Disney Vacation Club (DVC) is, hands down, the best decision my family has ever made. More than a time share, DVC gives members the ability to book your favorite deluxe Disney resort up to eleven months in advance, take advantage of 10-20% off food and merchandise across the resort, book events and ride previews before other guests, and attend completely free events that are only available to Vacation Club members after park hours.
If you’re a family who finds your way to Disney World once a year then DVC should be a consideration for you. It’s surprisingly affordable and gives you parks perks that many regular guests have no idea exist until you’re a part of the DVC family. Some of the parks and resorts even have DVC-only lounges that offer a place to relax during a hot Florida day, free snacks and drinks, games for kids, and some fantastic views of the surrounding area and even Magic Kingdom fireworks in the case of the Top of the World Lounge at Bay Lake Tower.
I could go on and on about why DVC is a great investment for Disney families, but my main goal of this blog is to highlight all of the magic that we experienced at the completely free DVC Moonlight Magic event on May 11, 2023 at Hollywood Studios. Before this event I was surprised to find that there wasn’t much information, whether it be blogs or vlogs, on Moonlight Magic events, so hopefully this recap will be of use to you!
DVC Moonlight Magic is a free event for members that is held at one of the four theme parks or one of the two waterparks. The event that fell over my vacation just so happened to be at my favorite park, Hollywood Studios, meaning that I was able to get into the park for free on the event day beginning at 7 pm. The event itself took place from 10 pm to 1 am.
Eligibility for this event was open to DVC members who already had a resort reservation using points or cash over the event date and then opened to non-resort DVC members a few weeks later for any remaining spots.
Since we had a resort reservation using cash at Wilderness Lodge, we were eligible for the early registration which took place a little over a month before the event date. When I first entered the queue for the event registration I had over 11,000 other members in front of me
After an hour and twenty minutes I was finally redirected to the event registration page and was able to easily register myself and another member who would be joining me.
You are able to bring guests to this event who are not members but at check-in for the event at the park you will all need to check-in together with the member who made the reservation.
Upon check-in for the event, you will be directed towards a DVC event entrance at the park and will need to scan your magic band or card to confirm your party entering the park. We were then given a Moonlight Magic wristband to differentiate us from day guests and a Moonlight Magic guide that outlines character meeting locations, snack locations, rides that are open, and any entertainment happing during the event.
We also received three snack vouchers for each person in our party to redeem for free snacks throughout the night which was a great surprise. There was a list of quick service and snack stands on the back of each that you could use the vouchers at. Of course, I will be sharing which snacks I got with my vouchers in this blog. 🙂
One of the best parts of this event is the short wait times you have for rides, especially at Hollywood Studios where in-demand rides like Rise of the Resistance and Slinky Dog frequently top over an hour wait.
I was able to ride all of my favorite rides at Hollywood Studios in the five hours that we were in the park as well as stop for snacks, character encounters, and entertainment.
Here are the rides we did and the amount of time we waited in line:
Tower of Terror- Walk on
Toy Story Mania- Walk on
Slinky Dog Dash- 15 minutes
Rise of the Resistance- 15 minutes
Smuggler’s Run- Walk on
Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway- Walk on
Unfortunately Rockin’ Roller Coaster was down for refurbishment during this event so we weren’t able to do that ride, but had it been open I’m sure we would have had time to add that to our list.
All of the rides had their preshows, so there was no walk-through on those rides like they will sometimes do when the crowds are low. Honestly, I would have been disappointed if the preshow for Mickey & Minnie’s and Rise was taken away from us.
Perhaps my favorite thing about this DVC-only event was the rare character sightings and meet-and-greets that I wasn’t expecting.
In Galaxy’s Edge you could meet Boba Fett in the marketplace area and Rey & BB-8 in front of the Falcon. I chose to wait in the 10-minute line for Boba Fett because I don’t think I’ve ever seen him in the park other than for the mid-day Star Wars characters introduction show that took place many years ago.
Boba Fett was completely in character, asking about Rebel sightings and bounties, and posed perfectly for a one-of-a-kind photo that you won’t get during normal park hours.
Other characters that you could meet included Captain Phasma at Star Tours, Lotso in front of Toy Story Mania, and Bullseye and Bo Peep in front of Woody’s Roundup Rodeo.
The lines for characters were some of the longest in the park so if meeting a rare character during a Moonlight Magic event is a priority for you (as it was for me) make sure to get there early as the characters also take breaks throughout the night.
The crowd was noticeably smaller than you would see for a normal park day which allowed for us to not only enjoy the rides but also the theming of the park.
Since we’re rope drop people, we very rarely make it to nighttime in the parks, so seeing Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land all lit up at night was a treat for us.
In Galaxy’s Edge, Oga’s Cantina remained open for the event for drinks which was great if you’ve never had the opportunity to pop your head into the bar.
Throughout the park there were photo opportunities with DVC emblems and Moonlight Magic logos. The main hub of the park, where the Chinese Theater is, had a DJ, red carpet, and light features to amp up the event.
There was also a special Fantasmic show during the event as well as a DJ Dance Party in the Disney Junior area. While we thought we’d have time to see Fantasmic, Rise of the Resistance and Mickey & the special 11 pm nighttime show.
As a part of the event we received three snack vouchers for each person in our party which could be used for snacks, treats, and drinks throughout the park during normal park hours and event hours.
Snacks that were eligible for voucher redemption were those identified by the “Disney Dining Plan” logo on menus. Most of the snacks offered were desserts such as cookies, tarts, and ice cream, but there were a few savory options such as fries, rice, tater tots, popcorn, and soft pretzels.
We opted for ABC Commissary for our first snack which is where we got a tropical tart with flavors of mango, passionfruit, and lime and a mint chocolate chip cheesecake.
I was excited that the blue and green milk in Galaxy’s Edge was offered as a snack for this event especially since the colorful milk options will usually set you back $8.49- the highest value snack available at Hollywood Studios on the Disney Dining Plan.
As usual, I opted for the green milk since it’s superior to the blue (unpopular opinion, I know).
With my last snack voucher I wanted something not so sweet, so I decided to go with a classic Mickey pretzel and plastic cheese. This option did not disappoint!
Other snack items that were popular during the Moonlight Magic event were the lunch box tarts at Woody’s Lunch Box, churros offered throughout the park, popcorn, including the fancy space kind from Kat Saka’s Kettle, and fun slushies in all different colors.
Separate from the snack vouchers, you could also pick up some free Mickey ice cream bars and sandwiches throughout the park for the duration of the event… if you were willing to wait in line.
We did not get a free ice cream novelty on top of our three snacks because the lines for these snack distributions were surprisingly long. Maybe next time.
While the event went on until 1 am we called it a night a little before midnight. All in all Moonlight Magic is an absolutely fantastic event that is completely free for DVC members and gives you short wait times for fan-favorite rides, free Disney snacks, and access to rare characters that you won’t see during normal park hours.
If there’s a Moonlight Magic that falls over your vacation, you absolutely need to set a reminder to register for this event.
DVC as a whole has been such a wonderful experience for my family and has allowed us to stay at dream Disney resorts and upgrade from a standard studio room to a spacious one-bedroom with a full kitchen, two bathrooms, and laundry area.
The resort and room accommodations that you receive as a part of DVC is exceptional, but then add in those food and merchandise discounts, special land and ride previews, and now Moonlight Magic events that allow you to get into the park for free and you will find yourself wondering why you didn’t join Disney Vacation Club years ago.