This past weekend, I had the pleasure of being amidst 50 of Disney’s most evil of Villains during the Villains Unleashed event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
You may recall Disney hosted a similar event last year called Unleash the Villains Friday the 13th. With last years event being free and crowd levels to the extreme, Disney chose to make this a special ticket event this year, closing the park at 7pm and hosting a 5 hour event.
Excited about this event, I arrived at DHS at 4:15pm and made my way into the park using my annual pass. Guest with an event ticket only, were allowed into the parks starting at 5pm. Once inside, Cast Members advised that I would be able to pickup my party credentials (a Villians Unleashed Lanyard provided by Disney PhotoPass) just outside of Indiana Jones.
With that I made my way in that direction. As myself, and several others, were waiting in the area for 5pm, right on schedule our afternoon Florida thrunderstorm storm arrived. Thankfully, this storm did not damper things. As you can see there were several of us having a great time waiting it out. Not to mention, the storm actually cooled things down very nicely, but it did put a delay on receiving credentials by about 20-30 minutes.
Once I received my credentials I grabbed a quick bite at ABC Commissary and then headed over to check out the merchandise located in the gift shop located next to the Studio Backlot Tour. This years merchandise consisted of a special event glow in the dark Villains Unleashed T-shirt, a Villains Unleashed water bottle and a special edition Villains Unleashed Disney pin. I will admit, I was quite surprised at length of the line however I was in and out in 30 minutes.
After checking out the merchandise and doing some people watching (which was one of the best parts of the evening to me) I realized it was 7:30p, so I headed over to Hades Hangout for the opening ceremonies. With only 30 minutes before the start of the event the crowd was growing, but I had no problem getting a good spot near the front
The evenings host was Hades and Megara “Meg” from the Disney film, Hercules. The also brought along their minions Pain and Panic. The evening was opened with Hades introducing 50 of the most evil Disney Villains that he personally invited to the special event. Several of the Disney Villains made their way on stage, while a few were not physically in the opening act.
The last villain that Hades introduced was Maleficent (The Angelina Jolie version, not the green witch). Maleficent did not take the stage in the opening number but she did have a special video that played with her promising she would join us at the end of the evening and would share with us a special gift she called Villains in the Sky. It was at that point that Hades concluded the opening ceremony and unleashed the villains in the park.
I decided my first stop would be to head to Streets of America and pay a visit Jafar. My family has watching this Disney classic at least 3 times just since the passing of Robin Williams and it felt like the perfect Disney Villain to start with. After running into a couple of friends along the way, I got myself in queue close to 9:00pm and was done by 9:20pm. Jafar was quite his charming self. He tried to get me to stair into the eyes of his staff, but I declined the offer.
After my visit with Jafar I made my way further down Streets of America to visit with The Queen. I was in to met her majesty by 9:30pm and I was sad to see our Meet & Greet end at 10:00pm. She was quite the lovely queen, but insisted that I try one of her apples. I politely declined the offer.
After visiting with the Queen, I noticed that Gaston was hanging around enjoying his own company. I popped over to say hi and the two of us struck a pose. I have to say! This guy LOVES himself.
Once I had all of Gaston’s showing off his muscles and pearly whites that I could take, I made my way back down Streets of America to see what Villains were wandering around. It was then that I encountered Sheriff of Nottingham from the 1973 Disney classic, Robin Hood. He wanted to collect taxes from me, but I only had a credit card. Luckily he didn’t accept credit cards!
After seeing the Sheriff, I then ran into Stromboli from the 1955 classic Pinocchio. He asked if he could tie some strings to me and I’d be his puppet and we’d make lots of money. You can see in this picture his frustration with me in saying no thank you!
I looked at my watch and noticed it was now close to 10:00pm. I promised my boys that I would pay a visit to the man in black himself, Darth Vader, and put the Force choke on him. On my way to see Darth, I had numerous encounters with villains from the Star Wars franchise.
After meeting with so many of the Star Wars characters I was in line for Darth Vader for approximately 20-25 minutes. As promised, I put the Force choke on Darth Vader. Thankfully he didn’t notice or else I have a feeling I would not be here now.
My visit with The Dark Side ended around 10:45pm and having a sweet tooth, I made my way over to Fairfax Fare to grab me one of the special Maleficent cupcakes. This cake was made with chocolate cake and had a blackberry filling and a backberry buttercream icing. Maleficent was made in solid milk and white chocolate. I will say the cupcake was good, but it was no Frozen Olaf Carrot Cupcake. And the filling tasted more like a strawberry jam than blackberry to me. No worries though, I ate the whole thing.
Another great bonus about grabbing the cupcake at this hour was running into Big Fat Panda himself from the BigFatPanda.com. We had a great visit and even had a great contest with you the followers. A game I like to call Eye Spy. Congratulations to Daniel Vickers on being the first to recognize the eye. You’ve won a Florida Plunge decal!
After my visit with Big Fat Panda, I made my way over to the 11:30pm showing of Oogie Boogie’s Freaky Funhouse Show. This show was definitely a departure from the typical Disney stage shows. Housed in the Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage auditorium, I want to just say that I thought this show was a perfectly themed edition to the nights events. Oogie Boogie, from Tim Burton’s 1993 The Nightmare Before Christmas, is nothing but a bag of bugs and on this night it was his job to provide us a freak show. The 30 minute show consisted of a crazy sword swallower, a couple who lived dangerously with their cross bows and fire eaters. I for one applaud Disney for stepping out of the box and giving us a show that was in complete theme with evening.
Big Fat Panda was kind enough to share with us Oogie Boogie’s Freaky Funhouse Show.
The Oogie Boogie show released and midnight, so I made my way back over to Hades Hangout to catch Bernie Briquette and the Brimstones. The music seclection that Bernie and the band played was excellent. I especially loved the Beatles tribute. While the band played I enjoyed the dance party with a few of my closest villain friends. And let me say, some of these Disney Villains have some serious dance moves. Yes Queen of Hearts, I’m talking to you! (WINK)
As the dance party came to an end and the time of 12:45am fast approached, the evil Maleficent took to the stage as promised.
She commanded the audience as she cast her spell and summoned all that is dark to appear. Maleficent presented to us, her gift, Villains In the Sky!
I’m excited to share a unique view of these fireworks with you from Orlando Attractions Magazine in full. Take a look…it is a very cool perspective!
After the magnificent display in the sky, I made my way to my car around 1:30am. To my surprise, Disney was handing out Swag Bags to guests as they exited. Being one to share the magic, I’ve decided to give my swag away in 3 giveaways. Giveaway #1 closed on 8/25/14, however Giveway #2 is currently underway right here and will end at 11:59pm August 27th, 2014. Be sure an ENTER!
I know that social media was all a buzz Saturday night and Sunday with several guests that were disappointed in the event. I can honestly say that my experience was not a disappointment. I had a great time and I encountered many other guests that had a great time also. Was it crowded? Yes. Was there lines? Yes. Did I get to do EVERYTHING? No and I attended with the expectation that I would not take part in all activities and see all the villains. Could this event be done better? I’m sure it can be and I’m sure Disney will make improvements as they did this year making it a special ticketed event.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Magical Mouse Plans Travel for sponsoring Taking the Florida Plunge and sending me to this event so that I could share it with you. Magical Mouse Plans Travel is the our agency of choice and they are hear to help you with all of your Disney, Universal and Cruise travel needs. Click HERE for a free quote on your next trip.