Villains Unleashed! The Good, the Bad and the Evil

Written by Shelby Pickett. Posted in Disney Hollywood Studios, Disney Parks, Features, Walt Disney World

Tagged: ,

frontpagepic_KY

Published on August 26, 2014 at 3:00 am with 33 Comments

This past Saturday night I attended the Villains Unleashed event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World. I approached the event with caution after last year’s fiasco of a similarly themed event. I kept an open mind due to the fact this year it was a hard-ticketed event priced right at $72 per person.

Arrival

I arrived at the park around 7:30 pm to get a slight head start on the evenings festivities. It was starting to get crowded, but so close to the event start time of 8:00pm, I expected it. The entrances for the event were clearly marked with themed signs, and I was through the turnstiles and in the park within 2 minutes.

Photo-Aug-23,-7-44-56-PM

Photo-Aug-23,-7-45-40-PM

As soon as I entered, I was given a lanyard with a badge noting that I was a member of the event. The back of the badge had a photopass number and QR code. I was told to be sure to wear it throughout the event.

Photo-Aug-24,-11-22-38-PM

Photo-Aug-24,-11-22-47-PM

Club Evil

My first stop was at the newly dubbed “Club Evil” which was housed inside the Hollywood Brown Derby. The event still had about 8 minutes before it started, so everyone was lined up at the door with the queue wrapping back along the outdoor patio.
Photo-Aug-23,-7-58-45-PM

When it was my turn, I was greeted at the door by one of the Villain’s henchmen. They were wearing a hat resembling Doris from “Meet the Robinsons”, and was asked for the password to enter. I took a guess that it would be “Unleashed”. I was right.

I was then greeted by a standup of the Evil Queen and a large cauldron boiling over with smoke. For the night, the restaurant was open seating lending a casual, speakeasy flair to the setting. The restaurant was decorated in many different “Villains” themes such as, Cruella and the 101 Dalmations, Dr. Facillier and his team of friends from the other side, The Queen of Hearts, Pain and Panic, Ursula, and Jack Skeleton.
Each area also had a caricature of each Villain hanging on the walls.

Photo-Aug-23,-8-01-21-PM

Photo-Aug-23,-8-01-49-PM

Photo-Aug-23,-8-02-03-PM

Photo-Aug-23,-8-02-07-PM

Photo-Aug-23,-8-02-14-PM

Photo-Aug-23,-8-02-24-PM

Photo-Aug-23,-8-02-42-PM

Photo-Aug-23,-8-03-09-PM

Photo-Aug-23,-8-04-04-PM

Photo-Aug-23,-8-10-24-PM

Photo-Aug-23,-8-47-06-PM

Photo-Aug-23,-10-20-08-PM

Photo-Aug-23,-10-20-52-PM

Photo-Aug-23,-10-21-08-PM

Photo-Aug-23,-10-21-15-PM

Photo-Aug-23,-10-21-23-PM

Photo-Aug-23,-10-21-44-PM

Photo-Aug-23,-10-22-30-PM
Photo-Aug-23,-10-22-44-PM

Photo-Aug-23,-10-20-40-PM

Upon finding a place to sit, I proceeded to check out the event menu. It had the usual run of beers and wines but the speciality drinks and food choices were hand-picked for the event. They offered four different drink options such as “One Bad Apple” which contained a glowing poison apple, “Deep Sleep” which is Irish Whiskey with Peach Schnapps, “Villainous Ville” which was similar to a Chocolate Martini.

Food options included “Witches Brew” also known as Butternut Squash soup, “Cruella’s Devious Eyes” which consisted of Mozzarella with tomatoes, and Maleficient’s Loaded Staffs” which contained flank steak,a pea and sweet corn spring roll,a crispy FILO filled with Affine Blue, Dates and Prosciutto. All of these were appetizer sized portions, and ranged from $12-$15. The dessert was themed to Maleficent, and was a trio of tiramisu, raspberry sorbet in a chocolate-dipped cone, and what taste like a banana pudding ball with candy in the center on a bed of pop rocks.

Photo-Aug-23,-8-42-45-PM

Photo-Aug-23,-8-42-50-PM

Photo-Aug-23,-8-43-45-PM

Photo-Aug-23,-8-43-49-PM

Photo-Aug-23,-8-43-55-PM

To start the night’s festivities, we had a glamorous Hollywood starlet sing some of her favorite tunes (Many from the former Adventurers Club) followed by visits from Captain Hook, Mr. Smee, Cruella Deville, Big Bad Wolf, and the Queen of Hearts. They all freely roamed the restaurant posing for pictures with whomever asked. I discovered later in the night this would be the best opportunity to meet, photograph, and get an autograph from some rare Disney characters.

Photo-Aug-23,-8-31-32-PM

Photo-Aug-23,-10-22-36-PM
Photo-Aug-23,-10-20-29-PM

Photo-Aug-23,-9-50-59-PM

Photo-Aug-23,-10-02-49-PM

Photo-Aug-23,-8-39-09-PM

Photo-Aug-23,-10-24-11-PM

Guardians of the Galaxy Dance Party

I left the restaurant around 9:45, and rounded the corner to check out the Guardians of the Galaxy Dance Party. As I approached the Animation Courtyard, I could see dazzling lighting effects on the ground, and hear the music coming from inside the usual location of “Playhouse Disney Live on Stage”. Within the queue, they had various Guardians of the Galaxy backdrops for photo opportunities. Upon entering, I found a very energetic DJ, space to dance, and Star Lord participating in meet and greets. It was not busy at all, as I counted no more than 25-30 people in the room, with the majority of them huddled to the right side of the stage trying to get a picture of or with Star Lord.

Photo-Aug-23,-10-32-58-PM

Photo-Aug-23,-10-33-13-PM

Photo-Aug-23,-10-34-19-PM

Photo-Aug-23,-10-34-40-PM

Photo-Aug-23,-10-36-35-PM

 

Character Meet and Greet Opportunities

This event offered some wonderful opportunities to meet many scarce characters such as Cruella Deville (Streets of America), Dr. Facilier (Streets of America), Bowler Hat Guy (Streets of America), Stromboli (Streets of America), Dr. Hamsterville (Backlands Area), Captain Gantu (Backlands Area), Honest John (Near Lights Motor Action), Shan-Yu (Near Premier Theater), Constantine (By Muppet Vision 3D), the 3 Hyenas from the Lion King (Near the Indiana Jones Theater), and the “Old Hag” from Snow White (Sunset Blvd), as well as more frequently seen characters such as Darth Vader (Star Tours), Storm Troopers (Star Tours), Darth Maul (Near ABC Soundstage), and the Emperor with Royal Guards (Sci-Fi Dine In).
The more scarce characters had anywhere from a 1.5 – 2 Hour wait. Surprisingly, Stromboli had the shortest wait of any character with roughly five people in line.

Photo-Aug-23,-11-21-02-PM

Photo-Aug-23,-11-09-32-PM

Photo-Aug-23,-11-10-25-PM

Photo-Aug-23,-11-11-45-PM

Photo-Aug-23,-11-12-32-PM

Photo-Aug-23,-11-13-59-PM

Photo-Aug-23,-11-16-09-PM

Photo-Aug-23,-11-16-57-PM

Photo-Aug-23,-11-36-52-PM

Photo-Aug-23,-11-28-33-PM-(1)

Oggie Boogie’s Freaky Funhouse

This is the one portion of the event I did not attend. The reports I was receiving from friends, colleagues and other event attendees was the event was very risqué and perhaps inappropriate for a Disney Park or an event which allowed children.

Face Painting

There were three booths set up in the same locations as the tents for the visiting celebrities for Star Wars Weekends along Echo Lake. Each housed a location for complimentary face painting. There were fourteen options to choose from including Pain, Panic, Hades, Big Bad Wolf or the a Evil Queen among others. This was a nice perk of the party.

Photo-Aug-23,-11-27-05-PM

Photo-Aug-23,-11-27-21-PM

Dance Party

Throughout the night they had a street dance party right at the Sorcerers Hat featuring DJ Iggnite, with appearances from various Villains throughout the evening, as well as Oggie Boogie to host. The music choice was very good, as it varied in genre and decades.

Photo-Aug-23,-11-32-13-PM

Food Options

Aside from the speciality entrees at Club Evil, the Park offered gourmet hotdogs with various toppings at a location near the entrance to Fantasmic. They were themed to various villians including Maleficent (BBQ Pork $8.99 + Tax), Hades (Chili Dog 9.49 + Tax) and Jafar (Macaroni and Cheese with Truffle Oil $8.99 + Tax). The themed buns ran out around 11:15 PM.

Photo-Aug-24,-12-08-09-AM

Event Merchandise

The event merchandise was sold out by the time I arrived at Soundstage 1 located near the Honey I Shrunk the Kids Playground, but from what I was told, it sold out within the first 45 minutes of the event. The selections included event-specific T- Shirts, Pins, a water bottle, and a few other items.

Fireworks Finale

The dance party and DJ continued until 12:45 when all went quiet, and Maleficent took to the stage to summon the Villains in a spectacular and dazzling fireworks display over the Sorcerer Hat. The show featured many favorite Disney tunes all of which corresponded to their respective Villains. There were many explosions including some perimeter fireworks.

Photo-Aug-24,-12-50-18-AM

Photo-Aug-24,-12-57-03-AM

Exit

When it was time to say goodbye, everyone received a small goodie bag as they exited the park. It featured a fan shaped flyer with the event logo and date on the front, and the signatures of the majority of characters on the back. It also featured two smaller cards with the signatures of the Star Wars and Guardians of the Galaxy Characters, a Ghirardelli Chocolate Square, a Maleficent Button, a Sleeping Beauty Pin, as well as a free download code for the Incredibles from Disney Movies Anywhere.

Photo-Aug-24,-11-23-55-PMI feel the event was wonderful and generally a success. It didn’t completely sell out, and was not as well organized as the Mickeys Not So Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom, granted it was only their second year of the event, with this being the first where it was hard ticketed. All in all I believe it’s an event to be repeated year after year should they continue it. Will I visit again? Yes. Was worth $72, maybe, depending on what your looking for in a hard ticketed event. Is it better than the Halloween Parties? Perhaps, If you love the Villains, but with the recently announced addition of more Villains to the Halloween Parties, who knows. We shall wait and see.

Tip: Figure which Villains you want to meet ahead of time and get in their lines as soon as possible. Some of the more popular characters were posting a 1.5 – 2 hour wait, so with a 5 hour event you won’t get to see much unless you visit them early on.

Tip: Arrive at the park roughly 30 minutes before the event starts and either get in line for the merchandise (if that is important to you) or get in line for Club Evil (which will give you a nice indoor area to sit and eat, as well as see many of the more popular characters with easier access to pictures and autographs).

Tip: View the fireworks from the ticket touch points. You get a better panoramic view, and you’ll be one of the first out of the park when the event ends, without fighting the massive crowds!

Were you there? We’d love to hear your thoughts. If you weren’t in attendance, does this sound like an event you’d be interested in?

Answer to last weeks question:
What year did Disney’s MGM Studios become Hollywood Studios?
A: January 7th, 2008 

About Shelby Pickett

Browse Archived Articles by

33 Comments

There are currently 33 Comments on Villains Unleashed! The Good, the Bad and the Evil. Perhaps you would like to add one of your own?

  1. Thanks for your review. I do wish you would have attended the Oogie Boogie show, as it was an actual new offering from entertainment. I highly doubt that it was anymore risqué than what you could find in Hong Kong Disneyland for Halloween. I’ve heard many poor reviews of this event. I’m thinking you personally did not need or want a picture with you and many of the villiains?

  2. The villain decor at the Brown Derby seems somewhat embarrassing.

    • Were you at the event or just judging from the pictures? As someone who actually was there, it was themed VERY well considering it is a full service restaurant that was open probably a few hours before the event began and had to be turned back into the Brown Derby when it ended.

      The lighting was perfect, the decor was plentiful, and the food and drinks were unlike anything the Brown Derby usually serves. It really felt like a completely different space, and judging from the long lines all night to get in, I would say it was a HUGE success.

    • I agree with you. It seems someone just went through a 90′s warehouse looking for anything that could “do the trick”. The Payne and Panic figures are possibly from the 1997 Hercules parade, some of those cardboard cut-outs such as the fire in front of the bar seem out of a high school theatre play, some of those dalmatians plush are not even Disney but rather generic ones….

      This is a hard ticket event, right? I agree it is embarrassing. Disney opts so often for the law of the “minimum effort with the maximum profit”.

      • If all of the tableaux created were dimensional like the Pane and Panic one was, I think they’d get less of a critique. The Ursula one practically screams foam board painted black.

      • How about the cardboard Evil Queen?!? You can get that on ebay for $30

    • The cheap cut outs from closed Disney stores are ok because they lowered the drink and food prices for the $72 hard ticket event. Lol just kidding most drinks and food looked more expensive plus they only sold appetizers.

      It’s all part of the villain theme you are supposed to be feel ripped off and robbed.

  3. I guess I just can’t wrap my head around the new trend for character meet & greets. I get the fact they are parading rare-seldom seen characters (some I’ve never even heard of), so that maybe a draw for some. But it literally comes down to paying a $72 cover charge to get into a party with little return. By the report, it seemed like the dance floors were minimally used. The free SWAG was a weak attempt to offer something of substance to take home.

    So it boils down to this….
    $72 cover charge
    Somewhat unique food/beverage offerings (at additional cost)
    Potentially significant waits for photo op’s and signature
    Face painting
    DJ dance parties
    Fireworks
    Bag-o-Swag (valued around $10…maybe)

    Obviously no one is having a gun held to their head to attend, and maybe this is some ones cup of tea, just not mine.

  4. So for $72 you get the opportunity to buy food and drink with a bit of extra themeing, the chance to meet one or two villains if that’s all you do, and you can buy merchandise if you manage to get to it within the first minutes of opening.

    Sounds like a staggering rip-off.

    • I like the Ghiradelly’s “free Chocolate” square that you get free at the Ghiradelly’s store, offered as swag, for $72.

  5. Reading the tweets from guests, many were stuck in three hour lines to meet characters. Others said that disorganization was more the theme. Those who were media seemed to love the event, but the average guest were running to get a refund (which apparently were given out like candy on Halloween.) Most complained about how packed the park was and felt that the event was oversold for the smallest park at WDW.

    As to the decor for the Brown Derby… the cardboard cut outs seem out of place there. It seems like a more sophisticated decor would have seemed more appropriate for the place.

  6. I don’t get it. Why?

  7. I’m sorry, but the credibility of Miceage just went down several notches with this “Review”. In reality it seems more like Disney said, give a good review or else your media credentials will get pulled. BC_DisneyGeek summed it up best; “A Staggering rip-off”. I’ve only read two good reviews, and they’re both by “media” people. But for perspective, even Deb over at AllEars (who never says anything bad) said it was the worse event she has ever attended.

    But I’m sure that Miceage will have nothing but praise for the new hard ticket event to a hard ticket event. After all if your happy paying $72 dollars to get in and do nothing except pay even more for food and beverages at the Brown Derby with recycled cardboard cutouts (and not accomplish anything else with your time; Then the Villains’ Sinister Soiree will be right up your alley. $99 on top of the $71 dollars to Mickey’s Halloween Party, for a piece of cake, two fastpasses to the parade and fireworks and a swag bag. All of which used to be included in the Halloween party cost to begin with for half the price.

    This reviewer really needs to dig deeper; Disney oversold and under-prepared for this event. they ran out of Guide maps, swag bags, and food, didn’t have enough meet and greets set up, had a horrible stage freak show, ran a ‘special’ Fantasmic that had nothing special about it, and even threatened to throw people out who had paid to get in because some cast members wanted to see tickets to the event, but those tickets got collected at the gate for the ‘photopass’ lanyard. To top it off they upped the price of food items even more then usual ($9.49 for a chili dog), and ran out of event specific merchandise 45 minutes into the event.

    • Why does the fact that the person writing this review had a good time make it less credible? They were expecting the long queues and acknowledged the fact that as they went to club evil they met more characters there than if they had tried standing in line. Because of this they had a reasonably good experience.
      Yes, others didn’t expect the 2hour waits for rare characters or think there should have been waits that long, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t a good review of how the writer experience the evening.
      Also, in my opinion, if you are at an event trying to meet rare characters you should expect there to be long lines as a lot of other people are also there to meet that character. Unless you limit to a very small number of people (such as they are doing at the villains event at CRT for MNSSHP) or have multiples of each character (which unless done well so it’s not noticeable cheapens the value of the character).

      • For $72, you shouldn’t have to wait TWO HOURS for anything!

        The food should be included, not your privilege to buy, after spending $72!

        Some of you folks have seriously got to WAKE UP!

        WDW Cast Members could slap you in the face as you enter and kick you in the rump and laugh out loud at you as you exit, and you would still feel it was your privilege to have been allowed in the park after paying $72.

      • It is less credible since the person making the review just opened their Miceage account last week, never has done a review before, didn’t reference any of the problems other guests had, and the story made it to the front page of Miceage.

        While yes it is a review, and thus an opinion piece, its lead on Miceage looks to be the Miceage official recap of the event, which seems to be whitewashed.

        Without history to judge the reviewer with, and the ‘I had a great time’ story line, while almost everyone else online has said how bad it was, makes the review seem not so up and up.

        After looking back at the name, I believe that this person is affiliated with a web site that sells park merchandise via ebay and their website, and if not a cast member themselves, is the son of one; it’s all perspective and disclosure.

      • I think what’s annoying about members like CaptainAction is that there is no room for discussion. If you happen to enjoy something Disney does, you’re a swill-drinking, pixie dusted buffoon.

        If someone doesn’t like it, don’t go. If someone likes it, that’s their preference and they have a right to feel that way and write reviews to that end.

        That being sad, the event DID look pretty awful. I wouldn’t have paid for it. The restaurant doesn’t seem to be the problem. It’s the lack of any quality entertainment other than extra meet-and-greets.

      • Sure, there’s room for discussion. As you just ably demonstrated.

      • WDWBoston, see Aaronius response.

        WDWBoston, I think the reason stuff like this is such a punch in the gut, is because you have the richest theme park in the world, the most successful theme park in the world (so far), putting up cardboard characters and calling it an event and charging 72 more bucks!

        The richest park in the world putting up the cheapest theming you can imagine.
        The contrast is shocking.

        I expect this at Six Flags but they don’t have pockets or cash in any comparable way to WDW.

        When will you recognize how guests are taken advantage of, the last 12 years, by WDW execs?

        Guests are really just containers of money, to the current execs, which must be drained.

    • Well, a review should be an honest review – not a pick-and-choose a la carte option. The fact that the review failed to check out the “Freaky Funhouse” should be enough to raise red flags. Word of mouth from ‘colleagues’ is not an excuse for why something shouldn’t be experienced – especially when it’s doubtful that this reviewer paid for their ticket.

      Wake up, Micechat.

      • She didn’t use it as an excuse. She simply said she didn’t go. And it was an honest review. Really, have you never seen reviews where the reviewer didn’t do each and every thing? Was she supposed to stand in every characters 2 1/2 hr line to satisfy you in reviewing a 5 hr event?

        And, as has been mentioned by several people, the media seems to have liked the event. If she didn’t pay for her ticket, that means she’s probably media. Duh.

  8. I noticed that the pic that the Queen of Hearts Signed in the Brown derby is from the Video Game Kingdom Hearts, see here==>http://www.creativeuncut.com/gallery-16/khrc-queen-of-hearts.html

    What’s interesting is that someone decided to use this render or that there may not even be any Queen of Hearts offical artwork.

  9. Just from a theme standpoint, why were the Guardians there exactly? If you can properly explain how they were appropriate for a villains themed event, I’ll be sure to not spike the punch next time.

    For real. This is PATHETIC.

    • Originally I had wanted to go because it sounded awesome. Fortunately a lack of funds prevented us from doing the event. Thank goodness! It sounds like an epic disaster (hard to not believe the other 800 reviews on various sites stating it sucked.) As for Guardians of the Galaxy…. why the would be at a Villains event confounds me. They were the exact opposite in the movie – they were the heroes. We just saw that movie last week. They saved everyone so how exactly are they villains??? Of course, totally unrelated – I am also confounded by why Disney is seeming to push that movie on every Disney fan no matter the age. While I enjoyed the movie, I would NOT have recommended it for anyone under 12. The Guardians are quite adult in both their situations and choice of words.

    • I thought the same thing about Jack Skelton being in the Brown Derby with the Villians. Disney profiled him.

    • Don’t know if this is a proper explanation but most of the Guardians – except Star Lord – started out as villains. The Guardians also appear in comics, which Disney also owns, y’know. My question would be how did Diz get the right to use them in the Orlando theme park?

  10. I’ve never gotten the draw of these hard-ticket events myself and just don’t see paying 3/4 the cost of a regular days ticket just to meet some characters and buy overly expensive food. Just look at what you get for the cost of a hard-ticket event going to Knott’s Scary Farm or Halloween Horror Nights. Those places spend months and months building highly detailed and unique experiences rather than slapping some cardboard cut outs around in a two hour time period. As much as I love the DIsney theme parks these hard-ticket events need to grow up into TRUE worthwhile experiences or they need to go away.Preferably the later.

  11. I didn’t go to this event, but I went to the one that was part of “Limited Time Magic” last September and had a lot of fun at it. But I went in without much expectation though. I managed to get photos with a handful of characters (Cruella,Sheriff of Nottingham, Governor Ratcliffe & Hook) which was more than I was expecting because I saw the lines for the “organized” meet & greets and they looked insane. I got all my character photos over by the dance party are in front of the big hat. Sounds like Disney needs to work out more kinks with this one since DHS is not used to events such as these.

  12. This reminds me of the very first Happy Haunts Ball in 2002. Hard ticket event that could’ve been awesome, but in reality, was weak and embarrassing. While I didn’t attend this Villains event, it sure brings back memories. Please, come in, pay a fee and you get to spend $$ on stuff not available to anyone else (yet). They had ‘fortune tellers’ in Liberty Square and the lines were insane. I believe there were 3-4 tents, and like an idiot I waited over an hour to see one, only to have her talk about her son, asking me what I do for a living, and if I knew of any job hirings! I was disgusted, to think of all the walk-ons I could’ve had on Big Thunder and the HM, but no, I had to wait in line only to have a fake fortune teller ask me to hire her out of work son.

    Magical.

    But on a side issue…..Smee and Snow White’s witch look nothing like their film counterparts. Go back to their previous masks, for goodness’sake.

  13. this is the first positive thing I’ve heard about the event. The fact that it’s a separate ticketed event is absolutely mind blowing. $72 for some meet and greets and a generic fireworks show? Come on guys…stop making Disney profit off of these terrible over-hyped events…

  14. After a very bad over-crowding experience at Disneyland’s MNSSHP a few years ago – I avoid all extra fee ticket events at Disney parks. I got caught in a crowd near the HM and was scared of being trampled. Went to guest services and they told me to complain to corporate as they can do nothing about it. I’m glad WDW is actually giving refunds for this event.

    I agree with others that some of these characters should be more regular in the parks. But that wouldn’t bring in extra money like this stuff does.

Leave a Comment

You have to register or login below before you can post a comment or use our advanced features.
User Name:

Password: