The Christmas season has officially kicked off at Walt Disney World and this year it includes a new Christmas party! Jollywood Nights is a new, separately ticketed event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on select nights from Nov 11th – Dec 20th. We attended Sat night and enjoyed an array of holiday sights, sips, shows, and spectacles.
Here are some tips from our experience at Jollywood Nights.
There are two spots that you can get your wristband/lanyard for the party. One is upon entering the park at the entrance and the other is in the Vacation Fun building (next to Frozen sing a long). Be warned that the lines are long but they move fast. You can of course enter the park before the party and use either option for obtaining your band/lanyard. The fun begins at 8:30 but make note that some virtual queues open at 8:00. The two virtual queues to be aware of are Rise of the Resistance and Brown Derby Cafe (yes, there is a queue to try the food here).
First and foremost, the lights were wonderful! The sparkling Christmas tree in the center of Echo Lake was beautiful and the lights on Hollywood Blvd and Sunset Blvd were festive and fun. Part of the enjoyment, at least for me, is to just sit and enjoy the lights which there was no lack of here at DHS.
One of the highlights of the night, and a do not miss event, is Holidays in Hollywood featuring Kermit, Miss Piggy, Tiana, Belle, Mickey, Minnie, and a talented cast of singers and dancers. This is such a lovely, holiday show and a great way to kick off the party. There are four shows in total for the night with the first starting at 8:45. I highly recommend this one. Other shows include Nightmare Before Christmas sing a long and Jingle Bell Jingle BAM! (at the end of the night). You can also experience Latin holiday music at Holiday Fiesta en la Calle on Comissary Lane.
In my opinion, the food options were lacking. There were only a handful of places open to get a bite to eat and of those, most were only serving a small, select holiday menu. While places like Brown Derby had food and drinks, it was only available with a virtual queue (which I was too late to get). Pizze Rizzo had small bites available and street tacos and empanadas were available at ABC Commissary. Dockside Diner had a few options and we tried the Sandy Claws hot chocolate and Vanilla Cookie stack (not a fan). This was almost a disaster as the handle on plastic cocoa cup broke and I almost spilled the entire drink on myself. There were a few other places but these are the ones we tried. Another option, but with limited capacity, was the Twilight Soiree at the Tip Top club in the courtyard of the Hollywood Tower Hotel.
If you wanted low wait times on rides, with the exception of Rise of the Resistance, this was the night to go. Wait times for Slinky Dog and Smugglers Run were 15 min at any given time. We were even invited into Oga’s Cantina as we were walking by and there was no queue and no reservations needed! My son and I love this place so we stopped in.
There were also new character greetings and plenty of places for photo shoots. Disney invited people to dress up for the event and there were lots of people decked out in their holiday finest. There were even a couple of ball gowns and heels!
We enjoyed the event but I thought there could have been more entertainment and food options. Advertising two cocktail parties for the event and then limiting capacity is not acceptable to me. These events should have been well planned for and everyone who bought a ticket should be allowed to go. The queues for these events opened before the party started so if you did not know that, you were out of luck. Take those two events away and you only had a few options of other holiday activities to choose from. So, while it was fun and the lights, rides, and handful of shows were readily available, the other activities were quickly filled.
I was also not a fan of this party starting and ending so late. This party was targeted for an older crowd, which I get, but a lot of people were heading out by 11:00, including us. Again, there wasn’t enough to keep us there that we hadn’t done before. Final grade is a C+ or B -.