The time has FINALLY come — After Hours events are BACK in Disney World!
When Disney World reopened after the park closures, not all entertainment offerings came back at once. Disney announced that After Hours Events would be returning to the parks in January 2023, and that day is officially here! It has all kicked off at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, so come with us as we see what crowds and wait times are like at the very FIRST returning After Hours Event!
We’re SO excited that After Hours Events are back at Disney World! These are separately ticketed parties where you can stay in the Disney theme parks for 3 hours after the park closes. There are special treats and drinks included in your ticket — and because the number of tickets sold for the parties is limited, you can often find lower wait times than usual on the rides and attractions.
Before Official Event Kick-Off
Since this is the first After Hours Event in YEARS, we figured it would be pretty busy — especially considering the event was sold out. We arrived as early as our ticket allowed — 7PM — and began to survey the scene. When we arrived, quite the crowd had already formed.
This is a look at the crowds at 7PM.
The park officially closes to the guests not attending the event at 9PM.
After Hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is BACK! Follow along with us tonight! pic.twitter.com/iBtPuk5JUY
— Disney Food Blog (@DisneyFoodBlog) January 5, 2023
So if you arrive at 7PM, there will be a mix of guests who have paid to attend the 3-hour event and the guests who are staying in the park until it closes meaning crowds will be a bit higher than they will be after 9PM. On the first night, the event took place from 9:30PM-12:30AM.
Here is a look at the 7:30PM wait times.
Wait times were looking pretty high at this time.
But again, this is likely because so many guests are in the parks at that time. These wait times dropped quite a bit once the event actually kicked off!
If you are already in the park when 7PM rolls around and you are attending the event, there is a check-in for you inside Hollywood Studios. You don’t have to exit and re-enter.
It looks like there are several After Hours check-in spots inside the park! You’ve got to make sure you get your wristband before the event starts – cast members will check for them! pic.twitter.com/xsFF9yy0Xm
— Disney Food Blog (@DisneyFoodBlog) January 5, 2023
If you check in and enter the parks before 9:30, you may have the opportunity to watch a showing of Fantasmic! Here is a look at the crowds lining up for the 9:30 show. This is also around the time the 8PM show was exiting. So crowds were a bit hefty.
Once the Event Began
Once the event officially kicked off, wait times and crowds dropped significantly. These were the wait times around 9:30PM.
Rise of the Resistance was set at a 30 minute wait. We ended up reaching the pre-show in 16 minutes! This is almost unheard of in Disney World. Wait times can still reach 4 hours during regular park hours.
Other attractions had even shorter waits.
The longest wait time was Tower of Terror at 80 minutes.
Around 10:30PM, the park had really emptied out.
And wait times had dropped even more.
Rise of the Resistance was only a 5 minute (!!) wait at this time! That’s unheard of!
Really, at times there were just a handful of people in sight!
These were the crowds around Tower of Terror (which had some of the higher wait times throughout the night) looked like at 11PM.
Toy Story Land was probably the quietest we’ve ever seen it. Look at how peaceful it looks!
And check this out: Slinky Dog Dash was almost a walk-on.
Toy Story Mania was the same.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge was pretty serene, too. We pretty much walked onto Rise of the Resistance.
The market in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge was a ghost town.
By the end of the night, it was almost like we had the park to ourselves.
That’s what you might run into if you’re heading to one of Disney World’s After Hours events this year. These parties can be a great way to take in everything the parks have to offer without the business of the daytime. Consider booking an event in the future if this sounds like something you don’t want to miss!
Be sure to stay tuned to DFB for more information about After Hours Events and our coverage of the next event in Magic Kingdom on January 9th!
Check out everything that’s open/complimentary during the After Hours Event in Hollywood Studios
Join the DFB Newsletter to get all the breaking news right in your inbox! Click here to Subscribe!
Don't Miss Out on Any Disney Fun!
Order Your Copy of the 2023 DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining Today!With more than 900 pages, the 2023 DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining is full of tips and planning tools developed by Disney World experts over 30+ years of visits. We've done the research for you, so you'll know just which spots will uniquely suit your family's needs!
You'll get a Reference Guide, a 101 Plan, and a Printables and Resources Guide! With mini-reviews of every single restaurant, bar, lounge, kiosk and more; an entire chapter on the best snacks in Disney World; full Disney Dining Plan analysis; and a full chapter on discounts and deals; you'll have everything you need to plan your best vacation yet.
Click here to order your copy of the 2023 DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining E-book with code WDW2023 to save 25% off the cover price today!
Use code WDW2023 at check-out for 25% off the cover price today!
Our guides are backed by a 100% money-back guarantee, so you have nothing to lose. 🙂
Have you ever been to an After Hours Event? Let us know in the comments!
I really hope they bring back Villains after Hours! It was one of the best Disney experiences I ever had
Thank you! We are going 2/15 and looking forward to the shorter wait times!
mary phillips says
What was the shortest time you saw for tower of terror? Wondering if I should try to grab a LL for after 7pm (before park closing) since we are hopping that day.
Dean W Ashby says
So was there really anything to do at after hours other than the rides? Any real food or alcohol?
We’ll be at the Magic Kingdom after hours kick off event tomorrow night! This review is making me even more excited!!!
I cannot understand why the first After Hours was held on the same night as Extended Evening Hours for Magic Kingdom, which is where we were until 1 a.m. I would have gladly paid for an After Hours event at HS on a Tuesday, Thursday, or Friday!
Steven Haberman says
When does Disney announce the after hours events? Are these the same as the Not So Scary Halloween Party?
We were there and the longest line was 25 minutes for Smugglers Run! Which I hind sight should have just left because Rise was 5 minutes!!! Literally the longest thing was walking from one side of the park to the other.