Are you curious about Walt Disney World’s newest holiday event, Jollywood Nights? We break it down for you with the best offerings, the worst offerings, and, at times, confusing offerings. Here is what we hope will be modified if it returns next year.
For 2023, Walt Disney World announced a first-ever holiday event to be held at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Jollywood Nights was first introduced as a holiday vibe like you’ve never before experienced.
Guests are invited to enjoy sparkling décor, sounds of modern beats over classic holiday songs, tastes of craft cocktails, and decadent dishes. It’s nostalgic, and it’s glitz and glam galore.
As a reference point, I (Donna) love the Christmas season and I have attended Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party on numerous occasions. This year, I was particularly excited to experience this new Jollywood Nights event.
If you are going into Jollywood Nights to compare it to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, you will be gravely disappointed. To be fair, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party first started back in 1983.
Over the past 40 years of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, a few things have changed. Each year, the party improves and now is one of the best holiday events (in my opinion).
To start with, let’s get to the really good parts of Jollywood Nights. One of the most intriguing offerings of this event is the Holidays in Hollywood Muppet Variety Show.
As a child growing up in the 1980s, I (Donna) am a HUGE Muppet fan. This show did not disappoint, and I dare say this show alone was worth the price of the Jollywood Nights ticket.
First, you get to see the live banter back and forth between Miss Piggy and Kermit. Even if you do not like the Muppets, this show is simply amazing.
This variety show features a live band and talented hosts who dazzle the stage. You can enjoy special appearances by Tiana, Belle from Beauty and the Beast, and Mickey & Minnie Mouse.
This show lasts roughly 30 minutes, and to be honest, we wish it lasted even longer. With brand new costumes, a full glam stage, and Muppet hijinks, this show is a “must-see.”
The other great positive of this event is the many rare characters featured. For the first Jollywood Nights, the appearing character list was very small.
After receiving guest feedback, more characters were added and we are so thankful they were. Get a full listing of new characters appearing HERE.
All Disney PhotoPass photos are available for FREE for this event. This is a great perk to enjoy photo booths, MagicShots, and meeting your favorite characters.
The Hollywood Muppet Variety Show, Muppet Magic Shot, and the rare Disney characters made this event a success for me.
Unfortunately, there were some disappointing moments during Jollywood Nights. The good side was that there were great rare characters. The bad side is that the lines for these characters were quite long. We were first in line for the Sensational Six. The line moved quickly for these, but unfortunately, they alternated.
Daisy switched to Donald, Pluto switched to Goofy, and Mickey switched to Minnie Mouse. If you had your heart set on meeting all 6 characters, you would be in line for quite some time.
The long character lines were disappointing, and perhaps even more characters could help lower crowd waits. It is also possible that if more entertainment was offered this could help.
Shorter Party Hours
It is also quite a shorter event than Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. At Magic Kingdom, party guests can enter the park at 4:00 pm with the party officially starting at 7:00 pm until midnight.
At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Jollywood Nights guests can enter the park at 7:00 pm. The party officially starts at 8:30 pm and ends at 12:30 pm. This is a HUGE difference for partygoers.
Tip Top Club
One of the biggest disappointments was the Twilight Soiree at the Tip Top Club. We had high expectations that this would offer a fun experience to the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror attraction.
What we found was a simple door to pass through to be transported into this Tip Top Club. A band was playing, but guests simply stood around listening to the music. The bar was attended by Tower of Terror bell hops which seemed a bit odd.
Three cocktails were available including The 5th Dimension Royal, Twilight Daiquirir, and Sparkling Pomegranate Apple Cider. We tried the first two cocktails and found them unsatisfactory. This was not the Old Hollywood lounge that we had expected.
Jingle Bell, Jingle Bam
Lastly, the return of Jingle Bell, Jingle Bam was a bit of a miss. This show was enjoyed before 2020. Disney offers this show only for Jollywood Nights.
We wish that Disney had created a signature fireworks/projection show for Jollywood Nights. This would fit better with the overall theme and would create more desire to pay extra for this special ticketed event.
Finally, we come to the confusing aspects of Jollywood Nights. Remember that this event was promised to be “nostalgic and its glitz and glam galore.” It appeared that this event was in an identity crisis.
The first confusing aspect was the variety of entertainment. Instead of a cohesive feel, there was Latin music, a DJ in front of the Chinese Theatre, and a live band at Tower of Terror.
The overall vibe of these various entertainers was not Old Hollywood. It was also disappointing to see the Sensational Six’s new outfits for this event. Somehow I envisioned a bit more dapper outfits for the Mickey Mouse and his gang.
It seemed as though Mickey Mouse was ready for a day at Blizzard Beach rather than Jollywood Nights with his outfit choice.
Lastly, the take-home gift for this event is two signature coasters. I guess you can’t complain about a free gift, but it seemed like an odd souvenir for a holiday party.
Overall, I am thankful that I was able to attend this event. The Hollywood Muppet Variety Show, Muppet Magic Shot, and the rare Disney characters made this a success for me.
If Jollywood Nights returns next year, we hope that more continuity will be seen throughout the event. Longer party hours would also be a great addition. For the first year, there are many great aspects, but we hope that like so many things at Disney “we keep moving forward.”
Have you attended Jollywood Nights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios? What do you think was the good and bad for this event? Share your thoughts with us and share this review with your Disney pals.