REVIEW: Return to Sleepy Hollow

‘Return to sleepy hollow’ | © Disney

‘Return to sleepy hollow’ | © Disney

What is it?

sleepy hollow cemetary | © magic lamp vacations®

sleepy hollow cemetary | © magic lamp vacations®

Return to Sleepy Hollow’ is a hard-ticket Walt Disney World event that allows guests the opportunity to watch the classic 1949 film The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad) on a giant screen — inside the stables at Tri-Circle-D Ranch at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campgrounds. Additionally, all guests receive a collectible trading pin and a photo with the Headless Horseman.

When is it? And How Long Does the Event Last?

This event runs on select nights during September and October during Halloween Time at the Walt Disney World® Resort. On event nights there are two showings — 8pm and 10pm — with a dessert party inbetween at 9pm.

Doors open approximately 30 minutes prior to each showtime. The movie runtime is approximately 37 minutes, with a Headless Horseman photo opportunity afterwards. The entire event takes about an hour — if you’re not doing the dessert party. If you are, the entire event takes about an hour and a half.

What is the Cost?

There are three different price tiers for the event this year:

  • General Seating $22/person — Includes admission to movie, Headless Horseman photo opportunity, and collectible trading pin.

  • Premium Seating $38/person — includes admission to movie, Headless Horseman photo opportunity, collectible trading pin, lanyard, treat bag, souvenir cup, and seating in rows 6-10.

  • VIP Dessert Party Seating $60/person — includes admission to movie, priority Headless Horseman photo opportunity, collectible trading pin, lanyard, treat bag, souvenir cup, seating in rows 1-5, and dessert party.

Purchasing Our Tickets & Arrival

‘RETURN TO SLEEPY HOLLOW’ SIGN | © MAGIC LAMP VACATIONS®

‘RETURN TO SLEEPY HOLLOW’ SIGN | © MAGIC LAMP VACATIONS®

To be honest, there’s not many reviews of the ‘Return to Sleepy Hollow’ event online, so my friends and I had zero expectations going into this event.

We had tried to buy tickets last year, but all the dates and times sold out rather quickly. This year we were able to snag tickets for the event — including dessert party — but weren’t lucky enough to get tickets for the 8pm showing and had to settle for the 10pm instead.

Tickets remain elusive to this event due to the limited availability. There are only 40-50 seats per showing and only 40 dessert party spots per evening. This is actually one of the reasons we absolutely loved the event. Compared to other hard-ticket events at Disney Parks, this one felt extremely intimate — making it feel more special.

We arrived to the Tri-Circle-D Ranch at about 8:15, when the first movie was already playing. We checked in early for the dessert party and were told it would open at 8:30pm (not the advertised time of 9pm).

The Dessert Party

The dessert party took place across from the barn, at the blacksmith’s shop. At first, we thought that it wasn’t a ‘real’ blacksmith’s shop and was simply themed to the event. But after talking to a cast member, we learned that it’s the real, working blacksmith shop of Tri-Circle-D ranch. The dessert spread was laid out on top of a gigantic box that houses the coal for the shop, and the fire pit (where the blacksmiths heat-up the horse hooves) was repurposed for a pastry chef to roast marshmallows and make s’mores!

Having been to a few dessert parties at both Disney World and Disneyland, this one ranked towards the top. The desserts were expertly themed to the ‘Sleepy Hollow’ event and completely instagram worthy; better yet, almost all of them tasted as good as they looked!

My favorite desserts were the Banana Cream Pie Chocolate Boot and the Candied Apple Mousse! And the only dessert I was disappointed with was the s’mores dessert. In order to elevate their ‘smores, Disney decided to use pumpkin marshmallows instead of normal marshmallows. For me, it completely ruined the s’mores. I guess I’m a s’mores traditionalist.

I’d also like to point out that there wasn’t as many drink options as normal dessert parties — especially alcoholic ones. But overall, this dessert party was more than worth the price.

The Movie Experience

‘return to sleepy hollow’ souvenirs | © MAGIC LAMP VACATIONS®

‘return to sleepy hollow’ souvenirs | © MAGIC LAMP VACATIONS®

After the dessert party came the movie experience. Once you’re checked in, you proceed to have your photo taken by a photo-pass photographer in front of a ‘Return to Sleepy Hollow’ backdrop.

movie seating inside the barn | © dISNEY

movie seating inside the barn | © dISNEY

From there, you receive your souvenirs, depending upon what ticket you purchased. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the trading pin and the lunchbox/goodie bag — complete with Halloween candy. (It’s the same candy handed out during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.) They cast members even let me add more candy to my bag!

In addition to candy, they had water and full bags of popcorn available too, so we snagged those on our way to our seats. And the seats were nice! They were basically high-end beach chairs that you might see poolside at one of the deluxe resorts.

Soon it was movie time!

And this was probably the biggest disappointment of the evening for me. Having never seen The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, I expected the entire movie to be about the Headless Horseman. It’s not. Thirty minutes of the movie centers around Ichabod’s quest to win over a girl; only the last seven minutes or so actually deals with the Headless Horseman. And while that part was amazing. the rest of the movie was a drag.

Meeting the Headless Horseman

This was the coolest part of the entire event. After the movie finishes, the screen slowly rises up into the ceiling. Then, with the sound of thunderous lightning, two enormous barn doors swing open, allowing a curtain of thick fog to crash over the audience while finally revealing the Headless Horseman himself!

I got goosebumps when this happened and it’s a shame I didn’t catch it on video. Since we had VIP seating, we didn’t have to wait long to get our photo and the event was sadly over.

meeting the headless horseman | © MAGIC LAMP VACATIONS®

meeting the headless horseman | © MAGIC LAMP VACATIONS®

Final Thoughts

Even though I didn’t like the movie, which is the point of the entire experience, I absolutely loved everything else about this event. It’s rare to find such an intimate event on Disney property and it was one of the best dessert parties we’ve ever attended. Getting a photo with the Headless Horseman and walking away with a collectible trading pin was the icing on the cake!

And we made it out with our heads still attached. ;)

This experience can be booked by calling 407-WDW-TOUR.

Want a Disney World Expert to Help You Plan?