World of Color Dessert Party Review

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Now that nighttime entertainment has returned at Disneyland (and if you twist my arm, I’ll give you my completely biased rankings of the offerings), so too have returned the opportunistic upcharges. And like any Disneyland newbie visiting for a special occasion, I threw all of my money at them. What was the biggest money-eater during my two-day trip? The World of Color Dessert Party, which is a cool $89 per person – or, even more than the cost of the Main Street Electrical Parade Dining Package ($40), Genie+ ($20), a churro ($5), and at least one ILL ($20 for Rise of the Resistance, for example) all in one day.

I attended the Dessert Party on April 28th, which would’ve been the 7th night since the spectacular’s post-pandemic reopening. So I’ll walk you through what’s included, why I decided to buy it, what I experienced, and my recommendations regarding whether or not you should follow in my footsteps with regard to this particular purchase.

The view from our seats at the dessert party, before the show started

What’s Included in the Dessert Party

Technically, the dessert party is your only way to get guaranteed seating for a showing of World of Color. For the rest of what is technically included, we can turn to Disney’s own wording about the event:

  • A delicious selection of desserts and cheeses
  • 2 alcoholic beverages for adults, ages 21 and older
  • Unlimited soft drinks and bottled water

For the $89 price tag, tax and gratuity are included (wahoo), and children ages 2 and younger can attend free of charge, as long as they sit on a lap.

Note the cute matching shirts, lack of small children, and the anniversary buttons. This is how you know we were going ALL OUT for this trip.

My Purchase Decision

So why did I decide to spend my own money on this event? Normally it’s not something that I’d look to be dropping a lot of money on. I’m generally happy with standing, waiting, dealing with masses of people – after all, I do Disney a lot.

But this trip was different. My husband and I were celebrating our 10th anniversary, so there was already that overarching “This is a celebration! Let’s Splurge!” mentality. We also only had two days in the park and were trying to see the Main Street Electrical Parade, World of Color, and Disneyland Forever (which was only happening one of the two nights of our trip). That meant we couldn’t wait out for every single nighttime event, and that we’d have two REALLY FULL park days and would be very exhausted at the end of them. This is partially because we knew we wanted to rope drop each day, and that meant leaving our hotel before 7 to get to the Esplanade by 7:15 for the parks opening at 8 am. A 10:15 pm showing of World of Color after already spending 15 hours in the parks … is intense.

Since I was willing to part with some money, and I figured if there was any time we’d want to be seated, it would be during this late showing of World of Color, I decided to just go for it.

What I Experienced

I reserved the dessert party for the second (late) showing of World of Color, which happened at 10:15 pm on 4/28. The reservation is pre-paid, so it’s easy to “pay it off” before the trip and feel like the experience is free. Or something. When you reserve, you’re told to check in before 9:15. Which felt weird, because the first showing of the night was at 9 pm, so it obviously going to still be running.

On that same night, we had the Main Street Electrical Parade Dining Package, which meant that we had reserved seating at essentially the very end of the parade route. The parade was obviously still having some start-up learning curve stuff, because it kicked off about 6 minutes late that night (and had several characters running to catch up with their spots the next night). So the parade, which started at 8:30, didn’t fully pass us by until after 9:15.

Seeing this in person? Totally worth the “stress” of what ended up being overlapping reservations.

We rushed over to California Adventure, and thanks to being “fast-walkers”, were over near the check-in by 9:20. That’s when things got confusing. We got in the taped-out zig-zag line on the ground near the lit-up sign for Dessert Party check-in. We asked the people in front of us if they were in line to check in, and they said yes. There were maybe 20 people ahead of us. We patted ourselves on the back for getting there in time, and the crowd of check-in-ers steadily grew to about a total of 80 people, most of them behind us in line.

The previous showing wrapped up around 9:25 and the hoards of people began filtering out, eventually clearing out by around 9:40 pm. At that point a cast member yelled at the folks lined up “Who here hasn’t checked in yet?” and a confused 90% of the group raised their hands. So apparently we mostly all got this part wrong – we were supposed to come and do an initial check-in before the first show started (why? why?), get wrist-bands, pick tables, and then be instructed to come back to the same spot between 9:30 and 9:40. Oops. Almost no one had done that part.

So at 9:45 pm, they started walking our parties down to the seating area one by one. As we were walked down, if we hadn’t actually done the check-in thing, we did the check-in thing and got wristbands and were asked if we wanted high-top tables or regular. Since we were early in the line and almost no one had done the initial check-in, there were plenty of either for us to choose from.

The area so super-professionally highlighted in orange is dessert party seating. So the further to the left on this picture you sit, the better the view (or to your right when you’re facing the water).

Once we were down at the seating area, the head server greeted each party individually, looked up their seats, and asked your server to see you to your table. This took at least 2 minutes per party, sometimes more. More on the implications of that later. None of the servers really knew where the tables were, and there was a lot of retracing of steps. This became problematic as the area filled in because the tables are CRAMMED on top of each other. Not enough room for an ECV to go between the lower tables and higher tables. Not enough room for a stroller either. And the tables are placed so close to one another horizontally that seat “one” at one table is literally touching seat “four” at the table beside it. This led to some really really awkward situations with people from different parties essentially having to share one seat with no space in between. It also made it difficult to get into and out of those chairs if necessary.

Once seated, your server departed to grab pre-made plates of food. When he/she came back, then they would take drink orders. A few minutes later they’d come back with those drinks. And … that was it. No further visits. Keep in mind that we were seated before about 75% of the total attendees that night. We had more attention from our server than most. The folks at the end of the line weren’t even seated until 10:10 pm. Thankfully, World of Color was delayed by about 6 minutes, but even so – several didn’t get drinks before the show started.

“Menu” for the event

Now, the experience says two alcoholic drinks per adult and “unlimited” other beverages, and that just wasn’t the case. We would’ve had to physically walk over to the serving area, or seriously make a ruckus to get our server to come back to get more than one drink, no matter what the kind. But I’ll give Disney this – the tequila drink was really strong. If I had two of them, I wouldn’t have made it home.

The standard plate of “stuff”, which had obviously been stored in some chilled container somewhere.

The food was … food. The blue raspberry bundt cake and triple chocolate cheesecake were surprisingly good. All of the rest was underwhelming. I don’t think anyone is going to write home about the pre-packaged crackers. Or grapes.

An interesting note – the official Disney page doesn’t mention anything about special drinks for kids. But every over-2-but-still-a-kid attendee on our night got a plastic “glowing orb of destiny” (I didn’t get a close look because I wasn’t going to be that creepy stranger dressed like Loki sidling up to a table late at night) with a straw. It definitely seemed to be some sort of keepsake sipper. So I guess all those Ebay pirates need to bring their kids to this dessert party to get some really expensive potentially-exclusive sippers.

The view that we had was great! We requested a low table so that we’d be at the “front” of the section, and we chose the furthest-right table available at the time we checked in. That got us close to a centered view. Nothing was skewed, and we really enjoyed that location. It was our first time viewing World of Color and we both loved it. I’m an engineer, so watching the timing of the light effects and water streams to make the different visuals was fascinating all by itself.

Recommendations

Is the World of Color Dessert Party “worth it”? Absolutely not. In almost zero circumstances. You’re getting maybe $10 worth of food (okay, let’s call it $15 with California prices). And the drink values are pretty low thanks to the small window for drink service. I guess I could’ve asked for both drinks to be delivered at the same time, but … boo. So I got my one small tequila drink. And my husband got one soda.

Let’s say you make really good use of your time, and get the plate of desserts and double alcoholic drinks (or the cool sipper if you’re a kid). Even then you’re probably still at $35 of food and drink if we’re being generous. Which means you’re paying $54 per person for a seat. A seat potentially shared with a stranger.

I say avoid the upcharge. Go do the Main Street Electrical Parade Dining Package instead, which is actually a good value. But if you’ve got special circumstances and opt to do it, go and check-in before the first showing (even if you booked the late showing), get your wristbands, choose a seat to the right side of the seating area to get a good view, and then show up about 25 minutes before your actual showtime so that you’re one of the first to get seated. Make the most of your upcharge.

And, above all else, if you decide to book a package like this, or any other popular event, please PLEASE get a Travel Agent to help you. Disneyland is notorious for dropping things at random times, and I wouldn’t have gotten my reservations had Gina not stayed on top of things on my behalf. She was up until after midnight the night before we thought it would drop, and then started checking every 15 minutes at 5 am the next day. She’s a hero.

 

Have you experienced the World of Color Dessert Party? Did you enjoy or regret your experience? And most importantly, do you know what the glowing orb of destiny is? Let me know in the comments below!

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Becky Gandillon

Becky Gandillon was trained in biomedical engineering, but is now a full-time data and analytics nerd. She loves problem solving and travelling. She and her husband, Jeff, live in St. Louis with their two daughters and they have Disney family movie night every Saturday. You can follow her on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/becky-gandillon/ or instagram @raisingminniemes

8 thoughts on “World of Color Dessert Party Review

  • May 11, 2022 at 11:21 am
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    Love this fun review and maybe someone will need to to an updated review in a few months to see if the service has improved any,

    Reply
  • May 11, 2022 at 1:14 pm
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    I did this in 2019 right after the show came back and I 100% agree, it’s not worth it for the service and seating set up. I don’t blame the CMs, I just think Disneys trying to be cheap.

    Reply
  • May 12, 2022 at 12:15 am
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    Thank you for this funny and honest review. We have been on the fence about paying this price for a family of 4 and have now decided against it. Now its down to either try the dining package at Story Tellers Café or trying our luck with the virtual queue. Thanks again

    Reply
    • June 13, 2022 at 5:10 pm
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      DO NOT PAY FOR THIS WITH CHILDREN. Unless, of course, throwing money away is really your thing. Learn from my mistake. So expensive! Mine are teens and were annoyed by me stressing they show up to be seated on time. The whole waiting to choose a seat thing takes a chunk out of your park time, too. And I love Disney and waste lots of money there. But I won’t pay for kids to do this again.

      Reply
  • May 12, 2022 at 3:27 pm
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    Hi Becky! Longtime DL person here. I haven’t seen WoC for awhile, and have never done the dessert party, but … one thing that you probably don’t know, is that you likely had one of the best views of WoC. When WoC first opened, they had these different sections (blue, yellow, orange, whatever) and there was a lot of fan talk about where one should go to get the best view. Turns out that when testing was done to “tune” the images on the “water screens”, it was done from a spot somewhere in the “area so super-professionally highlighted in orange” in your diagram. So the best place to view the show is exactly where you sat, and when WoC first opened, the most desirable color section to obtain was exactly that section. Sorry to hear that they are cramming the tables in so close together, and being more than a bit dishonest about the services you’ll receive, but that seems to be part of the “Disney magic” these days, sadly. Happy Anniversary! As I recall, you were going to stay at a certain well-reviewed hotel … how did that go? Hope you had a wonderful time!

    Reply
    • May 12, 2022 at 9:22 pm
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      Good to know that it was the best view! Makes me feel slightly better about spending all of the money 😉
      Yes! We stayed at the JW Marriott Anaheim. It was _lovely_. We got an insanely good deal on the room because we booked when Omicron was going crazy, so I’m sure it’s much more expensive now. But I should write up a review about that too!

      Reply
  • May 18, 2022 at 10:50 pm
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    I appreciate your candid and amusing review. Since spending this much for a family of four has been an issue, we’ve opted against it. We have two options left: either attempt the Story Tellers Café dinner package or see if we can get a spot in the virtual line. Thanks again

    Reply
    • May 19, 2022 at 1:01 am
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      Hi five! Lol, that was fun to say! Notice that Becky wrote “Technically, the dessert party is your only way to get guaranteed seating for a showing of World of Color.” These words perhaps require a bit of explanation. When WoC first opened, the entire show was standing room only, except for a very small section reserved for those with disability issues. Haven’t been there for a while, but I suspect that the vast majority of spots for WoC continue to be standing room only. It is a bit of a treat to be able to sit for the show, rather than stand. Having said that, the show itself is WONDERFUL and some people think that the best spots are the standing spots that are closest to the railing at the edge of the water. I hate to see you missing the entire show because Disney has overpriced their dessert party. Just my two cents, I’m sure that Becky will weigh in with hers too.

      Reply

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