Disney Villains After Hours vs Disney After Hours at the Magic Kingdom

Jun 13, 2019 in "Disney Villains After Hours"

Disney Villains After Hours

Disney Villains After Dark returns for its second night this evening, and if you are still deciding if it is right for you, read on for our take on the event and how it differs from the regular Disney After Hours that you may have already done or read about.

Just like Disney After Hours, you get entry to the park at 7pm, and then 3 hours after the park closes to experience rides with very minimal wait times. Most attractions are walk on. You also get unlimited ice cream novelties, popcorn, and soft drinks.

It may not quite be Halloween yet, even though Disney is starting its Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party earlier than ever this year in mid-August, but Disney Villains After Hours definitely has a halloween event feel to it. Unlike the regular Disney After Hours, the standard park background music is replaced with a villainous score, the standard building lighting has a sinister red glow, and there are some villain overlays to a couple of the park’s rides. Disney encourages guests to wear costumes, but on the opening night there were very few, although some guests wore Villains inspired outfits.

The biggest change from Disney After Hours is the additional of live entertainment. Disney has gone to some lengths here, by creating an all new castle stage show - Villains Unite the Night.

The near 25 minute show is performed 3 times each night, and features several Disney villains - led by Hades, dancers, and stunt performers. Sandwiched between the shows, a live DJ plays pop music with a nightclub-like atmosphere. Before each performance of the stage show, the steampunk Maleficent dragon from the daytime parade travels through the park. Although the villains are out in force, don’t expect any meet and greets.

Disney Live Entertainment performers always do an amazing job, and they give their all in this production. The show’s story and scope don’t match that of the Hocus Pocus Villain Spectacular from Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, but it is a show in the same vein.

The writing isn’t as well developed, and although the performers are doing live vocals, there are no songs or elaborate dance routines. Instead each villain brings in an act, including fire twirling, sword fighting and axe twirling. It gets a little repetitive and feels a bit like filling time to reach the 25 minutes.

There is more pyro than expected, and very good castle projection and lighting effects. See more pictures from Villains Unite the Night.

The Maleficent procession is better in person that it may appear from the original description. Yes it is the same steampunk float that appears during the afternoon Festival of Fantasy Parade, but a heavy loud soundtrack, lighting, accompanying dancers and fire effects boost the effect, and it is an impressive sight to see. Especially given the fact that you don’t need to camp out for a viewing spot.

The first two performances go from Frontierland to the hub and back, and the final performance travels from Frontierland all the way to Main Street. See more pictures of Maleficent at night.

Space Mountain operates in the pitch black mode, where all lights are off, and it adds some villains sounds. The darker ride is different, especially for those who have ridden the regular Space Mountain many times before. The sound effects are not very effective and don’t really add much to the experience.

Pirates of the Caribbean adds two live performers to the queue area, and a live Captain Barbosa to the bridge over the ride near to the burning city scene. Like with Space Mountain, it is nice for repeat visitors to see something new.

Just like Disney After Hours, the villains edition attendance is capped, and wait times remain extremely short for all rides. The low guest numbers also mean that viewing the castle show and Maleficent procession is easy. You don’t need to get in position an hour before, and you are not shoulder to shoulder with other guests in the hub. If anything, Disney Villains After Hours shows just how over-sold and crowed Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is - especially for a ticketed event. It is a refreshing change to see live entertainment without being so heavily crowded that is becomes unpleasant. Disney would do well here to see how much better the guest experience is and dial back the capacity for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary and Very Merry Christmas party nights.

The lower guest count comes at a price though, and one that will hit your pocket. The already highly price Disney After Hours price of $125 leaps to $139 for the Villains edition. That puts the total cost for a family of four at an eye watering $556 plus tax, and there is no child pricing. There are discounts available for Passholders and DVC members that reduce the cost by around $30, but it remains an expensive night out, especially if you already have theme park tickets during a vacation.

It is also worth noting that Disney Villains After Hours isn’t particularly well suited to children. It takes place late into the night - you are looking at leaving the park around 1:45am if you stay to the end, and the DJ, stage shows and general atmosphere feels more adult orientated. Very different from the very family friendly Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween party.

Where Disney After Hours excels, is for those who want to see the best of the Magic Kingdom in a short period of time and without the crowds and hassle of a regular day. Using the 7pm arrival, you get to see the park’s firework show, and are able to do the entire park’s attraction line-up during the night. In that regard, the $125 or $139 asking price becomes more reasonable. You can do more in one of the After Hours events than you can do in two full regular park days at the Magic Kingdom. So your cost per ride may very well be lower for the ticketed event.

In regards to which Disney After Hours event to choose, it may very well come down to availability and which is being offered during your time at Walt Disney World. If you are looking for a pure Magic Kingdom experience, and you just want to see the Magic Kingdom in its normal mode, but with very few guests, the regular Disney After Hours is for you. If the idea of a party atmosphere, with loud music, unique entertainment, and you don’t mind a slightly higher cost - the Disney Villains After Hours is for you.

The remaining nights for Disney Villains After Hours are:

  • Thursday, June 13, 2019
  • Thursday, June 20, 2019
  • Thursday, June 27, 2019
  • Monday, July 1, 2019
  • Thursday, July 11, 2019
  • Thursday, July 18, 2019
  • Thursday, July 25, 2019
  • Thursday, August 1, 2019
  • Thursday, August 8, 2019

And the remaining night for the regulars Disney After Hours at the Magic Kingdom are:

  • Thursday, August 22, 2019
  • Thursday, August 29, 2019
  • Thursday, September 5, 2019
  • Thursday, September 12, 2019
  • Thursday, September 19, 2019
  • Thursday, September 26, 2019

Disney tends to announce these events in blocks, so it is very likely that more will be added later. Read more about dates, pricing and booking for Disney After Hours.

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Article Posted: Jun 13, 2019 / 11:15am ET