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Is World of Color show worth it?

World of Color is a nighttime show at Disney California Adventure Park that combines water, fire, lighting, lasers, music and animation. It is located at Paradise Bay and uses over 1200 fountains to create incredible water effects synchronized to music and lighting. Many guests consider World of Color to be one of the best nighttime entertainment offerings at any Disney park.

What is World of Color?

World of Color is a nighttime spectacular that Disneyland describes as a “mix of never-before-seen technology and imagination.” It features scenes from Disney and Pixar animated films projected onto giant water screens. These scenes are brought to life through fountains that can shoot water up to 200 feet in the air, lasers, lights, fire, mist screens and flame effects. The show includes a musical score and incorporates animation to make the water “come alive.”

The show takes place at Paradise Bay in Disney California Adventure. There are viewing areas around the bay that guests can reserve through a FastPass system or occupy on a first-come, first-served basis. The show lasts around 22 minutes and typically plays twice nightly during summer and on weekends or once nightly during slower seasons.

History of World of Color

World of Color originally opened alongside the Paradise Pier area of DCA in June 2010. It was conceived by Disney Creative Entertainment, led by VP Steve Davison, as a way to revitalize the park’s nighttime entertainment offerings. The show cost an estimated $75 million to design, construct and produce.

The original version highlighted over 50 Disney and Pixar stories through scenes featuring familiar characters like Ariel, Simba and Woody. The musical soundtrack incorporated songs like “Part of Your World” and “You’ve Got a Friend in Me.” In 2012, Disney introduced a holiday-themed “World of Color – Winter Dreams” version.

In 2015, World of Color got a complete makeover with new scenes, special effects and music to celebrate Disneyland’s 60th Anniversary. In 2018, Pixar Pier replaced Paradise Pier and the “World of Color – Celebrate” show was introduced, highlighting Pixar stories. The current “World of Color” show returned in 2019 as a celebration of Walt Disney Animation Studios films.

Show Format and Technical Details

World of Color utilizes a variety of advanced technologies to bring animation to life in an immersive water setting:

  • Fountains: Nearly 1200 programmable fountains can shoot water up to 200 feet in the air. They create water screens for projection mapping.
  • Projections: 28 high-definition projectors digitally map animated scenes onto the water screens.
  • Lighting: A wide array of lighting effects like LED lights and searchlights are choreographed to the show.
  • Fire: Flame throwers, fireballs and other pyrotechnic effects punctuate key moments.
  • Fog: High-pressure mist screens add to the atmospherics.
  • Lasers: Laser projectors fill the entire Paradise Bay with colorful laser light patterns.
  • Sound: The musical score is pumped through a 7.1 surround sound system.

All of these elements are controlled through a central computer system and choreographed with precision timing. The giant water screens that the animated scenes are projected onto measure between 100-380 feet wide and 50 feet tall.

Show Content and Scenes

While the show’s content changes periodically, it typically highlights key characters and music from classic Disney and Pixar films through emotional, humorous and adventure-filled scenes. Some of the movies represented include:

  • The Little Mermaid
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Aladdin
  • The Lion King
  • Finding Nemo
  • Toy Story
  • Up
  • Cars
  • Frozen
  • Moana

The show follows a loose narrative arc that begins with iconic Disney heritage scenes, leading into emotional height and humor, and concluding with an inspirational finale. Some memorable scenes include:

  • Ariel singing “Part of Your World”
  • Simba being held up on Pride Rock from The Lion King
  • Woody and Buzz Lightyear soaring above the park
  • WALL-E and EVE dancing in space
  • Rapunzel and Flynn Rider floating in the sky surrounded by lanterns

The grand finale often features memorable music from classic Disney films building to an inspirational crescendo with messages about dreams, imagination, and magic accompanied by dazzling fountains and lights throughout Paradise Bay.

Is it Worth Seeing?

Most Disneyland guests and experts consider World of Color to be an amazing nighttime entertainment experience that is certainly worth seeing. Here are some of the biggest benefits and reasons to see the show:

  • Groundbreaking technology: The show pioneered a new form of “water-based multimedia” with incredible special effects.
  • Immersive experience: The combination of animation, fountains, music and lighting makes you feel part of the show.
  • Unique vantage points: You can see the show from various angles around Paradise Bay.
  • Fun for all ages: Disney and Pixar characters appeal to young and old.
  • Inspiring message: The emphasis on imagination, emotion and dreams is uplifting.
  • Length: At 22 minutes, the show is long enough to be impressive but not too overwhelming.
  • Multiple showings: You often get more than one chance per night to see it.

The effects and animation are extremely captivating, guests of all ages are mesmerized by the show. The music complements key story moments nicely and the Lasers and lighting often fill the entire bay in vivid, colorful patterns. While it doesn’t have the same pyrotechnics as a fireworks show, the fountains, flame effects and other elements create plenty of “wow” moments.

Best Places to Watch

Where you view World of Color can have a significant impact on your overall experience. Here are some of the best spots to watch from:

  • Center stage: The central area in front of the main fountains provides awesome head-on views of the projections and effects. Get a FastPass or arrive very early.
  • The beam: A standing area that jets out into the bay—offers perspectives from within the show.
  • Radiator springs: Cars Land overlook provides elevation and a more removed vantage point.
  • Paradise Park: Sitting area along the bay with up-close views of fountains.
  • Golden Zephyr: Ride remains open during show—a moving view!
  • Silly Symphony Swings: Swing ride also operates during show for a swinging view.

Being centered on the middle water screen yields the most immersive viewing, but anywhere around Paradise Bay generally provides good visibility. Pixar Pier attractions that remain open, like the swings, ferris wheel or jumping jellyfish give cool alternative vantage points if you time the rides right.

How to Get FastPasses

FastPasses allow you to reserve a spot in the main viewing section to ensure you get a central view of the show. Here’s how the system works:

  • FastPasses are included with theme park admission and distributed near the Golden Zephyr ride.
  • You can generally get a FastPass 1-2 hours before a show.
  • Only a limited number are given out, so arrive early to get one.
  • FastPasses for the first show are typically distributed starting from noon.
  • Once your reservation time comes, arrive at the designated viewing section.

If you want the best experience, be sure to get a FastPass at least 2-3 hours before the first show time. They often run out within a few hours on busy days. Alternatively, save time by reserving a dining package that comes with reserved viewing.

Dining Packages

Certain restaurants at Disney California Adventure and the Disneyland Hotel offer dining packages that combine a meal with preferred viewing for World of Color:

  • Wine Country Trattoria (table-service Mediterranean dishes)
  • Ariel’s Grotto (table-service American cuisine)
  • Storytellers Cafe (Disneyland Hotel buffet)

The fixed price meals range from $45-$60 per adult and $25 for kids. You’ll receive a ticket with an assigned section to view the show from after dinner. This is a nice option to guarantee good seats without waiting hours for a FastPass.

Best Times to See the Show

World of Color plays 1-2 showings per night. Here are the best times to catch it during different seasons:

Season Show Times
Summer 9:45 pm and 10:15 pm
Fall 8:45 pm and 9:15 pm on weekends
9:00 pm only weeknights
Winter 8:00 pm and 8:30 pm on busier nights
Single 8:15 pm showing on slower nights
Spring 9:00 pm and 9:30 pm

During peak seasons like summer, be sure to stay for the later showing if you can, as waits tend to be shorter than the first. Weekday showings also tend to be less crowded than weekends. But anytime you go, get a FastPass at least 2-3 hours in advance for the best experience.

Best Ages for Viewing

World of Color appeals to guests of all ages. Here are some considerations for different age groups:

  • Ages 2-6: younger children are likely to be mesmerized by the lights, music, and characters.
  • Ages 7-12: older kids can appreciate the animation and follow the loose storyline.
  • Teens: the music and emotion will connect with teenagers.
  • Adults: nostalgia for classic Disney films will resonate.
  • Seniors: the uplifting message provides enjoyment.

Kids under 2 may get scared by loud music or lighting effects. Families with small children should watch from back sections. Any kid or adult who loves Disney animation will have an enjoyable experience.

Tips for Viewing with Kids

Here are some tips to enhance World of Color for kids:

  • Bring glow sticks or light-up toys to keep them entertained while waiting
  • Arrive early for an up-close spot on the rail so they can see
  • Get a FastPass so you don’t have to wait hours beforehand
  • Bring headphones or earplugs in case the music is too loud
  • Try to get a dining package ticket to minimize wait time
  • Bring snacks and drinks to keep them happy while waiting
  • Let kids wear costumes or pajamas to get into the Disney spirit
  • Point out their favorite Disney characters during the show

The combination of music, lights, fountains, and Disney characters makes World of Colorcaptivating for kids of all ages. With a bit of advance planning, it can be a magical experience for families.

Is it Scary for Little Kids?

World of Color is more dazzling than scary, but some effects may startle very young viewers:

  • Loud music, particularly during action scenes
  • Dramatic villain scenes like Ursula and Scar
  • Fire effects like flamethrowers
  • Sudden fountain water jets
  • Dark, nighttime environment

Kids under 2 or 3 may get frightened by these elements. Families with toddlers should watch from the back rather than up close. Bringing ear protection is also a good idea. Overall the show is more magical than scary for young ones who like Disney films.

Photography and Videography

Capturing photos and video of World of Color can be tricky with the combination of darkness, water and light effects. Here are some tips:

  • Use a camera with manual settings for low light and moving water
  • Max out the ISO and use a fast shutter speed to reduce blur
  • Stabilize your camera on a tripod or rail for sharpness
  • Go for wider angle shots to capture the huge scale
  • Shoot during relative “quiet” moments to avoid too much motion blur
  • Use editing software to boost color, reduce noise and enhance.

Disney sometimes offers a PhotoPass package that allows professional photos during the show. For amateurs, patience, knowledge of camera settings and some post-processing will help capture the spectacle.

Is It Accessible for Disabilities?

Disneyland makes efforts to make World of Color accessible to guests with disabilities:

  • ADA viewing: Designated viewing areas for wheelchairs.
  • Audio description: Devices provide audio descriptions of the show.
  • Reflective captioning: On-screen captions from certain angles.
  • ASL interpretation: Sometimes American Sign Language interpreters.

Guests should alert staff at entry points to request accessibility accommodations. Dining packages also reserve ADA viewing areas. The bright, captivating effects appeal to those with visual impairments. Overall, Disney provides solid options for disabled guests to enjoy the show.

Is It Too Loud?

The volume of World of Color can be quite loud, especially during musical peaks and dramatic moments. Estimates put the max volume around 100 decibels, which is in the range of a loud concert.

Younger kids and noise-sensitive guests may want to bring ear plugs or protective earmuffs. Sitting further back can make the noise less intense as well. For most guests the music sounds impressively full rather than intolerably loud. But bringing some ear protection is smart, especially for little ones.

Alternative Viewing Options

If you don’t want to deal with waiting for FastPasses or staking out prime viewing spots, there are some alternative ways to see snippets of World of Color:

  • From rides like Silly Symphony Swings, Golden Zephyr or Jumpin’ Jellyfish
  • From walkways heading towards Cars Land or Pixar Pier
  • From restaurants like Wine Country Trattoria
  • brief glimpses from Pacific Wharf area
  • from Disneyland side areas near boardwalk

While you won’t get the full, head-on view, these options offer a chance to see some sections without camping out early. Walking through the park 40 minutes before showtime will often reveal new angles. Just temper expectations compared to prime center-stage spots.

How Does it Compare to Fantasmic?

Fantasmic and World of Color are both incredible nighttime shows, but they offer different experiences