PHOTOS, VIDEO, REVIEW: Get Smashed with New Alcohol Options at Happily Ever After Fireworks Dessert Party at the Magic Kingdom
A few years ago, back ye olden days of $60 dessert parties, I attended a Plaza Garden Viewing Happily Ever After Dessert Party at the Magic Kingdom. Being 5’2”, I ended up stuck behind a tree in the corner of the gated garden hub grass. Since then, I’ve always wondered what the full-on, sit-down experience of Tomorrowland Terrace seating would be like, but with just sparkling apple cider on the menu, it never made much sense price-wise. Recently, beer and wine was added to the offerings of both the during-fireworks and After-Fireworks versions of the Tomorrowland Terrace Dessert Party. Yes, it came along with a price increase, but did the addition of alcoholic beverages increase its value? I ponied up the $100 to determine just that.
Here’s how Disney describes the recently-plussed event:
End your magical day with a celebration featuring delectable desserts and an enchanting fireworks extravaganza.
First, join us at Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant, where a tempting array of freshly prepared desserts, seasonal fruits and flavorful cheeses awaits. The bountiful buffet may include such favorites as:
Disney character-themed desserts
Hand-scooped ice cream
Create-your-own cookies and cupcakes
Ooey gooey toffee cake
Action station s’mores
Savory snacks, like house-made eggrolls and spinach dip
You can raise a glass of your favorite beverage to toast your day of theme park adventures—and the enchantment to come. Drink selections include:
Beginning February 1, 2020, Guests ages 21 and over can also choose from a fine selection of beer and wine.
Now through January 31, 2020: $84 per adult (ages 10 and up); $50 per child (ages 3 to 9), tax included
Starting February 1, 2020: $99 per adult (ages 10 and up); $59 per child (ages 3 to 9), tax included
Gratuity not included or required
Separate Magic Kingdom park admission required
Please note that the menu items are subject to change and the fireworks experience may be changed or canceled without prior notice.
If you’ve read my other, more recent dessert party reviews, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of the overall “treat yo’self” aspect of these pricey, yet undeniably indulgent add-ons. Granted, I am a solo park-goer, and the average party attending may well range from couples, to the average family, to even extended families, so most people would be looking at this dessert party from a $200 to $600 perspective. If you’re a childless millennial like me, I realize treating yourself seems less daunting at “just” $100 dollars, but it’s also worth noting that for the same amount of money (or even more if you’re a family), you could possibly extend your stay at an on-site Resort, indulge in a lavish brunch at California Grill, purchase a Disney After Hours ticket, or feast at your leisure at any EPCOT festival. So, is the Tomorrowland Terrace Dessert Party still worth it in its new iteration? Let’s head on down Main Street and find out.
Tomorrowland Terrace Dessert Party at the Magic Kingdom
You’ll want to make a right at the end of Main Street and head over to Tomorrowland Terrace, a seasonal location that’s hosted these dessert parties since they first started back in 2009.
If you’re headed for the Tomorrowland Terrace sit-down party, you’ll want to steer clear of this long, winding line that forms early on for the Plaza Garden viewing party.
Head all the way down and to the left (towards the famed Purple Wall) for check-in.
Tomorrowland Terrace Dessert Party – Event Check-In
We arrived around 6:20 PM in order to scope out the check-in situation. As we came to find out, seating is more or less first-come, first-serve in terms of scoring a table lining the edge of the terrace, so it’s better to be early than late in this situation.
Had we arrived at 6:30 PM, we probably would’ve been behind about 30 more people. As time progressed, the line got only longer, with guests snaking all the way along the rocks. Here’s where we encountered our first issue with the party, as many waited over an hour to finally be checked in.
Despite the advertised 7:00 PM seating time (or 60 minutes before fireworks as it says online), not only did they not start seating us on time, but we actually noticed last-minute bar training for Cast Members taking place at 7:10 PM. By this time, many of us were getting impatient, feeling that the clock was ticking for the $100 experience. While dessert parties are usually a relaxing experience, there’s no denying that there is an underlying pressure of getting your money’s worth, and in these situations, every minute counts. Check-In and seating began shortly after 7:15 PM, but if you were further back in the line, you were likely checked in closer to 7:20 PM, with the fireworks (and subsequently, the end of the party) just 40 minutes away at 8:00 PM.
Tomorrowland Terrace Dessert Party – Seating
Having never done this particular dessert party, I wasn’t sure if it would be open or assigned seating. When you check in, you’re given a wristband. Having booked for one person, I was assigned a 2-top. I requested to be seated with another party of two (which may or may not have been Tom, and Josh of easyWDW), and it was painlessly accommodated by simply seating us in two adjacent tables. So, if you’re going alone, rest assured you won’t have to sit with random strangers, and if you want to merge your reservation or sit near friends, that can also be likely accommodated by just asking at the host stand. Do keep in mind that we were also among the first 10 guests to be checked in, so I assume this is more easily done the earlier you line up.
The perimeter of Tomorrowland Terrace is lined with mainly 2-tops and 4-tops, so if you’re a solo diner or a couple, you’ll have slightly better odds of getting one of these really good views. I’d always dreamed of sitting up here for fireworks, so I was delighted when they showed us to these tables.
Do keep in mind that they’ve set up tables quite closely together to help everyone get a good view of the show, so once everyone is fully seated in your area, it does get somewhat difficult to maneuver your way over to the bar and buffet. Stock up on everything you might need early on (you can get two drinks each trip to the bar, but more on that later) so you can sit back and relax for the short duration of the dessert party instead of having to apologize all the way over and back for an extra plate of cheeseburger eggrolls. And trust me, you’re going to want an extra plate of cheeseburger eggrolls.
We thought our waterfront view was great, but there are plenty of other tables closer to the hub that still offer stunning views of Cinderella Castle as well.
Tomorrowland Terrace Dessert Party – New Beer and Wine Offerings
The big draw of the dessert party now is the addition of a bar. This being the Magic Kingdom, there are no cocktails, as hard liquor can’t be served at the park, but there are still six drink options to choose from. You have four different wines and two beer types, all served out in their appropriate plastic vessels. As you approach the bar, a Cast Member with a flashlight will check your ID before granting you access to the bar, where you’re free to grab two of any type of drink each trip. We noticed that Cast Members were slightly on edge here, making sure that no one swooped in and grabbed drinks before having their ID checked, so do make sure to follow proper dessert party protocol. Each trip to the bar grants you two selections. Even if you’re only thirsty for one drink, get two just in case. The bar closes shortly after the fireworks begin, and you’ll regret not having that extra Blue Moon to finish out the night (and render even more value from the event.)
Beer Selection (Bud Light and Blue Moon)
Leading up to the dessert party, I joked around about there being Bud Light inevitably served at the party, but it was a popular, accessible option for most guests. The joke was ultimately on me when I ended up drinking the other beer option, Blue Moon, for most of the party. This will be especially true as the weather warms back up, but there was nothing like a refreshing beer to round out the savory and sweet options. It was also served the coldest out of all of the alcoholic beverage options.
There were four wine options, with three white wine varieties and a red wine available as well. The sparkling Lady of Spain white wine is one of my favorites, and it’s also what’s served at the Chronos Club in Disney’s Gran Destino Tower, so that brought back some fond memories of that review. There was also a Veramonte chardonnay, which was smooth and crisp. My only complaint about these options was that they weren’t served chilled, with the cava quickly heating up to room temp by the time you reached your table. If they had served the sparkling wine slightly colder, it would’ve been my go-to for the night. After all, you can’t beat bubbly by the castle.
There’s also a Villa Rosa moscato, which is as sweet as wine comes, but a good option if you’re into that.
The Fess Parker Frontier red wine was an unassuming blend, but surprisingly drinkable and juicy with not too much presence of tannins. I normally hate the sharp flavors of red wine, but this was surprisingly smooth.
All of these bottles of wine range squarely in the $9 to $15 range, so you obviously aren’t getting any top-shelf stuff, but the variety and accessibility of the options available are good enough to please any guest.
Tomorrowland Terrace Dessert Party – Dessert and Snack Buffet
Next to the bar is the typical buffet with both sweet and savory options. Over the years, the options have changed somewhat, removing some of the more generic items like macarons and tarts for fun new items like push pops and edible cookie dough.
Mickey’s Cookies ‘n Cream Push Pop
I may have eaten like three of these. There’s no cake in these pops, just straight frosting and crunchy dark chocolate pearls. They’re fun to eat and easy to enjoy regardless of age.
Minnie’s Edible Cookie Dough
I haven’t had the chance to actually try most of the cookie dough confections across property (It’s mostly been Annie), so this was a great introduction to bite-sized pieces of it. These weren’t cloyingly sweet, and had that satisfyingly grainy crunch from the sugar crystals, plus little bits of chocolate from the chocolate chips, ears, and Minnie bow. I may have gotten two of these.
Cheesecake Brownie Bites
These are a dessert party classic, and while one is more than enough, you won’t want to skip these. The rich cheesecake paired with the dense brownie base and whipped cream makes for a delicious combination, and I’m so glad these aren’t your usual pre-packaged cheesecake bites.
Berry Layer Cake
The old flavorless Strawberry Tart has been replaced with this much more delicious Berry Layer Cake, served in tiny bites, much like petit fours. These almost tasted like tiny peanut butter and jelly cakes, so even if you aren’t typically into fruity desserts, don’t overlook this.
Happily Ever After Confetti Cupcake
Another classic, these are the rubbery and overly sweet Happily Ever After cupcakes we’e all grown to know and love. These aren’t really stand-outs, but you’d be remiss to skip out on the fireworks printed white chocolate. (Not like you’ll be able to get a good photo of them in the dim lighting, but still.)
The Pineapple Delight was rolled out back when the dessert party menu featured renditions of classic Magic Kingdom desserts. This one is based off of the classic Dole Whip, and it evokes the same flavors with pineapple whipped cream topping and a pineapple compote on the bottom.
Dark Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries
These are always excellent, and a great value given how giant the strawberries are (and how much they normally cost at most dessert locations.) The dark chocolate coating is made with quality chocolate, so with every bite you’re just breaking into a juicy, ripe strawberry coated with cool, dark chocolate.
No one ever really touches the fruit plate at these parties, but they’re a fresh, welcome alternative if you need a break from chocolate and frosting.
I picked out a few cubes of each cheese flavor, and these tasted the best they have in years. The smaller cheese cubes (they used to be these giant flavorless chunks) are much better for pairing in between bites of the other snacks. In anticipation of separating the sweets from the savory options, I went ahead and grabbed two plates at the very beginning of the buffet line. If you think you’ll want a bit of both too, I suggest you do the same!
These unassuming crostini were surprisingly buttery and tasty, and paired perfectly with the two dips available, as well as the cheeses.
House-Made Spinach Dip
I’m not huge on spinach dip, but this was perfectly creamy and not the least bit gritty from the spinach. I’d still choose the upcoming “secret sauce” over this, but if you like spinach dip, you’ll be pleased with this.
Everyone was fascinated by this sauce, and upon tasting it, it was basically just Outback Steakhouse ranch. That being said, I love Outback Steakhouse ranch, and was glad an entire ladle full of this made it onto my plate, because it made the perfect dipping sauce for the crostini, cheese cubes, and cheeseburger eggrolls. It was tangy, garlicky, and rich, but not as heavy as say, a cheese fondue, making it a perfect savory component to round out the snacks.
House-made Cheeseburger Eggrolls
I know it’s practically sacrilege, but I’ve never had a spring roll from the fan-favorite cart in Adventureland. All I have to say is, if they taste as good as their tiny dessert party counterparts, I need to head over there and buy out the entire cart. Interestingly enough, the other people in our party have tried them, and they could not believe how much better these were than the ones sold at the cart.
These were served piping hot and crispy, with plenty of cheesy ground beef inside. These run out quickly, so check back again in five minutes if they’re gone by the time you walk up, but if you eat meat, don’t pass these up. Seriously, try to show some restraint and avoid piling them high on your plate out of courtesy for the other dessert party guests, but get one more than you think you’ll want, because these are seriously addictive.
Ice Cream, Kid’s Cupcake and Cookie Decorating Station
If you’re here with kids, or are simply looking for plain desserts with the option of adding buttercream frosting and sprinkles, there’s a custom dessert table in the back. This is also the ice cream station complete with toppings, where a Cast Member is available to scoop out vanilla ice cream for you.
Hot Drink Station
If it’s a cold night and you’re looking for a comforting warm drink, there’s a coffee and tea station set up as well.
Sparkling Apple Cider
There’s also sparkling apple cider available for kids and those looking for a non-alcoholic beverages. Off to the side, there’s another cold drinks station with sodas, ice water, strawberry lemonade, POG juice, and milk.
Tomorrowland Terrace Dessert Party – Happily Ever After Fireworks
Since our seats were right up against the railing and with no trees directly in front to block any sight lines, it was truly an amazing view. At one point, you’re just drinking Blue Moon and shoveling cheeseburger egg rolls while watching stunning fireworks and the $100 hole in your wallet starts hurting less. It’s exactly this that makes dessert parties an attractive option. You pay money up front to essentially sit back, relax, indulge in snacks, and take in the view without having to worry about shoulder kids, random light posts, or if you’re tiny like me, even normal sized humans in front of you.
I will say that due to the distance and viewing position, the projections on the castle aren’t as clear, but the fireworks instead take full front and center, which is still a great view. Keep scrolling for more views of the fireworks as seen from our seats in Tomorrowland Terrace:
For a full view of the Happily Ever After fireworks from our seats, check out the video below:
Tomorrowland Terrace Dessert Party – Overall
Overall, there’s definitely something to be said for being able to lounge with a glass of sparkling wine while watching fireworks without having to “fight” with crowds on Main Street or in the hub.
Is it worth $100? Ultimately, that depends. If you’re celebrating a special occasion, or just really want to treat yourself, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed by this. We suffered from time constraints due to a late start, but hopefully by the time many of you experience this, Cast Members will be fully trained on the ID checking process, leading to earlier seating and therefore, more time to fully enjoy all of the offerings you’ve paid for. That being said, get there early and make sure you have enough snacks to last you throughout the fireworks and then some. By the time the fireworks had finished, the bar had virtually vanished into thin air, and the food was mostly being put away as well, so be prepared.
If you aren’t big on drinking, the Plaza Garden viewing remains as a cheaper option that doesn’t include alcohol, but if you do imbibe, then this is the way to go. I’m almost curious about the After-Fireworks dessert party, because I feel like that would give you slightly more time to enjoy the snacks and beverages, but even then, for $10 more, I’d rather be able to enjoy everything sitting comfortably at a table as opposed to being cramped inside the Plaza Garden viewing area with all of the other dessert party guests.
I recommend the party wholeheartedly, especially so once they work out the kinks in logistics. And once you find yourself with a coveted photograph (and memory) of raising a glass of bubbly with Cinderella Castle in the background––the only place where this is now possible at the Magic Kingdom––and feeling all the warm and fuzzy feels, you’ll be glad you opted for it, too.