October 2015 Trip Review
2016 UPDATE: THIS DESSERT PARTY IS NO LONGER OFFERED
You may recall from my report intro that when I heard that this would be the last year for the Osborne Lights at Hollywood Studios I extended my trip by 4 days in order to be there on the official opening night of Friday, Nov. 6th. I also reserved (and prepaid $69, including tax & gratuity) the Merry & Bright Dessert Party to try and avoid much of the probable large crowd that would be in attendance on opening night. Here is the description of this special event from the official Disney World website:
‘Tis the season for the ever-popular Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. And to add even more magic to your holidays, treat yourself and your family to a decadently delicious dessert party in a special reserved viewing location set apart from the crowds. Guests also receive a heart-warming keepsake—a custom roll-up stadium blanket!
So I was super excited about my opening night dessert date with the amazing lights. And to be honest, feeling pretty proud of myself and my Disney “smarts”. Well, that lasted until Monday, Nov. 2nd. As I was sitting at a picnic table in the American pavilion area at Epcot enjoying my carrot cake from the Hops & Barley booth, I was joined at the table by a very nice couple. We struck up a conversation, and I soon discovered that they had a daughter who was a DHS cast member. She had told them that the Osborne Lights would be in soft opening all week, and in fact they had already seen the lights the night before. How had I completely forgotten about the Disney “soft openings”? So my forgetfulness cost me an extra four days at Disney World. Ummm…darn it!!
So anyway, I had other plans that night (Monday) but on Tuesday I made my way over to DHS to take part in the “sneak preview” of the lights.
It wasn’t very crowded so I thoroughly enjoyed this visit to the lights. Actually I enjoyed it so much that I almost lost track of the time and missed my dinner reservation.
So when I attended the dessert party and saw the lights again three days later it seemed a bit anticlimactic. Especially since this second time around there was an insane amount of people there. In fact, when I arrived at around 6:00 (just before the lights were turned on in a special opening night ceremony) the Streets of America area had apparently already reached capacity level and the “on deck” area around the corner was crammed full of people impatiently waiting to get in. I was stuck in this area, worried that I wasn’t going to be able to make it in before the dessert party started at 7:00. But thankfully after the “lighting ceremony” the crowd started moving slowly and I eventually made it in and found my way to the gated area underneath the big blue globe (located at the end of the street, in front of the entrance to Lights, Motor, Action! show).
I got into the short line that had already formed for the dessert party and was there for only a few minutes before two CMs with a list of participants reached me and marked my name off their list. They gave me this sticker to put on, which would allow me to reenter the special reserved area if I should decide to venture back out into the mob of people in the street…which I DID NOT!
Oh, and the sheet which had the sticker affixed to it also had a coupon to redeem for the souvenir stadium blanket once we were allowed in. And we also received a pair of 3D glasses to view the lights. Here is a photo of the royal blue blanket I received, which has a pocket attached with the Osborne Lights 2015 logo printed on it…
On a cooler night, the blanket would have come in handy. But since it was in the 70’s (even after sundown) there was no need for a blanket. So the souvenir was tucked away in my bag and later that night was packed in one of my checked suitcases. Boy was that a mistake! The next day while sitting on a freezing airplane for 4 1/2 hours (I wasn’t able to get a cheap non-stop flight when I changed my return date) I would have paid another $69 for that blanket.
But anyway, the party was scheduled to begin at 7:00 but according to the time on my first party photos we were allowed in much earlier…at about 6:35, which made me very happy! Tables were not pre-assigned, all were first come, first serve. So I chose an empty table that had a pretty good direct view of the street and plopped down my bag in a chair to stake my claim, which is what everyone else seemed to be doing.
A few more photos of the view from my table…
Since the reserved area was located behind the “Merry Christmas” lights, we had a backwards view of them…
From what I could see, all of the tables were the same size and had 4 or 5 chairs so I fully expected to share my table with others. However, that didn’t happen for probably about an hour, as it seemed to take awhile before many of the party guests arrived.
Believing that the Alcoholic Beverage station would be the most popular one, that was my first stop of the evening.
I think they had only these three bartending stations and three bartenders manning them so I was probably right to hit up this station early. Here was their drink menu:
Even though it was a balmy Florida night, I couldn’t resist getting the hot chocolate and Bailey’s. My next stop was at a nearby station that had two huge bowls of what looked like cobbler, but they called them pies.
Peach Pie topped with Old Fashioned Pecan Sugar Crumbs
Both of these were served warm. Oh, and as an added bonus there was a CM at this station who was dishing out scoops of vanilla ice cream for those of us who like their pie “a la mode”. It was a tough decision since both pies looked great, but I chose the Caramel Apple Pie with a scoop of ice cream, of course!
Warm Caramel Apple Pie a la Mode and a cup of Warm Mistletoe (Hot Chocolate, Bailey’s and White Chocolate Syrup)
The pie and ice cream were delicious! The spiked hot chocolate was tasty but it was just too warm outside and I soon decided to seek out a cold beverage. Before finding a tub filled with small bottles of water and cans of soda on ice, I first tried one of the beverages from the Non-Alcoholic Beverage Station…
I also filled a plate at the Holiday Themed Dessert Station. Here are some photos of the treats offered at this station…
Stuffed Wreaths – Chocolate Cake Wreaths stuffed with Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles
Cup of Christmas – White Chocolate Peppermint Mousse with Green and Red Sugar (Gluten-free)
A Present – Coconut Cake with Bow
Red Shiny Things – Lemon Curd with Raspberry Glitter Glaze
Light Bulb Eclairs – Light Bulb Color Dipped Eclairs
Crispy Gifts – Colorful Rice Crispy Bon Bons
I passed on the coconut cake and lemon curd desserts, but tried one of each of the other four.
Along with these desserts I tried a glass of the Rosy Cheeks punch (Passion, Orange and Guava Juice with a touch of Grenadine) but it didn’t seem to pair very well with the desserts so switched to an icy cold bottle of water. As for these desserts, the chocolate wreath one was pretty good. The chocolate hazelnut center tasted like Nutella so if you are a fan then you will surely enjoy this dessert. The other three desserts were nothing special and consequently I only took a few bites of each. IMO, the best dessert of the party was the one I started with, the warm caramel apple pie. And my four tablemates agreed with my assessment. Speaking of which, I was just beginning on my plate of desserts when a woman approached me to ask if the other four places at my table were taken. I welcomed her and her three girlfriends to join me. The four of them were so nice and I really enjoyed our conversation, which included comparing notes regarding the food and beverages. A couple of them tried the lemon curd dessert that I didn’t have and thought it tasted weird.
One mentioned really liking the eclairs, while I thought they were just so-so. But as I mentioned before, we all really enjoyed the caramel apple pie! So if you attend one of the remaining dessert parties and the caramel apple pie is still offered, be sure to give it a try. Oh, and one more interesting tidbit regarding my tablemates is that one of them (Faith D. of South Carolina) was actually one of the roughly 50 official Disney Parks Moms Panelists. I felt like I was dining with a Disney celebrity! Faith was super nice, as were her three friends and I was very happy that I was able to share a table with them.
So was the Merry & Bright Dessert Party worth its $69 price? On this night, the official opening night of the Lights, I believe it was. It was so nice to have a place to sit down and enjoy the music and lights away from the chaos that was taking place throughout the night out in the street. At the end of the party, which was at park closing time of 8:30, the crowd had finally thinned and I was able to walk down the street without getting up close and personal with about a thousand other people. If this had been another, less busier night would the party been worth $69 for me? Probably not. But then again, with this supposedly being the last year for the lights, will there ever be a night when it is not busy? I guess that’s the $69 question.
Want to know what I did next on this trip or just want to share a comment on this review? Click here to go to this trip’s blog post!