We left off Part 1 of our after hours experience just as the event was officially getting under way.
As you may recall, we rode Big Thunder Mountain via fastpass immediately after watching Happily Ever After from the hub. Most likely due to downtime earlier in the day, the fastpass line was backed up to over a 15 minute wait, with us getting off the ride at 10:02 pm. Because of this, the standby line would not clear out until about a full half hour into the After Hours event.
Because of this, we decided to head over for a ride of Splash Mountain instead. Our hope was that the wait for Big Thunder would be diminished by the time we finished at Splash. The line for splash was backed up to where the photo above was taken, however with no fastpass taking up capacity, it was less than a 5 minute wait from here.
By the time we got back to the station there was nobody waiting to board. We could have just stayed in the log and gone around again if we wanted.
In hindsight, we probably should have as there was still about a 15 minute wait for Big Thunder at this point, which is more than we should have been willing to wait during this event where every minute costs a pretty penny. We reluctantly decided to wait though, as my niece really wanted to ride again and the ride location is not easy to circle back to later.
We wanted to grab some ice creams, but the line here was super long. Instead we just grabbed a couple waters which you can just grab off the table on the right side without having to wait in line.
Via the Walt Disney World app, we saw that Pirates only has a 5 minute wait posted so we headed over there next. For the Villains event, Pirates is given an “upgrade” very similar to the one it received for last year’s Halloween party. In reality, its just 3 live actors added: 2 in the queue and Captain Barbossa on the ride itself.
Despite the posted 5 minute wait, the line was backed up to outside the doors to enter the enclosed building.
Again, without fastpass the line moves quickly, but it was still closer to a 15 minute wait.
The line is slowed somewhat by folks pausing to interact and take photos of the live actors in the queue. This fella below appears to be in jail.
However, it appears he could easily just leave through this open window on the other side of him. It was quite funny watching him pop up and scare folks on this side.
The 2nd actor seems to be more of a “good guy” pirate. She was hanging out at the ramp just prior to boarding the ride.
Disney only had 1 side of the ride loading which is a bit infuriating. This is one of the 2 high demand rides of the event (the other being Space Mt.) thanks to Disney specifically advertising the upgraded experience. To not be running both sides here is in excusable.
The ride is one of our favorites of course, but still it usually leaves us wanting more after riding the DL version so many times.
(Controversial?) opinion: We have no problem with the updated auction scene. Redd became one of our nieces favorite characters after meeting her out in DL and she is always excited to see her on the ride now. That’s nothing but a good thing as far as we are concerned.
Above is a poor photo of the live actor playing Barbossa. He is located on the bridge right before you arrive at the burning town. This really doesn’t add much to the experience but its fine I guess.
I was surprised the Enchanted Tiki Room was running during the event. We totally would have done it just to have the theater to ourselves but we were already running behind thanks to longer waits at Big Thunder and Pirates.
Throughout the park were various “Magic Shot” photo ops but almost all of them had long lines so we passed. These are not all that exciting anyway compared to the Meet and Greets of the holiday parties.
I apologize for the low quality night shots but everything in this post was shot handheld. As you may recall, our post on the standard MK After Hours event featured several photos of a near empty park. This was FAR from the case for the Villains event and I didn’t even bother taking my tripod out with decent crowds pretty much everywhere we went.
As we headed over to Tomorrowland, a huge crowd was already on their way over there as well since the first Villains: Unite the Night show had just ended.
Rather than following all these folks into the Space Mountain queue, we did what any rational person would do and took 2 round trips on the TTA Peoplemover.
As you can see above, the line for Space Mountain was backed up outside of the ride entrance. This was pretty much the case all night. We decided to take a ride on Buzz instead and then head back over to the hub to catch Maleficent and the midnight showing of the stage show.
The hub was pretty packed when we arrived. The area directly in front of the stage was completely full and there were lots of people just hanging around throughout the hub. There is also a DJ blasting edm / pop music which frankly I hate for this area of the park.
Maleficent rolls in to some generic heavy metal music. She enters from Liberty Square and basically does the loop around the hub and circles back towards Frontierland.
Thankfully, they keep her fire breaths coming often, giving you lots of photo opportunities during her brief visit to the area. Unfortunately, I’m not particularly happy with my results but I’ll still share them here so you know what to expect.
Immediately after Maleficent took her leave, the Villains: Unite the Night show began. The show is hosted by Hades and Megara from Hercules and features several other villains from the Disney universe.
We will have a full post on the show coming soon, but sadly its a bit of a mixed bag. It’s got some definite highlights, but it is nowhere near the quality of the most recent stage shows developed for the holiday parties. Both the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular and Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration blow this show out of the water.
Still, any chance you get to see Villains in the park is fun. I fully recommend checking out the show if you are at the event anyway, however the show is not enough of a reason alone to attend.
Following the show, we headed back to Tomorrowland to see if the line for Space Mt had subsided at all. Unfortunately, it was the longest it had been all night.
Naturally, that meant another ride on the Peoplemover.
During the Villains event, all lights in Space Mountain are turned off and there is some corny spooky music played with various villain quotes inside the show building. While this frankly doesn’t do much to enhance the coaster itself, it does make the Peoplemover a bit cooler since you are in the dark longer.
You can’t tell from the photo above, but Space Mountain was still posting a 15 minute wait, despite the line being backed up to the Astro Orbiter entrance. Once inside, every switchback at the loading rooms were used as well. At least Disney was running the ride at full capacity with both sides open.
I do miss the moving walkway at the ride’s exit. Instead you have the same long walk, followed by these new ramps to get back up to the ride exit / gift shop.
We got on line at 12:45 and didn’t exit the ride until 1:22.
Even a full half our after the event ended, Main Street was pretty crowded as we exited. As mentioned in part 1, the event entertainment actually goes until around 1:30 so this isn’t particularly surprising. This is especially true since the crowds were so much higher here than any of the other After Hours events we have attended.
To cap off the night, several villains are hanging out at the train station to say farewell.
Cruella is always one of the most fun and interesting face characters. I’m not sure that goes along with her film character, but she is always good for a laugh in the parks.
The Main Street Train Station also receives some event specific lighting as you depart.
Now to the question of whether or not the premium price of the Villains tag is worth it. At $139 a person ($556 for a family of 4!), the event is far from cheap. Assuming you paid full price for the ticket (no AP / DVC discount), even with the extra time during regualr operating hours you are looking at just under $21 an hour (per person).
In our review of the standard After Hours event here, we state the the high cost could be worth it since you can tour at an incredibly efficient rate during that time. We have attended many of these After Hours events without the villains tag, and almost always accomplish more in those 6 hours then we typically would during a full day of regular operation. While crowds definitely still lower here than a normal day, the park was far from empty. We weren’t even able to make it to Fantasyland during our 6 hours in the park.
The problem with the villains tag, is that it really doesn’t add much to the event, but it certainly drove up the crowds. I am not sure if Disney has raised the attendee cap, or just more people are attending, but there were WAY more people here than we typically see at the standard version of the event. Many folks seemed to be expecting a Halloween party type experience (I overheard many saying they were there for the Villain party), and if that’s what you are looking forward too, you will likely be disappointed.
Our honest recommendation is that you skip the villains version of the event, and instead attend the cheaper, less crowded regular version. If seeing the villains is that important to you, consider Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. It’s cheaper, features far better entertainment and several quality meet and greets.
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