Disney Jollywood Nights Review & Guide: Is Disney World’s Newest Holiday Party Worth It?

    The first-ever Disney Jollywood Nights was held on November 11th at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and we were in attendance to take in all the sights and sounds from Disney World’s newest holiday party.

    The event was billed as a sort of glitz and glam take on an old Hollywood Christmas, while sprinkling in some all-new entertainment and plenty to eat and drink. In this article, we’ll review our evening at the event and try to answer if Disney Jollywood Nights is worth it or not. We paid 100% out of pocket for our ticket minus the Annual pass discount. We were not hosted by Disney or given any special treatment during the event. You’ve seen the social media reactions, now it’s time for a deeper look at Disney Jollywood Nights.

    What Is Disney Jollywood Nights?

    First, let’s take a high-level overview of the event. Disney Jollywood Nights is, essentially, Disney Hollywood Studios’ holiday party. It is a separately ticketed upcharge event that is held after the park closes to day guests on select nights. Disney World calls it a “holiday glam party” that “invites guests to experience a glamorous evening full of merry mashups, delicious tastes and sips, iconic throwback characters, and a holiday vibe full of glitz and sparkle”.

    There are two new shows, a returning fireworks show, some area entertainment, character meet & greets, and plenty of food and beverage options available at an additional price. There are a number of attractions also open during the event, and Disney promises lower wait times for rides if you’d like to partake in that.

    Disney Jollywood Nights runs from 8:30pm to 12:30pm with the “Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM” fireworks show to cap off the night at the event close. Guests with an event ticket can enter Hollywood Studios starting at 7pm.

    Disney Jollywood Nights Dates & Pricing

    Taking place over just ten nights, there isn’t a lot of variation in pricing for Disney Jollywood Nights. Here’s a look t the dates and pricing table:

    Event DateEvent Ticket for ALL Ages (Excludes Tax)Annual Passholder/DVC Price (Excludes Tax)
    November 11, 2023$159$149
    November 18, 2023$159$149
    November 20, 2023$179$169
    November 27, 2023$159$149
    November 29, 2023$159$149
    December 4, 2023$169$159
    December 6, 2023$169$159
    December 16, 2023$169$159
    December 18, 2023$169$159
    December 20, 2023$169$159

    Disney Jollywood Nights Guide Map

    We’ll start with a look at the Jollywood Nights guide map to try and get our bearings before starting to explore Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Guests are handed a map and a lanyard at the event check-in. You can check-in at the main entrance to Disney’s Hollywood Studios if you don’t have daytime admission to Hollywood Studios, or you can check-in at the Mickey’s Short Film theater if you are already in the park with your daytime admission. More on that process a bit later.

    Here’s a scan of the Jollywood Nights map, which includes points of interest and some information about the event.

    Higher resolution: https://blogmickey.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/jollywood-nights-map-scan-high-res-2-2.jpg
    Higher resolution: https://blogmickey.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/jollywood-nights-map-scan-high-res-1-2.jpg

    Nightmare Before Christmas Sing-Along & Holiday Show with The Muppets

    The two new shows are theater shows at the Hyperion Theater (Frozen Sing-Along) and the Theater of the Stars (Beauty and the Beast: Live on Stage). They were themed to The Nightmare Before Christmas and a vintage Hollywood TV variety show respectively. On the whole, both shows had excellent performers in them and offered something unique for the event. They’re the highlight of Jollywood Nights, by far. Our favorite was the Nightmare Before Christmas sing-along. Yes, it is a sing-along, but it has some unexpected moments and featured a life-size Jack Skellington figure which was a real wow moment. Here’s a closer look at each of the shows.

    What’s This? Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas Sing-Along
    Showtimes: 8:30pm, 9:30pm, 10:30pm, 11:30pm

    Taking place in the Hyperion Theater, The Nightmare Before Christmas Sing-Along takes guests through some of the most recognizable songs from the movie through the eyes of two people who seemingly experienced an extremely vivid dream sequence.

    During our visit, we started with this show given that it started right as the event began and 15 minutes earlier than the first Holidays in Hollywood show. The thinking was that while we might have a chance to hustle over to Sunset Boulevard to catch the second Holidays in Hollywood show of the night, the reverse would be very unlikely given the 15-minute difference.

    While it was not advertised or confirmed by Disney, we heard from Cast Members that the two silent, physical performers in the show were Cirque du Soleil performers. If that’s the case, it would explain the excellent level of physical storytelling despite the fact that the performers don’t say a word. Ultimately, we think that the sing-along element fell flat, but we still really enjoyed the show and storytelling. Characters found in the show include Jack Skellington and Oogie Boogie.

    For more photos of the show, check out our article below!

    PHOTOS, VIDEO: “What’s This” Nightmare Before Christmas Sing-Along with Life-Size Jack Skellington at Jollywood Nights
    Check out a full video and photos from the first-ever performance of the Nightmare Before Christmas Sing-Along at Disney Jollywood Nights

    The show was created by Show Director James Silson, who previously worked on Happily Every After at Magic Kingdom and Momentous at Hong Kong Disneyland.

    Holidays in Hollywood
    Showtimes: 8:45pm, 9:45pm, 10:45pm, 11:45pm

    Located in the Theater of the Stars, the Holidays in Hollywood show plays off of the vintage TV specials of the past with you as the live audience. The show is co-hosted by Kermit and Miss Piggy as a few Disney characters sing holiday tunes. The concept of being a live audience member for a vintage TV special is a cool concept. The performers give it their all and put on a great show…if you can get in. Out of the two shows, Holidays in Hollywood certainly had more buzz given the presence of The Muppets and that buzz carried over to long lines.

    Disney characters that you’ll see during the show include Kermit and Miss Piggy, Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, Princess Tiana, and Belle.

    The show was created by Show Director Matthew Hamel, who has a background in Broadway and has worked with runDisney in the past.

    Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM Fireworks Show

    Showtime: 12:30am

    Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM is a returning fireworks show that is now exclusively being shown during Disney Jollywood Nights as its nighttime entertainment. This is an odd choice. As you may know, Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM used to be a nightly show during the holiday season at Hollywood Studios, but it was never brought back after the COVID-19 fireworks suspension. Basically, daily operations didn’t think that the show was worth spending the money on to show to guests, but it was a good enough show for the special events team to pay for it during Disney Jollywood Nights.

    Jollywood Nights Area Entertainment

    In addition to the stage shows and fireworks, there is some limited area entertainment near Tower of Terror and along Commissary Lane.

    Twilight Soiree at the Tip Top Club
    Over in the Hollywood Tower Hotel courtyard, where the ride exits through a gift shop and near the Joffrey’s Coffee stand, is an “other-worldly soiree” known as the Twilight Soiree. At first glance, the Tip Top Club sounded like something that would be amazing to finally experience for Tower of Terror and Disney Parks fans alike. It didn’t take a whole lot of reading to realize that it was being held in the courtyard of the Tower of Terror and not in a proper dedicated space. There was a live band, which was a nice atmospheric addition and perhaps the only thing that saved the space.

    We were hopeful that it might have been more than it ended up being. What was it? A 20+ minute line for one of three drinks that were served from a rather standard outdoor vending cart. From there, you had the choice of standing at an EPCOT festival standing table or taking your drink back to the crowded courtyard to enjoy the Twilight Soiree. For what it’s worth, the live entertainment was really good and seemed to be quite popular. Unfortunately, the space wasn’t big enough to encourage any dancing so guests sort of just stood around for the 15-minute set.

    The Twilight Soiree is kind of a good example of marketing setting high expectations and creative simply not executing well. On top of that, operations were way over their head, perhaps because they didn’t understand the guest mix ahead of time and didn’t properly prepare for the crowds. We’ll talk about that more in a bit.

    Jazzy Holidays at the Hollywood Brown Derby
    Over at the Hollywood Brown Derby, guests can make a walk-up reservation via the My Disney Experience app to experience “Jazzy Holidays”. Disney says that guests can “relax at this smooth jazz lounge, playing holiday tunes and serving craft cocktails and an exclusive menu of light bites”.

    There’s really not much you can say about this experience that’s positive. If you end up going to Jollywood Nights at all, and that should be a big “if“, I can’t imagine anyone will recommend spending your very valuable time here. There is a single piano player and when we poked our heads inside, he was not playing holiday tunes. Instead, he was playing songs from Moana, The Lion King, and Toy Story.

    Fiesta en la Calle
    The other atmosphere entertainment was Fiesta en la Calle on Commissary Lane between Sci-Fi Dine-In and ABC Commissary. The idea here was for “the streets [to] be filled with Latin holiday music, colorful décor, and plenty of eats and sips inspired by Latin holiday traditions for a vibrant and lively party”. That lively Latin street fair never seemed to materialize.

    Either guests didn’t know about the offering or didn’t care. There were two sets of live musicians that would rotate every 30 minutes or so to ensure that there was (almost) always music in the streets. Some Disney-planted dancers might have gone a long way in encouraging guests to dance along. It works for the Tomorrowland stage for upcharge events at Magic Kingdom, might be worth a try here.

    Jollywood Nights Characters

    For guests looking to snap some photos with their favorite characters in holiday attire (or at least a holiday backdrop), there were a few character meet and greet areas during the event.

    Echo Lake Holiday Celebration
    Disney described it as a “throwback wonderland featuring holiday music and characters from classic Disney Channel favorites”. The reality of the situation was medium-to-long lines for a handful of characters. Phineas and Ferb were, by far, the most popular meet and greet of the evening, with wait times in excess of 45-60 minutes. Here’s who you could find at Echo Lake:

    • Chip ‘n’ Dale as Rescue Rangers
    • Phineas & Ferb
    • Powerline Max

    Mickey and Friends Holiday Greetings at Animation Courtyard
    There were three well-spaced meet and greet opportunities in Animation Courtyard, but there’s a catch. While all of the language leading into the event listed all of the characters, below, it did not include the fact that you meet one or the other, and there’s no real good way to time your meet correctly. Furthermore, if you wanted to meet Mickey and Minnie, you’d have to get back in line and hope that you get the other character the next time around.

    The conceit here is that Mickey & friends have been working on a holiday movie and just wrapped for the day. You get to visit them on a hot set complete with dazzling holiday props. Here are the meet and greets:

    • Goofy OR Pluto
    • Donald Duck OR Daisy Duck
    • Mickey Mouse OR Minnie Mouse

    Holidays A La Mode at Pixar Place
    Over in Pixar Place, there is a lite holiday overlay for the area, and two characters to meet with:

    • Edna Mode
    • Frozone

    Jollywood Nights Attractions

    Attractions might be the one spot where you can find value for Disney Jollywood Nights. There were extremely low waits throughout the evening, but that may have been skewed a bit by the guest mix that was likely weighted toward the special entertainment of offerings instead of attractions that have no special overlays or themes for the Jollywood Nights event. If there were a holiday overlay at Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster or something special for Star Tours (heaven forbid something in Galaxy’s Edge gets a holiday touch), then you might have found some crowds heading for the rides, but that wasn’t the case. Here’s the lineup of attractions and their average wait times during the night courtesy of thrill-data:

    • Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway | 7 minutes
    • Star Tours | 5 minutes
    • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (virtual queue only)
    • Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run | 9 minutes
    • Alien Swirling Saucers | 5 minutes
    • Slinky Dog Dash | 21 minutes
    • Toy Story Mania | 22 minutes
    • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster | 7 minutes
    • Tower of Terror | 15 minutes

    As you can see in the graph below, some of the attractions were even shorter than their averages once all of the day guests were processed and the only guests who could ride were Jollywood Night attendees. Essentially, Hollywood Studios closes at the same time as the event starts, so there might be a few hundred day guests (or maybe more) that get in line right at the end of the normal operating day and keep the wait time higher than the average for 30-60 minutes or so.

    It’s also worth noting that the first night of the event will likely skew anti-rides due to the fact that there are so many guests who are there for the exclusive offerings. Bloggers and vloggers will not be getting in line to ride Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, whereas a more typical guest might get in line. That said, we do anticipate that a great many guests will go to this event for the exclusive offerings such as the stage shows and food/drink, so wait times should be low for the remaining events.

    Jollywood Nights Exclusive Food & Drinks

    Also on offer at Jollywood Nights were exclusive food & drink items, available as an extra purchase. As you might imagine, we were kept quite busy throughout the evening with shows and entertainment, so my diet for the evening consisted of a Coca-Cola, but there were plenty of exclusive specialty bites available. Here’s a rundown (click to expand):

    Holiday Fiesta en la Calle at ABC Commissary
    • Chicken Empanadas with Street Corn: Chicken empanadas served with a side of street corn salad topped with chili peppers, lime, and cotija cheese
    • Yuca con Chicharrón: Fried pork belly, yuca, red pickled onions, and chili pepper-lime seasoning with a yellow pepper aïoli
    • Mushroom Taco: Chili-roasted Mixed mushrooms, avocado crema, baby gem lettuce, and garnished with sliced radish (Plant-based Item)
    • Birria Taco: Shredded short rib and Monterey jack served with beef consommé for dipping
    • Tembleque: Coconut rice pudding with caramel rum sauce and cinnamon
    • Mexican Hot Cocoa Cheesecake: Spiced chocolate cheesecake on a chocolate cookie base topped with vanilla whipped cream and cocoa powder with a chocolate handle
    • Mangonada: Frozen mango beverage with mango-chili pepper-lime sauce and chili pepper-lime seasoning on top (Non-alcoholic)
    • Zero-Proof Piña Colada: Lyre’s Spiced Cane Spirit, coconut, pineapple, and lime
    • Oaxaca Old Fashioned: Casa Dragones Blanco Tequila, Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, agave nectar, Mexican chocolate, and orange bitters served over ice garnished with an orange
    Baseline Taphouse
    • Tuna Ceviche: Marinated ahi tuna, pico de gallo, and avocado cream topped with cilantro
    • Charcuterie Cup: Manchego, chorizo, serrano ham, pickled vegetables, olives, and toasted focaccia bread
    • Beer Margarita: Blend of Patrón Silver Tequila, Cointreau Liqueur, and lime juice topped with Scrimshaw Pilsner over Ice
    Dockside Diner
    • Spicy Pimento-Kimchi Dip topped with chives and served with fresh house-made wonton chips
    • Roasted Eggplant Dip topped with chives and served with warm pita bread (Plant-based Item)
    • Poutine Tots: Potato barrels topped with gravy, brisket, mozzarella curds, and chives
    • Christmas Tree Cookie Stack: Vanilla cookie stack filled with pistachio buttercream, cranberry, and raspberry jam topped with sprinkles and a yellow candy star
    • Sandy Claws Hot Cocoa: “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas”-inspired dark chocolate hot cocoa topped with cherry whipped cream (Non-alcoholic)
    • Naughty or Nice: Crown Royal Whisky and ginger mixed with orange, cranberry, and grapefruit juices topped with fresh cranberries
    Epic Eats
    • Spicy Korean Chicken Funnel Cake: Spicy fried Korean chicken with pickled vegetables served on a mini funnel cake
    • Brisket Reuben Funnel Cake: Beef brisket and sauerkraut slaw topped with thousand island dressing served on a mini funnel cake
    • S’mores Funnel Cake: Giant roasted marshmallow with chocolate and marshmallow sauce, topped with chocolate curls and cinnamon cereal served on a mini funnel cake
    • Samuel Adams Winter Lager: Spiced with cinnamon, ginger, and orange peel for a deep flavor and malty finish
    Fairfax Fare
    • Holiday Turkey Popover: Roasted turkey and creamy mashed potatoes topped with gravy, cranberry chutney, and chives in a house-made popover
    • ‘Just the Sides’ Popover: Macaroni & cheese and savory collard greens with ham topped with cornbread crumbs in a house-made popover
    • PB&J Doughnut: Glazed doughnut with creamy peanut butter and grape jelly dipped in dark chocolate topped with crushed house-made salt and vinegar chips
    • Kermit’s Frozen Banana Bliss: Frozen banana and white chocolate with caramel swirls topped with matcha whipped cream and sprinkle (Non-alcoholic)
    • Mistletoe Martini: Tito’s Handmade Vodka and St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur mixed with cranberry juice and topped with fresh cranberries and mint leaves
    Gertie’s Ice Cream of Extinction

    Christmas Gertie Cookie: Sugar cookie with mint icing (Also available with mint soft-serve)

    Market (near Pixar Plaza)
    • Buffalo Chicken Spring Rolls: Fried spring rolls served with a jalapeño-ranch dipping sauce and fried rice noodles
    • Frozone’s Snowball Macaroons: Coconut macaroons drizzled with blue vanilla frosting and topped with white snowflake sprinkles
    • Spiced Apple Cider: Apple cider and cinnamon with an apple chip garnish (Non-alcoholic)
    • Zero-Proof Apple Cider: Lyre’s Spiced Cane Spirit, apple cider, Angostura Bitters, and cinnamon topped with an apple chip and cinnamon rim
    • In Holiday Fashion: Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon, rosemary syrup, cranberry and lime juices, and cinnamon
    • Meatball and Polenta: Giant meatball with marinara and creamy cheese polenta
    • Olive and Goat Cheese Flatbread: Olive oil-toasted flatbread, creamy goat cheese, rustic olive and tomato spread, balsamic glaze, and lemon watercress
    • Antipasto Flatbread: Fresh mozzarella, salami, peperoni, country ham, olives, peppers, onions, pepperoncini, and marinara
    • Tiramisù Puff: Sweet-and-savory with flavors of espresso, chocolate, and a coffee-infused custard and mascarpone cream
    • Benvolio Pinot Grigio
    • Banfi Chianti Superiore
    • Peroni Nastro Azzuro Lager Draft
    • Heineken 0.0 Non-Alcoholic Lager
    Twilight Soirée at The Tip-Top Club
    • The 5th Dimension Royale: Teremana Blanco Tequila, Cointreau Liqueur, desert pear, agave nectar, and lime juice topped with Domaine Ste. Michelle Brut and garnished with a dehydrated blood orange wheel
    • Twilight Daiquiri: Parrot Bay Coconut Rum, ube, lime juice, and a splash of shimmer
    • Sparkling Pomegranate-Apple Cider: Pomegranate-green tea topped with sparkling apple cider and pomegranate seeds
    • Domaine Ste. Michelle Brut
    Jazzy Holidays at The Hollywood Brown Derby
    • Oyster Rockefeller: Spinach foam, shaved parmesan, rocoto pepper relish, and salmon caviar
    • Crispy Duck Drumettes: Spicy orange glaze, carrots, and kumquats
    • Charcuterie: House-made cured meats and accompaniments, blue cheese mousse, and toasted sourdough
    • Shrimp Cocktail: Classic cocktail sauce, citrus pearls, avocado mousse
    • Derby Slider: Bison and pork belly blend, taleggio cheese sauce, and fig stout jam
    • Tuna Carpaccio: Mezcal pickled vegetables, salsa macha, and avocado crema
    • Pork Belly Bao: Korean BBQ, cucumber slaw, and soy vinaigrette
    • Tofu Bao: Seared tofu, cucumber slaw, and soy vinaigrette
    • An assortment of classic cocktails, zero-proof and non-alcoholic beverages, wine, and beer
    The Trolley Car Café

    Ornament Mousse: Dark chocolate-cherry mousse

    Outdoor Vending Locations

    Gingerbread Bites (Plant-based Item)

    Bar Locations
    • Zero-Proof Gingerbread Spritzer: Lyre’s Spiced Cane Spirit, gingerbread syrup, and club soda garnished with a gingerbread bite
    • Sugar Cookie Martini: Stoli Vanil Vodka, Baileys Irish Cream Liqueur, and DISARONNO Originale Liqueur mixed with milk and sugar in a sprinkle-rimmed glass with a sugar cookie garnish
    Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Company
    • Tinseltown Tini: Toast to holiday cheer with this cold brew coffee topped with Kahlúa, Grey Goose Vodka, a hint of light cream, and a dash of whipped cream with cocoa (Available at the location near The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror)
    • Round ‘Em Up Latte: A merry blend of espresso, cookie butter syrup, dulce de leche sauce, and milk topped with fluffy whipped cream, playful animal crackers, and festive sprinkles; available hot or iced (Non-alcoholic Beverage) (Available at the location in Toy Story Land)

    Jollywood Nights Highlights & Struggles

    Ok, with an overview of the event out of the way, it’s time to roll up our sleeves and talk about the logistics of the event and try to reset expectations for those who are planning on attending.

    Jollywood Nights Highlights

    Theater shows, full stop. The cast of the two theater shows were excellent. The high-energy dancing and wonderful performances from the Holidays in Hollywood crew was a lot of fun. Seeing Mickey & Minnie cut a rug as they tried to keep up with the dancers is not something we’re used to seeing at Walt Disney World. Over at the Nightmare Before Christmas Sing-Along, the two silent performers captured the audience’s attention and maybe held on to it so much that the guests forgot about the sing-along concept. They were exceptional, and seeing the life-size Jack Skellington puppet from Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party in a rather intimate venue instead of from two football fields away at Magic Kingdom was a treat.

    We also really liked the Twilight Soiree, but it simply wasn’t executed in the space correctly. For what it was, it was fun to stop in for a few minutes to enjoy the live performance, but they could’ve benefited from a bigger venue. There is a lot of space around the Tower of Terror that could accommodate the show better than the courtyard immediately outside of the exit to the ride. Yes, it’s nice to be physically close to the attraction and facade, but even the Fantasmic! queue area would’ve allowed for a bit more elbow room and maybe encouraged some dancing.

    We also liked the concept of the event, however poorly some of the individual parts and operations were carried out. Who wouldn’t want to enjoy an old Hollywood glitz and glam holiday?! I want to say that the bones of the event are good, but we’re just not there yet, which leads us into our list of struggles that the event experienced.

    Jollywood Nights Lowlights & Struggles

    As you’ve likely seen on social media by now, opening night was not good. Maybe not a full-blown disaster, but pretty close when you consider the $159 per person price tag and expectations for the event.

    We’ll try to start at a high level and work our way into more specific complaints. First, we think that Disney didn’t utilize Hollywood Studios very wisely. The event was heavily loaded to favor Sunset Boulevard, but there were massive spaces in other sections of the park that were nearly empty. If Disney had been able to entice guests over to Toy Story Land, Pixar Place, Grand Avenue, or even Galaxy’s Edge, we might have had a chance for a more balanced event in terms of crowds. If only there was a giant Christmas lights display at the park where the vibes were immaculate and a space that could handle the crowds gathered to enjoy the season. As it stands, many of the offerings that guests were interested in were limited to Sunset Boulevard.

    Long line for Gertie cookie

    Digging in a bit more, there were long lines for characters and food/drink. Guests were reporting a 20-30 minute wait for the Gertie sugar cookie. That’s 13% of the party time. Want a drink from the Tip Top Club? That’s another 20+ minute wait. Those two items alone eat up 20-25% of your party time. That’s unacceptable. Lines were also long for some proper food items. We saw a line of probably 100 guests waiting to order at Fairfax Faire. In terms of entertainment, we saw very long lines for the 10:45pm performance of Holidays in Hollywood. The line stretched down Sunset Boulevard and guests toward the back of the line were advised that they probably wouldn’t make the 10:45pm show and would need to wait 70-90 minutes for the 11:45pm show instead. Again, the event is only 4 hours long.

    Holidays in Hollywood line stretches down Sunset Blvd as “Sunset Seasons Greetings” plays

    Speaking of long lines, the in-park event check-in was a mess. There was only one in-park event check-in space at the Mickey Short Film theater, and the line to pick up your credentials for the event stretched past Backlot Express, past Star Tours, and down Grand Avenue toward the Galaxy’s Edge entrance. Some Cast Members were advising guests that it would be quicker to leave the park and reenter through the main entrance to grab their credentials.

    Lengthy queue stretches down Grand Avenue for in-park credential pick-up

    Once you had your credentials, there wasn’t a lot of mix-in time to take advantage of. In-park wristband distribution began around 6pm, but had a long line. And we’re told the main entrance wristband distribution didn’t start until closer to the advertised 7pm mix-in time. Unlike Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party which offers 3 hours of mix-in time before the event starts (and even some early exclusive character meet and greet times), you get just 90 minutes at Jollywood Nights and no exclusive offerings are available during that time. You’d be wise to get into a growing line and using that 90 minutes to try and avoid waiting in an inevitably long line during the event. That’s what we did for the 8:30pm Nightmare Before Christmas Sing-Along.

    Queue for Nightmare Before Christmas Sing-Along show 45 minutes before showtime

    Other issues included Disney not having a plan for poor weather. It started sprinkling with about 90 minutes left in the event, and entertainment and characters had to stop. There were no contingencies in place, which somewhat makes sense for a backyard gathering in November, but not for a multi-billion dollar company with decades of experience in event planning.

    No mas fiesta: third-party group packed up well ahead of the rain

    Operationally, lines were unacceptably long at food and drink venues. Three bartenders at the Tip Top Club is unfathomable. This is the bar that guests want to get a drink from during the event. Forget the lack of theming for a moment – having three bartenders is insane. It’s not like Disney couldn’t have known, either. There are three bartenders at BaseLine Tap House and they regularly struggle to keep up with demand.

    Other head-scratching decisions included a lack of merchandise – there was only one shirt and most sizes sold out during the evening.

    I don’t think that sympathy is warranted for the event organizers, either. This is a premium-priced event and the execution was abysmal. With price as the next topic, let’s turn to the question of value.

    Is Disney Jollywood Nights Worth It?

    As we normally do, we’re going to try and ascertain value from the event to determine if Jollywood Nights is worth it. Again, we paid 100% out of pocket for our event ticket and we were not part of the hosted media event during opening night. It was painfully obvious that this was the first year of the event in many areas except one: price. The range of a ticket is $159 to $179 per person, with no child ticket pricing. The average cost of a ticket is $166. To put that in perspective, that is more expensive than three of the Very Merry Christmas Party tickets, which are up to an astonishing average price of $175.

    If the choice is between Disney Jollywood Nights or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party this year, Very Merry is a clear winner. You have an event-exclusive parade, an event-exclusive stage show, a true event-exclusive fireworks show, and all the free cookies and hot cocoa you’d like. In addition, it seems like Disney has managed capacity much better at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, leading to noticeably lower crowds, even at sold-out events.

    Once Upon a Christmastime Parade at Very Merry Christmas Party

    Back to Disney Jollywood Nights. The event is overpriced and oversold. We could see Disney lowering capacity for subsequent events (watch for more sold-out dates…or maybe not), as they try and manage the crowd levels. That would go a long way to creating some value for the event. That said, it doesn’t fix all of the problems when the event is designed to create a heatmap of crowds that is centered on one corner of the park while completely neglecting other areas. There will still be high demand for some of the characters and food/drink items. If Disney doesn’t staff up a bit, there could be long lines at the remaining nine event nights.

    One thing we discussed with friends is the idea of value when comparing Disney Jollywood Nights to something like Disney After Hours. I don’t think that works. I can’t imagine that Disney has sold many tickets based on low wait times at attractions. Yes, there was a non-zero number of guests that rode attractions during the event, but when the marketing sells stage shows and food/drink, that’s where the crowds will go. Simply put, the clientele for Jollywood Nights is probably not the same as a Disney After Hours event.

    A DJ spins tunes along Hollywood Blvd

    That said, if we want to compare value of the events, you’ll find that Disney After Hours is a shorter event (3 hours compared to 4 hours), for a higher average cost ($172 versus $166). While After Hours is an attractions-first event, Jollywood is an entertainment/food & drink event. We wouldn’t compare Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party to Magic Kingdom After Hours, so unless you’re only focused on attractions at each event, it’s probably not worth considering here.

    Ultimately, we arrive at the conclusion that Disney Jollywood Nights is not worth attending this year. It’s expensive, and Disney has a lot to figure out (beyond when the last time an original character was created for the parks). We love Hollywood Studios at the holidays, and we’re hopeful that Disney can create something worthwhile for the park, but Jollywood Nights in its current form isn’t worth it. If you do go, make sure you prioritize your evening and brace for long lines.

    As always, keep checking back with us here at BlogMickey.com as we continue to bring you the latest news, photos, and info from around the Disney Parks!

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