I spent this past week in warm, sunny Florida. Well, mostly sunny, and mostly warm. At least, it was far sunnier and warmer than it was here in Indiana. My sister was celebrating a milestone birthday, and had asked about a year ago if I would go along to celebrate with her. She is a member of Disney Vacation Club, and as a perk for those members, there are “Moonlight Magic” nights each year. There are just a few at each park each year, and believe it or not, one of those fell during the time we would be at the Magic Kingdom. Woo hoo!
What exactly is Moonlight Magic? I didn’t know. I did a little research, but didn’t really find much out there. So, I decided to report on my experience for those of you lucky enough to attend later events this year.
In short: it was better than I expected, and I was expecting a lot!
Moonlight Magic at Disney’s Magic Kingdom
Moonlight Magic is for Disney Vacation Club (DVC) members and their guests. It was scheduled at the Magic Kingdom from 9 p.m. until midnight, but we were able to enter the park beginning at 6. This is a great deal in an of itself. My sister and I had tickets for the park anyway, but even if we hadn’t, we could have visited the Magic Kingdom free from 6 p.m. until midnight! The park was open until 8 p.m. to the general public.
Signs in the park made it clear what to do and where to go. When we entered, we were given wristbands once the cast member had checked our names to be sure we had reservations. This wristband was important, because after 8 p.m., no one without one could be in the park.
I’ll have to say that meeting Disney characters doesn’t do much for me. Greeting someone in a Mickey Mouse costume? No thanks. But, I know that many people absolutely love this. My sister loves meeting characters, getting their autographs, and getting photos with them. Moonlight Magic events are great places to see some of the less familiar characters. At our January 11, 2018 Moonlight Magic Event, you could meet:
- In Adventureland: Baloo and King Louie, Moana, Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed
- In Liberty Square: Oogie Boogie, Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen
- In Fantasyland: Robin Hood, Friar Tuck, and Little John; Hippos and Ostriches from Fantasia, Cinderella, Fairy Godmother, Anastasia and Drizella, Snow White, The Prince, Princess Aurora and Prince Phillip, Esmeralda and Clopin, Marie, Big Bad Wolf and Three Little Pigs, Chip n Dale
- In Tomorrowland: Goofy and Pluto
My sister spent the evening meeting characters. She was frustrated because lines for many of these were long. During the three hours or so, she was only able to meet three sets of characters.
Rides — with Hardly Any Lines!
My favorite thing about Moonlight Magic was that almost all the rides in the park were open — with hardly any lines! I walked onto It’s a Small World (I know, everybody hates it — but I love it).
After standing in line over 30 minutes a day earlier for Pirates of the Caribbean, it felt great to walk right on to this night. This happened on ride after ride. I just walked through the park, riding anything I wanted. More than once the thought crossed my mind, “This is perfect happiness!”
Another great thing about this event was the food — free food. Ahead of time we’d heard “light refreshments,” but I was really impressed by what was offered. Which was —
- Tortuga Tavern: hot dogs and snacks
- Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe: Veggie burgers, hot dogs, snacks (this is where I ate; see my veggie burger above)
- Columbia Harbour House: Chicken breast nuggets, hot dogs, snacks
- Pinocchio Village Haus: Chicken breast nuggets, hot dogs, snacks
- Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe: Chicken breast nuggets, hot dogs, snacks
- Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant: Chicken breast nuggets, hot dogs, snacks
You can see that my “snack” was a bag of chips. My sister got nuggets at Pinocchio, and they were offering packaged cookies there. One woman I talked to said she wished she’d known that so much food would be offered, because she wouldn’t have eaten dinner. Definitely go hungry — there is lots of food available, all for free.
Free Mickey Bars
One of the most popular Disney desserts are the famous Mickey Ice Cream Bars. Yes, these were given out free at this event, in Pete’s Silly Sideshow in the Circus area.
They made it clear where to go.
To be honest, this was the first Mickey bar I’d ever tasted. It was better than your typical ice cream treat. The chocolate coating was really great. I also saw someone who got a different type of ice cream bar; it looked yellow and pink.
The night also included a dance party. This was of no interest to me, but I definitely heard it going on as I walked through the Frontierland area. Loud music was playing, and characters/parents/kids were dancing and having fun.
“Special” fireworks were billed, and at 11:30 these began at the castle. They were indeed wonderful.
I heard people asking about shirts, and yes, I did see a person or two in a t-shirt made for the event (these can be purchased at the park, during this event only). The evening was just wonderful in my opinion, and I’m so grateful I was able to attend.
Have you attended a Moonlight Magic event at Disney? What did you think?