of-pocket will pay a slightly higher cost for the package than booking a meal only reservation.
  • Guests using Table Service dining credits will not use any additional credits for the package vs booking a meal only.  (Great use of dining credits!!)

Below you will find descriptions of food, benefits and costs associated with a Fantasmic! Dining Package at each of these three restaurants.

Mama Melrose’s Fantasmic! Dining Package

A dining package at Mama Melrose’s is perfect for the guest wanting to enjoy a meal and Fantasmic! at a more affordable cost.  Of course, it is also a perfect fit for the Italian loving family also!

Stand by, Fast Pass or Dining...What's Your Fantasmic! Strategy?s

Authentic Italian, seafood, steak and great desserts at Mama Melrose’s. Photo courtesy Disney Devo

Out of Pocket Cost and Inclusions

  • $43.00 per adult; $18 per child plus tax and gratuity
  • Entrée, dessert sampler tray, non-alcoholic beverage, Fantasmic! VIP Seating Voucher

Dining Plan Cost and Inclusions

  • One (1) Table Service Credit per guest plus gratuity
  • Entrée, dessert sampler tray, non-alcoholic or alcoholic beverage, Fantasmic! VIP Seating Voucher

Notes and tips

  • Mama Melrose’s Dining Package is available for lunch or dinner
  • Reserve your meal between 2:00 and 3:30. Plan on a full breakfast at your resort, grab a snack for lunch (pre-purchased granola bars, peanut butter crackers, fruit or in-park snacks such as fried onion straws, pretzels or nachos). This will force you out of the heat mid-day and offer a break, ensuring all are awake for the reserved evening show.  Additionally, your breakfast and snack will sustain you through the day without leaving you over-full for dinner.  Once finished you will have ample time to finish last-minute attractions before heading to Fantasmic!
  • Guests are welcome to enjoy specialty drinks such as iced coffee with their meal.  Consider requesting water to drink while eating then request your purchased drink to go.  You will have a cool drink to take with you!

Hollywood & Vine Fantasmic! Dining Package

Stand by, Fast Pass or Dining Package...Whats Your Fantasmic! Strategy?

Hollywood & Vine Starter Buffet Sampler

A dining package at Hollywood & Vine comes with an added bonus-CHARACTERS!  Guests with Fantasmic! dining reservations at H&V will enjoy their meal, Fantasmic! seating voucher and a visit from special friends and a photo opportunity at the conclusion of the meal (photo will be added to your “myDisneyexperience” photo pass account). Talk about getting the most bang for your buck (or dining credit!!).

Out of Pocket Cost and Inclusions

  • Breakfast-$42.00 per adult; $25 per child plus tax and gratuity.
  • Lunch and dinner-$58 per adult;$35 per child plus tax and gratuity.
  • American style food and dessert buffet, non-alcoholic beverage, Fantasmic! VIP Seating Voucher
Stand by, Fast Pass or Dining Package...Whats Your Fantasmic! Strategy

Hollywood & Vine Dessert Buffet

Dining Plan Cost and Inclusions

  • One (1) Table Service Credit per guest plus gratuity
  • Children must order from the children’s menu
  • American style food and dessert buffet, non-alcoholic or alcoholic beverage, Fantasmic! VIP Seating Voucher
Stand by, Fast Pass or Dining Package...What's Your Fanticmic! Strategy?

Photo from Fairy Diva

Notes

  • Hollywood & Vine Fantasmic! Dining Packages can be reserved for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
  • Currently breakfast characters include Disney Jr favorites such as Roadster Goofy, Vampirina, Sofia the First and Doc McStuffins
  • Lunch and dinner characters include Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy and Pluto in seasonally inspired costumes.
  • Unless you are aiming for a Disney Jr. experience, I recommend reserving this large meal around 1:00.  Have a small snack breakfast in your resort then be ready for a large meal midday.  When hungry in the evening, stop for a quick service meal.  (Guests booking  for dinner often eat a quick service meal midday and are then too full to enjoy the buffet at dinner. But when enjoying at lunch, many families note that they are still pretty full at dinner.  Quick service meals can be split between family members.  Save money, don’t waste it!)

The Hollywood Brown Derby Fantasmic! Dining Package

Dining at The Hollywood  Brown Derby is a treat for any guest!  Crafted as a replica of the original Hollywood Brown Derby from the 1920’s, guests experience an “upscale atmosphere (that) harkens back to the Golden Age of Hollywood.” (DisneyWorld.com)  The dining package includes signature dining, famous decor and of course the Fantasmic! VIP seating voucher.

Stand by, Fast Pass or Dinner Package...What's your Fantasmic! Strategy?

Signature Dining and a Fantasmic! Seating voucher all for one cost. Photo Courtesy of Passholder Diva

Out of Pocket Cost and Inclusions

  • Lunch and Dinner-$63.00 per adult; $22 per child plus tax and gratuity..
  • American style signature entrée, dessert, non-alcoholic beverage, Fantasmic! VIP Seating Voucher

Dining Plan Cost and Inclusions

  • Two (2) Table Service Credits per guest plus gratuity
  • Children must order from the child’s menu
  • American style signature entrée, dessert, non-alcoholic or alcoholic beverage, Fantasmic! VIP Seating Voucher

Notes and tips

  • The Hollywood Brown Derby Dining Package is available for lunch or dinner
  • As with Mama Melrose’s, reserve your meal between 2:00 and 3:30. Plan on a full breakfast at your resort, grab a snack for lunch (pre-purchased granola bars, peanut butter crackers, fruit or in-park snacks such as fried onion straws, pretzels or nachos). You will be able to maximize your park time while still having room for a full meal.

*All Fantasmic! Dining Packages require a credit card guarantee.  As per their cancellation policy, guests failing to cancel 48 hours prior to their reservation will incur a $10 charge per person.

Choose Your Strategy!

Hollywood Studios’ Fantasmic! is one of those shows you should view at least once!  Using one of the plans above, it shouldn’t be too difficult to work it into your vacation or guarantee your seat.

If you would like additional tips for planning your Disney World Vacation-contact All for Dreams Travel!  Their services are already included in the cost of any Disney World Vacation package (No Additional Cost to You!)

 

 

My name is Patricia, aka Military Diva, and I have a soft spot for Disney Destinations! After a two year post-9/11 deployment, our family was able to reconnect during a Disney World vacation. While counting on time together, we did not expect the touching service we received from Cast Members. We were treated like royalty! It is my mission as a writer for "Tips from the Disney Diva" and as owner of "All for Dreams Travel" to help other families experience their own special connections through travel.