If you had to choose one: HEA Dessert Party or Tusker House for ROL


My family of 5 is headed to WDW this summer. We are all “adults” this year, because my trio of almost 11-year-olds will now be considered adult. Totally understandable for the rides, but goodness, paying adult prices for meals/desserts they won’t eat as much of is a bummer.

In any case, it is a lot of money to splurge on any upcharges, just because there are five of us. I am considering adding one upcharge to this trip, though, but I could use some advice. Which of the two paid events do you think are most worthwhile? (Or are neither worth the money?)

Option One: The HEA Garden Viewing Dessert Party. The view looks good. We’ve typically been closer to the castle when we saw Wishes two and four years ago, but I’m sure we didn’t see all the fireworks since we were so close. In 2015, when we last went, we were packed like sardines, but we were able to see everything fine. I believe we found a spot 90 minutes before the electrical parade, and even then, we had to get lucky and nabbed a spot when someone else left.

Option Two: We want to see ROL at AK. Even though we know it’s not the greatest show, this will probably be our only chance to see it. I’m concerned we won’t have the ability to get FPP for ROL, as we have other priorities for our fast passes right now. Should we get a reservation for Tusker House with the dinner seating? Or should we just show up 90 minutes in advance and try to get standby seating?

I appreciate any thoughts you have.

I was going to do Tusker House but when I tried to do the ADR I saw that it said it was 2 meal credits. The out of pocket price is still the same as just the meal at Tusker House. I would rather pay $60 for a meal I would eat anyway then pay $60 or more for desert that I could eat with dinner.

No, the OOP price is like $12 more for the ROL package. Still probably not worth 2 dining credits, but it’s not the same price as the normal buffet.

@jamesandkrissy I think we’ll be doing the regular Tusker House meal and then the HEA dessert party if we can get reservations. We’re 2 adults and 3 kids (4, 6, 8). But we’re going when the park closes 4 nights a week for MVMCP and will only have one shot to see HEA. I don’t want to fight crowds and elbow my way through for our only shot at seeing HEA for the next three years. And it’s my kid’s birthday. And our last night in the parks. So we’re going to splurge on it. It seems the general consensus is that it’s worth it if crowds are supposed to be heavy at all.

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I just doubled checked they are both $60

Stitch is eating my page but…

Unless you mean the ROL package is the same price as the HEA package?

Yes and no tusker is $60 and river of lights is $60:
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park


Valid Park Admission Required

African, American Cuisine
Buffet/Family Style, Character Dining, Unique/Themed Dining

$$ ($15 to $34.99 per adult) - $$$ ($35 to $59.99 per adult)
Compare Participating Restaurants
Tusker House Restaurant

Graze on a bountiful buffet brimming with African flavors at Tusker House Restaurant in Harambe. Please note: While this dining package is available for all meal periods, Guests must arrive to dine no later than 2 hours and thirty minutes prior to showtime.
Rivers of Light Dining Package Prices (Dining Plan Eligible)
Breakfast, starting at:
$39.00 adults
$24.00 children ages 3 to 9
Lunch/Dinner, starting at:
$52.00 adults
$32.00 children ages 3 to 9
$52 is where it starts at and goes to $60

For me in June it was/is $60

I’m so confused. The ROL dining package at Tusker House is $52-60 for the dining package. With ROL. Without ROL it’s less. And I would think the whole $60 is on holidays…Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. Not in the middle of June. Have you already been charged for this or is it what you’re assuming you will be? I’m not trying to debate with you, I’m genuinely trying to figure this out because we’re planning on doing TH and I just investigated this the other day.

One thing that makes me crazy about the website is that it doesn’t show you prices. It takes your card # but doesn’t tell you how much you will be charged.

Anyone else want to chime in here?

What web sight did you pull this from I got my info from Disney’s sight

Because I’m just as confused

I decided to skip Tusker and I will fast pass ROL because it will be our 2nd day at AK with FFP for FoP and KS so ROL is not a waste for us also I wanted to try Flame Tree and I can save a TS to use for SoA

The one above is TP’s site. Above that is Disney’s site (on the right, says starting at $52) and allears.net (on the left). Disney’s site itself does not give a price for TH meals except for a range. I’m sure that someone around here has eaten at TH recently without ROL package and can say how much it cost.

Hi! We’ve eaten breakfast at Tusker House & paid $29.99. How I understand the price on Tusker House for ROL would be $39.00 for breakfast. See the links below:

Tusker House:

Tusker House for ROL:

Hope this helps!

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I would do the Dessert Party. ROL is great, but HEA is amazing and having a spot with such great viewing already carved out - with desserts to boot! - is the clear winner for me here.

The upcharge for ROL package at TH is not that much, though, as compared to the regular price for the meal. If you’re going to dine at TH anyway (I’m not clear whether you are from your OP), it might be worth paying it if seeing ROL is important.

But if you really are choosing one or the other, I would happily miss ROL for HEA dessert party every time.


I would choose the HEA Dessert Party every time. ROL is a nice visual show, but for me, nothing is as powerful as watching those projections on the castle from the movies you have loved since you were a kid and seeing the fireworks light up all around you. And to be able to do so without a horrible crowd is amazing - it’s relaxing and amazing. I’ve done it twice so far, and we’re doing it again in June - it was my mom’s one request.


I am going to be the opposite. I hated the schizophrenic nature of HEA - fireworks are fabulous, projection shows are IMHO meh, but combining them is a nightmare as you cannot pay attention to both. The music jumps were jarring also. If I’m back at WDW while HEA is going on, it’s a definite “skip with gusto and no regrets” for me. It probably didn’t help that I’m gluten-free and found the obviously refrigerated nasty Erin McKenna stuff disgusting, so it was a whole lot of money for some fruit, cheese, and ice cream. If you have no food restrictions, there were much better options.

ROL on the other hand, I adored. And I love Tusker House. So there would be zero question which I’ll go for my next visit.

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Thanks everyone. I should have originally posted that we would not normally, otherwise, eat at Tusker House, but would instead have eaten QS meals at AK. We have the QS (one meal per night’s stay) plan for our stay.

I can’t say I’ve decided yet, but I’ve definitely got more information now. I really appreciate all your help.

I called Disney ROL at Tusker House is 1 Table Service Credit. Their sight is wrong and they will fix it, but I don’t know when


Personally, I’d do the dessert package — if deciding on the food. Our family hated the dinner buffet at Tusker House; it easily was the worst food we had a Disney World last year. You might like it if you tend to be more adventuresome in your dining, but judging by the number of adults at the kids section of the buffet, I think the average person aren’t fans.

We were just there for our Spring break March 26-30 our last night Thursday March 29, we did the garden dessert party. What a great choice we were exhausted by that point we had been there since 7am. It was nice to sit and have a nice leisure break and yummy desserts with no lines!! If you get there by 8:15 pm you will have plenty of time to enjoy the desserts. When we were we ready they walked us out to our spot. We were all pretty tired and the view was spectacular! Without the crowds!

I was there in April and chose to experience the HEA dessert party with garden view. It was THE BEST upcharge of my recent trips. I saw the whole show seated, with perfect views of the castle and fireworks. It was simply amazing! The food… just dessert but I was not there for the food. The first time I saw HEA we were all like sardines.
I’ll be back in October and I have another reservation for the dessert party. I’ve booked Tusker House for ROL but I’m still wondering if it takes too long to see all the characters and have dinner. If anyone has experienced Tusker House with ROL, I’d love to read a report on that.

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We did dinner at Tusker House with ROL a couple of weeks ago. Our ADR was at 6:30 and it took about 20 minutes to be seated. We had dinner and saw all the characters in about an hour. The timing seemed perfect. We had time to do the safari at sunset after dinner (we had a FPP). We made it over to ROL around 9 (it started at 9:15 that night) and found great seats.