World of Color is Disney California Adventure’s most notable and breathtaking entertainment option. This colorful show features many beloved Disney characters and songs featured in a colorful water display in Paradise Bay in front of Pixar Pier.
Our ultimate guide to World of Color at Disney California Adventure will tell you everything you need to know about the show, how to get the best seats, how the World of Color virtual queue works, and the dining packages available for this display of color.
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New Short “Elemental Connection” to Join World of Color- ONE
Beginning June 2nd, for a limited time, Disney will be introducing a new water short called “Elemental Connection” to the beginning of World of Color- ONE.
This new water short will highlight the story and characters from Pixar’s newest film Elemental. This pre-show will be 2 minutes long. Disney has done similar pre-shows in the past and recently had one running themed to Mulan during Disneyland’s Lunar New Year Celebration.
What Time is World of Color?
World of Color showtimes varies throughout the year depending on the anticipated crowd levels and seasonal events. Just like how fireworks at Disneyland are not shown every night throughout the year, daily showtimes for World of Color vary too depending on the season.
While predicting the schedule isn’t always an exact science, you can expect to see daily showtimes or the potential for two nightly shows of World of Color during these periods of the year:
- Spring break season (March through mid-April)
- Summer (mid-June through mid-August)
- Halloween Time (most likely October)
- Holiday Season (November through December)
When World of Color is shown twice a night, the showtimes will be 9PM and 10:15PM.
During less busy times of the year, Disneyland will drop the World of Color showtime to once per night. When World of Color is shown once per night, the showtime is usually at 9PM but may be as early as 8PM. You might even see World of Color be regulated to weekends only which is something similar with Fantasmic at Disneyland.
To check the showtime for World of Color during your trip, check the Disneyland daily calendar.
Is World of Color Open 2023? World of Color One Disney100 Celebration
World of Color has now returned to the Disneyland Resort along with dining packages available to book along with the popular World of Color dessert party (read our full review here)!
In honor of the Disneyland Disney100 Celebration, World of Color – One is now currently playing at Disneyland. The show honors the waves that one person can make in the world with references to the amazing impacts made by Walt Disney that are still felt to this day. The show focuses on other characters from across The Walt Disney Company that have also made impacts in their stories.
Characters and scenes include Pochahontas, Moana, Encanto, Soul, the portals scene from Avengers: Endgame (as seen above), and Baby Yoda (as seen above), and the Millenium Falcon from Star Wars.
We saw World of Color – One during a preview. This new World of Color show is not as good as the original World of Color but it is still a worthwhile addition to your trip to see the fountains if you have never seen it before. The Marvel and Star Wars sequences are also a fun thing for fans of those properties. The new show drags and does not pull in guests emotionally. I am open to giving the show another chance though because the night we saw the show the howling winds impacted the sound, fountains, and projection screens. Here’s hoping with a full experience the show will be more impactful. This show stands in direct opposition to the new Disneyland fireworks show which knocks it out of the park with pacing, technology, and story.
More details on these dining packages below plus information on the virtual queue viewing option for World of Color!
World of Color 2023 Overview
World of Color debuted at California Adventure in 2010 after a few years of construction and much anticipation. The show takes place in Paradise Bay in front of Mickey’s Pal-A-Round and the Incredicoaster. The show uses nearly 1,200 fountains that are capable of shooting water 200 feet up into the air. These fountains are equipped with LED rings that help create the colors we see. The show uses similar technology to that of Fantasmic! in terms of creating the visual water screen Both Mickey’s Pal-A-Round and the Incredicoaster are equipped with lights that synchronize with the show.
Guests can watch the water dance along with perfectly timed pyrotechnics and momentous music as they enjoy memorable scenes from their favorite Disney and Pixar animated and live-action films. The World of Color is one of Disney’s most impressive extravaganzas that features around 22 minutes of color, magic and imagination.
During the show you can expect to see classic Disney characters and songs such as The Little Mermaid, Pocahontas, Aladdin, and more. Recent Disney films such as UP!, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Tangled also make appearances in this colorful show. For a full synopsis of the show, click here.
And for a full video of the performance, see this video here:
I recommend not spoiling it though by watching the whole video, simply let it surprise you and take your breath away.
Viewing Tips for World of Color at Disneyland Resort
There’s three different options for viewing World of Color at California Adventure. Reserve a dining package, obtain access through the virtual queue or use the standby option.
World of Color Virtual Queue
World of Color viewing areas are accessed via a virtual queue in the Disneyland App.
The World of Color virtual queue does not require any additional charge and is separate from Disneyland Genie Plus.
- The virtual queue for World of Color will open at noon each day
- You must have already either accessed Disneyland Park with a Park Hopper ticket or Disney California Adventure with any park ticket to be able to make a reservation
- Shows will be held at 9 pm and 10:15 pm
- The virtual queue will assign you to either the BLUE or YELLOW sections
- Once guests have received access to the virtual queue they can access their section up to 45 minutes before the beginning of the performance
World of Color Viewing Area Map 2023
If you don’t get a virtual queue spot, you can walk up to either performance and ask a Cast Member about available viewing areas. This is more likely to be successful for the second show of the night which is generally always the least crowded.
I recommend getting to your spot an hour prior to showtime for either section. If you get a blue ticket you have two options of standing on the bridge to Pixar Pier or to the far left of the area in front of Ariel’s Undersea Adventure. I recommend going for a spot on the bridge- these spots tend not to fill up as fast and it’s more likely you will get a front row spot.
Getting a front row spot is extremely helpful for allowing little ones to see the show. If you’re in the blue area on the bridge, they can peer between the railings and even sit to watch the show. If you’re in the yellow area, try to move as close to the water as you can to get the best spot.
*Because World of Color is standing room only, smaller children that are too heavy to be lifted up might have a hard time seeing the show. This is even more reason to make sure you get to your section in advance so they can have a good view.
Dining Packages for World of Color
A great way to guarantee a seat for this spectacular performance is to purchase a dining package. Storyteller’s Cafe and Wine Country Trattoria both offer World of Color dining packages. Currently the Carthay Circle Restaurant is not offering their World of Color dining package.
Wine Country Trattoria World of Color Dining Package
Wine Country Trattoria is located in Disney California Adventure Park on the Pacific Wharf. There are both indoor and outdoor dining with a Napa Valley or Tuscan Villa atmosphere.
The menu for the World of Color experiences includes a 3-course meal (starter, entree, and dessert) from a prix-fixe menu for lunch or dinner plus a non-alcoholic beverage. Included with your meal is a voucher (per person) for your viewing for World of Color in the area reserved for dining packages. Please note that this viewing area is separate from the dining location. The price for lunch starts at $50 for adults and $20 for children, ages 3 to 9. Dinner starts at $50 for adults, and $20 for children, ages 3 to 9.
Storyteller’s Cafe World of Color Dining Package
The Storyteller’s Cafe at the Grand Californian Hotel & Spa has its own convenient entrance to Californian Adventure which is available for use for all guests throughout the day making it a great choice for dinner if you’re spending the day at the park.
This dining package option includes an all you can enjoy buffet which will likely include common dinner options you enjoy at Storytellers Cafe. Included with your meal is a voucher (per person) for your viewing for World of Color in the area reserved for dining packages. Please note that this viewing area is separate from the dining location.This dining package only includes a dinner option which starts at $50 for adults, and $20 for children, ages 3 to 9.
Carthay Circle World of Color Dining Package
Currently (early 2023) the Carthay Circle Restaurant dining package for World of Color is on pause though Disney has shared that the package will return again in the future.
The Carthay Circle Restaurant is located in Disney California Adventure Park and has a retro, Hollywood movie feel. Guests are transported back to the golden age of Hollywood in this iconic setting. The original Carthay Circle Theatre was built in 1926 and is where Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs premiered there in 1937. The restaurant’s décor features the classy romance of old Hollywood.
The menu for the World of Color experience includes a 3-course meal (starter, entree, and dessert) from a prix-fixe menu for lunch or dinner plus a non-alcoholic beverage. Included with your meal is a voucher (per person) for your viewing for World of Color in the area reserved for dining packages. Please note that this viewing area is separate from the dining location. The price for lunch starts at $56 for adults and $25 for children, ages 3 to 9. Dinner starts at $74 for adults, and $25 for children, ages 3 to 9.
World of Color Dessert Party
The World of Color Dessert Party Package is the only dining package that offers seated viewing! This may not seem like a huge deal before your arrive at the parks but when it’s time to watch World of Color your legs will thank you for thinking ahead.
This is also the only package that offers dining during the actual show. You will sit by the waterfront with a great view while you enjoy premium desserts. Your package includes two drinks (alcoholic or not), a bread basket, and a plate of desserts. Each person gets their own plate. Everyone in the party must purchase a ticket to the World of Color Dessert Party except those 2 and under.
Your viewing area is located in Paradise Gardens Park in the World of Color preferred viewing area. Arrive an hour before the show starts to secure your spot and reservation. (Disney’s request)
The cost of this World of Color Dessert Package is $84 per person including tax and gratuity and must be prepaid in advance. Sorry, no discounts apply.
Be sure to check out our full updated honest 2023 review of the World of Color Dessert Party!
World of Color Standby Viewing
This is definitely a last resort option but sometimes guests decide to watch World of Color on a whim or they don’t get access via the Virtual Queue distribution before they run out.
If you find yourself in either situation your best bet is to watch from in front of Ariel’s Undersea Adventure. From standing far in the back of the viewing areas, you can still get a view of the show.
Behind the Scenes of World of Color With Producer of the Show
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with the original Production Manager for World of Color, Jennifer Magill. She has been working on the show since it first opened at the Disneyland Resort in 2010 and had some fun stories to share about World of Color.
I was curious about the improvements made to the show during the extended closure that began when the parks closed for COVID. Magill shared that “technology improves. Every five minutes things get a little bit better, and we just got lucky that during the closure we got to replace [different fixtures that work to bring the show to life] and it’s beautiful”. She specifically shared that they upgraded the projectors so that the image would be more crisp and replaced the spotlights on the Incredicoaster – the “lights used to beautiful, and now they are out of this world”.
During the original design of World of Color, the team revolutionized the way that fountains were programmed. Previously fountains were programmed in a separate software system that was “solitary and slow”, but Disney pulled the fountains into a lighting software which was a complete change of the process. This was a “total mind bend at that time”.
When asked what she would do differently if she were to start over with World of Color she shared an interesting story that may illuminate one of the reasons that the show has been down for maintenance for extended periods over the years. She shared that the fountains for the show are located on a three large tables that are quite large – “almost a football field in size”. The fountain tables move up and down. They “live at their storage height, they come up to their show height, and then go to a maintenance level. It is a lot of work and a lot of maintenance…that goes into keeping the tables steady and fluctuating”. She looks back on the creation of the show and wonders if they could have “moved the water and not the tables”. This would have had the water drain in and out of the Paradise Bay area rather than having the fountain platforms themselves move.
She shared that they did contemplate a lot of different solutions for the unique problems involved with World of Color including this idea to move the water in and out of the bay over the nearly 4.5 years that the show was in development. They spent much of that early development time thinking about how they were going to build out all the interconnected technological elements of the show.
A fun story about her son. Magill shared that World of Color and her son grew up together. When the team was finalizing the World of Color soundtrack, Magill would listen to the temporary World of Color audio tracks in the car on her way to dropping her son off at day care everyday. Her son came to know the first twelve minutes of World of Color at that time (the amount of time it took to get to day care). When he finally saw the live show a couple of years later, he turned to his mom shocked that “they were doing it wong, [the music] is out of order”. Of course he was also surprised by the final half of the show that he never heard on his 12 minute drive.
Magill is amazed everyday by the level of intelligence and passion that goes into the show. An interesting fact – the World of Color viewing area venue has someone working almost every hour of the day except two or three. “To maintain, to readjust, to reinstall, pull fountains off to repair, repair on the stage, the show crew, working on something new.”
When asked what her favorite segment of World of Color is, after giving the required they’re all my children response, she spoke about the power of the WALL-E segment and how she can always “get lost in [it]. The music, the lasers – they’re just like stardust.” Originally the lasers were not part of the show. The lead creative for World of Color saw the lasers used in a show in Europe and brought them into the World of Color toolbox.
To finish, Magill spoke about the power of the show and what Walt Disney Imagineering could carry forward from the success of World of Color to utilize in other shows. The success comes from every element working together.
“Some people come out to World of Color and they think it is about the projections. While the projections area key component to the show, it is really important that the mist screens should never be treated as let’s just play a movie. All of the elements have to come together and that is only way that World of Color really works. The lighting is important, the fog, the lasers, it all helps tell the story. We can’t just say let’s put Pocahontas up there or Bambi up there. While that’s cool, that’s cool only for like 20 seconds and then you need something else to be able to fill in and make the experience whole.”
When asked if she was working on anything new, Magill only replied – “Maybe”. Sounds promising to me! I am excited to see the continued iteration on World of Color. Speaking of, there is another version of World of Color we may see again this year, the holiday…
Christmas Version of World of Color – Season of Light
Season of Light is the seasonal overlay of World of Color that typically accompanies the Disneyland Resort’s holiday season. This show is extremely popular like most seasonal shows at Disneyland so make sure you prepare in advance to get the best seats.
For this show you can expect to see classic songs and characters that you’d see in the typical World of Color show accompanied with classic holiday songs.
Check out the full show for Season of Light here:
For updates on entertainment during the holiday season at Disneyland including dates to see Season of Light, see our full guide to the holiday season here.
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