World of Color

World of Color is Disney California Adventure's night time spectacular.

My thoughts from the World Premiere on June 10, 2010:

  • I have been searching for a way to describe The World of Color and I guess the best way is it is a journey through Disney and Pixar films from 1937 through 2009. You experience many of your favorite moments and have the opportunity to laugh, cry, and cheer your way through your memories.

  • Let me start off by saying I really enjoyed the show and I know I am going to be spending quite a few evenings around Paradise Bay in the coming years. The scope and scale is extremely hard to convey in photos and words and I think this is a not to be missed Disney experience. Clocking in at just over 25 minutes it is a tad on the longer side but as you are watching it you do not notice the time (I have seen it twice now and it just flies by). There is so much activity you have plenty to see. The technical wizards have found ways to use projections and water that have not been seen in the parks (and probably the world) before. It seems that they project movies or lights on just about anything and everything they could and some of the effects are spectacular. The sound system in Paradise Park is unparallel in Disney parks and rivals any concert venue.

  • The number one question that seems to be asked is how does this show compare to Fantasmic. I think this is being asked because of the heavy use of the water screens. I do not think it is a fair comparison between the two. They are quite different. It is more fair to compare the flow and logic of World of Color to that of your traditional park fireworks show. The difference being here they use water, lights, projections, lasers, and some fire instead of fireworks to tell their story. The story of World of Color is not a tight (or even loose) narrative like Fantasmic, instead it is a journey through Disney films.

  • The main issue I see with this show is the limited number of optimal viewing locations. Due to the heavy use of projections throughout the show and the fairly limited viewing angle of these screens you have a fairly small sweet spot for the show. Add in the fact that there are some effects that take place at the platform level (or close to it) so you will want to be able to see the platform too the number of great spots shrinks a bit more. Add in that the viewing area only has a handful of levels and each level is flat for the most part which means you need to be in the first couple of rows to clearly see without being blocked by other guests (unless of course you are tall or on someones shoulders) and that shrinks the great spots even more. Then lastly add in that you want to be back a bit because of the scale (and not to mention the water) and the optimal viewing locations shrink to a small box around the new interactive fountain in Paradise Park.

    I see this as being a huge weakness of the show, that there are so few spaces that have the perfect view of the show. I would have really liked to have seen a show designed with a larger optimal viewing location. People will be lined up around the Bay and even in Paradise Park itself and many will not have that good of view of the show. I think something like Illuminations where you can stand just about anywhere around the lagoon there and get a decent view of the show would have been better. It will be interesting to see what happens in the coming years.. will the viewing areas be reconfigured, effects tweaked in the show, or what?

    Do not read this to mean the show is not good from the other locations, it is just to see everything the way it was intended there really is a small area. And actually that is not optimal in my mind since you are too low still. The best seems to be up in the air in the area I described above.

  • Another word of warning with the show.. be sure to check the wind before choosing your viewing location. There is a ton of spraying water and if you are down wind and/or close to the water you will get wet.. maybe even soaked! On Thursday evening the guests who were nearest the Zephyr in the first two tiers of Paradise Park got soaked. They looked as if they had just come off the raft ride. The viewing area over there was covered in water and the CMs were pushing large puddles around to clear it off. If you are in other areas depending on the wind you can experience a light midst or even something like a light rain depending on the wind. Lastly watch out for the fountains in the planters. They shoot a good 10 feet or so in the air and the one nearest me Thursday hit me dead on which was not pleasant with the camera gear I had.

Comments from the first public day 6/11/10:

  • We headed out to the Pier around 7:15 since our Fastpass said between 7:30 and 8:30 and no early or late arrivals. Well the early part was a lie.. guests were already being let into Paradise Park. The process seemed very orderly. We walked up. Showed our Fastpass and were directed down to our section (Yellow). The parade route was blocked off and you entered there and then walked down the steps into your area. Yellow was the second from the interactive fountain on the left to the large staircase on the right when looking at the Fun Wheel. We could go on any tier within that range. We opened for a place on the steps by the interactive fountain. (about where the press riser was on Thursday night). We encountered no problems and no real waiting. All the CMs we spoke to directed us right to the proper place. There were quite a few CMs working the area. I thought it was a nice touch that the lights were turned the color of the section you were in. The CMs also all had flashlights of the color you were in too so there were a lot of visual queues to help you out.

  • As we waited there were CMs walking around selling items ranging from food/drinks to ponchos to glow items. I am still not a big fan of this, but guess if you are going to be held up for over an hour in one spot it makes sense. Guests were being allowed to sit on the ground until there area looked full then they were asked to stand to allow for more to fit in. Also we noticed they were allowing guests to line up anywhere (and everyone) around the Bay. I am very curious how the show looks from the sides and back (guess I will find out on subsequent trips when I do not have a fastpass). If anyone watched from out there and has pictures/thoughts to share drop us a line.

  • At 8:30 the Carnival of Color began. This consisted of two CMs up on stages and the larger than life puppets of some of our friends (colored for each section of course). Lumiere, Genie, Mike, Tigger, and Sebastian rounded out the group. The show was really a pep rally/sing along type affair and it only lasted 15-20 minutes. The main theme sounded familiar to me.. I think it was from a Tokyo Disneyland show, or sure sounded close to it... overall it was an ok experience. The characters were great. The two hosts boarded on shrill (the girl/hostess in front of us looked familiar too, I think she was in one of the High School Musical shows.. maybe the first or second version...). I would have liked to have seen the show go on a little longer, closer to show time. We still had about 10 minutes after they left.

  • As you saw in the pictures our view Friday was substantially better than the one on Thursday. So it looks to me that the key to World of Color is location... the projections, lasers, and lower level effects were so much better from this location that the show felt quite different and I was even more impressed than I was on Thursday. After seeing the show twice now I have a couple of tips. Be sure to find a location where you have a clear view of the bay and can see the tops of the fountain heads on the water surface. This means you won't miss any of the lower effects. If you can square yourself up with the fun wheel and projectors that helps too. If you do not want to get wet do not go any closer than the third tier and keep an eye on the wind.

  • After the show the exit process seemed quite orderly. We hung around a few minutes to talk to and listen to those around us and then headed out with the masses. They directed us down the trail by GRR and along the way we saw a couple of queues set up for the next showing. We turned into the hotel and headed for the car.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is it true everyone has to stand all the time?
    For the most part yes. In Paradise Park there are a few benches in the wheel chair accessible sections but other than that you are left to stand. Same with the areas around the Bay. They have been letting you sit on the ground and wait for the show, until your area becomes crowded then they ask everyone to stand so more guests can fit in the area.

  • How does viewing of the show work?
    Currently the Paradise Park as well as the bridge to Paradise Pier are designated as reserved viewing. This means you need a Fastpass to enter one of these colored sections. The rest of the Pier is open (first come/first serve viewing).

  • How do you get a Fastpass for the show work (as of 6/11/10):
    • Option 1: Arrive at the park early and head to GRR where they are distributing Fastpasses for the show. They start with the first show then move through all additional shows of the days. You have no choice for the show or viewing area
    • Option 2: Order a picnic meal that comes with preferred seating. You can order online up to 30 days in advance (click here) or in person.
    • Option 3: Sign up for one of the dinner packages with preferred viewing. You have the choice of Ariel's Grotto or Wine Country Trattoria. There is specific dining times for specific World of Color show times. You can book at the park or (714) 781-DINE.

    The dessert plate at Ariels - Photo shared by a friend of the site

  • Where is the best place to see the show from?
    I have seen World of Color from quite a few viewing locations now and its hard to pick the absolute best location. It really depends how you would like to experience the show.

    Here are some general tips. You definitely want to be in Paradise Park (which means you need a FastPass). You want to try and align yourself with the center water screen and be as square to it as possible. You can tell this by looking at the three projector housing out in the center show platform and lining yourself up with them and the Fun Wheel more or less. This will give you the best view of the screens and laser effects. I think it is also good to be able to see the tops of the fountain heads in the Bay. Since the viewing tiers are flat for the most part you will want to be toward the front of your section if possible to accomplish this.

    It is hard to pick a favorite for me. Standing in the blue section near where the programming trailer was (near the trellis about the third tier) is a great view to see the breath of the show. Standing along the waters edge lets you experience the power of the show but you miss some of the breath. Standing on the bridge (which is part of the Blue section) gives you a great overview but a bit more removed. I have posted similiar clips from several viewing locations on our YouTube site (// Click through and get a feel for the different angles.

  • If I am not in Paradise Park where should I watch the show from?
    I have watched from several spots around the Bay and none are really ideal. If you want to really experience World of Color the way it was intended you have to be in the Paradise Park viewing area. Probably the best of the first come/first serve spaces is the backside, directly behind the platform, so you are looking at the viewing area. Watching it from the area under the swings is great in terms of being up close to the fountains but very few of the effects are visible/work from that angle.


  • 6 dome projection screens
  • 15 months to transform the bay
  • 1,200 programmable fountains
  • 19,000 sq feet of water screens (50 ft high, 380 ft wide)
  • more than 79,241 musical notes in the score
  • 36 fire cnanons(12 mounted on swivels)
  • 28 HD Projectors (14 of them are submersible)
  • 5 months to program
  • 6 technical directors to run the show
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