"Official" 2018 Disney After Hours (DAH) Thread (Now Closed, see New 2019 Thread)

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Arubaflower

Earning My Ears
Joined
Jan 26, 2018
I'd also like to congratulate @GADisneyDad14 on becoming a Moderator! I know he's been very helpful keeping everything organized on this thread!
Coming from someone who is new to the Disney scene (only been to Disney once before over 15 years ago), thank you to GADisneyDate14 and everyone who has provided invaluable input on this thread and this board.

I was such a Disney novice that I had no clue what a Fast Pass was when I started planning our trip. I had to Google it when I kept seeing it mentioned. Now thanks to this board and others, not do I have our fast passes (even scoring a coveted Flight of Passage one), but I have us booked at BOG, HEA Dessert Party and DAH. I went from 0 to 60 quickly.

I am headed to Disney next Monday and can't wait. And I owe much of a successfully planned trip to information I gleaned from this board. Thanks.
 

Disneyhokiefam

Earning My Ears
Joined
Jan 29, 2018
I am curious if anyone tried to get in at 4? I have seen reports of people who got in at 6, etc... when they tried but did anyone try at 4 like last week and get turned away?
We went about 4:45 and were told pretty firmly not until 7. Went to Polynesian to grab something to eat. Then we planned to ride an entire loop on monorail since my son really enjoys this, planning to arrive around 6. As we passed MK (probably about 5:50) I could see below they had lanyards ready but a few people standing around who appeared to be waiting to get in. Unfortunately there was a fire alarm at TTC so we were stuck on track for 20 minutes or so (with anothe dis member who is going to DAH tomorrow) when we finally started moving, we decided to get off at Contemporary & walked back to MK, entered about 6:25, walked right in at special event gate, multiple cms handing out lanyards & info sheets, no one in front of us & no one behind us.
 

julezdisney

Disney Obsessed
Joined
Mar 7, 2008
Where is the special gate? Can u see clearly where it might be when coming from monorail? I've only been to Halloween parties and am trying to plan our arrival carefully.... Don't want to waste time with the cast members who are mostly unaware.
 

Disneyhokiefam

Earning My Ears
Joined
Jan 29, 2018
Our family of 4, 9 year old son and 11 year old daughter, attended DAH Friday Jan.26.

We entered MK at 6:25. As I posted previously we first showed up at 4:45 but were turned away, then went to Poly for something to eat & after getting stuck on monorail, took us longer to get back, but luckily that was our only hiccup of the evening.
We did not have park tickets so we were hoping to do as much as possible in our short trip (we drove 11 hours from Virginia for the event).

Here's what we accomplished during the event time:

1 - Winnie the Pooh (with fast pass)

2 - People mover

3 - Tomorrow land speedway (we had a fast pass but line was backed up, cm approached us & said we could come back anytime & go through fp line, she said from 7-8 the lanyard is a fp, so we did people mover & came back)

4 - Buzz light year (with fast pass)

Went to meet Storybook Circus characters but was already closed at 7:50.

5- Barnstormer (no line)

6- 7DMT (entered thru fp line just before 8, about 10 min wait. On ride during fireworks.

7- 7DMT again (took a little longer 2nd time, probably close to 20 min total)


Boys did:
8/9. Space Mountain (walk on)

Girls did:
8. Princess Fairytale Hall
Met Elena/Cinderella (no wait)
Re-entered
Met Rapunzel/Tiana (no wait)
9. Under the Sea (no wait)
9.5. Met Ariel at Grotto (5 min wait)

*Met back at snack cart in Fantasyland (5 min wait)

10. It's a small world (no wait)

11. Peter Pan (one of the longest waits of the night, probably about 20 min. But knew we wouldn't be able to make it back later)

12/13. BTMRR twice, (first time waited closer to 10 min only one side open. 2nd time both sides open & less than 5 min wait)

14. Pirates of the Caribbean (no wait but our boat was full)

15. Magic Carpets (no wait)

* snack cart (waited 5 min or so)

16. Jungle Cruise (no wait but our boat was full)

17. Swiss Family Tree House

Kiss Goodnight at 11:15
* we took the advice posted here about taking ziplock for our popcorn & enjoyed while we were waiting by the castle.

Overall impression:
* it was more crowded than we had initially hoped for when we were planning the trip.
*The kids thought it was Awesome & loved every minute. It was a little stressful trying to manage everyone must-do's while also watching the clock, but it just isn't possible to squeeze in a weeklong trip into 4 hours. No matter how much we do, there always be that one more thing that we didn't make it on Lol (this time it was the teacups we missed & we didn't get to eat at Pinochio haus)
*if you can wait & do fantasyland last, that would be the best thing, but my kids were just too excited to do their favorites & didn't want to wait.
*I thought that the CMs at the snack carts were doing an awesome job, very efficient & pleasant.
*There were a lot fewer Photopass photographers than I would have thought, we only saw a few as we were leaving but the lines were really long & my kids were just too tired.
It was about 11:20 & we were planning to make rope drop for EMH at AK (which meant leaving our room at 6:45am Sat morning & we did it!)
*Weather was perfect, we all wore light jacket/pullovers & brought a 2nd layer that no one needed, poor dad had to carry in backpack all evening.
*Overall, it was a great family experience, something that we will always remember doing together.
 

Haley R

With all the strength of a raging fire
Joined
Sep 3, 2017
Our family of 4, 9 year old son and 11 year old daughter, attended DAH Friday Jan.26.

We entered MK at 6:25. As I posted previously we first showed up at 4:45 but were turned away, then went to Poly for something to eat & after getting stuck on monorail, took us longer to get back, but luckily that was our only hiccup of the evening.
We did not have park tickets so we were hoping to do as much as possible in our short trip (we drove 11 hours from Virginia for the event).

Here's what we accomplished during the event time:

1 - Winnie the Pooh (with fast pass)

2 - People mover

3 - Tomorrow land speedway (we had a fast pass but line was backed up, cm approached us & said we could come back anytime & go through fp line, she said from 7-8 the lanyard is a fp, so we did people mover & came back)

4 - Buzz light year (with fast pass)

Went to meet Storybook Circus characters but was already closed at 7:50.

5- Barnstormer (no line)

6- 7DMT (entered thru fp line just before 8, about 10 min wait. On ride during fireworks.

7- 7DMT again (took a little longer 2nd time, probably close to 20 min total)


Boys did:
8/9. Space Mountain (walk on)

Girls did:
8. Princess Fairytale Hall
Met Elena/Cinderella (no wait)
Re-entered
Met Rapunzel/Tiana (no wait)
9. Under the Sea (no wait)
9.5. Met Ariel at Grotto (5 min wait)

*Met back at snack cart in Fantasyland (5 min wait)

10. It's a small world (no wait)

11. Peter Pan (one of the longest waits of the night, probably about 20 min. But knew we wouldn't be able to make it back later)

12/13. BTMRR twice, (first time waited closer to 10 min only one side open. 2nd time both sides open & less than 5 min wait)

14. Pirates of the Caribbean (no wait but our boat was full)

15. Magic Carpets (no wait)

* snack cart (waited 5 min or so)

16. Jungle Cruise (no wait but our boat was full)

17. Swiss Family Tree House

Kiss Goodnight at 11:15
* we took the advice posted here about taking ziplock for our popcorn & enjoyed while we were waiting by the castle.

Overall impression:
* it was more crowded than we had initially hoped for when we were planning the trip.
*The kids thought it was Awesome & loved every minute. It was a little stressful trying to manage everyone must-do's while also watching the clock, but it just isn't possible to squeeze in a weeklong trip into 4 hours. No matter how much we do, there always be that one more thing that we didn't make it on Lol (this time it was the teacups we missed & we didn't get to eat at Pinochio haus)
*if you can wait & do fantasyland last, that would be the best thing, but my kids were just too excited to do their favorites & didn't want to wait.
*I thought that the CMs at the snack carts were doing an awesome job, very efficient & pleasant.
*There were a lot fewer Photopass photographers than I would have thought, we only saw a few as we were leaving but the lines were really long & my kids were just too tired.
It was about 11:20 & we were planning to make rope drop for EMH at AK (which meant leaving our room at 6:45am Sat morning & we did it!)
*Weather was perfect, we all wore light jacket/pullovers & brought a 2nd layer that no one needed, poor dad had to carry in backpack all evening.
*Overall, it was a great family experience, something that we will always remember doing together.
We have a similar plan to yours - DAH and then RD AK the next morning. The only differences are that our DAH goes until 12 and AK won't open until 9 am. We will probably be at the bus stop in the morning by 7:45-8. DH and I are taking our 9 yo niece and her mom so it's good to know your 9 yo was able to make it through DAH and still get up for AK the next day. Did you spend a whole day at AK or did your kids need a break midday?
 

Disneyhokiefam

Earning My Ears
Joined
Jan 29, 2018
Where is the special gate? Can u see clearly where it might be when coming from monorail? I've only been to Halloween parties and am trying to plan our arrival carefully.... Don't want to waste time with the cast members who are mostly unaware.

There is a "special event" gate that is closer to the middle, when facing the train station it is just to the right. So walk down the ramp from monorail, do not go to the main entrance gate where everyone else is (which would be on your left) continue walking. There was a post with a small DAH sign sticking up & you will see cms holding lanyards.
I haven't been to Halloween or Christmas parties but I assume you entered through the same gate.
 
  • Disneyhokiefam

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jan 29, 2018
    We have a similar plan to yours - DAH and then RD AK the next morning. The only differences are that our DAH goes until 12 and AK won't open until 9 am. We will probably be at the bus stop in the morning by 7:45-8. DH and I are taking our 9 yo niece and her mom so it's good to know your 9 yo was able to make it through DAH and still get up for AK the next day. Did you spend a whole day at AK or did your kids need a break midday?
    My 11 yo doesn't need much sleep & my 9 yo wants to do whatever it takes to keep up lol. We did rope drop at Ak, there 7:30 until 12:30. Then blizzard beach until 4:30 (sounds crazy but kids loved it) & then Epcot until closing at 9pm. But we were only there two days and we were totally done after that. If we were staying longer we would have taken more breaks.
     

    fiasco32

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 1, 2017
    I know I shouldn't be, but i'm kind of stressing about getting in as much as possible in 3 hours. 3 hours must fly by. Not even sure where to begin....maybe just wing it?
    I think it's helpful to have a flexible plan. Something's always going to happen (too many people in snack line, unexpected bathroom break, etc) but you'll want to know going into it what rides you're willing to skip, which ones you definitely want to hit, and especially which ones you want to ride multiple times.

    Oh, and how many Olaf bars to eat! ;)
     

    Haley R

    With all the strength of a raging fire
    Joined
    Sep 3, 2017
    My 11 yo doesn't need much sleep & my 9 yo wants to do whatever it takes to keep up lol. We did rope drop at Ak, there 7:30 until 12:30. Then blizzard beach until 4:30 (sounds crazy but kids loved it) & then Epcot until closing at 9pm. But we were only there two days and we were totally done after that. If we were staying longer we would have taken more breaks.
    I'm trying to decide if we will take a whole day at AK or if we will want to go back to the resort for awhile. I think we won't know until we get there and see how DN does. She's never been to Disney and I honestly think the walking is going to be tough on her.
     

    kmc8826

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 7, 2017
    Yes, photo pass working at POC, 7DMT, Space Mountain during DAH

    We did BUZZ before 8 & photo pass was working then so assume it was for DAH
    No idea if it will work for DAH but we rode Pirates yesterday (Sunday) And for the first time ever a picture showed up in my photo pass account.
     
  • kmc8826

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 7, 2017
    From pirates?
    Yes! Already had a border loaded onto it too! It is rather comical of my crew because we weren’t expecting it. But at least we always wait for the front row so the girls can see; it is a good shot of everyone. I will see if I can figure out how to post a pic from my phone.
     

    kmc8826

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 7, 2017
    Yeah, they added a photo last summer. It's before you do any sort of drop and is a bit of a weird location, so most people don't expect it!
    I had heard they added it but we were here in August and November and never had one show up. So nice surprise!
     

    Haley R

    With all the strength of a raging fire
    Joined
    Sep 3, 2017
    Yes! Already had a border loaded onto it too! It is rather comical of my crew because we weren’t expecting it. But at least we always wait for the front row so the girls can see; it is a good shot of everyone. I will see if I can figure out how to post a pic from my phone.
    I had heard they added it but we were here in August and November and never had one show up. So nice surprise!
    We were there last March so I don't think they had added it yet. Pirates will be closed when we go for DAH, though :guilty:
     

    pitpat

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 21, 2017
    We were there last March so I don't think they had added it yet. Pirates will be closed when we go for DAH, though :guilty:
    less chance of getting stuck. that Pirates camera feels like a missed opportunity. Most people look bored because of where it is.
     

    Haley R

    With all the strength of a raging fire
    Joined
    Sep 3, 2017
    less chance of getting stuck. that Pirates camera feels like a missed opportunity. Most people look bored because of where it is.
    That's how I feel on Dinosaur, too. The picture is in such a weird spot and everyone is just staring off into space.
     

    fiasco32

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 1, 2017
    I already posted a detailed play-by-play of our DAH on 1/26 here, but I just had a few more thoughts to share I figured might be helpful:

    Lanyards: I'm glad I asked at City Hall GS about the lanyards, even though reports were last week that everyone had to exit and come back in. If the line is short at GS it never hurts to ask. We asked at around 6:40 and go ours no problem from two CM who were set up to do just so right outside the main entrance to City Hall.

    Start Early! I asked the CM at City Hall about using the lanyards as FPs between 7 and 8, and they said that was not the policy. But I didn't give up there. At every ride up until 8 pm, I said to the CM manning the FP lane "Hey we can use these as FPs until the event starts, right?" and I didn't get any guff from anyone. It sounds from other reports like CMs are starting to pick up on this in a good way. So get there as close to 7 as possible and maybe you'll get to fit in more rides! We were able to ride PotC, Aladdin and BTMRR right up until 8 pm using this method.

    Have a plan. Now, I don't think you need to have a super strict plan and stick to it minute-by-minute, but when you're paying a premium for these three hours, you want to use your time wisely. As I said in an earlier post, we decided what rides we could do without, what rides we absolutely had to ride and which of those rides we want to do multiple times. You may even have some rides you want to end on. For us, no matter the wait time, we knew that we wanted 7DMT to be our last ride of the night. This will help you from zig-zagging all over the park.

    Character meet-and-greets are long! Granted, we only did two M&G during DAH (Ariel and talking Mickey), but I was blown away by how much time they spent with us. You never get this kind of time during the day when there are lines. I mean, Mickey spent a solid 6 or 7 minutes with our group. He did a pretend car race with the kids, talked to them about their Mickey shirts and pins, made fun of Dad (of course) and told several jokes. It was amazing. Same with Ariel. In fact, I was getting a little antsy with Ariel because we were trying to fit in two rides on 7DMT after we visited her, and it was pushing 10:20 so at one point I was hoping she would shut up about sand dollars vs. human dollars!! I really get the impression the CMs are trained to give more 1:1 attention during DAH, so if you love character M&G this might be the time to take advantage!

    Transportation can be a pain. My plan was to catch a Minnie Van after to avoid the hassle, but I couldn't get one hailed. We waited 20 minutes (not bad in the scheme of things, I know, but it was 11:30 pm and I had logged 25,000 steps!) for one that shared with another resort, so the whole process of getting to our hotel took almost an hour. Could have been worse, but still.

    Take advantage of the "last hour." Just like with the park normally, things don't just shut down when the rides do. Go all out until the end of the actual event time, then take a half hour or an hour and make your way slowly through the hub and down Main Street. Several of the shops stayed open until after 11:15 in our case and at no point did we have CM trying to get us to leave the park. I have read reports of people being there until after midnight until the CMs finally start ushering. This is the emptiest you'll see the park ever, so take it all in!

    Think about your next morning. Not only does the even go very late, but you're really hustling to get it all in, so you'll want to be mindful of your plans the next morning. We intentionally did this as our very last thing on our very last day, then we all slept in the next morning before checking out.

    Don't expect the park to be "empty." Certainly it feels way less crowded than usual. And there were some times when we were only around a handful of people or none at all, but those moments didn't last very long. But with it starting to sell out more and more, you're just going to be around people the whole time. Adjust your expectations and you'll love how the park feels with way lower numbers.


    Also, here are some photos I took of crowd levels throughout the night:

    Here's the snack cart just outside BTMRR at 8:10 (we had already ridden twice during the fireworks). Healthy line forming.






    Leaving Frontierland, looking back toward Splash Mountain at 8:31 pm:





    The entrance to Tomorrowland at 9:08 pm





    Here is the carousel in Fantasyland heading toward Pinnochio/Peter Pan's Flight/Small World at 10:01 pm




    I love this shot of the empty queue at 7DMT at 11:08. We were literally the last people on the ride! How often do you get to say that??




    Walking to the hub past the Cheshire Cat at 11:14 pm




    Looking back at MTP at 11:15 pm



    Looking down Main Street at 11:28 pm as we slowlyyyyyyyy make our way out of the park.

     
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    Disneyhokiefam

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jan 29, 2018
    I'm trying to decide if we will take a whole day at AK or if we will want to go back to the resort for awhile. I think we won't know until we get there and see how DN does. She's never been to Disney and I honestly think the walking is going to be tough on her.
    Yeah, you do have to be willing to be flexible. In our case we did not have any fast passes at AK because of our last minute plans & kids REALLY wanted to do Avatar flight & the na'vi river and expedition Everest. When the alarm went off at 6:15 they were the first ones up! My husband thought I was crazy when I told him how early we needed to be up until he saw the huge crowds of people pouring off the buses.
    But we've been to Disney multiple times so they may be more used to the walking & knew what to expect. AK was absolutely crazy at rope drop, so be prepared for that too.
    Not sure how many days you will be there & what fast passes you have but mid day breaks are absolutely the best if you can manage it, especially since it is her first time & the resort pools were very enjoyable even in Jan.
     
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