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Fantasmic! To Replace Standing Terrace With More Seats

Fantasmic Mickey vs Dragon

With Fantasmic! and other nighttime shows at Walt Disney World providing over 350 jobs for the local economy, Disney invited a few of us out to meet some of the talent folk behind the show. While there we also sampled some cupcakes and learned about new seating coming to the Fantasmic! Amphitheatre.

According to Dan Cockerell (Vice President of Disney’s Hollywood Studios), “our guests rate our nighttime entertainment experiences as highly as many of our world famous attractions. About 90 percent of Guests who view Fantasmic! from one of the 7,100 seats in the Hollywood Hills Amphitheatre rate their experience as ’Excellent.’”

Of course, guests who were left to stand on special terraces in the back of the amphitheatre while watching Fantasmic! on average rated the show experience lower than those who were able to find seats. It took some time, but Disney now has a plan to solve that. According to Cockerell, the numbers from Disney’s research arm, showed that making a simple change, such as replacing standing with seating, would make a big impact in guest satisfaction. And a happy guest is one who is more likely to buy merchandise or spend more.

Since the new seats won’t add capacity (the show will still only be able to pack in around 9,000 guests each viewing), it may not seem like a big deal, but I think it’s a great move for the park. New seats are an example of Disney making an adjustment that doesn’t appear to be necessary up front, but will lead to a better guest experience. It may not be as big as adding a new attraction, but if you’re the family that gets to sit down to watch the show instead of having to stand after a long day in the park, it is a big difference to you.

Cast Member Stories

As far as the guest is concerned, almost every night Fantasmic! goes off without a glitch, providing the perfect way to end the night at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. But that polished experience wouldn’t be possible with over 140 cast members working to make Fantasmic! one of Disney’s top shows. Here we talk to two behind the scenes cast members who are crucial to the show.

A few other facts about Disney’s night time offerings:

  • Combined the shows employ over 350 workers in Central Florida.
  • Illuminations is the currently the highest rated experience at Epcot.
  • Last year Wishes at Magic Kingdom Park had a higher “Excellent” rating from guests than any other experience at Walt Disney World Resort.
  • Guests who view Fantasmic! from one of the 7,100 seats in the Hollywood Hills Amphitheatre give it one of the highest satisfaction ratings at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Currently only one park lacks a night time show? Do you think a night time experience would ever work at Disney’s Animal Kingdom?

5 thoughts on “Fantasmic! To Replace Standing Terrace With More Seats”

  1. Will they do anything to fix the current cow hurdling that takes place to get to the show? Until this gets dealt with, we won’t be watching Fantasmic! again.

    1. That’s a little like Yogi Berra’s “the place is so crowded, nobody goes there anymore”. If you can save up for a dinner package, you can avoid the cattle call, to.

  2. With this addition, will the private dessert parties be finished? I have to agree with the poster who doesn’t like the cattle call, unless you buy the dinner package you pretty much have no choice but to be squished in line. Although it’s been years since I have been , maybe the dinner package is no more?

  3. I live close to WDW and go to WDW often. The dinner package is stiil available but those seats are all the way to one side of the ampitheatre so I actually prefer to stand in the “cattle call” line for 45 minutes to an hour to get the better center seating. Frankly I don’t think the Fantasmic! crowd issues (entering or leaving) are any worse than what you experience leaving Magic Kingdom after Wishes or EPCOT after Illuminations. Anytime you have thousands of people moving in one direction at one time, it’s going to be crowded and I think Disney does an exceptional job of crowd control. For example, any disabled guests seeing Fantasmic! wait in a separate line and are seated prior to the crowd arriving. The key is to get there early to avoid most of the rush. It has also gotten MUCH less hectic now that Fantasmic! is back to a nightly schedule. I had several bad experiences there when it was only shown a few nights a week and would have given a much different comment during that time.

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