On a recent visit to Disneyland my wife and I decided to splurge a little and try out the World of Color Dessert Party at Disney’s California Adventure. Much like the Wishes Dessert Party at the Magic Kingdom, it is an opportunity for reserved seating and snacks to a popular nighttime spectacular. Of course, this all comes at a price–and what a price–so let’s start there.
Cost and Reservations
I’m not going to dance around this: it costs $79 per person. That includes tax and gratuity, but $79 is the price for both adults and children. That means my family of 4 had to pay $316 for this opportunity. Later I’ll discuss whether I think it even remotely approaches a good value and after I finish writing this I’ll research tax exclusions and the warning signs of financial stress-related heart problems.
When you book the dessert party, full prepayment is required. It can still be cancelled without penalty up to 24 hours before the reservation, but it must be paid in full upon making the reservation. If there are two World of Color showings in one evening, the dessert party is only offered for the first one.
Now that we’ve gotten through the worst of it (the cost), let’s discuss the best of it. The site for the dessert party is on the second tier, right in the center of the viewing area. It actually is behind the best, front-and-center viewing spot reserved for those with the dining package, but that’s not the whole of it.
If you get dining package reservations, you are in the best section, but it is a deep area and all standing room only. Therefore, if you’re not waiting to enter at least 60 minutes before the show you will be packed in behind many other people. The dessert party is raised slightly above the dining package area so the effects are fairly easily seen above their heads.
I’m slow-rolling the best part here, though: everyone at the dessert party is seated. Yes, you can sit at your table in relative comfort looking above the heads of other guests. It does inflate the ego a bit. Specifically, the party area is a long section with two rows of tables–some high tops and some low. Where you sit is based somewhat on when you arrive.
For instance, we arrived at the check-in area around 8pm–one hour before the World of Color scheduled show time. The reservation when we booked was for 8:15pm, but it also tells you to arrive an hour before the show, so we’re starting off a little confused. When we got there at 8, we were behind a handful of groups already waiting.
At about 8:15pm, they began to actually check people in which involved checking names on a list and putting wristbands on everyone. The bands allow you access to the actual party and re-entry if you need a bathroom run. From the check-in podium, you head down to the actual party area, where they check your name again and assign a table. There were 2 front-row tables left when we got there–a high top and a low. We chose the high table assuming it would give a better vantage point. I don’t know if that’s true because I didn’t sit at a low table, but we had no problem seeing, including the children.
I didn’t count the tables, but I would guess there are around 20, with 10 being in the front row. While the people behind us said they had no issues with the view, I would still recommend getting in line early enough to try to get a front row table.
One other thing I’ll mention is that we were firmly in the “mist zone.” We didn’t get what I would call wet (the people way up front did that night), but we often got misted. As it was a pleasantly cool evening and we didn’t have jackets, the mist got a little chilly. Be ready for that.
If I set the cost aside for the moment, the actual food and drink offerings were what I was most disappointed in. You can look at the menu for yourself in the image, but it lacks what I would consider simple desserts–thing like cake, cookies, or pastries that are common flavors. I am neither a food snob nor an anti-snob (that can’t be the right phrase). The desserts offered were not fantastic, but they were decent; however, I would prefer a mix of more common desserts with these fancier ones. My kids would certainly have enjoyed a sugar cookie or chocolate cake more.
I was personally more excited about the drinks, since an alcoholic drink was supplied to all over 21. I was less excited by the 1 drink limit, but our server told us that she could bring 2 for each adult if we wanted. The only drinks offered were some sort of blue concoction that tasted like mostly Blue Curacao and Sprite (I don’t remember the name) and champagne. The blue drink contained almost no alcohol, and the champagne was likely the bottle you buy for $4.99 to mix with orange juice and drink while you type blog posts in the morning…wait, just me? Anyway, I was not a fan.
The kids were given gigantic plastic things that blinked and glowed with the show lights. They were fine, but too big to pack in the suitcase and full of a soda-based concoction that neither of my kids really liked, so the gains were short-term.
It is very hard to recommend this based on the price, the desserts, and the drinks. However, as we sat there in comfort watching World of Color, looking over the people who rushed and bumped and got annoyed on their way to their spots, it felt worth at least a portion of the money. I doubt I’ll ever do it again–with this menu, anyway. In short, if you can afford it and were considering the World of Color Dessert Party, you’ll likely enjoy it, at least somewhat. There is absolutely no way that it is a good value, but it may be worth it.