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, 2023 dates & details, tips & tricks, and whether it’s worth the money. (Updated December 19, 2022.)
This is the latest of the After Hours events, which debuted at Magic Kingdom a few years ago. For 2023, After Hours is once again returning to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, with dates in the winter and spring, with more likely to come.
After Hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios takes place select nights from January 4, 2023 until April 19, 2023. 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!
Ticket prices for After Hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios vary based on date:
Price (Excludes Tax)
Price for Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members (Excludes Tax)
Wednesday, January 4, 2023
Wednesday, January 11, 2023
Wednesday, January 18, 2023
Wednesday, January 25, 2023
Wednesday, February 15, 2023
Wednesday, February 22, 2023
Wednesday, March 8, 2023
Wednesday, March 22, 2023
Wednesday, March 29, 2023
Sunday, April 2, 2023
Wednesday, April 5, 2023
Wednesday, April 19, 2023
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:
Alien Swirling Saucers
Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
Slinky Dog Dash
Star Tours – The Adventures Continue
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
Toy Story Mania!
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
There’s one notable difference between the 2023 After Hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the last time the event was held is the ride roster. This is the first time that Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, and Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway will be open for After Hours.
This is incredibly noteworthy, especially for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, which normally sells Individual Lightning Lane access and has one of the longest wait times at Walt Disney World. In fact, DHS has several of the most popular attractions in all of Walt Disney World, with the highest average wait times among all 4 parks!
As such, 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 (x6)
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster (x4)
Tower of Terror (x2)
Alien Swirling Saucers (x1)
Toy Story Mania (x1)
Buzz Lightyear Meet & Greet (x1)
Woody & Jessie Meet & Greet (x1)
That’s a total of 16 things, and we could’ve easily done more if efficiency were our lone goal and we didn’t crisscross the park as much. With Annual Passholder pricing of $99 or up to $149 regular pricing at our event, that breaks down to around $6 to $10 per experience.
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 2023 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 tended to be around 3-7 minutes, with a longer line at the beginning of the night and a large surge immediately after the fireworks. 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 Animal Kingdom 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.
The biggest difference you might see is a 7-10 minute wait for Slinky Dog Dash instead of a 3-7 minute wait. We’ll keep an eye on crowds to see what happens there. Now that Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge has debuted and its headliners are included, the 2023 After Hours event will almost certainly be busier than the last time After Hours was held at DHS.
Save for a few meet & greets, 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 (Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror) 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 preliminary advice for the 2023 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 likely won’t be possible to skip all or perhaps any of the pre-shows during the 2023 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, After Hours at DHS will be a great event for you.
It’s totally a matter of personal preference, but we think the 2023 After Hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios event will offer much more value than it previously did now that Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, and Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway are included. While all of those are long-duration attractions (and we might consider skipping two of them during After Hours as a result), it’s great to have access to them.
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 2023 After Hours event as the best way to efficiently “do” Disney’s Hollywood Studios in a frustration-free way. Obviously, this comes with a high price, but in our estimation, the After Hours event is more likely to be “worth it” at DHS than any other park. (Of course, Magic Kingdom is the most iconic park at Walt Disney World, so it’s hard to argue with that as a good option.) It’s on this basis that we are recommending the 2023 After Hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios to most guests who have it in their budget. This event is a great way to splurge and 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 2023 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!