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

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.

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