Mini Review: Disney Villains After Hours, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World
Mini Review: Villains After Hours
UPDATE – 9 February 2020 – Disney has now launched an updated and improved version of Villains After Hours. They have improved and enhanced the event to address many of the issues highlighted in this original review, which appears below.
A Disney ticketed event that’s not ready for prime time
Readers of my blog know that I am a big fan of Disney ticketed events and VIP experiences. It’s rare that I find one that I don’t like or wouldn’t recommend.
Unfortunately, Disney Villains After Hours at Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park is one that I do not recommend.
While we had high hopes for this one, it really turned out to be a major letdown. It is unfortunate because Club Villain is without question the best Disney ticketed event that I have ever experienced. So now, Disney Villains hold the dubious honor of having both my best ticketed experience (Club Villain) and worst ticketed experience (Villains After Hours).
Why Was Disney Villains After Hours a Letdown?
Compared to other Disney ticketed events (e.g. H20 Glow Nights, Not So Scary Halloween Party, Very Merry Christmas Party) the theming for Villains After Hours inside the Magic Kingdom was virtually non-existent.
A Paid Extra Magic Hours with Free Treats
For the price that you pay for a ticket, there really is virtually no theming in the park at all. Other than some villainous music being piped throughout the park and a few projections here and there, Villains After Hours is pretty much a paid Extra Magic Hours with free popcorn, ice cream, soda pop and water.
Space Mountain in the dark was pretty cool, but there wasn’t any other cool factor to any attractions. Pirates of the Caribbean had a few live actors, which was okay, but nothing remotely close to what could have been exceptional. No other attractions had any special theming that we encountered, which was a huge opportunity lost.
Long Wait Times Means You Won’t Be Able to Do Too Much
Ride times for the top attractions were long on the night we went. The average wait time was 25 minutes to 30 minutes for top tier rides. When the event is only three hours long, those wait times take a big bite out of your time. I read some blog posts claiming five minute wait times. We didn’t see anything near that (except, perhaps, for the carousel). Those individuals may have been bloggers invited to a media event or something similar: not the reality that a paid ticket-goer will experience.
You’ll have to make a choice: villains stage show or rides.
We never saw the show, we never saw the Maleficent dragon that was supposed to be winding its way around the park and there were no villain meet and greets at all. That was a big shock.
Disney Villains After Hours is a good idea, but needs a lot of work to justify the price you pay.
You will see a few live villains at Main Street Station when you leave the park, but other than that, the night was very underwhelming. You can choose to pay for some fancy desserts and drinks — and many of those did look cool — but with free Mickey bars, Mickey sandwiches and popcorn, those are pretty much left for the Instagram-treats-photos crowd.
Villains After Hours Has Potential, but Needs Some Serious Creative Input
If you’re on the fence about Disney Villains After Hours, I would recommend against going.
I love Disney ticketed events, but not blindly. This one has potential but just isn’t there yet. It’s a shame, especially given the amazing production that was Club Villain a few years ago.
Yes, the crowds are slightly below the Christmas and Halloween parties, but because there are no character greetings or anything else to occupy your time, the ride lines are long. We had up to 30-minute waits for Space Mountain, Haunted Mansion (plus 15 minutes broken down on the ride), Pirates of the Caribbean and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Those four took up two of our three hours. Walking between them took another 30 minutes. So basically that is your night: four rides and a free ice cream bar. Or you can choose to stand at the castle stage to watch a show (for the price of a broadway ticket).
I’ve seen a lot of people rave about this event, but I just don’t see it. As someone who attends virtually all Disney ticketed events, this one was not up to par with the level of creative input and Disney magic that typifies a Disney special event. It’s very unfortunate because the Disney Villains are awesome and they deserve better. No villain meet and greets is simply not acceptable.
All in all there is a lot of room for improvement for something that seemed to be slapped together without much thought at all.
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As a Luxury Disney travel expert and author, I blog regularly about upscale Disney vacations of all shapes and sizes.
Mike Belobradic: The Finer Side of Disney Travel
Luxury Travel Blogger – Deluxe Disney Travel Specialist