February 2001 – present
A Bug’s Land – When you arrive at the main entrance, from the Buena Vista Street path, you’ll see the theater on your left. If you head to A Bug’s Land from Hollywood Land, keep to the right of the main walkway and you’ll see the theater on your right, at the very end of the land.
It’s Tough To Be A Bug! is an opening day original, and actually preceded its own land. From 2001-2002, the show operated in a now-closed area known as Bountiful Valley farm. But the farm had low attendance and never gained much attention in California Adventure, and many guests complained that the park didn’t have enough for kids. So Imagineers designed A Bug’s Land with the It’s Tough show as its centerpiece, and the new land opened in 2002.
- Single Rider Line – no
- Fast Pass – no
- Height Requirement – none
- Duration – 9:00
Guests begin their journey by circling Ant Island, the setting of A Bug’s Life. Once inside, guests wait in a lobby with bug-versions of classic movies, and receive “bug eyes” (3D glasses). Finally, an usher welcomes visitors into the theater, and welcomes Flik to begin the show.
Flik introduces a number of his friends, some of whom jump out at the audience or spray acid (a small squirt of water) or send little blasts of stinky air into the audience. But the lighthearted mood of the show comes to an abrupt end when Hopper shows up, and he’s furious that Flik is entertaining humans. He unleashes his band of minions on the audience, to scare them away once and for all. The hornets “sting” the audience, giant black widows shoot down from the ceiling, and smog shoots over the room.
When the dust settles, Flik reemerges and brings his friends back into the theater to finish the show with a cheerful song about the life of bugs. And when the show appears to be over, the bugs have one final surprise: they exit before the humans, crawling beneath their seats. Finally, guests are ushered out of the theater, remove their bug eyes, and can resume their exploration of A Bug’s Land.
MY RATING: ★★★★☆
Going into this show, I really didn’t know what to expect. And though I loved the bug movie posters in the lobby, I was underwhelmed with the first half of the show. The spray gags were kind of lame, the bugs in the show weren’t in the original film, and I thought the show was just boring in general. But when Hopper arrives, everything changes. The “stingers” (small pokes in the seat), black widows, and smoke shooting around are TERRIFYING, but so awesome. Despite my initial skepticism, I was thoroughly impressed. While the rest of the show is cute and has some cool special effects, Hopper’s invasion is what makes this show worth seeing.
But be warned – the Hopper scene is genuinely scary, especially for little kids. Every time I’ve seen the show, a few kids in the theater have freaked out or cried. While tons of kids love the show and want to see it over and over again, easily frightened family members may want to steer clear.
Since the show runs every 10 minutes or so, the line for the theater is never very long, even on crowded days. The one exception would be particularly hot or crowded days during mid-summer, when guests are looking for a cool and shady spot in the park. If you find yourself in that situation, try visiting after dark, when lines in A Bug’s Land tend to die down. Otherwise, you should have no problem seeing the show.
Note: Like the Magic Eye theater in Tomorrowland, the A Bug’s Life theater is often used to show previews of upcoming Disney movies. When the park is running these previews, the It’s Tough To Be A Bug! show goes dark to make room for the temporary overlay. You check if the show will be running during your visit here.
The song at the end was written specifically for the show, with music by George Wilkins and lyrics by Kevin Rafferty.
Recognize the songs in the lobby? They are buggy versions of Broadway classics: One – A Cockroach Line (One – A Chorus Line), Beauty and the Bees (Beauty and the Beast), Tomorrow – Antie (Tomorrow – Annie), I Feel Pretty – Web Side Story (I Feel Pretty – West Side Story), Hello Dung Lovers – The Dung And I (Hello Young Lovers – The King And I), and Tonight – Web Side Story mixed with Flight of the Bumblebee (Tonight – West Side Story mixed with Flight of the Bumblebee).