So, like many, I was a bit worried when Disney announced a $99 a person (including children) add-on event to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. Many of us had just spent $67 on a Villains event that we ended up asking for a refund from, and were granted easily by Disney because it was such a disaster. I love the Halloween Party and so was concerned that a dessert party in the middle of the night might ruin my enjoyment of this wonderful Magic Kingdom hard-ticket event. It certainly didn’t ruin my event, it made the night far more memorable and enjoyable.
The event began at 7:30 with check-in. Check-in was offered either outside of the park or in the hub inside of the preferred viewing area offered to those attending. Upon checking-in, each member of our party was given a lanyard and we were given a seating card for the reception indie Cinderella Castle. We then proceeded to the reserved viewing space for the night’s entertainment.
The preferred viewing area for Mickey’s Boo-to-You Halloween Parade and Happy HalloWishes! fireworks was the front 1/3 of the center hub behind the Partners statue. This was a great location. We staked out a spot all the way to the left so we could watch the parade come straight toward us over the Liberty Square bridge, but also so we could have that perfect view of the fireworks with the bursts taking place just to the left of Cinderella Castle. I know some guests complained that it wasn’t a great location, but this is typically where I would stand for these offerings anyway. For the added cost, there wasn’t a ton of uncomfortable, sweaty guests on top of each other (myself included, I’m a big guy and I don’t want to squish next to a stranger as much as they don’t want to do it with me), which is nice when it’s over 90 degrees at the first party of the year. The ability to watch the parade with our children and not have someone try to push kids between us after we had been waiting an hour was magnificent. Not having to hold a healthy, heavy 5-year old child for over 10 minutes through a fireworks show was just as wonderful, if not more-so. It really gave everyone in the family a better opportunity tot enjoy the parade and fireworks and focus more on how much fun we were having and not if everyone could see or was uncomfortable. I already felt like I had gotten some great value out of my $99 (obviously more if you include the party ticket cost), but I knew there was also more to come. We also had a great view for 2 showings of Villains Mix ‘N’ Mingle on the castle stage, one before and one after dark. You are free to leave the area and come and go as you please as an attendee, and many guests did in fact just stay or the parade and then departed from the area for good. I stayed in the area from 7:45Pm until 9:45PM, the kids and mom left for about 20 minutes to get some candy and had no problem getting in and out to do so.
After the fireworks ended, we waited about 10 minutes for the crowd around the area to dissipate before cast members led us behind Cinderella Castle for the Villains’ Sinister Soiree. The time on our card said 10:15PM, but we arrived with the group at the check-in for Royal Table at around 9:50-55PM. We were not allowed in until 10:15PM, which was a bit of a wait when you have two kids who have to go to the bathroom, but we made it.
When the doors opened, there was a free-for-all meet and greet with Anastasia and Drizella, Captain Hook, Judge Frollo, and the Queen of Hearts in the entry area of Cinderella’s Royal Table. I’ve heard some people complain about not getting to meet these characters, but again, I’m not really sure what these people were doing. The step-sisters spent at least 2 minutes talking to our boys, who were then grabbed by Captain Hook for a photo-op, who then promptly moved us along to the Queen of Hearts who we also spent an adequate amount of time with. These aren’t face characters, so 30 seconds to a minute with them seemed like enough. We skipped Judge Frollo as he was one of the few villains we actually met at “Villains Unleashed”.
We weren’t rushed upstairs, in fact, it seemed most guests attending needed to use the restrooms and had enough time to do so before traveling to the restaurant. Once we made it upstairs, we found the already charming restaurant enhanced with table decorations, live music, and wonderful gifts. Included with your package was not only the advertised Maleficent souvenir cup, but also a Maleficent light-up drink stirrer, and the poison apple “glow-cube” that was very popular at “Villains Unleashed”. Everyone also received a commemorative menu and autograph card exclusive to the event.
Lady Tremaine arrived a few moments later and opened the event with a musical number and an introduction of all of the Villains who would be joining us for the event: Cruella De Ville, the Queen, Dr. Facilier, Maleficent, Anastasia, and Drizella. Throughout the 45 minutes we were seated, we would get to spend some time with each of these villains. Some of these villains spent 3-4 minutes with us! Every Villain was on their A-Game for this event and were obviously very devoted to making sure guests felt like they were a part of something special. The time we spent with these characters and the photos we took with them were wonderful and, as corny as it might sound, are memories we will cherish for a lifetime.
The few occasions where Lady Tremaine and the step-sisters broke into song were quite memorable. The mash-up of “Sweet Nightingale” and “Royals” was a highlight for sure…
The food was much better than expected. I thought we would just be having dessert in the castle, but a plate of cheeses, salami, and bread was found in the center of each table when we arrived. I expected everything to be theme park quality, but was quite surprised to really have enjoyed most of the items on the plate. Everything tasted fresh and well-prepared, and certainly did not feel like it had been left out for a long time which I often find to be a problem at Disney events like this.
Water was provided as well as a specialty beverage called the Captain’s Not-So-Poisoned Potion. This was basically an apple seltzer with a foam topping. It was good, not great, but I’m not much of an apple fan anyway. The drink stirrer and “glow cube” were enough for me.
After a short period, the Villains presented the 4 dessert creations they came up with: The Queen’s Bleeding Heart Apple (a white wine poached apple), Maleficent’s Dragon-toasted Confection (pistachio mousse with crisp meringue), Dr. Facilier’s Chocolate Tarot Card (dark chocolate covered pecan praline with chocolate torte), and Cruella De Vil’s Spotted Chocolate Mousse Cake (101 layers of white chocolate and dark chocolate mousse with a hint of raspberry).
The presentation was amazing, from the small powder puppy paw prints, to the tarot card made of chocolate. Some of the desserts were not my thing, but everyone in our party received 4-full size desserts and everyone at least found 1 dessert in the four that they enjoyed. I ended up eating all 4 of our chocolate tarot cards…
Villain’s Sinister Soiree is worth every penny of $99 if the party entertainment and meeting characters are what you most want out of a Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. I’ve paid north of $200 for some Tables in Wonderland meals, so I can’t imagine a scenario where this sort of once-in-a-lifetime opportunity isn’t worth this price. If Epcot dessert parties are north of $50 a person ,and so is the opportunity to dine in Cinderella Castle generally, then how is this not worth $99? We also took away a good value in souvenirs with a Maleficent souvenir mug exclusive to this event, a light-up drink stirrer, a fairly exclusive “glow cube”, and an autograph card & lanyard. I’d at least value those items at $25-30, never mind dessert, the premium viewing area, and the 10 characters available to meet.
The one thing I would change if I could would be our seating time. 10:15PM being in the middle of the party, we did not do much else at the event. The 11:45PM seating is an even better value, giving you more time at the party at an event only 150o guests get to experience a night.
Overall, it was wonderful. I would do it again at any price point up to $150 a person. The value is there, especially for families or just those who are more entertainment oriented. Meeting rare characters with no wait, seeing entertainment with plenty of space to yourself, delicious desserts, time inside Cinderella Castle, and bag full of items to bring home (including some extra candy) is hard to beat. This event was probably the best add-on ticket I’ve ever purchased at a theme park. All expectations were exceeded and the taste of “Villains Unleashed” has finally been washed away. It’s refreshing to know that a concept for added Disney profit can still be produced where Disney can make plenty of money and the customer can feel appreciated and special. Something isn’t over-priced if no one attending feels that it is. Value is a perception, and I perceive that the Sinister Soiree is a good sign of event add-ons to come to Walt Disney World.
The Villains’ Sinister Soiree will be discussed in-depth on this week’s WDW News Today Podcast if you are looking for more information on this special event, but be advised that it is sold out for most remaining Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween