Are the Fantasmic! Dining Packages at Disney’s Hollywood Studios Worth It?
My family visited Disney World last month. Given that my Dad had never visited Disney World, we thought it’d be fun to splurge on a Disney “experience” or two. We had plans to visit only two Disney Parks (EPCOT and Hollywood Studios) and we wanted to stay and watch the spectacular firework attraction at each park. At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, that would be the Fantasmic! show.
For most of our visit, the weather was forecasted to be in the upper 80 and 90s. Knowing ahead that we’d likely get tired wandering around the park under the heat, we wanted to make a reservation for an relaxing dinner. My brother mentioned that Disney offers a Firework + Dining packages so I decided to look into it.
Which Restaurants Participate in the Dining Package?
There are 5 full service restaurants that participate in the dining packages.
The cost ranges from $49-$73 for adults and $22-47 for kids 9 years old and under.
- 50’s Prime Time Cafe
- Hollywood & Vine
- Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano
- Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Resturaunt
- The Hollywood Brown Derby
What the Dining Package Includes
Each dining package includes an entree and an appetizer or dessert and a non-alcoholic beverage. And of course, vouchers for the first showing of the Fantastmic! After reviewing all of the restaurants’ menus, we decided to try the “The Hollywood Brown Derby” (review coming soon!)
When we got to the restaurant on the day of our planned visit and settled in, the waiter welcomed us to the restaurant/dining package. He then handed us the dining voucher to Fantasmic! This guarantees us seating in a reserved section, though we would still need to arrive at least 25 minutes prior to the show.
Where to Go
The entrance to Fantasmic! is located Sunset Boulevard, next to the Beauty and the Beast Live show. You will see the billboard signage too.
On the day of our visit, the show was delayed due to possible inclement weather at the time. We got there about 30 minutes prior to the show. The lines were already quite long by that point, since guests can start waiting up to 90 minutes prior to show. I understood that if the show was canceled, then you’re out of luck with the vouchers. You won’t get replacement vouchers. That was always a known risk.
It also wasn’t immediately clear where I should go once we got there. There were only two signage: Standby and Lightning. I checked the Disney app and there was no lightning pass for this attraction. Is the Dining Package admissions the Lightning line? It was confusing. I asked a friendly Disney staff if we are waiting at the right place and she said we are, so we waited at a nearby area patiently for updates.
Finally, the lines begin to move. The show is happening – yes! As folks queue up at the entrance, I can see that there is now a signage for the “dining package” line.
The Reserved Center Seats
Once we got through to the dining package line, we were just excited that the show will go on! (There is another checkpoint inside for the vouchers).
The lines were generally fine, though it did get slightly messy at one point likely due to the show’s delay. There was a section where the dining package line criss-crossed with those from the standby line. Those were the people who waited in line first, so understandably, there were in a hurry to get to their seats.
I saw at least two people actually broke into a small run. The dining line was slow-moving at the time, so folks just inched up and made way for them and hope not to get caught in the traffic. From a safety perspective, this can be dangerous if there are little kids around. I thought that detail could be handled slightly better.
Other than that, I thought it was very well managed. The staff directed guests to the different sections of the theater.
Do you Really Need to Buy the Dining Package?
No, you don’t. The Hollywood Hills Amphitheater can seat 6,900 people. It can also accommodate up to 3,000 more standing room. There are plenty of seats for everyone. In fact, it wasn’t even full during my showing, though I don’t know how much the delay and weather played a part that day. It’s really just a matter of how good your views may end up depending on which section you’re in.
Are Fantasmic Dining Packages at Disney World Worth It?
For us, it did. Instead of spending on Disney merchandise, we wanted to focus on the “experience”. The dining package met our dinner goals and the center seat views we got were spectacular. It was worth it for this trip.
If I were to visit again, I probably won’t. Would I line up super early at the standby line? Probably not, either. I’ll just sit where there are available seats. The key here is deciding whether you want great seats (early wait on standby line) or if you’d be willing to pay more for guaranteed seating in a prime viewing section.
Did you do the dining package? Where did you dine at? Did you think the dining package was worth it?