World of Color–Opening Day Picnic

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By now, I suspect everyone likely to read this has already read a plethora of information about World of Color (WoC) and its various permutations of seating arrangements. One of the methods of obtaining seating in the desirable “Paradise Park” location is buying a picnic meal either in advance, online, or on the same day, walk-up. I tried this out for the first public showing of WoC, and had some observations.

Initially, the picnics were said to cost $14.99 with no discounts, and would be available online on 6/11. Ultimately, it turned out that the picnics cost $12.99 with an AP discount, and were available online starting the morning of 6/10. On picking up the picnics, signs were up stating the picnics cost $13.99 so it may be the pricing is still in flux. Orders placed online were given Fastpasses for the 9:00pm show, while walk-ups were given passes for the 10:15pm show. While picnics were not available for purchase on the day of the show until 2pm, there was a huge line present by around 10:00am, at which time they started giving out wristbands so people could leave and come back later, assured that the picnics would not run out before they got theirs.

I asked the CM handling the line whether it was more/less advantageous to come earlier or later in the 2pm-8pm pickup time frame, he said that it didn’t matter–everyone was either going to get Yellow or Green viewing areas, and they were directly adjacent. We returned around 6:30pm, and received Yellow.

The picnics each came in their own commemorative tote bag:
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I had the Asian picnic which was, for the most part, decent.
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The salmon was a little dry but still manageable. The soba noodles were surprisingly good, and the mandarin orange cake was better than I had expected, being largely made of some sort of mousse filling rather than dry cake. What wasn’t good were the spring rolls, which were essentially julienned cucumber and carrot mixed together in a rice paper wrapper. The cucumber and carrot were completely bland, and the wrapper was so soft and damp that it proved impossible to dunk it into the dipping sauce without the whole thing exploding in a messy heap of vegetables.

The Fastpasses told us to go directly to the viewing area 30-90 minutes prior to the show. The interesting part about the viewing area is that it is divided up into sections by color, but there are no permanent markers delineating different sections. This leaves me to believe that they could conceivably change the location of a color whenever they want, in which case there would be no real way to know how good a section you scored until you got placed in it. In this first night’s viewing, Blue was the section most directly opposite the water screens, with Orange behind them, and Green adjacent to them. Yellow was on the other side of Green, and farthest off to the side was Red. While initially it seemed as though there would be three tiers of viewing areas (average for the regular Fastpass holders, better for picnickers, best for sit-down package holders,) it rapidly became evident that there were only two — Blue for the dining packages, and everything else for everyone else.

Anyone who had looked at the Paradise Park area in advance could probably have predicted that the viewing would be somewhat problematic by how shallow the tiering was constructed. The bottom tier appears to have the closest view, but offers the best chance of getting drenched through the progress of the show. The successive levels each offer good views in the front, but the people in back are generally stuck looking at the back of heads, and the occasional child riding his parent’s shoulders. Additionally, the show uses several different water screens at different distances from the audience — the screens in the back and the middle are mostly visible from the majority of the area, however the closest screen really only seems discernible if you’re sitting in the Blue section, or pretty close to it. The other sections curve around, so that you end up looking at the screen from the edge side, making the already-soft-focus picture often unidentifiable.

There is no sitting in the areas. Some of the people had gotten there early and were all sitting down in their sections, only to have the CMs tell them to stand up, and then place later arrivals in front of them. This led to some decidedly un-magical feelings.

To help keep the packed-in crowd from rioting and bloodshed, Disney provides a pre-show with large color-marked puppets that wander around for the half-hour prior to showtime inciting people to sing and holla their general enjoyment.
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The show itself is spectacular — the mastery of color and water it displays is amazing and thoroughly worth all the trouble and hoops you might have to suffer to enjoy it from a decent vantage point.
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During a subsequent show, I watched it from the back of Paradise Pier, and while the images on the screens were only occasionally identifiable, the view of the fountains and their movements was excellent. While it certainly wouldn’t be my first choice, you can definitely get a reasonable appreciation for the show without getting a Fastpass of any kind.

The only thing I would give a pass to, is the “Glow Fest” they developed for the people in the Hollywood Picture Backlot. In the first place, the Sun Plaza and the Backlot are decorated up with fairly loud and garish signage with an inexplicable emphasis on fluorescent yellow. We thought perhaps it would look better with special lighting, at night, but it was more or less the same. The backdrop that makes up the end of the street was covered over with projections of a tetris-like pattern, and colored shadows of dancing figures. There was a handful of people dancing in the streets to exceptionally loud music, but most seemed to be availing themselves of the booths in the middle of the street which were selling a variety of alcoholic beverages such as Cosmopolitans, in souvenir martini glasses. The odd part was that, at least at the booth I examined, there weren’t any similarly festive non-alcoholic options — just bottles of water. Although no doubt entertaining for many, it left me with the same impression George Bailey got when he found Bedford Falls turned into Pottersville.
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On the whole, I thought Disney did a relatively good job of coming up with a variety of affordable options by which people can guarantee themselves a place to see the show. With time, it seems likely that they’ll continue to fine-tune and improve the admittedly rocky arrangements they have now.

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Jeanine resides in Southern California, pursuing the sort of lifestyle that makes her the envy of every 11-year-old she meets. She has been to every Disney theme park in the world and while she finds Tokyo DisneySea the Fairest Of Them All, Disneyland is her Home Park... and there is no place like home.

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2 Replies to “World of Color–Opening Day Picnic”

  1. I ordered the vegetarian and my husband the antipasto. They all had a lot of food. I could not finish it. I thought they were very delicious.

  2. So, basically, pass on the picnic? Unless of course you want to eat a picnic lunch and you don’t want to have to arrive early to get a fast pass.

    Laura replies: My opinion might be a bit different than Jeanine’s, but here it is for what it’s worth. I still think the picnic is a great value, and I would do it again – you’re guaranteed to get a FP for the show without worrying about showing up early enough to get one (and standing in line to get it for 30-45 minutes!). The Mediterranean Vegetarian option offers the most food – that was pretty close to a full meal for me, but the others are more of a snack. Still, you get a tote bag (worth $3-$4, and at least for the first weekend they were giving out one tote bag per MEAL rather than one per ORDER), plus a bottled drink (worth $3) plus the food plus the Fastpass. That’s a lot of stuff!

    Jeanine replies: I also think it’s not a bad bargain–and certainly the easiest way to assure yourself of getting a spot in the viewing area. I am not sure, however, that I would purchase the picnic on its own merits, if it did not include the FP, just because I think there are so many other eating options in California Adventure in general.

    My decision tree might go something like this: If I knew I was not going to get to the park early enough to get a regular FP for any of the shows, and I didn’t feel like paying the ~$40 for the sit-down restaurants, I’d book the picnic online. If I thought I might make the regular FP, I’d consider holding off, trying the FP machines, and if I didn’t get one, buying the picnic meal that day as a walk-up, at 2pm.