Disney World Adds Fantasmic Showtimes for 2022 & Early 2023
Walt Disney World has added showtimes for Fantasmic at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, with two performances per evening now scheduled for many dates during the holiday season and early 2023. Here’s a full rundown of performance times and what to expect in terms of crowds.
You might recall that Fantasmic was scheduled for two performances its first few nights back, but only a single showing thereafter each evening in November and December 2022. To the surprise of absolutely no one, except (seemingly) Walt Disney World management, demand and crowds have continued since, necessitating additional showtimes being added to the schedule.
These Fantasmic has been standby-only since the nighttime spectacular’s return, which will (presumably) continue to be the case until Fantasmic Dining Packages–which offer guaranteed seating in a reserved seating area–are available for performances of Fantasmic starting November 30, 2022 and beyond.
Now, we have more information about the newly-added Fantasmic showtimes at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for mid-November 2022 through early January 2023. According to the online show schedule on disneyworld.com and in the My Disney Experience app, showtimes will be as follows:
November 14, 2022
- 8 pm
- 9:30 pm
November 15-16, 2022
- 8 pm
November 17 to December 3, 2022
- 7:30 pm
- 9 pm
December 4, 2022
- 8 pm
December 5-25, 2022
- 7:30 pm
- 9 pm
December 26, 2022 to January 7, 2023
- 8 pm
- 9:30 pm
January 8-12, 2023
- 8 pm
If you’re visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios today (November 13, 2022), don’t be surprised if there’s a “surprise” second performance. I have no inside info indicating that this will occur, but there was a last-minute second showtime for Annual Passholders last night, and Fantasmic has been added to the schedule on other evenings this past week.
It doesn’t make a ton of sense to do two performances on Monday night, but not over the weekend. Then again, it didn’t make sense not to schedule two per night to begin with, so who knows!
Note that in some cases, the showtime for Fantasmic is at or even after the park closing time for Disney’s Hollywood Studios. While this could be indicative that park hours will be extended, don’t count on it.
Historically, it’s not uncommon for one of the nighttime spectaculars at Disney’s Hollywood Studios to occur at park closing or 30 minutes after. This allows Disney to effectively extend the closing time by an hour or more (given the duration of Fantasmic and longer time it takes to clear the park after it ends) but without running rides during that time.
It’s a savvy strategy and one we’re expecting to see going forward. It also allows Walt Disney World to offer more ADRs, which is revenue-generating upside that’s also good for guests for want to eat late and couldn’t find reservations earlier.
As we pointed out previously, having two showtimes for only the first 5 nights of Fantasmic’s return was not going to cut it. This was hardly a bold prediction–it should’ve been obvious to everyone that demand for Fantasmic would be high. It’s not just among locals and Annual Passholders eager to see the new show after it being gone for so long.
It’s among all visitors, who are similarly starved for good nighttime spectaculars at Walt Disney World–or just evening entertainment in general.
Not having multiple showtimes of Fantasmic scheduled for the busy Veterans’ Day and Jersey Week timeframes was a mistake from the get-go. Had Tropical Storm Nicole not messed with crowd dynamics, the weekend after Fantasmic debuted would’ve been much, much busier than the weekend it debuted.
Although Veterans’ Day weekend still catches Walt Disney World fans by surprise since it’s not viewed as a “major” holiday by a lot of people, it’s just like Columbus Day…and we just saw how that went with some of the worst crowds of the year during fall break. Disney’s internal forecasting undoubtedly reflects the same, which made scheduling only one showing of Fantasmic per night even more questionable.
The calendar for November and December 2022 is littered with dates that will be just as busy–or worse–than the last couple of weeks. Each of these are filled with fresh tourists, or people who have not seen Fantasmic in at least 3 years, if ever. In short, demand isn’t going to die down anytime soon, and huge crowds will continue to descend on Sunset Boulevard.
Even though management should’ve known this from the beginning, at least they learned quickly and are adjusting. Not much help to those who visited in the last week or so, but great going forward. Running Fantasmic twice per night will reduce the crowd chaos that has ensued since Fantasmic returned. (It would be great if Walt Disney World could find a way to add a third showing for peak holiday season dates, but I’m guessing that would be a challenge from a performer perspective.)
As for how early you should queue up, it really depends on which showing you’re going to see and how good of a spot you want. It’s also difficult to say because I think we still have not seen the worst of the holiday season crowds. Walt Disney World “only” had 8/10 crowd levels of the Veterans’ Day weekend, and I suspect that would’ve been worse (10/10) without Tropical Storm Nicole disrupting the attendance dynamic.
In any case, my preliminary recommendation is around 60 to 90 minutes in advance for the first show if you’re fine with an average spot, and about 45 to 60 minutes in advance for the second performance of Fantasmic for most ‘regular’ dates during the upcoming Christmas season. Even pre-closure, there were times when people lined up 2 hours in advance for Fantasmic. Granted, this was not most guests–and it was usually possible to get a seat within 30 minutes of showtime.
There are several differences right now as compared to pre-closure. First, Fantasmic has been reimagined and returned for the first time in almost 3 years, so there are a ton of regulars who would’ve skipped it before but now want to see it. Second, Fantasmic will have even more interest among casual guests, as it’s being hyped up by Disney in marketing materials.
Finally, there’s the Park Hopping factor. Animal Kingdom doesn’t have a nighttime spectacular, and people will Park Hop from there to one of the other three parks. On top of that, Harmonious and Disney Enchantment haven’t exactly scored well with guests, they’ve just been “popular” due to lack of alternatives. Fantasmic scored incredibly well on guest satisfaction surveys pre-closure, and there’s every reason to believe the reimagined version will do better, not worse.
There’s also the fact that Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party will displace thousands of people per evening it’s held, disproportionately causing crowding at EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. That’ll lead to even more demand for Fantasmic during the first two months it’s back. In short, there’s a likelihood of heavy crowds for Fantasmic. Even with two nightly performances, you might want to err on the side of lining up early–or buying a dining package.
Speaking of which, these additional showtimes for mid-November 2022 through early January 2023 should have zero impact on Fantasmic Dining Package availability. This is for the simple reason that the limiting factor there is available tables at restaurants in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, not seats in the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater.
To the contrary, the venue seats 6,900 guests with additional standing room for about 3,000 guests. That’s a massive number, and Walt Disney World will only be able to allocate a fraction of that to Fantasmic Dining Packages simply by virtue of restaurant table space (or lack thereof).
On the plus side, the healthy capacity of Hollywood Hills Amphitheater will enable a good percentage of all guests in Disney’s Hollywood Studios to see Fantasmic–especially when the nighttime spectacular has two performances per evening this holiday season.
Nevertheless, it’s likely that demand will still exceed capacity on many nights. The combination of crowds, pent-up demand, and lack of alternatives during the holiday season all but guarantees it.
One thing that does remain to be seen is whether Walt Disney World will add Fantasmic to the Genie+ service. We previously predicted that this would occur, and are honestly surprised that it hasn’t happened yet. That would likely help with crowd control on Sunset Boulevard, as it would mean fewer people lining up an hour or more in advance and clogging up walkways. It’s possible that this is still in the cards, and Walt Disney World doesn’t want to implement this until the initial positive buzz from Fantasmic subsides.
It’s also possible that the logistics or staffing demands of a Lightning Lane entrance for Fantasmic are too difficult right now–or that Disney is perfectly content with people standing in line for an hour-plus for Fantasmic. As we’ve said before, we think Genie+ or using a virtual queue for Fantasmic is the “correct” course of action. I know many of you hate them, but I think this is one scenario where a virtual queue makes a lot of sense. Perhaps Walt Disney World is looking to avoid backlash and will just stick with standby for this one. Regardless, the second showtime makes Fantasmic much easier to see on evenings throughout the Christmas season.
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What are your thoughts on Walt Disney World adding a second showtime for Fantasmic during Christmas 2022 and early 2023? Have you experienced the reimagined Fantasmic since its return earlier this month? Thoughts on the Sunset Boulevard crowds and line? What about the substance of the show? Do you think Fantasmic should use a virtual queue or stick to standby? Have you booked a Fantasmic dining package? Is it worth the surcharge to guarantee that you’ll have a spot in the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater to see the nighttime spectacular? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? Any questions? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!
When will Fantasmic Dining Packages for January 2023 be available? Today is November 30, 2022 and you can only search for Fantasmic Dining Packages up to December 31; dates after that do not allow you to click on “Search Times” as no times appear for you to select in the drop down menu. If we are within 60 days of our arrival, why aren’t we able to book these dining packages? We’ve had to book just a regular ADR for dinner in Hollywood Studios since those are now fully booked. Will Disney open new availability for dinner at the restaurants if and when they make Fantasmic Dining Packages available in January? Or will we be allowed to upgrade our regular dinner ADR to a Fantasmic Dining Package?
I did the same thing, booked an ADR at Hollywood Brown Derby. Hoping I can catch the Fantasmic package to go with it but no idea when they’ll show up. Cast Members aren’t sure why this is happening either… VERY FRUSTRATING!!
The individual restaurants haven’t loaded the table inventory for the dining packages. They’re separate stock which means, yes, availability should show up in the future and, no, you will not be able to “upgrade” your existing reservation.
So the Disney CM was incorrect in advising me to get an ADR for dinner now in case the Fantasmic Dining Packages are not added for the date of my trip in January or in case they sell out within seconds of them being available? Should I cancel the ADR and just hope that I’ll be lucky enough to get a Fantasmic Dining Package?
Thx for that info. Any idea how we will know when inventory is loaded?
Unfortunately no, the cast member said to just keep checking.
I don’t think the cast member was wrong. Having a non-package ADR will ensure you can eat at that restaurant. If/when the packages are released, you’d book that and then cancel your regular ADR. If you can’t get the package, at least you’ll still have the ADR.
Tom, for the December 26-January 7th 9:30pm shows Hollywood Studios is showing as closing at 9pm on all of those days. How does that work? Do you simply
Need to be in line before closing and you get to stay for the show?
Have first show on ADR. I suspect the time we have for dining before the change will conflict with first show and arriving in time. This is probably an issue for many. May need to call WDW dine as not sure what to do with this. I did see your response to another comment but we are dangerously close to now meeting preferred seating due to current ADR and change in shows. Advice anyone?
In December, we also have first show, originally scheduled for 9pm when the Fantasmic Dining Package was booked, but now moved up to 7:30 by the addition of a second show. Our separate dinner ADR at 6:30 PM definitely presents a conflict. I called Disney Dining and was told that no Fantasmic Dining Packages for the second show were being sold, and since none have been made available, asking the server at the meal to substitute 1st for 2nd wasn’t an option. She said that my only choice was in choosing which ADR to cancel. Perhaps 2nd show ADRs will become available at some point, but clearly just another bit of friction we did not need.
Since the last time we saw Fantasmic, one of our family members now uses an ECV. Is there a disabled access queue for Fantasmic like there is for Indiana Jones?
Thanks for this update on Fantasmic! My ultimate Disney World hack is to sacrifice activities with particularly high opportunity costs (this is my version of zig when others zag). For example, we often avoid 7DMT, Flight of Passage, Peter Pan, fireworks, table service meals… Given the info here, I think we will add Fantasmic to that list for this year’s trip, but I hope to see it another time.
Cost/benefit calculations are entirely subjective, so I am not yucking anyone else yum’s! We jump through hoops to ride SDD, even though it’s a “high cost” ride!
Hi, Is there a way to ‘upgrade’ an already existing Hollywood &Wine reservation, to a Fantasmic Dinning Package, since more reserved seating will now be available because of the added 2nd show time for Fantasmic? Thanks!!
I have conflicts with first show and another reservation. I booked Oga at 7:30 when there was only one show. my dining reservations says 1st show. so I guess I’m up a creek.
I spoke to Disney Dining today and was told that there is no guarantee but you can ask a cast member on the day of your reservation to switch your show to the 2nd time if you can show a conflict. Based on availability they might be able to change it for you.
Is anyone else not able to book Fantasmic Dining packages starting January 1st? All of December you can search for times (even though there aren’t any available), but starting in January the ‘Times’ field fails to even populate and keeps the ‘Search’ button greyed out.
I can’t do it either!!!!
I have been searching on Jan 2
This was happening to me too. Now I can search for January but there are no reservations available. Is this normal? Any tricks to reserving a dining package? I have a baby so I really don’t want to wait in line…
Same story for me. Logged in at 4:45AM CST, staying onsite and there is nothing available for my entire stay in Mid January. Either there is a glitch in the system or they are stopping the Fantasmic dining packages in January.
Same here. Staying on site starting mid-January and can’t see any availability for a dining package. Odd that they’d only release one month’s worth of packages with it being so popular. Not likely that we’ll get one now as folks whose ADR window opens after mine will be up at the crack of dawn and snap them up. Bummer
I’ve gotten a response back from guest services, but it was not particularly helpful (as they generally seem to assume that the complaint is that there are no packages available). I’ve replied with further info to illustrate the problem, and asked if they can forward the issue to the website or tech team to confirm that it’s not just a glitch. I’ll let you know if I find out anything!
The cast member I spoke to checked the “guest list” for the restaurant. She saw only regular ADRs for our Jan date. Her speculation was that the restaurant hadn’t loaded their table availability for the packages yet. Unfortunately, her only advice/solutions was to “just keep checking”.
Makes sense. Frustrating but I kinda get it . I guess those 4:30am wake-up calls will have to continue if we REALLY want to do this.
Thanks for checking into it!
I have had the same issue, and I’ve seen two threads on disboards with other people saying they can’t make dining package reservations for January. Not sure what the hold up is with this issue, but it is frustrating!
I’ve been trying to schedule for January 24th and am also unable. I called yesterday morning and was told “I don’t know” after quite a while of the sweet cast member trying to figure it out. They did say that they are being flooded with exactly that question though. Hopefully we know soon. I was told to just keep checking. The lack of info and communication is extremely frustrating.
Have you seen the new Fantasmic? Curious about your thoughts if you have.
We got a Minnie’s Holiday Dine ADR as soon as we could (60 days out), and Fantasmic was announced after that. When those became available, we dropped our (Fantasmic show-less) ADR when we saw another available for the show, and lo and behold, another Fantasmic ADR immediately popped up that was our first (and preferable) seating time. So we grabbed it (again?). Which has me wondering if Disney has a way to retrofit any canceled times to make them Fantasmic-friendly. Not that I would recommend anyone risk dropping their ADR to see if it surfaces as a Fantasmic meal, but … it’s just interesting to speculate.
I’m surprised they haven’t offered a dessert package seating where you get the box and reserved seating. No rumor of this?
I don’t think that they have the staffing for it. They’re leaving money on the table with the lack of a bunch of different upcharge offerings. No good explanation for that aside from staffing.
Dining package question- we booked a dining package for the week after Thanksgiving when only one showing was on the calendar. Our Fantasmic dining reservation notes “first showing”- now that a second showing has been added, does that mean we’re automatically in for the 7:30 show versus the original 9:00?
That’s my assumption, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Disney changed that (or gives you the option to choose)—so keep an eye on it.
I’m in the same boat and to make it even more complicated, in the app, under My Day it shows my Booked Dining and it also shows Fantasmic 9:00 PM Booked. Plus people who booked Savi or Droid building based on this original time could now have a conflict. Hoping we get some communication soon.
I currently have a dining package for late December. Which show will I see?
I’m thinking Disney was anticipating adding two shows because of crowds. I say that because I booked the dinner package on the first day Disney accepted reservations and on my Disney app it has always shown first show next to my reservation.
Perhaps, but it wouldn’t be the first time they had labels like that for no reason other than past precedent. (Meaning that they simply reactivated the old system and didn’t change the labeling.)
If anything, this causes more confusion, as people could have dining package ADRs that conflict with the new first showtime, but wouldn’t have conflicted with the old first showtime.
looks like someone pulled out the old schedule dartboard again. let’s see where the darts hit for second showings. random Mondays it is!!!
It’s funny because it’s too true.
Do rides stop running during Fantasmic? I noticed park hours are 8:30-9 in December when I’ll be going. Fantasmic show times are 7:30 and 9 pm. Not planning on doing Fantasmic then, thought I’d do the headliners during the 7:30 show.
I believe that if park hours are listed until 9, then the rides should all be running until 9 (or rather, accepting people in line until then).