July 21, 2024

Fantasmic Dining Package at Disney World: Price Increase & Changes

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Walt Disney World has announced changes and price increases coming to Fantasmic Dining Packages for breakfast, lunch & dinner at Hollywood Studios. Here’s a full rundown of what's happening and possible reasons why, plus our




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Walt Disney World has announced changes and price increases coming to Fantasmic Dining Packages for breakfast, lunch & dinner at Hollywood Studios. Here’s a full rundown of what’s happening and possible reasons why, plus our commentary about the higher costs and additions/subtractions.

For those unfamiliar with it, Fantasmic is a nighttime spectacular performed nightly in the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. While Fantasmic includes pyro among its elements, it is not a conventional fireworks show. Instead, it’s more like a stage show at night, at an epic scale with wow-inducing wizardry, visuals, and performers.

That explanation doesn’t really do Fantasmic justice, but nothing will–not even photos and video. Suffice to say, it’s an absolute must-do and arguably the flagship nighttime spectacular at Walt Disney World. (Happily Ever After is as good or better, but it’s still fireworks. Fantasmic is unlike anything you can see in the real world.) As a result, Fantasmic is popular…generating FOMO…leading to planners purchasing dining packages for guaranteed seating.

Here’s what is currently included in each Fantasmic! Dining Package:

  • An entrée and appetizer or dessert at select full-service restaurants or one (1) full buffet (where applicable), along with a nonalcoholic beverage
  • One voucher for guaranteed seating at Fantasmic! in a reserved area

Starting August 29, 2024, the following will be included in each Fantasmic! Dining Package:

  • An entrée and dessert at select full-service restaurants or one (1) full buffet (where applicable), along with a nonalcoholic beverage (or alcoholic beverage, for Guests 21 and older)
  • One voucher for guaranteed seating at Fantasmic! in a reserved area

Explore participating restaurants and prices for the Fantasmic Dining Packages, before and after the changes:

Current Pricing Starting August 29, 2024
Adults
(ages 10 & up)
Kids
(ages 9 & Under)
Adults
(ages 10 & up)
Kids
(ages 9 & Under)
50’s Prime Time Cafe
Classic American comfort food, ’50s kitsch and a good old-fashioned family gathering take you back to a bygone era.
$54.00 $23.00 $60.00 $23.00
Hollywood & Vine
Celebrate breakfast with Disney Junior Stars or enjoy lunch and dinner with Minnie and friends at seasonal dining parties.
Breakfast: $59.00
Lunch & Dinner: $75.00
Breakfast: $39.00
Lunch & Dinner: $49.00
Breakfast: $65.00
Lunch & Dinner: $81.00
Breakfast: $39.00
Lunch & Dinner: $49.00
Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano
Mangia in the backlot of Disney’s Hollywood Studios at this casual but colorful Italian eatery with a California twist.
$56.00 $23.00 $62.00 $23.00
Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant
Do dinner and a show ’50s-style at our drive-in “theater,” featuring all-American cuisine and sci-fi movie clips.
$51.00 $23.00 $57.00 $23.00
The Hollywood Brown Derby
Step into the Golden Age of Hollywood at this warm, wood-paneled restaurant serving contemporary American cuisine.
$77.00 $31.00 $83.00 $31.00

All listed package prices do not include alcohol or required park admission. Alcohol will only be served to Guests 21 and older.

In a nutshell, the first key change is that the Fantasmic Dining Packages will include an entrée and dessert at table service restaurants, instead of a dessert or appetizer. Additionally, a non-alcoholic beverage or an alcoholic beverage for guests 21 and older, instead of a non-alcoholic beverage for anyone.

In “exchange” for the loss of appetizer option and addition of alcohol option (for Disney Adults who are also Adults in the Eyes of the Government), adult prices are increasing by $6. Children’s prices remain the same. All of this starts on August 29, 2024.

In terms of commentary, I can’t say I’m shocked by this. I guess I am slightly as a matter of timing, as normally changes like this happen in bulk at the start of the new fiscal year in October. That consults headlines (like this one!) since there will certainly be others, rather than dragging them out.

Just a few quick thoughts before going off on a tangent. First, desserts are cheaper than appetizers, so eliminating the latter probably works as a cost-savings for Walt Disney World. Second, alcohol is high-margin and not even every Disney Adult is 21, so that’s an easy “addition” to make the price increase easier to justify.

Third, this brings the Fantasmic Dining Package in line with what’s included on the Disney Dining Plan. It’s possible the discrepancy was a source of confusion, and that’s why this change is being made–that it has little to do with trying to boost revenue. I don’t think that’s the case, but who knows.

Finally, we have a really tough time recommending the Fantasmic Dining Package. When the nighttime spectacular first returned, we recommended booking the cheapest Fantasmic Dining Package and guaranteeing yourself a great seat that way.

However, that was over 18 months ago and crowds to see the show have died down since then. Also, you could game the package and come out close to ahead by ordering the “right” items, so the premium was pretty insignificant. Usually just a few bucks.

While it’ll still be possible, in theory, to game the packages if everyone in your party drinks, that won’t be the case for most parties. Not only that, but the Fantasmic Dining Package simply is not necessary to see the show. So really, the only people getting it after August 29, 2024 should be those who can game it or those on the Disney Dining Plan. With limited exceptions, no one “needs” it.

Therefore, if you’re paying out of pocket at the higher rate and it’s a significant surcharge…you only have yourself to blame. Sure, it sucks that Walt Disney World is increasing prices, but that’s the nature of the beast. People feeding the FOMO machine by buying unnecessary upcharges like this only have themselves to blame when the beast gets bigger, so to speak. (Put more delicately: please stop buying this stuff so Disney stops increasing the prices on it, I beg of you!)

Right now, Fantasmic only has one showtime most nights. Our expectation is that this is the case for pretty much the duration of the summer season, as it simply is not that busy. Disney isn’t filling up the single showing, so no need for two. This has been the case prior to Summer 2024, with only a few exceptions that we’ve seen (busier dates that still only have one showtime scheduled).

If you’re scheduled to do Disney’s Hollywood Studios on a busier date in October through December 2024 (when the parks actually could be busy), there will often be two showings of Fantasmic. If there are two performances, you do not need to buy the dining package–even if it’s busier. You just need to stay for the second show (the first will often fill up).

Sarah and I have done Fantasmic multiple times now, and we’ve managed to see the second show from spectacular seats simply by showing up ~10 minutes in advance. They are a fantastic way to see Fantasmic without paying extra for the dining package. They’re also a great way to extend your day, as second showtimes often/usually occur 30 minutes after park closing.

With all of this said, I’m still not a fan of price increases. Hopefully that goes without saying. Even though I think guests need to be more discerning with how they spend their money–and not be free-spending with upcharges out of FOMO–I also wish Walt Disney World would exercise more restraint with price increases. But I’m also a realist, and recognize that the latter doesn’t happen without the former–pricing is dictated by demand.

Nevertheless, if Walt Disney World is going to raise rates (and they are!), I wish it were done in a more guest friendly way. This who game they’ve been playing the last several years by adding booze to justify price increases just rubs me the wrong way. I’ll admit that part of this is purely personal–we no longer drink, so this type of package amounts to paying for something we wouldn’t use to its fullest.

We aren’t alone, though. As hinted at above, a large portion of people paying adult prices cannot order alcohol–Disney Adults who are under 21 years of age. For another, there’s an ever-increasing percentage of the population that does not drink at all, especially those under age 35.

Finally, Walt Disney World is a family-friendly place. I have absolutely zero issue with responsible adults having the option to purchase alcohol in all of the theme parks–I’m not some teetotaler who thinks booze should be banned. However, I also don’t think Disney should be actively incentivizing the practice or tacitly encouraging people to drink in order to “get their money’s worth.”

It’s the same story with the dessert parties or the Disney Dining Plan. Our “solution” to this problem is simply to not purchase either, as these products are no longer compelling for us. Easy enough–we vote with our wallets. Still, it doesn’t seem quite right that Walt Disney World, of all places, is implicitly encouraging alcohol consumption by making it part of the value-proposition.

It’s also odd that they’d be moving in this direction this despite knowing that one of their core demos–families with children ages 10 to 20 years old–won’t be able to take full advantage of these packages they’re selling. Removing the booze and reducing prices a bit would be a net positive for a lot of guests–instead, they’re doing the opposite.

Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!

YOUR THOUGHTS

What’s your take on the Fantasmic Dining Package pricing increases and changes? Do you pay for these packages out of pocket? What advantage do you think it offers? Would you be happy with price decreases and the removal of alcohol, or does booze add a lot of value for you? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!




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