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Hollywood Studios After Hours Touring Strategy and Information

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One of the best things about Disney After Hours is that pretty much, you don’t need a strategy. Or at least, that’s the story you hear. But even though these limited-attendance events offer much lower waits, you’ll still benefit from having an idea of what to do first, and what to do later. Today, we’ll cover everything you need to know about After Hours at Hollywood Studios. Read on!

If you’re just looking for specific information, click any of the links below to jump straight to that section.

Dates, Tickets, and Check-In

Disney After Hours at Hollywood Studios is scheduled on evenings through the summer, all the way into August. The current schedule includes the following dates in 2024.

  • January 10, 24
  • February 21, 26
  • March 13, 20, 27
  • April 3, 10
  • May 22, 29
  • June 12, 19, 26
  • July 10, 17, 24, 31
  • August 7, 14, 21, 29

Prices range from $145-$175, with discounts available for Disney Vacation Club members and Annual Passholders. Our After Hours Dates and Details post has prices for individual dates, and you can buy tickets online directly from the event page on Disney’s site.

How to Get Your Wristband

After Hours runs from 9:30 pm to 12:30 am, and guests can enter the park using their event ticket at 7 pm. Hollywood Studios typically closes at 9 pm, so if you arrive at 7 you’ll have about two hours to enjoy the park before it officially closes to day guests.

A sandwich board points toward an in-park After Hours check-in station at Hollywood Studios
In-park After Hours check-in near the front gates

When you get to the park, look for the After Hours sign in the entrance plaza to locate the check-in. If you’ve spent the day at Hollywood Studios, there are two locations inside the park where you can check in and pick up your wristband. Look for one near the main entrance and one on the corner of Sunset and Hollywood.

During the Mix-In Period

All the rides will be open during After Hours. So where should you spend your time during the mix-in period from 7 to 9 pm? There are basically four options:

  • You can do a few of the show-style attractions or nighttime shows.
  • You can visit the park’s regular Meet & Greets.
  • You can ride some things that will be open during the event.
  • You can get dinner.

Or, of course, you can do some combination of the above!

Shows & Nighttime Spectaculars

The shows that are on a schedule — Beauty & the Beast, Disney Junior Play & Dance, the Frozen Sing-Along, and the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular — will have finished their daily runs before you can enter using your After Hours ticket. But MuppetVision 3D and Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy will be open, along with the Vacation Fun Mickey & Minnie shorts. You’ll want to check My Disney Experience hours for these attractions when you arrive, as some of them typically close an hour or so before the rest of the park.

A crowd of people watches a projection show on the Chinese Theater at Disney's Hollywood Studios
The projection shows can be a good option in the last hour before the park closes.

All the nighttime shows and spectaculars will run after the mix-in period begins. Disney Movie Magic and the Wonderful World of Animation are projection shows that play on the Chinese Theater, usually between 8 and 9 pm. And Fantasmic, which runs about half an hour, typically has one showing right when the event starts at 9:30 pm. If Fantasmic has two showings then the early one is usually at 8 and could be a great use of your time. If not, you’ll need to decide whether you want to spend your event time on it.

Meet & Greets

Unlike After Hours in some of the other parks, the character greetings that are open during regular hours will not be available. If you’d like to Meet Olaf at Celebrity Spotlight, Meet Disney Stars at Red Carpet Dreams, or any of the other regulars, you’ll need to do it now. Like the show attractions, not all the Meet & Greets are open until the park closes every day, so check My Disney Experience to see what’s available. And, as you’ll see below, during After Hours you’ll have the opportunity to meet other favorites, including some rare characters.

Rides to Target Before After Hours Begins

Although you should be able to fit in all the rides during the event if they are your sole focus, taking advantage of the opportunity to strike some off your list now can make time later for free snacks and characters. Your best options will be:

  • Star Tours: it won’t have a line later, but it doesn’t now either. A good combo with MuppetVision 3D
  • Millennium Falcon Smuggler’s Run: if you are OK with the single rider line, it may give you a shorter wait than using the regular line during the event
  • Tower of Terror: although the line will still be longer than it may be later, right now Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster is closed for refurbishment and it’s the only thing in this (relatively) isolated corner of the park. Striking it off your list now may save you a lot of walking later and make the rest of your itinerary more efficient.

Hollywood Studios After Hours Food & Drink

Free snacks included with the event include popcorn, soda, Mickey bars, Mickey ice cream sandwiches, and non-dairy strawberry FrozFruit bars. You can find these at a variety of snack carts around the park. These carts will switch over to serving the free snacks once the event begins; you won’t be able to collect them before 9:30.

A box of popcorn, a bottle of diet coke, and a Mickey bar are framed against the fountain in Muppets Courtyard

If you’re looking for something more, the Milk Stand in Galaxy’s Edge, Anaheim Produce in Sunset Boulevard, and Woody’s Lunchbox in Toy Story Land were also open during the party. Of these three, Woody’s is the only one that offers anything more substantial than snacks. Mobile Order during the event is available at the Milk Stand and Woody’s Lunchbox.

A short queue waits to order at Woody's Lunchbox
Woody’s Lunchbox is the only “real food” option available during After Hours at Hollywood Studios

Oga’s Cantina is also open, and you may well find it with walk-up availability. And unlike After Hours at the Magic Kingdom, the event is not dry – you’ll find select outdoor bars are open throughout the event.

Shopping and Other After Hours Experiences

Although there is no After Hours specific merchandise, several shops are open. Look for locations on Hollywood Boulevard, and in almost every land at least one shop is open. In Toy Story Land, it’s Jessie’s Trading Post, in Echo Lake, it’s Tattooine Traders, and Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities is open in Galaxy’s Edge. The Droid Depot and Savi’s Workshop are both open during Hollywood Studios After Hours, and you may find walk-up reservations available.

Dok-Ondar's Den of Antiquities is lit for the night, but empty of people.
You’ll have little competition for the merchandise at Dok-Ondar’s. Droid Depot and Savi’s Workshop are also open during After Hours.

Characters at Hollywood Studios After Hours

The regular daytime characters do not meet during Hollywood Studios After Hours. But, you’ll find a lovely assortment of over a dozen around Echo Lake, Center Stage, and near Grand Ave., including several who are rare. Most of the spots have two characters rotating in half-hour shifts so there is always someone to see. The longest line we found was 7 minutes; many characters had no wait at all.

A triptych with Goofy on the left, Mary Poppins and Penguin in the middle, and Jiminy Cricket on the right

  • Rafiki and Stitch rotate to the right of Center Stage⁠.
  • Mary Poppins and Mr. Penguin rotate with Tiana just past Tatooine Traders on the way to Grand Ave. ⁠
  • Donald & Daisy rotate just in front of Gertie on Echo Lake.
  • Jiminy Cricket and Pinocchio rotate to the left of Center Stage.⁠
  • Princess Jasmine rotates with Meeko and Pocahontas near Grand Ave⁠.
  • Goofy meets near Echo Lake in front of Hollywood & Vine.
  • Thumper!!!!! Thumper meets just below the Indiana Jones sign. ⁠
  • Duffy meets on Echo Lake just in front of Vacation Fun.

Suggested Touring Plan for Hollywood Studios After Hours

Take good note of the word “suggested” in the heading above. I’ll explain the logic behind some of these decisions, but we never forget that thing about different strokes for different folks. If something below doesn’t suit you, mix it up until it does!

  1. Arrive at 7 pm. During the mix-in period choose either
    1. Immediately get in line to see the 8 pm showing of Fantasmic and then get in line for Tower of Terror after you exit
    2. See MuppetVision 3D. Then ride Star Tours (or Smuggler’s Run via the single-rider line) before heading to Hollywood Boulevard for the projection shows
    3. Do a Meet & Greet (or two, if time allows) before heading to Hollywood Boulevard for the projection shows.

After the party starts, Toy Story Land and Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway will tend to draw early crowds. This is partly because of their location near the center/middle of the park. And it’s partly because they will draw families with small children that won’t remain for the entire event. So we’ll start with Galaxy’s Edge.

  1. If Rise of the Resistance is running, head to Galaxy’s Edge and get in line. Feel free to visit a few characters on the way if there is no line.
  2. Head to Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run if you didn’t ride earlier, or if you want to ride again.
  3. Cross from Galaxy’s Edge directly into Toy Story Land and ride Alien Swirling Saucers
  4. By this time the line for Toy Story Mania should be fairly short; ride it.
  5. If the wait for Slinky Dog Dash is under 20 minutes ride it. Otherwise come back later.
  6. Head towards the center of the park, meet characters, and ride Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway. You can also ride Star Tours now if you didn’t earlier.
  7. If you didn’t already ride Slinky Dog Dash at step 6, return when the wait drops
  8. On your way out of the park, see any characters you missed and would still like to visit. Then duck down Sunset Boulevard to ride Tower of Terror if you didn’t do it earlier.

The two rides that are most likely to be down are Rise of the Resistance and Slinky Dog Dash. These are also the two rides most likely to maintain a significant line throughout the night. Since Rise takes 18 minutes to ride, targeting it earlier kills two birds with one stone. If it’s up early on, you’re hedging your bets against a later breakdown. And you’re also burning time for lines to begin dropping elsewhere.

But, if it’s not running when the event starts, and it’s still not running after Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run, then you’ll need to figure out how to circle back and pick it up. In this case, your best bet might be to complete Toy Story Land while you are there even if the wait for Slinky is still a little on the high side. That frees you to duck down Grand Ave. to Galaxy’s Edge while you’re meeting characters later around the central part of the park.

Have you been to Hollywood Studios After Hours? What was your approach? Let us know in the comments below!

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Jennifer Heymont

Jennifer has a background in math and biology, so she ended up in Data Science where she gets to do both. She lives just north of Boston with her husband, kids, and assorted animal members of the family. Although it took three visits for the Disney bug to "take", she now really wishes she lived a lot closer to the Parks.

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