New Booking Procedure for Moonlight Magic in 2019

But will it matter?

Spaceship earth

Along with its release of the Moonlight Magic dates for 2019, Disney Vacation Club notes that there will be an "easier" booking process for the event. 

The basic process is still the same--registrations will be accepted only via the web; no telephone calls or emails to Member Services. Registrations open on a pre-determined dates and times. Those with confirmed hotel reservations will be able to book sooner than members who are not staying on Disney grounds the night of the event. 

However, a new process is designed to funnel demand to the website in a more orderly fashion. Here is how Disney describes it:

  • When your booking window opens, visit the page for the event you’d like to attend, then select RSVP. Be sure to have your Member number ready.
  • You’ll enter a virtual waiting room to secure your place in line, so you won’t have to refresh the page.
  • When a spot opens up, you’ll be taken to the registration form to sign up for a night of Moonlight Magic!

In the past, a flood of interested members would hammer the registration site, slowing response time to a crawl. Compounding the problem, many members would use multiple devices (desktop computer, tablet, cell phone) to try and complete a single reservations. 

If this "virtual waiting room" works as intended, it should help limit traffic on the actual registration site. The site should then be more responsive, allowing individual sign-ups to complete smoothly instead of hanging in limbo for minutes on end. 

What will not change is the reality that not everyone can attend these events. 

Disney Vacation Club now has around 4000 two bedroom equivalent villas at Walt Disney World alone. With most of those rooms having a maximum occupancy of 9 guests, there could be more than 36,000 people eligible for each Moonlight Magic event--and that's just the people staying on-site!

While the Walt Disney World parks are equipped for crowds of that level over the course of a typical operating day, there are practical limits to how many guests can be accommodated during a 3-hour Moonlight Magic event. Particularly when attendees anticipate short lines and sparse crowds. 

Consider the attractions currently offered at Epcot. According to one estimate, the Operational Hourly Ride Capacity for Soarin is about 1879 guests per hour. Test Track and Frozen Ever After can absorb another 1080 and 900 guests, respectively.  Combined, these three headliner attractions can only push thru about 3859 guests per hour or 11,577 in a 3-hour period.  

While Mission: Space, Spaceship Earth and other park attractions would still be operating, it's safe to assume that most attendees would hope to ride at least one--if not all--of the headliners with little-to-no wait. 

Disney Vacation Club does not disclose its attendance limits for Moonlight Magic events. But when you have up to 36,000 eligible guests staying in villas but a park can reasonably accommodate fewer than 12,000 in a 3-hour span, something has to give. Organizers must strike a delicate balance between preserving the quality of the event (low attendance) vs. the pain of turning away members because they simply do not have capacity for everyone wishing to attend. 

As a result, planning trips around Moonlight Magic events has proven troublesome. In a perfect world new virtual queue will make registration less painful, but it doesn't really change the odds of getting into any given event. Many interested members will invariably be turned away. Set your expectations accordingly.