One of the perks of being a Disney Vacation Club member is Membership Magic, an array of exclusive DVC membership benefits—including after-hour parties at Disney resorts called Moonlight Magic. Check out this review of the latest Moonlight Magic event at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park. 

One of the coolest professional experiences of my life was working for Disney Vacation Club as a marketing coordinator and professional intern. A literal dream come true, it was my turn to be one of the people making the magic—and I couldn’t have been prouder.

Plus, I happened to work for DVC during their 25th-anniversary celebration, which made an already incredible experience even cooler. Among the initiatives I helped launch was Moonlight Magic, first held at Magic Kingdom. I not only got to help plan the celebration (brainstorming which characters to bring in was definitely my favorite part), but I also worked the actual event.

A young guest enjoying a performance from a cast member at Moonlight Magic at Disney;s Animal Kingdom

Photo by Dani Mortiz-Long

I’ll never forget the chills I experienced standing at the end of Main Street, USA—smiling so wide—waving goodbye to guests as they exited the park. It’s as close to feeling like Mickey Mouse at the end of Fantasmic as I’ll ever get. (If you know, you know.)

Recently, though, I returned to Moonlight Magic—this time as a guest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park. Here’s what you need to know, from the perspective of a former Cast Member and recent guest

What is Moonlight Magic?

A unique benefit to DVC members, Moonlight Magic offers guests the chance to visit a theme park for a FREE special celebration after the park has closed to the public.

Dancing with Cast Members at the DVC Moonlight Magic

Photo by Dani Mortiz-Long

The event has been hosted at Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, and Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park.

What to Expect at Moonlight Magic in the Parks?

At Moonlight Magic experiences, you’ll find shorter-than-usual wait times for select attractions, Disney character sightings (including some rare characters), special entertainment (like DJ dance parties, my daughter’s favorite), and complimentary treats.

Although I have to say, I’m not sure all parks work quite as well for this experience. While Magic Kingdom genuinely offered shorter wait times, my experience at Animal Kingdom wasn’t quite the same. Because there were fewer offerings to pick from, the lines were pretty long. And because I had a sleepy toddler in tow, that meant I didn’t have the chance to do as much as I would have liked. (Tired toddlers don’t mix well with long lines.)

An exclusive DVC Membership Magic popcorn bucket

Photo by Dani Mortiz-Long

I’d also caution that while some of the complimentary treats are fun and unique (like the popcorn that comes in a special DVC bucket), they are snacks and treats, not meals. I’d recommend eating a light dinner before heading to the event. 

Still, it was so much fun strolling Animal Kingdom after dark. We were able to enjoy some treats, spot some characters, and my daughter happily danced the night away near the entrance of Dinoland USA. 

When Are Moonlight Magic Nights?

After a COVID pause, Disney has resumed offering Moonlight Magic events. There’s one more currently planned at Animal Kingdom on September 28. I speculate that Disney will announce more dates for 2023 in the weeks or months to come.

A Grape Soda Cupcake, an exclusive snack at Disney's Moonlight Magic

Photo by Dani Mortiz-Long

You can find the current line-up of events here.

Who Can Attend Moonlight Magic Events?

Attending these after-hours DVC events requires registration. Each event has a specific registration window, and they fill quickly. Typically, registrations are available first for eligible DVC memberships with Disney Resort reservations.

Enjoying a Mickey Bar during the Moonlight Magic at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Photo by Dani Mortiz-Long

Based on previous offerings, DVC members can register themselves and up to 4 additional guests per Membership (for a total of 5) or up to the number of guests on their Resort reservation.

Are Moonlight Magic Events Worth Attending?

Absolutely. Moonlight Magic experiences are unique to DVC and a fun way to experience the parks after dark. While I wouldn’t go in expecting to ride everything, see all the characters, and experience all the special offerings, this is a membership benefit you should definitely take advantage of.

Posts by Dani Moritz

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Dani has been visiting Disney Parks since she was two years old. She’s part of a DVC member family, a WDW annual passholder and former Cast Member, and the kind of Disney fan who still cries when she watches the Magic Kingdom fireworks. Since having her daughter, though, her favorite Disney title is Disney mom, and she’s loving sharing her love of the mouse with her toddler—who almost loves Walt Disney World as much as she does.
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Authored by
Dani Moritz

Dani has been visiting Disney Parks since she was two years old. She’s part of a DVC member family, a WDW annual passholder and former Cast Member, and the kind of Disney fan who still cries when she watches the Magic Kingdom fireworks. Since having her daughter, though, her favorite Disney title is Disney mom, and she’s loving sharing her love of the mouse with her toddler—who almost loves Walt Disney World as much as she does.
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