2024 Hollywood Studios After Hours Review & Event Recap: Is It Worth It?

    Disney After Hours has returned to Disney’s Hollywood Studios for the 2024 season and we were in attendance at the first event of the year to check it out and see if Disney After Hours is worth it for your upcoming Disney World vacation! In this article, we’ll go over the logistics, pricing, and a recap of our night, including minute-by-minute descriptions of what we did so you can get a good idea of what’s possible if you go. As always, we paid 100% for our ticket to the event.

    What is Disney After Hours?

    Disney After Hours is a special ticketed event that takes place on select nights and allows guests to explore Disney’s Hollywood Studios after regular park hours with lower wait times on some of the most popular attractions.

    In addition to lower crowds, soda, snacks, and ice cream novelties are included in the price. Disney After Hours is a unique way to experience Disney’s Hollywood Studios in a more intimate and unique way thanks to lower crowds. Whether you want to run through as many attractions as possible or enjoy a more leisurely evening at Hollywood Studios, Disney After Hours has something for everyone.

    Disney After Hours should not be confused with Extended Evening Theme Park Hours, which is a perk for guests staying at Deluxe Resorts. Disney After Hours is also not “Extra Magic Hours”, which is a discontinued perk for Disney World Resort guests.

    Hollywood Studios 2024 After Hours Dates & Pricing

    Disney After Hours will take place on nine nights between January 10th and April 10th. After Hours will mostly be on Wednesdays, with only one night scheduled for a Monday. Ticket prices for Disney After Hours at Hollywood Studios range from $155 to $175 for regularly priced tickets and $125 to $145 for Annual Passholders or Disney Vacation Club Members. There is no child pricing.

    UPDATE: Disney World announced that they would be extending Disney After Hours into the summer! Here are the updated dates and pricing.

    Event DatePrice (Excludes Tax)Price for Passholders
    and DVC Members (Excludes Tax)
    Wednesday, January 10$155$125
    Wednesday, January 24$165$135
    Wednesday, February 21$175$145
    Monday, February 26$175$145
    Wednesday, March 13$175$145
    Wednesday, March 20$175$145
    Wednesday, March 27$175$145
    Wednesday, April 3$175$145
    Wednesday, April 10$175$145
    Wednesday, May 22 (NEW)$175$145
    Wednesday, May 29 (NEW)$175$145
    Wednesday, June 12 (NEW)$165$135
    Wednesday, June 19 (NEW)$165$135
    Wednesday, June 26 (NEW)$165$135
    Wednesday, July 10 (NEW)$165$135
    Wednesday, July 17 (NEW)$165$135
    Wednesday, July 24 (NEW)$155$125
    Wednesday, July 31 (NEW)$155$125
    Wednesday, August 7 (NEW)$155$125
    Wednesday, August 14 (NEW)$145$115
    Wednesday, August 21 (NEW)$145$115
    Thursday, August 29 (NEW)$145$115

    The event is expensive, no doubt about it. It’s hard to recommend it on price alone. That said, it is a unique vibe that is otherwise not possible at the parks. At the risk of getting ahead of ourselves, we were able to ride everything during the event with time to spare.

    Purchase tickets: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/tickets/events/

    Event Hours

    The official hours for Disney After Hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios are from 9:30pm to 12:30am, but guests with a Disney After Hours ticket can enter Hollywood Studios as early as 7pm to get a head start on the fun.

    Guests with tickets to Disney After Hours do not need to make a Disney Park Pass reservation to enter the park after 7pm. If you wish to visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios before 7pm, you may need to make a Disney Park Pass reservation and you will need to purchase a separate admission.

    Check-in for the event will be at the main entrance to Disney’s Hollywood Studios starting at 6pm, with park entry beginning at 7pm.

    After Hours Food & Complimentary Treats

    Guests attending Disney After Hours can enjoy complimentary popcorn, Mickey Bars, ice cream, soda, and beverages. Snack carts around the park will have grab-and-go treats and drinks. Officially, guests can find outdoor vending carts in Toy Story Land, Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood Boulevard, and Grand Avenue. While you can enjoy Coke and more soda at these carts, the themed Coke bottles in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge are not included, so there are no carts with complimentary treats or soda on Batuu.

    If you’d like to eat something during the event (we recommend eating before and loading up on snacks during the event), you’ll find the following locations are open and have items available for purchase:

    • Milk Stand in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
    • Oga’s Cantina in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge (walk-up availability)
    • Woody’s Lunch Box in Toy Story Land
    • Select outdoor bars

    Hollywood Studios After Hours Attractions & Guide

    Last year, the After Hours event was quite novel in that it was the first After Hours event to be held since Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway had opened. There are no “new” attractions this year, and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster will likely be closed through the remaining event dates.

    2024 Hollywood Studios After Hours Guide
    After checking in, guests can grab an event guide. It’s a bit light on details, but that’s where we come in! Perhaps the spot where the guide is lacking the most is in the “Character Experiences” department. We’ll talk about characters in just a minute, but if you want a full list with photos, check out our earlier article.

    Hollywood Studios After Hours Attraction Lineup
    All attractions are officially open from 9:30pm to 12:30am. That said, After Hours guests can get into the park starting at 7pm, and they have full access to all the rides during the remaining regular park hours. In addition, the rides stay open from park close at 9pm until the event starts at 9:30pm. While there may be some day guests still in line during this time, only guests with event wristbands will be allowed in the queue once the clock strikes 9pm.

    Hollywood Boulevard

    • Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway

    Echo Lake

    • Star Tours – The Adventures Continue

    Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

    • Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
    • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance

    Toy Story Land

    • Alien Swirling Saucers
    • Slinky Dog Dash
    • Toy Story Mania

    Sunset Boulevard

    • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

    After Hours Entertainment & Characters

    Unlike at the 2023 event, there are no projection shows on the Chinese Theater in the 2024 version of After Hours. Last year, Disney offered an 11:25pm showing of Disney Movie Magic and an 11:45pm showing of Wonderful World of Animation. This year, After Hours attendees can still catch these shows, but you’ll have to get into Hollywood Studios right at 7pm for the 7:10pm showing of Disney Movie Magic, and the 7:30pm showing of Wonderful World of Animation. There is also an 8pm showing of Fantasmic that is available to After Hours attendees as well as regular day guests.

    In reality, you’ll likely have to make a choice between the Chinese Theater projection shows and getting a good seat for an 8pm showing of Fantasmic.

    While there is no official entertainment during the event, Hollywood Studios rolled out a lot more characters this year than last year. Last year, there were just a few characters to meet, but this year the event is a dream for guests who like to meet with characters. Here’s a full list of characters and where you can meet them. Note that many of the characters rotate to ensure that there is always someone to meet with throughout the night.

    Center Stage (in front of the Chinese Theater)

    • Rafiki or Stitch
    • Pinocchio or Jiminy Cricket

    Echo Lake (multiple locations)

    • Duffy
    • Chip & Dale Rescue Rangers or Thumper
    • Donald Duck or Daisy Duck
    • Goofy or White Rabbit

    Grand Avenue (multiple locations)

    • Mary Poppins & Penguin or Tiana
    • Jasmine or Pocahontas & Meeko

    Hollywood Boulevard (roaming)

    • Mickey Mouse or Minnie Mouse

    It’s worth taking a minute to give some praise to the character meet-and-greet teams. Yes, this lineup is very similar to Jollywood Nights and is essentially a group of characters that you can see in Fantasmic, but having a lineup this substantial adds undeniable value to the event. From a logistics standpoint, the team also deserves praise. Rotating characters might be frustrating for guests looking for a specific character, but it means that there is very little downtime at any one meet. Beyond that, character attendants and PhotoPass Cast Members were very efficient, which is a must during an event only three hours long.

    2024 Hollywood Studios After Hours Wait Times

    Before we reflect on our experience, we wanted to take a look at some hard data courtesy of thrill-data.com. These are the posted wait times, recorded every 15 minutes throughout the event. We’re going to include posted wait times from the 7pm mix-in through midnight (even though the event runs until 12:30am, the data doesn’t display that).

    In terms of average posted wait times during the event, here’s how long you could plan on waiting for each attraction. Note that Slinky Dog Dash was broken during a majority of the event, so data will be skewed given the fact that a lot of guests joined the queue at the end of the event, ourselves included.

    • Tower of Terror: averaged 13 minutes (42 minutes in 2023)
    • Slinky Dog Dash: averaged 36 minutes (26 minutes in 2023)
    • Smugglers Run: averaged 11 minutes (21 minutes in 2023)
    • Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway: averaged 5 minutes (14 minutes in 2023)
    • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster: closed for refurbishment (13 minutes in 2023)
    • Rise of the Resistance: averaged 11 minutes (10 minutes in 2023)
    • Alien Swirling Saucers: averaged 5 minutes (6 minutes in 2023)
    • Toy Story Mania: averaged 21 minutes (5 minutes in 2023)
    • Star Tours: averaged 5 minutes (5 minutes in 2023)

    A couple of quick observations about the average wait times during the event. First, we’ve included the average waits from our 2023 event, which took place on January 4th and it was a sold-out night. Last night was not sold out, and all of the holiday crowds have returned home. From a high-level overview, we had some wonderfully low wait times when we went on attractions. That said, some guests could’ve been stuck in longer-than-expected lines due to a few operational changes.

    First, we’ve already mentioned it, but Slinky Dog Dash was closed most of the night. As a result, more stress was put on Toy Story Mania, which had longer-than-expected wait times. Anything above 30 minutes is simply not great at an After Hours event, but if Slinky Dog Dash was operating normally, we’d see the Toy Story Mania waits come down closer to 10 minutes or so. Another significant change from 2023 to 2024 is that Tower of Terror is operating at full capacity, which lowers its average wait to a walk-on (posted 13 minutes because spooky). Finally, Smugglers Run had a significantly lower wait time. We think this might be due to the fact that last night wasn’t a sold-out event and crowds were quite low.

    Ok, with the background out of the way, let’s jump into our experience with Disney After Hours at Hollywood Studios!

    After Hours Check-In & Arrival Timing

    As we stated above, Disney After Hours officially runs from 9:30pm to 12:30pm. That said, guests with a ticket can enter Disney’s Hollywood Studios as early as 7pm without the need for a day ticket or Disney Park Pass reservations. If you want to enter before 7pm, you will need valid admission and you might need a Disney Park Pass reservation based on your ticket type and what time you want to enter the park.

    Left: guests leaving Hollywood Studios; Right: After Hours guests waiting to enter

    There are two places to check in for Disney After Hours. The most popular spot will be the Hollywood Studios main entrance. The main entrance check-in begins at 6pm and guests will be let into the park at 7pm. As seen above, there is a separate holding area for guests to wait until the 7pm mix-in time.

    In-park check-in location

    If you are already in Hollywood Studios, you can use the in-park check-in location near the Ticket Central building at the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard. There will be Guest Experience Team Cast Members dressed in blue shirts who will be able to check you into the event and give you a wristband. Because you’re already in the park, once you have your wristband, you’re free to roam around and enjoy. We did the in-park check-in, but we made sure not to do anything related to After Hours until 7pm to time up our night with the guests coming in from the main entrance.

    Depending on your goals for the evening, we would recommend showing up sometime in the 7pm hour. If you want to catch the projection shows or get a decent seat for Fantasmic, we’d recommend showing up around 6:30pm to ensure that you have plenty of time to check in and get ready to enter the park once it opens to event guests at 7pm.

    After Hours Mix-In (Shows & Low Priority Rides)

    Once the clock struck 7pm, we leisurely made our way to the Center Stage area in front of the Chinese Theater to watch both projection shows. At 7pm, many of the rides still had high wait times, and we wanted to make sure that we weren’t going to ride anything during the mix-in time that we could ride with a much shorter wait during After Hours. Why wait 55 minutes for Runaway Railway at 7pm when you’re at the park for an event that promises shorter wait times? Instead, we watched both projection shows from 7pm until around 7:45pm.

    Disney Movie Magic projection show
    Wonderful World of Animation

    From there, we decided to check in on Fantasmic and found that there was very limited space left, and a few hundred guests were pouring into the 9,300-person theater before it filled to capacity. In theory, we probably could’ve gotten into the theater if we really wanted to, but from a more practical standpoint, I’d suggest making a choice between Fantasmic and the projection shows. Of course, you can also ride some attractions or grab a bite to eat before After Hours kicks off properly.

    Crowds rushing to Fantasmic after projection shows

    With wait times starting to drop, but not quite where I’d like them to be, I made what can only be described as an odd decision. That’s right, we’re headed to the Mickey Shorts Theater to watch the Vacation Fun short that is exclusive to Hollywood Studios. Literally, the only thing I was thinking was “this closes at 8pm and it’s 7:58pm, why not?”.

    From there, we were right next door to Star Tours, and it had a 5-minute posted wait. The attraction was a walk-on and a great choice for the mix-in time and our self-imposed rule of “no rides with a longer wait time than what you’d find at After Hours”. It was around 8:30pm by the time we finished both Vacation Fun and Star Tours, so we decided to head over to Galaxy’s Edge to check in on crowds before continuing into Toy Story Land for a posted 5-minute wait at Alien Swirling Saucers.

    It was 8:39pm by the time we reached Alien Swirling Saucers and there were precisely zero people in line. This would prove to be another wonderful choice to take advantage of attractions with low waits during the mix-in. While this can’t really be considered an After Hours perk due to the park still being open to day guests, accomplishing a few attractions during the mix-in time can free up your time when the event starts if your goal, like us, was to ride everything at least once.

    With the park closing to day guests soon, and the remaining Toy Story Land rides having longer wait times than I’d like, it was back to Galaxy’s Edge. Rise of the Resistance had a lower posted wait time than either of the Toy Story Land attractions at park close, so the thought was that I could take advantage of the 9-9:30pm timeframe head start and get in line for Rise to kick off the After Hours evening. The posted wait time at park close for Rise of the Resistance was 35 minutes, and I got in line at 9:06pm.

    Myself and other After Hours attendees walked through a majority of the Resistance cave system before finding the line of day guests still waiting to be processed. That said, the wait was not long, and we were in the first pre-show room just 10 minutes after entering the queue! Of course, the entire Rise of the Resistance experience can be up to 30 minutes long depending on timing for other pre-show experiences. In our case, we went from ready room to exiting the ride in 20 minutes flat. That meant that it was 9:36pm and time for After Hours to kick off properly.

    Disney After Hours Event Begins (9:30pm to 10pm)

    If, somehow, you’re just joining us. We’ve already ridden Rise of the Resistance, Star Tours, and Alien Swirling Saucers, in addition to watching Vacation Fun and the two Chinese Theater projection shows from 7pm to 9:30pm and it’s time for After Hours to officially begin. We’ve just exited Rise of the Resistance and need to figure out where to go next.

    Checking the My Disney Experience app, we saw that the wait time for Smugglers Run was just 10 minutes, so that would be our first official stop for After Hours. Just like Alien Swirling Saucers during the mix-in time, there were exactly zero people in front of us in line for Smugglers Run, so it was a 4-minute walk from the attraction entrance to the pre-show room, stopping occasionally for a picture or two of the empty queue.

    Of course, by the time Hondo Ohnaka was finished with his spiel, there were more guests in the pre-show room. In total, Smugglers Run took us 16 minutes to experience, from entering the queue to walking back to the front of the attraction and finding the Millennium Falcon in remarkably good condition given the skill level of the pilots during the ride.

    Meeting with Characters (10pm to 11pm)

    From roughly 10pm to 11pm, we were completely distracted by character meet and greets. In that timeframe, we met with most of the characters that were available during the event. For a few characters, we took photos from a distance, but most lines were only a couple groups deep if anyone was in line at all. It was not uncommon to walk up to Goofy or Chip & Dale and find nobody in line. Thumper even walked out to greet us and walk us over to the meet-and-greet area.

    Honestly, the added characters were a nice touch. After an opening night disaster at Disney Jollywood Nights, Disney deployed numerous characters to give guests more to do. While it was very, very unlikely that After Hours would come anywhere close to the cluster that opening night of Jollywood Nights was, it was an unexpectedly wonderful surprise to find so many characters out during the After Hours event.

    Heading into the event, we were a bit worried that it was going to be a waste of money. It’s expensive and there was nothing announced for the 2024 version that would necessarily be new or a draw for guests (let alone anything bloggable), but the addition of so many characters made the 2024 version of the event even better than the 2023 version.

    In a way, Hollywood Studios needed these characters when compared to Magic Kingdom After Hours, which brought back the Disney Enchantment fireworks show exclusively for event attendees. Without the characters, I was pretty ready to write off the event and tell you to stick to an Early Entry or late-night strategy, but if you have any interest in meeting some of the characters, I’d consider After Hours. Before we draw too many conclusions, let’s continue after our Character Hour.

    Finish Riding All Attractions (11pm to 12:30am)

    With the character meet and greets complete, it was time to finish out our evening and complete the list of riding each attraction at least once. With Slinky Dog Dash still closed, we only had one viable attraction left at the back half of the park, so we decided to get into a 20-minute (posted wait) line at Toy Story Mania. It would only take us about 7 minutes to get onto the ride.

    With Toy Story Mania completed, we could then make our way back toward the Tower of Terror. First, here’s a recap of our evening so far with about an hour left in the event:

    • 7:00pm | Enter Hollywood Studios
    • 7:10pm to 7:45pm | Movie Magic & Wonderful World of Animation shows
    • 8:00pm | Vacation Fun
    • 8:15pm | Star Tours
    • 8:40pm | Alien Swirling Saucers
    • 9:06pm | Rise of the Resistance
    • 9:40pm | Smugglers Run
    • 10pm to 11pm | Characters
    • 11:00pm | Toy Story Mania

    Next up was Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway. By the time we made our way over, it was around 11:30pm and we had an hour left in the event to complete three attractions. As with most of the attractions we’ve experienced so far, Runaway Railway (posted 5 minutes) was a walk-on. In fact, I was able to ride completely alone!

    Next up, it was time to cross the park a bit and head over to Tower of Terror. Once again, I was able to ride completely alone.

    With Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster closed for a lengthy refurbishment, the final attraction to check off the list was Slinky Dog Dash. Slinky reopened around 11:30pm, shortly after we left Toy Story Land to ride Runaway Railway. By the time we had finished Tower of Terror, it was 12:10am, and a leisurely stroll over to Toy Story Land put us at the entrance to Slinky Dog Dash around 12:25am for our final ride of the night.

    Is Hollywood Studios After Hours Worth It?

    As we wrap up our coverage of the 2024 Disney After Hours event at Hollywood Studios, we want to try and answer the question of value and whether Hollywood Studios Disney After Hours is worth it or not. To recap, here’s what our full night looked like:

    • 7:00pm | Enter Hollywood Studios
    • 7:10pm to 7:45pm | Movie Magic & Wonderful World of Animation shows
    • 8:00pm | Vacation Fun
    • 8:15pm | Star Tours
    • 8:40pm | Alien Swirling Saucers
    • 9:06pm | Rise of the Resistance
    • 9:40pm | Smugglers Run
    • 10pm to 11pm | Characters
    • 11:00pm | Toy Story Mania
    • 11:30pm | Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
    • 11:52pm | Tower of Terror
    • 12:25pm | Slinky Dog Dash

    In terms of our strategy, it was basically to ride or experience everything that the event had to offer. That means that we may have spent more time running around taking photos of characters than you might, or we rode something that you plan on skipping. The fact that we were able to do everything we wanted to, at a rather leisurely pace, means that you should be able to experience everything you want to as well.

    One question we see a lot when discussing Disney After Hours is if guests should do After Hours instead of purchasing a day ticket. When talking about Disney’s Hollywood Studios as a theme park, there is so much great live entertainment that it’s tough for us to recommend doing After Hours instead of spending the day at the park. In reality, if you’re looking for the full Hollywood Studios experience, it’s probably best to buy a day ticket and employ a solid Disney Genie+ strategy. Shows like the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular are iconic and if it’s your first time at Hollywood Studios, we’d recommend a day ticket with Genie+ instead of After Hours.

    That said, if you’ve been able to Hollywood Studios before, and want to experience the park in a VIP-style atmosphere, After Hours is a great option. The character lineup adds something extra special to an already unique theme park experience. If you’ve never done a Disney After Hours event and want to give it a try, this year at Hollywood Studios would be a great event to start with.

    One notable caveat is hype. We were honestly quite surprised to see a lack of bloggers, vloggers, influencers, or whatever you want to call them on night one. As a matter of fact, there didn’t seem to be a lot of hype going into the event at all. As more information comes out about the character lineup and short waits, there might be an uptick in ticket purchases. This article isn’t going to send 1,000 people to the Disney World checkout page, but if there is enough hype from reviews, there may be more people attending the later events than there were on night one. That means that you might wait an extra 5 or 10 minutes for a ride or meet and greet than we did, but it hopefully won’t be enough to substantially impact our opinion that the event is worth it.

    As with anything, your enjoyment of Disney After Hours will depend on your expectations. Typically, we try to write as comprehensive of a review as possible so that you can have realistic expectations. What are realistic expectations for Disney After Hours at Hollywood Studios? I would say that you can realistically expect that you’ll be able to ride everything at least once. From there, you should be able to meet many of the characters that are out and about or double up on some of your favorite attractions. Honestly, that’s a pretty high bar, but it seems realistic based on our experience at the first event.

    Overall, if you’re looking for a unique experience that includes nearly no waits for rides, free snacks & soda, and some rare character meet-and-greet experiences, Disney After Hours at Hollywood Studios is a great option! For us, it was certainly worth it.

    As always, keep checking back with us here at BlogMickey.com as we continue to bring you the latest news, photos, and info from around the Disney Parks!

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