One of multiple “arms” of the Walt Disney Company is that of Disney Vacation Club (DVC). It’s essentially a time share wherein people buy points that they can use to stay at Disney properties at what would be a lesser rate than if one paid cash.
DVC membership can potentially cost much, much less when one purchases points on the secondary market (as opposed to buying them directly from Disney). So to make buying DVC points from Disney have a higher perceived value, one thing they’ve been doing are these member-only, after-dark events called “Moonlight Magic” at the various Disney theme parks. Running since 2016, they’re a perk that’s only open to those who’ve purchased points directly from Disney and not from the secondary market.
Joe’s been a DVC member since its inception in the early 1990s (the running joke was that I married him for his DVC points and now for his hotel points LOL) and because we live so close to WDW, we’ve been able to attend several Moonlight Magic events, including the ones at Magic Kingdom (MK) in 2017, 2018 and now 2019. So it’s been interesting to see how the events there have evolved.
To be able to attend one of these Moonlight Magic events, you have to sign up ahead of time. Unfortunately, as the events have become more popular in the past year or so, it’s been increasingly difficult on our designated “sign up day” to get on the list before it’s sold out. In fact, we only were successful in attending 2 of the events 2018, as all the others sold out before we could add our names to the roster. We noticed for the sign up for this first DVC event of 2019, instead of allowing up to a party of 6, we were limited to a party of 4. Maybe smaller parties = more parties could be included = that’s why we were successful in getting in this time? I dunno. But we’re glad we did!
The 2019 event ran from 9pm to midnight, with members being allowed to enter the park as early as 6pm – those were the same times as last year’s MK event and, as we knew from past experiences, more than enough time to experience everything we wanted.
Food was handled differently than previous events. In 2017 and 2018, there were 7 locations throughout the park to get food. The queues had always been crazy long but if you waited until after 9pm or so, the lines calmed down. You could also get back in line to get more hot dogs, chicken nuggets, soda, ice cream, etc., but apparently that has changed. When we received our reminder/info email about the event, it included the following:
Food & Beverage:
- When you check-in, be sure to pick up your complimentary meal voucher. Each complimentary meal consists of one (1) entrée and one (1) fountain beverage.
- Vouchers may be redeemed at Pinocchio Village Haus or Columbia Harbour House until 11:00 PM; Casey’s Corner, Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café, or Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe until 12:00 AM.
- Meal vouchers cannot be replaced if lost or stolen. Please reference the voucher for other important details.
We got our vouchers when we checked in:
This time around there were only 5 locations, two of which closed at 11pm. As we left the park not long before midnight, the line for Casey’s was still out the door. 🙁
Free, unlimited Mickey bars were available at Storybook Circus, which was the same place you could get them in previous years. However free beverages above and beyond what you got with your meal vouchers were only limited to glasses of ice water in poorly lit areas of the park. We tried the water from 2 locations and, interestingly enough, they tasted completely different – the water from the location just outside Mickey’s Circus Land (left photo below) was fine but the ice water near Splash Mountain (right photo below) tasted like, well, the only way I can explain it is “Disney water” – those of you who have been to WDW will know what I mean – it had a specific chemical taste.
Our party of four had just eaten dinner at Columbia (it’s #5 of our favorite restaurants off theme park property) and some of us had containers of drinks we had brought into MK with us, so the free food and drinks weren’t super important to us. We heard from a friend who ate at Casey’s that instead of the plain hot dogs (and, I’m sure, nuggets/hamburgers/etc.) they used to give out, you could pick anything from the menu, which was a nice change. But going from unlimited everything in previous years to a voucher of one entree and one fountain beverage, and free water from what looked like covered Igloo coolers still seemed kind of chintzy, IMHO. Ah well, you give a little, you take a little.
Character meet and greets have become a Disney highlight for a lot of people, and the Moonlight Magic events have become well known for their array of “different” characters to say hi to. This year was no exception. In fact, besides having nearly completely different characters from the 2018 event at MK, they also had 20% more of them, which was nice:
Jack Sparrow and Angelica
Chip ‘n Dale
Louis the Alligator
J. Worthington Foulfellow and Gideon
Megara, Panic and Pain
Belle and Beast
Ariel and Prince Eric
Snow White and Prince
Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum
Phineas and Ferb
Queues for some characters, such as Meg & Pain/Panic were up to two hours long! Sorry y’all, but I’m so glad we don’t “do” characters ;-).
As had been the case with all past Moonlight Magic events, there were DVC executives available for about an hour or so, early in the night, in case you wanted a photo with one or more, or just to say, “hi.”
A DJ was on hand for the dance party that’s become well known at these events it’s a good chance for kids (and grown up kids) to let off some steam while dancing with characters that come out to boogie, too. Last year the DJ party had been in Frontierland, and I said even then that having a DJ in a land themed after the old west seemed weird. This year the DJ was in Tomorrowland (they called it the Tomorrowland Tonight Dance Party), which was, I thought, a much more appropriate location.
Event-exclusive merchandise for this event included a tumbler, long-sleeve T-shirt (not a short-sleeved one???) and a baseball cap.
I do have to say that the fireworks at these events never disappoint. This year’s 10-minute long “Moonlight Magic Blast! Fireworks Spectacular” was no exception.
As guests left the event, Mickey and Minnie were high atop the train station, waving goodbye to everyone and occasionally giving each other a little smooch. They did this last year too, although last year the pair were dressed in their PJs and this time around they were in their new outfits (that, I’m sorry, look like “Wonder Bread” wrappers to me LOL!).
Overall, as in the past, it was a really fun night. With the exception of Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (of course) and Peter Pan (of course), the lines were minimal for the entire event…only between 5 and 15 minutes (the aforementioned attractions generally had waits between 30 and 45 minutes all evening, which is still pretty good in comparison to the 1 to 2+ hours their queues can sometimes be). And, of course, the entire event was not crowded at all (which is my most favorite part of all).
Fingers crossed that we’re able to go to more of these events in 2019!
Liked this post? We have trip reports of several other DVC Midnight Magic events:
- Feb. 2017: Magic Kingdom
- July, 2017: Typhoon Lagoon
- Dec., 2017: Epcot
- Jan., 2018: Magic Kingdom (compared to 2017)
- Mar., 2018: Disney’s Animal Kingdom
- Jan., 2019: Magic Kingdom (compared to 2017 and 2018)
*** Many thanks to Jeremiah G. for character photos and to both him and Cookie W. for “filling in the blanks” regarding the opportunities we didn’t take part in!
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary