Earlier this year, we had the opportunity to attend Disney’s Moonlight Magic at both Walt Disney World & the Disneyland Resort, and both parties were some of the best nights we’ve ever had at a theme park! From unique in-park experiences to extremely low crowds to free food & drink, these events are truly a theme park fan’s dream.


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 each Walt Disney World theme park (sans Magic Kingdom) twice 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.

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 (held on February 1st), reservations opened in early January, meaning we were up MUCH too early for our liking to secure tickets! For the EPCOT version of the event (held on February 8th & February 15th), reservations opened up in late January. Reservations first open up to guests with a confirmed DVC resort booking on the date of the event, & then to any DVC member one week later. Reservations are limited and fill up quickly, especially as each Member can bring up to 5 guests total, including themselves.

We were lucky enough to end both the Disney California Adventure party AND the EPCOT party in concurrent weeks in February of this year.


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!), short wait times for major attractions, & 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 an especially unique experience for those diehard Disney park fans.

Another big hit at most Moonlight Magic events – as was the case at both the DCA & EPCOT parties, as well – is the unique entertainment. While there wasn’t quite the assortment of entertainment in 2023 as is typically the case, we still got treated to some incredible entertainment, including (but not limited to): at DCA, a dueling boy band, a SPECIAL showing of World of Color, & a live DJ in Hollywoodland, & at EPCOT, a SILENT DJ, a special fireworks performance on World Showcase Lagoon, & a live DJ in World Showcase. 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 or location 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, as was the case at our EPCOT event. 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. Many lines reached 30+ minutes, so patience & understanding with the CMs is especially important when attending these events (although patience with CMs should always be a staple to ANY theme park visit!). Luckily, wait times for most popular attractions were still INCREDIBLY low at both parks, INCLUDING Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at EPCOT, which attendee’s were able to right AS MANY TIMES AS THEY WANTED with no Virtual Queue required! We definitely made sure to save the galaxy for Rocket & his friends more than a few times during our party.

Another highlight to both DCA & EPCOT’s Moonlight Magic events were 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 at DCA, and DUFFY BEAR at EPCOT! Typically, each event has a completely unique lineup of rare characters from any previous event, so it’s always a great surprise to see which fan-favorites make an appearance each party! If you’re a fan of character meet & greets, Moonlight Magic should be a bucket-list event for you.


Overall, each & every Moonlight Magic event is an INCREDIBLY fun (and free!) After Hours party. The events held at both Disney California Adventure & EPCOT to start off 2023 weren’t quite to the level of 2019 Moonlight Magic events, but both were still amazing, nonetheless! As Disney continues to ramp up staffing & has more time for pre-planning, we’re confident the parties will only continue to increase in quality. The crowds at each Moonlight Magic event at WDW (including this year) seem virtually non-existent for rides, snacks, & entertainment, and are usually only seen in lines for rare characters. At DCA, however, the lines were a bit longer this time around. Regardless, though, the night was still a CLEAR success! From rare characters to unique entertainment to FREE FOOD, each & every Moonlight Magic party is 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!


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