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Best Disneyland Shows to Beat the Crowds

Get a front row seat at these magical live performances.

The Pixarmonic Orchestra at Paradise Garden Bandstand in Disney California Adventure Park, picture
Photo credit
Photo: Joshua Sudock/Disneyland Resort
Photo caption
The Paradise Garden Bandstand in Disney California Adventure Park is one of Disneyland's best spots to catch a show without the crowds.

Disneyland's most well-known entertainment may be the fireworks-and-fountains extravaganza of Fantasmic! and the sparkling parade of Paint The Night, but look beyond these eye-popping spectaculars and you’ll find that Disneyland Resort is home to other live performances that are every bit as magical. Best of all, unlike their uber-popular siblings, you won’t have to compete with crowds for a great view at any of these unheralded gems.

Mariachi Divas

It isn’t every day that Grammy Award winners perform inside a theme park—except at Disney California Adventure, where the twice-honored Mariachi Divas de Cindy Shea do exactly that. The acclaimed all-female ensemble entertains guests on the Pacific Wharf pier with traditional Mexican music, as well as some Mariachi-ized Disney classics; their lively take on “It's a Small World” is every bit as infectious as the original.

Flag Retreat

Most street performances on Disneyland Park’s Main Street U.S.A.—like the harmonizing Dapper Dans—are made to put a smile on your face; the flag retreat ceremony is the only one that may bring a tear to your eye. Every afternoon, the lowering of the Stars and Stripes above Town Square includes a special recognition of service members in attendance, and is accompanied by patriotic melodies from the Disneyland Band.

The Laughing Stock Co.

If you wed Wild West melodrama with wacky improvisational comedy, you get The Laughing Stock Co., the current silly stars of Frontierland’s storied Golden Horseshoe saloon. Their cornball antics (which always involve audience participation) make a welcome alternative to the intense E-Ticket attractions. Best of all, you can enjoy them while eating Walt’s favorite snack—beef chili—in his favorite seat in the second-level, house-right opera box beside the stage.

Read More: 5 Summer Disneyland Survival Tips

Paradise Garden Bandstand

Tucked into the back corner of Disney California Adventure’s Paradise Park behind the Goofy roller coaster, it’s easy to pass by this quaint covered stage, but then you’d be missing out on some of the resort’s best musical acts. The Ellis Island Boys, a Depression-era jazz band, and Sligo Rags, an award-winning Celtic Folk group, are frequent fan-favorite headliners. A rotation of guest artists also preform a diverse selection of music ranging from Latin to Eastern European klezmer songs.

Next Up: Members' Favorite Disneyland Tips and Tricks and the Secret of Disney's Sleeping Beauty Castle.