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First Look, Guest Review, and Photos! Epcot’s Sparkling IllumiNations Dessert Party

Remember last week when we told you about the brand new “Sparkling” IllumiNations Dessert Party in Epcot? Well, we’ve got pics from the very first event! :-) Many thanks to DFB reader Tricia Noble and her husband, who snapped the photos on Saturday night and wrote up a review!

Tonight my wife and I went to the first night of Epcot’s Illuminations Dessert Party. Being the first night of an event, we expect that things will change and adjust according to the feedback Disney Events receives.

Dessert Party Menu

Dessert Party Menu

The party location was right as you enter the World Showcase, between the two gift shops at the edge of the lagoon. The view for Illuminations from here is fantastic. However, the location is a bit more public than we were expecting for a ticketed “private” party.

Dessert Party View

Dessert Party View

In addition, the slope in the area meant that there were no chairs. The ccktail tables scattered around were not sufficient for the number of attendees, and not usable by young guests and those in scooters or wheelchairs. I expect that to be addressed quickly (more tables were brought out just before the fireworks started.)

Dessert Party table

Dessert Party table

Eats

Now for the desserts. The party was billed as tastes from around the World Showcase, but unless I miss my mark, the countries represented merely inspired, rather than provided, the offerings.

I would have liked to either see more variety or better pairings between the wines and the desserts. The fresh fruit was nice and flavorful, and a good palette cleanser between the other confections.

Dessert Party Eats

Dessert Party Eats

Offerings included Cronuts (called Cronis here, apparently), strawberry sauce, Tiramisu, Pot de Creme, Baklava, fresh fruit, shortbread, and ice cream goodies like Mickey bars, Mickey ice cream sandwiches, orange creme pops, and other ice cream novelties.

France Pot de Creme

France Pot de Creme

Italy Tiramisu

Italy Tiramisu

The English shortbread cookies were quite good, and even more tasty when covered in the aforementioned strawberry sauce.

UK shortbread

UK shortbread

Morocco Baklava

Morocco Baklava

The American cinnamon-sugar mini cronuts were pretty good, especially with the included strawberry sauce, but would have been much better had they been served warm.

Sample of Dessert Party Eats

Sample of Dessert Party Eats

The Moroccan baklava was very good. Not overly sweet, but still very flavorful. This was probably my favorite offering.

Morocco Baklava

Morocco Baklava

The French vanilla creme seemed more like a pudding, and lacked either enough vanilla or some counterpoint to make it truly interesting.

Pot de Creme

Pot de Creme

The Italian tiramisu was distinctly lacking in coffee flavor. It’s as if the ladyfinger bits were lightly drizzled with espresso instead of soaked. As a big fan of good tiramisu, I was rather disappointed in this.

Tiramisu

Tiramisu

Notice what was missing from this list? Yep. There was no chocolate dessert until you got to the ice cream. The ice cream included a couple of regularly-available-in-stores fruit bars, a Mickey bar, and a Mickey ice cream sandwich. Disney really missed the boat here by not having some French ice cream or Italian gelato at the event.

Drinks were unlimited, and included a brut champaigne and a Prosecco, which was sweet but not overly so — at least until we started eating the desserts.

Non-alcoholic drinks included coffee, tea (both hot and iced), lemonade, and water. (Hint: mix the lemonade and Prosecco together.)

Dessert Party Drinks

Dessert Party Drinks

Prosecco

Prosecco

Wine

Wine

Was the event worth the $49 price of admission? As of tonight, I’d say no. I have done the Magic Kingdom fireworks dessert event in the past and that’s what I went in expecting. This event was no where near up to that level.

I suspect that the events staff will be doing some retooling based on the feedback they received tonight (and not just from us). It will be interesting to see if the event changes or improves. For now, I’d say give it some time to “earn its ears.”

The details: this event will take place on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 7:45-9:20 pm. The cost is $49 per adult, $29 for children. Booking is now available, and parties started March 15th. Interested in more information or reserving your spot? Dial 407-WDW-PLAY. No word yet on discounts or how long the event will be running.

Is this an event you’d like to try? Let us know in the comments below!

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55 Comments

  1. Eileen Ganong says:

    Was looking forward to trying this but after reading this will probably pass. Having seats for everyone would make this MUCH more desirable. I would also REALLY appreciate 2 tiered pricing for adults – one WITH alcohol (where $50 doesn’t seem so unreasonable) and one WITHOUT alcohol at a lower price point.

  2. Beth Carbonaro says:

    I think the event is great! The selections sound sophisticated and yummy! I only hope Disney will continue the IlluminNations Sparkling Dessert Party until we can get there in December!!! Until then, hope all party goers have a grand time. Beth

  3. mkbetho says:

    Disney welcomes challenged and disabled to the IllumiNations Sparkley Dessert party don’t they? Provisions are made for sitting down if necessary, right? I’m challenged, but my husband helps me walk. We will be able to sit at the party and eat our treats, won’t we?
    Thank you for your consideration.

  4. CM says:

    mkbetho,

    The venue itself is on an incline, which is why seating in chairs is not available. For guests that have disabilities or cannot stand for that length of time, wheelchairs are made available at the check-in, as they are safer for balance and have the wheel lock. There are also a number of lower table provided and there are areas where there is lower/no shrubbery where you both could still get a clear view of the water portion of IllumiNations. I hope you guys have a great time :)

  5. Paula says:

    I’m really hoping maybe they’ll add seating to this event, but unless they change the venue I very much doubt that will happen. I had high hopes after attending (and loving) the Wishes dessert party and I think there’s something very romantic about the idea of having some wine and watching the fireworks from a “private” location, but for almost $50 a person I’m just not sure about this one. I have a reservation for fall which I’m going to keep for now but we’ll have to decide whether it’s worth it to stand and wait for Illuminations for an hour. For some that may be a normal option but we’re both rather tall adults so usually we just find a spot around 15 minutes before the fireworks and have always been able to see just fine.

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