Disneyland for Grown Ups and Adults
Disneyland Events - Parade

The Secrets of Events – Fireworks, Parades, Plays…

No one does a parade like Disney – or a 5-star fireworks display!  The amazing pyrotechnics at World of Color and Fantasmic are unbelievable.  However, to truly enjoy them, you need to know the “when, where and how”.

Never will you see as talented and accomplished a group of performers as you see at Disneyland.  The competition is fierce, and in LA, that means exceptionally fierce.  Appreciate your front row seat to some of the best live acts in the country. But to get front row, you’ll need some inside info. Here’s the scoop on Disneyland events.

Disneyland Entertainment Times/Locations

The Disneyland App lists all event times and locations.  You can also pre-plan by visiting the Disneyland website.  Paper weekly schedules are available at the ticket entrance to the parks.




Day parades are usually offered – but they may be cancelled off-season.  Find a decent place, even last minute, along the parade route.  Try to get there at least 15″ prior.  Once cast members rope off the parade route, it can be slow going.

The night parade is the most popular.  Amazing light effects, beautiful floats, dancers and wonderful music make it entertaining for all ages.  The parade changes regularly – particularly for the holidays.  People start “saving” seats along the route on the curb up to 2 hours prior – often eating their dinner on blankets while waiting.

On the most popular days (weekends, holidays), there can be 2 parades scheduled.  The second parade is always less crowded that the first. See “Halloween” or “Christmas” for videos and recommendations on holiday parades.

Cast members ask guests to stand 15 minutes prior to the parade start.  It can change your viewing position – especially when parents lift children on their shoulders.  Be prepared to shift so you can get a decent view.

For fast exit after the parade: Disneyland Park Main Street “City Hall” circle if you are at Disneyland Park, the intersection of Buena Vista Street and Hollywood Land if you are at California Adventure Park.

Frozen at Hyperion Theater

Frozen at Hyperion Theater at Disneyland Park

If you love musicals – this is a must.  The sets and special effects are Broadway level. It is a perfect place for an hour’s respite from tired feet and hot afternoon sun.  Food/drink are permitted – so grab snacks before you get in line. If not, roaming vendors sell popcorn before the show.

Get to the theatre an hour prior (30″ on light crowd days) to the show to get a close seat.  It is open seating and seats go quickly – so plan on waiting in line a while.

Dining packages are available for Frozen that include preferred theatre seating. CLICK HERE for details.

Fantasmic at Rivers of America

Fantasmic at Disneyland Park Rivers of America

Mickey has never looked better.  This is a musical and pyrotechnic phenomenon that you can’t miss.  Rivers of America Tom Sawyer Island is center stage.  The Mark Twain Showboat transforms into a floating theatre filled to the brim with dancing Disney characters. Fire works, light shows, water features and amazing technical effects create an unforgettable production.

Get a Fast Pass to ensure you get a suitable viewing spot – they go quickly.  Fast Pass spots are first come, first serve – so plan on arriving at least 30 minutes early.

Without a Fast Pass, viewing areas are limited and can be full an hour prior to the showing.

Guests usually sit until 15″ prior to the show. When guests stand, the viewing can change significantly. Be prepared for parents hoisting children on their shoulders and videographers filming from above their heads. The closer to the front you can get, the better.

Dinner packages with special reserved viewing areas are also available. They need to be reserved at least 24 hours prior – so plan ahead if this is your preferred option.

Fireworks at Disneyland Park

Fireworks at Disneyland Park

Fireworks at Disneyland are second to none. Synchronized music, park lighting, and special effects add to the excitement. The show is updated regularly – including Halloween and Christmas. For Christmas, there’s even a little snow (OK, California’s version of snow…).

Sleeping Beauty Castle is front stage.  Main Street – between the two roundabouts – is the ideal place for viewing. Special video, effects and lighting complement the fireworks on the Main Street building fronts, Sleeping Beauty Castle and Matterhorn mountain.  For quick exit, position towards the main park entrance.

There are conditions in which the Fireworks event can be cancelled.  Rain and high wind are the two main culprits.  If either applies during your visit, be prepared for the possibility of cancellation.

World of Color at California Adventure

World of Color at California Adventure Park

If you’ve never seen World of Color – you are missing out on one of the best events in the parks.  Using walls of water from hundreds of fountains, Disney dazzles with amazing music, video, lighting and special effects.  The show is updated regularly – including a special show at Christmas.

The best way to view this event is with a World of Color Fast Pass. The pass allows you to watch (standing) from reserved viewing areas (designated by color).  They are “first come first serve”, so get there at least 30″ ahead for decent viewing.  If there are 2 shows, the later one is usually the least crowded. Be sure your Fast Pass time matches the show time you want to attend.  Without a fast pass, viewing areas are extremely limited.  

When the show concludes, it’s slow going out of the park.  Shop or grab a snack afterwards to wait until the crowds thin. If you want to catch an event in Disneyland Park after The World of Color, you can usually make it.  But you’ll have to be creative to find a decent viewing spot once you get to Disneyland Park.

Dinner packages with special reserved viewing areas are also available.

Other Events You Should Consider

  1. Flag Retreat (Disneyland Park) – Patriotic flag lowering ceremony honoring veterans and military guests.
  2. Star Wars Launch Bay (Disneyland Park) – Star Wars memorabilia, shopping and character signings.
  3. Cars Land Lighting Ceremony (California Adventure Park) – Breath-taking neon Route 66 signs light up at dusk.
  4. Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln (Disneyland Park) – A classic you can’t help but love!