Note: As of 8/28, Todd, Rochelle, and myself have been given refunds or other compensation to make up for this event from Disney.
As anyone who reads this blog or knows me in any capacity knows that I am a lover of all things Disney. I especially love hard ticket events for the limited capacity and special entertainment, even at the price tags that come attached. The past few months alone I've done both premium packages for Star Wars Weekends and Frozen Summer Fun, and loved every minute. Villains Unleashed, however, was not exactly the kind of nightmare I was looking forward to.
This is not to say the event was entirely bad. Actually, it started off wonderfully. After receiving our credentials and event map, Todd and I along with our friend Rochelle stood in front of the stage to watch the kick off of the event. The area quickly became crowded, but it felt no different than waiting in a prime seat for a parade or fireworks, as a we were about two people deep away from the stage. The event was then introduced by Pain, Panic, Megara and Hades from "Hercules." At this point, I was thrilled. Not only is Hades my all time favorite villain, growing up "Hercules" was my favorite movie and still ranks up there. And the opening show only got better. Most of the 50 villains (we'll revisit that number later) were brought on stage and their meeting locations announced. Meg was cast perfectly, Hades cracked some Frozen jokes, as well as a million more, and the night had begun!
The area emptied out quickly, and we walked over to get in line for Maleficent. We got in the line and overheard that it was a three hour wait. Not surprising as the new film has made The Mistress of All Evil the current villain en vogue, but more than we were willing to wait. We left and tried to enter Club Evil. A cast member told us it would be an hour wait, just to get inside to get some food and drinks. Again, we decided to walk away, to try again later.
We circled the entire park thinking with 50 villains, there was bound to be one with a shorter line. Except the fact that we overlooked was: there wasn't 50 villains to meet. Less than half had dedicated meet n greet spots, several like the hyenas from lion king were grouped together, and others were simply wandering around. Not too mention Oogie Boogie and the crew from "Hercules" were only hosting shows.
During the character rat race we also stopped by the singular merchandise location and to dismay found yet another ridiculous line. Again, we skipped it hoping to come back, but never did. From what I hear they ran out anyway around 10pm.
At this point we figured we needed to do something, as our $67 ticket fee so far was seeming pretty steep. We went over and got in line for the shockingly short line for the Oogie Boogie Freaky Funhouse show. And this is when the evening went from frustrating to infuriating. The show was not just weird, it was boring. The was a sword swallower, flame dancers, and people who shot cross bows at one another. Basically it was the marketplace scene from "Aladdin" in an over crowded theatre and the occasional appearance by Oogie Boogie. A few people have applauded this by saying Disney is taking risks with new "edgy" material. The thing about that is: they didn't. Anyone who has seen the Festival of the Lion King at Animal Kingdom has seen this stuff. I could go on for pages about how terrible this show was.
Our evening ending on a relative high note at Club Evil, which was Hollywood Brown Derby given a villain makeover. The theming was incredibly cool, with areas dedicated to the Queen of Hearts, Cruella de Ville, and Pain and Panic. However, unlike the normal style of HBD, this was seat yourself and the tables were pretty hard to come by. We finally scored a booth and ordered some way overpriced adult beverages and small plates, but the night was looking up. We ended up meeting Captain Hook, the Big Bad Wolf, Mr. Smee, the Queen of Hearts, Cruella de Ville, Anastasia and Drizella in here. While that was awesome, we also only got to do that because we were there so long from ordering so much to eat and drink, making the cost of the event sky rocket even further.
While we heard the fireworks were incredible, we left with more than an hour to go to see them, because that at that point most of the meet and greets had been capped off for hours, and there was nothing left to do but the dance parties, which are never really all that great. We got our free goodie bags and went to back to the resort, where we stayed the night before and were staying that night, all because of this event.
All in all, this event was a total disaster. The event was clearly oversold and unorganized. Disney could have done more, they could have made it another general admission event with a premium package for sale. Instead of just sporadically having it happen, Disney could have had Villains riding rides with guests all night to draw some crowds there, not to mention a parade. I hope if this event happens again, Disney learns from this and restructures the entire thing.
As the Queen of Hearts would say: Off with their heads!
Update: Some photos from the fun we did have