Sweets and Sounds Dessert Party Review (11/16)

f1gm3nt

Earning My Ears
Joined
Jun 7, 2019
I think this might be a new-ish offering for Universal, so I thought I would offer a review of the first night of the Sweets and Sounds Dessert Party. For some background, we were WDW AP's, and are now first-time UO AP's. Also, we've never been to a dessert party at a theme park before.

TLDR: We didn't think it was worth it tonight, because the reserved seating at Mannheim Steamroller was in a terrible location, and there was plenty of seating 20 minutes before the show where you could actually see everything.

For $50 each ($40 with AP discount), you get three things - the food and drink, the fenced-off parade viewing spot, and the fenced-off concert seating.

The meal: you get all-you-can-eat of coffee, cocoa, mini-desserts, some savory veggies and pita, and sparkling wine starting at 4:30pm at Cafe La Bomba. There was seating inside and outside, but not configured well inside for the party. Too many big tables, not enough two-tops or four-tops. Apparently this was open until 6:30. There were some first-day pains - not enough food coming out, not everything was labeled, ran out of forks on one side, but all of that is easily fixable. The cocoa, hot water, and coffee was in a weird spot that made it awkward for more than one person to try and fill a cup, and only one person at a time could put in milk or marshmallows or crushed peppermints. Separating this into two tables would be an easy fix. We didn't try the sparkling wine, so no idea if there was a limit or if it was decent. The desserts were full size cupcakes, and mini eclairs, cheesecakes, brownies, and a few other things. The savory option was carrots, peppers, greek olives, pita points, and maybe some other things?

The parade: The spot is great - it's right where the parade enters and exits the park. Not everyone will get front row viewing, however, so keep that in mind. Also, you can get the same view for free by just lining up on the other side of the street (in front of the horror make up show). There is also an AP viewing area, but that looked kind of packed early on. I'd stake out a spot outside early on - maybe 5:10pm (20 minutes before) at the latest. If you don't get front row for the outgoing parade, stick around and grab a spot for when the parade leaves the park, it had cleared out a lot.

After the parade, there is some time to yourself, we walked over to Diagon Alley to check out the Christmas decorations.

The concert: TERRIBLE reserved seating. The seating was off to the far right (facing the stage), front row. So you could get a decent view right next to the fence line, but if you weren't there early, the angle to the stage would be terrible. There's also a big, bright tv just above it. We walked over at 6:40 (they said you would be allowed in at 6:45, but this isn't the case. I don't know when it opened). We took one look at the sight line from where we would sit and told the polite host that we were going to sit somewhere we could see the show. There were plenty of spots on the artificial turf directly in front of the stage at 6:45 (15 minutes before the show). That said - it was a cold night at Universal (55F), this was the first show, and I would imagine the crowds would be bigger over either Thanksgiving or Christmas week, so maybe arrive earlier for those times?

Concert itself was great if you like that sort of thing - a singing quartet came out at 6:45 to warm up the crowd, and they were good! The concert went until a little after 8, and the park closed.

Happy to answer any other questions, but that's all I can think of for now.
 

PantherPete

Mouseketeer
Joined
May 13, 2015
I’m usually a sucker for this type of thing at Disney and the old dinner/dessert combo for the old Cinematic Soectacular. But this doesn’t interest me at all. I’ve been to Mannheim Steamroller shows at USO before and generally there are decent places to sit. Same thing with the parade, although that does get a little tougher, especially if you want a prime spot (I like the area around Macys). So $40 for a cupcake and cocoa just doesn’t seem like enough value for me. Now, if they include a place to watch the Cinematic Celebration AND have the desserts and drinks there before and during the show, I’d give it a try in a heartbeat. But given the nature of the show and where it is best viewed, I assume that is too much of a challenge.
 
  • FoxC63

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 19, 2016
    I think this might be a new-ish offering for Universal, so I thought I would offer a review of the first night of the Sweets and Sounds Dessert Party.

    Happy to answer any other questions, but that's all I can think of for now.
    Did they offer any character meet & greets? Do you have any photos to share?
     

    FoxC63

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 19, 2016
    Now, if they include a place to watch the Cinematic Celebration AND have the desserts and drinks there before and during the show, I’d give it a try in a heartbeat. But given the nature of the show and where it is best viewed, I assume that is too much of a challenge.
    When Universal did their very first dessert party which was last year 2018, it included Parade, Mannheim Steamroller with cash bar, character meet & greets and they only served sweets.
    LINK

    I wish they would offer the Cinematic Celebration.
     

    f1gm3nt

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jun 7, 2019
    No meet and greets that I saw, and they weren’t mentioned either that I remember. I didn’t take any photos of the party specifically, but there are probably good videos of the parade and Mannheim steamroller out there.
     

    ninafeliz

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 30, 2001
    We booked this for December 8th. After reading this it seems like maybe we shouldn't have, but it's non refundable so it is what it is and hopefully we will enjoy it. I'm particularly bummed about bad seats for the concert - my DH and I really like Mannheim Steamroller and have never taken the time to see one of their concerts, so when we saw they would be there during our trip we decided to make sure to see them, and the desert party seemed like a great way to do it without having to wait around for spots for either event. I'm not sure if it matters, but we do Disney dessert parties a lot and always think they are worth it, that pushed me to book this as well figuring we would feel the same here.
     


  • Lashed34

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 18, 2019
    Thank you for the review. We are booked for Dec 7th and I was really looking forward to it - not so much now. I feel that one of the reasons we booked was because we wanted a good area (reserved) to watch the concert, so the specific spot you were given doesn't enthuse me at all. Surely Universal can offer a spot more centric to the staging. People have paid for this, expecting a really good spot to see the show, not a side view where you feel you're pushed out of the way so other people can see the stage. We will make the most of it because it's non refundable, but hopefully people will give their feedback to Universal and things will change before our night there.
     

    Disxuni

    "Where's the fun without a bit of risk?"
    Joined
    Mar 12, 2016
    I hope for those that have booked have a better experience, or things switch up a little bit before they get there. This is was a first rodeo so hopefully as things come along they make adjustments accordingly. It'd be interesting to know if there is a cut off point with the sparkling wine, as it would only take a few to drink your worth in that. Considering an alcoholic drink can be $8 at the minimum and go way up from there.
     

    Lashed34

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 18, 2019
    I hope for those that have booked have a better experience, or things switch up a little bit before they get there. This is was a first rodeo so hopefully as things come along they make adjustments accordingly. It'd be interesting to know if there is a cut off point with the sparkling wine, as it would only take a few to drink your worth in that. Considering an alcoholic drink can be $8 at the minimum and go way up from there.
    I'll let you know about the sparkling wine :Pinkbounc :tigger: :Pinkbounc :tigger:
     

    CPanther95

    Mummyketeer
    Joined
    Aug 4, 2000
    Part of the problem with the 16th was not only was it the first go 'round, but because of the chilly weather they moved it from the Pantages theater area to the Cafe LaBamba at the last minute - so don't know if things will be smoother with experience, or at the normal location.

    Another caution, when we checked in they told us, "We had to move it indoors, but the good news is we have a full bar available in this location." Thought that was too good to be true (to be included) - and it was. We ordered a Gin & Tonic, Jack & Coke and a Coke. Came to $23. Half expected there would be a charge, but the way he said it, it sounded like it was included. I also may have misunderstood the point of the whole event. I assumed you'd be getting desserts, coffee, hot chocolate, etc. while enjoying the parade from a good viewing area. But you basically waited 20 minutes to get inside to eat a cupcake and a couple pieces of cheese then leave to go sit in the limited viewing area to wait for the parade to start. You could head back in, but would lose your spot to view the parade.

    So we got there at 4:15pm for a 4:30pm ticket for a 5:30pm parade to be right at the curb where the parade first comes into the park. However, the exact same spot on the opposite curb (by Pantages) we could have claimed as late as about 5:10pm with no "premium viewing area" - and actually the opposite curb was probably the original intended "premium viewing area" if they had not changed location.

    So end result was $173 for 3 people - 2 cupcakes, 6 small dessert bites, 4 slices of cheese with pita wedges, 2 mixed drinks, 1 soda and 2 cups of coffee. Not a good value for us, but if you come real hungry and can eat enough cake bites, you might feel differently.
     
  • Lashed34

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 18, 2019
    Part of the problem with the 16th was not only was it the first go 'round, but because of the chilly weather they moved it from the Pantages theater area to the Cafe LaBamba at the last minute - so don't know if things will be smoother with experience, or at the normal location.

    Another caution, when we checked in they told us, "We had to move it indoors, but the good news is we have a full bar available in this location." Thought that was too good to be true (to be included) - and it was. We ordered a Gin & Tonic, Jack & Coke and a Coke. Came to $23. Half expected there would be a charge, but the way he said it, it sounded like it was included. I also may have misunderstood the point of the whole event. I assumed you'd be getting desserts, coffee, hot chocolate, etc. while enjoying the parade from a good viewing area. But you basically waited 20 minutes to get inside to eat a cupcake and a couple pieces of cheese then leave to go sit in the limited viewing area to wait for the parade to start. You could head back in, but would lose your spot to view the parade.

    So we got there at 4:15pm for a 4:30pm ticket for a 5:30pm parade to be right at the curb where the parade first comes into the park. However, the exact same spot on the opposite curb (by Pantages) we could have claimed as late as about 5:10pm with no "premium viewing area" - and actually the opposite curb was probably the original intended "premium viewing area" if they had not changed location.

    So end result was $173 for 3 people - 2 cupcakes, 6 small dessert bites, 4 slices of cheese with pita wedges, 2 mixed drinks, 1 soda and 2 cups of coffee. Not a good value for us, but if you come real hungry and can eat enough cake bites, you might feel differently.
    I appreciate that you felt it wasn't value for money - and I agree from what you had. However you never know how busy the park is going to be and these events are not 7 days a week.

    I'm really hoping that our experience on Dec 7th is better than the various reports and reviews I've read.

    Also - Christmas parade and concert....who cares if it's chilly? Seems strange Universal moved everything around just because of a chill.
     

    Disxuni

    "Where's the fun without a bit of risk?"
    Joined
    Mar 12, 2016
    Also - Christmas parade and concert....who cares if it's chilly? Seems strange Universal moved everything around just because of a chill.
    I was going to say... It doesn't make sense to me, as while this is FL we do get cool and it's the season for it to get cooler, so I do not know what was the point. As they should expect that to be happening. Also, thanks @CPanther95 for your honest review as well.
     

    CPanther95

    Mummyketeer
    Joined
    Aug 4, 2000
    I appreciate that you felt it wasn't value for money - and I agree from what you had. However you never know how busy the park is going to be and these events are not 7 days a week.

    I'm really hoping that our experience on Dec 7th is better than the various reports and reviews I've read.

    Also - Christmas parade and concert....who cares if it's chilly? Seems strange Universal moved everything around just because of a chill.

    Yeah, not sure why it was moved. The presumption is that guests will be dressed for the weather.

    Maybe just being ultra cautious about the potential for rain.
     

    Disxuni

    "Where's the fun without a bit of risk?"
    Joined
    Mar 12, 2016
    Maybe just being ultra cautious about the potential for rain.
    Oh, yes, that makes more sense. I was there that day and it was quite cloudy so I can see them being cautious about that, especially with the combination of it being chilly outside as well.
     

    PrincessWithABlaster

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 1, 2016
    We didn’t do it but if your main reason for considering it is the MS view I would say you should definitely pass. We sat behind the viewing area which is the first couple of sections of turf. We had a better view. We were a group of 5 and showed up 30 mins before the show. If you have a smaller party you could show up later. The area is close to the stage but on the far right. You probably have a good view of Chip Davis, the keyboardist on the left and the strings. You may not be able to see the horn players and possibly not the keyboardist on the right.
     

    Lashed34

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 18, 2019
    We didn’t do it but if your main reason for considering it is the MS view I would say you should definitely pass. We sat behind the viewing area which is the first couple of sections of turf. We had a better view. We were a group of 5 and showed up 30 mins before the show. If you have a smaller party you could show up later. The area is close to the stage but on the far right. You probably have a good view of Chip Davis, the keyboardist on the left and the strings. You may not be able to see the horn players and possibly not the keyboardist on the right.
    Thank you for you post. We are booked for 12/7 and I'm a little upset to hear reviews (not just yours) that imply the reserved area is poorly situated. I will try and think positive but already feel like I'm going to complain to someone at Customer Services and I really don't want to. Fingers crossed they'll get this addressed.
     

    PrincessWithABlaster

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 1, 2016
    Thank you for you post. We are booked for 12/7 and I'm a little upset to hear reviews (not just yours) that imply the reserved area is poorly situated. I will try and think positive but already feel like I'm going to complain to someone at Customer Services and I really don't want to. Fingers crossed they'll get this addressed.
    hopefully it’ll get changed by then. I don’t know where the parade viewing is but hopefully that and the food will make it worth it.
     

    Lashed34

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 18, 2019
    Tim Tracker on youtube has put a review of this year's party on. All very positive but he does also comment on the bad view for the concert.

    Looking at it though, because you get free soft drinks plus a pay for bar, logically it couldn't have been situated anywhere else really.
     

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