(Last updated January 24, 2019)
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 3 parks at Walt Disney World (Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom), 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.
Here's why we think so plus info on what it is, how much it costs, who should attend, and a suggested itinerary if you plan to go.
In this article
With several good attractions available, including the very popular Toy Story Land attractions and characters, this event can save you a lot of time. The park manages to feel both empty and alive at the same time, something that sets it apart from the other After Hours events. Highly recommended for people short on time, especially if the daytime shows aren’t a huge priority.
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 when Disney offers that same perk for free?
But, although the names are similar (which can make it confusing!) "Disney After Hours" and "Extra Magic Hours" are definitely not the same thing.
Extra Magic Hours vs. Disney After Hours
Extra Magic Hours are one of the onsite benefits of staying at a Walt Disney World resort hotel.
They are 100% free and give you an extra an hour (for a.m. Extra Magic Hours) or 2 hours (for p.m. Extra Magic Hours) in a park.
Considering that there are thousands and thousands of onsite rooms (with each one holding multiple people) and typically only 1 park with Extra Magic Hours per day, you can see where the crowds for those would be very heavy.
So, yes, you get the extra time for free, but you also may have to deal with heavy crowds which dramatically minimizes the value of this "perk" for onsite guests.
But, that is not the case with Disney After Hours.
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.
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 Disney's 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 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 8:30 or 9 p.m. (depending on the day you attend).
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 is available during the 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)
And here's what's not open
- 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?
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 time for Disney After Hours at Hollywood Studios depends upon the date. You can see what those are below.
These are the dates the event is being 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
¹event takes place from 8:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
²event takes place 9 p.m. to midnight
Disney After Hours cost
Ticket prices aren't cheap - $125 plus tax (if purchased in advance) or $129 plus tax if purchased the day of the event.
And, unfortunately, there isn't a price difference for kids. That's the price for everybody ages 3 and up.
There are some discounts available, though.
Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club members can purchase tickets for $95, 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 Perfect Story Travel. Just indicate in the notes field that you'd like to buy Disney After Hours tickets and one of the amazing agents there will get back to you ASAP.
Or, if you'd rather, tickets can be purchased online or by calling 407-827-7185.
Planning your time
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 FastPasses for the attractions in Toy Story Land, 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
Like Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios offers Early Morning Magic which is a specially ticketed event that lets you enter the park early to ride the attractions and meet the characters in Toy Story Land.
Here's a comparison chart to help you decide which one might be the best fit for your family.