If you like exclusive events that make you feel like a V.I.P., you’ll probably fall in love with Disney After Hours at Hollywood Studios.
Hosted at different parks at Walt Disney World, Disney After Hours are special-ticketed events that let guests explore their favorite attractions and experience a park with very low crowds.
Not all of the After Hours events are created equal, however. And, while we don’t recommend all of them, a couple (like the one at Hollywood Studios) are definitely worth it for some people.
We also have some very good news — after an almost 3 year hiatus, this fan favorite event will be returning in 2023!
Here is info about the event, how much it costs, who should attend, and a suggested itinerary if you plan to go.
What is Disney After Hours at Hollywood Studios?
If you are a person that would love to ride your favorite headliner attractions over and over, Disney After Hours might be just the thing for you.
You may be asking yourself why you should pay for extra time in the park? Well, Disney After Hours are much more exclusive.
This is a special-ticketed event, and not only that, Disney has said over and over that the number of tickets sold is limited and from our experience, they are 100 % right.
The limited number of tickets create parks that almost feel eerily empty with hardly any lines to be found, which is perfect for anybody that loves riding lots of attractions.
While we don’t know if the check-in process will work the same in 2023, here’s what we experienced in 2019.
Aside from the low lines, another cool thing is (like with other events that require a special ticket) that purchasing a ticket to Disney After Hours at Hollywood Studios allow you to enter the park before the event begins (in this case at 7:00 p.m.), which is before the regular park closing.
That means you’ll be able to see and do a few things not included in Disney After Hours at Hollywood Studios without having to buy a regular park ticket before the event starts (more on that below).
When you arrive to the front of Hollywood Studios, you’ll be asked to check-in and be given your credentials (wristband) for the evening.
Planning on arriving earlier than than 7 p.m.?
If you have a regular park ticket (and now a theme park reservation) for that day and you’ll be spending the afternoon before the check-in time at Hollywood Studios, you won’t have to go all the way back to the front to check in.
Guests already in the park can go to Ticket Central located at the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard (near The Hollywood Brown Derby) for their wristband.
When the official park closing time arrives, guests without wristbands will be directed towards the front.
People without the proper credentials won’t be allowed to enter any of the lines, and it doesn’t take long at all for the park to clear out of non-Disney After Hours participants, though you should plan on there being some overlap between day guests and the beginning of the event.
Before the party starts & what’s available during the party
Though the ticket allows you to enter at 7:00 p.m., the event doesn’t begin until 9:30 p.m.
That time before the party starts is perfect for knocking out a few things that aren’t going to be available later that night (like seeing one of the nighttime shows).
Here’s what Disney has stated will be available (plus more) at the 2023 event:
- Alien Swirling Saucers
- Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
- Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run
- Slinky Dog Dash
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
- Toy Story Mania!
Here’s what was available during the 2019 party:
- Slinky Dog Dash
- Alien Swirling Saucers
- Toy Story Mania!
- Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
- Star Tours – The Adventures Continue
- Star Wars Launch Bay
- Character Greetings (including Star Wars characters, Toy Story Land Pals, Mickey, Minnie, and Olaf)
Here’s what wasn’t open in 2019
Some of the following has been updated, closed, or hasn’t reopened since this event was held.
- Muppet Vision 3D
- Star Wars Path of the Jedi (open seasonally)
- Some character meets that are found during the day
- Jedi Training Academy
- Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage
- Disney Junior Dance Party!
- For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
- Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
- Nighttime shows like Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular and Fantasmic!
- Voyage of the Little Mermaid
Snacks, you say?
When Disney After Hours returns in 2023, you’ll be able to enjoy ice cream novelties, popcorn, and select bottled beverages for free. There will be carts stationed throughout the park.
You can also purchase other food and beverages at select dining locations.
Here’s what we found in 2019:
You’ll find that most of the regular Table Service and Quick Service locations aren’t open (although there will be a couple spots where you can purchase some select menu items), but that may not be necessary since the event includes unlimited ice cream treats, popcorn, and bottled beverages.
You’ll typically find these at the carts and kiosks spread throughout the park, so if the line looks long at one it might be worth it to hold off and try the next one you come across.
Disney After Hours at Hollywood Studios dates
The Disney After Hours event at Hollywood Studios starts at 9:30 p.m. and ends at 12:30 a.m. in 2023. Tickets for these dates go on sale to all guests Friday, October 7, 2023.
Important: Guests of select hotels at Walt Disney World Resort can purchase tickets to Disney After Hours at Hollywood Studios as early as October 4. This advance purchase window is also available to guests of Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels and Shades of Green.
2023 Disney After Hours dates
- Wednesday, January 4, 2023
- Wednesday, January 11, 2023
- Wednesday, January 18, 2023
- Wednesday, January 25, 2023
- Wednesday, February 15, 2023
- Wednesday, February 22, 2023
- Wednesday, March 8, 2023
- Wednesday, March 22, 2023
- Wednesday, March 29, 2023
- Sunday, April 2, 2023
- Wednesday, April 5, 2023
- Wednesday, April 19, 2023
Historical Event Dates
Oftentimes you’ll find that Disney only releases event dates a few months out, which can make it difficult if you’re trying to plan your vacation.
To help we have included some historical dates below.
Keep in mind that these dates are not guarantees of what will happen in the future; rather, use them as guides as to what you might expect to see.
These are the dates the event was offered in 2019:
- Saturday, January 5, 2019¹
- Saturday, January 12, 2019¹
- Saturday, January 19, 2019¹
- Saturday, February 2, 2019¹
- Saturday, February 9, 2019¹
- Saturday, February 16, 2019¹
- Saturday, March 2, 2019¹
- Saturday, March 9, 2019¹
- Saturday, March 16, 2019²
- Saturday, March 23, 2019²
- Saturday, March 30, 2019²
- Saturday, April 6, 2019²
- Saturday, April 13, 2019²
- Wednesday, May 1, 2019² – 30th anniversary of Disney’s Hollywood Studios celebration (more info on what that means below)
- Saturday, May 4, 2019² – May the fourth (Star Wars!) celebration (more info on what that means below)
- Friday, May 10, 2019²
- Friday, May 17, 2019²
- Friday, May 24, 2019²
- Friday, May 31, 2019²
- Friday, June 14, 2019²
- Friday, June 21, 2019²
- Friday, June 28, 2019²
- Friday, July 5, 2019²
- Friday, July 12, 2019²
- Friday, July 19, 2019²
- Friday, July 26, 2019²
¹event took place from 8:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
²event took place 9:30 p.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Wednesday, May 1: Celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Hollywood Studios
In honor of the big day, guests who attended the May 1, 2019 After Hours event found special character meet opportunities (with both Pixar and Disney favorites) as well as 30th Anniversary merchandise available for purchase.
Saturday, May the Fourth (Star Wars celebration)
This was a HOT ticket for all Star Wars fans! Guests were encouraged to dress up (cosplay fans unite!) for fun meet and greets with some Star Wars favorites like duos Chewbacca and Rey & Kylo Ren and Captain Phasma in Star Wars: Launch Bay. There were also other characters in the park, fun themed merchandise, and of course lots and lots of treats.
Disney After Hours cost
Current ticket prices are:
- $129-$149 plus tax per adult or child (depending on date)
There are some discounts available, though.
Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club (DVC) members can purchase tickets for $99-$119 so that is a nice bit of savings if you are a member of either of those groups.
How to get tickets
When it comes time to purchase tickets, you have a couple of options:
You can purchase them from a travel professional like the agents at Small World Vacations.
Or, if you’d rather, tickets can be purchased online or by calling 407-827-7185.
Planning your time
The the following plan is from 2019. We’ll be sure to update if or when we attend in 2023.
Here’s how we think you can best use your time.
- Arrive at Hollywood Studios just before 7:00 p.m. so you can enter the park as soon as you can.
- Visit any of the attractions or characters that are not available after the event begins. That includes the Frozen Sing-Along and Voyage of the Little Mermaid.
- See one of the nighttime shows.
- After the event starts, spend most of your time visiting attractions and meeting characters, picking up snacks at kiosks throughout Hollywood Studios as you go. Since daytime guests will linger at the beginning of the event, consider starting your rides and character visits outside of Toy Story Land.
- Grab a PhotoPass picture inside a nearly empty park.
- Grab a bottle or two of beverages to take back to your hotel before you head out.
Who should attend?
Yes, this party is not cheap. You’re paying a lot of money for what is essentially 3 hours of park touring, plus the time between 7 p.m. and when the party starts.
But for people on short trips or guests staying offsite that weren’t able to snag Genie+ Lightning Lane selections for the attractions in Toy Story Land, and Galaxy’s Edge, it might make sense to think about adding this event into your plans.
Thinking about a trip where you’ll only have time to visit each park only once?
Then the Disney After Hours might be an even better idea.
Early Morning Magic vs. Disney After Hours
Note: Early Morning Magic is no longer being offered at this time, but here’s a historical comparison chart to help you see the differences between both events.