Are you considering attending a Disney After Hours Event? Not sure what it is and want more information? Here is my COMPLETE GUIDE to the Disney After Hours Event, what you can expect and my thoughts and opinions based on my experience. You can then decide if this is a good option and value for you and your family the next time you are visiting Walt Disney World.
If ever there was a better night for me to choose to attend my first Disney After Hours Event, it was Saturday May 4th, 2019, also known as Star Wars Day. Hollywood Studios has sort of become the “Star Wars” park. With the much anticipated Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opening on August 29, Star Wars has taken over. I purchased my tickets very intentionally for this night knowing it was going to be a GREAT night filled with special overlays, unique photo opportunities and a whole lot of Star Wars! Disney did not disappoint!
WHAT IS DISNEY AFTER HOURS?
Disney After Hours is a special ticketed event held on select nights at Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. Anyone can purchase tickets for an After Hours event, it is not limited to just resort Guests.
What After Hours offers is access to the park for 3 hours after the park closes, unlimited snacks and drinks and little to no wait times for almost all of the attractions offered in the park.
While I don’t know how many tickets are sold for this event overall (a very limited number of tickets are sold for each event), what I do know is this event is much smaller in scale (crowd-wise) than other special events such as Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. You essentially have the entire park to yourself. It is very VIP-like. I have never experienced anything like it – and I can’t wait to experience it again!
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
After Hours tickets cost $125 (plus tax) each per adult and child. If you purchase tickets on the day of, it’s $129 (plus tax) each per adult and child. This is a separate ticketed event and separate ticket purchase than the standard park ticket. So this will cost you additional on top of your regular park ticket purchase.
If you are an Annual Passholder or DVC Member, you do get a discount on tickets. They are $95 (plus tax) each per adult and child.
TIP: To save on cost, you can choose to spend the day of the After Hours event at Disney Springs or as a pool day at the hotel and attend the Disney After Hours event later in the evening. This way the cost is the same as a full day in the park – and even though it seems you only have 3 hours at the After Hours event, it’s plenty of time to get everything done.
TIMES/DATES FOR DISNEY AFTER HOURS?
Disney After Hours is offered on select nights at Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom.
At Hollywood Studios, the event takes place from 9:30 PM – 12:30 AM on the upcoming following nights through the end of June:
- Friday, May 17, 2019
- Friday, May 24, 2019
- Friday, May 31, 2019
- Friday, June 14, 2019
- Friday, June 21, 2019
- Friday, June 28, 2019
Hopefully Disney will add more Disney After Hours events for the future.
HOW DOES AFTER HOURS WORK?
Disney After Hours is offered, well… after hours. So it’s after the park closes that Guests with a purchased ticket can experience all the park has to offer.
The After Hours events are offered different times depending on the time of year, but always after the park closes. No matter what time the event starts, Guests with a ticket for the evening can enter into the park as early as 7:00 PM. So on the night I attended, I had 7:00 PM – 12:30 AM to enjoy Hollywood Studios.
You will receive a wristband, as pictured above, so Cast Members know you paid for the event. If you are not wearing a wristband, you will be escorted out of the park.
Keep in mind if you enter as early as 7:00PM, the park is still open to all day Guests, so it may be busy and crowded until the park closes and the actual After Hours event begins. However, if you do enter early, you have a few extra hours to take advantage of all the park has to offer .
The evening I attended, I entered the park at 7:00 PM, but unfortunately the skies opened up pouring so hard I had to duck into the closest store and wait it out until it ended. The thunder and lightening was pretty bad, so most of the outdoor attractions closed temporarily until it cleared up. Attending one of these events is always a risk when it comes to weather. Luckily for me, it cleared up in plenty of time for 9:30 PM when the event started. But I did miss out on about 90 minutes worth of park time.
Most all of the attractions in Hollywood Studios are open and available during the event. One of the biggest draws to this event is the fact that there are little to no wait for attractions.
During my visit, there were less than 5 minute waits for everything including Slinky Dog Dash (so awesome!!), Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’Roller Coaster! And the coolest part (at least I thought!), was you skipped the attraction pre-shows in Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror. You head straight on through to the attraction itself!
Here is a full list of the attractions/characters available during the night I attended. They are subject to change for future events.
- 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
- Fantasia Mickey Mouse
- Minnie Mouse
- BB-8 (Launch Bay)
- Chewbacca (Launch Bay)
- Kylo Ren (Launch Bay)
- Stormtroopers (I don’t know if this is standard or if it was because it was “Star Wars Day” that the Stormtroopers were available for pictures)
- Jessie & Woody (Toy Story Land)
- Buzz Lightyear (Toy Story Land)
Aside from having 3 full hours almost all to yourself in the park, little to no waits for all attractions and character greetings, you also receive unlimited snacks and drinks. Mickey bars, popcorn, soda and water are available throughout the parks, so you can pick up whatever you choose as you are headed to the next attraction!
MY THOUGHTS – IS IT WORTH IT?
YES!! I cannot stress this enough! While I have not yet experienced Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom or Animal Kingdom, I can surely vouch for Hollywood Studios.
I had a blast – I mean how could I not?! I essentially had the park to myself – with no lines for the attractions and little to no waits for characters. This is almost unheard of these days in the parks. Actually, I almost never take pics with characters anymore because of the wait times. So this was a real treat!
Crowds are growing exponentially at the parks, lines are long and it’s sometimes hard to get through all of the attractions in one day, so having this opportunity is a huge deal! It saves so much time! As a matter of fact, during my visit I had an entire separate day planned for Hollywood Studios, but since I was able to accomplish everything during the Disney After Hours event, I decided to return to Epcot on my extra day instead.
Disney After Hours runs late, so it may not be for anyone. Those who like to turn in early or have small children that may not make it the whole night might want to really consider if this is worth it for you. You will return to your hotel or home well after midnight.
I will recommend this event time and time again! If you have the opportunity or are considering it, just do it! You won’t be sorry!