Villains Unleashed

Disney’s Hollywood Studios recently held its second annual Villains Unleashed event and results were…unfortunately mixed. Though this year’s event was a hard-ticketed affair (last year's event was included with admission), many attendees didn’t feel like they got their money’s worth due to long lines and limited food and merchandise locations.

As a result, Disney ended up offering disgruntled guests their choice of a refund or complimentary tickets to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. But it didn’t have to be this way.  Here are 5 ways that Disney can tweak this annual event and make it something that guests will actually enjoy.

1. Make it more than one night

Villains Unleashed

One of the biggest complaints about this year’s event was that it was way too crowded. It’s clear that there is plenty of interest in this type of event, so perhaps extending it more than one day (maybe have a Villain’s weekend, running Friday-Sunday?) would provide more opportunities for guests to attend this event, and help spread the crowds out to reasonable levels over multiple days.

2. Limit attendance

Villains Unleashed

Guests who attended this year’s Villains Unleashed event reported three hour wait lines for many of the meet and greets, which is a clear indication that this event was oversold. Adding insult to injury, tickets were still being sold at the front gate of Disney’s Hollywood Studios right up to the beginning of the event.

Overselling this event is especially egregious, as one of the big justifications of making this a hard-ticketed “premium” event was so that it didn’t get too crowded and guests could actually enjoy Villains Unleashed. However, when you have three and four hour waits for meet and greets for an event that only last for five hours, it’s clear that there was a failure to adequately limit attendance to reasonable levels. Actually capping attendance would go a long way towards making a future Villains Unleashed a more enjoyable affair. 

3. Add more structured Villains meet and greets

Villains Unleashed

Adding more than 50 villains to an event is certainly an ambitious goal to set, but when you realize that there are only 17 character meet and greets, and the rest are simply “wandering villains”, the result is a bottleneck effect as guests rush to their favorite villain meet and greets, bypassing the “wandering villains” altogether.

Clearly, the solution here is to make more structured meet and greets and downsize the wandering villains. Though it might seem like a good idea to have the villains moving around and interacting with guests one-on-one, its clear that the demand is for structured meet-and-greets with photos. Future Villains Unleashed events need to take this preference into account and change the ratio of formal to informal character interactions to satisfy guests.  



I wasn't there, however here is my opinion. Disney needs to stop adding these events and work toward improving and adding to what they already have. HS is going down hill and the only reason I go there is to ride the Tower of Terror. The shine is gone and they need to "re-polish" it.

To add my two sense, and a #6 for the list, clear explanations and honest advertising are a definite must.

First off, I waited needlessly in a line waiting to acquire "party credentials" which several cast members said I needed, but in fact the only "party credentials" I really needed was the photo pass card that was hanging around my neck when all those cast members told me to get in line, a photo pass card in fact that was kind of tossed at me without explanation, and was in fact completely unnecessary as I put all my photos on my magic band.

Secondly, I waited in line for a character whose sign listed appearing 8:00 - 12:30, but NONE of the villains appeared before 8:45, so I missed the entire opening show for nothing.

As for the long lines, the party was grossly oversold; Disney made a killing off us all by overselling and understaffing the party. One cast member admitted to us that the reason there were so many of the characters were "roving" was that there were not enough cast members to watch them in a formal meet-n-greet. With all the money Disney raked in, they could have brought in the extra staff. The one good thing, though about roving characters is that it is considered perfectly appropriate to dive in and photo bomb the character. Cast members were generally good about taking a photo for me, but some were rather snooty. I'd ask "can you take a photo for me?" And they'd reply "You have to ask the character." Actually, I'm asking you Miss Snooty, to take a picture because I need a photographer (because Disney is too cheap to bring more in); the character I'll ask for myself obviously (they deserve respect).

PS I know there is only ONE Maleficent, ONE Barbosa, and ONE Constantine (as far as Disney is concerned), but would it shatter all the magic in the kingdom if each of these popular lines split into 2, 3, or 4 lines and each of those lines went into a room with its own Barbosa, Maleficent, or Constantine (and nobody could really see there was more than one of each character) to make the line move faster? just saying. The magic died when we saw the lines anyway.

And as for food, when I was hungry enough to eat, EVERY place to eat in the park was closed except for Club Evil, which was standing room only, and I was ignored by wait staff for a very long time.


Disney's Dismal Disaster. We're Pass-holders, and we drove 7 hours just for this epically disappointing event. I didn't get to experience any meet & greets (3-hour lines!) no photos, and the t-shirts were sold out. I didn't get so much as a glance at Constantine, the only one I really wanted to meet. At least Hubby got to see a few of his favorites. The evil step-sisters were funny, and the lady singing in the Brown Derby was entertaining. We were some of the first people in the Brown Derby and our waiter was already surly.
The real horror is the damage to my wallet for nothing in return! I want a refund

This even should be better planned out. In fact, it should coexist with Mickey's not so scary Halloween event at MK. Villians unleashed can happen at HS on special nights and be a bigger draw yet capping things off will keep people shelling an extra was of cash happy and looking forward to dropping another once inside.

That park for several years has had an identity problem since it is not a working studio. This event was awful. I don't go to universal because the event and parks are cheesy and trite. I have been going to Disney since they opened in 1971. The minute they start trying to be like universal it is a disaster and this event is a good example. Just do what you do best it works, it's classy and stop trying to be like a competitor and stand on your own. It's DISNEY villains, not DISNEY characters/Star Wars/meet the muppets on the Death Star.

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