With the 2019 holidays underway at Walt Disney World, we wanted to try some of the specialty offerings and help you decide if they’re worth it for you to do on your upcoming trip. One of the offerings that immediately caught our eye was the Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM Dessert Party at an all-new location around Echo Lake. In years past, the dessert party has been hosted in the courtyard of the Chinese Theater. With plans to open Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway originally slated for Fall 2019, it would seem likely that the decision to move the dessert party away from the courtyard could have been based on those plans. If the attraction were to have opened on time, Disney wouldn’t want to have to close the attraction hours before the park officially closed to accomodate a dessert party. Of course, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway was ultimately delayed until 2020. Whatever the reason, the dessert party is now hosted in an all-new location which seemed like a perfect opportunity for us to try it out. Here’s our Jingle Bell Jingle BAM Dessert Party review!
Dates and Pricing
Here are some of the need-to-know details about the Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM Dessert Party at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
November 8, 2019 through January 5, 2020
- November 8 to December 21, 2019: $89 per adult; $53 per child ages 3 to 9 (tax and gratuity included)
- December 22, 2019 to January 1, 2020: $99 per adult; $59 per child ages 3 to 9 (tax and gratuity included)
- January 2 to January 5, 2020: $89 per adult; $53 per child ages 3 to 9 (tax and gratuity included)
A separate ticket for admission to Disney’s Hollywood Studios is required and is not included in the dessert party price.
Advance reservations are highly recommended and can be made on this page up to 180 days prior to your visit. Same-day reservations can be made on a limited basis and are subject to availability.
Check-in begins about 15-30 minutes before the start of the dessert party, depending on how quickly Cast Members can get the podium set up. The official check-in time is 15 minutes before the dessert party begins. The podium is located next to the Echo Lake seating area, across from the 50’s Prime Time Cafe.
We didn’t find the line to be too long, so there’s no real need to get there early or anything. Check-in is quick, just give the Cast Member your last name and you’ll be given lanyards for everyone in your group. On the lanyard is a list of some snacks, a reminder of the reserved viewing for Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM, and a tearaway coupon for an ornament.
Cast Members will come around about 15 minutes before you walk over to the reserved viewing area and hand out the ornaments. Thankfully, there isn’t a line to redeem the ornaments and because they come around at the end of the food and drink portion of the dessert party, you don’t have to worry about the ornament while you eat. Here’s a look at the ornament we received.
One of the main reasons we wanted to book this dessert party was because of the all-new location. After the removal of the Osborne Lights from the Christmas season lineup at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the park has really struggled to get the holiday vibe back. The Osborne Lights were discontinued to allow for the construction of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and were never resurrected elsewhere. To this day, the Osborne Lights Merry and Bright Dinner Reception remains my favorite upcharge dining event. It was set under the lights and the atmosphere was about as pure of a Christmas feeling as you could get.
With that in mind, it’s going to be tough to have anything live up to that Christmas feeling, but let’s see how the Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM Dessert Party stacks up. Disney has been making some strides to get people to think of Disney’s Hollywood Studios as a Christmas park. From holiday decor around the park to the fun Sunset Seasons Greetings Tower of Terror projection show, Hollywood Studios is still likely the top spot for the holiday season. One such enhancement has been to the Echo Lake area. Floating ornaments and the relocation of the Christmas tree to an island in the lake has made this a focal spot of sorts for both daytime and evening photos.
As for the Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM Dessert Party, 75 tables are set around the Southeast portion of the lake, making this a very expansive setup. With the check-in area near 50’s Prime Time Cafe and the end over near the pathway that runs past the Hyperion Theater, a lot of prime real estate is taken over by the dessert party, including all of Santa Gertie.
After you check-in, Cast Members will open the area either right on time, or even a few minutes ahead of time. You will head to the table written on your lanyard and the buffet and bar will be open. One important thing to note is that you may be seated with other people. While we were lucky enough to have our own table, we were told that there were 249 people in attendance out of the over 300 chairs available. If there are more people, it’s very likely that you’ll be seated with strangers. There is a disclaimer that speaks to the fact that they may combine groups, so if that’s a dealbreaker for you, you might want to reconsider or roll the dice.
Overall, we found the location to be just ok. Yes, there is no way to compare what we had with the Osborne Lights to current-day Hollywood Studios, but we don’t think you can ever have too many Christmas lights. Also, only a small portion of tables have wonderful views of the Echo Lake decor. From plants to trees, unless you’re seated in one of a few select seats, you could have obstructed views.
There is actually a pretty solid spread for a dessert party. Instead of reviewing each and every item, we wanted to provide a full list (with photos) so you can decide if anything sounds good. We will highlight a few items that stood out to us.
- Roasted Onion Dip
- Warm Cheese Fondue
- Winter Spiced Trail Mix
- Pita Bread
- Soft Pretzels
- Spinach and Artichoke Dip
- Kettle chips
- Pumpkin Pie Spiced Bread Pudding with Cinnamon Scented Vanilla Anglaise
- Festive Holiday Cookies
- Chocolate Fondue with Fresh Fruit, Cake Pieces, and Marshmallows
- Holiday Blondie with Cream Cheese Icing
- Chocolate Cupcake with Peppermint Frosting
- Assorted Cheesecake Bites with Whipped Cream
- Gingerbread Cookie Snacks
- Traditional Yule Log with Dark Chocolate
- Festive Holiday Cookies
- Caramel Apple Verrine
As you can see, there is a nice assortment of savory and sweet – something for everyone. For us, a couple of the standout savory items were the Warm Cheese Fondue and Roasted Onion Dip. On the treats side, we enjoyed the cheesecake bites and caramel apple verrine. Our suggestion is, if you are interested in even a third of the items above, you’ll enjoy yourself when it comes to food. Everything we tried was fresh and delicious. Here is a visual list of all of the items above.
Santa Gertie will serve as the landmark of choice during the dessert party for those looking for an alcoholic drink.
While we tried one of each of the drinks, we perhaps enjoyed the drinks too much and only managed to get usable photos of the Hot Chocolate Martini and Black Cherry Bourbon Hot Cocoa. Both were strong pours and while the hot chocolate martini was technically different from what’s on offer for this year’s Alcoholic Hot Cocoa Flight daily offering, it was functionally the same.
The both the Gingerbread Martini and Jingle Bell Holiday Punch were delicious, with the Gingerbread Martini coming out almost like a vodka cream, whereas the Jingle Bell Holiday Punch was more sour with a bit of rum to balance. Both are “dangerous” and they are poured strong after a mixer base is added from the vats seen below.
Beyond the alcoholic options, soda, tea, coffee, and a hot chocolate station are also offered along with Elf Juice.
During the Jingle Bell Jingle Bam Dessert Party, you’ll have the option to meet with Chip and Dale, complete with holiday touches to their costumes. Each table will have a meeting time on the table number sign, which should keep the lines quite short throughout the evening with the exception of the first meeting time which seems to be the most popular as guests opt for a photo instead of food.
Reserved Fireworks Viewing Location
Finally, we’ve arrived at the actual reason you probably are looking into this dessert party, or have already booked it. The reserved viewing area is located on the center stage area, front and center to the Chinese Theater.
You’ll make your way over to the stage about 30 minutes before Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM starts, which means you’ll be able to catch the Wonderful World of Animation projection show as well as Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM as the former plays ahead of the latter. We decided to film both shows from the reserved viewing area to give you an idea of what to expect. Keep in mind that these shows were filmed on a wide-angle camera, which means that you’ll likely be able to see more in the frame of this shot than you would when standing there without having to turn your head quite a bit.
Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM Full Show
Wonderful World of Animation Full Show
Is it Worth It?
As we wrap up our review, we wanted to provide a final thought on if the Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM Dessert Party is “worth it”. In short, no. Now for a few more words.
We try to keep all aspects of the dessert party we described ahead in mind when coming up with our consensus, but we’ll start with the actual fireworks first. To say that this fireworks show has a “lukewarm” opinion would be overly fair. It’s not a great storyline, only briefly focusing on the Prep and Landing team before cutting to “wintery” Disney shows. That said, just because it isn’t our favorite show, we won’t hold that as a point against if it’s worth it to attend. We’ll also take into consideration if the show is otherwise difficult to see or if the reserved viewing area offers the best possible view. The answer to both of those questions is: no.
You can easily walk up at the same time (30 minutes prior to showtime) as the dessert party and you’ll still be able to find a good spot in the hub area of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Next, we think that the dessert party is positioned too closely to the Chinese Theater to call this reserved viewing area the best viewing area. As you can see in our video of the 2018 show below, it’s probably a better idea to watch from further back.
In addition to less than a less than ideal viewing area, we weren’t overly impressed with the dessert party location around Echo Lake. Yes, Disney has made Echo Lake a much better holiday hub over the last few years, but the majority of tables have a blocked or poor view of the decor, so that’s another mark against.
The savory dishes were excellent and could be enough to “save” the dessert party if you had more time to eat and drink. We only had about 90 minutes to enjoy the desserts, bites, and drinks. Our favorite new dessert party remains the Rivers of Light dessert party simply for the fact that it’s located in such a way that you can eat and drink during the show, adding value above and beyond what a regular viewing experience would be. There just isn’t enough going on at the Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM Dessert Party to make this event worth it in its current form.