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.

{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

Mick April 21, 2013 at 11:40 am

We were there during peak time I can remember paying much more than what you three paid. It was worth it once, but I wouldn’t make a habit of it. It was a very average experience.

sonja April 21, 2013 at 1:10 pm

We went on New Year’s Day and enjoyed but everything you said was spot on. I’m glad we did it. On a cool evening a plate of desserts was a perfect way to start the new year, but I don’t think we will do it in July!

Becky April 21, 2013 at 2:46 pm

Decided to do this in May when I am taking my sister for her first ever trip to WDW. Thought it would be a nice way to introduce her to Wishes and the castle show. Had hear reports of the desserts being grabbed up and picked over, but it certainly doesn’t look like that from your report. Thanks!

KapBoy77 April 21, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Same here. We did it once last December (14th I think) but will not do it again next time we go. However, if anyone knows where I can find some of that Crème Brulée I would really be very grateful! That stuff was awesome!!!

stephen April 21, 2013 at 3:56 pm

hey josh…. long time listener, first time caller! Would the dessert party be a good spot to set up a tripod and get some good wishes pictures? or are tripods banned from the terrace? Timeframe would be a non peak time.

thanks
Love the site!

josh April 21, 2013 at 3:58 pm

No problem with a tripod. The only problem is that the view of the Castle isn’t straight on as you can see in the video. Most of the fireworks are shot off to the right.

Sandy April 21, 2013 at 4:27 pm

Hey KapBoy77,
You can find the cream brulee at the Seasons quick service dessert counter at EPCOT. Enjoy!

Bill M April 21, 2013 at 4:43 pm

I got some great photos from the party by being right at the rail and using it to support my camera. But like Josh said, everything is at an angle. They were the best firework photos I’ve ever managed to take though.

Mel April 21, 2013 at 4:53 pm

Thanks for this blog post. We are excited to try this in June! Do you think there is enough time to go to monsters laugh floor after the dessert party and still see the second parade?

melissa April 21, 2013 at 5:23 pm

Thanks for the report. I was waiting for it! :) Can you remember if a photopass photographer was up there? Thanks! melissa

josh April 21, 2013 at 5:25 pm

Mel, I’d try to do Monsters in the afternoon if you can. You should have enough time – just depends how long it takes for the next show to start.

There is indeed a PhotoPass photographer there just inside where you check in on the right.

Ida April 21, 2013 at 6:12 pm

We did the dessert party the night before Easter. A great way to avoid the crowds and the desserts were ok. I would suggest it to a ‘one and only time’ visitor or a 9-10 crowd kind of night if you want it to be a stress and agrevation free event. For us this year it was $ well spent.

snickers April 21, 2013 at 6:39 pm

we’ve done it twice. the big push for us was the reserved seating since we hate staling out viewing spots for an hour+ for Wishes. last year the CMs were telling people to remain seated which helped maintain the view from your seats; this year it was, as Josh stated, more of a free-for-all once Wishes actually began. we definitely wouldn’t make it a regualr event.

one very cool feature is that Tinkerbell flies directly over the terrace on her flight from the castle.

shalom April 21, 2013 at 7:14 pm

I’d recommend the crème brulée at the Boulangerie in France. Maybe they were just having an off day when we were there in January, but the crème brulée we got at Sunshine Seasons tasted first of marshmallow, and then of eggs. Very disappointing. Happily, the one we got later that same day in France tasted fine.

Anonymous April 21, 2013 at 9:19 pm

I just can’t with buffets, that food is at kid sneeze level. And I’ve seen too many adults touching items and putting them back. In the years you have been writing your blog I do not recall once you mentioning any issues with food poisoning, must be the alcohol!!

Catie April 21, 2013 at 10:34 pm

Hi. My sister and I went to the dessert party one night the week before Easter and we were told by a CM that we weren’t allowed to sit in our seats once wishes started. She said that at that time they would be clearing the tables and we were to stand at the railing. I would have preferred to stay seated as it was chilly that night and when I booked I was under the impression that we were able to sit and enjoy the show. In short, I am happy that we did it once, but probably would not do it again.

P.s. first time poster

MrsNick April 22, 2013 at 12:47 am

I would consider the dessert party if only for the fact that I have a young child who may need to use a bathroom on short notice and maneuvering around crowds staked out for the parade and Wishes, would make it difficult to make it to the bathroom in time, and then difficult to re-establish our “spot” once we returned.

But if the view and experience from the Poly are just as good, maybe that’s a more relaxing experience? I’ve heard the lapu lapus are pretty good, lol.

Anyone here who has done both and would suggest one over the other?

judy April 22, 2013 at 5:20 am

I’d do the dessert party again. Just for the ease. And, I think you could easily watch the Main Street Electrical Parade from by Plaza, and then turn and head to the dessert party. No, you wouldn’t need the Dessert party for a good view of Wishes™ Nighttime Spectacular if you were already at The Plaza Restaurant for the parade. But, if you have some kids who must see the parade, and an adult whose willing wait with them, it’s an option.

ellie April 22, 2013 at 8:15 am

I thought in the past you were in the ‘not worth it’ party. :)

Dave April 22, 2013 at 9:18 am

We did the party back in August 2009 when it was fairly “new”. I think the cost was a bit less then. My kids stuffed themselves with sugary treats, and we very much enjoyed the smaller crowd and not having to jockey for a view. My wife chose to do it as it was my birthday – so it was a nice treat for the occasion.

In the future, unless there was an occasion to celebrate, for a fraction of the cost, we could grab Dole Whips @ Captain Cook’s (and douse Mom and Dad’s with some Sailor Jerry) and enjoy ourselves just as well.

Jessica April 22, 2013 at 10:44 am

Thanks for the level headed review. It is really going to help me decide whether or not I want to book it for my October trip.

cathy anderson April 22, 2013 at 12:33 pm

We did it a few years ago. We have a child with allergies and what we had was the most amazing experience. When I called for reservations I noted the allergy and was told the supervisor would meet me and let me know what was safe. Imagine my surprise when we got there and were led to our table and the mountain of desserts for our son. There were 3 ice cream flavors, peanut free brownies,cakes, fruits, chips, and couple other things. There was already enough on the table for the 5 of us. But then they took me up and showed me what was safe for my son. They then packed up what he (or the rest of us) didn’t eat and sent it with us when we left. I encountered this same treatment when we did the Pirates and Pals cruise. This is also a great place to be if your child has sensory issues and can’t handle the crowds on Main Street for the fireworks. The price is worth the peace of mind in our case

can124 April 22, 2013 at 12:51 pm

We’ve done the Dessert Party twice now – once for our anniversary and this year for our daughter’s 13th birthday. The party is something I would recommend, but as you said, it is not necessary. We’ve enjoyed it both times we’ve went. The CMs are friendly and the desserts are wonderful. This would be a great option for someone that is celebrating something. For our anniversary, we were lucky enough to get a table up front closer to the railing because it was just the two of us. For the four of us, we were a little farther back, just barely under the awning. I love watching Tinkerbell fly over…she waves to everyone and lands on the building’s roof – the kids loved that. :)

Julie April 22, 2013 at 3:58 pm

Great observations! We’ve done it twice, both during peak times (Jersey Week and July 4th) and we found that it was very helpful since we can only go when it’s extremely busy. We’re going again this summer because we just don’t like feeling packed in like sardines.

KapBoy77 April 22, 2013 at 4:24 pm

@Sandy Thank you very much!! Much appreciated. :)

sjs314 April 22, 2013 at 4:57 pm

Josh excellent review, Thanks for posting the link for my thread more people may get to book the party and not miss out. I have posted the link for your review on page 1 of the thread directing them to your site.

Julia April 22, 2013 at 5:24 pm

Is there coffee? I did not see mention of it.
Milk is great, but coffee and Diet Coke are also great beverage choices to go with sweets. They both cut the sweet and clear the palate, whereas milk coats the mouth.
People used to report their tables being right at the railing, and others flooding up there and practically sitting on their table and blocking their view. Sounds like they have “solved” that by moving all tables away from the railing, and poeple can go stand at the railing, or not, as they choose.
Great video, Josh. You have a steady hand.

GrandCanyon April 22, 2013 at 5:24 pm

… will say that the two times we have done it all the chocolate strawberries were gone within the first 40 minutes … a dozen of them were on a plate in the middle of our table; haha.

RebeccaMcK April 22, 2013 at 5:43 pm

Hubby won’t eat chocolate anything unless he has milk with it, so I’m glad they have milk there as a drink option. I might go for the hot tea. Maybe we’ll try that party some day. Another good place is the balcony just past the Fantasia shop at the Contemporary, and there are some seats. Maybe get a cookie or some other easy dessert at the Contempo Cafe and head over there. We did that last time, and only little kids went up to the rail, not bad enough to block the older seated couple in the row in front of mine so that was good. And they pipe in the music, like they do at the Poly beach.

Peggy April 23, 2013 at 8:14 am

I have a question about the first picture in this post (the “crowd” pic). When I was last at WDW, we were able to watch Wishes from the hub. This pic looks like they are keeping people out of the hub completely. Is that correct? Or, is that one of the new “reserved” places for FP +?

Micklessor April 23, 2013 at 8:26 am

@Peggy: I think that’s just the walkway that they keep open for cross traffic. It’s by Casey’s and the Ice Cream Parlor.

Shelley April 23, 2013 at 11:47 am

I’m with Julia. No coffee????? I can’t eat all those sweets without coffee.

siskaren April 23, 2013 at 12:31 pm

Julia and Shelley, I think you missed the comment under the picture of the drink dispensers. Quoted:

“A selection of Twinings Teas is also available along with hot coffee”

Chris April 23, 2013 at 2:37 pm

I’m personally a fan of this event/dining experience. In a sense you are paying for reserved seating for Wishes with some average to better than average desserts. I have never felt that it was over crowded and the view (although not perfect) is pretty good. In my opinion it is a great option for families with small children. When we used to go and save a seat in the general seating area an hour or so before the parade, my kids would always fall asleep and miss the show. This way you can keep them busy all the way until the show begins and then walk up to a reserved seat. If you have the extra $80 – $100, I would recommend it.

Christine April 23, 2013 at 7:44 pm

I really appreciate the review. My daughter has a severe food allergy to eggs so we won’t be trying this, but I’ve always wondered what it was like.

Anjie April 26, 2013 at 10:56 pm

You forgot to mention the pretty white Disney printed napkins. Those alone make the party worth it. Grab a stack of 200 and use them in your kids lunches all school year long. :D

Lucy April 27, 2013 at 6:49 am

Attended the party and February during Mardi Gras and I say it’s totally worth it. No, you don’t get to see the parade but we had an amazing time seeing Wishes from a non-crowded spot and the desserts were very good in my humble opinion. My favorites were the chocolate covered strawberry, the canoli and the tiramisu. Word of warning, the bathrooms near the terrace were yucky because of how many people were using it. My suggestion is to head over to Tomorrowland to use the bathroom.

BTW you can leave the party and come back if necessary. I saw some people grabbing their wristbands and going back to watch the parade.

Jill April 30, 2013 at 7:42 am

I absolutely thought it was worth it for my husband and I. I would much rather nibble goodies at a table in comfort while I wait for the fireworks than deal with crowds. Plus, the Photopass photograher is there, which I thought was a nice touch.
We got a front row table, which was nice. I went to the railing for the fireworks, but John stayed at the table and said the view was fine. We would do it again.

Phil April 30, 2013 at 8:42 pm

We did the party for the first time last September. It was very enjoyable, not a necessity as mentioned, but worth our while. We will do it again.

Jennifer June 3, 2013 at 9:44 pm

Are the electric parade and water pageant the same event or two separate events?

Sarah July 12, 2013 at 9:39 am

Is the dessert party offered during late December/Early January. I’m going to WDW with my fiance the day after Christmas to January 4th. We agreed that we weren’t going to buy each other gifts this year, but instead buy each other an experience of some sort on our trip and it would be a surprise until the experience happened. I’m thinking about doing the dessert party for him, but with all of the holiday stuff Magic Kingdom offers during that time, I didn’t know if the dessert party is still held. Thanks!

Brett August 1, 2013 at 1:14 pm

I have a similar question as to Sarah above….

My family and I (a group of 11) will be headed there the week after MLK day in January. We have made some dining reservations already, but we were told we couldn’t book Wishes Dessert Party yet. My question is this…..is it offered every night? I wonder if because January is considered a slow time, if it is only offered on weekends or whatnot? Any thoughts? We are hoping to go on possibly a Monday or Thursday night….

Thanks!!!!

Lisa August 21, 2013 at 6:17 am

I was wondering about xmas also. Is it more expensive at that time. It would be worth it to not have to fight the crowds!

Tracee August 22, 2013 at 12:33 pm

Plan on doing this for our daughters birthdays. One is turning 21 and the other 16 while we are there. Hopefully we can get some people to join in singing Happy Birthday! I was going to do the Wishes birthday boat but for equal or less than that I can do the dessert party and Keys to the Kingdom tour which I know they will both enjoy. We’ve been to WDW so many times now so this would be something new.

Kristy November 20, 2013 at 1:58 pm

Hi…We will be staying at “the world” Feb 2nd – Feb 8… My 9 year old son has a HUGE crush…and i mean HUGE crush on Tinkerbell. I was wondering how the view is of her flying down from the castle. We were there in August of 2012 and because of hurricane Issacc she wasn’t able to fly and he was so sad. I wanted to do something special for him this year if the view of Tink is good. Also i’ve been told by the woman who i scheduled my reservations with that the first week of Feb is one of the LEAST crowded of the entire year. Has anyone been to the desert party during that week and can tell me if it’s less crowded or about the same and during any other time. Just trying to cover all of my bases before pre paying for 2 adults and a child. Oh one more thing…do you have to make reservations beforehand or is there any chance of booking last minute?

Deedee January 14, 2014 at 1:47 pm

We are planning for this when we go as a group of 8 (2 families) in December next year. It is one families first time since WDW got chaotic. It’s been about 8 years for them. On our last trip in August we swore no more parades after a woman placed her child in my child’s lap. So I think this will be perfect for us. Our kids are all late elementary-age and up so it will be a nice relaxing way to enjoy it and hopefully there will be a late electrical parade we can watch after Wishes. That 1st one is just too much to handle. I think for the sake of my husband’s blood pressure, this will be worth it!

Amanda January 22, 2014 at 9:10 am

Any idea how the dessert party would work if you had a Fastpass+ for the Electrical Parade? I’ve heard the viewing area for it is decent but isn’t decent for the Wishes viewing. Having three young kids that love fireworks, parades and desserts I am interested in all three. I know that before, people were able to choose a place near Tomorrowland and watch the parade then make it over to the party just a few minutes late but I don’t know how this will work with the predefined viewing area if you have the Fastpass+.

Karen May 16, 2014 at 9:50 am

We are not big dessert people but I’m curious if people feel that it is worth it to pay the money to go and have excellent view of the fireworks????

mac July 8, 2014 at 4:30 pm

We got tickets for this last month and I am not a big dessert person but for the view of the fireworks show alone it was definitely worth it! Everyone rushed to stand in the very front of the terrace but we went to the side closer to the exit and were right under where Tinker Bell flew and still had a great view of the show! It was awesome, they only thing was that they had the construction wall up so we couldn’t see the parade but considering I’ve seen it a thousand times it didn’t bother me.

Julee July 30, 2014 at 7:14 am

I’m wondering if anyone has done this now that the hub construction is going on? That moat there is drained right? The view over the water looks so pretty from the video but I’m wondering if it is bad now with construction walls and no water.

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