REVIEW: Star Wars Fireworks Dessert Party Awakens at Hollywood Studios, But Is The Force $69 Strong?
Last night, I attended the very first “Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party at Disney’s Hollywood Studios”, which might be the longest named special event in Disney history. Regardless, the event is very much in the same vein as the FROZEN fireworks dessert party that has been offered in the past, but now themed to Star Wars to match the remastered Symphony in the Stars fireworks show that debuted back on December 18th.
The party is $69.00 for adults and $39.00 for children ages 3-9 and advance reservations are highly recommended. The event is hosted nightly from January 5th through March 19th, 2016.
Check-in starts sometime before 7PM (we checked in at around 6:20PM) and the party actually opened a little before 7PM to those already checked in.
Once entering, we were greeted with the Freeze-fried Nutella Truffle station, which is how I prefer to be greeted anywhere I go. This was really fantastic. The addition of the choice of raspberry or chocolate sauce was a nice touch and I felt like this was unique and a good fit for the theme of the party.
Alcoholic beverages are included with the price, probably why adults cost $69.00 per ticket. Of the 4 drinks, I tried 3: The Force, the First Order Finale, and the Corellian Smuggler’s Coffee.
The First Order Finale was my personal favorite, but I’m also a big fan of coconut rum. It wasn’t too sweet and had just the right amount of alcohol in it for my taste.
I hate to use this, but it’s very true… “The Force is Strong with This One.” The Force was easily the strongest drink I’ve ever had in a Disney theme park. It wasn’t bad, but you could smell this thing from the forest moon of Endor (which is in a galaxy far, far away for those who don’t understand Star Wars).
The coffee was nothing out of this world, but on a cold night it was everything I could I have wanted. It had just the right mix of alcohol and coffee and if I didn’t need to review other “specialty” drinks that aren;t just coffee and Bailey’s, I would have probably just had 4 of these.
For those adverse to alcohol (and for younger padawans), there are specialty non-alcoholic drinks as well, Padawan Punch Blood Orange Lemonade and Ewok Juice Green Apple Lemonade. Water, coffee, and soft drinks are also readily available.
The desserts were spectacular. If you’re a fan of the larger Star Wars cupcakes in the park, you’ll find mini-versions of the BB-8 and Darth Vader cupcakes here and you can have your fill of them. There is also a bite-size portion of the Blue Milk Panna Cotta. You’ll find a smattering of unique desserts not offered in the parks as well.
Darth Maul eclairs anyone?
I have a weakness for crispy rice treats myself…
My personal favorite was the Galactic Size Warm Space Debris Bread Pudding, which is as big as it’s name. This was really great, tasty bread pudding with a galaxy of special toppings such as M&M’s, chocolate chips, pretzel sticks, and some things I couldn’t even identify in the wreckage. You could even get a big scoop of ice cream to go with it at the next station.
The ubiquitous generic Disney ice cream snacks are also here in case you have a rebellious picky-eater in your group. Although, sometimes in life you just need a Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bar, right?
I was most surprised to see some items I would not classify as desserts among the available spreads, including scorched pesto crisps and the smoked sea-salted “quarter ration” biscuit. The soggy crisps weren’t great, but I probably could have eaten an entire tray of the biscuits which were soft and had a great flavor.
There were also fruit-sabers for those who enjoy a healthier option.
With the food and drinks out of the way, let’s talk about the viewing area. It’s located on the left side of what is now called “Center Stage” in the hub of the park. This is not a bad viewing area by any means… as long as you are not behind trees.
Honestly, our spot was the best one I’ve had for fireworks in the park, though typically I stand far enough back that my video camera can pick up the full view of all of the launch points, so I don’t necessarily always try to stand this close to the show. I can’t imagine the people a few table in towards the tree had as good a view as we did though. My main problem with this is that there are just too many tables in a rather confined space. I don’t think the event is overcrowded, the the amount of tables and the layout doesn’t function. You could see every guest toward the rope line having a really hard time getting to the food and drinks on the opposite side, just because the tables (which now had people around them) were so close together. Not having to fight through people to get to the tables and bars would have improved my experience. Maybe sell 5-10 less tickets and pull 3-4 tables out to make aisles?
My biggest issue, and this might be kind of silly, but it’s the tablecloths. Not only are these the icy blue cloths they used for the FROZEN dessert parties, but they are too long. With the tables pushed so close together and the table cloths dragging on the floor, I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I either almost tripped on a table cloth or saw someone almost pull everything off of a table. Please Disney, use the profits of the first few parties to buy Star Wars themed tablecloths that are actually the proper length. Maybe get the Star Wars centerpieces from last year’s Rebel Hangar lounge and spruce up the tabletops a little too…
In the end though, we had a great view of what is a really phenomenal fireworks show (and one that will be getting better in the coming months, but that’s a story for another post).
As a parting gift, guests were given a souvenir Chewbacca stein as they exited (the same ones you can buy around the park for $8, but a nice gesture).
So, was it worth $69.00? Maybe. I’m definitely on the fence about this one. I’m a pretty hardcore Star Wars fan, so it’s hard for me to not have a good time surrounded by Star Wars-themed desserts and fireworks. During the busier weeks like President’s Day or Spring Break, I definitely see the value here. A reserved fireworks spot with a nice, clear view and not having to fight crowds is really great. If you will have 3-4 alcoholic beverages and eat plenty of the snacks, you will probably find your value here. If it was priced at $49.00, I would say it was a no-brainer, but $69.00 a person is a lot of money for 1 hour of unlimited food and drinks. I definitely don’t see a $39.00 value for children though. Again, I don’t think I can clearly define if it is worth the price I paid, but I think the crowd will be split between those who enjoyed it and those who felt it wasn’t worth the price point. If you have Star Wars fans in your group, they’re going to have a good time, but otherwise, there are probably better ways to eat and drink for $69.00 a person at Walt Disney World on a night where the park isn’t crowded anyway. If seeing these fireworks the right way is a priority to th you and you’re coming during a busy week, book this. If not, it’s just going to depend how strongly The Force is calling to you.