We were lucky enough to visit Walt Disney World last week during Hollywood Studios’ 30th anniversary celebration and May the Fourth, AKA Star Wars Day. I am an OG Star Wars fan, as my oldest friend will tell you. In 5th grade, I was known to rock my beloved Yoda t-shirt with pride. So, when I heard about a special Star Wars Day After Hours event at Hollywood Studios where guests were allowed to attend in costume, it took me all of 5 minutes to decide the $95 per ticket was well worth it (tickets for Disney After Hours parties are $125. If you have an AP or are a DVC member, there is a $30 discount!) and snatched up 2 tickets.
My main concern then was a costume! I searched for Star Wars costumes online and quickly realized my choice in female characters was very limited. So I headed to my local Goodwill and miraculously pulled together a look that was reminiscent of a Resistance fighter. The husband, however was feeling uninspired and donned his BB-8 t-shirt for his “costume.” We showed up around 8:30 pm to catch the brand new projection show on the Chinese Theater. It was a rainy evening and the show was slightly delayed. Instead of sticking around for the Star Wars:A Galactic Spectacular fireworks afterwards, we scuttled off to Star Wars Launch Bay for the first of many special meet and greets of the evening.
It was a good call, because Captain Phasma and Kylo Ren were meeting together and the line was only about 15 minutes long. It was a great experience meeting both of them together and though I tried to be a tough resistance fighter I was pretty intimidated. As we exited, we saw Jawas in the cantina area with the blue milk. The line was fairly long as they were taking a nice long time with each group, so we went in to meet BB-8, and literally walked in with no waiting. He’s one of my favorite meet and greets. Upon leaving Launch Bay the Animation Courtyard was filled with real live droids! There’s a group of people that make droids and they had brought them to DHS just for the party. They were remarkable. We posed with a C-3PO that was amazingly real.
We held off on the free ice cream and popcorn in order to get some character meets and rides out of the way. On our way to Star Tours, we stopped by to hang out with our buddy Olaf, and we were able to walk right in and smother him with warm hugs. Outside of Star Tours in the forest of Endor were, you guessed it, Ewoks! They were incredible. My inner 10 year old was flipping out. The wait was about 25 minutes and totally worth it. We then jumped right onto Star Tours with no wait. Then on to another character experience, this time with Stormtroopers. I love the Stormtrooper interactions at DHS because they are a little sassy and the interaction with them is really fun and amusing, especially if you are wearing any clothing that shows you are pro-Resistance.
At this point, we decided to do Toy Story Land, which was the most crowded section of the park outside of the lines for characters. We posed for a picture, rode Toy Story Mania, Slinky Dog Dash and Alien Swirling Saucers with minimal waits (SDD was the longest wait at about 15 minutes.) We said hi to Woody and Jesse on their way to their meet and greet which had a small crowd waiting for them, passed Buzz who had a line of about 5 people, and headed for Tower of Terror. As we walked down Sunset Blvd. we noticed they were showing Star Wars projections on the Hollywood Tower Hotel. My husband was in a mad dash to do TOT and get back to Launch Bay so I couldn’t watch as much as I wanted to. Walked on Tower of Terror with no wait, then speed-walked back to Launch Bay, where we had the longest wait of the night for Rey and Chewbacca meeting together. We waited about 45 minutes, which was really tough as I was exhausted from running around all night (thankfully I brought sandals to change into from my thrift store bought combat boots.)
Meeting Rey and Chewy was, of course, amazing. We talked about the Resistance and how I had been interrogated by Kylo and Phasma and made it through okay. At that point, the event was over and I thought we had missed out on the Jawas, but they were still out, with Photopass photographer! We talked to them for a little bit and they seemed in no hurry to get rid of us. As we left, we noticed how the park was almost completely empty. It’s always such a cool feeling whenever you’re in a park with almost no one else around.
Overall, this experience was phenomenal. I expected high waits for the special character experiences, but overall the waits were very reasonable. We were able to do all the rides we wanted and got to experience some exclusive Star Wars character encounters. I am a huge fan of any experience with lower crowds, as understandably the crowds are the least favorite part of my Disney trips. Is it worth paying for a ticketed event to get those low crowds? Since our time was short on this trip, it was worth it for us to get the most park time and rides out of our brief vacation. Smart touring plans and rope dropping at busy times can work for you if an After Hours event isn’t in your budget. It is a bit steep, but for what you get, I feel like it’s a good value.
Have you attended a Disney After Hours event? How did you like it? Let us know in the comments and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel to see upcoming videos of our Disney trips!