Sinister September is in full swing, which means that we’re chillin’ like villain(s) here at FashionEarsta headquarters! If you haven’t checked out our deliciously dark ear reviews or played along with the Villain-Vote-Off on our Facebook page, what are you waiting for? The Magic Mirror to give you a personalized invitation?
Since we have villains on the brain, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to review one of my favorite Special Events at Walt Disney World: Villains After Hours!
I attended opening night of this year’s event (which only ran for about a month before the parks closed due to COVID-19). Now that the Halloween and Christmas parties have been cancelled, it looks like this villainous spectacular will have been the only party held in 2020…. looks like the bad guys got the last word after all
Cue evil laugh here!
So travel with me all the way back to February 2020 (the reason I’m not wearing a mask in these photos) for the pros and cons of Villains After Hours!
Pro: The Fashion!
There are a limited number of opportunities to wear costumes to Disney World. In the fall there’s Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and in the winter there’s Villains After Hours!
That’s right: this is one of the rare annual events at which guests over the age of twelve are allowed to dress in costume! It was actually quite cold on the night that I attended, so I took the opportunity to wear long sleeves to Disney World and worked a Captain Hook costume!
I was one of only a handful of guests in costume when I went: I did see a lot of sinister t-shirts and one very elaborate tentacled Ursula costume! I wish I had been able to take a picture of it, but you are strictly not allowed to pose for pictures for strangers if you’re in costume. (Weird rule, right?)
One thing that looked amazing was the face painting station at the Fantasy Faire. It was an additional cost, but I saw a few younger guests sporting some amazing villainous designs!
Because there were so few people in the park during this limited-availability event and even fewer of us were in costume, we had a great time chatting to each other. I traded DisneyBounding tricks with some evil fairies in line and had a “duel” with another guest dressed as Captain Hook!
Con: The Price
I’ll get the biggest bummer out of the way early: if you want to attend Villains After Hours it will cost you extra money (averaging around $100 depending on the date and whether you have any discounts). I got a discount for being an Annual Passholder, but it was still a splurge.
If you’re staying at Disney World for a few days, I’d recommend not visiting a park on the day that you’ll be at the event. Save money by not buying park tickets and sleep in, go resort hopping or to Disney Springs. You can get into Magic Kingdom two hours before the event actually starts, so you can still watch Happily Ever After and battle the usual crowds before they get evicted from the event.
Pro: The Food
Free. Popcorn. And. Ice Cream.
That’s right! I think the villains want to fatten up the guests, because there is free ice cream, popcorn, water and soft drinks available all night long. Because I paid extra for this event I made it my mission to consume at least $80 in “free” food, and I’m pretty sure I succeeded. At the end of the party cast members just loaded bottles of Coca Cola into my backpack to take home with me!
If you still have room for other treats, there is a menu of villain-themed desserts that you can purchase around the parks. I was too busy gorging myself on Mickey Premium Bars to try any, but I was tempted by Gaston’s Five Dozen Eggs slush (for the name alone!)
Con: No Character Meets
It was a little bit of a bummer to have all the villains (including rarely-seen characters like Megara and Dr. Facilier) out and about but not be able to meet them. While you can see many of them at either the Villain Spectacular stage show or roaming around in the Cursed Caravan parade, there’s no interaction.
Pro tip: after the event ends you can get a good shot of most of the villains during the Villains’ “Kiss Goodnight” as you exit the park.
You can “meet” some of your favorite animated villains with exclusive Magic Shots around the park, though. I enjoyed getting up close and personal with Oogie Boogie and Maleficent’s Dragon!
Pro: Villainous Ride Overlays
All of the rides I wanted to ride were open with zero (ZERO) wait time! The longest I waited was five minutes for Peter Pan, and that was because it broke down!
But there are two rides you can’t miss at this event Space Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean. Of course, you always want to ride these, but these guys had special villainous overlays that were my favorite part of the night!
Space Mountain: they turned out all the lights. No stars, no swirling galaxies: just pitch black with the ringing laughter of villains playing instead of music. You wouldn’t think that would make a huge difference, but it was a wicked upgrade to my favorite ride! I rode it four times and would have gone again if I wasn’t starting to feel sick from all the ice cream!
For Pirates of the Caribbean’s overlay they took a different approach and brought in actors to make the queue and ride interactive! I’ll tell you: the first time one of the “animatronics” started yelling at me I definitely screamed. Some of the actors had roles to play (Barbossa, for instance, was played by an actor) and some were just there to make you laugh. It was incredible and a different experience both times that I rode!
Con: I didn’t get to go back!
All of the Villains After Hours events after March 15th 2020 were understandably cancelled, and it seems uncertain whether any after-hours events will take place during the first half of 2021 as well.
This is sad news for those of us who love villainous fashion and food, but the good news is that Disney has been planning ways to bring the magic of the Halloween and Christmas parties to the modified park-going experience in 2020. Here’s hoping that there are some sinister surprises in store for us early next year!
In the meantime, celebrate all things spooky with us during Sinister September and check out FashionEarsta’s Not So Scary Halloween Party for more villainous content to enjoy at home!
Have you gotten to experience Villains After Hours? Let me know in the comments below, or on our Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram pages!
Pixie dust and glamour!
The Fancy Floridian