As you may have heard, Disney has begun to offer some free after-hours events at select parks for Annual Passholders called V.I.Passholder events. My family and I were able to attend the first V.I.Passholder night at Epcot. I am going to give you a rundown of the good, bad, and where we went wrong as guests at the event.
First, I want to say that I think it is awesome that Disney is starting to host some of these events that make you feel a little more exclusive as a passholder. When I first heard about the V.I.Passholder events, I was envisioning in my head something along the lines of a DVC member evening event.
What the event really looked like was a little more like exclusive Extra Magic Hours. Also, for us out of town people, something on a weekend would have been ideal. I’m going to be honest — what I was really looking for was a free Mickey Premium Bar…is that too much to ask for?
We arrived at the park around 7:30pm. To do so, we tore out of work, picked up the kids, and forced them to take a nap in the car on the two hour drive to Orlando. Part of the appeal of this event for us was a free trial run of navigating the park with the kids so late at night. We have been considering the Halloween or Christmas party at the Magic Kingdom, but I don’t want to fork over $400 just to have my kids enter a sleep-deprived coma or have a fit at 9:30pm.
Check-in was easy and painless at the front gates. Once inside, we headed right off to the festival center to grab our free passholder magnets and buy some passholder merch. We were able to grab some drinks and a treat for the kids before heading out to World Showcase. We were so excited to be able to experience more of the Food and Wine Festival with smaller crowds that we neglected to fully read the event flyer.
We headed to Mexico and hit up the Kidcot stand. At this point, it was around 8:30pm. Mr. Drennon grabbed us a drink at the gloriously uncrowded La Cava Del Tequila while the kids colored their new Kidcot country cards. They were pumped to collect all the cards tonight! We hopped on the Grand Fiesta Tour in a nearly empty boat. So far so good. When we finished the ride at about 9 pm. The Kidcot stand was all put away and the park was starting to empty.
We headed upstream feeling like we owned the place, because we had on our magical wristbands. Here is were we went wrong. All the countries in the World Showcase with the exception of the ones on the outskirts were closed at this point. We found ourselves walking “the long way around” trying to get back to the things that were still open. The kids were sad we could not complete any more Kidcot cards. (Always read the event info!) It was also way too dark to find any hidden Remys from the Hide and Squeak activity.
We finally made it to Canada and back to civilization (it felt like). We were able to grab a few snacks, treats, and adult drinks. At this point, we decided to split up because our kids like different types of rides. We headed back to Future World and enjoyed the dance party and live DJ for a while. I will say we were also disappointed that Remy and his friends were not out dancing. Can we at least have something a little special if you are not going to give us a Mickey ice cream bar?
One group of Drennons set off to walk on Test Track and I took the little guy to ride Nemo and Friends. We rode Nemo basically to ourselves, twice. Then, we wandered around the completely empty aquarium area. It was a little eerie.
At this point, we met back up with the rest of the family and hit Spaceship Earth before heading out at 11pm!
All in all, we enjoyed our evening but it did leave me wanting more. We wanted more food booths to be open, but I understand why they weren’t. The bulk of available items/activities were towards the front of the park. That being said, if you like to take pictures in an empty World Showcase or just want to wander the pavilions with no one in sight, then, by all means take the Drennon route and go the wrong way. If you want to make the most of your time, stay toward the front of the park and for crying out loud pay attention to the event flyer!
Did you get to attend the event? let me know what you thought in the comments!
Big thanks for the use of amazing pictures taken by @magicalshannonmarie and @apopkapete.