As the Disneyland Resort has returned to close to normal operations, one of the most beloved shows has just returned. The Disneyland World of Color show, which takes place in the Paradise Bay body of water by Pixar Pier in Disney’s California Adventure park, is a unique show featuring lights, water fountains, and projections. It’s very popular, which means you’ll need a strategy to see it from the best vantage point.
The show typically runs twice a night, but the schedule can vary. Of course, the weather is also a factor. You can find specific dates and times in the Disneyland app.
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Guide to the Disneyland World of Color Dessert Party and Other Disneyland World of Color Tips
During our recent short trip to Disneyland, I really wanted to make sure that we were able to see the World of Color. Because it’s a show unique to Disneyland, and because as New Englanders, we don’t get to visit Disneyland often, we wanted to be in the best position to see it. I decided to book the World of Color Dessert Party – a paid event taking place before the show that includes preferred seating for the show.
How to Reserve the World of Color Dessert Party
The World of Color Dessert Party is offered in the evenings when the show takes place. It can be booked 60 days in advance, on either the Disneyland website or the Disneyland app. The dessert party is especially popular, so you’ll want to book it as early as possible.
It currently costs $89 per guest including tax and gratuity, but prices are always subject to change. You are required to have both valid admission to Disney’s California Adventure park, as well as a theme park reservation. These are not included with your reservation for the dessert party.
If you are traveling with kids under the age of two, you won’t need to purchase them a ticket, as long as they sit on your lap. Everyone else, however, needs a ticket, even if they don’t want to eat.
If you have dietary restrictions in your group, you’ll want to note them in your reservation so that they are aware in advance. Although Disney is always very accommodating with allergies and other restrictions, it’s best to give them time to prepare.
Your World of Color dessert party reservation must be canceled one day prior to your reservation if you want a refund. If the show is canceled, however, you’ll get a refund.
Attending the World of Color Dessert Party
Our reservation was for an 8 pm party at the 9 pm World of Color show. There was an additional reservation time of 9:15 pm for the 10 pm show. The dessert party takes place at Paradise Gardens Park, overlooking Pixar Pier. However, to check in for the dessert party, you’ll need to head to the Eureka water wheel near the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail.
While there was a podium set up for check-in, we were directed toward a long queue that had already formed. You’ll want to arrive early to get your preferred seating option. In fact, when we went to the 8 pm party, we were surprised to see that guests for the 9:15 pm party were already in line.
As you wait in line, a cast member will come along with a tablet confirming your reservation. Once they find your name, you’ll have the choice between a high-top table with director chairs (in the back of the party area) or a lower table with folding chairs (in front of the hightops). These choices will be subject to availability, and you may be seated with another party.
The cast member will assign you a location on their tablet, and then you’ll get a wristband. That way, you can leave the dessert party area if you need to use the restrooms. And, once the table is assigned, you won’t have to worry about anyone cutting the line.
While my son and I were at the back of the line, we still could choose our seating preference. We opted for a high top and were seated with another group of two.
What Your Dessert Party Experience Includes
Once our part of the line was escorted to the party area, we provided our names again. Then, we were directed to our seats. Once we were seated, a server came by with a menu of the dessert party offerings.
At this time, food for the dessert party comes pre-plated. It includes cheese, crackers, grapes, and different brightly colored desserts. Guests 21 and over can also get two alcoholic beverages. We could choose between three options – beer, sparkling wine, and a rainbow spritzer (with tequila). Unlimited nonalcoholic options are also offered including water, soda, coffee, tea, and a nonalcoholic cherry breeze drink (which looked similar to a Shirley Temple).
Our server came by several times asking if we needed any additional drinks and even offered to take a photo of each group with the backdrop of Pixar Pier. He checked in one final time before the show started.
The World of Color show runs for about 25 minutes. The lighting around the area is turned off so the show can be more clearly seen. So you won’t want to get up to use the restroom during the show – it’s best to do that in advance.
Once the show is over, the party is over. There was a small crowd leaving, but it didn’t take too long to clear out.
Although the Paradise Gardens Park area offers closer seating than the dessert party seats (see below for more information), our high-top seats offered a perfect view of the show. It was nice having a seat, because it’s a longer show, and I’m sure sitting on the floor could have become uncomfortable quickly.
So, is the World of Color Dessert Party worth it? It’s an expensive plate of food, and we didn’t love all of it. However, it was definitely worth the cost to have a nice, dedicated area to see the show. For our three-day trip, this was the only way we could guarantee seeing it.
Other ways to see the World of Color at Disney’s California Adventure
If you don’t want to book the dessert party, or there is no availability, there are other options to see the show. It is a free show, so you are able to see it from any of the open vantage points around the area. You’ll just have to do some additional work to get there early and save your seats, and may not have the best view/comfortable seating.
The World of Color Dining Package is also available. These are offered through two restaurants – Wine Country Trattoria and Storytellers Cafe. You can make reservations for the restaurants through the app or online, but you won’t be able to add on the package. Instead, you’ll need to ask your server or host at the restaurant for availability.
If you do choose the package, you can have either lunch or dinner at Wine Country Trattoria. Both are a 3-course meal from a prix-fix menu, in addition to a nonalcoholic drink. Storytellers Cafe only offers the package at dinner -for their all-you-can-eat buffet. The current cost is $59 for those aged 10+ and $35 for those aged 3-9. The Storytellers Cafe option also comes with three-hour parking at the Grand Californian.
The dining package comes with a voucher for preferred seating at Paradise Gardens Park. You won’t be able to see the show from the restaurant – instead, you’ll use the voucher to go to the park and get access to the seating. If you do this option, I’d recommend going early so you can get a good spot – you won’t have a reserved seat.
To view the show with no additional costs, the virtual queue is the best option. You won’t need Genie+ for this, but you will need to have entered a park for the day (if it’s Disneyland Park, you’ll need to have the park hopper option on your ticket).
Entering the virtual queue gives you the opportunity to be seated in one of two areas – yellow or blue. These areas provide a great view – but waiting for the virtual queue is always a risk. This is a good option if you visit Disneyland often, or if you are visiting for a bunch of days and can try multiple times.
If you are seated towards the front of the seating area, it’s important to know that you may get wet from the show.
Have you seen the World of Color?
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