These days, dessert parties at Walt Disney World are almost as ubiquitous as Mickey and Minnie Mouse.
The Studios has hosted at least one for a couple of years now, starting back with Frozen Summer Fun and continuing now for Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks.
Prior to July 10th, the dessert party was hosted outdoors in front of Great Movie Ride. There were a couple of logistical concerns with this setup. From a guest comfort standpoint, the RealFeel at 8:30pm in July is still going to be nearing 100 degrees as an unpleasant layer of humidity rolls in. Evening rain is also common, which meant the party was often moved inside the Disney Jr. Live on Stage space, which wasn’t themed at all to the event and really just felt like you were standing inside of a box enjoying your mini cupcakes and cocktails.
With the retooling of the show, Disney introduced another problem. From my extensive review of the new show in this post: https://www.easywdw.com/easy/blog/star-wars-a-galactic-spectacular-fireworks-viewing-location-tips-and-review-at-disneys-hollywood-studios/, you might remember that the vast majority of the fireworks are shot off to the right of the Great Movie Ride facade/Center Stage area. That means you want to be in between the stage set up in front of Movie Ride and the projection towers in order to see the projections on the facade and the fireworks overhead. The tables for the dessert party took up a lot of the best real estate for the show.
With no tables, the space required for reserved viewing is vastly reduced. I think this benefits attendees because there’s much less of a difference between the people that would have been at the tables closest to the ropes and those much further back. Disney also lets kids up into the front section to sit or stand, which means shoulder kids shouldn’t be an issue from within the reserved section.
There’s also a taped off walkway immediately in front of the reserved section, which means you’ll have a better angle looking up at the projections and fireworks with fewer people immediately in front of your group.
The dessert party will be scheduled to begin one hour prior to the start of the fireworks, but Disney will begin checking guests in 30 minutes prior to that time. So with 9:30pm fireworks and an 8:30pm dessert party start, you should be able to head in by 8pm.
The cost is $69 for Disney adults and $39 for those ages 3-9, so you might as well get as much value out of the event as possible by maximizing your time. While the price seems spendy, tax and gratuity are at least included in that number.
Check-in is a pretty chill process, particularly if you arrive early. With the first-come, first-served table setup that used to happen before the move over to Launch Bay, people would show up 60+ minutes before they let anybody into the reserved area just to get a “good” table, in addition to then spending 90+ minutes in the reserved area waiting for the show. The new setup eliminates any need to arrive that early.
Star Wars Launch Bay remains open to all guests during the Dessert Party, but the area with the food and beverage is inside and roped off on the lower level.
If for some reason you prefer to be outside, you can still bring your food/drink out to one of the tables.
This area is in the courtyard just outside the Launch Bay entrance/exit.
Additional tables are set up on the upper floor where the jawas trade with guests. It’s a little further away from the buffet area and the tables are lower to the ground, but the ambiance is fun. Once you get your initial fill you might move up here.
The buffet area isn’t going to give the Death Star a run for its money on size alone, but it’s sufficient with two sides on the main buffet and a couple of other stations dispersed throughout.
As the name implies, the emphasis here is on desserts as you start with two miniature versions of popular cupcakes found elsewhere in the Parks. A Chocolate Peanut Butter Darth Vader and a Vanilla R2-D2.
Rice Crispy Bon Bons.
Things are elevated a bit here with the Pistachio Morella Cherry Bites, Citrus Financier, and Mini Chocolate Cakes.
Panna Cotta with Crispy Pearls.
Sugar Cookies and a Lemon Cupcake with Buttercream Frosting.
On the table with the bread pudding and ice cream, you’ll find Red Velvet Brownies sort of themed to Darth Maul.
Hand-scooped ice cream along with some toppings like whipped cream, vanilla bean sauce, sprinkles, and fruit. They will find you a Mickey Ice Cream Bar on request, but didn’t have any displayed. I’d probably budget that saturated fat elsewhere on the buffet line.
Other than consuming the content of this website, there are few things worse for your health than Nutella, but the Freeze-Fried Nutella Truffle is not to be missed, topped with either chocolate or raspberry syrup.
This technique, which drops the temperature of the dessert so it’s more refreshing, also creates a crispy exterior before giving way to the creaminess of the hazelnut spread inside. It will appreciably shorten your life, but I think it’s worth it. Maybe you will get lucky and not live to see the results of the upcoming election.
Disney is perhaps attempting to class the event up by renaming this vat, “Warm Bread Pudding.” The previous moniker was “Galactic Size Warm Space Debris Warm Pudding.” Just put it in my mouth.
It’s actually pretty good, warm and soft underneath with some “interesting” toppings. It might be a little too “bread-y” for purists though. I can’t imagine it’s that easy to envenly bake something so large.
That about does it for the dessert-y stuff. It’s a pretty nice variety of cupcakes, ice cream, cookies, and other items like the Nutella. Realistically, one of Disney’s $6 full size cupcakes is going to be more than most people are able to eat in one sitting, but there is perhaps something to say for variety. The quality is standard for most Disney buffets or quick service outlets. No more. No less.
A small variety of “savory” items are available.
Smoked Sea-salted flatbread with Black Bean Dip and Roasted Red Pepper Hummus accompaniments. This replaces the biscuits from the previous offering.
Two bites of watermelon on individual skewers.
And Green Olive Skewers.
Provolone and Tomato Skewers.
You could potentially make a hearty snack out of a few pieces of the flatbread, the cheese, and the fruit, but this isn’t a terribly good meal replacement I don’t think. Some number of people would also prefer the cheese to be skewered together separately from the tomatoes and green olives – kids in particular. And you’d have to pile eight skewers on your plate to come out with a measly 16 grapes.
On the other hand, with the all-you-care-to-consume thing, you can certainly fill up even if it’s going to be on panna cotta and cupcakes rather than something more “nutritious.”
There’s a bar that offers four specialty drinks, in addition to being able to mix you something else with these ingredients.
They have cans of soda that are unadvertised as well. Just ask.
Brands are decent, but don’t expect a Grey Goose Martini.
There was just one bartender for most of the evening, but the line remained short.
The Galactic Punch with Coconut Rum, Spiced Rum, Mango Syrup, and Passion Orange Guava Juice was probably the most refreshing of the offerings. If you’ve ever sat down at Boma or just about any other Disney buffet and thought that their signature juice would taste a little better with a splash of rum then this is your chance to give that a try. Unlimited times. “Hunny. I just have to see if it’s still as refreshing as I thought it would be…Yuuuuuuuuup….”
The Cosmic Citrus Twist is the New Amsterdam Citrus Vodka with Watermelon Lemonade. Also refreshing and less syrupy than the Galactic Punch. You can ask for just a splash of vodka or “go full easywdw please.”
The Light Speed Margarita – Tequila, Blood Orange Syrup, Sour Mix, and Lime Juice is in the vicinity of competent.
I attended the event with Dave of yourfirstvisit.net and Tom from wdwnt.com and we sent poor Dave over to pick up the last cocktail on the list. A new bartender had just arrived and after looking down at the menu and seeing the name of the drink, he asked for a “Swamp Milk.” The bartender, with eyes that said “how many drinks have you possibly had today, sir,” wondered what on earth he was talking about before the original bartender came over and showed him the menu. This was the first night and the drinks were all new.
Swamp Milk is Vodka, Melon Liqueur, and Vanilla Syrup topped with Half and Half. Not really my thing, but it was more fruity than creamy, which was nice.
One potential bummer is that they don’t have Baileys or Kahlua for a coffee drink.
Overall, those looking to pound a few cocktails over the span of 60 to 90 minutes are going to find the most “value” out of the Dessert Party. Each one of these would cost you $9 or $10 from a cart and they’re not particularly large, so moving through a few shouldn’t take a whole lot of effort for any dedicated easydubz reader.
Stormtroopers meander throughout the area a couple of times during the event. Party goers are also welcome to get in line for Kylo Ren or Chewbacca or peruse the various displays during their time as well. Your wristband will get you back into the area with the good stuff.
Disney cast members will start walking those attending the dessert party over to the reserved viewing area 15 minutes before the fireworks are scheduled. I recommend leaving Star Wars Launch Bay about three minutes before then so you can set up shop in the front of the reserved area before 95% of the other people arrive. This is the area at 9:17pm with the 9:30pm start. Two minutes later, there would be about five rows of people behind me, but also plenty of space behind that should you wish to spread out.
The reserved section is arguably the best possible spot to be in for the current show, which emphasizes the projections on the Great Movie Ride facade much more than the power of the fireworks.
And with general views further back on Hollywood Boulevard providing a much worse view, there is additional value in the reserved location.
Prior to June 17th, I recommended people watch the show from in front of 50’s Prime Time or even outside of the Studios entrance/exit. The show used so much pyro that the majority of the fireworks were viewable from all over property. But while the picture above this one might look half-decent, there are very few points in the show where the fireworks are this substantial and any view other than those in the recommended area would have little to no view of the projections.
Cast members were actively handing out bottles of water outside, which I thought was a nice touch.
All attendees also receive a Chewbacca stein to take home.
I’ve always found them to be a little creepy. The Darth Vader and Stormtrooper steins make some sense since they would have to physically take their helmets off at some point. But opening poor Chewie’s head to place a Diet Coke inside seems kind of messed up. But you could rationalize that you’re getting $11 of value out of the “gift” on your way out. They are very cheaply made.
STOP TALKING AND JUST TELL ME IF IT’S WORTH IT
Well, it depends. Of course. At $69/10+ and $39/3-9, it’s going to cost a family of two adults, a 13-year old, and a 7-year old $246. That’s a lot of money just about any way you look at it. That would cover entrees/tax/tip at most signature restaurants or multiple meals or drinks at lower-tier establishments. It would cover Park Hopper or some other upgrades. It would cover the cost of a day at a water park. Heck, you’re almost to the point where adding another $20/person would buy 1-day tickets to Universal.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t rationalize the cost per person and it may not even take much effort:
- 4 drinks * $9 each = $36
- Desserts including bread pudding and the glorious Nutella: $12
- Watermelon, fruit, and cheese at Disney snack prices: $10
- Chewbacca stein: $11
That puts you at $69 or the full cost of the event. Without even considering the fireworks view, which is among the best available. I think a lot of people will find increased value in the venue change, where the atmosphere is vastly improved. And air-conditioning. Finding a spot similar to those in the reserved section is going to require you to arrive a minimum of 45 minutes before showtime, if not 60+. As usual, your money buys you a more comfortable experience. Whether that comfort is worth the money depends on your budget and how else you could put it to use.
So the website does not categorically recommend or not recommend the Star Wars Galactic Spectacular in all situations. Those that don’t drink will find reduced value. Those that don’t care about the plastic souvenir stein will find less value. Those that don’t like dessert will find less value. Those that don’t want to see the Star Wars show will find less value. But with what I was able to consume, both food- and entertainment-wise, you could argue that I got my money’s worth. On the other hand, I would never purchase four Disney kiosk cocktails and $12 worth of quick service desserts on the same night either.
Disney has only been committing to a month’s worth of fireworks at a time. So here in mid-July, we only have fireworks scheduled through August. And those August dates were just added a couple of days ago. So don’t freak if the dessert party is not yet bookable for your dates. It likely won’t be until five or six weeks out.