Disney’s nighttime spectaculars are on most Disney fans’ must-do lists when visiting the Parks. But with different Parks and different shows, sometimes as often as nightly, it can be hard to know exactly how to plan Disney fireworks magic into your day. What show is currently on? What time does the show start? Where is the best place to watch the show? We answer all your questions so that you can experience the magical nighttime shows in the best way how. Here is our guide on how to watch the Fireworks at Disney California Adventure in 2023.
Not Actual Fireworks…
First off, there are NO Fireworks at Disney California Adventure!
And by that, we mean that there are Nighttime shows at Disney California Adventure but these are usually just music and projection shows without pyrotechnics.
Disneyland Park has their own nighttime music and projection shows daily, with Fireworks on the weekends and special dates. So if you are visiting Disneyland California and have a 2-Park Pass, there is a chance you can still catch the magical Fireworks in the sky! Learn more about Disneyland Fireworks in our article HERE
Disney California Adventure’s Nighttime Entertainment since 2018 has been World of Color. Despite there being no fireworks, it’s a pretty popular show seeing as it’s the ONLY nighttime spectacular at Disney California Adventure and it shows twice a day!
And World of Color has just got better with 2023 being Disney’s 100 Years of Wonder Celebrations. To celebrate a whole century of Disney Magic there are special events, decorations, new attractions, merchandise (obviously!), and nighttime shows. Disneyland has Wondrous Journeys- a daily projection nighttime show with Fireworks on select dates (find out more info HERE). To celebrate the 100-year Disney Anniversary at Disney California Adventure, Disney has created a special version of their nighttime show; World of Color: ONE.
World of Color: ONE
- Location: Paradise Gardens Park at Disney California Adventure
- Time: Daily, 9 PM and 10:15 PM.
- Duration: 24 minutes.
- Note: projection Show Only, no Fireworks.
- Show times can alter without notice. Check the Entertainment Schedule for more Info.
World of Color: ONE celebrates Disney’s storytelling legacy that started 100 years ago. The show is based at the waterfront of Paradise Gardens and is a twist on the traditional World of Color water show. Using over 1000 fountains, each with its own LED ring, World of Color: ONE, tells the story of how a single action (such as a ripple of water) can lead to a wave of change and magic.
The new version is also the only nighttime entertainment show which features classic Disney, Pixar, LucasFilm, and Marvel all in the same show. Using the surrounding buildings to project images and water special effects to bring the Disney universe to life, this spectacular show celebrates all our favorite characters who dared to make waves and change their own worlds for the better. Expect to witness spectacular moments from your favorite movies such as Lion King, Moana, Star Wars, and Avengers.
With a duration of 24 minutes, it is way longer than the usual 10-minute Fireworks shows at other parks, allowing you to fully immerse yourselves in the Disney magic and celebrate the 100 years of true wonder.
How to watch World of Color: ONE at Disney California Adventure
Now that your disappointment of no fireworks has been replaced by the intrigue of the spectacular lights and water show, it’s time to work out how to watch World of Color: ONE.
The official viewing area for World of Color: ONE is outside The Little Mermaid’s Journey on the waters of Paradise Park at Disney California Adventure. First thing first, a valid park ticket and reservation are needed to enter the park and watch the show. You can find out where best to get your Disneyland Resort tickets HERE.
The World of Color Show is HUGE. It spans the whole of Paradise Park with different viewing areas, some not so good as others. So which is the best way to watch the show and where? There are 5 ways to watch World of Color: ONE at Disney California Park:
- Standby Viewing
- Virtual Queue
- World of Color: ONE Dining Package
- World of Color: ONE Dessert Party Package
- Alternative Viewing Options
Below we go into each option in detail.
World of Color: ONE Stand-By Viewing
The oldest and most traditional way to get to something you want is… Queue. If this is your only option then it’s best to arrive as early as possible at the viewing areas and speak to a Cast Member about joining the walk-up list. Like, 1 hour- 1 and a half an hour before the first show begins at 9 PM early! Our Top Tip though, the 2nd show at 10 PM is not as busy so you will not have to arrive that early to get into the viewing areas to see the 2nd show. The Stand-By viewing areas do tend to change so best to ask a Cast Member for more advice and directions on the night. The bridge to Pixar Pier is a good but popular option to see the show without being too close to the water to get wet. The area by the Golden Zephyr is often used but again, get there early as the area does have a few obstructions as the best viewing spots are given to those in the Virtual Queue!
This is really a backup option if you don’t have a mobile phone to join the virtual queue or if you do not get a space reserved in the virtual queue. Just because it’s the oldest system, doesn’t make it the best! We consider our time in the parks a precious commodity and wasting over an hour, standing on tired feet, is not a good use of time. Luckily, there are other options.
Last year, Disney California Adventure launched the Virtual Viewing Queue for World of Colour. To join this you must have a mobile phone, access to the Disneyland App, and be in either Park to join the Virtual Queue selection at Midday. The Virtual Queue selection is highly competitive and does not guarantee the ability to watch World of Color: ONE. Once the first showing is filled up, it will then start to designate entry to the later showing. If you have been selected to join the virtual queue you will get a notification on the app to enter one of the designated viewing points Blue or Yellow. Blue and Yellow are the color of the entry points of the viewing area, it is all one big area. You do not get to choose which entrance you are assigned (Blue or Yellow) but they both lead to the same area. You do not get to pick the show time either.
As the Virtual Queue viewing area is so big, it is advised you arrive 45 minutes before show time. But if getting a front view is important to you, we would suggest you arrive an hour before the start time. The Blue entrance is on the Pier and the Yellow is next to the Golden Zephyr.
You can read more on Disneyland’s new Virtual Queue Section HERE
World of Color: ONE Dining Package
Booking a World of Color: One Dining package ensures that you get to see the show. Sounds great, right? Of course, there is one obvious con to this option: Cost.
There are 2 World of Color: ONE Dining Package options:
Lunch or Dinner at Wine Country Trattoria – Napa Valley-inspired food in a Mediterranean setting
Lunch: $59 for Guests, ages 10+; $35 for Guests, ages 3 to 9 ($10 upcharge for those ordering the rib eye steak)
Dinner: $59 for Guests, ages 10+; $35 for Guests, ages 3 to 9 ($10 upcharge for those ordering the rib eye steak)
Price does not include tax, gratuity, or alcohol.
The Wine Country Trattoria is located within Disney California Adventure Park and each lunch or dinner Dining Package includes one voucher for the viewing area at Paradise Park 9the viewing area is not at the restaurant). Both meal options are a 3-course pre-fixe menu so you can either enjoy a relaxed sit-down meal before you watch the show or you can book a chilled-out Lunch to rest your weary feet and then use your voucher later to enter the viewing area. Being able to choose when you enjoy your meal allows you more freedom to plan your day how you want it but still guarantees a decent World of Color: ONE viewing spot.
Here’s the tricky part; you can not book reservations for the World of Color Dining Package online or on the app. It is highly recommended that you book a lunch or dinner reservation at the Wine Country Trattoria and mention to your host or server that you are interested in the Dining Package. They will then be able to upgrade your booking to the Dining Package and you will get your voucher for later.
HOWEVER, World of Color Dining Packages have limited availability and are on a first-come, first-serve basis. Therefore, you are more likely to be able to upgrade your reservation if you have an early lunch reservation slot. Which kind of messes up the idea of having an idyllic Napa-inspired evening meal prior to the show! A way around this may be to go to the restaurant earlier in the day and explain you have a reservation for dinner and would like to upgrade to the Dining Package. We have never tried this but you never know, a cast member might just sprinkle some pixie dust on you!
Storyteller’s Cafe – Californian Feast Dinner Buffet at Disney Grand Californian Hotel
- Dinner Buffet: $59 for Guests, ages 10+; $35 for Guests, ages 3 to
Price does not include tax, gratuity or alcohol.
Reservation Slot Times
First Show – Dining Time: 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Second Show – Dining Time: 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM
On dates with only one World of Color show, the suggested dining time is 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM
The Storytellers Cafe Dining Package runs the same way as at the Wine Country Trattoria, except this is a dinner buffet option only. It is also located at the Disney Grand Californian Hotel, not in Disney California Adventure Park. However, Storytellers Cafe is located just inside the parks Hotel entrance and Guests dining at Storytellers Cafe will receive 3 hours of parking (a choice of valet or self-parking) at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa with validation.
Again, you can not book reservations for the World of Color Dining Package online or on the app. It is highly recommended that you book a dinner reservation at the Storybook Cafe and mention to your host or server that you are interested in the Dining Package. They will then be able to upgrade your booking to the Dining Package and you will get your voucher for later to access the separate viewing area in the Park. As dining packages are limited again, it is advised that you book an early dinner reservation slot to have the best bet of being able to upgrade your reservation.
There are a couple of downsides to booking a World of Color dining package to see World of Color: ONE. The first is obviously the cost. You are paying to have a meal to ensure you will get a viewing spot. Now, if either of the restaurant options fits into your food requirements for your day at the Parks then this isn’t too bad an option. Everyone has to eat right, and you may be wanting to try out one of the restaurants anyway.
However, the fact that your reservation does not guarantee you a Dining Package upgrade, then you highly run the risk of turning up for your meal and not being able to upgrade: leaving you with no voucher to the viewing area for World of Color: ONE! By this time, the virtual queue system will have long closed, leaving you left with the only option of the stand-by queue (which you might not have the time required to do successfully!) We don’t know about you, but the disappointment and frustration of this would definitely put a dampener on the meal we have booked- rendering the whole idea pointless and an unnecessary cost.
Unfortunately, we do not know how limited the Dining Package upgrades really are, this could just be Disney’s way of letting us know that there isn’t an unlimited amount of upgrades. Disney likes to make sure they do not disappoint unnecessarily, so this statement could just be a term and condition, rather than an actual restriction. But as there is no way of knowing this for sure, it still means there is no guarantee that you can upgrade your dining reservation to include the viewing voucher.
World of Color Dessert Party – Review
- A delicious selection of desserts and cheeses
- 2 alcoholic beverages for adults, age 21 and older
- Unlimited soft drinks and bottled water
- Reserved seating in the World of Color preferred viewing area at Paradise Gardens Park, where you can sit at a table with folding chairs or a high-top table with director chairs
- Reservation Time is 1 hour before the show starts
- Must have a Reservation
World of Color Dessert Party combines 2 of our favorite things at a theme park; sweet treats and sitting down!! And the fact that they are Disney-shaped snacks and treats is even better. This dining experience is by no way cheap but as with many Dining experiences at Disney, it is the once-in-a-lifetime experience you are paying for, not just the food.
We also feel that the Dessert Party has a lot of positives to it; the first is that you can pre-book a reservation for this just like you would with any other dining reservation on your Disney App. Once you have your reservation, you have a guaranteed place to sit (very important) and watch World of Color:ONE. Unlike the uncertainty of being able to upgrade to the Dining Package, once you have your Dessert Party Reservation you are guaranteed a place to watch the show. Top Tip; arrive early before your reservation to ensure you can choose a good spot. The high table tops in the middle are perfect! If your reservation is for the 10:15 showing, turn up at the previous show check-in time to ensure you bag a good spot and then go off and enjoy the rest of the Park (be aware that some rides temporarily close while the show is on).
The second positive about the Dessert Party is that it is the ONLY way you can watch World of Color:ONE while sitting down! Resting your feet while at a Theme Park is in our opinion, invaluable, you really can’t put a price on it. We feel the same way about this as we do about saving time. There are only so many hours in a Disney Day just like there are only so many steps you can do in a Disney Day. Ensuring you have a Dessert party reservation means you do not need to stress or worry about getting a good spot by wasting your valuable time standing for over an hour before the show starts. You can enjoy your time at Disney California Adventure knowing that you have a spot saved, with a chair, and Disney treats!
Time-saving is just another bonus of getting the Dessert party Package and it is a really nice and relaxing way to end your day at Disney. There are even take-away boxes available for you to take home your Dessert leftovers if you are too full to eat them all (perfect for your day-2 Disney breakfast the next morning!)
Alternative Viewing Options
If you have been unable to get a dining package, virtual queue selection or into the standby viewing area, the last option for you to get a decent view of World of Color: ONE might be Pixar Pier. The area of Incredicoaster is dark so is a perfect place to see the lights and hear the music. You will, however, not get to see the projections well or the Incredicoaster light up but you will still see the fountains, colors, and lights. It is also less crowded in this space so if you are not a fan of crowds then this might be the place for you.
TOP TIP: If a perfect view is not a priority for you, anywhere to the left of the Park offers better views than to the right. You will see way more if you are standing to the left of the show rather than the right.
This might just be an unofficial World of Color: ONE dining viewing area of sorts. If you time your dinner reservation right and are seated at the edge of the outside patio, you will get to see the show while you have your dinner. However, that is a lot of big IFs, even if you do book your dinner for while the show is on, there is no way to guarantee you will be sat outside, let alone at the edge of the patio with a decent view. Unfortunately, there are just no guarantees with this option.
So where is the best place to watch World of Color: ONE?
In our opinion, the BEST place to watch World of Color: ONE at Disney California Adventure is at the World of Color Dessert Party. It includes food, a place to sit, and a good spot to see the show. It saves time-saving your spot an hour before the show, rests your feet and once you have your reservation, you can spend all day safe in the knowledge that you have a good spot to watch the show from (just make sure you book your reservation online or via the app when the 60-day window opens!)
However, at $89 per person, that is a lot of Disney dollars that could be spent elsewhere. If this is out of your budget then we highly recommend you use the Virtual Queuing system to ensure that you get a place in the reserved standing area. Ultimately, without spending money, standing around waiting for a Nighttime Show (with or without Fireworks) is all part of the Disney experience.
We would recommend the Dessert Party for a special treat or celebration and only if it is within your budget.
World of Color is a wonderful display of nostalgic Disney magic and while some are disappointed there are no actual fireworks we find the giant water projections even more engaging than the castle projections while the fireworks are a miss, the other elements help make up for it. Would we choose this over the classic Castle Fireworks, no, but we would choose this over the non-fireworks Castle projection shows! If you are there for two days we do recommend seeing one of each.
The Show does take a chunk out of your day and this could be used for other things, especially during the show when the queues in the area drop sharply. But it’s an essential part of the experience and a chance t relax for a while rather than storming around the park.
Finally, one thing people often do not mention. The show does pump an awful lot of water into the air. That water does not stay there. It comes tumbling down as rain, and with a breeze in the wrong direction, you are going to get wet. Those at the back get a little moist, those at the front can get absolutely sodden. It does depend upon the wind, but you never relly know hoe bad the rain fall will be, and when it’s bad you will be drenched. It’s not something to be taken lightly!
Have Your Say
Please let us know what you think of our recommendations. Perhaps you know of a viewing spot that was better than those we mentioned. Or maybe you have done the Dessert Party and didn’t think it was worth it. Either way, we would love to hear from you. Share your experiences and opinions on World of Color: One at Disney California Adventure below in our comments section. If you have any questions about anything regarding World of Colour, please ask us by using the comments section below!