Let’s start with the basics. The price for the IllumiNations Dessert Party stands at $49/adult and $29 for 3-9 year-olds. Separate admission to the park is required, as this is more like a dining reservation, not a hard-ticket event.
There are two possible locations for the dessert party – dependent on the weather. The decision on the location is made by Disney at latest 5.30pm on the day and cast members will be able to point you in the right direction.
Generally, the IllumiNations Dessert Party is at Port of Entry, near the shops and directly on the sea front. However, when we went the event had moved to its secondary location. It was a beautifully sunny day outside, so at first we were confused by the local change. The cast member explained that the desserts were melting due to the extreme heat but a special viewing was reserved for us for the fireworks themselves. We made our way over to America and checked in at the American Adventure. There we received our wristbands for entry to the dining as well as the viewing area. About an hour before IllumiNations we were let into the American Adventure, where the Voices of Liberty normally perform.
Inside they had set up plenty of tables, but it should be mentioned that all locations have very limited seating available. Inside the rotunda were two food and three drink stations. To the left was a table full of international desserts, including some from the Food & Wine Festival at Epcot. On the right hand side was cheese dip with pretzel rolls, fruit, ice cream, warm cake and trifle. Directly next to this, a very friendly cast member was handing out sparkling wine and punch (with or without alcohol). Finally, in the center back was a table for hot drinks and a table with cold drinks, including iced tea and lemonade.
Something I want to mention here is for anyone with any allergies or intolerance. My partner is gluten intolerant and has always been taken care of very well by Disney, including during buffets and options like the dessert party. A cook came and guided him through the options and a special little plate with additional options was provided.
Generally, the food was nice and enough options were provided for everyone to find something. The drinks, as the food, were unlimited and you have ample time to make use of it. We decided to make ourselves tea and take it with us to the viewing area, as styrofoam cups with lids are provided. All drinks come in plastic glasses, so you can take them with you as well. We even saw some children with napkins full of rice krispy treats.
Finally, after we were truly full, we made our way over to the viewing area. You are welcome to go at any time, or wait until shortly before the fireworks and be escorted there by cast members. The viewing area was magnificent! It was directly next door in Italy, at the pier-like area. It was roped off so that only dessert party guests could enter after having their wristbands checked. The view of the fireworks was beautiful. And quite frankly, not having to pick a spot hours beforehand and being crammed in between hundreds of others already made the whole thing worthwhile. The only downside was having to walk all around the lake with the rest of the masses afterwards, compared to the Port of Entry location. However, we were in such a good mood it didn’t really bother us.
Overall, I think the IllumiNations Dessert Party is worth the money. Firstly, compared to other dessert parties it is the cheaper option. Secondly, the food and drink options are plentiful and tasty, so it is easy to eat and drink your money’s worth. Finally, the hassle-free viewing of the simply stunning fireworks show makes this a wonderful experience. Obviously, it is not something you’d do every time, but it certainly makes for a wonderful treat – or birthday gift for example.