Earlier this month (Feb 1st), I had the opportunity to attend Disney’s Moonlight Magic Event at the Disneyland Resort, and it was one of the best nights I’ve had in a theme park in years!
Moonlight Magic is a specially-ticketed After Hours event hosted by Disney for DVC (Disney Vacation Club, Disney’s privately-operated timeshare) Members & their guests. Generally, these DVC After Hours events are held at Walt Disney World. Each park (besides the Magic Kingdom), including the water parks, typically host a Moonlight Magic event 2 nights a year. In late 2022, however, Disney announced that Moonlight Magic would also be returning to the West Coast for the first time since 2019 in the form of a single party at Disney California Adventure.
Moonlight Magic parties come with a bevy of perks, most notably of which are rare character meet & greets, free snacks (Mickey Ice Cream bars, popcorn, & soda!), & free entrance to the park for the duration of the party & up to 3 hours before the party, as well. Needless to say, it’s a pretty unique experience for those diehard Disney park fans.
Reservations for each event generally open up a few weeks to a few months before the party, but reservation times can certainly vary from park to park. For our Moonlight Magic event at Disney California Adventure, reservations opened early January, meaning I was up MUCH too early for my liking to secure our tickets! Reservations are limited and fill up quickly, especially as each Member can bring up to 5 guests total, including themselves.
Another big hit at most Moonlight Magic events – as was the case at this one in DCA, as well – is the unique entertainment. While there wasn’t quite the assortment of entertainment at this version as is typically the case, we still got treated to an incredible dueling boy band, a SPECIAL showing of World of Color, & a live DJ in Hollywoodland! As far as unique theme park entertainment goes, Moonlight Magic brings it home!
Easily the highlight of the West Coast version of the party was the $30 in food credits given to each guest in attendance, which can be used at ANY food vendor in the park!! These food credits are ON TOP OF the already-free & unlimited Mickey Ice Cream bars, soda, & popcorn available to each guest throughout the night! This is a great change to the perk at WDW, which is generally just 3 free snack items per guest. The downside to this perk, though, was it meant INSANELY long lines for EVERY single food vendor, from the traditional Quick Service spots to the Lunar New Year booths. Some of the lines were over 45min waits with no option to mobile order, which certainly put a hamper on an otherwise-incredible perk.
Another highlight to DCA’s Moonlight Magic event was an ARRAY of awesome rare characters! From Mickey & Minnie in their vintage 2001 DCA outfits to Max Goof in his Powerline costume, the amount of rare characters was fantastic. We even got an appearance from JIMINY CRICKET himself! If you’re a fan of character meet & greets, Moonlight Magic at DCA was the place for you to be.
Overall, each & every Moonlight Magic event is an INCREDIBLY fun (and free!) After Hours party. The event at Disney California Adventure this month didn’t quite hit the highs of the WDW events, but it was still amazing, nonetheless! The crowds at each Moonlight Magic event at WDW seem virtually non-existent for rides, snacks, & entertainment, and are usually only seen in lines for rare characters. At DCA, however, the lines were constant THROUGHOUT the party, no matter what you wanted to do. My assumption is that Disney handed out too many passes for this version of the event, or they were woefully understaffed. Regardless, though, the night was still a CLEAR success! From rare characters to unique entertainment to FREE FOOD, it was one of the best nights in a theme park & a welcome treat from Disney for DVC Members & their guests. Personally, I cannot wait for the next iteration of Disney’s BEST After Hours party!
Written By Shaun Knight
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