In this post, we review Hollywood Studios After Hours, a ticketed event at Hollywood Studios that allows guests access to the park in the late night hours with lower crowds. We cover everything from purchasing tickets to how long the waits are. Read on to learn all about Hollywood Studios After Hours!
Hollywood Studios After Hour Basics
I’ll start with the basics before we move on to my itinerary for the night.
What is Hollywood Studios After Hours?
Hollywood Studios After Hours is a ticketed event held at Hollywood Studios on select dates that allows guests to access the park and select attractions “after hours”—that is, for three hours after the regular Hollywood Studios park hours.
Like Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom, guests without a ticket are not allowed in the park during After Hours. Disney doesn’t seem to actively kick them out, but they’ll need an After Hours wristband to do pretty much anything other than shop.
How much does Hollywood Studios After Hours Cost?
Tickets cost $133.13 per person (or $137.39 if purchased the day of the event). Disney World annual passholders and Disney Vacation Club members may purchase discounted tickets for $101.18 per person (day-of purchases are full day-of price).
What rides are open during Hollywood Studios After Hours?
The current attraction list, according to Disney, is: Slinky Dog Dash, Alien Swirling Saucers, Toy Story Mania, Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Star Tours, and Star Wars Launch Bay. Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy was also open during my visit. You can read more about the rides of Hollywood Studios here.
The following character greetings are also available: Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, BB-8, Chewbacca, Kylo Ren, Olaf, Buzz, Woody, Jessie. FastPass+ is neither active or necessary during After Hours.
If you’re traveling with a small child, you may not find this event worth it because Hollywood Studios isn’t packed with good attractions for toddlers to start with. Most every ride at Hollywood Studios has a height requirement, though the character greetings are a good option at this event.
Other Hollywood Studios After Hours Perks
During Hollywood Studios After Hours, guests have access to select free snack items, particularly popcorn, ice cream bars, and some bottled beverages. Just walk up to any open snack stand and make your request. Select larger food items may be available for purchase.
Hollywood Studios After Hour Dates & Times
Hollywood Studios After Hour dates are only announced a few weeks in advance and are usually one day a week. You can view the upcoming schedule here. I would expect the event to continue in its current form through July and August, but once Galaxy’s Edge opens on August 29, we’ll likely see it either pause or reimagined in some way.
Hollywood Studios After Hours starts at 9PM or 9:30PM, depending on the date, and lasts three hours. After Hours guests can enter the park as early as 7PM.
Buying After Hours Tickets
The easiest way to purchase Hollywood Studios After Hours tickets is going to be via the Disney World website. Tickets cost $133.13 per person (or $137.39 if purchased the day of the event). Disney World annual passholders and Disney Vacation Club members may purchase discounted tickets for $101.18 per person (day-of purchases are full day-of price).
I purchased via the front desk at Pop Century when I arrived. The tickets were linked to my My Disney Experience account and I saw it in the app even before he printed the confirmation. To date, I haven’t seen any discount offers besides the AP and DVC discounts, but you might want to check discount Disney World ticket brokers to see if any have popped up.
My Hollywood Studios After Hours Experience
While I think this entire thrilling narrative is worth a read, I get that some of you are just here for some wait times. Here’s how long I waited for every attraction (waits are time from when I enter the queue to when I board the ride):
9:09PM Alien Swirling Saucers — 6 minutes
9:20 Toy Story Mania — 4 minutes
9:35 Slinky Dog Dash — 9 minutes
9:58 Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster — 6 minutes
10:11 Tower of Terror — 3 minutes
10:30 Star Tours — 3 minutes
10:52 Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy — 5 minutes (plus 6 minute pre-show)
11:23 Slinky Dog Dash — 9 minutes
11:37 Alien Swirling Saucers — 3 minutes
11:45 Toy Story Mania — 4 minutes
I visited Hollywood Studios After Hours for a special Star Wars Day (May 4) edition. Besides a few extra character greetings, this was mostly the same as the standard offering. The hours for Hollywood Studios After Hours were 9:30PM to 12:30AM this night.
I arrived at 8:45PM, having taken the bus from Animal Kingdom. Wristband distribution had already started at the gates. Presumably it starts at 7PM, as that’s when After Hours guests can begin to enter the park.
Above and below are the brochure for the event. Again, remember this is for the special May 4 edition.
There was also wristband distribution at Ticket Central—right at the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard.
Hollywood Studios “closed” at 9:00PM today. I use quotes because Fantasmic! and Wonderful World of Animation were still held at 9PM and 9:05PM, and Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular was at 9:30PM.
Only guests with After Hours wristbands could access the rides after 9PM, though. Cast Members were also stationed at the entrance to Toy Story Land, checking wristbands. I skipped the nighttime entertainment and started with Alien Swirling Saucers at 9:09PM. I was on at 9:15PM.
I went over to Toy Story Mania, which I waited four minutes for. At 9:34PM, Slinky Dog Dash had a posted 15 minute wait. I waited nine minutes, and with 2 hours and 45 minutes left in my night, I’d finished Toy Story Land.
I walked over to Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, figuring that Toy Story Land would see a bit of a surge as the shows wrapped up and late arrivals for After Hours showed up.
The wait was posted at 5 minutes, and I was on in about that at 10:04PM. Notably, you don’t have to watch the pre-shows during After Hours. The doors in Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror were open throughout, so you can walk straight through the pre-shows.
I honestly didn’t even take the time to notice whether the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster pre-show was playing at all. The Tower of Terror video in the library was playing, but with the lights on. So even if you wanted to enjoy the pre-show, you’re not getting the full experience.
At 10:11PM I got in line for Tower of Terror which had its standard minimum wait of 13 minutes. I was on the ride at 10:14PM.
I briefly considered Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy (which was open but not on the list online), but decided to push it later. For most guests it won’t be worth the time, but it was new to me and I just wanted to try and see as many things as possible during After Hours.
I went over to Star Tours, which took three minutes to get on, grabbing a Mickey Bar (included with price of admission) along the way. To get snacks, simply approach any open snack kiosk and ask.
This Star Wars person was doing greetings. The longest ride wait at 10:23PM was Slinky Dog Dash at 25 minutes. Star Wars character greetings with Kylo Ren and Chewbacca were at 45 minutes because it was May 4.
After Star Tours I actually only had Light McQueen’s Racing Academy left unless I wanted to start repeating attractions. I went over and watched that, which ate up a big chunk of time. Having gotten on Star Tours at 10:33PM, I wasn’t done with Lightning McQueen’s until 11:13PM.
Safe to say if you’ll be at Hollywood Studios any other time, you don’t need to visit Lightning McQueen during After Hours. If not, I’d probably save it for last after the other rides and any character greetings you want to do during After Hours.
With about 75 minutes left, I decided to double up on Toy Story Land. I started with Slinky Dog Dash, thinking it might climb a little as people headed there to finish their evenings. At 11:23PM the posted wait was 15 minutes, and I was on the ride at 11:32PM. I moseyed over to Alien Swirling Saucers, basically walking onto that one at 11:40PM.
I finished up my second Toy Story Land circuit walking onto Toy Story Mania at 11:49PM. With my last half hour, I just walked around the park. The longest waits at midnight were the Star Wars greetings (because May 4).
Here’s a look at the waits at 11:46PM on a regular After Hours (I took the screenshot in the Central Time Zone):
There were droids out and about for May 4. Safe to say these will be a fun part of Galaxy’s Edge if there’s ever enough space for them.
This Star Wars droid was meeting people.
I grabbed some popcorn.
Stormtroopers were greeting people by the forthcoming Galaxy’s Edge entrance by Grand Avenue.
Much of the park was quiet at this hour.
Sunset Boulevard was relatively busy.
A Tower of Terror projection show, Star Wars: Galactic Destinations was back. Personally I much prefer Sunset Seasons Greetings at Flurry of Fun.
Hollywood Studios After Hours Conclusions
On the one hand, I was pleasantly surprised with how short the waits were at my After Hours experience. Obviously it might vary by day and time, and I saw on May 4 that those Star Wars greetings lines got pretty long, but the only ride I waited more than 6 minutes for was Slinky Dog Dash, and that was only 9 minutes both times.
On the other hand, Hollywood Studios After Hours is really expensive. If you’re vacationing with a family of four, it might be more cost effective to add an entire night to your trip rather than to pay for Hollywood Studios After Hours.
Of course, an extra day at Hollywood Studios isn’t the same as After Hours. There’s a difference between a 9 minute wait in the cool evening and a 90 minute wait in the blistering sun.
The other downside is that After Hours goes so late that it might impact the rest of your trip. Not getting to bed until after 1:30AM, I woke up for Extra Magic Hours the following morning (ironically at Hollywood Studios) and spent much of the day in a daze.
May 4 aside, After Hours doesn’t have the unique offerings that some of Disney’s other ticketed events do, but maybe that’s a good thing. It’s actually quite difficult to fully experience Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party in a single night. Hollywood Studios After Hours is incredibly straightforward.
While I wouldn’t tell anyone they must avoid After Hours, it is definitely best for people on shorter visits who can’t make time for a full Hollywood Studios day. If you have a full Hollywood Studios day, then you probably don’t stand to gain much from After Hours.
The elephants in the room are Slinky Dog Dash, rope drop, and FastPass+. If you don’t have a FastPass+ for Slinky Dog Dash, you’ll need to rope drop it. To be on the first running of Slinky Dog Dash the next morning, I was on the 6:45AM bus.
If avoiding that experience sounds like it’s worth $133 per person to you, then After Hours is a good option.
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