Last night's Moonlight Magic at Disney's Hollywood Studios continued with distanced character sightings

May 25, 2022 in "Disney's Hollywood Studios"

Posted: Wednesday May 25, 2022 10:47am ET by WDWMAGIC Staff

Disney Vacation Club's Moonlight Magic returned to Disney's Hollywood Studios last night, giving members access to the park after-hours from 9:30 pm to 12:30am.

Guests could ride all of the park's attractions and visit characters throughout the park during the 3 hour event.

Headlining the rare character line-up were Monterey Jack and Fat Cat from Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers. Unfortunately, these rarely seen characters, along with Kylo Ren, Darth Vader, and Storm Troopers, were kept behind a rope for a distanced meet and greet experience. This disappointed event attendees who had hoped to get a picture and autograph from the characters during this special DVC member event.

Disney announced back in April 2022 that it would be returning to regular in-park meet and greets without physical distancing. Most meet and greet locations in the park are back to normal, with guests able to interact with characters and get autographs.

Disney's Hollywood Studios, unlike the other three Walt Disney World parks, appears to be holding onto the pandemic-era Character Sightings even during regular park hours, with Chip and Dale routinely appearing on the lawn near The Hollywood Brown Derby, Donald and Minnie appearing on the balcony at the main entrance, and Goofy & Max appearing on the terrace at the Hollywood Tower Hotel.

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DjsfantasiJun 01, 2022

I understand that the reason for stopping freestyle meet and greets on the walkways was two-fold. First, it created people eaters to spread out the crowds. And secondly, it eliminated the ugly push and shoves when parents tried to get their kids up front for a hug. I remember back in the late 80s (1987-ish?), bringing my toddler son. Parents were nearly coming to blows to get their kids a hug.

doctornickMay 29, 2022

Yeah, I'd be curious as to the rationale behind the difference in M&Gs before attributing it to Disney being "lazy". I don't really see where there's some sort of substantial monetary gain by not having those characters being huggable. So, my gut feeling is that they did this to keep the line moving and make the rarer characters more accessible for more people and to avoid having folks queuing for a long time to meet them. Because we've all seen or heard of the ridiculous lines that rare characters can get at some of these special events. Maybe this was a test ground for modifying such rare characters for busier events and to see how guests viewed the idea?

Club CooloholicMay 29, 2022

Agreed. It was a very niche event for a very small group of guests that happened to be very free. Honestly would it matter if there were characters there at all or not? These people were going to go anyway. If I am Disney and I see this kind of reaction I just say let's skip these characters all together next time.

yensidtlaw1969May 29, 2022

I guess for me it just feels like there are a thousand examples of Disney's laziness that are far more egregious than this one, and for some reason people have chosen to give this one the energy that those deserve. Which doesn't mean we should just let it slide - in fact, it probably does mean the opposite. I'm certainly a vocal critic of Disney's operations. It just feels like some perspective is in order here.

drew81May 29, 2022

It comes down to laziness.

yensidtlaw1969May 29, 2022

That feels like all the more reason not to leap to the conclusion of it being some COVID thing . . . I don't know what the reason would be, but this feels far less nefarious than the discussion suggests.

zappleMay 29, 2022

All the characters on the bottom row were in the Disney Jr Dance Party area for a special Disney Afternoon dance party and they were interacting with the crowd with no distancing. It was the outdoor ones that were behind the rope, which makes no sense.

yensidtlaw1969May 28, 2022

Worried I might be poking a bear here, but this photo from the event in question just popped up on my feed, and while I don't know what the need was to have some characters roped off and not others, the fact that this guest was able to get all these pictures the way they did makes me feel like some of the discourse here is a little out of proportion: Yes, you'd think if Goofy can be a "huggable" meet and Greet then Monty and Fat Cat could be too, and yes, on paper this is a slimmer offering than letting guests get up close and personal with every character in the roster. But I don't know, this seems easy enough to chalk up to a one-off "weird thing" - certainly preferable to them just pulling the characters instead of merely lightly altering access. If all the characters at the event were roped off despite the return of standard operations it'd be a different story, I suppose. But reading this thread gave me a real different impression of how accessible the characters were, and this picture makes it seem like a much smaller deal than stated.

LilofanMay 28, 2022

You are lucky you got to experience. A number of fellow guests could not even get inside DHS via Buena Vista Drive by the mid afternoon. The only exit to get out of DHS at that time was through the same way.

PiebaldMay 28, 2022

Wow it was 2013?! I went with my now wife and it was chaos. Being in the middle of the park I remember being basically unable to move. We saw the villain from PaTF but it was so dark out pictures came out horribly. It was quite the mess but at the time pretty awesome as a free event...but yes they learned their lesson. I've always said characters could help with the insane crowds though since the company has become cheaper and cheaper. Imagine the reduction in lines throughout the parks if they added a handful of super rare characters throughout each park in a well designed area. You throw Mandalorian and Grogu over somewhere and suddenly you're spreading things out a little.

drew81May 28, 2022

A night that will live in infamy.

LilofanMay 28, 2022

Villians free event in 2013 makes NYE traffic after fireworks a walk in the park.

LilofanMay 28, 2022

If you are referring to the disastrous Villains event in 2013, anyone who bought a park ticket at DHS that day could attend the free several hour event after the park closing time. Thousands and thousands were in the park all day but what added to the madness was the thousands that bought a park ticket and came in the afternoon were met with hours long backup with cars and buses trying to enter exit Buena Vista Drive Disney did not oversold the event. They just never expected a mass of cars and people trying to enter / exit DHS via Buena Vista Drive . Cast members could not even go home after their shift because of the hours long traffic jam in front of the intersection gas station BVD/DHS.

SaucyBoyMay 27, 2022

No, they are referring to a villains at DHS event back in 2014 (or '13) that was an unmitigated disaster from start to finish.