When you wish upon a dessert party, you are in for a VIP treat! On previous trips, we had enjoyed using Fastpasses to get priority seating for parades and fireworks at the Magic Kingdom. We were disappointed to learn that it was no longer an option for our December 2016 trip. Travelling with a six-month old and a 1st grader, we knew we would not be able to stake out a great viewing spot for Wishes by waiting, nor did we want to be in the middle of the holiday crowds. We had heard great things about the Fireworks Dessert Party at Tomorrowland Terrace, and decided to splurge for the VIP experience. Without knowing the details of the recently added Plaza Garden viewing option we decided to go for it, both to lower the cost and to see what it was all about.
First, the particulars. Dessert Parties are held in the Tomorrowland Terrace restaurant. Tickets for the party with garden viewing are $59 for adults and $35 for children ages 3-9, a savings of around $20 each over the Terrace View. Check-in time is an hour and fifteen minutes before the fireworks are scheduled to begin. Friends had suggested that we be in line around 8:30 to be among the first to enter, but Mother Nature caused a little hiccup in our plans. More on that later ;). The food offerings include all-you-can-eat specialty desserts (mini-cupcakes, parfaits, pie/cake bites, chocolate-covered strawberries and more), cheese and crackers, assorted fruit, an ice cream sundae station and a cookie decorating station. Drinks include assorted juices and lemonades, sparkling cider in champagne flutes, hot chocolate, coffee and tea. Guests are given about 45 minutes to snack, then an announcement is made about 30 minutes before the show and cast members provide an escort to the reserved viewing area in front of the Plaza Restaurant, just a short walk away.
From the moment we arrived, our experience was fantastic. A heavy downpour sent us running for cover around 8:15. We waited until just after 8:45 for the rain to let up, then made a run for it. As we arrived, rain soaked and late, we were greeted by several cast members who got us checked in, gave us our bracelets, helped us park our stroller, found us a highchair, gave us an overview of the food and drink offerings, and showed us to an open table. It was refreshing to be so well taken care of, considering we had just run through a half-flooded Tomorrowland afraid we had missed out on this special, and expensive, event we had been looking forward to all day.
Here comes my one complaint: the tables were so close, it was hard to move without bumping another guest. Getting in and out for more treats was quite a chore. I am not sure if this particular party was sold out, but I did not see many open tables. My only improvement would be to trim back the guest list by a few tables just to create some space to move. Now, back to the glowing review!
The food was very good. We had eaten light leading up to the party, with a late table service lunch and a pretzel for “dinner”, but the cheese, crackers, and fruit were more than enough to give us some substance before our treats. The desserts were a notch above what you would find on a Disney buffet. Very tasty, and very cute. Our 1st grader enjoyed the Elena and Tinkerbell cupcakes, while I could have had a few dozen of the chocolate mousse covered Oreo’s (pictured with the Mickey ears). And who could turn down chocolate covered strawberries!?! Everything was bite size, just right so that you could eat a plateful of treats to try a little of everything. We stayed away from the sundae bar and cookie decorating, only because the rest of the spread was so tempting! The sparkling apple cider was a nice touch, and the juice selections were also nice, including a passion fruit blend that had me going back for seconds.
Keeping with our theme of the night, we were the last to leave for the viewing area (the baby needed to nurse). Once again, the cast members stepped up to help, giving us a personal escort to the viewing area, which was within sight of the dessert party, and chatting with our older daughter about the upcoming show to build her excitement. We were offered Disney ponchos just in case the showers returned, then led into the viewing area reserved for party guests. The area left us plenty of room to roam (or dance!) And all of the guests could easily have been seated on the grass if it had not been wet. The view of the show was perfect, perhaps even better than if we have stayed for the Terrace viewing. We had a great view of Tinkerbell’s flight, and were surrounded by speakers so the music and narration was fantastic. All in all, the viewing area alone may have been the highlight of the night (except for the chocolate mousse…).
Overall, it was a true VIP experience that I feel was worth the price tag. Good food, an attentive staff, and a view of one of the greatest fireworks shows ever that was second to none, without wasting valuable park time in order to get it. Reduce the number of guests and tables by about 10%, and this evening would have been flawless. Even with the crowding, this party will be on our “must do” list from now on!
What are your thoughts? Have you stayed on the Terrace? How about similar parties at the other parks? How do they compare? Let’s hear from you below!
Jason Clemens is a teacher who lives just outside of Cleveland, Ohio with his wife and their two princesses. A seasoned traveler who never went to Disney as a kid, Jason was bitten by the Disney bug a few years ago when planning his family’s first trip, and has never looked back. When he’s not planning his own trips “home,” Jason loves reading up on the latest Disney news and helping friends and family plan their trips to “The Happiest Place on Earth,” along with gardening and cooking. Jason’s favorite Disney spots are Peter Pan’s Flight, Be Our Guest Restaurant and Epcot’s World Showcase.