WDW Review: DVC’s Moonlight Magic Event (Magic Kingdom)
Last month, I had the opportunity to attend the Disney Vacation Club’s Moonlight Magic Event at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World. Open to DVC members and their guests, the Magic Kingdom was open for a few hours after the park closed. Throughout the park, there were special offerings for the guests, including unique character Meet & Greets, free food and snacks, and even special fireworks. Of course, many of the rides were open for individuals to ride, as well as some of the shopping locations.
NOTE: These events are only open to DVC members and their guests (up to a total of six per party, or number of guests registered to the room if more than six). Pre-registration was required, and the events do book out early.
For this event, my friend (and fellow DisKingdom writer) Josh and his mother joined me for the event. Even though they live locally, they don’t have a lot of time to get over to the parks and don’t own Annual Passes… so it’s been a while since they have been inside any of the parks. It was great that they could join me for then evening, even though for a good chunk of the time our paths did not cross, as I took priority in meeting some of the characters, while they wanted to also ride some of the rides that they haven’t ridden in quite a while.
Event Map. Click images to enlarge.
While the event did not officially start until 9pm (one hour after the park closed at 8pm), guests were allowed to enter the park at 6pm after checking in at various locations throughout WDW, including the main entrance at The Magic Kingdom. Once inside, guests could enjoy the regular operations of the park until 8pm. For our two hours, we focused on a few rides that they wanted to do (like Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion), and then we watched the Happily Ever After show from the walkway between the backside of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Prince Eric’s Castle. While we could not see any of the projections on Cinderella’s Castle, we got amazing views of the fireworks in the distance. if you are into the fireworks more so than the projections and don’t like crowds, this location was great.
The reason we were located in that part of the park at 8pm was because we wanted to be in the front of one of the special character Meet & Greet lines for when they opened at 9pm. I will say this… it was probably near impossible for someone to meet all of the characters during this special night, unless they had other holding them spots in line or utilized the DAS system (which return times could be stacked on top of one another). Even then it would have been tough. Why? Because of all of the different Meet & Greets available.
Goofy & Pluto (in futuristic outfits)
Chip & Dale (as the Rescue Rangers)
Three Little Pigs & Big Bad Wolf
Princess Fairytale Hall
Cinderella, Fairy Godmother, Drizella, & Anastasia
Snow White, The Prince, Aurora, & Prince Phillip
Esmeralda & Clopin
Fantasia‘s Hippo & Ostrich
Robin Hood, Little John, & Friar Tuck
Mickey & Minnie (in patriotic attire)
Princess Tiana & Prince Naveen
Shenzi, Banzai, & Ed
Baloo & King Louie
We started off in line for the Three Little Pigs & Big Bad Wolf, mainly because it was the towards the top of all of our lists. While waiting for them to start, we got confirmation that Chip & Dale would be coming out as the Rescue Rangers, so that made them a must see as well. Marie we ended up skipping because we all have met him before.
It was here when out paths diverged. I really wanted to see Esmeralda and Clopin, but they had a long long line. Josh and his mom instead took the time to enjoy the park more, meeting with the Cinderella crew and then Goofy & Pluto in Tomorrowland… also catching up with Herbie the Love Bug, which was a surprise appearance.
For me, on the way to Esmeralda & Clopin, I stumbled upon one of the Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride vehicles, which was across the way from where the ride originally was located (where the Winnie the Pooh ride is now). I then spent seemingly forever on line to meet Esmeralda & Clopin. My biggest complaint with this line was that they only had one set of “friends” for this very popular Meet & Greet. This meant that they had to take 15 minutes breaks throughout the evening, and one time they were inside for minimum 1/2 hour. This caused a lot of people to more than likely miss other things they wanted to do. I know for me, I didn’t even make it to Liberty Square to meet characters this evening because of it.
After meeting Esmeralda & Clopin (which was great even with the wait), I had a memorable meeting with the Hippo & Ostrich from Fantasia, though I am not sure why they didn’t name them Hyacinth Hippo & Madame Upenova, respectively. By that time, the line was too long for the Robin Hood gang for me to make it to the special fireworks, so I guess I would have to track them down in Sherwood Forest another day. I also skipped over Princess Fairytale Hall because I have met most of those face characters before.
Now, the special Moonlight Magic fireworks show at the Magic Kingdom is probably one of the better fireworks shows I have seen at the park… ever. It was filled with memorable songs and characters, but more importantly, it was fireworks-centric. Minimal projections and use of the castle. What made it great for me is that I got to meet up with my friends Marion and Terry. While we got to know one another back home in the Northeast, they recently relocated to Clermont, Florida, and this is the first time we have been able to meet up in the parks while I was down on vacation. Granted, it was only for a few minutes watching the fireworks, but it was still a lot of fun.
From there, I booked it over to Adventureland, as the park had only a few minutes left to being open and Josh texted me to say he was on line to meet the hyenas. I got there just in time to join him in a photo with them. We then passed by Moana (her line was so long, but I met her during last year’s Halloween Party) on our way out, and was able to snag one of the last photos with Baloo & Louie for the evening. At that moment, they announced throughout the park that the event was over and asked everyone to start making their way towards Main Street.
It was then when I realized that I had not eaten any of the free food or snacks being offered for the night, and it just so happened that Casey’s was still giving out soda, hot dogs, and chips (I also scored some apple slices…. bonus). The hot dogs were delicious, but that’s probably because I was so hungry.
One last cute touch on our way out… Mickey and Minnie were dressed up in their nightgowns and ready for bed, waving at all of the guests from the train station.
Overall, it was a really fun event. In my opinion, way too many characters to meet, but I guess that did keep most of the lines reasonable. Based on feedback I have heard from others, only a few lines were crazy long (Moana, Oogie Boogie, the Robin Hood gang, and Esmeralda & Clopin). It was a field day for those interested in the rides, as barely anything had a line from what I could see. Lastly, with the cost of food in the parks, a large family could have made out big in getting fed for free all evening (I wish I had more time to get some food… I love their chicken nuggets).
Overall, it is really great that WDW goes out of their way to offer these type of events for their DVC members, especially since other benefits have been cut back over the years. This has been the second Moonlight Magic event I have been able to go to (I went to the Animal Kingdom event last September), and both of them will be forever memorable.