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Remembering the Worst Special Event In Walt Disney World History

hollywood studios entrance
Credit: Disney

When you think of a special ticketed event at Walt Disney World Resort, you probably think of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

Both of these Disney World special events take place in Magic Kingdom, and year after year they prove to be wildly successful.

Both Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Very Merry Christmas Party are exciting events, full of rare character sightings, seasonal treats, and even seasonal attractions! But most importantly? These events are organized. They’re tried and true, with the benefit of trial and error on their side.

That being said, Walt Disney World special events aren’t always so successful…

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Credit: Disney

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Nearly ten years ago, Disney’s Hollywood Studios hosted a special event so infamous that it’s gone down in history as one of Disney’s worst special events to date.

We’re talking, of course, about Villains Unleashed.

Who Could You Meet at Villains Unleashed?

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Credit: Disney

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On August 23, 2014, over 50 Disney villains took over Hollywood Studios on a one-night-only special event known as Villains Unleased.

Guests were able to experience meet-and-greets with the following Disney villains:

  • The Evil Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
  • Maleficient from Sleeping Beauty (1959)
  • Cruella de Vil from 101 Dalmatians (1961)
  • Boba Fett, Darth Maul, Darth Vader, Emperor Palpatine and Royal Guards, and Stormtroopers from the Star Wars franchise
  • Jafar from Aladdin (1992)
  • Shan Yu from Mulan (1998)
  • Captain Gantu from Lilo and Stitch (2001)
  • Dr. Hamsterviel from the Lilo and Stitch franchise
  • Captain Barbossa from Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
  • Bowler Hat Guy from Meet the Robinsons (2007)
  • Dr. Facilier from The Princess and the Frog (2009)
  • The Witch from Brave (2012)
  • Constantine from Muppets Most Wanted (2014)

And these were just the meet-and-greet opportunities! There were even more Disney villains roaming around the theme park, making for one of the biggest rare character opportunities ever!

What Was Villains Unleashed Actually Like?

Disneyland After Dark Villains Nite

Credit: Disney

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The special event began at 8 p.m. and lasted until 1 a.m. Like Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, Villains Unleashed included an all-new fireworks spectacular, dance parties, seasonal food, drinks, and merchandise. But unlike Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, Villains Unleashed was a total disaster…

It was poorly planned from start to finish, with Walt Disney World failing to limit attendance in a way that resulted in hour long wait times…for multiple characters and attractions. Attendance was so high that even lines to get into the theme park were incredibly long, and some guests waited at least an hour just to get in.

Reportedly, much of the special event merchandise sold out immediately, making for a ton of disappointed guests.

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Credit: Disney

READ MORE: 10 Special Events You Don’t Want to Miss at Walt Disney World

Nearly 10 Years Later and Things Are TOTALLY Different!

Villains Unleashed was such a disaster that the night even ended with Walt Disney World refunding many of the attendees, something that’s almost unheard of! There’s a reason modern special events are so limited and often sell out. Luckily, it seems that Walt Disney World has learned from its previous mistakes.

About Isabella Reimer

Isabella Reimer grew up visiting Walt Disney World and relocated to Central Florida to be even closer to The Most Magical Place on Earth. She earned her Bachelor’s from Florida State University, where she studied Creative Writing and Women’s Studies. Her biggest hobby is bonding with the ikran at Avatar Flight of Passage, and her retirement plan includes becoming the 1,000 Happy Haunt of the Haunted Mansion.