Often I am asked of a way to add a little extra magic to a vacation, or how to make a vacation experience a little easier or more convenient. The answer to both of those questions is often the same: book a fireworks dessert party! These parties offer a VIP type experience with an exclusive dessert buffet and reserved viewing areas for one of the nighttime spectaculars. They are the perfect ending to a magical day in the parks, a great way to celebrate an anniversary, birthday or other achievement, and they add a bit of convenience to your touring to be able to get a great view without being crowded in or getting a spot hours in advance. Here is what you need to know about the three fireworks dessert party options.
Happily Ever After Fireworks Dessert Party at the Magic Kingdom
As far as convenience the Happily Ever After Fireworks Dessert Party is my most recommended of the parties. The Happily Ever After fireworks show has such a heavy reliance on the projections show on Cinderella’s Castle that it is important that you are able to see it well. The party allows you to get a reserved view in a prime spot without staking it out way in advance, and normally without being packed in like sardines.
The Magic Kingdom party offers three options: Tomorrowland Terrace Viewing, Plaza Gardens Viewing, and After-Fireworks Dessert Party. All three have check in at the Tomorrowland Terrace—which is just past the Plasa Restaurant if you hang a left at the end of Main Street USA.
- The Tomorrowland Terrace viewing has seating in the lower part of the Terrace with the dessert buffet set up there. You remain here at your table to view the fireworks. So you do get a seat here—unless someone moves in front of you blocking part of your view. The Tomorrowland Terrace viewing is the more expensive of the three options.
- The Plaza Garden Viewing is seated in the top part of the terrace. There is an identical buffet set up, but once you finish your desserts you move to a reserved viewing area in the Plaza Garden (grassy area in front of the Plaza restaurant). You do have to stand in this area, but in my opinion the view is much better here. And with the limited number of people allowed in it doesn’t usually feel crowded.
- The After-Fireworks Dessert Party offers the same viewing location as The Plaza Garden Viewing but you get a chance to enjoy the desserts after the fireworks are finished. This means that while the crowds are rushing out of Magic Kingdom, you’ll be in the Terrace tasting sweet treats. Simply check in at the Terrace before the fireworks begin to be escorted to the viewing location then head back to the Terrace once the fireworks are complete.
For the dessert buffet you have a lot of options of smaller, bite sized treats. Some of them are themed to the fireworks show which is fun. There are also a couple of interactive stations with a cookie you can decorate with icing or an ice cream sundae—these are fun for kids of all ages. There are limited savory options, mainly cheese squares and fruit. Beverages include tea, lemonade, POG juice, and more.
As far as value for the money, the Plaza Garden viewing of Happily Ever After Fireworks Dessert party is my favorite. Great desserts and a great view of a wonderful fireworks show!
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Frozen Ever After Sparking Dessert Party
Epcot’s dessert party has a bit of a twist to it. There is only one option here and everyone is in the same viewing location at the entrance to World Showcase at World Showcase Plaza East. It provides a nice view of Illuminations on the World Showcase Lagoon and is in a good position to see all of the show elements from the globe to the fountains to the fireworks. Sometimes in inclement weather the desserts are served in a lounge area in the Norway pavilion, but count on it being outside in open air.
The entire party is Frozen themed from the table decorations to the desserts and drinks. Desserts include Kristoff’s Kransekake Almond Cookie, Troll Rock Crispy Bon Bons, Elsa’s Blue Velvet Cupcakes and Freeze Fried Salted Caramel Popcorn. Savory items include Grand Pabbie’s Mystical Winter Spiced Snack Mix and Duke of Weselton’s Cheese Fondue served with breads and veggies. There are non-alcoholic specialty beverages like the Frozen Heart, or you can also enjoy beer, wine and other cocktails (if you are 21 or older). The variety of food offerings along with the specialty and alcoholic beverage options make the Frozen Ever After Sparking Dessert party a good value.
After you enjoy your desserts and fireworks viewing, you are escorted over to the Norway Pavilion to take the last rides of the evening on the Frozen Ever After attraction. If you have Frozen fans in your family this makes it very valuable. Frozen Ever After is a hot ticket attraction in Epcot that you need to either go to as soon as the park opens or use one of your Tier 1 FastPass options to ride so that you can avoid a long wait. If you do the dessert party you can skip either of these, use your Tier 1 FastPass for Test Track or Soarin’ and still have a ride with very little wait on the Frozen Ever After attraction.
While the Illuminations viewing area isn’t necessarily that valuable for this party (you can find lots of good viewing areas around the World Showcase pavilion), the quality of the treats and the ride on Frozen make it a good option.
Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party
At Disney’s Hollywood Studios there is a nightly presentation of a Star Wars themed fireworks show, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular. This show includes projections on the Chinese theater along with fireworks and other lighting effects. For Star Wars fans it is a must see, and adding on the dessert party is a great way to “plus it.”
The party itself takes place inside in the Star Wars Launch Bay. This is neat because you are in air conditioning, but you are also with all of the Star Wars props and scenery adding to the experience. You can also go over to the character meet & greets if you want—just remember how long the party lasts and how long the line may be. Here you are served a buffet of Star Wars themed desserts and drinks. You will find Darth Vader and BB-8 themed cupcakes, a freeze fried Nutella truffle, other assorted desserts, fruit and cheeses. Non-alcoholic specialty drinks include a Lunar Lemonade and Jettison Juice. Cocktails include a Galactic Punch and Light Speed Margarita among others. Here you get a nice variety of food & drink, similar to the Frozen dessert party at Epcot, so this makes it a nice value. There are tables set up inside, but you’ll most likely be standing at them, and usually they are shared by multiple groups.
Once desserts are finished you are escorted to a reserved viewing area to watch not only the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular fireworks show, but also the Disney Movie Magic projection show that precedes it. The viewing area is a little too close to be absolutely perfect, but it is in a good spot to be able to see the projections on the theater along with most of the fireworks and lighting effects—plus you don’t have to spend time staking out a spot in advance (you get to use that time feasting on desserts!)
Fantasmic! Desset & VIP Viewing Experience
Disney’s Hollywood Studios has a second dessert experience with its other nighttime spectacular, Fantasmic! This one is on a much smaller scale than the other dessert parties, but is worth mentioning as this show is very popular with many guests.
For the Fantasmic! Dessert experience you go to the Fantasmic! Theater to check-in and you pick up your snacks/desserts. Options include chocolate dipped strawberries, make your own worms & dirt pudding, along with other salty and sweet treats. You also get a specialty beverage served in a souvenir mug—guests 21 and older have an alcoholic option.
After you have your treats you take those with you to a reserved VIP seating section in the theater. Then you can relax, enjoy your desserts and drinks and wait for the show to begin. Seats within the section are first come, first served, so you may want to check in on the earlier side of your reservation (or check prior to the listed time) to have your choice of seats.
Rivers of Light Dessert Party
This is the newest addition to Walt Disney World’s nighttime dessert party offerings. Spotlighting Animal Kingdom’s Rivers of Light nighttime show, this party adds a new option for reserved viewing and pre-show entertainment.
The party takes place at an entrance across from Expedition Everest in Asia. Here you will find a couple of areas with tables—most are standing only. Disney has a wonderfully themed buffet set up to compliment the intimate setting. You will find Orange Tiger Cake Push Pops, Pineapple Bars, Chocolate Pot de Crème (that look like tiny flower pots), Tree of Life Green Tea Cake, Mickey shaped animal print cookies, and fruit, nuts and cheeses. Specialty non-alcoholic beverages include a Purple Lotus and the ever popular Jungle Juice (POG), and alcoholic options for guests 21 and over include wine, beer, and cocktails like the Tiger Lilly and Asian Chai Tea.
The viewing areas here include staying at the tables and viewing from an elevated position in the back of the theater, or viewing from the reserved rows at the front of the theater. Cast Members will escort guests to the seating area before the lighting is lowered—after that they ask that you stay in your place for safety.
Like the other dessert parties, you will get a reservation time based on the show time for Rivers of Light that evening. You will do well to check in ahead of that time. Just note that this party may not be offered every night.
While Rivers of Light is not my favorite nighttime spectacular, the desserts and drinks offered here definitely make this feel like a VIP experience and one I am excited to try.
Here are a few basic tips & tricks for the dessert parties:
- You are assigned a reservation time based on that night’s show time. Be sure to check back to make sure the show time doesn’t change.
- Most of the reservations are an hour to 90 minutes prior to show start time.
- Plan to try to check in at least 30 minutes ahead of time. Many times they are already allowing people in, or at least forming a line to enter. If your table selection is important, you’ll want to check in early.
- Book in advance! Dessert parties are popular and they do fill up. You can do this online or by calling in. Most of these will open up at 180 days, but you may have to be persistent and keep checking as they are sometimes delayed while they finalize show times.
- Relax and enjoy! Once you are at the party relax & enjoy your time there. You have a reserved view for the show, you have a beautiful & delicious spread of desserts in front of you. Take that time to enjoy the people you are with!
Have you enjoyed any of Walt Disney World’s fireworks dessert parties? What did you love about it?