Disney World is known for its variety of amazing rides. But Disney World also has numerous shows. In this post, we discuss the 5 best shows at Disney World. We provide information on why we love these shows and why we think you should add them to your next Disney World vacation.
What Is A Disney World Show?
For us, a show is anything where you are seated in a theater or stadium and watch a performance. This includes everything from outdoor shows like Fantasmic to 3-D shows like It’s Tough to be a Bug! We do not include parades, dance parties, or fireworks. (For fireworks, Happily Ever After at the Magic Kingdom is our must watch.)
Why Waste Park Time on a Show?
Because the shows are awesome. This is Disney, so the shows have amazing cast members and are really well done. If you have ever wanted to see a Disney Broadway show, the theme parks have you covered. There are also shows that are much more than a Disney musical.
Disney World shows are great for all Disney guests. But they are especially great for those that get motion sick or need a break from all of the rides. If you are worried that Disney will not have anything for you because you can’t do rides, do not worry, there is still plenty to explore.
Shows Are Not For Everyone
While we highly recommend checking out at least one Disney show, we understand going to Disney for a show is not for everyone. Honestly, Jeff is not a huge fan of Disney shows. But he helped make this list and he does still watch Disney shows. If you have someone in your travel group that only wants to do rides, that is okay.
All of the shows on our list have FastPass options. However, we typically do not recommend using a Fastpass on a show unless you really care that you have a front and center seat. Often guests can arrive 15-20 minutes before a show and get a seat no problem. The exception may be Fantasmic depending on the time of year for your vacation. Disney does a good job of guests being able to see the show from any seat. But if you want a guaranteed seat or prime view, use the FastPass on the show.
Ranking the Shows
This list is in order. Number 1 is our favorite show at Walt Disney World. Number 5 is good, but for us it is not as good as 1 through 4. There are also a lot of other good Disney shows, but for us they just didn’t make the cut. If you have a favorite Disney show, leave it for us in a comment at the bottom of this post.
There are several reasons that we love the Lion King show. The show combines live singing, beautiful costumes, and fun acrobatics. And of course, there are also the Lion King characters. The variety of entertainment makes this show really fun and unique.
The performers are fabulous. For me, the singers are the highlight. However, there are money acrobatics which bring in humor. Fire performances bring in excitement and other acrobatics bring in romance and beauty. The combination is really amazing and makes the 30-minute show go by very quickly.
AC and Several Show Times
The show is held inside, so yes there is the much-needed AC in the summer. The seating is in a circle with the performers in the center. This allows for a unique and intimate experience. It also allows for everyone to have a good view for the show.
Another reason we love the Lion King is because it is offered frequently throughout the day. Be sure to check the times prior to your visit, but they often run consistently throughout the day. The stated duration for the show time is 30 minutes.
Fantasmic is a nighttime show held at Hollywood Studios. It combines water projections, characters, and Disney stories. Without giving too much away, in this show, Mickey has to face Disney villains and take control of his nightmare. The music is great, we love the story, and it’s fun to see all of the characters.
Fantasmic at Disney World is different from Fantasmic at Disneyland or Tokyo Disney. The show is held in a dedicate stage space with a lot of seats. The seats towards the center are definitely the best. If you sit at the very front, be warned, you may get wet.
Fantasmic is often offered once or twice a night. If you want to see this show, be sure to pay attention to the time and get there early.
As I mentioned earlier, a lot of the shows you can show up 15-20 minutes before and be good. Fantasmic is the exception. This show can get really busy. During peak times of the year, you may need to get a seat as early as 45 minutes to an hour before the start of Fantasmic. If there are two shows, the second show typically is less crowded. If you do not want to wait, you can get a Fastpass. However, even with the fastpass, you will want to arrive about 20mins before show start.
Indiana Jones is unlike any of the other shows at Disney World. As given in the title, this is a stunt show. If you have a family member that really does not want to see another princess show (see Frozen sing-along below haha), Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular is made for them. Honestly, this show is great for all Disney guests.
We feel this show truly gets at the meaning of Hollywood Studios. It shows guests what goes into the stunts to create the movies that they love. Not only are there amazing stunts, there is humor and audience participation.
The show is 30 minutes long. If you are familiar with Indiana Jones, the scenes take you right into the movie. Even if you don’t know Indiana Jones, it is still worth checking this show out.
We feel that Finding Nemo at Animal Kingdom is one of the most underrated shows at Disney World. The Nemo characters are brought to life through puppets. The actors sing live and do an amazing job of telling the story of Nemo. The sets are amazing. Overall, it is a really beautiful and fun show.
The Nemo show has a stated time of 40 minutes and it is offered several times a day. The Nemo show, however, is typically not offered as often as the Lion King show. If you are interested in watching the show, it may take a bit more planning to be sure you can make one of the shows fit your schedule.
The Nemo show is indoors. There is quite a bit of seating. We definitely think the front is a bit better because it is easier to see all of the details that go into the costumes and puppets. But even a seat towards the back of the theater should give a good view of the show. We strongly recommend sitting towards the center. If you are on the far sides, certain parts of the stage may get cut off.
Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage almost went in this spot instead. Sara’s favorite Disney movie is Beauty and the Beast and the stage show is basically a mini Broadway show. There are two main reasons that Nemo won out. First, the puppets used in Nemo are impressive. For us, they beat out the beautiful costumes of Beauty and the Beast. Also, Nemo is fully indoor. This means it is a great option, even in the summer when it is a million degrees outside.
This show is not for everyone. There is a lot of singing Frozen songs. But, there is also a lot of humor in this show. For us, if you love Frozen, then you should definitely see this show. We went in with low expectations the first time we saw it and the characters and humor in the show quickly won us over.
Is this the best show in Disney World? No. But if you are looking to relax in the AC during your busy Hollywood Studios day, this show is definitely worth checking out. But be warned, there will be a lot of kids singing frozen songs. Honestly, there will also be a lot of adults singing too (Sara included).
Disney has a lot of amazing shows. While you do not want to miss your must-do rides, we strongly encourage guests to check out at least one show. The shows are amazing and they also provide a great way to relax a bit. While this list includes what we feel are the best Disney World shows, there are a lot of other shows that did not make our list. If you have a favorite Disney show, please let us know what it is in the comments below!
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