Fantasmic Showtimes for November & December 2022

Walt Disney World has released performance showtimes for Fantasmic at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in the first two months of the nighttime spectacular’s return. Here’s a full rundown of performance times and what to expect in terms of crowds and how early you should line up before the shows.

As a quick recap, Fantasmic is the final nighttime spectacular returning to Walt Disney World, coming alive in the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater starting November 3, 2022. This comes over a year after EPCOT and Magic Kingdom had their fireworks shows return. (Rivers of Light has been permanently retired, so Animal Kingdom only has the Tree of Life Awakenings, which are cool, but not worthy of “spectacular” status.)

Walt Disney World has also revealed that Fantasmic Dining Packages will be released for breakfast, lunch & dinner at select restaurants, offering guaranteed seating in a reserved seating area for the nighttime spectacular at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Fantasmic dining packages will be released starting on October 26, 2022. These dining packages will only be available for performances of Fantasmic starting November 30, 2022 and beyond.

Now, we have more information about the Fantasmic showtimes at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. According to the online show schedule on and in the My Disney Experience app, showtimes will be as follows:

November 3-7, 2022

  • 8 pm
  • 9:30 pm

November 8-13, 2022

  • 8 pm

November 14 through December 3, 2022

  • 9 pm

December 5-31, 2022

  • 9 pm

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.

In late 2019, it was 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 repeated here. On the plus side, it could result in restaurant hours being extended–more likely, since they directly generate revenue.

Now, let’s turn to commentary & recommendations…

Let’s start on a positive note, applauding Walt Disney World’s decision to have two showtimes for Fantasmic to start out.

We were worried that there would only be one performance, either due to staffing shortages or simply not wanting to pay performers and other Cast Members to keep Disney’s Hollywood Studios open (effectively) for another hour or more.

However, having two showtimes for only the first 5 nights is not going to cut it.

This seems to operate under the assumption that pent-up demand exists primarily among locals and Annual Passholders, and that their interest will be exhausted over the course of the opening weekend. In prior analysis, we mentioned that Fantasmic is going to see renewed interest among diehard Walt Disney World fans, many of whom probably went years without seeing the prior version. So that much is accurate.

The notion that Annual Passholders will get their fill opening weekend is what’s erroneous.

While Disney Park Pass reservations are “only” full for APs on November 3, that entire weekend will likely fill up by the time those dates roll around. On top of that, it doesn’t really matter what DHS reservations look like, as people can make a reservation for EPCOT or Animal Kingdom (which are reliably easier to book) and Park Hop over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

This isn’t like Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind or some other attraction using a virtual queue. (Unless Fantasmic does end up using a virtual queue a la World of Color at Disney California Adventure, which might be the smartest move of all.)

What’s even more erroneous is assuming that locals and Annual Passholders are the core demographic for Fantasmic. (Even at more local-centric Disneyland, the twice-nightly performances of Fantasmic have been absolutely slammed for months since its return.)

When I saw these showtimes posted, my first thought was that this is “Extra, Extra Magic Hours all over again.” For those who forgot or never experienced that “era” at Walt Disney World, it was an on-site guest perk offered during the initial debut of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in Fall 2019.

From August 29 through November 2, the parks opened at 6 am or 7 am every morning–to virtually nonexistent crowds during the off-season. (I still have a backlog of empty park sunrise photos to process from those glorious mornings. The photo below was taken in the morning, not at night!)

Extra, Extra Magic Hours ended about a week before Christmas crowds arrived in full force. The holiday season was absolutely slammed, with significantly higher attendance…and shorter hours!

The critical distinction here is that Fantasmic won’t have low demand for November 3-7, 2022. It’ll also be bad then. However, Fantasmic is notably concluding its twice-nightly showtimes right before the start of the busy Veterans’ Day and Jersey Week timeframes, and just prior to Christmas season kicking off in earnest at Walt Disney World.

It’s hardly a bold prediction that the weekend after Fantasmic debuts will be busier than the weekend it debuts. 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 makes this scheduling decision all the more curious.

That’s just one example. The calendar for the remainder of 2022 is littered with dates that will be busier than November 3-7. Each of these are filled with fresh tourists, or people who have not seen Fantasmic in at least 3 years, if ever.

On the plus side, showtimes are subject to change.

Accordingly, our sincere hope is that Walt Disney World quickly sees that demand for Fantasmic far surpasses a single nightly showtime’s capacity. Heck, Hollywood Studios could probably do 3 nightly performances of Fantasmic and still not accommodate everyone who wants to see the show. At least running Fantasmic twice per night would reduce some of the crowd and chaos that will undoubtedly ensue with demand far outstripping capacity.

As for how early you should queue up…it’s really difficult to say at this point. 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 an hour of showtime–but the point is that Fantasmic has always been popular with first-timers and infrequent visitors.

Now, added to that mix will be more Walt Disney World regulars who might’ve skipped it before. Fantasmic will probably have even more interest among casual guests, as it’ll be hyped up by Disney in marketing materials. Animal Kingdom doesn’t have a nighttime spectacular, and people will Park Hop from there to one of the other three parks.

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.

Then there’s the simple fact that the first two months of Fantasmic will likely be the busiest stretch of the year at Walt Disney World. Suffice to say, the stars are aligned for Fantasmic to draw absolutely colossal crowds and long lines in November and December 2022. We’ll know more once showtimes start (really, the first weekend is going to be meaningless–it’s Veterans’ Day that I’ll be monitoring), but my preliminary recommendation is at least 90 minutes in advance on those single showtime evenings.

Honestly, I don’t even know how that’ll be possible. When there were people lining up 2 hours in advance, it was a small minority of guests. With the return, it’ll be a lot of people wanting to err on the side of caution. Walt Disney World almost needs to add Fantasmic to Genie+ or use a virtual queue just to eliminate the line/crowding issues on Sunset Boulevard.

These issues with lines and crowds are all despite the fact that the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater seats 6,900 guests with additional standing room for about 3,000 guests. That’s a massive number, and one that’ll allow a good percentage of all guests in Disney’s Hollywood Studios to see Fantasmic–especially if it has two nightly performances this holiday season, as expected.

It’s still a near-certainty that demand will exceed capacity. That would be true whether Fantasmic were to offer 1, 2, or 3 nightly showings. The combination of crowds, pent-up demand, and lack of alternatives during the holiday season all but guarantees it. The fact that there will only be one showtime starting November 8, 2022 only exacerbates these problems.

Accordingly, it’s our recommendation that you should try to purchase a Fantasmic dining package if you’re visiting after they’re available. Your chances of success at buying those packages will likely be low, as restaurant capacity is also far below demand.

Failing that, or if you’re visiting prior to the dining packages being available, we’d recommend purchasing the Genie+ service. This is typically our advice for Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but it’ll be doubly true once Fantasmic returns–and that’s regardless of whether the nighttime spectacular is included in the service. (It’s gotta be. It’ll be too chaotic without it.)

With all of that said, standby will be a viable alternative for Fantasmic. It’s definitely not not our recommended route given all of the aforementioned issues, but maybe those lines won’t be as bad as we’re fearing. Who knows…anything is possible. My hope is that it doesn’t come to that, and Walt Disney World recognizes the degree of demand here and adds second nightly showtimes for November 8 through January 8, 2023. Beyond that, 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.

Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!

Your Thoughts

What are your thoughts on showtimes for Fantasmic in November and December 2022? Think crowds and lines will be as bad as we fear, or is this all exaggerated? Do you think Fantasmic should use a virtual queue or stick to standby? Will you be booking 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? Have you done any of these dining packages in the past? Was it worth the money? 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!

41 Responses to “Fantasmic Showtimes for November & December 2022”
  1. Pam from MT October 27, 2022
  2. Sue Winant October 26, 2022

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