MNSSHP vs After Hours

Hi everyone!

We are planning a trip for mid August and are fairly seasoned “Disney people.” My original intent was to book us at the Halloween party, but now I see that Hollywood studios has after hours while we are there and that’s temping, too.

Some background: our kids will be 13, 10, and 8 at the time of travel. Last visit was in June 2022. We’ve never done any sort of party besides a dessert fireworks one and would like this to be a fun surprise splurge for them. Pros for the Halloween party: love the idea of special snacks, decorations, costumes, etc. Cons would be that we aren’t huge parade/show people although we’d probably make these a priority if we attend. I enjoy meeting characters along with the 8 year old but it’s not really a draw for my older kids.

As for the after hours, I LOVE the idea of having short lines for some of the attractions my kids want to do over and over. My older son would spend all day doing Star Wars stuff…almost all the kids ranked it as their favorite park and it would be neat to have the place to ourselves (kind of). Cons would be no theming, not really many perks other than short lines.

If you’ve done both, which did you prefer? Any insight on things to consider when choosing? I’m really struggling because they both sound great for different reasons. I’m wondering if we shorten our trip a day and see if we can move from a five to a four day ticket and justify doing both. But that also seems excessive.

Just looking for thoughts and advice. Thank you in advance!

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I did MSSHP and Jollywood Nights this year…

Jollywood, while a Christmas event, was basically an “After Hours” events for DHS…

For purposes of answer your question I’m going to presume you are only visiting the park specifically for the party. This doesn’t take into account that you could RD DHS and then stay all day/night …

The amount of hours of the party versus ticket price is pretty important…

At MNSSHP you can enter at 4pm and stay until 12am = 8 hours for $125 (approx)

DHS After Hours you can enter at 7pm and stay until 12:30am = 5.5 hours for $150 (approx)
(This was the same schedule as Jollywood Night for reference)

I’m a “ride” person too! I’ll see a show sometimes, but for me it’s go-go-go for rides! I’ll stop for, maybe, one photo and one snack.

I felt like I got the most out of MNSSHP…not only was it nearly 3 hours longer, but it just felt more “fun”!

I did wear a costume. I HIGHLY encourage it for adults and kids! I ate sooo much “free” candy I got an actual tummy ache!

Rarely am I a parade person, but I did watch “Boo to You!” I’m so glad I did! Seeing a real horse / headless horseman along with the grave diggers sparking up the streets & more was probably my all-time favorite parade!

I did watch the BIG fireworks show in the middle of the night. It was beautiful, but too packed. I’m glad I saw it, but you could skip it for rides…

I found the queues at MNSSHP to be less than 20 minutes for most rides during the event (except 7DMT & Tron)

After 10:30pm every ride at MK was a walk-on and 7DMT was about 10 - 15 minutes after 11pm…

I was always on the move & you really can’t do everything MNSSHP offers in one night. While I was rushing around, I never felt too rushed. I had enough time to do everything I wanted.

With Jollywood / DHS - The ONLY attraction I waited for at all was Slinky. I walked on EVERYTHING at Jollywood. HOWEVER, I attribute this to there being so many unique “Christmas” only shows and foods that kept people out of the queues. The three shows had a full houses every performance. Plus, there were many exclusive character meetings that people came specifically to do…

When you only have five hours and you spend 45 minutes to meet one character that’s a big portion of “event time” you weren’t in a ride queue.

There are so few rides at DHS that I’m not sure an After Hours Event that has no shows and fewer characters will have enough to pull people out of queues.

I did not get to do everything I wanted at Jollywood even though I did A LOT. I was, literally, running at times to cross the park. I got to “see” SW:GE, but I didn’t get to “experience” it. I did do MF:SR and ToT twice. I was the ONLY person in the entire building at MF:SR - no joke! Me & a CM talked through the preshow and I had a Millennium Falcon all to myself!

The night was more stressful though, in terms of doing as much as possible. I’m glad I was travelling solo!!

I would go back to MNSSHP, but not a Jollywood / DHS After Hours. (Unless they extended the DHS event a couple hours longer…)

If you’d like to read my “full” account of my night at MNSSHP

It’s just the middle “chunk” of my September Trip Report from Halloween Horror Nights / MNSSHP

If you’d like to read my Jollywood / DHS After Hours Trip Report

I was in Orlando for Grinchmas / MVMCP / Jollywood and a lot of us on these forums met each other IRL that week!

Can you kids rush around ALL NIGHT without being tired / moody / grouchy / hungry???

At each event I saw SOOO MANY miserable kids being force to “have fun” when all they wanted to do was sleep. So many kids, literally, lying down on the street & sidewalks while parents were watching shows or trying drag them to another ride…

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Thank you so much for the thoughtful and helpful response! We are staying the week and have five day tickets, so we could rope drop HS (which is what we’ve done in the past). I just thought it would be fun to have the park to ourselves instead of spending the day finding stuff to do in between genie plus rides. But we have park hopper this time which gives us more options.

You make a good argument about the length of the two parties and also all the added perks of the Halloween party. My kids CAN stay out late here or there but it’s something to consider and makes me think I probably should only book one of the two and not splurge for both.

Again, appreciate the things to consider and the great links!

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I’ve done the Halloween Party many times. I have not done After Hours and HS, but last fall I did Extended Evening Hours (for Deluxe guests) at HS so I will use that as a means of comparison (not a perfect apples for apples comparison).

I’m a Liner so my first recommendation would be both, but we Lines are enablers.

Given your family’s preferences, I would do After Hours at HS over the Halloween Party at MK for the following reasons:

(1) My kids loved being at HS withl low lines during Extended Evening Hours. TSM and A2S were walk-on while SDD was only a 30 minute wait. We hung out at TSL most of the night and rode over and over. We also rode ToT, MMRR (walk-on) and Star Tours (walk-on). Rise was not open during Extended Evening Hours.

(2) The candy at the Halloween party is lame (the same type of stuff your kids will get trick or treating at home). The “special” snacks my family has eaten were nothing special in terms of taste. The decorations and costumes are fun, but don’t make it a “must-do”. Here is what we like about the party … We love Mickey’s Boo to You parade. I think it is the best parade at Disney and the highlight of the party, but you note that your family doesn’t love parades. My kids (ages 8 and 6) also love the character meet and greets, but again, it sounds like that is not something your family loves. The lower lines are great, but I’d prefer lower lines at HS.

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I have done the Halloween party and will be doing the HS after hours event this summer.

For your family, because they enjoy shows and parades, I think the HS event would be the better choice.

My understanding is that there are fewer people let i into the AH events than the parties - maybe precisely because there aren’t extra shows and most food is closed. That event is about riding as many rides as you can. Unlike extended hours or Jollywood, you could ride Rise as many times as you want.

I love MNSHHP. But a huge part of why I love it is the entertainment - the parade is fantastic, the firworks are a lot of fun, and unique.

This review of HS after hours is reflective of the ones I have read.