All About Parades at Disneyland – Including Paint the Night

***Updated July 2016. 

Parades at Disneyland are some of my favorite experiences in the park. I absolutely adore them and think they’ve fun for all ages. I encourage you to work at least one into your schedule for the day.

Let’s discuss your parade strategy, what to bring, what to do while you’re waiting and what you can expect from each parade.

First – Know the Current State of Crowds

Here’s the scoop: People are lining up HOURS (3-4 hours) prior to parade time (8:50pm) to hold spots. I don’t see this slowing down anytime soon. There are a few options to avoid this:

1. See the parade and fireworks from it’s a small world. Less crowds and more space.

2. Watch the second parade, if there is one available. I know it’s late, but if you take your long afternoon nap, hopefully kids will still be awake. 1/4 of the people are there for the later parade.

3. Set up in time for the parade with all the people who get there early and then rotate someone watching your blanket. My husband took the kids on a few rides while I stayed at the blanket. He did the same when I took the kids to find food.

4. Consider a special dining experience for Paint the Night and Disneyland Forever fireworks. Blue Bayou and Aladdin’s Oasis are offering packages and they are both fantastic. Find detailed information on both of those in my post on Special Dining Events with Reserved Viewing for Shows.

5. Try on your first night and then subsequent nights to see the fireworks. They get cancelled frequently due to high winds. So, if you leave this to your last night, you’re risking not being able to see them if they’re cancelled.

What to Bring

I always have these essentials on hand for a parade experience:

  • Blanket or sheet to secure your spot. Blankets are more comfortable, but take up space in your bag or stroller. A sheet works well to simply block your space and it won’t weigh down your bag. This little tool will work wonders for you since people often lose their manners once the parade starts and might start pushing their way to the front. If you arrive early and claim your spot, you’ll be in good shape.
  • Have some activities and snacks prepared in case you have kids on the blanket with you. I have several things to buy for your trip from Amazon prior to arriving and that includes fun stuff to do. Some suggestions: bubbles, glow sticks if you’re watching a later parade, small games or puzzles, easy to clean up snacks, etc.


What to Do While You’re Waiting

  • I always recommend one adult sit on the blanket to reserve the spot (you cannot leave it unattended) and one adult takes kids on a nearby attraction. Depending on where you choose to sit (more on that later), you’ll have plenty of options. Know your timing before the attraction goers take off and be sure they return on time. And, make sure everyone uses the restroom before they return to the blanket. Don’t do what I did in #9 on this earlier post
  • While the other adult is off taking kids somewhere to keep them busy, relax. I often bring a book to read. I clean out my bags, throw trash away as needed, straighten my stroller, etc, etc. It feels good to have a little time to re-set for the rest of the day. (This is actually one of my favorite times of the day!)
  • Breathe. If you’re lucky enough to sit on the blanket solo, take a break. Enjoy the lack of fussing from your own kids. Ignore those from the children around you.


What You Can Expect from Each Parade

  • Mickey’s Soundsational Parade – This is my absolute favorite. It’s so happy, energetic, interactive and fun. Expect classic characters, princesses, and more. This parade is held at Disneyland and I highly recommend it. There is typically one of these parades each day.
  • Paint the Night Parade – A million dazzling lights make this parade unforgettable. Long time Disneyland fans will recall the Electric Light Parade from their youth. This is an updated version with awesome effects and impressive costumes. Look for traditional characters like Mickey, the princesses, favorites from Cars and Monster’s Inc.
  • The Pixar Play Parade – I don’t care for this parade as much as the Soundsational one, but it’s still impressive. Kids will recognize lots of the Pixar characters including Toy Story favorites, Monsters Inc friends, Finding Nemo critters and Bug’s Life characters, too. You might get a tiny bit wet at this one and bubbles emerge from the floats, too. There is one of these parades each day. Currently, there is an Inside Out Pre-Parade.


image credit

Parade Details and Routes


This map, below, shows the parade route and Disneyland’s recommended “key viewing locations”.

Note: Depending on the season (always check the entertainment schedule for your days of visit), Disneyland will vary on parade times.

The Mickey’s Soundsational Parade at Disneyland starts at Town Square (Main Street) and ends at it’s a small world. So, if you set up at it’s a small world, expect 20-30 minutes after the parade time for the parade to actually reach where you are. This parade will run during the daytime since Paint the Night runs at night.

Disneyland’s Paint the Night Parades are different, as there will typically be two each day. If there are two, the first will start at it’s a small world and end at Town Square. The latter parade will start at Town Square and end at it’s a small world. So, again, add 20-30 minutes to where you are, depending on where the parade starts and ends.

Soundational parade


California Adventure

California Adventure has a different set up, with only one parade per day and it’s not quite as popular as the Disneyland one. I don’t often reserve seating for this parade, as I can usually walk up for good viewing. The space in front of Ariel’s Undersea Adventure is usually not crowded and then the further you follow that route down Paradise Pier, the more options you’ll find, too.

The Pixar Play Parade starts near Paradise Pier and ends at Tower of Terror. As with the Disneyland parade, the “key viewing locations” on this map are often the most crowded.


Pixar Parade Capture


My Set Up for Disneyland’s Paint the Night Parade

First, some basics:

*This parade is shown at night due to the LED lights. It’s ideal to have a good location here because for the earlier parade, fireworks will start moments after….hence, the three suggestions below.

*Projections that coordinate with the fireworks can be found on Main Street, Sleeping Beauty Castle, it’s a small world and Tom Sawyer’s Island. All but Tom Sawyer’s Island can be visible from the parade route by following my recommendations on where to set up.

*The only break during the parade is after King Triton’s float. So, if you must cross the parade route for any reason, know this timing.

I have three recommendations for setting up for Paint the Night. Check them out on this map:

newparade copy

*The parade route is noted in red.

1. Near the Disneyland Showcase store in Town Square: This spot allows you to see the parade in two different ways. First, you’ll see it trailing down Main Street and then after it makes its way around Town Square, you’ll see it exit the parade route. (This works for the later version, too, when it starts at this end and rounds Town Square and then continues into Main Street). For Fireworks: Follow the yellow line on the map below to walk down Main in order to see both the castle and Main Street projections from the Fireworks. Do not walk on sidewalks to move up Main Street. Stay on the street so you don’t get caught up in the traffic flow directed by cast members. 


2. Near the rope at the hub: I like this spot because people don’t know to line up here. Instead of camping out 5 hours prior, wander near this section to see if anyone is waiting for the rope to go up. Stay nearby and then get as close to the rope as possible once it’s up (usually about 1-1.5 hours prior to parade time). For Fireworks: Follow the orange line on the map below toward Tomorrowland and then to the castle to try to get the best view of the castle and the Matterhorn for projections from the Fireworks show.


See this map for more specifics on where the rope will go up prior to the parade:


3. it’s a small world: This has always been my favorite area for Mickey’s Soundsational. (See below for more details.) This area doesn’t fill quite as quickly as Main Street, but like all the others, it will be crowded. For Fireworks: Follow the hot pink line on the map below to walk towards it’s a small world to see projections on it and then turn to the left slightly to see the actual fireworks.


My Set Up for Disneyland’s Mickey’s Soundsational Parade

I’ve been watching the Disneyland parade for years and have a good system that works for us. As I mentioned earlier, we set up a blanket at least an hour prior to parade time.

Here are some photos of my strategy:

I set up closest to point 3 on the Disneyland map above. This is my favorite spot, but if the sun is too bright (depending on which parade I watch), I’ll cross the street to the other option, which is the next photo.


Second favorite spot. On both sides, you have to set up your blanket/sheet on the brick. Cast Members will come by prior to the parade and push everyone off the main concrete area and onto the bricks.


Here is the view of where the parade will come down.


I like this spot for a few reasons. First, it’s typically less crowded than the area with dedicated benches and seating. Also, if I’m at the blanket and I don’t have another adult with me, my kids can run off to retrieve food, drinks or even use the bathroom because they’re all in close proximity. See here: Mickey ice cream treats, pretzels and more. I can keep an eye on them while they grab snacks.


When they need to use the restroom, they can walk toward it’s a small world and go left, toward the theatre and find these restrooms very easily. Everything is in close reach for us. It totally works for my crew.



Additional Tips

  • If you arrive early enough, you’ll be able to sit during the parade and be comfortable. If you’re later, you’ll stand closer to the back of the crowd. Try to arrive early. If you are standing, remember that there will likely be people behind you. Holding kids on shoulders might prevent others from watching the fun. Be considerate.
  • Encourage your little ones to be interactive and get excited when they see characters. Princesses are big on eye contact and if your little one calls the princess’s name, she’ll likely get a wave. This is VERY exciting for little ones. If your child has a doll or toy that matches a character, have your child hold that up as the character cruises by. He or she will often notice and send your child a wave.
  • Not all kids love the characters. My grumpy kid, Jack, once nearly kicked Stitch for coming too close and trying to cheer him up. These larger-than-life characters might frighten children. Be considerate of that and don’t insist on children interacting. Some prefer to just sit back and watch.
  • When the parade is over, you can follow it along – behind the final rope ending the parade. One of my best Disney memories happened in 2003 when my then 2 year old was sure he was IN THE PARADE, behind the rope, blowing kisses at the guests. 144
  • Consider buying a “paint brush” from any of the stores on site to be interactive with the parade. When you wave the brush at characters, the colors in their LED light costumes will change. They’re $25 each, including tax. All of these items should work between parks – so those bought at WDW work at DLR and vice versa.
  • Watch the following videos if you have little ones who might be overwhelmed with the parades. They’re loud and exciting and it’s a lot of sensory overload for some children. Preparation could make all the difference in your experience. Check out my post on sensory issues, too, if you have a person in your group with such challenges.

Disneyland’s Mickey’s Soundsational Parade

Disneyland’s Paint the Night Parade

California Adventure’s Pixar Play Parade

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  1. Hi Casey,
    If we do Suggestion #2 near the rope at the hub, are we allowed to stay in that same spot to watch the fireworks (preferably by partner statue) or will we be asked to move by the CM’s? TIA.

  2. Any word yet on whether they will continue the Paint the Night parade after the 60th celebration ends? It is by far my favorite parade EVER! I am getting passes in late September and I really wanted to see it again! 🙂

  3. Hi Jen, we’re going to take my son and his special request is to see the projections fireworks and the light parade. our schedule will be on Aug. 21 and 22. we will be travel from sacramento and we are trying to look their schedule but we could’nt.

  4. Hi Casey – my family and I will be at Disneyland Sept 7-9. It looks like park will be closing at 8pm. Do they still do any of the night parades or fireworks when they close so early?

    • Hi, Sara.

      We’re not sure what nighttime entertainment looks like past September 5 at this point. Hoping Disney releases info soon. I’ll post immediately at Feel free to ask again as we get closer to your trip.

  5. Hello. I would like to know if the paint the night parade will continue during the december period this year. My family will visit during then(we are first timers) so I hope its still on

  6. Not sure if anyone has stated this or not.. But we just came back from watching the night parade and fireworks. We tried to follow your advice and watched from the town square. After the parade we tried to move up Main Street as suggested, but in doing so, we were on the sidewalk and not the street. Big mistake. The ushers wouldn’t let back on the street and wouldn’t let us stop walking. The fireworks started and we were forced to keep walking around the park. We were able to see bits and pieces, but every time we stopped to try to watch an usher immediately told us to keep walking. We were not allowed to move intothe roped off area either. Very frustrating. So my advice is to add to your instructions to move up Main Street but STAY ON THE STREET and not on the sidewalk.

    • Jennifer, I just checked the post and didn’t see any instructions about getting on the sidewalks to move up. But I made a note about staying on the street to avoid the issue you had. I appreciate you letting us know! I wish the cast members had allowed you through. 🙁

      • No problem… We still got to see bits and pieces… I just hopes it helps others – your site was a huge help for everything else we did.

  7. Hi, Casey! Thanks so much for all the great info! My family and I have been to WDW once and are going for a super quick trip to Disneyland next month. I thought we’d see the fireworks then the later parade. Can you give me your thoughts on the best way to do this/best location/etc.? Also, are many of the attractions still open during the earlier evening parade?

    • Okay, you can ignore the first part of my question as I see you answered it for someone else above. So, can you just tell me if attraction still run during the earlier evening parade? Thanks!

      • Just got this after I answered the other. 🙂 Sorry! Attractions are running. Most are, but some pause for fireworks. Monorail and trains, specifically, pause. But the RR is currently on hiatus for Star Wars Land construction, anyway.

    • Hi, Erin! Most attractions are open and it’s a good time to take advantage. However, if you have two parades in your schedule, I recommend doing the Aladdin’s Oasis dining package to see Paint the Night parade, stick around for fireworks right after and then enjoy attractions during the second parade when the park has thinned out. Check out this post for info on Aladdin’s Oasis and more:

  8. We are going to Disney next Tuesday, May 24th. Question about the Small World location for the parade/fireworks. How long before the 8:45 parade do you think we would need to get to this location to get a nice spot? Also, can you see Tinkerbell fly and the Matterhorn special effects from here? How much do you miss by not viewing from Hub or Main Street? Thanks!

    • You cannot see Tinker Bell or the Matterhorn projections from this location. The projections are shown onto IASW. The advantage to this location is that it’s less crowded and has more space for small children to run around while you’re waiting. On Main Street, you’re in very tight quarters. There are pros and cons to every section. Just depends on what you want. I would start setting up at least 2 hours prior in this areas if you do not have the reserved ticket for the dining area. I highly recommend the Aladdin’s Oasis dining package if you want to watch from IASW. Lots more info on that in this post:

  9. Your website and inside knowledge has been invaluable in planning our trip to Disneyland next month. We’re coming from Australia so are very excited! One question: we’re going for the 10.45pm Paint the Night parade time as you suggest to avoid crowds as our children will still be on AU time (10.45 is 3.45pm) so they’ll be wide awake probably! But we still want to see the Disneyland Forever fireworks at 9.30. Where should we position ourselves for good viewing of the fireworks only? And more importantly, how early will we have to be there to secure a fireworks viewing spot? Thank you! 🙂

    • This is the tricky part. Most people watch the first parade and stay for fireworks. So the spots will be filled from the first parade crowd. Your best bet is to stand on Main Street about 1/2 way down. The fireworks will go off above the castle and you’ll be able to see those from just about anywhere. And the projections will be shown on the buildings on Main Street. It will also snow on Main Street after the end is the fireworks! Once the show is over there, grab a spot for the later parade.

  10. We just went to Disneyland yesterday, Friday April 22. We were about to use our blanket during the daytime Mickey’s Soundsational Parade but at night on main street for the Paint the Night Parade they only allowed people sitting on the curb to seat on the blanket and made everyone behind move the blanket and stand. We were on Main Street. So sadly we were super unlucky or they changed the rules.

  11. First off, thank you for all the helpful tips on your site – it’s helped tremendously with planning our trip. We will be in the park next Wed, Thur, & Fri.. Wed afternoon we’ll be spending in DL ending the day in Adventure Land. What would be the best way to exit the park about 7:30 – 8:00 PM with the Paint the Night parade starting at 8:15 ?

    • I would start at 7:30pm and make your way through Adventureland and stay to the right toward Jolly Holiday Bakery. You’ll be able to walk down Main Street and out before the crowds get too thick for the parade. Enjoy!

  12. We are going Tuesday, May 10-Thursday, May 12. There will only be one parade. I thought we may do the Aladdin on the go reservation. How is the best way to get from the viewing area to the castle after the parade for the fireworks? Or should we try for a Main Street parade spot due to it being the middle of the week? Any guidance is greatly appreciated! My head is spinning!!

  13. We are planning a trip to Disneyland during June 7-9 this summer. Your website has helped us so much! We are from Omaha NE with two little girls (8 and 4 yrs) so going to Disney is rare and a BIG deal.
    What dinning packages are with it? We for sure want to have lunch at Ariels grotto for some necessary princess time. I am debating the Aladdins to go package for the paint the night parade. Is it worth it? I see you recommend just going to the latest showing. But seeing how my girls will be used to central time (so an 11p parade is a 1a for us) I am conflicted.

  14. We will be there the last wednesday of this month. The crowds look low 🙂 I am so excited. We will have one day at DL and one as DCA. We definetely want to see PTN and then fireworks, looks like 9pm for fireworks and 8:15 parade. Do you think with lower crowds we will be ok to wing it and not do preferred viewing? How early should be get a spot for parade? I like your idea about get to the robe in the hub . Since we only have 1 DL day, I dont want to be sitting for hours 🙂

    • Without a dining reservation package, I would start looking a couple hours before the parade. Then, grab a spot depending how things are filling up. I highly recommend Aladdin’s if your budget allows. Takes a lot of stress out of your day and it’s pretty affordable.

  15. Our trip is early August. We plan to do the Aladdin dining to hopefully alleviate having to stake out a spot for so long. Will that help? Planned to do the fast pass for World of Color.

  16. Hi Casey:
    I just wanted to let you know that last Tuesday 2/16 when we set up to watch Soundsational by Small World, I figured I had plenty of time to take the kids on the ride (it was about 3:45pm) then sit down and wait for the parade to come to us given the 20 minute delay. My husband camped out across the street from your favorite spot and he waited. When the kids and I emerged from Small World at 4:15pm, the parade had started but was actually heading south from Small World to Town Square. With it underway and us 5 rows back, we couldn’t get to my husband on the primo blanket spot and my 6yo daughter had an epic Disneyland meltdown, saying,”You ruined everything!!” Seriously. In that moment, I also lost my FitBit and my daughter spontaneously had a bloody nose, all the while I was trying to also keep track of my 3yo son in a parade crowd. It was the craziest moment we had on our whole vacation. Needless to say, I was surprised that the parade started up by Small World. But the next day we camped out on Main Street and the parade followed it’s normal route from Town Square to Small World so I don’t know what that deviation was about. Have you ever seen it change direction like that?
    Nevertheless, your advice about having a Matador blanket and staking out a spot was GREAT! Thank you so much for this and all the other valuable information you provide to Disney vacationers. Preparation was key to our amazing 1st visit with our kids.

      • Hi there! First I have to say that we love your site and relied heavily on it to plan for our great trip. You are truly a wealth of information! We were just in Disneyland yesterday and had the same experience as the writer above (minus the bloody nose). We thought we had plenty of time so we took our squirrelly kids to Its a Small World. When we emerged at 4:22, the parade was 2/3 by and we couldn’t get to the spot my husband was holding. Just a heads up to other who may be visiting right now! Thanks again for all of you advice.

  17. This is great info. Thank you. Next visit we reserved the Blue Bayou Paint the Night package because I want to see how it is. After that, based on your suggestions, I think I will do the parade at It’s a Small World, and then follow the parade to the front of the castle and stop there for the fireworks.

  18. Going Feb 17-19 2016. Plan was to see the Paint the Night Parade with the Blue Bayou Dinner which admits you to a special viewing area (separate from the Blue Bayou) and then the fireworks. Will our special viewing area for Paint the Night be a good area to watch the fireworks?

  19. Hi Casey! Thanks for all your great info. I’m wondering your thoughts on the Aladdin Oasis on-the-go dining in order to get preferred seating for Paint the Night. Worth it?

  20. I’m confused . . . we’re planning to do the Paint the Night Parade on Tuesday 1/19 (there’s only one time – 7 PM) and I can’t tell where we should setup. Sorry – I’ve read and re-read and I still can’t figure out where the best spot is for up close to the parade route and for fireworks afterward. Thanks!

    • Hey, Jess. Use the usual parade suggestions for the parade itself. If you are incorporating the dining package into it (which will be offered starting January 11, 2016, I’ll have more info on that after I experience it the first night – on the 11st. My favorite parade set up is just off of Main Street across from the Main Street Photo Supply Store. That way, you can see firework projections on Main and hopefully the Matterhorn, too, from that spot. Enjoy!

  21. Hi there! I’m going in March (Sadly easter weekend). I’m disabled, so sitting on the ground is a no-go for me. I was hoping to watch both the fireworks and paint the night. Is there a good place to see both, but be able to sit (not on the ground?) i know Main street has benches, but if i don’t grab one I don’t want to be stranded. I can’t stand for long, and haven’t decided if I’m renting a chair or not. I’m going with a friend who has never been to DLR so I want to make it special for both of us.

    • Hi, Samantha! There is a disability section for the parade. Ask a cast member prior to the show if they have availability for you to sit there. I’ve done this with my sister and it helped her quite a bit.

  22. when we were there in October we were able to snag a bench just down main street from your #2 spot! Right before the parade starts they move the bench to the edge of the curb and none is allowed in front of you:) as soon as the last float goes by walk to the middle of mainstreet and a little back so the trees don’t block anything and perfect fireworks viewing!!! While we all waited we made up a fun game, each person took turns choosing a thing to find 5 people wearing backpacks, 10 people wearing Mickey ears 6 people wearing glasses ect fun people watching game!! Lol

  23. Hi, we will be traveling to WDL in February. How much in advance to the schedules get posted? Which days of the week are best to visit the parks.


  24. Hi! My wife and I will be in Disneyland 11/4-11/7, with two friends (who have never been to DLR!).
    I am hoping for lower (?) crowds those days and nights, and want our friends to have great 1st time experiences. I am thinking we get a mainstreet curb side for the 1st parade, then step into the street around Carnation Cafe and stand there waiting for fireworks.
    Your opinion? (on anything and everything please!!! 🙂 )
    Thank you!

    • Hi, David. I like your plan! You’ll get to see the parade in a great spot and then the fireworks will be lovely with the projections that play out on Main Street. I think you and your friends will have a great experience. Please let me know if you have any other questions as your trip approaches. Happy to help!

  25. Hi

    Thanks for sharing all this great info!
    We will be there Nov.2-5, and will be able to see PTN and fireworks (but looks like Fantasmic and Mickey’s Soundsational will not be running?)
    Can you recommend a good spot for our family of 5 to view PTN and also fireworks, without it being exceptionally loud? I will show the girls the video clips ahead of time to prepare them, but we have a 6 month old baby and a noise sensitive 4 year old.
    Thanks so much!

    • Hi, Sarah.

      It looks like the schedule is unavailable now for your days. Hopefully those shows will be running during your visit. Soundsational is not due to drop off the schedule until Holidays at Disneyland starts on November 13.

      The best spot to avoid the loud parts of the parade is near the Fire Station on Main Street. You won’t be front row, but if you stand back far enough, you’ll be able to see the floats and most of what goes on. Then, walk out to the middle of Main after the parade for the fireworks.

      I have a post on sensory issues and such. Might be a good resource for you:

  26. The paint brushes don’t actual change the colors of the costumes, only other color-changing products! So they will change the color of the Glow With the Show ears and cups, the pink Minnie Mouse light up ears and other paint brushes! 🙂

  27. Re: Disneyland Forever.
    Recommendations for 2 adults that want to see as much of the effects and fireworks as possible. Where to sit to see it all. VIP? without a tour? Thanks in advance. Also, I love all your ideas and read everything, such great information.

    • Hi, Heidi.

      A VIP tour would be amazing, but pricey. My favorite place to watch it all is in front of the castle, of course. The effects are fantastic. it’s a small world has the easiest accommodations. You really can’t go wrong with any of your options. Enjoy!

  28. We’re planning a trip for December this year. Will you be updating with info about the Christmas Parade after the middle of Nov? Or does it have the same basic info as Soundsational?

    • I’ll have an updated holiday focused post soon. The Christmas parade IS happening (yay!), but Soundsational is going on hiatus until after the holidays. So, the two parades will be Christmas and Paint the Night will continue, too.

      Stay tuned for the holiday post and let me know if any other questions come up.

  29. Hi, I’m going Saturday… I have a member in my party who is handicapped and will be using a wheelchair. Can we watch fabtasmic, paint the night, and Disneyland forver? Keep in mind the wheelchair and the folks exiting….. How can we watch fabtasmic? With a wheelchair? I was thinking wait for PTN on small world then the fireworks then fabtasmic is this good

  30. Thank you for this post! Very helpful! Is it possible to see Paint the Night parade, the Forever fireworks show AND Fantasmic in one night?

    • It depends on when you visit. If you’re at a busy time, you can see Fantasmic! and fireworks from the same location (starting at 9pm) and then watch the 11pm Paint the Night parade. But, it only shows twice during very busy times of the year. Enjoy!

  31. Hi,
    I’m a first timer to Disneyland I just have a question.
    We are headed to Disneyland for my daughters birthday. We will be there during October and I have seen and read up all about Halloween time.
    My question is: the day we are going (October 26th) is a day that the Halloween parties are not on. Will there still be a parade? And fireworks?
    Thank you in advance

  32. Hey Casey!!

    I’m planning to do Fantasmic, fireworks and paint the night in one day. Is it a good idea to just turn around after the 1st Fantasmic show towards the castle and get a good view of the projections as well as the fireworks. I plan on watching the Paint the night parade at 11pm. please suggest a good spot for the parade too so that we can leave soon after the parade.


    • I love this plan. You won’t be able to see the castle, but it’s a great way to see so much in one night. I suggest leaving directly after fireworks and grabbing a spot on Main Street for the 11pm parade. Try near the Coca Cola Corner so you can see Main, the castle and the Matterhorn if possible. That’s the best option in my opinion.

  33. We’ll be here in 9 days!!! I’m so excited! It looks like on your map for spot 3 that you’re actually set up in front of the Storybook Land Canal Boats rather than in front of It’s a Small World. Is that accurate? Also, it looks like there’s a sidewalk on the left that leads back towards the restrooms, theatre, etc. Are you blocking that sidewalk or to the right or left of it? We’re coming from Central Time so I don’t know if our two younger daughters will still be awake for the parade so I may have to send them to the hotel with my hubby because there is no way I’m missing this parade!

    • You could set up by the Storybook Land Canal Boats or small world…….that map just provides a general idea. The sidewalk behind will prevent you from seeing the parade. Arrive early and secure your spot!

      • Hi Casey, For spot #3, is it across the “street” from the “it’s a small world Promenade Viewing Area”? If I’m facing the Storybook Land Canal Boats from the “street”, where should I camp out? (I’m also confused bc of the pathway leading back to it’s a small world and the Troubador Tavern.) Thank you!

        • Hi, Patty. If you scroll down to the section where I show how I set up for the Soundsational Parade, you can see exactly where I sit. It’s typically about half way down the path to it’s a small world from Storybook Land Canal Boats. Choose the side with less sun in your face for mid-day parades. Let me know if that doesn’t clear things up.

  34. Our family is pretty experienced with Disneyland, but we haven’t been in a year in a half! (gasp!) But we are headed down for August 31-Sept 2 and I am worried that Fantasmic! won’t be showing because we in the parks Mon-Wed (and they usually downscale Fantasmic! for Fri-Sun during the off season). Do you know if this is the situation? Also, I think the Paint the Night Parade will only be done once a day then.

    • Hard to tell, Christine. As we move into the fall months, things do change, as you know. I would be checking the calendar as often as possible and I’ll post on my facebook page if I hear anything.

  35. Hi!

    Which color is the best to see Fantasmic from? I don’t plan on doing any dining option, and I am getting conflicting reviews of the best color seating area!
    And same for world of color. I heard the blue section is given out first but is not as good as the yellow section, which is given out second. I don’t know which color to try to get!

    And if I plan on watching the 8:50 Paint the Night and the fireworks from the in front of the castle. What time do you recommend I sit down to reserve a spot?


    • I prefer yellow seating for Fantasmic! and Blue for WOC. Stand on the bridge for WOC.

      I don’t recommend the 8:50pm paint the night because you’ll have to start sitting on Main Street around 5pm – if not earlier – for it. See Fantasmic! and then stay there for the fireworks. Otherwise, just set up early and rotate on the blanket if you really want to watch the fireworks from Main Street. Enjoy!

  36. Hi, Casey.
    First let me start by saying I love all the info you provide, very helpful and informative. My family recently purchased the Premium Annual Pass, we’ve tried other passes and they didn’t fit our needs considering our school and work schedules, and wanting more time at the parks.

    I have a family of five. My husband, myself and our three children, a boy who will soon be 8, 5 year old girl, and 20months old baby boy. We will be making a trip to the park in late August, for our eldest son 8th birthday and he would like to see a show and have dinner. We’ve never experienced Fantasmic or World of Color and I’m having the hardest time deciding which one of the shows to choose btwn? We would either like to eat at Blue Bayou for Fantasmic or Carthay Circle for WOC. Do you have any suggestions for me on which restaurant may be best for my family? Thank you.

  37. Please help¡¡ I’ll be there next tuesday and we already have an Aladdin’s Oasis Fantasmico on-the-gi reservation, but I’m confused because it says “2nd show” but the reservation time is 6:45 pm… so, I don’t get it… I have to see the 3 parades because it’s my only day in Disneyland…Help us to organize this¡¡¡
    thanks in advance

    • Hi, Rosana.

      I believe this means you will be dining (or picking up your food) at 6:45pm, but your return tickets will allow you to view the second show of the evening. If you want to view the earlier show (which I recommend), grab the FASTPASS on Big Thunder Trail in the morning, see the 9:00pm Fantasmic! (with the same viewing privileges you have with your Oasis reservation), stay put for the 9:30pm fireworks, grab a snack and then see the 11:00pm parade. All of this will be done in the evening. See the 4:30pm Mickey’s Soundsational Parade, too. Let me know if you have any questions.

  38. Ok Casey….
    Fantasmic! I’m not sure what to do.
    The dinning package isn’t in our budget soooo
    Where do we watch with our 6 girls under age 7?
    They will want to see Tinkerbell fly before the fireworks and I know someone said behind Dumbo is a good view of her. But, I’m going to need a plan of action that is fast.
    We might try parade also at 11 and then 2nd night focus on earlier parade again.
    What do you think about the Elsa and Anna boutique after nap time with princess dresses on and ready for the 9:00 parade? I’m just not sure we can make the Mickeys Soundsational work if we need to line up early because of naps unless I send the grandparents ahead of us. Is it worth it to nap earlier to make this parade? Thanks!!!!
    If you are there August 31st and your bored you can be our tour guide haha!!!! First trip with our daughters and I’m
    So scared of my toddlers!!!!!!

    • Christi. Deep breaths! You’re going to be great.

      The viewing area by Dumbo is great for Tinkerbell, but you can’t see the castle projections. I’d stick to your option on Main Street for Tinkerbell viewing and get as close to the castle as possible to see her and the castle and the Matterhorn if possible.

      I love princess dresses and the makeover prior to the parade. You get a lot of attention from the princesses and they’ll wave if your girls are enthusiastic about showing off their princess gear.

      The 11pm parade is fantastic and so much less crowded! I love Mickey’s Soundsational, but hate to see people spend more than half their day waiting on parades. Trade off with the blanket rotation option I talk about or plan to see the later parade.

      Hope this helps!

  39. So — I made dining reservations for the Belle restaurant at 5:30, but I see now that the Fantasimic show isn’t until 9pm (is there an earlier one?)? Will we be able to get back into the “reserved” seating area for the show if we leave after dinner? Are the Fantasmic show and the Paint the Night parade at the same time … 9pm? Oh no! Now Im worried I did it all wrong!! AHHHH

    • You’re doing it all the right way. Promise! Keep your reservation, enjoy the dinner, roam the parks and then return 30 minutes prior to when the ticket tells you to in order to get a good space in line for the show. Then, after the show, stay put to see fireworks.

      Another parade starts at 11pm. If your group can stay up that late, I highly recommend seeing this parade at this time because you’ll encounter about 1/4 of the people from the earlier one and have much better seating and less stress. Well done, Michelle!

  40. We followed your suggestions and got a good spot for the parade and fireworks by It’s A Small World. brought a lightweight blanket and it worked out really well. Our view of the parade and fireworks was fabulous!

  41. Just found your blog, love this post! We have yet to see Paint the Night and Disneyland Forever with our 2 and 4 year olds. Any suggestions on being comfy for the parent who’s on blanket rotation? Do you bring a pillow or something to sit on? Lie down? Beach chair? (Are those allowed?) Or is it just not as big of a deal as I’m thinking? We’re regular park goers, but have yet to try the early waiting thing. Thanks a ton!

    • I wouldn’t bring a chair. But, you could bring other things to make you comfy. Just know you’ll have to store such and not be able to leave anything unattended. I actually love my time “on the blanket” because of the break from kids! 🙂 Just take turns and it should work. Good luck!

  42. Yes. See Fantasmic! at 9:00pm, stay for Disneyland Forever in the same spot for the 9:30pm show and then see the 11pm Paint the Night. I recommend the dining package for Fantasmic! (Blue Bayou or River Belle Terrace) if it’s in your budget because you’ll have awesome seats for both Fantasmic! and Disneyland Forever. Then, you’ll watch the parade with 1/4 of the people that typically show for the 8:50pm parade. It’s so much easier to see the parade late at night if you can make it to 11pm.

    • Great Info! If I make a reservation for 7:50 for River Belle, can we just stay there for Fantasmic? Is the reservation too late? We are late nighters, so your suggestion of all three events…especially the 11pm is wonderful! Thank you!

    • love all your info!!!!! I am soooo nervous about our trip, we are pros when it comes to WDW but have never been to land and are beyond excited but I feel like I know nothing!! We will be there October 4-9, with hours being shorter and Halloween parties will they still have 2 parade shows? Would it be easier for us to catch the parade on the night we attend the party?

  43. #2 location for PTN was a complete disaster Monday. I won’t go into the gory details, but if it was a secret, it isn’t any more, and Disneyland CMs need to adjust to that new reality.

  44. Would I be able to to see any part of the paint the night parade from either jolly holiday or Plaza Inn? We are less concerned with the perfect view and more concerned with being able to sit and a quick exit (without having to campout for hours).

    • Jolly Holiday would be a better option, but people are taking those tables super early for exactly this reason. In front of the firehouse in Town Center, near City Hall, is a good place for a last minute stop without having to wait. You won’t be up close by any means, but you’ll be able to see the parade and then can leave quickly.

  45. I’m a little confused/overwhelmed. Is there a place to watch the Paint the Night Parade and then stay in the same spot for great viewing of fireworks, or is it important to change location in between the parade and fireworks? Sorry…I’m pretty naive about this!

    • You can essentially stay in the same spot, but my suggestions move you to more affective viewing. In some suggestions, I only move you a few yards, around trees or such – typically into where the parade went through.

  46. So, am I understanding this right? For the Paint the Night Parade there isn’t a great viewing spot to see this parade and then stay in the same spot for fireworks? We only have two days so I don’t want to mess it up!

  47. Thanks for the photos of where you sit during the parade and the info about the bricks. I’m trying to decide if we’ll try to brave the crowds on Main Street for the new night parade or try the more open area around Small World. We want to see the fireworks to, and I’m sure we’ll miss things from there, but it’s still supposed to be a good show from there too. Decisions…

    • We have watched the new fireworks from in front of It’s a Small World and although the booms were too loud for my grumpy 2 yr old, and he screamed and cried from beginning to end (we couldn’t find a side outing from the crowd) the show and projections still brought tears to my eyes! Be sure to turn around during the Nemo scene and check out Thunder Mountain for a surprise! 😉

    • Thank you so much for your detailed suggestions. They worked out perfectly for my family of 5. We chose the spot you took a picture of across from Small World for PTN. We got there about 1.5 hours early and nobody was there. We laid out blankets and walked to the vendors in front of us setting up with snacks and light up toys. We purchased our goods and the kids were happy as a clams. After the parade we rode Small World because the line was 5 min and when we emerged we stood up on the terrace at the exit to watch the show on Small World and had a perfect view of fireworks too. It was spectacular. Thank you for this amazing hint because you made our night easy and the kids had a blast.