If minimal crowds, walk-on attractions, and all-you-care-to-eat Mickey bars sound like your perfect fairy tale, hold on tight, because your Disney dreams are about to come true! On Saturday night, Hollywood Studios hosted its first Disney After Hours event, and it was practically perfect!
Disney After Hours is a separately-ticketed event that takes place on select nights after the park officially closes. Basically, you get three extra hours of park time in an almost empty environment! The Hollywood Studios event begins at 8:30 pm but guests can enter the park as early as 7:00. That gives event guests time to enjoy a dinner reservation or nighttime show in addition to the event perks.
Once the park closes at 8:30, the real fun begins! I was amazed at how efficiently the Cast Members cleared out the park. Hollywood Blvd. remained crowded for a while, but the rest of the park was amazingly empty. I was able to ride both Tower of Terror and Rock n Roller Coaster in the span of fifteen minutes! There was no wait for either ride, and while the pre-shows were playing, the doors were open, giving guests the choice to either enjoy or skip it. A Flurry of Fun, the projection show was shown on the Tower of Terror, was playing throughout the night. I loved watching it in such an uncrowded environment! I watched the entire thing twice and played in the “snow”!
Before this event, I had never truly appreciated the depth of design detail that makes up Toy Story Land. I have visited several times, but it’s always quite crowded. I am usually more worried about not running into someone than noticing the details around me. At Disney After Hours, though, I was able to wander around and just enjoy being a toy! For example, did you know that Andy’s footprints are imprinted on the ground? I had seen the criss-cross lines before but always with tons of people standing on them. Until seeing the complete image, I did not even realize that it was a footprint! I was also excited to hear the details in Toy Story Land. I knew that Woody welcomed you to Toy Story Land, but I didn’t realize that he has so many different monologues! He even tells jokes! Jessie and Rex also speak to each other from the top of the Slinky Dog Coaster, and right now, they have a holiday dialogue!
The wait times in Toy Story Land were probably the most amazing part of the entire Disney After Hours event! Slinky Dog Dash usually has the longest wait of any ride in Hollywood Studios, and Fastpasses are hard to nab. At this event, the wait time was five minutes; yes, FIVE! I was a little shocked but super excited to ride it multiple times! Alien Spinning Saucers and Toy Story Mania were also walk-on attractions during the event. In fact, the longest waits were for the Toy Story character meet and greets, and even those were less than ten minutes.
Treats are one of my favorite parts of a Disney day. I spend time thinking about just what snack I most want on any given park trip. For this event, though, I didn’t have to choose; unlimited novelty ice cream, popcorn, and bottled sodas are included in the price of admission! You heard that correctly–all the Mickey bars, ice cream sandwiches, and popcorn you want to eat are yours for the taking. I had an ice cream and popcorn dinner, and I’m not even sorry! Although the table service restaurants were closed for this event, Woody’s Lunchbox, Anaheim Produce, and KRNR The Rock Station served their normal menus. Bar kiosks were also open throughout the park.
Seeing the park without crowds was a novelty to me and to the Cast Members! They were all so friendly and helpful! The Photopass photographers were feeling creative and really took their time to get great shots. The characters were extra playful too! I think they were just as amazed as I was to see the park so empty. I felt very relaxed, and this was definitely one of my most enjoyable Disney experiences! A very special thank you goes to Disney and the Cast Members who hosted the event! Once again, you created magic!
Tickets for Disney After Hours cost $125 in advance or $129 on the day of the event. Annual passholder and Disney Vacation Club members do get a discount, bringing the cost to around $95. Before I attended this event, I thought that seemed like a steep price to pay for three hours in a theme park. However, I got more done in those three hours than I usually get done in an entire park day, and I left feeling relaxed and refreshed. I’m already making plans to attend another one soon!
Have you attended a Disney After Hours event, or are you planning to soon? Let us know what you think in the comments!
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