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!
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!
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!
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.
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!).
The large space was well arranged. A stage and DJ booth were centered on the far wall, flanked by two bars.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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!
Creamy Polenta with Fire Kissed Corn
Shrimp Sautéed with Spicy Andouille Sausage, Tomato, Okra, and Onions
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.
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!