As I sit here on a packed Southwest flight from Pittsburgh, PA to Orlando, FL heading “home”, I thought it would be fun to revisit one of the highlights of a past Disney Vacation Club trip last year: Moonlight Magic at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Moonlight Magic is a special after-hours event that is scheduled multiple times throughout the year as a special thank you to DVC owners. Usually occurring on two or three separate dates at each park, the event includes complimentary refreshments, unique meet and greet opportunities with Disney Characters, and special entertainment. These events are considered a Membership Extra and are only open to direct DVC owners holding a valid blue membership card and their guests.
Although the event was scheduled for Wednesday, October 3rd, the fun began a little over a month prior with the nerve-racking registration process. While Disney has made significant improvements to this system since our event, our experience was a stress inducing hour of waiting, sweating, and refreshing, with hopes that my wife, Amy, and I would be able to secure a spot. It sort of reminded me of when Sheldon, Leonard, Raj, and Howard attempted to secure tickets to Comic-Con on an episode of The Big Bang Theory.
With a reservation secured, we were now ready to relax and have fun. We arrived several hours early to Hollywood Studios that evening and quickly made our way to Rosie’s All-American Cafe to take advantage of the complimentary meal voucher, valid for one entree and non-alcoholic drink per guest. Amy opted for the Fried Green Tomato Sandwich while I tackled the 1/3 lb Fresh Angus Onion Straw Cheddar Cheeseburger. How was the food you ask? It was free and when its at Disney and its free, anything tastes good.
While a special showing of the nighttime spectacular, Fantasmic!, was scheduled for later in the evening, Amy and I decided to attend the earlier showing prior to park closing in order to maximize our time. I feel it is worth emphasizing here that Fantasmic! costs Disney an estimated $30,000 per performance due to the 50 live performers, effects, and pyrotechnics required for the show. The fact that they put on a special showing of this just for DVC Members at Moonlight Magic is a benefit not to be overlooked.
As the show concluded and the park officially closed, we made our way from Fantasmic! back to Sunset Boulevard and experienced one of the many highlights of the evening, walking onto Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith not once, but twice.
We then slowly made our way through the park, taking in the magic of this special night, stopping for a free Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bar and gradually making our way back to biggest draw of the evening: Toy Story Land!
With this new addition to Hollywood Studios opening just a few short months prior, after hours access to Toy Story Land was by far the largest draw of the night for many members in attendance. Wait times for the lands signature attraction, Slinky Dog Dash, were still 30-45 minutes throughout the evening. However, the overall crowds were significantly less due to the intimate nature of the event. My only complaint would be that Woody’s Lunch Box was closed, limiting my late night snack options for the evening.
Amy and I ended the evening browsing the shops of Hollywood Boulevard, overjoyed with the evening’s events, and yet again, our decision to join this DVC community. My greatest disappointment is that all owners are unable to experience Moonlight Magic due to either capacity issues or event dates. Plan ahead and be sure to try to take advantage of one of these special events during your next vacation!