“Villains Unleashed” needs leashing up – Disney’s overcrowded hard ticket event leaves guests in long lines most of the night

| August 24, 2014 | 56 Replies


After last year’s Limited Time Magic “Unleash The Villains” mess of an event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney decided to hold it again this year, rename it, and charge guests $70 a person to attend. One would hope that with these changes – especially the new price tag, the new Villains Unleashed hard ticket party would be an enjoyable experience with Disney learning from the mistakes that were made a year earlier.

Unfortunately that wasn’t the case and Disney grossly oversold the event making crowds unmanageable, merchandise and food selling out early in the night, and over three hour waits for character meet-and-greets during a five hour event. The situation was so bad that Disney was reportedly offering guests full refunds for the event at Guest Relations or offering guests tickets to this year’s Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.

The Good

I’ll fully admit that there were some great parts to Villains Unleashed; the problem is that they were greatly overshadowed by the negatives. However, let’s cover some of the positive aspects of the night first.

  • Club Evil at Hollywood Brown Derby – The Villains Unleashed Club Evil was hands-down the highlight of the night. It essentially transformed The Hollywood Brown Derby restaurant into a casual lounge, where guests could order small plates and specialty cocktails, all while a handful of Villains walked around for meet-and-greet photo opportunities. There was a short wait to get into the restaurant throughout the night but once inside, guests could seat themselves at any open tables, or stand at the bar or around high-top tables set up in the center of the room.The atmosphere in Club Evil was fantastic, with a live singer singing cabaret-style arrangements of a lot of the well-known Disney Villains’ songs. The food and drinks offered were also great – with drinks including “One Bad Apple” and the “Evil Twin,” and specialty foods like “Voodoo Wings” and “Ursula’s Fire and Ice” seafood appetizer plate. Club Evil was a great place to escape the heat and crowds and I truly hope that it’s something they’ll keep up for other hard ticket events, even at Magic Kingdom.
  • Unique Character Meet & Greets – With crowd levels the way they were, guests were extremely lucky to get photos with more than two villains the entire night. Lines for Maleficent got as high as three-and-a-half hours long and the majority of the queues for the meet and greets were shut down due to capacity early on in the night.That said, Disney did a great job on bringing in some unique characters for the event. Even though it’s obviously not my thing, the live action Maleficent was one of the most popular attractions of the night, as was Constantine from Muppets Most Wanted. Dr. Hämsterviel and Captain Gantu from Lilo & Stitch are also rare characters that a lot of the kids seemed to enjoy meeting. Even though they aren’t typical villains, Star-Lord and Gamora from Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy were also available to meet at the Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Mix Tape Dance Party.
  • “Villainy in the Sky” Fireworks – Even though these were the same fireworks used for last year’s Limited Time Magic “Unleash The Villains” event, they really are a great show and use musical scores from different Disney franchises to make a great villains-themed fireworks display. This year they added a live-action Maleficent introduction that was a bit lackluster, but the show spoke for itself. It’s definitely worth checking out our video of the Villainy in the Sky fireworks below.

The Bad

Now that we covered the few positives of Villains Unleashed, let’s go over some of the really disappointing aspects of the night. Hopefully Disney learned from the guest outcry and the refunds they had to offer so an unorganized event like this won’t happen again.

  • Crowd Levels – Like I’ve mentioned a few times already, the biggest mistake made for the event was the complete overselling of tickets. All hard-ticket events Disney hosts are capped at a limit that makes it worth paying the premium to spend time in the park comfortably. It’s safe to say that they failed at this for Villains Unleashed. With tickets still being sold at will call an hour before the event, Disney just overestimated the capacity that the event would hold.There were longs lines for everything: character meet and greets, food locations, drink locations, entertainment and shows, and of course merchandise. It genuinely felt like there were just too many people in the park and not enough things to do. Even the attractions that were open seemed to have a higher wait time than usual, with Toy Story Midway Mania keeping pretty much a consistent forty-five minute wait time all night.
  • Running Out of Everything – With the unbelievable crowds and long lines came with the fact that everything ran out long before the night was over. Merchandise sold out early on, which is fairly typical of a Disney event. More shocking though is the fact that maps for the event which showed the schedule and locations of activities were all gone by 7pm, before the event even began at 8pm.As if that wasn’t enough, the specialty food and drinks sold out as well, including the advertised “Villainous Hot Dogs.” Not sure why it would be so difficult to stamp a few more hot dog buns with Hades’ face, but evidently it was. It was like Disney planned on overselling the event to make all the money they could, but in turn didn’t boost their inventory of the special offerings to accommodate that.
  • Oogie Boogie’s Freaky Funhouse Show – In what was probably one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever seen at Disney, four performances of “Oogie Boogie’s Freaky Funhouse Show” took place at the Theater of the Stars where the “Beauty and the Beast Stage Show” typically takes place. It consisted of three acts that felt like they came straight from America’s Got Talent auditions or a cheap Las Vegas show. A sword-swallowing act, a crossbow act, and a fire breathing, baton twirling act made up the dreadful show which should have had a lot of potential.Some people thought the show was edgy and entertaining, but judging from the countless number of people that walked out of the two showings I attended, most people just thought it was boring. Although I didn’t get a chance to see it, from what I’m hearing the Fantasmic! Pre-Show was just as awful. If you have about twenty-five minutes to spare, check out the video of Oogie Boogie’s Freaky Funhouse Show below.

While there were some high points to the night, Villains Unleashed was an overwhelming disappointment. Luckily, there were plenty of Disney fans that spoke up and voiced their concerns. Hopefully Disney will take that feedback and the fact that they had to offer so many refunds and learn from the mistakes.

What do you think?

Did you attend the event? Let us know if you felt the same way. I understand there are some guests that did enjoy Villains Unleashed so we’d love to hear if you had a different opinion!


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Category: Disney, Disney World, Events, Florida Events, Merchandise, News, Photos, Photos / Video

  • Nicole

    Heres what would have been cool, and maybe can be a consideration for 2015: Make this a hard ticket event a few times a week throughout the month of October as a second party similar to Not So Scary.

    • Christie Lynn Cassady

      They need to make it like MNSSHP or Star Wars Weekends.

      I believe Disney seriously underestimates how much us fans love the villains. I was there last year for Friday the 13th and it was CHAOTIC, but fun! Was hearing this year was slightly better.

      I’m really hoping they continue bringing it back and improving on it! (Hopefully for more than just one night!!)

  • Jayne T.

    They lost me at Megara being a villain. I’d have been very disappointed.

  • Mark Anderson

    Great job Shaun, originally I was disappointed I would not be able to attend, now I am glad I did not make a special trip from North Dakota to attend. Hopefully they learn from this, and make improvements so sometime I can make it down there.

  • Jessica Andrews

    Disney = long lines.

  • Karen Talamantez

    Thanks for the review. I so wanted to attend this event, but now I’m relieved I wasn’t able to. Maybe next year…

  • Graham

    I have read about how people were lined up at customer service to complain and it was an ugly scene over there. With some employee behind customer service being nasty to too guests. So we know..this was a mess…and people were upset. We know greed was a factor. I always believe in accountability. I think the paying customer should know the name of the person whose idea this event was and other name of whose job it was to plan.
    The people behind the customer service counter should just not be feeling the heat…higher ups who get paid much more and with that pay comes owning up, Note: not departments….the names .I have this vision of a sniffling young tie wearing weasel a couple days before all proud of himself for this idea to make money for Disney, with visions of bonuses and promotions in his head. Now where is this person?

  • KT

    I was unable to attend last year and was very excited to experience it this year. I arrived at the park around 5:30 pm. By 6 pm the merchandise line was nearly 2 hours long. Feeling frustrated I decided to walk around and check out where the villans would be doing the meet and greet. People were starting to line up for the villians very early and the cast members told us that instead of waiting we should come back because as long as we were in like by 11:30 we would be guaranteed to see that villian. We decided to watch the opening ceremonies. It was elbow to elbow and we were in front of the TV by the American idol experience. We got a great view of the TV but couldn’t hear anything because the speakers faced the wrong direction. At about 8:30 we decided to wait the hour for Fantasmic (because Maleficent was already a 3 hour wait!). Disappointed in the Fantasmic pre-show. The only highlight was that my friends and I were “picked” for trivia. By the time Fantasmic was over and we got out of the theatre it was nearly 11pm. Hungry we decided to get a hot dog and cupcake. Bad idea. Villian hot dog buns gone and a 30 minute wait for a cupcake withj lots of cast member food service staff just standing around! Ended up getting the complimentary face painting at 12:30 ( with a 10 minute wait, by far the shortest line of the evening). Watched the fireworks from near the exit because crowds were so bad everywhere else.
    I love the Disney Villians. It is such a shame that what could have been a wonderful experience was overshadowed by the lack of thought from the planners. I would not attend this party again unless serious changes are made. This experience also makes me think twice about attending this years Halloween party (which I’ve attended nearly every year since 1998). The perk of these special events is the limited crowds. Seems like Disney has changed their focus from the guests having a great experience to how much money can we make this year.
    I left last night feeling very discouraged and disappointed that I was unable to purchase merchandise, eat the special food, and meet my favorite Villians. I spent $70 to watch Fantasmic.

  • http://www.thechefkatrina.com/ Katrina

    I agree the event had it’s down side. For me one of the most enjoyable performances was the Oogie Boogie’s Freaky Funhouse! Those that were around us raved about it and were amazed by the performances. I was hoping they would keep it for the Halloween party.

    The lines were crazy long for everything. I think my group spent more time waiting in a line then anything else. And I hope that next year they don’t have just one merchandise store… that was just plain stupid. Live and learn, but after all the events Disney puts on throughout the year… I don’t know why they are struggling to get this one right.

  • mickeymommy7

    “All hard-ticket events Disney hosts are capped at a limit that makes it worth paying the premium to spend time in the park comfortably.” No they are NOT. Sold out events are exactly as described at the Villains Unleashed. There is NOTHING comfortable about a sold out MVMCP I can tell you that for a fact. Having done that party a half dozen times over the years, I know what comfortable is, and sold out is about as far from that as you get. This s what happens when you have a 1 night event w/ special merch. everyone wants.

  • Tony

    I was at Unleash the villains in 2013 and attended the party again last night. The major disappointment of the entire evening is that Disney show producers did not learn a thing after the 2013 debacle. They just spread it out over the entire park vs just around Echo lake. Considering what the event is mainly about (villains and having the opportunity to meet and greet them) the management of the crowd was horribly underestimated (again) and, worse, the queue lines were managed pathetically. As was stated in the article lines were closing as early as 9pm (Constantine). Maleficent closed by 10:30. If you wanted to see Dr Hamsterviel and/or Gantu that was completely blown up as they combined everyone into a single line, had no photopass photographer there, and only had one of the two villains visible at a time. People in that line were extremely upset (rightfully so), many waited over two hours and never saw anyone (finally giving up in disgust). There was a “single” merchandise store in the entire park to support the entire event (actually it was really just a counter). Really? A single tiny location selling specialty merchandise to the entire park for the entire event?? That is just insane. And to top that off, as mentioned in the article, it was grossly understocked and closed early. I could go on and on but all the proof anyone really needs is to pay attention to the response Disney had for any and every guest who made their way to guest relations and wanted their money back. All requests for a refund were immediately honored with no questions asked (except to ask if the guest would like a complimentary ticket to MNSSHP). That is pure validation of Disney admitting how badly they messed this up (again).
    The villains are probably popular enough to give serious consideration to creating a separate park for, or at least a dedicated section in one of the existing parks. With that, Disney really needs to treat this event with the highest priority and respect for the thousands of paying guests who wish to attend, especially if they are going to have the nerve to charge $70 dollars just to get in. Unfortunately, the way Disney has treated it the past two years has been extremely disappointing, and just flat out badly.
    Last year they just completely blew it by totally underestimating the amount of people that would attend the villains party and were completely unprepared for what happened. I saw cast members, who went as a guest, get recruited on the spot to help with crowd management. Last year there was also a MNSSHP party going on at Magic Kingdom the same night and the attendance for that was very low because most everyone wanted to see the villains instead. This year Disney turned the villains party into a hard ticket event, and yes, they did (way) oversell the event. This year they treated it as a major cash cow that needed milking without regard to those they were milking….the paying guests. Unlike the Halloween party or Christmas party which are loaded with different activities and events, the primary focus of the villains party is on having the opportunity to meet and interact with many of the favorite, and rarely seen, villains. It is the guest experience, not the money, that Disney will tell you they pride themselves on. Unfortunately that was clearly not the case this year. Because of this Disney really needs to wake up and give the highest
    priority to crowd control and queue management, and do everything
    possible to support what they preach, a positive guest experience.
    Last year word spread very quickly about the debacle but it was easily forgiven by the public and Disney did not have to take any accountability because the event was free and it was a first time event. This year, a renewed hope and higher expectations were created when this years party became a hard ticket event. Unfortunately, word of this years debacle is already all over all of the blogs everywhere and Disney has a huge black eye right now, and will be held accountable because guests had to pay to get in. They have taken some accountability by immediately refunding the admission to any guest who requested it on site (essentially admitting their mistake).
    So what will happen next year? Will there even be a villains party? If so, will it be another hard ticket event? If so, what will Disney do to guarantee that next years party will not be like the previous two and not end up in Haddes house (literally) again? Will the public give Disney a third chance to get it right?

  • Kathy Mixdorf

    The one thing no one want to talk about it is that you have to know what you are walking into. Hundreds of people are there for one reason, to meet the hard to see characters. This year they gave you the whole park, more entertainment, and limited the number of people in to give you more room. This is not Mickey’s Not So Scary where the public is spread out in coming over two months. this is a ONE NIGHT deal. Think about it this way, take all the guess that come to MNSS and shove them into a one night event in one park. You will spend two hours to see Anna and Elsa on a daily basis and lines for rides in the summer can go up to and hour and half, we all still wait. People sit and wait for the new parade at MK and hour in advance. How are these daily park waiting less horrible then this event. I am thankful and please that Disney even offers these characters meet and greats at all! I wish they would ask some of the characters to MNSS but oh well.

    • Anthony Powell

      Sorry youve got this one wrong i was there there were more people there then had been allday even the walk around characters were mobbed because they were the only ones you could get to see the cast members that wete there couldnt protect them it was a mess

    • Zane

      Agreed! This is just a forum for people to complain, but I went and knew what to expect with the lines. Yes, they had a lot of people in a lot of lines and we couldn’t do everything, but didn’t expect to. With that in mind, we still had fun!

    • Jim Moore

      Keep drinking the Koolaid.

  • Snaked

    Great write up Shaun, thank you for that.
    First of all I think these hard ticketed events ruin WDW. Characters, a party, souvenirs and fireworks where always part of the theme park experience at Disney and as long as people keep pulling their wallets the regular park experience will continually be downgraded. Another thing is that the WHS are going the same way as Epcot, an old and tired park kept alive with special, hard ticketed event. So every single person attending these events destroy WDW as we knew it.
    Taken all that in a account, Disney overselling this event, not planning for it and being totally amateurs about it is unforgiving. What baffles me even more is that Disney has another successful IP (The Disney Villains) that customers bag for to have in the parks or land and keep ignoring that! The fact this event is so popular is a testament to that outcry so Disney, go to imaginering and let them build a fun and exciting themed land that is home to all the villains we love to hate, with “bad” rides and food opportunities and stop milking the cow (and please cows, stop to be milked!).

  • William Hammock

    If WDW management were smart they would turn this into a nightly event ala MNSSHP and MVMCP. They know people want this and will flock to this if it is managed well. It would be another way to get people in that park. When they start the supposed construction for the big renovation, it would be a great way to get people in Hollywood Studios who won’t be going for the usual attractions and shows the Studios offer during the day. People already plan their trips around Halloween and Christmas ticket events. Even more people, like me, would plan a trip for a Villains Unleashed event.

  • Little Miss Ariel

    Sounds like whoever organised this event should be sacked as it sounds like a complete debacle that sullies the name of Disney even more

  • Lynn

    hmm sounds like Disney is changing things too much, far too quickly without really thinking about what they are doing. it doesn’t give me much hope for MNSSHP this year. i suppose only time will tell.

  • Anthony Powell

    We were there it was ok to start with but very soon became a nightmare the gate entry was just shambolic with a few guests getting in without paying totaly spoilt the night for us our last night aswell

  • Mike Blue

    We were there…..you want a tshirt go to the ONE location In back of park and wait 2 hours…wanna eat….go line up by brown derby thats a 2 hour wait…se your favorite villian. Go wait 2 hours to get a pic..5 hour event , so do the math. And I paid an extra $80 for what. Was so bad im waiting for a response from disney guest services email. Tried to go to guest services when there but guess what, there was also a huge wait. As premium pass holders this was another way Disney has failed ad of late, taking it on the revenue side instead of treating your guest as paying attendee you treated us like second hand clothes, being directed to dead ends…. pushed off the streets because of crowds and seeing people trying to figure out what ONE thing they wanted to do since the wait took up your whole visit. Epic FAIL!!!

  • Andrea Shockley Chronister

    We drove 9 hours just to go to this event. We were so excited! We are DVC members and Annual Passholders so needless to say we love Disney! We arrived at about 6:40, so luckily we were able to get a map! We watched the opening show, which was really just 30 minutes of introducing villains and telling you where they were, which I guess they really needed to do considering they ran out of maps, but since we had one, we should have just gone to wait for a character instead! We first headed to Bowler Hat Guy, because he was our Number One priority! We only had to wait 40 minutes which was not soo bad, but for a 5 hour event was pretty long. Next we waited for Shan Yu, which was another hour and 15 minutes. By that time we were starving so headed over to Club Evil which was the highlight of our night! The food was fantastic!! After Club Evil we went over to the Mix Tape Party with No 80’s music or Starlord or Gamora to be seen anywhere, next we tried Maleficent but the line was closed, next we tried Gantu, closed line. We wanted a Maleficent Cupcake, so we started looking for an open Food location, we had to go all the way over to Fairfax Fare to find that, by then I think it was 11:50. We went to stand in one more line for The Witch, got her by 12:40, then headed out of the park to the Mickey topiary at the entrance to watch the fireworks, we knew we wouldn’t make it back to the hotel for a long time if we didn’t! So we watched the fireworks from outside of the park. I was so sad and disappointed by the end of the night, I almost felt like not wanting to come back for a while. But then I remembered the fun things that I do actually like about Disney. Bottom line, we would not go back to Villains Unleashed, unless they somehow could prove that it was going to be planned for much better. I felt like we wasted our whole weekend! The characters, well the ones we actually saw were fantastic though!! Such great meets, and all of the CMs we spoke to were very friendly and happy to help with any questions we may have had. Luckily, we didn’t want any of the merchandise, or see any of the shows, because then we really would have been able to do nothing the entire night. I still love Disney, but after paying to go to this event, it makes me feel like I am only a $ to them, which is devastating. Yes, I know they are a business, and yes, they are in the market for profit. Usually, every time we have been (50+), at least to me, it hadn’t felt that way until now.

  • Dawn DMAB

    Who do I contact to get MY refund?

    This was a villainous event. Not because of the costumed characters that attended but because of the REAL VILLAINS who produced and mis-managed it into a night of anger and frustration.

    I half expected to see Walt’s ghost stomping around angrily trying to find out how this could have happened to his guests. Of course, he wouldn’t have found any satisfaction, after all, he wouldn’t have had a lanyard. . .

    This event left me embarrassed to be a die-hard Disney Fan!

  • Mary Campbell Neal

    Why can’t Disney go back to have a bigger variety of Character Meet and Greets all of the time. They have this huge catalogue of characters and all you see are Princesses, the Fab 5 and Pooh characters!

    • Denise Rambo

      My biggest character gripe is that, for “the house the Mouse built”, there is very little of the actual Mouse to be found on Disney properties – except of course for merchandise. I think opportunities to see and interact with Mickey Mouse should be plentiful everywhere in both WDW and DL.

      • Jon Millwood

        You can meet Mickey at all four of the WDW parks, dinner at Chef Mickey and Garden Grill and some other locations. I think if they had too many Mickey M&G it kills the magic as he can’t be everywhere at once!

  • Jim Moore

    Maybe should be called Wallets / Pocketbooks Unleashed. ….JS

  • Bob Franklin

    It’s sad to see that, yet again, Disney is more for making a dollar, than caring about the guests. Don’t get me wrong, it’s always been like this, in some format, but these days, it’s really showing! Disney is really annoying these days.

    Boo once again Disney!

    Here is an idea, why can’t you just update the “Mickey Halloween Party” since it’s been the same thing for years now. The only change I have ever seen from that, is the quality of candy, going down.

    • http://www.chicagobearscentral.com/ Brent Jamison

      So, here’s the thing. I would have been very frustrated if I was at the event. However, Disney admitted their wrong and they are doing the right thing by giving a refund. They do care about their guest. And, of course they care about making a dollar – they are a business. That’s what businesses do.

  • Julie

    I think it is events like these that show these characters could be in the parks daily for meet and greets! I love the villians…why could they not set up an area for them like all the princesses??

  • Ghost Man

    Wow! I thought every time we went to Mickey’s xmas party it was a bad decision. We never learn. This event sounds like it would have been a nightmare (no pun) for my family and I.

  • Well, well, well

    The worse idea was having one location for pins, shirts, etc. My wife was in line for an hour. Other than that we had a great time. I’m guessing most people left the freak show because they didn’t want their kid trying to swallow a steak knife when they got home. Was it the most exciting thing ever? No, but it was fun.

    I was bummed that I couldn’t see Maleficent, but didn’t cry about it. I didn’t think the crowd was that bad. After all it wasn’t even sold out and HS was giving away tickets to cast members.

    • This Is My Display Name

      Just for the record, saying “it wasn’t even sold out” really doesn’t mean anything.

  • Wishing for more

    Anyone have any luck getting a refund or exchange for the Not so scary halloween party after? The line at guest relations was long and didnt want to wait in another one once the event was over since we weren’t sure if they would even do anything

    • Dana Cumbee Wiggins

      Yes, my husband and I received a full refund, but it was put on a Disney Gift Card.

  • best night ever

    This night was the best I’d ever been to. period. The lines for the rides were not 45 min (i don’t know where you heard that) I rode 6 rides with no more than a 15 min wait. I got to enjoy villain candies and a drink with no more than a 20 min wait for them. the fireworks were flawless and gave me chills they were so scary at times. not to mention the fantasmic preshow was villain themed and helped get everyone in the mood. ALSO Hades introduction of the villains all had their own themed ‘explosion.’ the crowds were nothing like they were last year. everyone could see what was going on and that in its self was worth the money. this event was what you make it, glad you went in to it with an open mind.Everything was wonderful and this post no way shows what Disney did for its obvisouly greedy guests.

    • Andrea Shockley Chronister

      You are entitled to your own opinion, but please don’t judge all unhappy guests by saying they were greedy. I did not pay for a special event to ride attractions. I can ride those any time. I have also seen Fantasmic. It was called Villains Unleashed, and having lots of characters was what we and a lot of other guests were excited to see. Having to wait 1 hour plus for characters for a 5 hour event was not really fun, so me wanting more than 3 characters photos is not greedy. When there were “50” of them at the event. Also, paying to get into an event with no maps for everyone, sold out food, merchandise, etc, is not fair or greedy.Characters lines, attractions, food locations etc. being closed early was also confusing. We were walking around at 11:30 trying to find open lines for all of those things. The event didn’t even end until 1:00. If it was worth it for you to do things you could do during the day, then that’s great! I’m glad you enjoyed your time! We were just disappointed because apparently our expectations were not what we were being offered. We definitely went into it with an open mind, we were so excited to go! We drove 9 hours to be there! There were definitely great points to it, so I am not arguing with you there. But please don’t call people “obviously” greedy guests, because that is just not fair.

  • Mary Ellen Nunes

    I attended with my daughter (11) and after having been blown away with how amazing the Harambe Nights event was in June, we were pretty disappointed in the Villains Unleashed. I could not believe the lines for the characters – I absolutely did not plan to spend my whole night in line for one person. ridiculous.

    On arriving at 7 pm (after a 25 minute detour which I was not expecting at all) the maps were gone….I begged one from a lady who had apparently taken a few extra. It seemed to make no sense to me that they had not printed enough maps! I also didn’t understand why they had only one tent selling the special drinks instead of making them available at food locations around the park. There were no photo pass photographers outside of the ones located at the character spots, so I have no photo pass pictures of the event at all. The special tag for the evening says you would have special photos included in your photo pass shots for the evening, but if you didn’t get any photos taken (read: didn’t wait 2 hours in a character line), you cannot access any of the special shots, which I am assuming includes “candid” shots of the villains of the night, much like normal photo pass will come with posed shots of the fab 5 around the parks.

    We went to Fantasmic and I darn near fell asleep during the “pre show” and was under the impression that this was going to be a special showing of Fantasmic…maybe with more villainy? but it was the exact same show with no changes at all. I defintely felt like we had wasted that time arriving at 9:30 when we could have at least attempted to see more characters walking around.

    With a few things called “dance party” I expect to find characters dancing/mingling with guests, as they do at the nightly dance party in the Magic Kingdom. This also was not the case either at the Guardians of the Galaxy Dance party or at the main villains stage at the hat.

    On a positive note, we were surprised to find that the pins were
    available in one of the other shops, and were able to get one pretty
    easily while paying for a t shirt (not a special t-shirt, not one of
    those to be found anywhere).

    All in all I felt like we spent $140 for the opportunity to dress up for 6 hours, and ride a total of 3 attractions. Not exactly money well spent when we have annual passes already.

    Lesson is that unless I know its an all inclusive, limited number ticketed event (like the Harambe nights) I will just skip it & go to a different park—or in this case not make a special trip from PA to FL.

  • Disneyesque Warning

    I’m glad that Disney has realized their mistakes with this specific event and that they are taking the proper steps in correcting them.

    • Mary Ellen Nunes

      what “steps” are they taking to correct them? I just heard about the new “add on” for MNSSHP which is a special dessert party and reserved seating for fireworks & parade — its quite a big add on cost so it has me wondering what they are doing for this new event that will make it run more smoothly than Villains Unleashed

  • Lori

    It was horrible! So disappointed in Disney. I bought the Villains Unleashed tickets for my daughters 14 birthday. Basically, we paid to walk around the park. As we are walking around, my daughter said, “I just want to cry!” she was so excited to meet them all and we ended up meeting no one. Could barely hear the TV screen for the preshow. Major lines for everything and they said that villains would be walking around We only saw the Queen of Hearts at the very beginning of the night, and that was from a distance, that was it. I never thought I would put Disney and disappointed in the same sentence. Sorry Disney, you got this all wrong!

  • Clare

    We arrived back from our first visit today, and I attended Villains Unleashed on Saturday. It was the only time during the whole week where I felt ripped off by Disney. I bought the ticket the day it was released to the general public, as it was promised to be a limited event that would be limited at a number that would be “comfortable” for those attending. It was far from that. The only thing I didn’t queue for all night was when I needed to visit First Aid.

    I got to meet one (just one) villain… when I tried to join any character line after 11.15pm, I was told they were all closed. I then ended up sat on a curb for 90 minutes waiting for the fireworks. If I’d have realised Disney was giving refunds if we left then, I’d have taken it and run. A huge waste of time and money. Sadly, it came towards the end of an otherwise magical first visit, but it is hard not to be left with a bitter taste when we’d forked out $70 for the worst night of our holiday. Sigh!

  • Scotty K

    What a great event. I agree the lines were challenging and it was crowded but we went into it knowing what to expect. We were able to get merchandise as we went to the Prop Shop before the event actually started. I guessed on which characters would be the most sought after and we lined up early so we could get them first and then hit others including the roaming characters. We managed to get pictures with 24 characters in all (I’m counting the Hyenas as 3 and the Brers as 2). We were very much looking forward to the event and it didn’t disappoint. I missed out on the Hot Dogs but got all the characters we wanted and more.

  • Bill A.

    I attended and brought a group of 7. Half went back to the hotel at 10 out of frustration. The start time was published as 7pm and should have been enforced. My 14 year old daughter was beside herself that she could not see any headline character without losing the rest of the night. On the positive side, wait times for the rides were low, and even TSM dropped to 30 min later. We did see a bunch of wandering villains. We got a great picture with a Storm Trooper after telling him “We aren’t the nerds you’re looking for.” It was fun to see all the costumes.

  • mickeymommy7

    You know? the more I think about it. I love Disney immensely. I really do. We never vacation anywhere but WDW and haven’t for 20 years. But I’m getting a bad taste in my mouth that some of these events are starting to feel like I’m paying a premium just to have a CHANCE to buy something else. With the parties, you at least get some entertainment, but for many, me included, i could care less. I like the stuff I can buy that’s event specific. I can’t be the only one and I’m sure others feel the same way. Like The Imagination Gala coming up. Though there is an avenue for trading, isn’t it more of paying to have the chance to buys stuff which we had to go through a lottery process to determine? It’s like “Give me $50 and you can then have the chance to give me more.” IMO also, Disney is just feeding the secondary market w/ these very limited items as opposed to making the money themselves on selling to those that want them.

    • mickeymommy7

      At least w/ the Gala, you already know what you will be purchasing because you already paid for it in advance. I’m glad for that anyway.

    • This Is My Display Name

      “With the parties, you at least get some entertainment, but for many, me included, i could care less.”

      That’s the problem.

      If you go only to buy things, then, yeah, you’re paying money for the chance to buy things.

      If you go for the offered entertainment, then you’re paying money for the entertainment.

      That’s not to say that the money spent is worth it, but the events are what you make of them. And you admit that you consider the events to be shopping trips.

      The only time I’m aware of Disney actually charging people to shop, they relented and gave everyone a full refund shortly after.

  • Kristin Moore OCallaghan

    I’m so sad to hear that many people were disappointed in this event. I LOVE DISNEY VILLAINS!!!! Hopefully Disney really sees that they have a goldmine here…as long as it is planned correctly. A little bit more planning and this event could be fantastic! I would have the event held on select nights throughout the month of August and sell a limited amount of tickets for each night. Maybe even have some select rides get “villified” (villiainous overlays, new music or lighting) to entice people to ride the rides and spread out the crowd. Clearly have enough specialty food, drinks and merchandise spread evenly around the park. And most importantly… create an amazing storyline to tie into the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. (Cross marketing…expanded experience for the guest…$$$$$ for Disney…win-win!)

    The storyline could be that the villains were banned from the Magic Kingdom by Mickey @ the previous years NSSHP. Event guests have been “invited” to Disney Hollywood Studios, by an unknown host, to join forces with the villains to take back the Magic Kingdom during the upcoming Halloween party starting in September. The start of the party the characters just arriving, therefore roaming around the park mingling. They are trying to get guests on their “side” by schmoozing, taking pictures, offering food, drinks, merchandise and entertainment. Specialty carts accompany each of the roaming characters, selling that specific character merchandise as well as event specific merchandise. Slowly throughout the night the villains make their way to the center of the park, which culminates in the night’s fireworks show. Different music and fireworks identify each villain as they “approach” the center stage, during the show. The finale of the fireworks show is when all the villains have all joined forces and they need one last power…the guests!!! The villains need all the guests “energy” to complete their power to break their ban from the Magic Kingdom. Thanks to the guests “energy”, the fireworks finale is no less than spectacular, ending with the host “of dishonor” making his appearance…Chernabog. The host thanks everyone for banding together and advises the villains to head to the Magic Kingdom since they do not have much time. He also advises the guests to join the villains at the upcoming MNSSHP, in disguise, for a night they will never forget. With a villainous laugh, the party comes to an end. As guest leave, information about the MNSSHP can be handed out as well as kiosks for guest to buy tickets for the party in September/October, if they want to attend.

    At the MNSSHP, the fireworks show can be tweeked a bit to have the two parties collide, but it can be done very easily. Clearly, Mickey wins the help of his guests and the power of good and bans the villains from the MK once again. But you know those villains…they never learn and will try again with new guests the following year.

    Wow…can I babble on or what? Anyway…I didn’t attend either so who knows if this was already the theme or these ideas were already tried and flopped, but it as fun coming up with it anyway. I really hope Disney takes what guests are telling them and listens. I’d hate to see them waste such a great opportunity with the Villain franchise.

  • Stevenw

    Had a great time. Came late, so parking was free–toll booth unmanned. Went to the plaza area outside of the park and watched the fireworks, absolutely the best view of DHS fireworks available, inside or outside the park. Beat the parking lot congestion cause I was already in the parking lot when things wound up. Went home. Disney does it again!

  • Drago Harley

    The conspiracy side of me thinks that some Disney executives sabotaged this on purpose: now they can say “Don’t do a Villains event…it is a disaster”. Also, “Don’t do a Villains area in an expansion of the park, remember the disaster of the Villains event”. This feels like a turf war thing…where some executives sabotaged the event from the beginning because a successful Villains event would have upset the power structure somehow.

    • Angelina

      I agree. They got greedy and lost sight of the Disney mission.

  • Billc

    The meet-n-greet lines were long because the characters were in demand. Would you go to Diagon Alley and complain about the long line for Gringotts?

    I went to the 2013 and 2014 Villains party and the crowd was dramatically decreased this year. Running out of merchandise and food is a problem, but the long lines for meet-n-greets is not.

    You suggest lowering attendance to accommodate your sense of entitlement. Would you be willing to pay a higher ticket price in exchange?

  • Angelina

    I went to the event as a surprise from my dad. At first I was so excited because of all the info I had gotten about it during the months before. The first issue was coming in. Many people including my dad had trouble getting in. I don’t know why but they did. The only character that I wanted to meet was Constantine. We are huge muppet fans and we thought it would be simple. The line was long at 6:30 so we decided to come back. We ended up coming back at 9:30 and we were looking around for the entrance. The cast members were just staring at us, one smirking. My mom asked them finally and they said the line was closed. Apparently the line was done for the rest of the night until 1am when the event closed! I was pissed for a while and then decided to see my next favorite character, Bowler Hat Guy. But this time we walked up and heard a guy say, “I’m not waiting another 3 hours for another character.” 3 HOURS!?!?!?!?! People waited all night to see these characters. The stage show was repetitive too. We went there at 8:30ish and they did a little skit. But they we came back for the fireworks and they did the same exact thing! I cant imagine how many other times they repeated that same thing. Overall I was vey disappointed and we are awaiting a refund. Another issue in itself. The person on the phone was too busy to talk and refered us to e mail the customer service woman. She didn’t want to deal with complains. I think cast members were probably treated terribly and that’s why they had terrible attitudes. I’ve never had a worse night at Disney.

  • Bill Johnson

    We just got back from our annual WDW pilgramage on Sunday… I am so glad we skipped this event. It sounds every bit as awful as I suspected it would be.

  • Mary Ann Ziccardi

    I went last year and it was a disaster… I refused to pay $70 for a repeat performance.

  • Kiddo

    That guy who plays Gaston is a whack job. I met him out of character and OH BROTHER. He is a Jesus freak. I’m Christian and all, but this guy is off the deep end and just plain preachy. It’s a shame that he is so crazy because he is good looking and talented at being a face character.