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Disney Unveils its New Upsell in Arendelle

Robert Niles

By Robert Niles
Published: October 1, 2014 at 9:53 AM

Walt Disney World finally has brought together two of its favorite things: Frozen and upcharge "dessert party" events. For $89 for adults ($59 for kids), starting next month you can get reserved seating at the Frozen sing-along in the Premiere theater on the backlot at Disney's Hollywood Studios, "reserved viewing" of the Osbourne light show, and a Frozen pin and holiday lithograph, in addition to the dessert party, which will feature Anna and Elsa mini cupcakes.

Anna and Elsa
Photo courtesy Disney

The event is available from Nov. 7 - Jan. 4, excluding Nov. 20 and Dec. 10. Call +1-407-939-1854 to book.

Disney's been hauling out a bunch of these upsell events in recent years, from the Illuminations dessert part in Epcot to the Villains event at the Mickey's Halloween Party. All this probably got started with the old Fantasmic dessert party at Disneyland in the 1990s, where fans would line up at the crack of dawn each day to buy the dozen or so seats available for that event each night.

For the Fantasmic party, and many of the subsequent events, a large party of the appeal has been the opportunity to buy a reserved space for a crowded event. Sure, that costs money, but it saves time that you'd otherwise have to invest sitting on the ground, staking out space for the show. In the case of the old Fantasmic party, you got access to even better seats than any regular park guest could get, in seeing the show from the old Disney Gallery balcony (now part of the Dream Suite and closed to the public).

But what's the appeal of this latest event? There's no need for a special viewing of the Osbourne lights, which fill the entire New York street and are easily accessible throughout the evening. The reserved seating at the sing-along is nice, but hardly worth the investment given the current crowds (and especially not worth the cost if you can get a free Fastpass+ reservation for it). That leaves the pin, lithograph and some mini cupcakes. For 89 bucks?

What would make this event worth the price for many families is if the dessert party included a guaranteed meet-and-greet opportunity with Anna and Elsa. But Disney's press release doesn't say a thing about that being part of the deal.

Obviously, Disney's not marketing these events to middle class families on a tight budget. They're aimed at the one-percenters with money to spare. Disney, like any smart business, wants to find ways to get those consumers to spare that money with Disney. But even rich Disney fans want value for their cash. If a dessert event doesn't deliver that, wealthy Disney visitors likely will just stick with their VIP tour guides and the upsell events that do deliver a special and valued experience.

In a dark moment, I wonder if the real audience for these things is not wealthy Disney fans but instead the small army of Orlando-based Disney lifestyle bloggers who'll fork over the cash for any extra event at the resort in order to take pictures and write a post about it. I can imagine people in Disney's special events department just trolling the bloggers, wondering how bad a deal they can make an event before people will stop paying for them. It all makes me thankful that I live in LA, where I can skip the WDW dessert parties and instead save my cash for... another trip to Tokyo Disney. Eh, looks like Mickey gets my money — one way or the other.

What theme park upsell event (real or of your own imagining) do you think would be worth the extra cost?

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