When the announcement was made that the Wishes Fireworks show was ended at Magic Kingdom, I was in the heartbroken camp. That show was very special and had a sentimental place in my heart—I loved the story, I loved the music, I loved the fireworks, and I knew it by heart. For our first trip with the new Happily Ever After fireworks I wanted to make sure we had a special experience so I splurged for the dessert party. I also knew that this show relies heavily on the projections on the castle and being in the right spot to see those well would be key. Here are my thoughts on the Happily Ever After Dessert Party and if I think it is a good value for families.
The Happily Ever After Dessert party offers two viewing locations around Main Street in Magic Kingdom: the Tomorrowland Terrace and the Plaza Garden (aka Hub Grass). The Tomorrowland Terrace option is more expensive, but offers seating during the fireworks show—the location is further away and more off center than the Garden Viewing. We opted for the Garden viewing location both for the price and what we thought might be the better location.
Our week in Walt Disney World was rainy—every afternoon, torrential downpours lasting for several hours. But Pixie Dust was on our side and each night it seemed to clear up just as we were arriving back to the parks for whatever nighttime fun we had planned. This night was no exception and as we splashed through a puddle filled Main Street USA the sun was starting to shine through the clouds.
When you make your reservation for the dessert party (paid in advance) you are given a time to check in for the party dependent on the time for fireworks that night. You should follow up with this & double check as fireworks times can be rescheduled. We arrived at the location right at the earliest check in time, gave our name at the podium and we were escorted into the dessert party area, given a tour of the offerings, and taken to our table. Because we had the garden viewing option we were in the upper area of Tomorrowland Terrace for the buffet. You had the option to leave & return during the time leading up to the fireworks (which we did, but only to use the restroom), and were told that about 30 minutes prior to the show starting they would be escorting guests to the viewing area.
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So let’s get down to the good stuff: the desserts! We are not huge dessert eaters, but we planned ahead and had a light dinner to make the most of our party. While the portions are small, sample size there are a lot of choices so it is perfect for getting a taste of everything. Most of the options were sweets, but they also had some cheeses and fruit.
The desserts were all presented beautifully and fit with the theme of the fireworks and Happily Ever After. Everything I tasted was fresh and delicious (& I think I tried it all—for research purposes you know). My favorites were the Strawberry Tart, the assorted Macaroons and the Oreo Mickey Treat. The Chocolate Marshmallow Tart (like a S’more) was a favorite with my family as well. They had a Sundae station which was lots of fun and another spot with icing bags where you could decorate your own mini cupcake or cookie. A certain person I know may have created an ice cream cookie sandwich. For the kids they also had a plate of goodies like a rice krispie treat, pineapple and strawberry, complete with a Mickey Straw and chocolate sauce for dipping.
A variety of options were available for cold & hot drinks were available including lemonade, strawberry lemonade, POG (Passion, Orange & Guava Juice), coffee, hot tea & hot chocolate.
It was really nice to have a relatively quiet place to sit and enjoy our desserts, talk about our day and slow down a little bit. And my kids enjoyed being able to sample different desserts and try a bit of everything (I did too).
Now, for the viewing area. I actually wish we had gotten to the spot a little earlier than we did. We were trying to soak in all of the fun of the desserts and being together, so we went down right around 25-30 minutes prior to the fireworks. But, they had started escorting people over before that, so the “most prime” locations in the garden were already taken; however, we still had a great view of the castle. The very best part was that we did not have to stake this spot out an hour or more ahead of time only to be crowded from every angle by other guests. The Plaza Garden area we were in never got crowded. My 5 year old had enough space to run around & burn off some of that sugar energy from the desserts without disturbing anyone else or even getting close to anyone else. I loved that part of it. I took photos of the area inside the Garden viewing and outside to compare the crowd levels . . . totally worth it. And this wasn’t really a very crowded night at Magic Kingdom because the heavy rains & storms earlier in the day had cleared out a lot of the people. And the view was perfect—far enough back to see the fireworks in perspective, close enough to see all of the projections well, Tinker Bell flew right by us and we were close enough to being straight on that everything lined up.
After enjoying the fireworks we spent a little more time in the Garden area to let the hordes of people around the hub clear out a little bit, and again, it was so nice to have that peaceful little area to ourselves.
So, what are my overall thoughts and recommendations? This is an investment, especially when you have a larger family. For us it was multiplied by 4 adults + 1 child. But, for me it was totally worth it. If you are visiting at a less crowded time of year, your mileage may vary as far as being a more advantageous viewing spot than you could get on your own. But any time of year you are going to experience so fun & delicious desserts, and a VIP feeling when you have so much space around you to view the Happily Ever After fireworks with your family from a great vantage point. If you have anyone in your party who gets anxious in crowds or claustrophobic this is a great alternative to the busy Main Street. Unlike Wishes where you could get most of the effect of the show from various viewing points in the Magic Kingdom, Happily Ever After really needs to be experienced front & center to see the show . . . and the Plaza Garden viewing gives you that without the crowd. My recommendation is to go with the Garden viewing unless you need to have an option to sit in a chair during the show, the view seems to be better and the price is less.
Have you experienced the Happily Ever After Dessert Party at Magic Kingdom? What did you think about the experience?