The SECRET Ways to Avoid the Crowds at Disney’s NEW Nighttime Show

Disney World’s newest nighttime spectacular seems to have started off with a bang! We found ourselves mesmerized by the hundreds of drones set to music that light up the night sky over the water at Disney Springs, and we don’t seem to be the only ones!


If you’ve been looking to plan a visit to see this limited-time show, there’s a word of warning we want to share with you about the crowds (and we’re also spilling a few ways to get around them)!

Disney Springs seems to be the new hot spot of nighttime activity since the debut of Dreams That Soar. This incredible show features hundreds of drones that work together to put on a dazzling 9-minute-long display of familiar, modern, and nostalgic Disney characters set to a moving, original musical score happening twice a night through September 2nd, 2024.

WALL-E and Eve

However, since it’s become such a popular sightsee each night, that has led to some unintended consequences. While the show does perform twice each night at 9PM and 10:45PM, it’s the built-up anticipation of the first show that seems to be the issue.

Viewing area this way!

We’ve even spotted crowds lined up hours before the first show, which has caused big problems for folks looking to stroll the shops and restaurants around the district, especially near the designated viewing area where the drones and images they create in the sky are best visible. The official entrance for the viewing area (which is along the lake) is at Cirque du Soleil.

The crowds were here hours before

When we talked to Cast Members working at the surrounding restaurants with lake views, like Summer House on the Lake, they mentioned that people are booking reservations for their restaurant hours before the show and not leaving when they’ve wrapped up their meal.

The back patio at Summer House on the Lake

This is causing extra stress on the flow of the traffic for the restaurant and backing up their reservation times for folks who did make reservations around the show time (whether they intended to see the show or not), and they’re respectfully asking those who are finished with their meals to be kind enough to grab a spot to see the show in the viewing areas or make a reservation closer to their preferred viewing time.

As a reminder, location requests when dining at any restaurant are truly just a request and never a guarantee, so be aware when you’re making these reservations that the restaurant will do their best to honor your requests as they can.

Crowds by the food trucks

But there are also a few options to take note of if you’re truly looking for dinner with a show (and a nice view while you’re at it)! Jaleo is offering an outdoor lakeside seating and tasting experience.

Jaleo’s back patio

Those looking to take advantage of this offering can book the experience through Open Table and will need to book seating for the 9PM drone show at 7:30PM and specify Lakeview seating. If you’re looking to book the second show at 10:45PM, you’ll want to book your reservation for 9:30PM and also specify Lakeview seating. This dining option will cost you $79 per person. As a side note when you go to book the experience, there currently isn’t a way on Open Table to specify the tasting experience so noting the Lakeside view is your best option.

Jaleo tasting experience menu

That’s not the only option Jaleo has for drone show viewers! If you’re just looking for a less crowded spot with full access to Jaleo’s bar and bathrooms, they’ve got that too! This option is operating on a first-come, first-served basis and is standing room only in the roped-off area. Taking Jaleo up on this offering will cost you $35 per person and currently, the restaurant is recommending you arrive at least an hour early before show time for your best chance at a spot.

You can view the show from Jaleo!

However, if you’re looking for the best FREE experience, you’ll find that waiting for the later showtime offers a much less crowded show. When we went out, we experienced significantly decreased crowds during the second show compared to the first show and found no problem grabbing a comfy spot to watch after the massive crowds of people had time to filter out of the viewing areas and back to the parking garages.

The crowds during the first show

There’s a very relaxed patio on the back side of Starbucks which we noticed was packed for the first show but suddenly wasn’t for the second!

The Starbucks patio

There was also much more room in the viewing area during the second show, and it served as an excellent perspective to watch the show. It might be worth the extra steps to actually go into the designated viewing area for a more comfortable space for the second show.

During the second show

Most places we spotted as entrances to the viewing locations looked very easy to walk up to, but if you needed some extra distance we didn’t have a super bad view between Jaleo and House of Blues (although, admittedly it was a bit obstructed).

Still viewable!

It was recommended to us to experience the show from the top of the Coca-Cola store’s viewing patio, however, while the view was incredible, we weren’t able to hear much of the show’s music above Coca-Cola’s own music which detracted a bit from the experience.

The view from Coca-Cola

You’re probably wondering about the difference between the crowds leaving each show, and in its tried and true fashion, the second show pulled out ahead by a long shot! You should expect big crowds and several bottle-necked, stand-still spots leaving the first show’s viewing while making your way out of the area.

Crowds leaving the first show

But for the second show, it doesn’t even hold a candle to the first. While we could still see crowds of people leaving, it was nothing like the caliber of the first show’s experience. (Years of seeing the differences in crowds at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party have certainly prepared us).

Crowds leaving the second show

So as you can see, there are plenty of viewing options for both show times that can work for all budgets and vantage points. While you might find that a paid option is worth the splurge, patience with either arriving very early or waiting to see the second show could work in your favor as a budget-conscious trick just as well.

We’re always talking about the latest updates and changes happening all around Disney World. Be sure to stay tuned with us for more!

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