Having seen several “Eat to the Beat” concerts now at the American Gardens Theater in Epcot, I wanted to blog about where to sit, as it can make or break your experience. Enjoy!
Last year I waited in the hot Florida sun for HOURS to get first row for Richard Marx. Having crushed on him during my entire High School existence, it was a BIG DEAL to see him FINALLY perform. And what better experience than in a Disney Park for free? Well, in the price of regular admission anyways. Once the line filed in, I had no problem getting a seat in the front row. BUT I had to be one of the first 15-20 people in line to get it. My point? If you want to be in the front row, you have to be in line EARLY and be one of the first to get into the Theater when it opens.
Now being in the front gives you a nice, unobstructed view of your favorite performer, mine being Mr. Marx. BUT the drawback is that when they stroll down the center stairs and into the crowd, they don’t come into the first row- normally. I DID get to touch Richard Marx on a fluke happenstance that you can read about HERE. If you sit on the way left or right, certain performers will make an effort to come to the end of those rows and also get close, but being on either of those sides doesn’t give you the best “overall” view of the entire group/band.
If you want to record the event, which Disney has no problem with unless they tell you otherwise, the best place to sit is anywhere in the center – on either side of the walkway or stairs. If you sit to close, you will have a hard time recording the entire stage. If you sit a couple of rows back, and on the end, in the FIRST section of the Theater, then you should have a GREAT view.
Now last night for Hanson, we sat in the FIRST row of the SECOND section, just off the main walkway that cuts the Theater in half horizontally. We thought “Great leg room, no one is sitting right in front of you, and we were on an incline giving us a view over the next row of seats.” Wow, we were wrong.
Let’s start with the fact that people just “don’t get it” when it comes to concert etiquette and common sense. Those of us who came early, to stand in line for however long, did so for the purpose of the VERY SEAT you are trying to stand in front of, steal, or walk up to. Hanson was great last night, but the actions and behaviors I watched while TRYING to view the concert were completely distracting from them.
Because we were in this “main” row, people strolled through with their beers, like they were walking through a park. First off, Disney needs to shut it down after the first song- no one comes in unless they are sitting in the back or walking to their seat- even then, make it known that once you sit, you stay. It is distracting and annoying to try and video something when someone is constantly walking in front of you. Secondly, they have those CM’s who are there to keep an eye on the “photo stragglers.” These are the people who stroll up to “take a picture” but then seem to somehow linger for the ENTIRE song. Do they think I am standing here for a contest? MOVE!! It is one thing to run up, take a shot, then move back to your seat. I saw MANY who walked up to the FRONT ROW and “pretend” to take pics then somehow “forget” to leave that spot. It’s just so rude people and everyone just needs to play nice and fair so we can ALL enjoy what we came for. We sat in this row for Boys 2 Men, and it wasn’t as bad – in fact we got lucky with one of them walking down the aisle singing to everyone- Shelley got to touch his hand even. Pros and Cons with that row I guess.
There is a row for those who are handicapped/wheelchair bound right behind the first section- and it does fill up fast because these are the ONLY spots available for this. Again, if you are in need of this area, make sure you let a Cast Member know as you get in line so they can let you know if there will be availability or not.
Like I said, the center area, on either side of the vertical walkway that leads up to the stairs is prime real estate. You can record easily, take pictures, and see quite well because you are on the end of the row and dead center of the action. To sit in this area, most didn’t wait in line to long for it or they literally just walked up to it. Once the line has filed in, they drop the ropes at the top of the Theater and then anyone can walk in and find a seat. Because most stand and wait for the rope to drop instead of getting in line, they do miss out on prime seats because most just give up and get in line anyways. They WILL NOT drop the rope until the line is no more.
The other interesting phenomenon at these Concerts is the actual line for it. Because there are three shows for every evening, most get in line and wait out one or two concerts to get great seats for the third and final concert of the evening. So they let the long line file in while they wait out their front spot in line for the next one. I do find this interesting since Disney’s policy for the same type of thing is usually “get back at the end of the line.” Example, Star Wars Weekends. They rotate out the characters in the “Darth Mall” so you aren’t really sure who you are going to get. I let others go ahead of me in line, as I was waiting for C3PO and Luke was still out. I was told I couldn’t do that, and that I would have to keep rotating in line. What was the point when I never knew WHEN he would be out? Just interesting.
Also if you ever see people running out during the last song, it’s because they are going to get back in line for the next concert. I am surprised that they don’t have some type of pass that you can get that allows you to stay for all three without having to get back up and get in line. I get it, everyone gets a shot to see them, but it is a pain to get excited about great seats, only to “hope” you can get great ones again for the second and third set.
I do love the “Eat to the Beat” series and I am happy Disney provides them as part of the admission price. Nothing is more fun than grabbing a yummy treat from “Food and Wine” and then listening to a favorite group of your childhood. I LOVE this time of year! For a complete schedule of who has performed and who is yet come, find it HERE. Have a great day!