Apr 14

2014 Epcot IllumiNations Sparkling Dessert Party Review

Last weekend my girlfriend Susan and I partook in an Epic Girls Weekend at the Walt Disney World Boardwalk Resort.  You can read about that here: Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3.

On the first night we were in “the World” we attended the all new Epcot IllumiNations Sparkling Dessert Party.

When Susan booked the party, the Disney booking site had the event taking place at World Showplace. Here’s a screenshot I took today where guests are still directed to World Showplace near the UK and Canada pavilions. The image depicted here with the view of Spaceship Earth beyond World Showcase Lagoon places it in the area near Italy. And if that isn’t confusing enough, when you click on “Read More” you are directed to “meet the greeting Cast Member at World Showcase Plaza, directly next to Port of Entry and adjacent to the Mexico Pavilion.” Well OK then.  Want to know where our party was? In the Odyssey.

epcot illuminations sparkling dessert party

Why the Odyssey you ask? Well, there was a possibility of inclement weather so the party was moved inside to the Odyssey building. Only problem, you can’t see fireworks from inside a building. Definitely not something Disney can control and this was a great option for bad weather, however it meant that our dessert eating would be cut short by about 25 minutes as the cast members tried to get us out of the building 10 minutes prior to showtime and we would be unable to munch while IllumiNations was taking place.

On any other non-inclement weather evening the dessert party is supposed to take place at the area near World Showcase Lagoon beside Port of Entry. Upside to having the party in the Odyssey, seating. If you are experiencing the party in the normal location it is standing only. However, we arrived to the party about 15 minutes after it had started, due to the fact that we had gone to World Showplace first, then Port of Entry and then the Odyssey, so there was still no place for us to sit as all the tables and chairs had been taken. Mind you there was zero signage anywhere pointing us to the right place. Hopefully Disney changes that.  Even when we left the Odyssey building to access the special reserved section where we were to watch IllumiNations (since it didn’t rain) there was no signage and we missed the first few minutes of the show getting lost in mass crowds of people trying to find anyone who could help direct us where we were supposed to go.

The Desserts

I was especially excited to attend this party because I had read two reviews online from the week prior that showed pictures of glorious mini cronuts from Refreshment Port. These are a cross between a croissant and a doughnut and are rolled in cinnamon sugar and will change your life! Honestly they are that good.  Guess what? No cronuts. None. Really? It was like visiting Disneyland for the first time expecting to go on the Matterhorn only to discover it is down for refurbishment…only worse. Nope no cronuts. Imposter doughnuts were being served instead. This was a major disappointment. (Note: The night of the party the Disney website was still reporting that Cronuts would be available)

Flambeed Cinnamon Glazed Doughnuts – America

Flambeed Cinnamon Glazed Doughnuts

The chef was at the station with doughnuts in one hand and a bottle of rum in the other.

Flambeed Cinnamon Glazed Doughnuts epcot illuminations dessert party

The doughnuts were topped with a dollop of ice cream and as disappointed as I was that these were not cronuts, I still thought they were super yummy.

Churros – Mexico

I didn’t sample these.

churros epcot illuminations dessert party

 Chocolate Grand Marnier pot de crème – France

These were almost inedible. There was a layer of gelatinous gold glitter that tasted almost like chemical on the top of this dessert. By the time I dug down into the chocolate I tasted no Grand Marnier. I’m not a big fan of pudding so take this review for what its worth.  There are so many yummy desserts at Les Halles Boulangerie & Patisserie in France I have no idea why they chose this as a representation. I would have loved to see mini macarons here.

chocolate Grand Marnier pot de crème epcot illuminations sparkling dessert party

 Tiramisu – Italy

These weren’t too bad. Not much coffee flavor. Tasted more like pound cake with whipped cream.  I’d take a cannoli over these any day.

epcot illuminations sparkling dessert party disney tiramusu

 Shortbread Cookies – United Kingdom

epcot illuminations sparkling dessert party disney shortbread cookies

 Fresh Fruit and Berries

epcot illuminations sparkling dessert party disney fruit

 Ice Cream Novelties

epcot illuminations sparkling dessert party disney mickey bars

Available were Mickey Bars, Mickey Ice Cream Sandwiches and fruit bars.

epcot illuminations sparkling dessert party disney mickey bars

Traditional Baklava – Morocco

Amazing-ness! I adore baklava and these were perfect. I may or may not have had two plates full.

epcot illuminations sparkling dessert party disney baklava


epcot illuminations sparkling dessert party disney baklava

Also…you see that flute. That is filled with Prosecco. Champagne was also offered. Before the party ended they had run out of these flutes and were offering guests champagne in small plastic water cups…because who doesn’t want to sip a sparkling wine out of a water cup?

The Epcot IllumiNations Sparkling Dessert Party pales in comparison to the Wishes Dessert Party (aka Tomorrowland Terrace Fireworks Dessert Party) offered over at the Magic Kingdom.  Magic Kingdom doesn’t offer booze, so if that’s your pleasure Epcot may be a better choice.  While I was severely disappointed that the cronut didn’t make an appearance I really enjoyed the stand-in option and the baklava. Hey Disney! How about some Schoolbread from Norway?  For the price, I would say that it is very unlikely that I would return again. Now if they brought that danged cronut back…

The Illuminations Sparkling Dessert Party is going to run you $49.  Kids 3-9 are $29. The event is offered on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights from 7:45 PM to 9:20 PM, unless you’re in the Odyssey where they will try and run you out at 8:50PM.

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