World of Color Superthread
Last updated Nov 2013
Note on how to use this thread - WOC changes from time to time and I do not always have time or enough information to make sure this info is 100% up-to-date and correct. First read this first post. DO NOT READ EVERY POST over the last 3+ years. Much of that discussion is out-of-date now. Skip to posts at the end of this thread over the last few months and read those for any updates by other guests.
On August 7, 2013 when I saw WOC most recently, I checked all the boundaries against the info in this thread and spoke with CMs at WOC and from what I can tell all boundaries in the pictures in this thread are still correct.
There is a lot of great information around on World of Color (WOC) and I decided to create a new thread to consolidate what is out there, provide links, and answer a few common questions.
World of Color is a spectacular show that represents a breakthough in new show technology. Don't miss it!
Starting in November 2013 DLR is offering World of Color Winter Dreams for the Holiday season, a show which is completely different than the normal WOC. I have an FAQ item on Winter Dreams at the end of this post that I will update.
What is World of Color?
From Disney's website:
Where is World of Color?
World of Color shows at Disney's California Adventure (DCA) in the Paradise Pier lagoon also known as Paradise Bay. It is designed to be viewed from Paradise Park - a specially designed, terraced viewing area.
When is World of Color?
Here is a link to the DLR entertainment schedule. Opened in June 2010, the first summer WOC showed three times a night at 9:00, 10:15 and 11:15. DCA hours were extended to 11PM each night.
After WOC completed its first year we can look back and for the most part Disney is using the following basic schedule:
o High-Season and Weekends (Fri/Sat/Sun) Year Round - twice nightly at 9:00 and 10:15 (some winter nights it shows at 8:00 and 9:15) - DCA often closes at 10PM on these nights but the second show still runs
o Off-Season Weeknights (Mon-Thurs) - 8:15 - DCA often closes at 8PM on these nights but the show still runs
Again, use the above as a guide far in advance but check the DLR calendar for actual schedules as the dates gets closer.
Note that when DL and DCA "close" that does not mean everyone is forced to leave by that time. The parks actually stay open at least one hour extra for shopping (even when there are no shows like WOC). The rides keep running for everyone in line but the queues are closed. The restaurants which are still open keep serving but stop taking new customers. Guests are still in the parks for at least an hour.
How long does World of Color last?
The actual show lasts for 26 minutes.
How do I see World of Color?
For the first year it was mandatory that you either get a dining reservation, a picnic reservation or a Fastpass. The picnics were discontinued in June 2013.
There are three viewing areas for WOC - Blue, Yellow and Reserved Viewing (given a green color in the viewing chart below and obtained by a lunch or dinner dining package).
I also added a Red color which is not an official color section but is available to guests from any other section including Reserved.
Each of the two reservation methods to one of the three viewing areas are still available, but now it is possible to see WOC without any reservation or FP. The viewing spot may not be that good but it is there. There is a section for walk-ups to watch WOC from the rear near the Little Mermaid ride (see standby chart below #6). And on nights with two shows often not all of the FPs are distributed. So walk-ups may be allowed into the regular viewing area for second show.
If you want to see WOC I would highly recommend you use one of the reservation methods (dining or free FP) - especially if you want one of the better viewing areas. If it is not that important to you to see WOC or get a good viewing spot, then you may want to try one of the walk-up methods just discussed.
WOC Reserved Viewing (Dining Package) at Carthay Circle Restaurant, Ariel's Grotto and Wine Country Tratorria can be booked by phone two months in advance. These are for both lunch and dinner.
Here are some Disney blog WOC "viewing tips":
Here is a viewing chart map that reflects new color regions and first show queueing locations since about October, 2012. Note second show queues are usually set up by Wine Country Tratorria in the direction of #14. "HC" are the handicapped viewing areas.
Also note that what constitutes "best" and "good" viewing areas is highly subjective. These are my opinion only. Other knowledgable people may have different opinions. The areas I note below in the chart should allow guests of any height to have a reasonably good view of the show.
What are the main differences between World of Color Reserved Viewing (Dining Package) and regular FASTPASSes?
All of the viewing areas are standing only.
o The Reserved Viewing (Dining Package) costs $35-40 per person and gets you a quality meal and entrance to the central viewing area (as shown in the viewing chart above and close-up map later in this post). The viewing spots are central to the show but do not think that if you stand here you will have a guaranteed good view. The quality of your spot depends on how tall you are and where you stand. See advice also below on getting a good spot in the dining package viewing area.
o Regular FPs are for blue or yellow sections. These are free. You cannot choose which color you get. If you go to the WOC (GRR) FP machines they give out one color at a time. If you want a different color section you have to come back later when that color is given out. But there are no specific times when each color is given out so which color is available depends on how busy the day is at DCA and when you happen to arrive. The way to find out which color FP is being distributed is to ask the CMs or just walk up and look at what other FP gatherers are actually getting.
Why did Disney create World of Color?
DCA was built in 2001 amid a time of poor leadership at Disneyland. Some executives in control in the 1990's thought they could build a cheap theme park next to Disneyland and guests would come in droves. They were wrong. DCA attendance never came close to reaching projections. Night time crowds especially dropped as guests hopped to the Disneyland park's superior night time offerings.
Disney worked to improve DCA in it's first decade and then decided in 2008 to undergo a dramatic and unprecedented park-wide refurbishment. World of Color was one of the first steps in this process and has been a huge success. The park-wide refurbishment was completed in June 2012 with the completion of Cars Land and Buena Vista Street.
Why does Disney use FASTPASSes and dining packages (Reserved Viewing) as the primary way to see World of Color?
Much more so than WDW, DLR has a very strong Annual Pass program that draws heavily on the 20 million Southern California Residents. Add that to all of the many regular park guests and a new show with limited viewing area, and Disney was rightfully concerned about guests camping out in the World of Color viewing area all day long to hold a viewing spot and causing a traffic control nightmare.
To avoid this Disney originally decided in 2010 to only allow guests with FPs or dining packages to see the show. Now that interest has subsided it is possible to see WOC without reservations but in general the views are not very good.
Where do I get World of Color FASTPASSes?
At this time about three of the Grizzly River Run FP machines are dedicated to World of Color, with the remaining machines offering GRR FPs. See WOC and GRR FPs Distributed in Parallel.
When should I get a World of Color FASTPASS, when should I line up for FPs, and where should I line up for FPs?
WOC FPs are distributed at the Grizzly River Run FP machines starting at park opening.
Here is the order FPs are distributed:
Blue section first show
Yellow section first show
Blue section second show (on nights with a second show)
Yellow section second show
Blue section FPs for the first show last for several hours, but this can vary significantly day to day and with time of year. Yellow section FPs for the first show also last for several hours.
Note you cannot choose which color FP you get. You can only get the color being currently distributed. If you want a Blue FP then show up at park opening. If you want something else then plan your morning in DCA and stop back by the FP machines from time to time to check what color is being distributed.
Note that on days with two shows, some guests who wanted to see the second show have reported showing up while first show FPs were being distributed and requesting a second show pass. The CMs have been reported to give that out on request.
When do the World of Color (GRR) FASTPASS machines open?
The WOC FP machines open when the park opens.
How will getting a World of Color FASTPASS affect my other FP collecting?
No effect. They are not linked. The WOC FP is a misnomer and Disney initially planned to call it a "Showpass". But they had logistical problems using that name and decided to just call it "FASTPASS". However it is not a FP at all but really just a reservation for a show. It does not get you into the show early or get you anything special other than admittance. And it has no effect at all on being able to get other FPs.
How can I be sure to get a good viewing spot for me and my younger children?
Guest feedback on WOC has been mostly positive with a bit of not-so-positive. In retrospect it appears Disney did not do a very good job of designing the viewing area. I am sure they tried hard, but some things are hard to know until you have finished.
The viewing area is all designed for standing with a few benches. It was originally designed to handle 9,000 people per show. Eventually they realized they could only fit in 4,000 per show.
The bottom line is that there are some great viewing spots and many average and poor viewing spots - which depend a lot on how tall you are and how early you arrive to wait in line for admission to the viewing area.
When we saw World of Color for the first time from an excellent viewing spot, we were all blown away at how good it is (see my review here). In my opinion it is worth the effort to get a good viewing spot, especially if you have children. If you do not, you may be frustrated with the experience and your and your children's ability (or inability in many cases) to actually see the show.
Further, when there are multiple shows each night I think one's opinion on WOC depends a lot on how tired they are and whether they are seeing an early or later show (on nights when WOC shows multiple times). I posted my personal thoughts on this here. Use the viewing chart shown above to make sure you get a good spot and, if possible, see an earlier show - especially if you have younger children.
When should I arrive to the WOC queue?
Each WOC FP or dining reservation (Reserved Viewing) pass lists a suggested return time to the queue. Ignore these times. Follow the times below.
For the first show here is my advice for queue arrival time. See viewing chart map shown above for queue locations.
1. If you want a slam dunk/for sure access to the best viewing spots, show up 90 minutes before the scheduled show time. Note a queue may not yet be established. Check with a WOC Cast Member on where the queue will start. And stay in the area.
2. If you would like a good shot to a good viewing spot but are willing to risk getting a poor spot, show up 60 minutes before the scheduled show time. Note that during recent shows the Cast Members guided guests from the queue to the viewing area 60 minutes before the show starts.
3. If you do not care about a good viewing spot, show up 30 minutes before the scheduled show time.
Some people report arriving just 15 minutes before the show and getting a good spot to see WOC. Yes, and some people leave at 6PM in a big city and do not hit traffic. It happens. But it is not the rule. Below is a photo of the Blue section queue on a Saturday night in October 90 minutes before the show.
Reserved Viewing (Dining Package) guests should use the above times as guidelines. It is not uncommon to be able to arrive 60 minutes before the show and still be able to get a good viewing spot.
Reserved Viewing dining guests who want to have a relaxing dinner before the show should make the reservation at least 3 hours before show starts. This will allow you 90 minutes to be seated, order and dine - and then have enough time to walk to the RV waiting area and be there about 75-90 minutes early.
Note some sections have decent viewing spots in the rear that can remain open for much longer than the front sections. One such spot is the so-called fire hydrant spot in the Blue section (#10 in the viewing chart).
Second show queues are located by Wine Country Tratorria. The FP tells you where to queue.
Queue buildup for WOC Blue Section 90 minutes before a 9PM show on a Saturday night in October - the people in front are at the front of the queue and it snakes back from there
How suitable is World of Color for small children?
In my opinion World of Color is suitable for children of all ages. There are no particularly scary elements of the show. The biggest concern for small children is loud music during the show and large crowds of people.
WOC is based heavily on Disney animated movies and most of them have sad and/or slightly scary elements aimed at children. These do show up in WOC. An example in WOC is the death of Simba the Lion King's father in a stampede. The current version of WOC has some clips from the POTC 4 movie. Some children who are frightened of these aspects of Disney movies may also be frightened of these elements of WOC. They do not last long but they are there. Disney and WOC tastefully explores the full range of human emotions including love, joy, and friendship, as well as sadness and fear.
By the way the same thing is true of many Disney rides. WOC is no different.
Which World of Color viewing section is the best?
There are two color sections (blue and yellow) plus the preferred dining section (often given a green color on charts). People often ask which section is best.
It is critical to understand that every section has good viewing spots and every section has poor viewing spots. Hence a good viewing spot in any color section is better than a poor one in a different section. See the view chart map shown previously for location of good viewing spots. In general if you cannot get to any of the spots in the chart then try to get right on a rail which faces the show.
For more information on this see The Best World of Color Viewing Spots
What is included in the World of Color "prix fixe" dinners?
Culinary Quest: Wine Country Trattoria with WoC package by oc Tony
Carthay Circle Restaurant now has prix fixe dining as well. Ariel's Grotto offerred them initially, then stopped, and now it does again.
Where exactly is the Reserved Viewing (Dining Package) area and where should I queue?
The viewing chart earlier in this post shows the Reserved Viewing section boundaries. Note these boundaries may change slightly from night to night based on how many WOC dining reservations were made that day. I was told by a WOC CM that the green section with the question mark is normally for Blue FPs but they expanded it for Reserved Viewing on the day I was there recently because of the large number of reservations that day.
The queue for Reserved Viewing (Dining Package) is in front of the Little Mermaid ride shown as #5 in the map shown earlier in this post.
Note that there is not really a queue here at all. Just a gathering spot. Which is very frustrating for those who show up first. To get near the front of the queue you need to keep a close eye on the CM at the entrance to the Reserved Viewing area and be ready to move quickly once they signal for the reserved viewing folks to approach for admittance.
Why do I have to go to the back area of the Reserved Viewing (Dining Package) area if I bought an expensive meal at the Carthay Circle Restaurant that day? Shouldn't I get the front and not the back?
You don't have to go to the back. By default - and I have no idea why - the rear area of Reserved Viewing (Dining Package) is designated for CCR diners and the CMs will direct you there.
However, if you tell them (and you should tell them) that you want to go down closer to the front they will tell you you can just go anywhere you want, no problem. So speak up!
How much room is there at the elevated front rail for Reserved Viewing (Dining Package) and where do I queue?
Unfortunately there is only room for 4-5 families at the elevated front rail of the Reserved Viewing area. See red line in picture below. This spot is my favorite of all spots to see WOC - but you need to be at the front. You are 30 feet (10 meters) from the water and elevated 3-4 feet (1 meter) above those below. You usually do not get very wet but you might get wet even here.
In my opinion the next best spot is the front wet zone rail (the green line in the picture below). You will get a little wet in the wet zone. You may get very wet. This section is a mixed section and open to Reserved Viewing guests as well as normal Yellow and Blue section guests. Don't go down there unless a front rail spot is open or you are well above 6 foot tall.
If you do not get either of the rail spots then you can go to the stairs at the rear of Reserved Viewing - the blue line in the picture below. There will be a rope at the top of the stairs to separate the blue section (in the large circle) from Preferred Dining. Go up to the top step. The stairs will give you some height advantage over others in Preferred Dining.
Finally, the Reserved Viewing areas that snake out go to the left are fine if you can be at a front rail.
WOC Passes from Reserved Viewing (Dining Package) for CCR and WCT
What can you tell me about the holiday version of World of Color called Winter Dreams?
One of the benefits to an all automated show like WOC is the ability to change the programming of the lights and fountains and just run a different show each night when then want to. In November 2013 this is happening for the first time in a major way with the introduction of Winter Dreams. The show revolves heavily around the Disney animated movie Frozen to be released around Thanksgiving time. WOCWD will show exclusively until early January (most likely) at which point we can expect the regular WOC show to re-emerge.
See this Disney blog item for more information.
What should I do if World of Color gets canceled?
This happened on two nights in the first summer of 2010 and caused a great deal of guest relations problems for Disney as you might expect. Most likely if you have only a FASTPASS you are out of luck, much like any other Disney attraction. If you had a preferred viewing spot because of a dining reservation you should make your way quickly to guest relations (because the line will be very long) and ask for FASTPASSes for a future show. They may or may not give these out, but for some people in 2010 they did.
See this thread for DIS posts about the night all three shows got canceled.
Fantastic as always. Thanks! :thumbsup2
Disney will say that any dining plan isnt about paying for a world of color fastpass ticket. Its you get a dinner/lunch box which COMES with a fastpass as a perk. There is no value in the ticket, its in the dinner.
Also, i would like to add, there IS a semi front non-fastpass area. Its located by the golden zepher in a little corner.
Very good idea.
WoC questions pop up everyday and a central source of information is great idea. :thumbsup2
Regarding cancelations, I read some people did get FPs for a future show.
Any possibility a mod came make this sticky? At least for the forseeable future, this is a hot topic and looks like there are a couple posts a day that can be answered here. thanks for considering.
Great info just like always, thanks hydroguy. :goodvibes
Awesome job, as usual :)
This desperately needs a sticky! At least once a day a thread pops up with questions, from someone who (understandably) hasn't kept up with all the news this summer.
I'm so glad to finally see all this information in one place! Thanks for doing this, HydroGuy! :thumbsup2
where people can stand to watch it.
I also want to add regarding the line to get into the seating area.
9:00 show, everyone is let him from the same place, by the obelisk. There is no lining @ 9:00.
10:15, 11:15 shows have line. Blue is by the winery, Red is in challenge trail, Yellow is the other side of Grizzy line.
NOTE: PLEASE SHOW UP ON TIME. If you go the wrong direction during the load, say, you found the blue line but the red line is on the other side, you will have to wait till everyone has gone in, then they will let everyone else in after that.
Since AP's are coming back to the parks, is the show getting busier since the blocked days?
I'm really interested what it looks like post labor day when the number of shows is cut how busy it will be.
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