Mar 152013
 

Fantasmic has long been a popular fireworks and stage attraction at Walt Disney World. The display includes 50 stage performers, laser effects, pyrotechnics, and walls of water with Disney characters displayed on them. Held in the amphitheater off Sunset Boulevard in The Disney Hollywood Studios, this popular attraction draws fans from across the resort complex. But there is one little snafu. Fantasmic commonly reaches full capacity before many guests get inside, especially during the peak touring seasons.

Fantasmic at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Fantasmic is an extraordinary Disney World fireworks and stage experience. Photograph by Joe Penniston.

An easy way to reserve entrance into Fantasmic is to participate in the Fantasmic Dining Package. Guests who participate receive a VIP seating voucher which guarantees entrance into the amphitheater. We have utilized this dinner package multiple times, and we think it is a home run! Provided you like to enjoy fine dining when you visit Disney World, there is no reason not to take advantage of the Fantasmic Dining Package.

Participating Restaurants

Dining packages for lunch and dinner are available inside The Disney Studios for both The Hollywood Brown Derby and Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano. In addition, dinner-only packages are available at Hollywood & Vine.

All three restaurants are located within The Disney Hollywood Studios, and of course require admission to the park. If I can find one critique of the package plan, it is that the plan does not include Disney dining options from across the resort. For instance, it would be great if you could choose a high end Disney restaurant outside The Disney Studios.

As such, the choices within The Disney Hollywood Studios aren’t bad even though they are limited. We love the Hollywood Brown Derby. It has a great theme to it, and in our experience the food is fantastic. It is one of the highest quality in-park options at the resort.

Brown Derby at Disney's Hollywood Studios

The fabulous Brown Derby is a Signature dining experience which headlines the Fantasmic Dining Package. Photograph by Life by the Drop.

We have eaten at Hollywood & Vine a few times too. The dinner buffet is fine, but there is nothing special here. The main advantage is that it costs about $10 less per person that The Brown Derby, and the buffet allows you to eat as much of whatever your stomach desires. We found Mama Melrose’s fell a little short of our expectations. Our family is Italian-American, and we regularly eat at authentic Italian restaurants. Mama Melrose’s seemed very mediocre in comparison. Not bad, but not special.

In our opinion, paying up to eat at The Brown Derby is the surest path to a very enjoyable lunch or dinner package prior to Fantasmic.

One caveat. The Fantasmic Dining Package requires that there actually be seating available at the participating restaurants. Don’t leave this to chance. Decide well ahead of your vacation where you would like to eat, and make reservations in advance. You may book the Fantasmic Dining Package up to 180 days in advance by calling 1-407-WDW-DINE.

How It Works

When you reserve your lunch or dinner, make sure you let your customer service representative know you wish to participate in the Fantasmic Dining Package. This is important. A reservation at a participating restaurant is not a reservation for the Fantasmic Dining Package. You need to book it specifically with Fantasmic in mind.

After arriving for lunch or dinner at one of the participating restaurants, you should let your server know that you are participating in the Fantasmic package.  You get an entree, dessert, and any non-alcoholic beverage of your choice. Once you have eaten and taken care of your bill, your server will bring you your VIP seating vouchers.

You take the VIP seating vouchers to the amphitheater off Sunset Boulevard approximately 30 to 45 minutes prior to showtime. This is a wonderful advantage. Instead of waiting in line for 60 to 90 minutes, and risking that the amphitheater will sell out before you enter, you generally wait less than 10 minutes before being escorted into the amphitheater.

There are no assigned seats, so it is everyone for themselves once you get in. But you are beating a lot of the crowd into the amphitheater, and should have no problem finding good seats.

Magic Your Way Dining Plan Options

If you choose to participate in the Magic Your Way Dining Plan, you can use your plan to purchase the Fantasmic Dining Package.  The Brown Derby counts as two Table Service meals, or one Signature meal. Mama Melrose’s and Hollywood & Vine each count as one table service meal.

Conclusion

The Fantasmic Dining Package is a great way to experience Fantasmic, especially if you like to visit the Table Service restaurants of Disney World. Though the restaurant choices for the package are limited, the benefits of avoiding a 60 to 90 minute wait in line are tough to ignore. Unlike some of the people in line who may be disappointed to learn that the amphitheater has reached capacity prior to their entry, you will be guaranteed entry.

If you love Fantasmic, we recommend giving the Fantasmic Dining Package a try.

What is your favorite restaurant option in the Fantasmic Dining Package plan?

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