Happily Ever After - when to stand where?

What time do you need to stake out your spot opposite the castle for HEA? Show is 9.15pm, predicted CL9 week before Easter. Trying to work out whether we can squeeze in some rides in the dark before it starts!

Any tips on where to stand? I’d read in the hub because of the projections, anywhere specific?

Thanks, Brizz

I am a huge fan of the dessert party. Check it out if you haven’t already. I hate the huge waste of time and the jostling and the drama of the fireworks, especially with a CL9…


I’d love to do it but with five of us it’s just too expensive to do the extras…Not really moaning as I know we’re very fortunate to be coming at all!

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You are right that it’s a very expensive addition, especially with 5 people. We are a family of only 3 for now so it was less painful…

But depending on how your budget is spread, it still might be something to consider. It’s called ‘‘dessert’’ party but it really is a full meal, so you save a little on that. If you are planning on a few expensive dinners during your trip, you might want to consider dropping a dinner or two for that.

I know a lot of people don’t agree with me on this but personally, I think Disney table service restaurants are a waste of time and money. There are MUCH better restaurants at home and they are less expensive and I absolutely HATE to waste 2 hours on a meal while I could be doing rides.

When you sit on the (fake) lawn in front of the castle just 15 minutes before the show and you see all the people who are squeezed like in a Tokyo subway car and have been like that for the last 2.5 hours, you feel like a million bucks LOL

Just my 2 cents… :wink:


We got there about an hr before on a CL8 and there were still good spots at the back of the hub. By T-45min. the hub was full and by T-30 they had closed the hub and everyone could breathe and relax. Our spot was good except for a) people pushing forward around us b) our kids being short. We managed to create a pretty good sight lane for them, but it was still not 100% perfect ideal.


Interesting, that’s much better than what we experienced in 2015 for Wishes. We had such a bad experience, that’s why I became such a fan of the dessert party even though it’s ridiculously overpriced. Good to know that it can be like it was for you. :slight_smile:

Awhile back I created a map on the technique and timing we tried on our trip that worked well.

I recently moved it over here from Flickr:


It does sound great, as does the Star Wars one which I know my boys would love…

We have the free QS dining plan so haven’t really budgeted for additional food costs (it sounds like we’ll struggle to use up all our credits anyway). We are going to Tusker House for the characters and Sanaa for the animals but I did end up coming to the same conclusion as you, - there are some great restaurants at home which I’d rather splurge on. (When I’ve got a babysitter so it’s cheaper and I can have an uninterrupted conversation with DH over a couple of glasses of wine without having to get up at a ridiculous hour the following morning to get to a theme park for 7.30 am :rofl:)

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Oh. I totally forgot to mention that there was a light but consistent rain at the time. Never enough to even get our clothes wet, but enough that people had rain coats and umbrellas.


Exactly LOL

Yeah we did that one too. The seating area for the fireworks is not as good as in MK (not at all). The food was slightly better though and we each got a Darth Vader plastic mug. Honestly, even though I am a HUGE star wars fan, I wouldn’t pay for this party again. In contrast, I am pretty sure I will do a MK dessert party every single time I go back to WDW…

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I would think this might have had a significant effect on crowd size. Do you ?

This is AMAZING!!! Thank you for being so helpful. We are first timers so I will scope this out on one of our day time visits the week before, so I know exactly where I’m headed after our 7DMT ride which will hopefully be in slight darkness!

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Yeah, I think it did. But it was also during party season, on a non-party night, so maybe a wash?

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We were in the park last week and arrived one hour prior to the show and it was already very busy. We specifically wanted to get a spot behind a railing which was apparently every one else’s plan too. We ended up next to the partner statue on the Adventureland side. We were technically the second row of folks behind the railing but the lady in front of us must have felt bad for my kids trying to look around her so she moved her giant stroller behind her instead of next to her so my kids could stand at the railing. Best view I have had so far but it wasn’t perfect.

If you can stand behind the rail there is nothing but garden in front of you. You may not see the very bottom of the castle but it could be worse.

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Thanks for letting me know this, do you know what CL it was when you were there? I’m guessing that as CLs are calculated on attraction wait times that it could feel even busier in the hub than the CL would indicate…

We watched HEA on Thursday 1/31. It says it was a CL5. There was plenty of room in the walkways but most all of the railing areas were already occupied 1 to 2 people deep about 1 hour before the HEA show.

There is a preshow for OUAT but I don’t think that people were there early for that. We considered that show a bonus while we waited for HEA. I believe OUAT started a half hour prior to HEA and ended 15 minutes before.

Our experience, despite a low CL (a 3 or 4 I believe it was) was terrible. My wife found a spot very early near a railing close to the castle. They had a good view. She and the kids stayed there while I went over to a gift shop on Main Street in hopes to find a specific sweatshirt I wanted. It was there, but not in my size. Anyhow, since I had to pass through the hub, and the hub was to capacity, I had to use the narrow walkways the CMs were futilely trying to keep clear. It took me about 30 minutes to get through the crowd back to them, during which time the show had begun. Of course, I couldn’t watch any of it because I had to get through the crowd that was almost a stand still in the walkways. Finally, I made it back about halfway through the show, only to find my family had been forced backwards along the rail by a sea of people, unable to see a whole lot. And when I tried to get through back to meet them, the people there shook there heads and refused to let me through. I told them that’s my family right there, but they wouldn’t budge. So I pushed through them.

They managed to see some of it through the heads, and of course, the fireworks were visible over our heads. Then, it was over and it took another 30+ minutes to get out of the park. (They even opened up this “secret” pathway normally closed off to help get the crowds out.)

End result? For our Anniversary trip, we are paying for the Dessert party. :slight_smile:

We have never tried to watch from the hub. We watch from Main St. closer to the entrance than to the hub. We have gotten there 15-30 min. before and had no issues finding a spot and having a good view. Exiting after has been fast and easy. I honestly don’t get why people wait so long and fight the crowds in the hub. Perhaps if I saw it from there I would think the view was worth it, but I have loved the view from farther down Main St.

Agree. and the nice thing about dessert party, if you choose the plaza garden viewing (the cheaper of the two) cast members clear folks who come and “park” in front of you and put their kids on their shoulders…don’t get me wrong, kids need to see too, but I am paying extra to avoid that. That’s worth giving up an ADR at BOG or CRT, but I don’t have littles


You know, I think those who put their kids on their shoulders definitely need to be told not to. You can hold your kid in your arms, head level to yours instead. That is always what I do and that way my son always gets to see well without blocking people behind any more than I do myself just standing there.

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