Guest Review: Club Villain at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Are you ready for some Club Villain Thrills?! DFB welcomes guest author AM Appleby with a review of Club Villain at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Let’s take a look at this Walt Disney World event that has now been extended with dates into March 2016!

What is our fascination with villains? Do they perceive themselves as villainous or simply misunderstood? Whatever your reasons, the four villainous characters at this Club Villain in Disney’s Hollywood Studios are well worth your time!

Club Villain Marquis

Club Villain Marquis

Club Villain

Club Villain

As soon as they became available last fall, I purchased tickets to the newest Disney villain bash, Club Villain. My seven-year-old daughter and I enjoyed the last villains party at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Villains Unleashed, in August 2014, but Club Villain was a complete departure (it is still a hard ticket event at $129 per person, tax and gratuity included).

The wait time to meet Maleficent at Villains Unleashed was four hours at the start of the party. Needless to say, we didn’t wait for her that evening. I honestly knew nothing about Club Villain when I purchased, I was just excited for another villains event!

Atmosphere

Club Villain takes place in Sunset Showcase, located just behind Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. The venue was indoors, which was lovely on the rainy evening we attended, and included a full buffet dinner and two bars serving wine, beer, and a signature cocktail specially created for each villain. Host Dr. Facilier, and his club manager Kanzo, kept everyone entertained. Music throughout the evening was provided by DJ Thibodeaux, creating a loud and festive Mardi Gras atmosphere. The food was inspired by traditional New Orleans cuisine, and I will tell you now — it was delicious!

Stage

Stage

DJ Thibodeaux Booth

DJ Thibodeaux Booth

Dr. Facilier

Dr. Facilier

The check-in podium was located in the front of the building. We arrived 20 minutes prior to our 7:45PM reservation time (there was one seating time the evening we attended), and we were given our invitation, which included our table number and scheduled times to meet the characters: Cruella de Vil, The Evil Queen, Maleficent, and the Queen of Hearts.

Invitation with Table Number and Meet the Villains times

Invitation with Table Number and Meet the Villains times

All of the guests were welcomed into the building promptly at 7:30PM, where the DJ was already spinning tunes. The food was hot and ready and the bars were open. After being shown to our table we decided to explore the room. Prior to the arrival of the characters, you can take photos on their thrones (or plush red sofa, in the case of Cruella, but I’m certain she considers herself royalty, too!).

Magic Mirror

Magic Mirror

Cruella’s Sofa

Cruella’s Sofa

Maleficent’s Throne

Maleficent’s Throne

The large space was well arranged. A stage and DJ booth were centered on the far wall, flanked by two bars.

DJ Thibodeaux

DJ Thibodeaux

Kanzo Entertains!

Kanzo Entertains!

The dance floor in the center was surrounded on three sides by tables (all tables seat four, there were forty-eight tables on the night we attended). If there are fewer than four people in your party, you will be seated with others.

Club Villain Dance Floor

Club Villain Dance Floor

Dr. Facilier and Kanzo

Dr. Facilier and Kanzo

The club manager, Kanzo (who was the real star of the show!), introduced himself and then Dr. Facilier made his entrance accompanied by two dancers. Each villain was introduced next and, after a brief spin around the dance floor, took their place on their respective thrones. Kanzo and Dr. Facilier made appearances throughout the evening, and Kanzo sang to a mesmerized crowd.

Kanzo, Dr. Facilier, and dancers

Kanzo and Dr. Facilier

Maleficent and The Evil Queen

Maleficent and The Evil Queen

Cruella, Kanzo, and The Queen of Hearts

Cruella, Kanzo, and The Queen of Hearts

One of the nicest features of the evening was that each table had an assigned time to meet the characters. We spent less than five minutes waiting for each one. With this relaxed pace, the interactions were more substantial.

Cruella was our favorite of the evening! She stretched out across her red sofa and had a face-to-face chat with my daughter, who is fairly shy, but Cruella had her completely engaged (she was giving her “bad advice” when I joined them for a photo!). There are PhotoPass photographers with each villain and we had 8-10 great pictures with each. The room never felt crowded, or certainly over crowded, and lines at the buffet tables and bars were short or nonexistent.

Charming Cruella

Charming Cruella

I’ve mentioned that the food was New Orleans-inspired and very delicious! The quality surpassed my expectations, after all, I booked our evening based on the ability to meet these characters in a more intimate setting with shorter lines.

The Evil Queen

The Evil Queen

Maleficent

Maleficent

Kanzo

Kanzo

Eats

The six food stations were divided with three on each side of the room with identical offerings. The villains had their own dessert tables located next to their thrones, each with two individually themed desserts.

The bar to the left of the stage served the signature cocktails for Maleficent and Cruella, who were located on the left side of the room, and cocktails for the Queen of Hearts and the Evil Queen could be found at the bar on the right, their side of the room.

Devious Dalmatian

Devious Dalmatian

Cursed Violet

Cursed Violet

Menu inside invitation

Menu inside invitation

And now- the food! My favorites of the buffet offerings were the vegetarian options, which were served in beautiful cast iron cauldrons. I was surprised because I am not a vegetarian! But the Dirty Rice, Black Eyed Peas, and Kale and Collard Slaw were absolutely delectable! According to Chef Tony, those items, along with the Haricot Verts, were vegan, too.

Vegetarian Dirty Rice in Cast Iron Cauldron

Vegetarian Dirty Rice in Cast Iron Cauldron

The Creamy Polenta and Sauteed Shrimp were highlights as well. My daughter preferred the Herbs de Province Rubbed Striploin, which was served with Wild Mushroom Demi on the side, and a Bread Pudding Beignet.

Herbs de Province Rubbed Striploin of Beef

Herbs de Province Rubbed Striploin of Beef

Our favorite dessert was the Queen of Hearts Red Velvet Cupcake. Scrumptious! But the most unique dessert, scrummy as well, was Maleficent’s Cheesecake Pushup with Dark Cherry Gel. Her Purple Angel Food Cupcake was simple and light. The Evil Queen’s Green and Red Truffle was a bite-sized melt-in-your-mouth treat!

Queen of Hearts Red Velvet Cupcake)

Queen of Hearts Red Velvet Cupcake)

Maleficent’s Cheesecake Pushup

Maleficent’s Cheesecake Pushup

The Evil Queen’s Green Apple Mousse with Green Glitter Glaze

The Evil Queen’s Green Apple Mousse with Green Glitter Glaze

Maleficent’s Purple Angel Food Cupcake

Maleficent’s Purple Angel Food Cupcake

MENU

Sautéed Station
Creamy Polenta with Fire Kissed Corn
Shrimp Sautéed with Spicy Andouille Sausage, Tomato, Okra, and Onions
Rosemary Crisp

Carving Station
Chilled Haricot Verts with Muffuletta Vinaigrette
Bourbon Bread Pudding Beignet
Herb de Province Rubbed Striploin of Beef carved on Aromatic Black Iron, Herbs and Garlic
Wild Mushroom Demi

Cast Iron Station
Vegetarian Kale and Collard Slaw with Watermelon Vinaigrette
Vegetarian Dirty Rice
Vegetarian Black Eyed Peas
Cajun Chicken Thigh Gumbo
Voodoo Sticky Pig Wings with Citrus Gremolata

I’m not a big fan of mixed drinks, but I did enjoy the light and refreshing Cursed Violet, inspired by Maleficent. The bars also served beer (Corona, Bud Light, and Yuengling), and four varieties of wine. Self-serve coolers of canned soda and bottled water were available next to each bar.

Bar Potions

Bar Potions

Overall

I can say with confidence that this was the most well-organized and efficiently executed hard ticket event I’ve ever experienced at Disney World. Every detail was attended to and the ample presence of Cast Members to answer questions, clear plates, refill buffet items (I even had one refill my wine at my table!), no doubt was responsible for the success. Although the guests were comprised mainly of adults, children were present and made to feel welcome. One of the friendly dancers even came to our table to ask if my daughter wanted to dance!

This high quality event was well worth the price. Dinner show, music, dancing, hard to meet characters, and delicious food and drink in a relatively intimate setting equaled great value to me! Dates for this event will hopefully be extended, or perhaps Club Villain will become a permanent event. A villain-themed restaurant or dining experience would certainly be popular!

The park closed at 9PM, but Club Villain, being a two-hour event, wasn’t over until 9:45PM. Due to the rain, the last Fantasmic was cancelled, so we rounded out our evening with a lovely, near-empty stroll out of the park.

Club Villain was an extra special way to experience the Magic of Disney!

Comments

  1. Jaime says

    Great review! I felt like it was there with you! Can’t wait to experience Club Villain with my family!

  2. Lisa says

    I’m hoping they extend this until the end of the year. We are coming to disneyworld in October from New Zealand and would love to go to this

  3. says

    I’m convinced Club Villain is a “must-do!” That Bread pudding beignet’s SO going to be my new fave dessert! Thnx 4 the excellent “bad” advice!

  4. Tricia says

    There are also nonalcoholic versions of the Cursed Violet and Devious Dalmatian available if you ask. We had quite a few of the Cursed Violet the night we went.

  5. Cathy says

    Thank you for a very complete review! I am now looking forward to attending this event in April even more now. Villains, buffet, music and alcohol … sounds like it’s worth it to me!

  6. Charlie Z says

    Great review… Just booked for my May visit to celebrate DD’s 21st birthday during her Disney College Program experience. Would be nice to see the AP/DVC discount from March extended to May, but either way this sounds like a fantastic night. Can’t wait!!

  7. Charlie Z says

    Happy to report that the discount was extended, at least for DVC members:

    Per the DVC Member site:

    Disney Vacation Club Members can enjoy a special discount on tickets to Club Villain at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for select dates running now through May 28, 2016. See the full list of available dates:

    – April 2, 2016
    – April 9, 2016
    – April 16, 2016
    – April 23, 2016
    – April 30, 2016
    – May 7, 2016
    – May 14, 2016
    – May 21, 2016
    – May 28, 2016

    Member pricing for the select event nights is $99 including tax and gratuity, a savings of $30! For more information, including menu details, please click here. To purchase discounted tickets, please call Member Services at (800) 800-9800.

  8. says

    I was truly disappointed during my stay at Club Villain. My family and I left an hour and a half early. The food was okay, but the performances were atrocious. It was a waste of time and money. It was a truly disappointing experience and I hope to never go through anything like this again. On a scale from 1-10 I would give it a -10. Please don’t make the same mistake that my family and I made. This place truly is terrible. If you don’t want to have a good time this is the place for you.

  9. Charlie Z says

    Ben, can you elaborate? Not that I want to encourage abject negativity, but I’d like to know what it was that made it “atrocious… a waste of time and money… truly disappointing and… terrible.” Was it inappropriate for the ages of your family members? Too reliant on people being familiar with the characters? I have no connection to Disney, but I feel bad for anyone who doesn’t enjoy an expensive Disney event like this. Thanks!

  10. says

    Charles Z., I believe that my brother and I were a little too old for the characters. The show was confused. I felt that the people who portrayed the characters did a good job, but the show was too mature for it to be a character event. In all honesty it was not a good fit for my family.

  11. Charlie Z says

    Ben, thanks for the additional insight. I can appreciate the difficulty in finding (and creating) high-end events geared in many ways for adults, but still having substantial appeal for younger attendees, especially while maintaining a strong Disney vibe. If you fall in the age range between the reviewer’s daughter and the over 21 crowd, that can be tricky enough as it is, even without the Disney connection. Hope your Disney experience with your family overall was a good one!

  12. Chuuie says

    I had an awful time at club villain. We paid the sucker price of $130 per person, and as a vegetarian, they gave me single faux chicken cutlet, done macaroni and cheese and corn (like the kids meal, seriously) like that was some sort of compensation (And most the desserts are not veg friendly, either)… but what really appalled me was that we were on our honeymoon, and seated at a small table with a pair of other people. I am not paying $260 (not too far from Victoria and Alberts prices) so that I can eat a kids meal with strangers for my honeymoon. The show wasn’t any better then hoop-de-hoo(but with many more technical difficulties), which is on the dining plan. I just don’t care about meeting the characters enough for it to balance lazy food and poor seating (seriously, I don’t hate kids, but why would you seat a pair of romantic honeymooners with kids?) It was a hot mess all around.

  13. Anthony Marsala says

    Party of eight adults went to the 9:00pm show Saturday April 30th. Very excited based on reviews we read. Just terrible experience from start to finish. From too small tables for food and drinks, Cast members that struggled to answer basic questions, food that was just not acceptable for the price point (except the carved sirloin), no organization for the character experiences (lines always long And even though we went up at our scheduled times couldn’t get near them. No one seemed to checking others times. Very bad process. Would never recommend at this price. Villains had literally nothing to do with show except a couple of walk arounds. Other talent was good but the singing numbers were too

  14. Sharon McDonnell says

    Just curious if this show will be extended? It looks really good and I would like to book tickets.

  15. Charlie Z says

    I took my daughter for her 21st birthday, and we had a GREAT time!! The food was fantastic and plentiful, and the staff was friendly, helpful and fully enjoying it as well. We had no trouble visiting all the characters… People waited their turn, and everyone got a chance to chat… Not just in-and-out. The music, effects and overall show were loads of fun… Clearly the leads – Dr F and his lackey, who really ran the night, have professional stage experience. They made the voodoo theme really cook!!

    Our biggest compliments must go to the 4 evil ladies who really knocked it out of the park. Maleficent was regal and disdainful, but utterly engaging. And while the Wicked Queen was suitable more subdued, the Queen of Hearts was happy, playful and having a wonderful time. But topping it all off was Cruella…. Out of the park crazy, gleeful and in full glory. She was a hoot!!

    I don’t know if the show is being extended, but from a physical set standpoint, it should be relatively easy for Disney to bring back occasionally for return engagements. I hope they do!!

  16. annie says

    AWESOME REVIEW!! I only hope that they extend the dates soon! I would LOVE to attend in November or December. Thanks again for your detailed review and amazing photos!

  17. N.E. says

    I was really interested in this until I found out you’d be seated with strangers. A social anxiety nightmare!

  18. Charlie says

    I can understand. However, I will say that while the two of us were seated at a table with two other pleasant people (a couple), it really didn’t cause any stress — they did their thing, we did ours. So the table was just a place to sit, watch the show and eat… but in terms of interacting, we really didn’t feel any pressure to do so, and neither did they. I wouldn’t let that aspect dissuade you from going and enjoying it!

  19. CC says

    I would have a party of 3. Would we still be seated with one other random person? Also is the entire party a full 2 hours?

  20. Charlie Zimmerman says

    There is a chance you could have a single placed with you, but I doubt many folks go solo. However, given the nature of the event and the people who go, I doubt it would detract from your enjoyment. Be friendly, of course, but it’s not like you’ll be joined at the hip in case you don’t hit it off.

    As to the length: Yes, there’s a definite progression in the entertainment that lasts throughout the entire evening, leading to a finale. I recommend planning to stay for the entire time, but if you unfortunately have to leave, you can. (I just don’t think you’ll want to…)

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