By Jane Jones
Editior’s Note: Since this printing, the Fireworks Dessert Party has been extended through November 1, 2009. There has also been a slight price increase. Adult tickets are $23.42 and tickets for children ages 3 to 9 are $12.77. Prices include tax.
Just when you think you’ve done it all at Walt Disney World, Mickey and his gang manage to come up with new experiences for even the most seasoned guest like me. This summer it was in the form of the new Magic Kingdom “Wishes” Fireworks and Dessert buffet at the Tomorrowland Terrace (just off the Noodle Station). While promoted as a test event just for the summer, I would expect that we’ll see this offered again, if not consistently after its inaugural run completes in August.
Even as an Orlando local, I hadn’t heard anything about this event and just happened upon the information on the Magic For Less message board. (Thanks to all of you who share rumors and info on the MFL board…I wouldn’t have gotten reservations without you!) Not wanting to miss out, I immediately called 407-WDW-DINE and got all the information I would need to plan. Here’s what I found out:
- Reservations were being accepted through August 28. (They began in late June.)
- Reservations must be prepaid ($17.99 for guests age 10 and over; $9.99 for age 3 – 9).
- Cancellation is 24 hours in advance.
- Dining plan is not accepted.
- Tables are reserved and seating is limited.
- The viewing area opens to guests about an hour before the fireworks. You will be given a time to arrive (guests are staggered).
- Special dietary needs can be addressed and provided for.
With guests arriving from all parts of the world (Australia! Saudi Arabia! Indiana!) to visit us for the Independence Day holiday, I decided to take a chance and see if I could get a reservation for nine for July 4…and I did! We were going to have ages 3 years to 60+ years old. This was to be an extra special day because one of our guests had never been to America before and was going to experience this perfect slice of Americana — July 4th fireworks at the Magic Kingdom! We were all set with our reservations and were now awaiting the day, and especially the evening!
After I made reservations, I immediately called my dear friend Leilani who was going to be at WDW at the end of June. I told her all about this new event and that she’d have to give this a try. Not one to miss out on something new, she immediately called and was also able to make reservations during her visit. After having experienced it a few days before me, she filled me in on all the details to make my experience even better. Here are the tips she shared:
- The desserts are plentiful. They don’t run out…they keep coming and coming! Bring your appetite.
- You are able to leave and return to the viewing area. You are given a wristband at check-in as an ID for the event.
- The drinks are simple — iced teas, hot teas, coffee, water, and juices. No soda! (Leilani visited the Noodle Station to get a Diet Coke without problem.)
- Bathrooms are nearby.
- No need to stake out a viewing spot on the terrace. As the seating is limited, there is plenty of room for everyone to stand at the railing during the show.
I felt even more excited about the upcoming event. I couldn’t wait until July 4. Secretly, I was a little anxious about the whole thing. Would it be wonderful for our guests, especially since some had never been to Walt Disney World (or to America)?
The day came and we were smart! Having kids with us ages 3–10, we got to the park early and got on the rides and attractions with ease. We planned to leave midday to rest and renew, then meet again around 6 p.m. in the park. This was perfect and worked out just as I’d hoped!
I must admit, we “cruised” the event area more than once during the day in anticipation, and found where we would check-in at the appointed time. Then we noticed that people were starting to enter the terrace! We gathered our group and asked the Cast Member at the podium if we could check-in early. No problem. We were checked off the list, given wristbands, and off we went to one of the most amazing dessert buffets ever.
The first thing we noticed was that the tables were labeled for each party. We immediately found our tables and discovered that all the tables are VERY close together and cannot be moved, since they are anchored. That made it a little difficult in getting up and down once all the tables were occupied, but not inconvenient enough to ruin the evening. That aside, we loved the table decorations. It made us feel that this was a truly special event.
The buffet was opened immediately and we started in! There is something for everyone, and plenty of it. The Cast Members were constantly tidying up and refilling as needed. Here is a list of the items available that evening:
|Brownies||Classic Cheesecake||Tiramisu Glass|
|Cannoli||Dark Chocolate Truffle||White Chocolate Truffle|
|Canoes||Kiwi-Orange Tart||Fresh Fruits|
|Chocolate Chip Cookies||Mango Shooter||Coffee and Twining Hot Teas|
|Chocolate Covered Strawberries||Pistachio Crème Brûlée||Iced Teas (flavored and traditional)|
|Chocolate Mousse Tart||Raspberry Tart||Juices and Lemonade|
|Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart||Strawberry-Berry Tart||Water|
We were in heaven! The kids enjoyed the selections just as much as the adults. When we were finished with a plate, the Cast Members were there to take it away. One of the nice touches was that the glasses were plastic so that if the kiddies spilled, you didn’t have the glass to clean up. We did have that happen, and it was no big deal. Again, the desserts kept coming and coming…and they were all SO delicious. It was funny to see everyone’s favorites. Our guest from Australia loved the mango shooters and couldn’t get enough of them!
Soon we were joined on the terrace by a PhotoPass photographer offering to take pictures in front of the perfect setting. While we didn’t use him, we were able to take some of our own wonderful shots. There was not a bad view to be had! Another thing I liked was that the event planners were prepared for kids. There was a far side of the terrace dedicated to kids where there were hula hoops and games for the kids to play with while the parents ate and chatted. My daughter took advantage of the hula hoops and even made some friends while awaiting the fireworks. I even took in a game of Toss Across with her!
Finally, fireworks time arrived. “Wishes,” as you know, is wonderful, but if you haven’t seen the July 4th Independence Day fireworks, well, that is one to plan for in the future! It is the most spectacular and patriotic fireworks display I’ve ever seen. The music is very Americana and makes you proud to be an American. Our Australian guest thought they were marvelous and compared them to the Sydney Olympic fireworks just a few years ago. Needless to say, she was impressed and I was thrilled to have helped make this visit magical for her!
The viewing was perfect and most people chose to stand at the railing. Others remained at their table and had just as good a view. Either way, you were comfortable!
One of the nice things was the ability to just sit on the terrace and wait for the crowds to subside. The desserts weren’t hurried away, so you could get that last mango shooter or dark chocolate truffle! We took advantage and just relaxed until Main Street cleared out a bit. Then it was time to go home with full bellies, our sweet tooth satisfied, and some magical memories of an enchanting evening. This amazing experience was worth every penny!
One last mango shooter for our Aussie friend.
Here is a final thought about booking this event: if you call and there are no openings, do not despair! Call again and again. Since it is a prepaid event, those who need to cancel WILL cancel to get their money back. You can also walk up and see if there are seats available. You never know…just keep trying It’s worth it!