By: Amy Kawa
There are very few things that bring us more joy than Disney food. I mean, who doesn’t love Dole Whips, Mickey Bars, PB&J milkshakes, and Disney popcorn? We have been all over the map when it comes to food options in the parks, resorts, and Disney Springs- table service, character dining, quick service, signature dining, snack carts – you name it. As we begin to craft our reviews of the places where we’ve enjoyed some delicious Disney delicacies, we’ll give you our opinions on the atmosphere, service, and quality of the food we ordered.
We know that every Disney dining experience may be different, so please let us know if you’ve eaten at these places, and tell us your experience!
Fireworks Dessert Party – Plaza Garden Viewing
Location: Magic Kingdom – Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant
Reservation Info: Magic Kingdom now offers two dessert parties (one before and one after Happily Ever After) and with a steep price tag for both options, reservations should be easier to come by. However, reservations as close to 180 days as possible to your chosen date are still encouraged.
Meal, Time, Party Size: Dessert/Snack; 7:45 p.m check-in.; 4 people
Crowd Level: It seemed like almost all the tables on both sides of Tomorrowland Terrace were filled with guests enjoying the dessert party before the fireworks.
Atmosphere: Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant doesn’t undergo much a transformation when it becomes the nightly location for Magic Kingdom’s dessert parties. Black table cloths cover the small-ish tables, different-colored LED candles flicker on the tables, and a dessert buffet and drinks find their homes on each side of the restaurant. The eating area felt a little crowded, but never so much so that you couldn’t get up and keep going to the dessert buffet if so desired. Upon check-in, guests are given a wristband to distinguish them from other guests in case dessert party-goers have to leave the area for any reason. The band allows for re-entry.
It is important to acknowledge that Disney offers two separate viewing areas for the same dessert party: “Terrace viewing” calls for guests to remain at Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant to view the fireworks from their assigned table; while “Garden Plaza viewing” allows guests to watch the fireworks from the grassy area just outside the Cinderella Castle “hub.” The Terrace viewing option costs significantly more than the Plaza Garden viewing ($79/person compared to $59/person), and all you really get for that extra $20 is a literal seat to watch the fireworks from instead of a nice, uncrowded spot to stand in the Plaza. The dessert parties themselves are otherwise exactly the same. It is also worth mentioning that Terrace guests are not guaranteed a good view of the fireworks (see photo to the left), as you might be obstructed by other guests, trees, the restaurant roof or other potential barriers, so that $20 might be better invested elsewhere (like Glow with the Show Ears!).
Needless to say, our group went with the Plaza Garden viewing, and we were not disappointed! This grassy patch has plenty of railing space to lean against if your feet are tired after a long day in the park. Some guests were sitting in the area until the start of the show, so there is room to spread out. Then, everyone stood up to get a better view once the show actually began. I always believe that being among the rest of the crowd is part of the fun in Disney World – it’s the sense of community that makes shows like Happily Ever After even more special. Not to mention, you can’t beat this view from the Plaza Garden…
Nothing beats watching Happily Ever After from directly in front of Cinderella Castle. The castle projections are breathtaking and seeing how those projections, the music, and the fireworks all come together is an emotional experience. For those seeing Magic Kingdom’s nighttime extravaganza for the first time, you really can’t beat the view a dessert party provides. There’s no fighting for a spot, no one sneaking in front of you to block you after you’ve been waiting for 45 minutes (I’m looking at you – tall guy with your 4 year-old daughter on your shoulders… no, I’m not still bitter), and no getting pushed or shoved.
Ultimately, it comes down to whether you want to pay for the peace of mind of ensuring a good spot to watch THE BEST NIGHTTIME SHOW DISNEY HAS EVER PRODUCED or take your chances down Main Street USA and potentially wait 45 minutes to an hour (or more) for a good spot. Most of the time, I will be right there with you in the hordes of people in front of the castle, vying for that prime spot, but every now and then, it’s fun to splurge!
To the Menu: Like all true Disney food enthusiasts, we scour menus before we make reservations, so we had a pretty good idea of what we were in for before we even got to the dessert party. In this special case, we will review the items a tad differently. Take a look at the dessert offerings, and what our diners had to say about them
Top left – Lemonade, Iced Tea, and Milk (2%) / Top Right – Passion, Orange, and Guava Juice (“POG Juice” for our Disney foodies), and more Lemonade / Middle Left – Decaf Coffee, Regular Coffee, Hot Cocoa / Middle Right – Hot Water for tea and tea selection / Bottom – Sparkling Apple Cider (offered upon check-in as well as on the buffet)
For those looking for more of a healthy or savory option, there are various cheeses available. Fruit accompanies the cheese including watermelon, grapes, pineapple, honeydew, and cantaloupe.
- Comments from Diner 1: The fruit was fresh, cold, and delicious. It serves as a nice warm-up or buffer to the sugar coma that comes later.
- Diners 2-4 chose to forgo the healthier options to save more room for the “good stuff.”
The Good Stuff:
Cheesecake Brownie Bites
- Comments from Diner 2: These were my favorite desserts from the whole party! It was the perfect ration of cheesecake to brownie.
Dark Chocolate-dipped Strawberries
- Comments from Diner 2: The chocolate on these strawberries was AMAZING! I wish more things were covered in this chocolate. Everyone really hypes up these strawberries, but they put any other chocolate-covered strawberries to shame.
- Comments from Diner 3: I would like a cup of the chocolate on the side to just eat. It was that good.
Assorted Macarons (Pistachio, Lemon, Raspberry, Vanilla, Coffee, and Chocolate)
- Comments from Diner 1: At this dessert part, I discovered that I actually am not a huge fan of macarons in general. Learn something new every day. I find the texture to be a bit strange, and yet I couldn’t stop eating the coffee ones. So, I highly recommend those. I tried the chocolate ones too, but I wasn’t as big a fan.
- Comment from Diner 2: I liked the size of the macarons because they were small, so you could still eat other things. The coffee ones were delicious!
- Comments from Diner 3: The Pineapple Delight was light, refreshing, and a nice change of pace from some of the heavier desserts. It wasn’t my favorite on the buffet, but it was still very good.
- Comments from Diner 1: Just look how awesome and villainous this dessert looks! Who wouldn’t want a piece of white chocolate with Ursula, Jafar, Malificient, and the Evil Queen printed on it?! I took two home to save the chocolate piece. The cupcake itself was a tad dry and the frosting was pretty standard, but this was more of a show-piece anyway!
- Comments from Diner 1: I LOVE Oreos and anything cookies and cream, so sign me up for this dessert any day. It’s simple and as close to a phoned-in dessert as you’ll get from Disney, but that works for me! The Oreos were just a tad soft from the cream on top and being out in the Florida humidity, which is just how I like them! The cookies and cream mousse on the top is very similar to the “Grey Stuff” you’ll find at Be Our Guest over in Fantasyland and just as delicious! Again, I had my fair share of these as well!
- Comments from Diner 2: These were really good! I love how the mousse made the Oreo just a little bit soft.
Chocolate Marshmallow Tart
- Comments from Diner 1: I love a good s’mores dessert, but this one just didn’t do it for me. I’m not a huge fan of tarts, so I think the graham cracker tart overpowered the little bit of chocolate that was inside. If there was more of a liquid chocolate center, I would be sold! Unfortunately, I didn’t want “s’more” of this dessert.
- Comments from Diner 3: I think this tart was the unsung hero of the dessert party. It was so small you could have a few of them, and the chocolate and marshmallow blended really well together inside a nice little crust.
Chocolate Raspberry Cake
- Comments from Diner 1: I really enjoyed this dessert! The raspberry sauce blended really nicely with the dense chocolate cake (sorry Diner 2, this cake was NOT dry).
- Comments from Diner 2: The cake part was a bit dry, but the raspberry filling was very good and almost made up for it. The dessert as a whole wasn’t memorable. I am still thinking of the Cheesecake Brownie.
- Comments from Diner 3: Diner 1 liked this cake more, but I still thought it was good.
Other Desserts Just Off the Main Buffet:
Hand-scooped Ice Cream Sundae with Toppings (vanilla hard ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, rainbow sprinkles, crunchy candies, chocolate chips, and maraschino cherries)
- Comments from Diner 4: It was a pretty standard sundae (vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, cherry), but it hit the spot. I knew what I signed up for, and the sundae delivered.
- Comments from Diner 1: This is what I live for! I’m not one for fancy desserts – give me a good boxed brownie or cupcake, and I am thrilled. Was this theoretically the “kids’ table?” Maybe. Aren’t we all kids in Disney?! The vanilla cupcakes were delicious – not too dry and small enough to have a few. The sugar cookies had a hint of lemon in them, and I am not about that life, so I passed after one of those.
- Diners 2-4 thought Diner 1 was crazy for “wasting time” at this dessert table and did not partake in these beauties.
Brownies/Crisped Rice Treats/Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Comments from Diner 1: The brownies were a substantial size, dense, gooey, and chocolatey – aka my ideal dessert! I had a LOT of these and then took 4 more back to the resort with us in a Ziploc bag. The “Crisped Rice Treats,” as Disney calls them, were pretty standard, but who doesn’t love those? The chocolate chip cookies were very very good. They were standard Disney cookies, but that isn’t a bad thing! These cookies are always soft and delicious, and even though they must be mass-produced, they all taste homemade. Must be that Disney magic!
- Comments from Diner 3: I love cookies, and these chocolate chip ones aren’t messing around. They are seriously delicious!
Food MVP: Chocolate-dipped Strawberries
- Honorable Mention to the Chocolate Chip Cookies and Brownies for Diner 1
Overall Review: 10/10 for the entire experience; 8/10 for the actual food