World of Color is one of Disneyland Resort’s most popular nighttime spectaculars, and getting a good view isn’t easy. This DCA dessert party review takes a look at the food & drinks, seating area, and more to address whether this upcharge offering is worth the money at Disney California Adventure.
Specifically, whether the World of Color dessert party offers enough value-for-money to justify its $89 per person cost. There’s no sense in beating around the bush–this experience is undeniably expensive. That price point alone is going to rule out many guests, who simply do not have a few hundred dollars for their family to do this. For those who do, we’ll cover whether the World of Color dessert party is a worthwhile splurge.
Fortunately, the World of Color dessert party is not the only way to score good spots for Disney California Adventure’s nighttime spectacular. There’s also a virtual queue for World of Color, which is free but highly competitive. In terms of paid alternatives, there are less expensive dining packages available at two unpopular restaurants, plus Carthay Circle.
When booking the World of Color dessert party, pre-payment in full is required. You can still cancel without penalty up to 24 hours before the dessert party, so it’s better to book early and cancel if it ends up not working out with your plans. Currently, the World of Color dessert party is being offered for both nightly performances, but that could change seasonally.
Each person in your party must purchase a World of Color Dessert Party Package in order to enter the viewing area. The package includes:
A selection of desserts and cheeses
2 alcoholic beverages for adults, age 21 and older
Unlimited soft drinks and bottled water
Reserved seating in the World of Color preferred viewing area at Paradise Gardens Park, where you can sit at a table with folding chairs or a high-top table with director chairs
A separate theme park reservation and valid admission for Disney California Adventure on the same date is required for each Guest ages 3 and older and is not included in the World of Color Dessert Party package.
With the official details out of the way, let’s turn to the process for making World of Color dessert party reservations. Like the rest of Disneyland dining, the World of Color dessert party can be booked online via Disneyland.com or in the app, up to 60 days in advance.
If you’re having trouble finding availability for the World of Color dessert party, you’re not alone. While not quite as bad as the Main Street Electrical Parade dining packages, it’s still quite difficult. I’d hazard a guess that the entire World of Color dessert party viewing area accommodates only ~100 guests, which is very limited. Cancellations are always possible, so we’d recommend that you keep checking as your travel dates near. (The night before is often the best bet.)
Next, the day-of experience of the World of Color dessert party. I booked the second showing of World of Color (no strategic reason for this–it was simply all I could find), which was at 10:15 pm on this particular evening. My Disneyland Dining reservation was for 9:15 pm, and indicated that check-in was possible as early as 8:55 pm.
That’s when I showed up at the check-in location, which is easy to find–there’s an illuminated sign across from the Little Mermaid dark ride. It was a bit chaotic since it was right as the first World of Color was set to start, and DCA was packed on this particular evening. Even at this time, there were several parties ahead of me waiting to check-in.
You want to check-in as early as possible, because seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. This means that guests arriving earliest get to choose their seat. Even if you’re totally unfamiliar with World of Color, the Cast Member checking you in guests should be able to advise as to the best spot.
Of course, “should” doesn’t have the same meaning as “will” and on top of that, “best spot” is a subjective term. So you might want to have an idea of where you want to sit and which type of seats you want before heading up to the podium. (We’ll address both in a moment.)
I checked in, scored the best seat in the house, and did an impressive high kick to thundering applause from everyone in Disney California Adventure. (It’s possible they were cheering for World of Color, but I doubt that.) The whole process went smoothly, and I left feeling pretty good about myself.
Once completion of check-in, I was given a wristband and told to return “no earlier than” 9:30 pm, as seating wouldn’t begin until 9:45 pm.
Naturally, I showed up at about 9:20 pm. As a diehard Disneyland fan, I’ve sworn a solemn oath to show up to things too early and then grouse about having to wait around. Once again, there were several parties in front of me–all fans who had presumably taken the same vow.
Cast Members began seating guests at 9:44 pm. By this time, the line behind me was quite long, and judging by the lack of wristbands, over half of these guests had not already checked in and been assigned tables.
I mention this because parties are each checked in and seated by a Cast Member, and then attended to be a server. I was one of the first people seated–in my chair by 9:46 pm. A server took my order by 9:50 pm and had my desserts to me a few minutes later–all well before 10 pm. If my review were to occur in a vacuum, I would say that being seated was a painless process, with service that was prompt and attentive.
However, the family with whom I shared a table was much further back in that line, and wasn’t seated until shorter after 10 pm. Their server got to them around 10:05 pm, and their dessert plates arrived moments before the show started. To be sure, this was not “bad service” by any means–it was just delayed as compared to mine. (One notable thing is that the adults in their party were not able to order second alcoholic drinks. Disney’s claim of “unlimited refills” on regular drinks is also a bit dubious given the server situation.)
Whether my “hurry up and wait” approach is a good tactic is a matter of perspective. I wasn’t doing the World of Color dessert party to save time or guarantee myself a spot. I’m great at virtual queues (my parents regularly brag about this when their friends start talking about their daughter who’s a doctor) and I have nothing but spare time on my hands.
I was doing this to write about the dessert party. (Since you’re reading this, I’d say mission accomplished!) I knew exactly where I wanted to sit and how much time I’d need to get photos to accompany this post. So, I hatched a plan and executed on it. Your circumstances are probably different than mine since you are (hopefully) visiting Disneyland Resort as a tourist looking to have a good time all day long. Nevertheless, there’s still the reality that the World of Color dessert party costs $89 per person, so maybe you don’t want to take too laid back of an approach with it.
Now that I’ve given you a play-by-play of the booking and arrival process, and also bragged about my spectacular plan and high kicking prowess, let’s turn to the pros and cons of the World of Color dessert party…
First, the World of Color dessert party is the only option that guarantees a seated viewing location for the nighttime spectacular. Sitting down can be possible in other locations (we’ve watched World of Color while seated on several occasions), but if the viewing areas are packed, you’ll be asked to stand.
Reserved seating is in the World of Color preferred viewing area at Paradise Gardens Park, where you can sit at a table with folding chairs or a high-top table with director chairs. This may seem like a minor thing, but keep in mind that World of Color happens at the end of the evening, and otherwise you’ll be standing for at least 45 minutes before, during, and after the show. In short, the seats are an unequivocal plus for the World of Color dessert party.
Next, the location. The World of Color dessert party seating area is on the left side (facing Paradise Bay) of the reserved viewing area in what’s essentially the third tier back. The dessert party location is behind and to the right of the World of Color dining package area.
This may sound like a bad section, but it’s not. From this tier, it’s easier to see the length of the fountains, and the mist screen projections are more clear here than just about anywhere else. Plus, you have elevation above the tiers in front of you, and it’s difficult to have your view blocked.
With that said, not all tables in the World of Color dessert party section are equal. The spots on the far left are too far off-center–not great for photos or viewing. The directors chairs have people directly in front of them (the dessert party guests at the regular seats). The tables on the far right potentially have dining package guests directly in front of them, which is a wild card.
Given all of that, my recommendation is requesting one of the 3 tables on the far right side of the front row. These offer the ideal view, and are immediately above the ‘center of the house’ section where the dining package guests can stand. (The stairs in front of this section are roped off, so there’s a buffer between dessert party tables and the section below.) If you can’t get one of these tables, I’d suggest trying for the few next to them before moving to the second row, far right.
I would rate these far right seats as the “best overall” view for World of Color, taking into consideration the mist screens, fountains, and everything else. My personal favorite location is the very front row–I think it’s better to be “immersed” in World of Color even if you can’t clearly see all of the projections. From my perspective, the show is more about spectacle than story, and nowhere beats the front row.
Next, the food and drink offerings. Aside from the price, this is where the World of Color dessert party disappoints the most. This is not an all-you-can-eat buffet of savory snacks and decadent desserts. It’s an incredibly underwhelming premade plate of what you see above–although that’s obviously subject to change.
Even if it does, I can’t imagine it being more or less underwhelming–its “whelmingness” probably wouldn’t change much. Two of the three cheeses were super low quality (the other was decent), the crackers were pre-packaged, and the grapes were normal (very grape-like). Two of the desserts were good, while the other was just fine. If you’ve had Disney buffet desserts, you know the drill.
The specifics of each individual piece of cheese and dessert don’t really matter–the point is that you only get one plate of them. I’ve been around the block a few times with Disney dessert parties, and they are most definitely a quantity over quality type of deal. Nothing wrong with that–sometimes it’s incredibly satisfying to scarf down a dozen mediocre desserts.
The problem here is that the World of Color dessert party offers neither quality nor quantity. It’s a limited number of mediocre items. As for the drinks, they’re great if you like sugar and artificial colors/flavor.
Ultimately, it is very difficult to recommend the World of Color dessert party given the price point, plus the dessert and drink quality and quantity. While the view is among the best in the house, there are excellent alternatives for good or better views that don’t cost anything. The free virtual queue can get you to the front row, and the cheaper dining packages (which also include an actual meal of food) get you to the dead-center of the viewing area. Comparatively, the World of Color dessert party offers poor value for money.
However, there’s something to be said for having some breathing room and a reserved seat for World of Color, especially at the end of a long day at Disney California Adventure. It’s a nice way to decompress and enjoy the nighttime spectacular in a stress-free way, and I could see the appeal for families with small children or anyone who can’t or doesn’t want to stand for World of Color. If money is no object or that seat and peace of mind have a high value to you, the World of Color dessert party might be worth it. As always, whether something is “worth it” is a subjective question.
We’ve done a lot of Disney dessert parties and this one was definitely the…most recent! Joking aside, the World of Color dessert party is actually the worst one we’ve ever done. It had far and away the worst spread of food & drinks, while also being among the priciest. That coupled with the fact that we don’t typically have a ton of difficulty seeing World of Color makes this a big no-go for us.
Speaking for ourselves, the World of Color dessert party is absolutely not worth the money. We believe in the importance of “putting our money where our mouths are” and there’s a reason why only I did the World of Color dessert party whereas we both did the Main Street Electrical Parade dining package at Plaza Inn. From our perspective, this is not a good splurge at Disneyland Resort for most guests who fall outside the aforementioned categories. Your money is better saved here as this isn’t even close to “worth it” unless you really want or need a seat.
Have you done the World of Color dessert party at Disney California Adventure? Think this is a good or poor value? Having trouble scoring reservations for this party? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment on viewing locations for the nighttime spectacular, food & drinks at this party, or anything else? Any questions? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!