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Walt Disney World Hard Ticket Event Fever – Poll

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t_logo_fbThis weekend marked the debut of Harambe Nights – a hard ticket (that is, extra admission) event at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. And earlier this week, Disney announced the one-night only (for now) Villains Unleashed party at Hollywood Studios, which sold out of discounted tickets for Annual Pass and DVC members the same day they were offered (regular price tickets go on sale today). These events, along with the After Hours Wind Down at Epcot’s World Showcase, are new money-making ventures for Disney that promise lower crowds, exclusive entertainment, and special food and beverages for people willing to spend money for an extra admission ticket. It’s a strategy that has been wildly successful at Magic Kingdom with Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party – the combined seasons of which seem to now last a third of the year.

The prices vary from $35/guest plus gratuity and tax for the Epcot event to a whopping $134 plus tax for Harambe Nights for adults with premium seating (which sold out for all dates this summer, by the way). Keep in mind these prices are per guest. For a family of four (2 adults, 2 children under 10) to experience Harambe Nights, the cost is over $400 for a single night’s entertainment (including food and beverage, but not including any “commemorative merchandise” you pick up at the event).

So here is our question for you, readers:

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Vote and talk about your answers in the comments.

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Laurel Stewart

Laurel is a former software engineer and current student. She likes pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and Big Thunder Mountain.

10 thoughts on “Walt Disney World Hard Ticket Event Fever – Poll

  • We’re delighted by the variety, as we can’t visit regularly. I guess if you’re local enough to go regularly, you maybe need to get over the idea of having to go to everything, but we were so excited that Villains Unleashed was announced during our trip (from the UK). My work commitments mean the Halloween and Christmas parties are always out of our reach, so I shall be making the most of my hard ticket party on August 23rd 🙂

  • No issue with these hard ticket events. Picked up 5 for villains unleashed and since we will be there for the 1st MNSSHP we will be attending that as well. We’ve always enjoyed the hard ticket events.

  • It makes me sad to see all the Disney “extras” it just leaves me with a negative feeling about aplace I truly love to visit. I just can’t justify the costs to partake.

  • I’m not usually a fan of additional costs for my Disney vacation, but this year since we ‘gave our wallet a break’ and don’t have regular admission passes I bought tickets to the Villains Unleashed party.

    It seemed like a good compromise, my kids always want to go to the parks when we’re in town, and this way we can get in a full day at HS (rumor has it we can get in by 4pm) for less than the admission price and have some fun extras.

  • Harambe Nights intrigues me because you’re actually getting a show with your ticket (though the reviews of said show have me a bit underwhelmed). Villains, meh, to each their own. Epcot Wind Down doesn’t seem to have its footing yet – you don’t get the same value at every establishment, apparently.

    But if the hard ticket events make Disney enough money that they can slow the rate of price increases across-the-board, then I’m in favor of all of them.

  • I have only attended one hard-ticketed event, the Very Merry Christmas Party in 2012. We went during a low crowd volume week, but the night of the party the park was packed, we could barely see the parade, my kids, then 3 and 5, were totally out before the fireworks began, missed the snow on main street, and the crowds increased ride wait times exponentially to what they had been during the day. I had been so excited, but was really disappointing with the actual experience. The fact that it had cost our family an extra $250+ made my disappointment even harder to bear. This year we won’t be buying tickets to the Christmas party, and instead will enjoy the decorations, almost non-existent crowds on party days at Magic Kingdom (since it closes at 7 pm), and save our money for other Disney extras.

  • The Epcot Winddown is the only one that holds any appeal to me. The price seems relatively fair considering what comes with it. It sounds like a relaxing way to end a long day.

    I’m skeptical about Villains Unleashed. I’ll have to see how it’s handled.

    I think Harambe Nights looks like the biggest rip off of them all. It costs more than a regular park admission! Yet they don’t allow you to ride any rides and the food is all appetizers. If it were a proper sit-down all-you-can-eat dinner theater show ( like HDR or the Luau ), I might see some value for my dollar. But as it is now? I don’t understand why anyone would do it. Disney may say it’s “sold out” for the summer, but I’m curious how many of those tickets have gone to corporate sponsors as gifts.

    • The “premium seating” for Harambe Nights is sold out for the summer, not the regular seats.

  • I simply wish that Disney would put as much thought and investment into park experiences for regular park admissions. Some parks like AK and HS are very lacking. I know there are rumors of more being added to HS and there is Avatarland. Meanwhile, Universal is actually building the future while Disney is just talking about it.

  • For experiences far over and above the ‘usual,’ and by usual Disney already tops everyone else (in my opinion), I never saw a problem with attending a hard-ticket Halloween or Christmas party. I never blew a paycheck on a fireworks cruise, but to each their own.
    And with four parks, I’m not concerned with one being off-limits any particular night for such events.
    I would speak up if it got to the point where my only evening option was a hard ticket, or if ‘usual’ events were pulled from circulation completely. Otherwise, fine. People with more money will always have more options. That’s the way it’s always been. Club 33, anyone?


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