All about Disney’s After Hours at Hollywood Studios, a new separately ticketed event:
A visit to Hollywood Studios on a busy day could potentially look something like this: waiting up to 2 hours in line for rides like Rise of the Resistance, Tower of Terror, and Slinky Dog Dash. Paying $20 for two Mickey Bars and a water. Squeezing in with a crowd like sardines to watch the projection show and to browse any of the shops. All in the hot, beating sun.
Now picture this: walking up to Rise of the Resistance with a 5-minute wait, then heading to Slinky Dog for a quick 20 minute wait. Stopping to grab a free Mickey bar and water, then walking onto Toy Story Mania. Maybe a popcorn and a soda after that while watching the projection show in a practically empty park. A few more rides, some shopping, some photos, perhaps a character meet – all in the cooler evening air.
Your second scenario is Disney’s After Hours at Hollywood Studios, and if you’re someone who can stay up a bit later and enjoys the evening then it is absolutely worth considering adding to your Disney trip.
How “After Hours” at Hollywood Studios works
Disney’s After Hours has been going on for the past year at Epcot and Magic Kingdom, and just started at Hollywood Studios this month. It’s a separately ticketed event, which means it’s not included with a regular park admission.
The event officially runs from 9:30pm-12:30am most nights, though you can get in starting at 7pm with this ticket. That means (similar to the holiday parties) that you could do something else that day like a pool day, then go to Hollywood Studios for the evening event. You could also do a different park earlier in the day and then head to Hollywood Studios later, whether or not you had a park hopper.
Once you’ve arrived you get a special “After Hours” wristband which is then checked before you go on any attractions once the park is closed. A number of the attractions are operating, and select character meet and greets and entertainment are available.
Your admission includes unlimited ice cream (Mickey Bars, ice cream sandwiches, and fruit bars), popcorn, soft drinks, and bottled water. There are also some other food and dining places that are open with food and drink available to purchase. Select stores and merchandise locations are open as well.
How much is Hollywood Studios After Hours?
The price for the After Hours party varies based on the date, but typically will run you somewhere around $130-150 per person. It’s a lot, but it’s not much more than a typical park day ticket – and you can get a lot done with less stress in a shorter amount of time.
There are also some discounts available for things like Annual Passholders and DVC Members.
Which attractions are available at Disney After Hours?
The night we attended, the following attractions were running:
- Mickey’s and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
- Star Tours
- Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
- Alien Swirling Saucers
- Slinky Dog Dash
- Toy Story Mania
- Rock n Roller Coaster
- Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
The wait times were LOW. We were in Hollywood Studios around 6:30 and then had dinner, and started doing rides for the after-party right around 9 pm. We had done Runaway Railway earlier in the day, so we started with Star Tours which – was a complete walk-on.
We then went to Rise of the Resistance, which had a 30 minute posted wait time. However, we were in the first pre-show (the “Rey room”) within 10 minutes. After doing some other activities we rode the Millennium Falcon, which was our longest wait at about 20 minutes. We finished with Tower of Terror which had a 35 minute posted wait, but we were seated on the ride within 15 minutes.
Throughout the night as I checked wait times, the majority of them were at 5 minutes from about 10pm til we left at midnight, which means they must have been walk-ons. The ones which were consistently a 5 minute wait were Runaway Railway, Star Tours, Alien Swirling Sauces, Toy Story Mania, and Rock n Roller Coaster.
Millennium Falcon and Slinky Dog Dash were typically posting somewhere between 15-30 minute waits. Tower of Terror always had the highest wait time posted (usually 35-45 minutes) but we found our wait to be shorter than that.
Food and Beverage
There are some items included with your ticket admission, and you can get as much of them as you want. These things are available at several snack carts around the park (in Hollywood Boulevard, Echo Lake, Toy Story Land, Animation Courtyard, and Sunset Boulevard).
- Bottled soft drinks
- Bottled water
- Mickey ice cream bars
- Mickey ice cream sandwiches
- Ice cream fruit bars
If you’re looking for something more than that, there are a few places that remain open with food and beverage available for purchase. These include the Milk Stand in Galaxy’s Edge, Woody’s Lunchbox, Anaheim Produce, Rosie’s All-American Cafe, and KNNR Rock Station (outside of Rock n Roller Coaster). There were a few of the outdoor bars open with alcoholic beverages available for purchase too.
The last important thing to note is that Oga’s Cantina was open during this event, and they did not take reservations so it was all walk-up availability. With the low crowd levels and most people doing attractions, if you’ve wanted a chance to visit Oga’s and haven’t been able to get a reservation this might be a good opportunity! We didn’t see if we could get in or how crowded it was because we’d actually had a reservation there earlier that day.
And of course Disney won’t pass up any chance to take your money! You can get some shopping done at some of the open merchandise locations, which include Mickey’s of Hollywood, Tatooine Traders, the Merchants in Galaxy’s Edge, Dok-Ondar’s, Jessie’s Trading Post, Rock around the Shop, and Tower Hotel Gifts.
Of particular interest is the fact that Savi’s Workshop and the Droid Depot are also open during this event. These locations normally take reservations, but for this event you could make a day-of reservation first thing when the event started.
Two different projection shows played throughout the night at Hollywood Studios. At 11:25 pm they showed “Disney Movie Magic,” and at 11:45 pm they showed “Wonderful World of Animation.”
We walked through the center area during the first show and it was pretty deserted. If you wanted to watch the show while having a snack that would be a great option – it felt so relaxed without the crowds and much more enjoyable that way!
Characters out for After Hours at Hollywood Studios
In addition to all of this some character meet and greets were available as well! The paper guide we received didn’t specify which characters, so I suspect they may change at times. We didn’t go looking for any characters, but to my knowledge the ones out that night included:
- Chip and Dale
- Green Army Men
- Woody and Bo Peep
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While not as many photopass photographers were out as you might see during the day, there were still some great opportunities to have pictures taken. In particular they had a number of photographers around Galaxy’s Edge, including one area that was doing nighttime shots with lightsabers.
I’m sure it varies on the specific photographer, but the one we had was great. You got to choose what color lightsaber you wanted first. She did a lot of different poses and was really good at directing us (and staying in character while doing it!). She probably spent a good 3-5 minutes with each group. Since the line wasn’t very long it was more than worth it for us.
My Hollywood Studios After Hours review
Everyone will approach this sort of event differently, so I’m happy to share my own personal experiences and thoughts. We took it a bit easy (my feet were hurting after walking around the parks a lot that week!), but if you wanted to you could absolutely do many more attractions than we did.
We arrived at Hollywood Studios around 6:30pm (we had park hoppers that day and had already been to Epcot in the morning), and we saw the line of people queuing up for the After Hours event to be let in at 7pm.
We had a few things planned for prior to the event, so we went to our Oga’s Cantina reservation and then used a Genie+ for Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. At that point it was about 9pm so we went back to the front of the park to see about getting our wristbands.
Funny enough, we actually had to exit the park and then immediately scan back in to get the bands. I’m not sure if that will always be the case or if it was just because it was the first time, but it was easy enough. We got our wristbands as well as a flyer telling us what was open and available.
I had no idea what to expect for wait times, and I figured they would probably get shorter as the night went on so I started with Star Tours posted at a 5 minute wait. Even though the event “officially” began at 9:30pm, they were letting us on the rides with our wristbands starting at 9. Star Tours was a complete walk on and we were through quickly.
From there I checked the app (which did have the wait times displayed!) and saw Rise of the Resistance at 20 minutes. I figured that had to be a pretty good thing so we jumped in that line at 9:37pm. We actually only waited 9 minutes before we were in the “Rey room.”
It was a ton of fun as always (and my friend’s first time doing the ride!). It is a long ride in general with all the different components you go through, so we weren’t off the ride until around 10:10pm.
From there we wanted snacks and drinks, so we went to Toy Story Land. We 10:10 pm take the most efficient route that night and went pretty far out of the way for snacks, so we spent more time walking than others might. We each got an ice cream, a water, a soda, and one popcorn to share. I also wanted to sit for a bit so we just enjoyed our snacks and took in the sights of Toy Story Land at night for a little bit.
The Millennium Falcon had a 30 minute wait posted, but it was a top priority for us so we doubled back to do that one. We stopped for some photos with lightsabers along the way which probably took about 10 minutes. We got in line for the Falcon at 10:37pm and were seated in the ride at 11:02pm. So that ended up being a 25 minute wait – pretty close to what was posted.
We were both pretty tired by then, but wanted to make the most of the event. Tower of Terror was another “must-do” during our trip, and although we had another day in Hollywood Studios I know the wait time for that can get crazy during the day. We slowly walked over that way, stopping for a few minutes to watch the projection show, and joined the Tower of Terror line at 11:28pm with a 35 minute posted wait time.
This was probably the most inaccurate wait as we were in the preshow room at 11:33pm (within 5 minutes) and then seated in our elevator at 11:48pm. It was a blast, especially because the Wonderful World of Animation was happening at the same time and we could see some of the fireworks from it when the window opened up on the top of the tower!
Once that was done it was close to midnight, so even though we could have stayed til 12:30 we decided to head towards the exit. We stopped for more snacks at Sunset Boulevard and then headed out.
We were staying at the Riviera and although the Skyliner wasn’t running for after hours, a bus was waiting for us. It was stopping at both RIviera and Caribbean Beach (all the stops) though luckily this time we were dropped off first.
Is Hollywood Studios After Hours worth it?
For us, this event was more than worth it. We did 4 attractions within 3 hours, took some awesome photos, and had lots of snacks. We also stocked up on water bottles for the next few days – that can really add up!
During the day the parks were very busy while we were there – it was marathon weekend and those crowds had definitely arrived. So Rise of the Resistance was easily a 1-2 hour wait most of the time, while Tower of Terror was actually higher most of the time. Millennium Falcon was probably around an hour or more wait during the day too. We spent about 45 minutes total in line during after hours, and you figure if you tried to do those same attractions during the day you’d be waiting in line for 4 hours or more.
You can also get some value in the snacks if that’s your thing. Mickey ice cream bars and sandwiches go for $6+ now, so you’d probably be looking at around $7 each with tax. A box of popcorn during the day is $5.50, so let’s say that’s $6. I think bottled water is around $3.75 (we’ll say $4) and soda is $4.50.
I had two ice creams, two popcorns (one I took back to the room for a snack the next day), a bottle of soda, and 3 bottles of water. That right there would be over $40 in the parks. I might not have gotten all of that if it wasn’t already included, but I would certainly be snacking. And I know some people can definitely eat a lot more Mickey bars than I can!
Personally, I think if you go in well rested and want to hit as many attractions as possible, you could potentially do all of them during the event. If you take advantage of the 7pm entry and do some of the other attractions earlier you’ll definitely get a lot done. People who have really good strategy could probably even ride some things multiple times.
There’s also some of the more intangible benefits to the event. While you can try to “measure” the amount of time saved from not having to wait in line and how much you can get done, even if I had multiple days available at Hollywood Studios to wait however long I wanted it’s not a comfortable thing to wait in line for 2 hours. If you’re like me after waiting that long your back starts to hurt, you have to pee, you’re thirsty, etc. So having shorter waits is just so much nicer and more comfortable.
And finally there’s something extra special about being in the park when it’s all lit up at night but also just very empty. There were people around but it was so much less than during the day. It really did feel like a private event (not like the holiday parties) and I loved just enjoying the atmosphere of Hollywood Studios without a billion people bustling around.
FAQs about After Hours at Hollywood Studios
This really seems like the perfect event for those who want to sleep in on vacation and do more at night. While it may not be something you do every trip, it’s definitely worth it to do once in awhile for those short wait times (and the free ice cream!).
Have you attended After Hours at Hollywood Studios? What sounds most appealing to you?