I reviewed the Happily Ever After dessert party at the end of the 2017. It cost $59 per person, and I gave it a score of 4.5/5. I also said it's "probably just" worth the money. In 2018, they increased the price to $69 per person. Keep in mind this review is for the Garden Plaza viewing area, not the seating area which costs more.
Let's dive in and see if it's worth the extra $10 over last year. The first thing we noticed is that they now place reserved tags on tables when a cast member sits you. Last year, they didn't do that and when we got up to get food and returned to our table, another party was sitting there.
The food and drink selection is rather similar to last year, with a few new additions. The highlight is the addition of these little pancake rolls. Those pancake rolls are absolutely delicious. However, they are so slow getting them refilled. People were waiting around for them and they only bring out a small amount each time. That part was really badly managed. I'm not sure if the ice cream was changed from last year, but this year it tasted like really awful cheap ice cream, which makes me sad, I love ice cream. If you like to drink alcohol -- there is none here -- only soft drinks. So if you think you earn your money back at the bar, you can't do that here like you can with the Star Wars dessert party.
I like that they have added more savoury selections. The addition of more crackers and cheeses is very welcome.
When moving over to the standing area, we noticed a photopass photographer there that was taking photos through the whole evening, which I didn't notice last year. Anyone (in the dessert party) can go over and get your picture taken with the castle in the background and there was never much of a queue, which is great.
Unfortunately, for us this year, is where it went downhill. It was a lot more packed this time. However, the dessert area wasn't any more crowded than it was last time. What was going on? I was a little confused at first until I remembered that Disney introduced the After-Fireworks Dessert Party.
What has ruined this experience for us is that introduction of the After-Fireworks Dessert Party. So most nights Disney run two dessert parties. One before and one after. That's fine in theory, if you would prefer to eat before, choose the the regular dessert party, if you'd prefer to eat after, then go to the after dessert party. The problem with the introduction of this second party, is that they use the same area for the fireworks viewing. So depending on how busy the night is, you could have at least double the amount of people in the same viewing area.
When I reviewed this party last year, I praised it saying it's a good way to view the fireworks and not be completely sardined in with other people. This year, it really was no different than standing anywhere else to watch the fireworks. It was crammed and didn't feel like a premium paid for extra experience at all. While I prefer the food and drink selections and options at the Star Wars dessert party (which has only improved this year), it feels like they've just made the Happily Ever After experience worse. There's nothing bad to say about the food and drinks, but with the $10 price increase and the even more sardine-like experience when actually viewing the fireworks, we may not do it again.
Of course, there's no faulting the actual Happily Ever After fireworks show. It's just incredible.
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