Moonlight Magic

If you listened to today’s podcast, you heard our friends David and Steven talk about attending the Moonlight Magic Event at Magic Kingdom. You also heard the plug for this very blog! Thank you again David and Steven and we hope you have you back on our Theme Park Thursday Podcast real soon!

And now for our guest blogger, Steven:

Hi, I’m Steven and I’m not a Disney addict.

I thought it was important to get that little tidbit out upfront. Don’t get me wrong, I love Disney, I’ve had magical moments and I married my husband who is a huge Disney addict, so I get it. That being said, I can live with a once a year Disney fix, whereas my husband and other Disney addicts I know need to go multiple times a year to satisfy their need. I had a Disney theme to my wedding, designing Fastpass save the dates and table themes, putting hidden Mickeys in our invitation, and entering the reception with wedding Mickey ears. I love Disney mostly because the people I love, love it.

Sister Dillo chiming in for a second – I attended that amazing Disney themed wedding and it was magical! Now back to our regularly scheduled blog…

My main qualms with Disney tend to be lines, crowds and heat. Price is a whole different monster that I won’t awaken here. So when my best friend’s wife, Kimmy, mentioned the opportunity to enter the park for the private Disney Vacation Club (DVC) Moonlight Magic event, I was immediately intrigued. An event at Disney, in the Magic Kingdom, with limited entry (no lines/crowds) and at night in January (no heat) sounded like my dream really did come true. I had no idea just how right I was.

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When Kimmy extended the invite, my first move (obviously) was to inform my Disney-addict husband, David. David immediately scoured the internet for some info on this almost “too good to be true” event. Needless to say, if you’re not a DVC member, Disney doesn’t exactly make the information easy to find. Once we were filled in on the details, we were sold. A free, up to 6 hour event, in Disney…what’s not to love?

Around 8pm on a very rainy January 28th, we met Kimmy and 2 of her friends at the main gate of the Magic Kingdom. After she checked in, we were all given wristbands and welcomed into the park. The first sign that this was going to be something special was the mass exodus of “normal” guests streaming past us as we walked under the Railroad tracks. The park officially closed at 8pm, the fireworks were over and the park was clearing out fast. Our first stop was Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, which still had a line of non-event guests waiting for their turn. In response, we were routed down the FastPass entrance, until the crowds fully dispersed. We were on and off the Mine Train in a matter of 10, maybe 15 minutes. What we didn’t realize at that moment was that this would be the longest line we waited on that night.

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By about 10pm, the park was desolate. I mean, look at the picture above of Cinderella’s Castle. When could you ever get a photo like that without hundreds of people in front of you? Never, that’s when! We made a game plan of hitting all the big ticket items as many times as possible and skipping the rides we would normally be able to walk onto. In the end, we did almost every attraction that was available and did the big ones (Mine train, Space Mountain, Thunder Mountain) at least twice.

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Check out this picture of the line queue for Peter Pan! One of the (inexplicably) longest lines in the park on a normal day and now completely deserted. No one in front of or behind us. It was an experience I’d never had in Disney before. It was magical.

In addition to the basic details being hard to find online, we also had no idea what would be included except for “complimentary light refreshments and unique entertainment.” After a few rides, we wanted a snack; namely, popcorn. We noticed a swarm of people entering a restaurant (I’m told it was Columbia Harbor House…who IMG_20180128_231604knew?) and we decided to ask a cast member where the popcorn was. After admitting she didn’t know, and checking with another cast member, she told us there was no popcorn! Then, my curiosity got the best of me and I asked what people were doing in the restaurant here. It seemed odd to me that you would come to an event like this just to spend money on food. Her answer to my question rocked our world: All the food, all over the park, is free. Free.99, Free-50-free, Free.30. Completely free food, drink, and desserts all over the park?! Now I was in heaven. I love food to begin with, but slap a “free” sticker on it, especially in a place like Disney which is known for their high prices for food, and you have a very happy Steven. We found out restaurants all over the park were offering abbreviated menus including chicken nuggets, hot dogs, burgers, soda, cookies, MICKEY ICE CREAM and more! It was just another special touch to an already magical evening. I am however sad to report…there was no popcorn. 😦

Walking around the Magic Kingdom when it’s empty and all lit up at night was a magical experience. The final magical perk of the night was an exclusive fireworks show for the DVC members and their guests. We had no plans to watch the show, as that’s valuable ride time, but we ended up being in Fantasyland when the show started. This location gave us a unique perspective of the show, with fireworks going off all around us. I took a look around during the show and noticed that almost everyone had just stopped in place and were watching and enjoying the show. No one pushing you or putting a camera/phone in your field of vision, just a bunch of Disney addicts enjoying a special moment in the Magic Kingdom.

Although short and exclusive, Moonlight Magic was the most magical moment I had ever experienced in Disney. Bravo to Disney for really pulling out all the stops and showing their true appreciation to those who are DVC members. Also, our never-ending love and thanks to Kimmy and her family for allowing us this experience. I hope we can all do it again next time!

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Riff Raff…Street Rat…Cause I Didn’t Buy That

Have you been to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party?

Snow falling on Main Street. Christmas music playing. A special Christmas Wishes. Why wouldn’t you attend such a party? Perhaps because you don’t want to spend the money…at least this year. Just be warned that if you don’t, you may end up feeling a little bit like riff raff.

There I was with my family, enjoying Dole Whip and waiting for Wishes. Oh wait…they don’t do Wishes for the regular folk on party night. This made me sad since this was the only night of my trip I could have seen one of my favorite things. Since it was getting close to 7PM, we had to start making our way towards the exit. We didn’t have the special bracelets in order to stay (since we didn’t purchase tix to the party) and couldn’t upgrade even if we wanted to since they were sold out.

We started our walk out of the park in one lane of Main Street, with those entering the park in the other, just as the snow started falling and the music started playing.

Oooo maybe we can take a photo pass picture since the castle is all lit up! Nope. We can’t. Photo Pass Castmembers are not taking pictures at that time since they are assisting clearing the riff raff out of the park.

I’m always sad anytime I leave Magic Kingdom, but only because I hate leaving Disney in general. This time I was sad because I felt like I wasn’t welcome…sorta.

Let me say-I’m half joking about all of this and not actually complaining. I get the upgrade/perks of the Christmas Party. I get making it a special experience for those that paid extra. I get making sure no one is enjoying a free ride. Whether or not DIsney actually needs that extra money is another story. But – in no way were the Castmembers mean or did anything they weren’t supposed to. I was just sad and bitter having to leave.

And now for some humor: Here is an awkward Dillo Family Photo from way back when at the Very Merry Christmas Party:

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Sista Dillo