Cruella’s Halloween Hideaway is an upcharge party, within Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. The event, which takes place from 9:30 pm – 12:30 am, is very similar to Tony’s Merriest Town Square Party at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.
For $99 a person, you get hot & cold appetizers, unlimited cheap beer / wine, a Cruella meet & greet and a reserved prime viewing spot for the 2nd Boo to You Parade.
All of these parties within a party can be a bit confusing so we will try to sort things out for you here and decide if the additional upcharge is worth it or not.
We were able to check in as early as 9 pm, however nobody was let into the dining room until 9:30 on the dot. This led to a jam packed waiting room. When we reviewed Tony’s Merriest Town Square Party back in December, the crowd was much lighter than we experience here for the Halloween version.
Despite the fact that Tony’s has quite a few tables both inside and out, we were informed upon checking in that there were more tickets sold than seats available and that all seating within the restaurant was on a first come, first serve basis. This probably would have been enough of a red flag to head for the hills had it not already been paid for ahead of time.
As we entered the dining room, servers were waiting with trays of both red (pinot noir) and white (pinot grigio) wines. We are far from wine experts but others have informed me that both wine types were in the $10 a bottle range. It seemed fine to me.
Cruella is on hand to interact with her guests. She is pretty easy to meet during the Halloween party while wandering around Fantasyland, so there is limited value in meeting her here instead. Cruella is always entertinging, but not as unique an experience at getting to meet Tony himself during the Christmas version.
The center of the room featured a spread of cold appetizers.
This was mostly made up of various meats, cheeses and crackers with a few veggies and dips thrown in.
I guess story line wise, Cruella straight up murdered Lady & The Tramp? Seems a little dark… Their statues are covered up by her feathery boas during the party.
The cold apps were fine for what they were. Its tough to go wrong with stuff like this.
I’m not too sure what the slop on the lower left is supposed to be but I wasn’t brave enough to try it.
The main bar was set up to the right as you first entered the dining room. This was a bit cumbersome as it had a consistently long line which interfered with the other consistently long line at the hot food buffet.
A second make shift bar was set up in the other room towards the front of the restaurant. This is also where the desserts were served. You are much better off heading here for your drink orders.
The hot food buffet was a bit of a mess. Not only did it have a constant long line throughout the party, but the food was not replenished nearly fast enough. I went up to the buffet 4 times and each time more than half of the trays were totally empty.
I’m not sure if the restaurant was unaware of how many reservations Disney sold for this, but they certainly seemed under-prepared. Unfortunately, what food was there ranged from pretty terrible to not so bad (so typical Tony’s).
These cheese covered meatballs (called Goblin Bites) look appetizing enough at first glance, but they were complete mush.
These arancini (rice balls) were actually pretty good. They were served in 3 flavors; beef, truffel mushroom and standard mozzarella w/ red sauce. For frozen snacks being thrown in a deep fryer, they had pretty good flavor.
The mozzarella bites however, were pretty gross.
It seems like you would have to try pretty hard to screw up something as simple as fried mozz, but Tony’s pulled that feat off in glorious fashion here. The sauce was lousy and the bite itself was falling apart at the touch.
It didn’t matter too much as 3 of the 4 times I went up they tray looked like this. Other items at the buffet included a spinach dip in a little black kettle, “almost” pizza and a butternut squash ravioli which was heated up fresh by a chef at the end of the table.
The dip was somehow both incredibly greasy and super thick at the same time. The pizza was terrible as well. The ravioli on the other hand was actually pretty good, though a bit hard to come by. It was heated up “fresh” by a chef at the end of the table in a little frying pan with some hazelnuts and a crispy capicola. It was a flavorful bite with a nice crunch added from the extras. The problem was that due to how they were being prepared, there weren’t nearly enough to go around to large crowd attending the party.
The dessert table suffered the same problems as the hot food line. Trays were consistently empty, taking several minutes to be replenished.
The spread was mostly standard Disney buffet stuff, with a few attempts made to tie into the 101 Dalmatians theme.
I did think the shortbread dog biscuits w/ pumpkin icing were a nice touch, and quite tasty as well.
Cruella met in different areas of the restaurant throughout the night, with her main space being along the privacy wall in front of the kitchen entrance.
It was probably a 5 -10 minute wait to meet her most of the time.
The decor of the restaurant was nothing special for the party. All the tables had the same centerpieces and many of the table runners were re-used from the Christmas event.
At least Maleficent seemed to be enjoying herself.
One of the main issues with the party, besides overselling it, is the timing of it all. With the 9:30 start, you only have about 20 minutes before you need to head out and find a spot for the fireworks.
In previous years, you could easily grab a last minute spot in the hub for Happy Hallowishes. This year however, the hub is much more crowded due to both Disney increasing the cap on tickets sold, as well as the debut of the new Halloween fireworks show which relies heavily on castle projections.
I went out to look for a spot right around 9:55 (with a 10:15 fireworks showtime), and the hub was already completely packed. I managed to squeeze in somewhere but didn’t even attempt to set up my tripod as I had planned. It would be better for guests if the party ran from 9 – 12 as it would give you more time to eat / drink before the fireworks.
Another thing to consider is that by doing this party, you are sacrificing the chance to watch both Boo to You parades. You get a guaranteed great spot for the 2nd parade, but its impossible to watch the first parade which arrives at Main Street around 9:35 – 9:40.
The parade itself, continues to be one of Disney’s very best pieces of entertainment! By far the biggest value of the Cruella party is the prime viewing location looking straight up Main Street.
This is the very best place to watch the parade from! That being said, with the amount of people now attending the Cruella party, you still probably want to head out around 10:45 – 10:50 if you want a front and center view. Its a bit frustrating as you used to be able to get this view for free by waiting about the same amount of time for the 2nd parade.
The area was also not well enforced by cast members at all. Several people just wandered up and sat down in the “reserved area” as Disney had nobody stationed there to tell them otherwise. Right before the parade arrived, a cast member showed up to tell those without wristbands they had to move. This should have been done a half hour earlier as by this point their chances of finding another location were slim to none. Fortunately for them, they could most likely of snuck right back in the the reserved area as several people did so as soon as the cast member walked away.
Shocking as it is, I would not recommend Cruella’s Halloween Hideaway to those attending MNSSHP. The event suffers from over crowding, sub-par food (when its available) and awkward timing. It does provide the very best spot to view one of Disney’s best parades, but that’s not worth $100 a person to us. It still requires a decent time investment to get the very best spots, and you can still get a great spot along Main Street for free by waiting a comparable amount of time.
Back in December, we were more mixed in our reactions to Tony’s Merriest Town Square Party. We concluded back than that the high price point was hard to justify for what you got, but conceded there was still decent value to be found. That is no longer our opinion here due to a much higher attendance cap and a cutting back on the quality and quantity of food offered. My advice is to take a hard pass on this one!
Note: I attended this party with Josh of Easy WDW fame, and the infamous Tom Corless of WDWNT. For a 2nd opinion, check out Josh’s take here.