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The Pros and Cons of Disney Dance Parties

Friday, March 16, 2012

It seems lately something is catching-on in and around Disney theme parks.  The need to expend further energy isn’t something I thought was high on our list during a Walt Disney World vacation.  After all, we are already walking through the parks and resorts, swimming the afternoon away, and standing in line for attractions that hit us with a ton of G-force.  Now we can add dancing to the list.  Just in case you did have any energy left you can now dance the night away like an experienced Zumba instructor.  Have you noticed the number of dance parties that have been added to the entertainment lineup in the theme parks and even Downtown Disney?  In fact, they tend to move from location to location on occasion depending on the venue and evening events.   I like to call these dance parties entertainment fillers.  A dance party can fill the gap in less congested areas or during hard-ticketed events when additional entertainment is needed to satisfy guest demand.  Either way, they’ve grown to become quite popular in the theme parks and tend to pop-up during hard-ticketed events as a way to move crowds away from the more popular attractions. 

Whether you are a fan of these dance parties or not there are some advantages and disadvantages to them.  Myself personally, I tend to dislike them because I think they lack Disney Imagineering.  They seem like an easy way out of providing quality Disney entertainment.  However, they do give guests another option of entertainment and provide a distraction away from the more popular E-ticket attractions.  Let’s take a brief look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of these dance parties. 

Dance Party Pros & Cons

Pro – Children with a lot of energy late at night can get run down and tired before their bedtime.  On nights when it seems like your children will never get tired because of the Disney World adrenaline rush a dance party might be a great antidote for a normal bedtime after you’ve left the park.

Con – Children who dance for a long time may hit “the wall” later.  A Disney World meltdown is no fun to be a part of let alone witness.  If children push themselves at a dance party there’s no telling how they’ll react later after they realize tiredness and fatigue have set in. 

Pro – Dance Parties attract crowds otherwise destined for E-ticket attraction lines.  It maybe a small number, but it does mean fewer guests in those popular attraction lines nonetheless.   While guests dance the night away you can wait less in that popular attraction line. 

Con – Dance Parties provide little entertainment value for guests looking for the Disney experience.  If you’ve visited Walt Disney World looking for a flight on Soarin’ or a whirl on Toy Story Mania a dance party may not seem like a Disney favorite.  Heck!  You can probably find a dance party back in your hometown.  There’s just not a lot of thought that goes into a DJ run dance party. 

Pro – Some dance parties provide guests with character interaction.  It’s true!  You may be able to swing with Chip & Dale or trip over Goofy’s long feet during a dance party.  At times they’ll dance with guests while the DJ spins some of your favorite Radio Disney tunes. 

Con – The character interaction at the dance parties is limited and sometimes dangerous.  Since the Disney characters are the life of the dance party a lot of children tend to crowd around them.  Be careful you don’t bump into other guests nearby.  Kids tend to fix their eyes onto the characters and are not fully aware of their surroundings. 

Pro – Disney dance parties seem to brighten the mood around the area they occupy.  Combining high-energy music, lights, and families having a good time can draw anyone in to a dance party to investigate, especially if Disney characters are around. 

Con – Dance parties are noisy and can distract guests from the “magic” around them.  Have you ever had to scream above the noise so the person next to you could hear you?  Just walk by one of these dance parties and you’ll understand why you have to scream.  Combine the theme park noise with the dance party noise and suddenly nobody can hear you.  While you are screaming and looking at the dance party you may miss some of the visual stimulation of Disney theming around you.

Where to Find (or Avoid) Disney Dance Parties

Most of the dance parties seem to shift around from time to time.  Some of the more popular ones can be found in the same location.  You’ll find a very popular dance party in Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom.  Stitch’s 626 Dance Party can be found at the Tomorrowland stage near the entrance to the Astro Orbiter.  Another popular location outside the theme parks is over at Downtown Disney’s Marketplace.  You can typically find a DJ spinning tunes at the Dockside stage, especially in the evenings when no other events are planned. 

If you are attending a hard-ticketed event like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party you can usually find a couple of dance parties in the Magic Kingdom.  Again, these locations can change so check your guide map for specific locations.  A popular spot lately has been inside the Diamond Horseshoe Saloon in Frontierland.  There you can dance with Woody and a few other of your Toy Story favorites. 

On occasion, you'll find the Truckosaurous dance party inside Disney's Animal Kingdom at Dinoland USA during peak times of the year.  If you visit EPCOT during a special event there’s a good chance a dance party will be available.  Events like New Year’s Eve see a few dance parties in Future World east and west and at the American Gardens Theater in World Showcase. 


If you find yourself wandering through the Magic Kingdom or at a hard-ticketed party and you have energy to burn stop by one of the dance parties.  There is a time and place for them.  I’m just not sure you’ll want to dance the night away with so many other activities in the theme parks or if the heat index in Orlando is 103. 

What has been your experience with the Disney dance parties in the past?  Do you know of another traditional dance party in or outside the theme parks?  Feel free to share your experiences and opinions about Disney’s dance parties in the discussion forum below or on our Facebook page.  We’d love to hear your thoughts.  Are they worth it in your opinion? 

With so much to do in Walt Disney World one of the last activities I usually want to try is a dance party.  I believe their biggest purpose is to help control and spread crowds out inside the theme parks.  They do appear to help in some capacity because some of the dance parties I’ve walked by in the past had nice crowds.  It is another entertainment option and who could complain about having choices.  I just wish more creativity and imagineering would have been used when considering other entertainment options.  Let’s hope we don’t start seeing guests “Moon Walking” to Captain EO or “Electric Sliding” their way to the American Idol Experience

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About this column

Aaron DelPrince looks at the various activities you and your family can experience at Walt Disney World


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