After Hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Many times during the planning process with folks, I’m asked the question….”Is it worth it?”
Well, in the case of After Hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios the answer is a resounding YES! This week at Walt Disney World, I was lucky enough to experience this event on the 30th Anniversary of Hollywood Studios! These types of events are just as their name implies, after park closing and extend into the wee hours of the night. Our particular event officially started at 9:30pm and lasted until 12:30 am. As with most hard ticket events, after checking in and obtaining wristbands, we were granted access earlier than 9:30pm. This event was not sold out.
Upon check in for these hard ticket events, you will need to both scan in at the kiosks and also check in with the guest services team to get your special wristband. I did find that even with the near zero crowd at this event, cast members try diligently to check for wristbands at every entry point and more.
We were easily able to obtain the special event and passholder merchandise without limited availability or long checkout lines, which was amazing because earlier in the day, there were terrible lines for the merchandise and it’s availability was questionable. From my experience, it seems that they do hold back some of this merchandise for the special event guests which is an amazing perk!
Because of the park still being open when we entered, most folks were enjoying the last normal schedule projection and fireworks displays, so our plan of action……RIDES! We headed straight to Tower of Terror followed by Rock n Roller coaster! We completed both in less than 30 minutes!! This proved to be the best plan because once we exited RNR, we were met by a flow of guests headed to that area.
Next we headed toward the Toy Story Land area, but with almost no one there, we could casually go thru Animation Courtyard, Municiburg and other locations along the path to greet with multiple characters. There were no more than 4-6 guests in line for characters if that. Keep in mind, these special events are sometimes opportunities meet and greet with characters that are not normally available during regular park day schedules. Rare character meets are definitely a huge bonus to these special hard tickets events in my character chasing opinion!
Throughout our stroll toward Toy Story Land, there are complimentary snack carts set up as well as special addition treats available for purchase. The complimentary offerings during this event included bottled water, Coke, Sprite, and Diet Coke as well as popcorn and UNLIMITED MICKEY BARS!!!! I only had a few! All of these offerings are available throughout the duration of the event.
For me, Toy Story Land was the highlight of this event. There were no wait times for any of the three attractions inside the land. We had completed all three and another Mickey Bar pitstop in a very short period of time. Buzz, Woody, and Jessie were out greeting guests with very small lines as opposed to any normal day with those particular greets. This is without a doubt the most stress free way to visit this popular land. It’s usually wall to wall people, with high wait times, little shade and very few seating options, but remove the crowd and it’s perfection! This access is well worth its $125 price tag for regular guests (some After Hours events do honor DVC or AP discounts).
We had a few funny encounters with Clarabelle Cow, Donald and Daisy on our trek toward Star Tours. You’ll definitely want to check out my live video of that on our Facebook page. Donald apparently thought Clarabelle was looking extra cute and Miss Daisy was having none of it. We got a great laugh from it! It’s so nice to see the characters sort of roaming that way. It made me reminisce of back in that day when characters could roam without being mobbed. Myself and my travel companions did agree as well that this event’s atmosphere made us all think back to the days when this park was first opened and how casual and care free it was to be there without long lines and large crowds. I’m glad I could experience that, and breathe in the feeling of old MGM, especially with the impending opening of Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge. The whole vibe gave me so much nostalgia, thinking back to when my kids were small and running to get paper fastpasses was the fun thing to do, actors roaming the streets and that big blue hat sat in the courtyard.
Our mission was to hit Star Tours before we headed to the courtyard to watch the brand new projection show, but we were happily detoured when in the distance we spotted a few Ewoks greeting guests! What a rare find! We could not pass up the opportunity to interact! The wait time for these little guys was the longest if the night, only about 10 minutes. I was so excited to meet these little guys, especially for my Star Wars loving clients! I knew you guys would really appreciate this greet!
After our Ewok encounter, we headed to end our night by watching the special encore showing of Hollywood’s brand new projection show, Wonderful World of Animation. This one is definitely not disappointing! It’s introduction is by the Mouse himself and runs through some amazing films, complete with unbelievable projections and of course pyrotechnics. Would it even be a Disney nighttime show without it?!?!
Overall, I was so very glad to have experienced this wonderful event. I think one of these events would be an amazing addition to your Walt Disney World vacation whether as a family event, date night, or special gathering of friends. Like I mentioned, I feel it is most definitely worth the price tag. With the exception of Magic Kingdom, I think you can come close to doing an entire park during one of these After Hours offerings. I’m glad to have been able to do this particular event on such a special day at this particular park! I will most certainly be attending these at other parks in the future. I think the next on my radar will be at Disney’s Animal Kingdom! I’m fairly certain I can talk Miss Isabella from @theprincessndtheblog to accompany me there!
As always, if you’d like to book a Walt Disney World vacation don’t hesitate to reach out! I’m excited to bring my knowledge and experience into your planning process to create a MAGICAL experience tailored to fit you!