World of Color is the nighttime spectacular at Disney California Adventure, and it currently uses a virtual queue. It has enchanted millions of guests at Disneyland Resort with its dazzling display of water, fire, fog, lights, music and the magic of Disney storytelling.
World of Color is a breathtaking extravaganza that brings animation to life, with memorable scenes from beloved films. Powerful dancing fountains shoot high to the sky on Paradise Bay, creating a fantastic movie screen of water and a veil of mist, while lasers electrify the night, capped with a soaring soundtrack. You may see scenes such as WALL-E and Eve zipping through the cosmos, Pocahontas exploring just around the river bend, and Jack Sparrow battling on the sea.
When World of Color returns, it will be the first nighttime spectacular at Disneyland Resort to use a virtual queue system. This virtual queue is only accessible via the Disneyland mobile app. Distribution times for the virtual queue enrollment begin at noon, daily. This post covers details about how the World of Color virtual queue works.
Follow these important guidelines to join the virtual queue and experience this thrilling nighttime spectacular from the preferred viewing area in Paradise Gardens Park:
Guests with a valid ticket and theme park reservation for the same day may be able to join the virtual queue in the Disneyland app beginning at 12:00 PM (noon), subject to availability.
To access the virtual queue, Guests must have entered Disney California Adventure Park with a one-park ticket/Park Hopper ticket, or Disneyland Park with a Park Hopper ticket, prior to 12:00 PM (noon).
If the virtual queue reaches capacity, please visit the Paradise Bay viewing area 30 to 45 minutes before showtime to check in with a Cast Member for walk-up viewing options.
Guests with a virtual queue selection will receive a notification through the Disneyland app to enter the viewing area via one of the 2 marked entrance points (Blue or Yellow) assigned to them, approximately 45 minutes before the show begins.
Guests who begin their day at Disneyland may then enter Disney California Adventure Park with their Park Hopper ticket after 1:00 PM for their designated entrance and showtime. Joining the virtual queue does not guarantee the ability to view World of Color.
Joining the virtual queue for World of Color is not required to view the spectacular, but it is highly recommended. Additional viewing for each performance is located around Paradise Bay on a first-come, first-served basis.
What follows is all boilerplate language from Disneyland.com and some of it is not relevant to World of Color. Skip ahead to our commentary.
Get Ready to Join the Virtual Queue!
On the day of your visit, you may have the opportunity to join the virtual queue at daily distribution times, which are subject to change or cancellation as availability allows. Distribution schedules will be available in the Disneyland app.
Follow these steps to join the virtual queue:
Step 1 – Check Availability: Log in to the Disneyland app at one of the distribution times. Select “Virtual Queues” on the home screen to view the current status and next steps for joining a virtual queue. The app will indicate when there is no availability for a specific distribution time, or if a backup group is available.
Step 2 – Enroll Your Group: As long as your Disney account is linked to your group’s park tickets, and everyone has valid admission and park reservations for the park you will visit, you can enroll everyone in the virtual queue at the same time (subject to availability).
Step 3 – Enjoy the Experience: When it’s time for World of Color, you’ll receive a notification via the Disneyland app. Then, head over to the blue or yellow entrances of the nighttime spectacular.
Please be aware that:
Joining the virtual queue does not guarantee the ability to participate in the experience.
In order to give as many Guests as possible the opportunity to join the queue, each Guest can enter the virtual queue for a given experience no more than once per day, subject to availability.
Boarding groups for a virtual queue are limited, subject to availability, and are not guaranteed. Not all boarding groups may be called to return, based on availability of the experience.
Guests may not hold a boarding group for more than one experience at the same time. If more than one experience is using a virtual queue, guests will need to enter those virtual queues one at a time.
Guests with a Magic Key pass or Park Hopper ticket who will start their day at the other park, may begin crossing over between the parks at 1:00 PM to redeem their boarding group. The ability to visit a park is subject to the park’s capacity limitations, and a boarding group does not guarantee park admission.
Again, all of the above is via Disneyland’s page about virtual queues, and it’s all boilerplate and written from the perspective of rides that use virtual queues. Boarding groups are not really applicable to World of Color. If you get a spot in the virtual queue, you WILL be able to enter the viewing area, so long as you arrive before showtime.
If you have any questions or need assistance, please find a Cast Member at City Hall or a Guest Relations location. You may also select the “Chat with Us” function in the Disneyland app for assistance.
This is really unsurprising, as World of Color previously offered paper FastPass or the ability to book a “free” MaxPass (meaning that it didn’t count against your other ride reservations) and Disneyland has since retired paper FastPass. Pretty much the only options were making it bookable via virtual queue, or only using Genie+ Lightning Lanes and dessert & dining packages.
There probably isn’t enough demand between Genie+ and dining packages (thankfully), which would’ve meant leftover capacity for standby. Speaking of which, if you’d prefer a guaranteed spot for this nighttime spectacular, see our World of Color Dessert Party Review.
The front row is my go-to spot for World of Color, and I usually opt for the later showing of World of Color. The last show is significantly less crowded than the first one, so it’s easier to get a spot here. Unfortunately, with the virtual queue system, there’s no way to specify a showtime or section.
Instead, the virtual queue fills up the first showing and then the second. On most non-peak days, there’s not enough demand to fill both at noon. Consequently, you can watch the virtual queue progression and simply enter when it’s time for the second showtime. (Unless you’d prefer the first, in which case, join immediately at noon!)
However, on busier days, both World of Color performances will fill up almost immediately, which makes waiting for the second showtime a risky approach. This will undoubtedly be true for 2023 when World of Color – ONE debuts.
If you’re visiting Disney California Adventure after World of Color – ONE begins, we’d simply recommend joining the virtual queue ASAP at noon. We’ll update this later in the spring, summer, or whenever crowds for that die down.
Note that there no longer is any differentiation between the blue and yellow seating areas in the virtual queue, so you can choose the blue or yellow sections as you wish. Conventional wisdom says blue is the “best” view, and while that can be true, I disagree. I think the yellow zones average out to the best view.
With that said, the easiest way to get to my preferred viewing spot where red meets yellow in the front row is by arriving early to the yellow zone entry area by Golden Zephyr (pictured above), and entering as close to the water side of the boardwalk as you can. Keep walking until you can’t walk any farther. Bingo, you should have a front row spot at the edge of red and yellow.
We usually return to view the show about 20 minutes before it starts. If you don’t get a spot in the virtual queue (and are thus using standby), you might have a more difficult time navigating the sea of ropes that potentially block your path to this area. If this happens, just wander until you get to the front boardwalk. There are ropes up all over the place, making this a veritable maze, so if you encounter these ropes or a Cast Member who won’t let you proceed, turn around and try going the other direction.
What do you think about World of Color using a virtual queue? Pleased about this, or are you “anti-virtual queue” across the board? Would you prefer a standby system that allows–and pretty much requires–guests to stake out spots for hours? 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!