Last night I was fortunate enough to experience this summer's very first Villains After Hours event at the Magic Kingdom and I could *not* wait to get home and share every detail with you. Both because it's an amazing experience – and also because it is so jam packed with unique experiences that you'll really want to do your homework before you go to make sure that you make the absolute most of your time. #ad
The event occurs on select nights between now and August 8th. Tickets are $139 with $30 discounts to Disney Vacation Club members and Annual Passholders. With your ticket, you'll be able to enter the park starting at 7 p.m., and then the event itself runs from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.
This is the pamphlet that you'll receive at the start (subject as always to change):
- The Dance Party on Central Plaza
The centerpiece of the evening is certainly the Castle stage. An incredible, high energy DJ turns the space into a club atmosphere with music while gorgeous projections light up Cinderella Castle. It definitely sets the vibe for the whole night and you'll likely find yourself spending time here even when the new show, Villains Unite the Night, isn't happening.
- Villains Unite the Night:
Speaking of which…the new Villains Unite the Night show was created especially for this event.
It's absurdly campy in the best possible way and full of pyrotechnics, fireworks, and gorgeous new castle projections – not to mention the chance to see Hades, Megara, Jafar, Dr. Facilier, The Evil Queen, and Maleficent on stage all at once. You'll have 3 opportunities to catch it over the course of the evening – at 11 p.m., midnight, and 1 a.m.
- Maleficent at Night:
And perhaps the single most incredible part of the evening – Maleficent the Dragon, until now only seen during the day during the Festival of Fantasy Parade, roams the park breathing fire during the event. At 10:40 p.m. and 11:45 p.m., she runs from Frontierland, to and around the Hub, and back, and then at 1:20 a.m. she makes a final incredible run from Frontierland to Main Street, U.S.A. to end the night.
It's hard to overstate how powerful this is – from her overall look to the buildup of each breath of fire to the music playing to the stilt walkers and raven dancers accompanying her.
You'll also find face painting at Fantasy Faire from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. I went with something lighter but some of the designs that I saw throughout the park were breathtaking.
Space Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean are themed for the event. On Villainous Adventure! Space Mountain you'll ride in near complete darkness with a devilish soundtrack. This was definitely the biggest attraction draw of the evening. Riding like this really reignited our excitement for an attraction that we've enjoyed in its usual form for decades.
Pirates of the Caribbean adds live actors interacting with event guests both in the queue and on one of the bridges on the ride itself.
I loved this addition to the attraction at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party last year and enjoyed the spin on it at Villains After Hours just as much.
Otherwise, rides were for the most part close to walk on during the party other than Peter Pan's Flight and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. These are just a sample of screen shots from about halfway through the event.
The #1 question that I got going into this event was what the reasoning was behind not having character meet and greets. I can't get into Disney's head – but I can pretty confidently say that some of the thinking had to be that there's already a ton to do here and they don't want people wasting the whole night on line for one interaction. Instead, you have Maleficent roaming the streets of Magic Kingdom for the first time at night, 5 of the biggest villains in Disney history on stage together…and a MASSIVE collection of Disney's finest baddies standing on the upper level of the train station and interacting with the audience.
At the end of the night everyone was gathered here enjoying the once in a lifetime chance to see and interact with Gaston, Lady Tremaine, Drizella, Anastasia, Cruella De Vil, Captain Hook, The Queen of Hearts, The Big Bad Wolf, and Bowler Hat Guy all at once.
PhotoPass and Other Photo Ops
You'll find PhotoPass Photographers throughout the park offering the usual pictures plus some special signage and Magic Shots
This signage is on Main Street, U.S.A. – and if you can catch it during the fireworks in Villains Unite the Night you might end up with this incredible backdrop.
Oogie Boogie is at the entrance to Tomorrowland.
And you'll find Scar near the entrance to Adventureland.
The Food and Drink
Ice cream novelties, popcorn, and select bottled beverages are included in the price of admission, and lots of specialty items are also available for purchase.
Among other options, you'll find the DeVil's Treat at Casey's Corner, the Hades Temptation at Tortuga Tavern, Dr. Facilier's Tarot Card Tart at Sleepy Hollow, the Headless Horseman Brownie at the Liberty Square Popcorn Cart, the Dragon's Breath Float at Storybook Treats, and Yzma's Llama Potion at the Cool Ship.
I loved the Evil Emperor Zurg's Noodles at the Cool Ship – a chilled noodle salad with snap peas, red onion, and red peppers topped with a sesame soy sauce. And Yzma's Llama Potion – a dry ice-infused vessel filled with Strawberry Fanta – was a delightfully bizarre way to wash it down.
Absolutely loving the Disney Villains After Hours merchandise collection as well as the other villain-inspired gear throughout the parks.
And if you look closely at Hades, you'll see the silhouettes of quite a few other famous villains in the flames.
While there is absolutely no reason *not* to take your kids to this event – meaning that there's absolutely nothing inappropriate or particularly scary about anything there – I will say that to some extent this is an adult-geared party. Your kids will certainly enjoy the treats and fireworks and walking onto almost every attraction with little to no wait…but the vibe is uniquely adult for Magic Kingdom, which is in part what I love about it. Being able to see this park in an adult light was such a cool and unique experience. So while I wouldn't hesitate to bring my kids here (if they could stay up this late) it's definitely a date night (or group get together, or solo outing) that's worth booking a babysitter.
All in all I really can't recommend this event enough – though it definitely pays to read up beforehand so that you can make the most out of your time there. Magic Kingdom has been begging for an adult-vibe event for so long and I think we've finally got it.
Do you plan to attend Villains After Hours this summer?? If so, when??
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If you've enjoyed this after hours review, you can find others here:
- Anatomy of a Magic Kingdom After Hours Event
- Typhoon Lagoon's H2O Glow Nights
- Hollywood Studios After Hours