1. Fun

First look: Stay in Magic Kingdom three hours late with Villains After Hours

Maleficent the Dragon is the prime attraction in the parade during Disney party Villains After Hours. The separate-ticket event runs on select evenings through Aug. 8. [Courtesy of Walt Disney World]
Published Jun. 12

LAKE BUENA VISTA — Fire-breathing and flame-throwing villains are turning Disney's Magic Kingdom into Villains After Hours this summer.

The new high-intensity party runs for 10 nights through Aug. 8. Here's how it works:

The $139 Villains ticket is separate from regular park admission, but comes with freebies like bottled soda, popcorn and ice cream. Villains guests can enter the park starting at 7 p.m. At 10 p.m., the park's regular closing time, everyone without the special ticket has to leave. But Villains partygoers can stay in the park until 1 a.m., making for dramatically shorter ride lines.

We went to the first party this month to get a taste for the evildoing.

Maleficent the Dragon takes to the street at night for the first time. Accompanied by an entourage of giant black crows, she creeps through the park breathing fire in a show set to thrashing guitars. Street lights flicker and music screeches as she rears her head to blow a plume of fire, spinning steampunk gears glowing. The rampage runs between Frontierland and Main Street USA.

The Tomorrowland dance party moves in front of Cinderella Castle. The usual park sounds are nearly muted as a DJ with flaming blue hair, who looks an awful lot like Hades from Hercules, spins pop and electronica dance music.

The event weaves in dark surprises at different attractions. Space Mountain turns into a black hole, total darkness leaving riders disoriented. Pirates of the Caribbean has added live actors, prisoners warning of battles ahead. A crazed woman mumbles of a curse. Capt. Barbossa, an actor, shouts orders as your boat passes under a bridge.

Specialty food and drink items were so popular that most sold out in two hours. Options included De Vil's Treat (a brownie topped with black and white icing); Hades Temptation (a non-alcoholic purple cosmo topped with gummy worms); Dr. Facilier's Tarot Card Tart (chocolate tart shell, peanut butter filling and dark chocolate ganache); Headless Horseman Brownie (half cookie, half brownie topped with Headless Horseman chocolate); Dragon's Breath Float (lemon soft-serve, cherry syrup and Sprite topped with green cherries); and Yzma's Llama Potion (a chilled strawberry drink).

There are no sky-blasting, evil-themed fireworks displays like at Disney's Halloween parties. Instead, the Villains Unite the Night stage show incorporates martial arts, pyrotechnics, colorful castle projections and appearances by Hades, Jafar from Aladdin, the Queen from Snow White, Dr. Facilier from Princess and the Frog and Maleficent. It's a good show but not an explosive ending for a night at Magic Kingdom.

Find tickets at


  1. On Saturday, Disturbed will perform at Amalie Arena in Tampa. TRAVIS SHINN  |  Warner Records
    The Bucs Beach Bash goes down in St. Pete Beach, Disturbed plays Amalie Arena and the Dance Hall Festival continues at the Studio@620.
  2. Visitor Sara Crigger of Nashville views the Dali masterwork painting "The Hallucinogenic Toreador" (1969-1970) this month with the aid of the Dali app on her smartphone. "Using this is like holding an art history class in your hand," Crigger said. The "Visual Magic: Masterworks in Augmented Reality" exhibit runs through Nov. 3 at the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg. SCOTT KEELER  |   Times
    With augmented reality, 19th century prints, bronzes and food photography, a well-rounded experience awaits.
  3. Salman Rushdie is the author of "Quichotte." Rachel Eliza Griffiths
    The acclaimed author will talk about the book at Tampa Theatre on Sept. 25. | Review
  4. Aaron Shulman is the author of "The Age of Disenchantments." Ecco Books
    The author is reading ‘City of Quartz,’ a history of Los Angeles.
  5. A scene from a balcony cabin on a 2017 Alaskan cruise. BOYZELL HOSEY  |  Tampa Bay Times
    You can have the trip of a lifetime without paying for it for the rest of your life.
  6. Margaret Loflin leads Maggie on the Move, one of the local food trucks set to serve at Flavors of Asia. Tampa Bay Times (2012)
    Food trucks offer Flavors of Asia in St. Petersburg, plus the Palladium presents ‘Crossing the Bay’ and Howl-O-Scream invades Busch Gardens.
  7. REO Speedwagon will perform at Clearwater's Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater on March 1, 2020. Courtesy of Randee St. Nicholas
    REO Speedwagon, Gladys Knight, Kidz Bop, Art Garfunkel and more.
  8. Michael Francis leads a community chorus during one of the Florida Orchestra's Sing Out Tampa Bay sing-alongs. MICHAEL FRANCIS  |  Florida Orchestra
    The music director is entering his fifth year with the orchestra, which has a Beethoven-heavy season opening Sept. 27 in Tampa.
  9. Suzanne Natzke, an artist and teacher with the Pasco Fine Arts Council, arranges her watercolor paintings for an upcoming exhibit, 'Moments in Time.' The exhibit will be held through Oct. 21 at the council's new gallery at Avalon Park West in Wesley Chapel. MICHELE MILLER  |  Michele Miller
    The countywide Council will exhibit work at the Avalon Park West community.
  10. On Thursday, Spymonkey's "Hysteria" will bring absurdity and physical comedy to the Straz Center through Nov. 3. Courtesy of Jane Hobson
    Spymonky’s ‘Hysteria’ opens at the Straz, the Capitol Theatre celebrates ‘Abbey Road’ and a banned books drag show hits St. Pete Shuffle.