Monday, July 16, 2012

Tomorrowland Terrace Dessert Party - Magic Kingdom Fireworks

Claiming a fireworks spot to watch the nightly Wishes fireworks with the view of Cinderella's Castle in the background can get competitive - especially during peak season (summer, Christmas, spring break) at Walt Disney World when people begin to stake out spots in the Castle hub and along Main Street 2-3 hours in advance!  However, there are a few ways to ensure a great view of the fireworks without having to stand your ground or get pushed out of the way... or to hold a spot for two hours, only to have someone hoist their small child on top of their shoulders, in turn blocking your view.

The desire for reserved fireworks seating has contributed to the popularity of the Tomorrowland Terrace Fireworks Dessert Party.  And the irregular schedule of opening the dessert party for Advance Dining Reservations has also added to the difficulty of obtaining a reservation.

Reservations for the dessert party are different than typical Advance Dining Reservations (ADRs) for Walt Disney World restaurants, which open 180 days prior to your visit, as well as dinner shows, which can be booked up to 90 days in advance.  The release period for the dessert party is typically 2-3 months in advance, and instead of opening it a day at a time, they open the entire month at once.  However, the release date is completely irregular - for example, they opened the month of May on March 7 and the month of June on March 27.  Luckily, I had been following this thread on the DISboards where people dedicated to calling everyday to find out if they are accepting reservations yet post when they open up the next month.

You pay for the party upon making a reservation.  It's $35 per adult and $15 per child (ages 3-9).

I booked the party as a surprise for my sister, Rachel, and her friend, Meredith's graduation celebration at Magic Kingdom.  I had read online that it's a good idea to arrive 30-45 minutes before the party begins at 9:00, which made us the third or fourth family in line.  They didn't begin letting us into the party until 8:45, but I was glad that we had arrived early because while other families were still waiting to enter, we had the dessert buffet to ourselves.

The desserts are miniature and adorable (not to mention delicious).

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While they didn't serve soft drinks, they offered lemonade, water, and coffee.  In addition to miniature desserts, "homemade" ice cream was available.

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All seating at the dessert party is assigned.  Historically, the sooner you make a reservation, the better your seat will be.  People who booked the day it opened have reported to be seated at tables on the front row, while people who have booked last minute reported that they were seated in the back row.  However, it's important to note that the front and back rows consist of tables for 2-3 people, while the middle row consists of tables of 4 or more people.  So no matter how soon you book, if you are a party greater than 4, you will be seated in the middle row.  Also, table location doesn't matter too much because you are allowed to stand along the railing to view the fireworks.

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Here's our view from the table -

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You can see and hear the Main Street Electrical Parade, but you don't have a very good view of it from the terrace.  If you wish, you can leave the party (you're given a wristband upon entry) to get a closer view of the parade.

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Now, the annoying part of the Fireworks party was right about the time the parade ended, people from the back row of tables positioned themselves against the railing in front of the front row of tables. I had heard that people were allowed to stand against the railing for a better view, but I was shocked that they claimed their spot so early, just as if we were lining up for fireworks on Main Street. It was a little rude in my opinion because they essentially stole the spot directly in front of the first row of tables - taking the view of people who might've not been aware that they would need to stand up.

When this was happening, I was already against the railing in front of the buffet area, taking photos of the castle from the most direct head-on position. So, I lucked out with a great spot and had my family come join me. A CM then told us that we had the best view (which is funny because we were the last to claim a spot).


The view:

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We had a good view of The Magic, The Memories, and You, as well as the fireworks.

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There's a great view of Tinkerbell overhead.

Wishes

Wishes

Wishes

They don't restock the desserts throughout the party, though it described as a buffet. However, there were plenty of treats still remaining after the fireworks, just not as much selection.

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After the fireworks (actually during), the Cast Members go into clean-up mode.  They had left all of the desserts out, but had put away all of the flatware, so if you wanted another dessert, you had to use your fingers.  We got the hint to leave when a CM came by and asked us if we were going to finish our drinks (which we were clearly still drinking). We told her yes.  The CMs were very nice, but it was pretty obvious that they were ready for us to leave... though it was technically a public area, and we could hang out there if we wanted to.

While the dessert party was a fun experience, it isn't something that we're going to need to do every trip.  I wouldn't say that we really saved any time that we would've spent staking out a parade and fireworks location by doing the dessert party, and we still had to wait in line to get in... heck, we weren't even as close as we could have been had we waited in the Castle Hub.  But, it was nice to be able to have a relaxing pre-fireworks experience.  Not to mention, the desserts were really good!  I'd recommend eating a light dinner beforehand.

If you're interested in booking the Tomorrowland Terrace Fireworks Dessert Party, you can do it online or by calling Disney Dining at (407) WDW-DINE.