After Hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a hard ticket event with limited attendance and short wait times for Walt Disney World’s most popular attractions. This post shares our experience, info about the event, 2024 dates & details, tips & tricks, and whether it’s worth the money. (Updated January 18, 2024.)
After Hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios takes place select nights now until August 29, 2024. This event takes place from 9:30 PM to 12:30 AM. In addition to that, After Hours attendees can get a head start on the fun by entering the park at 7:00 PM—a couple of hours before the event officially begins!
The first After Hours at DHS of 2024 has now been held, and by all on-the-ground accounts, crowds were very sparse. Obviously, this is great news for those who attended the event–they got to ride rides with minimal waits, and next to no congestion in the parks. Let’s start with a night one update on the event before we dig into dates & details…
The biggest change for the 2024 After Hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is the presence of rare characters, including the following:
Duffy the Disney Bear
Pinocchio & Jiminy Cricket
Mary Poppins & Penguin
Pinocchio & Meeko
Chip ‘n’ Dale Rescue Rangers
Glam Daisy & Donald Duck
Other characters were also present, including but not limited to Minnie & Mickey Mouse (normal, non-glam), but those don’t qualify as rare. Regardless, all of these are additions as compared to last year and a nice ‘plussing’ of the After Hours event for 2024. These short waits for characters and rides are certainly not what you’d encounter during a normal day in the park.
In the past, After Hours events have not sold well at first…until reports emerged of the park being totally dead and pretty much every ride being a near walk-on. Those gloriously low crowds caused more people to purchase tickets, which in turn meant more crowding for subsequent nights.
Just something to keep in mind as you see photos on social media or read reports of how Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a ‘ghost town’ during After Hours in 2024. Between that and the laundry list of rare characters, a bunch of Walt Disney World fans might be incentivized to purchase tickets for subsequent parties, leading to larger crowds over the course of the 2024 After Hours at DHS ‘season.’
Currently, no dates of After Hours are sold out and, anecdotally, we’ve heard and seen far less interest in the event as compared to previous years. That could change quickly, especially if the early reports function as free marketing for the event. In other words, what you see is not necessarily what you get. In the immortal words of Lieutenant Bek‘s Mon Calamari relative, it’s a trap! (Kidding, but couldn’t resist the reference.)
We’re not trying to rain on any parades–we happen to enjoy After Hours at DHS–just trying to properly set expectations. If you see the dates below start selling out, it’s safe to expect higher attendance. To be sure, it’s still a fundamentally low-crowds event and wait times are going to be low even on sold out nights–just not quite that low! This is not an attempt to discourage you from attending–After Hours is a fantastic splurge and most attendees rate it very highly.
With that in mind, here’s what you need to know about the 2024 After Hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Ticket prices vary based on date:
Price (Excludes Tax)
Price for Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members (Excludes Tax)
Wednesday, January 10, 2024
Wednesday, January 24, 2024
Wednesday, February 21, 2024
Monday, Feburary 26, 2024
Wednesday, March 13, 2024
Wednesday, March 20, 2024
Wednesday, March 27, 2024
Wednesday, April 3, 2024
Wednesday, April 10, 2024
Wednesday, May 22, 2024
Wednesday, May 29, 2024
Wednesday, June 12, 2024
Wednesday, June 19, 2024
Wednesday, June 26, 2024
Wednesday, July 10, 2024
Wednesday, July 17, 2024
Wednesday, July 24, 2024
Wednesday, July 31, 2024
Wednesday, August 7, 2024
Wednesday, August 14, 2024
Wednesday, August 21, 2024
Thursday, August 29, 2024
These are some pretty steep price increases as compared to the previous year, with After Hours ticket costs up by around $30 to $36, depending upon the date. This was already an expensive event before, and now it’s even pricier.
Whether the event is “worth it” is obviously subjective. We’ve been saying for years that we view this as a quasi-VIP experience and think it’s one of the few upcharge offerings at Walt Disney World that is worth the money. However, at these new higher price points, it’s a really tough sell. (We’ll be voting with our wallets, and not doing it.)
With all of that said, every single date of After Hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios sold out last year, so it’s easy to see how they justified such massive price increases. We may not agree with value proposition anymore, but clearly, plenty of other guests do.
One of the hallmarks of the After Hours events at Walt Disney World is the unlimited ice cream novelties, popcorn, and bottled beverages. These are all included in the cost of this ticketed event–you simply walk up to outdoor vending carts stationed throughout DHS and grab a Premium Mickey Bar, Coca-Cola, or whatever else.
You can also purchase food and beverages at select dining locations, but this is typically a terrible use of the limited event time. Eat before you arrive or fill up on ice cream and other treats on-the-go during After Hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
During After Hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, attractions will include:
The operative question about After Hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is how many rides can you accomplish? Narrowing that a bit further, we assume most people reading this are concerned with headliners like Slinky Dog Dash–and how much time can be saved by paying to attend After Hours versus a normal day at DHS.
During the last After Hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, we did the following:
Slinky Dog Dash (x3)
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster (x3)
Tower of Terror (x2)
Alien Swirling Saucers (x1)
Toy Story Mania (x1)
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (x1)
That’s a total of 11 attractions, and we could’ve easily done more if efficiency were our lone goal and we didn’t crisscross the park as much.
We also ate about a half dozen ice cream novelties and had a few Cokes, each of which are also unlimited/included in the cost of admission during the event. You can learn more about pricing and 2024 Disney After Hours dates on the official website.
As noted above, After Hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios does not require regular theme park admission and allows entry as early as 7 p.m. As with the Disney’s Hollywood Studios version of the event, the special event begins 30 minutes after official park closing–at 9:30 p.m., and runs for 3 hours until 12:30 a.m. This means you can see Fantasmic or knock out a few less-popular attractions during the mix-in that starts before After Hours officially kicks off.
The last time we attended, we did Slinky Dog Dash as soon as the event officially began. Surprisingly, the line had already nearly or totally cleared of day guests. Unfortunately, everyone else who had arrived for After Hours had this same idea, so the line was roughly 10 minutes long. Incredibly short by Slinky Dog Dash standards, but our longest line of the night.
We probably could’ve done a bit more variety and fewer rides on the roller coasters, but those are the things with the longest daytime waits, so they were our focus. Just with the top two items, we conservatively saved 10 hours of time in line (give or take).
Of course, not many people are going to choose to wait in line an hour-plus for Slinky Dog Dash twice in the same day, much less six times, so the amount of time “saved” here is slightly deceptive. I mean, we also had countless Mickey Premium Bars, bottled water, and Coke–the value of which would’ve exceeded $50 were we paying out of pocket, but I would never buy a bottle of water at Walt Disney World in the first place, much less 6 of them in a day.
Throughout the night, the only attraction with any line was Slinky Dog Dash, which was at its longest at the beginning of the night. Tower of Terror also had a wait in the boiler room, but that’s a result of how it loads and not a function of crowds.
Everything else was a near walk-on for the entirety of the night. On Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, we had our own train once, and most rides on that were less than one-third full. The good news with both RnRC and Tower of Terror is that the pre-shows were optional. We watched each once (because unlike Flight of Passage, they’re awesome) and then skipped both on subsequent rides.
Despite this, Disney’s Hollywood Studios felt slightly busier than the After Hours at EPCOT event. Part of this is a function of park size, DHS being far more compact. We’d also hazard a guess that there were more attendees at the Disney’s Hollywood Studios event.
Going forward, we’d anticipate that attendance will increase at the After Hours as positive word of mouth spreads. However, even if double the number of tickets are sold, we still wouldn’t expect the event to feel significantly different. Most ride vehicles (save for Slinky Dog Dash) were being dispatched partially empty, so there was plenty of capacity to spare in those ‘walk-on’ wait times.
It’s also worth noting that none of Disney’s Hollywood Studios major entertainment offerings run exclusively during After Hours. This almost necessitates a return visit to the park a different day, unless you’ve already ‘been there, done that’ with all of the shows.
During that different day, we’d also recommend doing any attractions that are really lengthy from start to finish (Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run) or that don’t offer tremendous time savings during After Hours (Star Tours).
In terms of tips, our advice would be to start at the Sunset Boulevard rides and end with Toy Story Land. The latter was definitely busiest right after fireworks, and by the time that crowd cycled through Slinky Dog Dash a couple of times, it pretty much dissipated.
Our advice would be to plan your arrival to Toy Story Land for the second half of the event. At this point, your average cycle time (wait time plus ride plus exiting) for Slinky Dog Dash or Toy Story Mania should be at or under 15 minutes, and at or under 5 minutes for Alien Swirling Saucers or the meet & greets.
Another big piece of advice for After Hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is to save Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance until near the end of the evening. This is going to be the reason that many or most people purchase tickets to After Hours at DHS, and a lot of them are going to prioritize it. The line will almost certainly be worst early-on, and significantly shorter in the last hour of the event.
Our expectation is that a lot of guests will go in with the expectation of doing “unlimited” rides on Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, with grandiose ideas of riding it dozens of times during the event. That is, until reality sets in.
In all likelihood, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance will start out with wait times of at least 30 minutes when the event starts (if not longer). People will endure that once or maybe twice, before moving on to other attractions. Others will keep riding, but burnout will inevitably set-in for a couple of reasons.
First, as great as Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is–and we think it’s the #1 attraction at Walt Disney World–it’s not incredibly re-rideable in the back-to-back-to-back (etc.) sense. It’s a great storytelling attraction, not one that delivers thrills or prompts a visceral reaction.
Second, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is long. It’s a multi-phase attraction, and it won’t be possible to skip all or perhaps any of the pre-shows during After Hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We’ve found that even with perfect timing, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance takes 18 minutes to experience from start-to-finish.
That’s the absolute best case scenario. More likely, those attendees who line up early are going to sink almost an hour into one ride on Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. Those who do two rides back to back at the start of the event are likely to eat up nearly 90 minutes of their After Hours time. Few will do 3 consecutive rides as a result.
Even if you did Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance from the moment you could enter DHS until the conclusion of After Hours, it’s likely you’d only manage about 10 rides on the Galaxy’s Edge headliner. So not exactly “unlimited” rides no matter how you slice it. (Honestly, that’s fine by us. We absolutely adore Rise of the Resistance, but I couldn’t do it 10 consecutive times. It would start to lose its luster and the magic would wear off. For me, twice during the evening is pretty much perfect.)
Accordingly, our strong recommendation is saving Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance until the very end. If you only want to do the attraction once, you can jump in line 1 minute before After Hours ends. This will effectively extend the event, as you’ll do your waiting in line and most of the lengthy attraction duration after the event has officially ended.
If you want to do Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance twice, consider doing it once around 90 minutes before the event concludes, then bounce over to Toy Story Land for a bit, and then return to Rise of the Resistance again 1 minute before After Hours ends. This is a better balanced approach, and also mitigates the risk of downtime (if you wait until the very end, there’s always a chance that Rise of the Resistance will be down and not come back up during the event–it still suffers from reliability and downtime woes).
We’d also recommend sticking to one area, doing that on repeat, and not returning. Even though Disney’s Hollywood Studios isn’t huge, the walk from Toy Story Land or Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge to Sunset Boulevard is a time eater.
We didn’t follow our own advice here, instead doing each a couple of times, grabbing some of the included refreshments, and then slowly meandering back towards the other while eating our Mickey’s Premium Bars or what have you.
After Hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios bears similarities to the Animal Kingdom event. As is the case there, this is a headliner-heavy event. Whereas you can go for variety at Magic Kingdom, the lineup here is more limited. To get the most value from a time-savings perspective out of After Hours at DHS, you need to be interested in riding Slinky Dog Dash and/or Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster multiple times.
We think that’s really what the event comes down to. You certainly don’t need to ride them both a combined 10 times as we did, but you’ll want to do them more than a few times. If you’re a roller coaster junkie, this is a great event, and the fact that both of these headliners are near walk-ons (and that you can skip the RnRC pre-show) means you could do loops of both and get your ride counts into the double digits over the course of the night.
Whether you should do After Hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios comes down to your personal attraction priorities (are you a roller coaster junkie who wants to loop the two major ones here?), budget, and averseness to crowds. If you hate crowds and are willing to splurge on ~$175 per person tickets, After Hours at DHS will be a good event for you.
For thrill junkies, doing Slinky Dog Dash or Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster on repeat is a great strategy–and one that will result in a high ride count, as both of these attractions are short duration and can be looped pretty easily. In particular, Slinky Dog Dash is a great attraction to do during After Hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, as it has no pre-show and normally is a top 5 attraction in all of Walt Disney World in terms of the posted wait time! DHS is also the most difficult Genie+ Lightning Lane to book, so doing After Hours instead relieves that pressure.
Ultimately, there is no “perfect” approach to efficiently approaching Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Genie+ works well, but not nearly to the degree that it does at Magic Kingdom–and it requires staying the whole day at DHS due to return windows getting pushed out. Early Entry is another excellent option, but will only help you hit ~3 headliners. Showing up late is another savvy strategy, but it also won’t allow you to get everything done, let alone multiple rides on headliners.
This leaves the After Hours event as the best way to efficiently “do” DHS in a frustration-free way. Obviously, this comes with a very high price, so After Hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios isn’t going to be “worth it” for most or even many Walt Disney World guests…but that’s kind of the point. A limited capacity event keeps things manageable, and results in a more pleasant experience for those who can afford it. We won’t be doing the 2024 After Hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but if you have a big budget and don’t mind splurging, this event is fun and a good minimize stress and headaches that often occur at DHS.
What do you think of Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ After Hours event? Planning on doing the 2024 After Hours at DHS to see how many times you can ride Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance in a single night? Is this something that interests you, or is the cost too high to justify? How many times would you want to do the two coasters in a single night? Do you agree or disagree with our review of the event? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!