Wishes Dessert Party Review – Is It Worth It?

by josh on April 21, 2013

The Tomorrowland Terrace Wishes Dessert Party is scheduled (almost) nightly at Magic Kingdom.  Above is the crowd you won’t be jostling with for a viewing spot if you wish to fork over the $25/adult and $13/child for the Party.  The price varies based on date and they won’t tell you how much it costs until you try to book.  On this particular night, two adults and a child cost $64.97 with tax.  Unlike regular dining reservations that open up 180 days in advance, the Dessert Party isn’t available until about two months in advance.  When dates do open, it’s typically an entire month at a time.  You can follow this thread on the DIS, which should keep you up to date on when Parties become available for booking.  The number to call is the usual 407-WDW-DINE (407-939-3463).

Tomorrowland Terrace is the location.  It’s located in between The Plaza Restaurant and Monster’s Inc Laugh Floor.  When Magic Kingdom is busy, Tomorrowland Terrace may serve lunch in addition to hosting the Dessert Party.  The Party begins one hour prior to the start of Wishes and they begin seating Party goers about ten minutes prior to that.  On this particular night, Wishes began at 10pm and they started seating guests at 8:48pm.  We arrived at 8:45pm and there were about 25 people in front of us.  Seating is assigned, presumably based on when the reservations are made as well as availability.  You can see the name tags on the tables.  A cast member will sign you in, put a bracelet around your wrist, and walk you to your table.  There’s no reason to arrive any more than 15 minutes early.  You could show up 30 minutes late for that matter and still have plenty of time to stuff your face with desserts before Wishes starts.  Note than the Electrical Parade typically begins right when the Dessert Party starts.  Don’t find yourself on the Casey’s Corner/Crystal Palace side of things after the Electrical Parade steps off or you’ll be standing on that side for 30 minutes until it passes.

We were up front close to the buffet.  This picture was taken seated to give you an idea of the angle.  It was convenient to the buffet, but saw a lot of foot traffic.  The children at the table next door to us practiced their animal noises throughout the Party.  I thought their llama and orangutan were on point, but the elephant, walrus, and water buffalo could use some work.

The view of the Electrical Parade from the Party is not ideal.  You’ll be able to see the tops of the larger floats and listen to the music, but you won’t see any of the characters, dancers, etc. on the ground or the smaller floats.

Most nights, two Electrical Parades are scheduled, so you can easily see the later Parade if you opt for the Dessert Party.  If one Parade is scheduled and it’s a must see, I would probably skip the Dessert Party.

If you’re going to arrive some place early enough to see the Parade, you can watch Wishes from the same spot and save the money.

The setting is more functional than stylish.  There are no decorations or special touches – just the usual Terrace seating.

The buffet seemed to change configurations throughout the evening.  When the Party first started and everyone was arriving and getting in line, there were two sides with similar offerings.  About half way through when crowds thinned, cast members constructed a single buffet line.  Here’s what was available:

Cannoli.

Chocolate Strawberries.

Fruit Tart Things.

“Mango Shooters.”

Maybe a lemon custard thing?

Creme Brulee.

Banana Creme Tart.

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Tart.

Cupcakes.

Brownies.

“Crisped Rice Treats.”

Chocolate Cheesecake.

Classic Cheesecake.

Tiramisu with a Blueberry and a Raspberry on the bottom left.

The only item I didn’t try and one of the only ones without a sign. Pretty sure it’s apple pie.

Vanilla Ice Cream.

Toppings, including caramel and fudge.

Fruit (yuck).

From left to right, your beverage choices are water, iced tea, lemonade, raspberry lemonade and milk.  A selection of Twinings Teas is also available along with hot coffee.

Presentation example.

Another presentation example.

A final presentation example.

Dessert quality is typical of most Disney buffets.  If you’ve been to Crystal Palace, Chef Mickey’s, 1900 Park Fare, etc. you know what to expect.  Desserts are just a couple of bites each so you’ll have an opportunity to try a lot of items and you’re not stuck with a large dessert if there’s something you don’t like.  Milk is a nice addition with the number of chocolate treats.  The tiramisu and creme brulee were two favorites.  The mango shooter was kind of odd – you sort of slurp it up with a wide straw.  The cannoli seemed to be more crust than anything.  Chocolate strawberries are always a treat.  These were ripe with a thick chocolate-y exterior.  Very good.  The banana creme tart was a little banana-y for my tastes, but you may enjoy it more.  The cheesecakes seemed to be more like birthday cake than “cheesecake,” but were still fine.

More goodies.  Again, everything can pretty much be characterized as “good.”  You’d have a tough time convincing me anything was “amazing” though.

The Celebrate the Magic show begins 15 minutes before Wishes and the view is pretty good.  One thing to note is that you probably won’t be watching Wishes or anything else from your seat.  People will be standing at the railing during both shows.  We were warned of this when we were seated and also asked not to bring our chairs to the railing.  I’ve seen a few reports of people complaining about the standing guests, but those further back in the seating area have a roof over their heads.  So they really don’t have a choice.  Up to 170 people will be attending the Dessert Party, but it didn’t feel crowded.  If there’s crowding at the railing, move down to the left nearer to the buffet where there are fewer people.

A few trees inhibit your view of the Castle, but it’s still an above average, no-hassle view.

The buffet area is a little congested at the start of the Party, but quickly clears out.  There’s virtually nobody over there from the time Celebrate the Magic begins through Wishes concluding.

I was amused by the watermelon with “literally” 37,000 seeds in it.  Don’t they have college program kids to pick them out?  I thought watermelon with seeds had gone the way of polio.  The brownies were dense.

Here’s the view of Wishes from the Dessert Party. It pans over to the crowd at 53 seconds and at the end.

So is it worth it? I’m inclined to say yes.  It provides a comfortable place to sit and wait for Wishes to start.  You have a great view of Celebrate the Magic and Wishes.  Instead of jockeying for a viewing spot with 20,000 other people, only for dad to put his eight kids on his shoulders to create a totem pole blocking your view, you’ll have just 169 other people doing the same thing.  On the downside, the desserts are pretty average and you won’t have much of a view of the Electrical Parade.  Is the Dessert Party necessary?  No, you could very easily spend that hour grabbing treats from Plaza Ice Cream Parlor, Storybook Treats, Main Street Confectionery, or somewhere else and simply wait for the show to begin.  I like to stand on the street outside Casey’s Corner near the PhotoPass photographer.  He’ll pick up his kit and move out of the way once Celebrate the Magic begins.  Of the nighttime spectaculars, Wishes is probably the easiest to see.  But the Dessert Party does make it a heck of a lot easier.  For even less hassle, you could watch the show from the Polynesian Resort’s beach.

This shot was taken right after Wishes ended.  As you can see, they’re still fully stocked with desserts should you want to stuff some brownies or creme brulees in your pants or something.  Everyone was stuffed and I didn’t see a single person headed back.  But more is available should you wish to consume.  They would try to motion you toward the exit about 15 minutes after Wishes ends.

After Wishes concludes, your time is best spent at the attractions if Magic Kingdom is open later.  In this particular instance, Wishes was at 10pm and the Park closed at 11pm.  You would be much better off heading to Buzz Lightyear, Space Mountain, or another attraction where you could walk on with a very minimal wait.  You can either enjoy a few attractions or battle these crowds toward the exit.

If Wishes begins at Park close, spend 30 minutes shopping on Main Street.  There will be few other people shopping alongside you.  It’s either that or wait in this line for the Monorail.

Or this line for the ferry.

If you do find yourself in this madness, I prefer the ferry over to the Transportation and Ticket Center.  Head up to the second floor and you’ll have a ton of room.  The monorails are packed tightly and the wait will most likely be longer.  The Express Monorail will be faster than the Resort because there are so many more monorails serving it and the trip only takes about four minutes.  There are also thousands of people waiting for buses to the All Stars and other resorts.  There’s really no reason to head out right after Wishes.  It’s the single worst time to leave.

Although one benefit of leaving right after the 10pm Wishes is an opportunity to see the Water Pageant.

The Water Pageant schedule:

Polynesian – 9pm
Grand Floridian – 9:15pm
Wilderness Lodge – 9:35pm
Fort Wilderness – 9:45pm
Contemporary – 10:10pm
Magic Kingdom – 10:30pm (only when Magic Kingdom is open until 10pm or later)

Add 10 to 15 minutes  to the times if Wishes begins at 9pm.

merica pls

A special thanks to Tanya and her daughter Camile for inviting me out to the Dessert Party.

{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

Chelsea September 30, 2014 at 11:15 am

Considering doing this on our April 2015 trip but still on the fence about it. It’s just my mother and I going and we’ve seen it a half dozen times but really hate fighting the crowds. My mother has a bad knee and sitting on the curb is no longer an option for us. My mother will be having a second knee replacement surgery a few months before we go so I thought maybe it would be a good place to sit and watch the fireworks. But if everyone still stands up and crowds towards the railings I can’t see it being worth the money for us. :/ Any other options to consider? I know you can’t particularly see the fireworks from CRT but thought that might be a good option too, just to see if we could have a relaxing dinner and view what little we could from the window.

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