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Jollywood Nights Review

Updated: 5 days ago

When Disney announced they were adding a holiday party to my favorite park, Hollywood Studios, I was beyond excited. Not only was this being advertised as a vintage glam theme, but then they announced that Kermit and Miss Piggy would be hosting a show, and I booked my ticket immediately. The chance to see some of my favorite characters was enough for me to say “yes" to attending this event.


And while my main reason for attending was not a disappointment, plenty of other issues did make this an event that felt overpriced and underwhelming. At $159 per ticket for most nights, I had high expectations that this would be truly magical. Instead, I was left feeling like I paid a lot of money (to then spend even more money while I was there) for just a short amount of time. I’ll break down the highs and lows of Disney’s Jollywood Nights below.



The Highlights


The Food and Drinks:


Unlike Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, no snacks or drinks are included with your ticket. However, we found the prices of most dishes to be reasonable for their portion sizes. We attempted to grab a spot at the Brown Derby Lounge, but weren’t able to get one at the first virtual queue drop, so we headed on over to the ABC Commissary. I am kind of glad we didn’t get that spot because the food here was excellent. It was part of the Holiday Fiesta en la Calle. I grabbed the Birria Taco and a Mexican Hot Cocoa Cheesecake ($5.29). I can’t remember the price of the taco (or find it anywhere!), but both dishes were EXCELLENT. My only complaint is that I would have loved two or three tacos. My friends grabbed the Chicken Empanadas with Street Corn and the Tembleque. I sampled the empanadas and corn and thought it was a very good dish! I didn’t sample the tembleque because I am not a big custard fan, but my friend said it wasn’t something he’d get again.


Later in the evening, we were finally able to grab a spot for Brown Derby, but missed it because we wanted to see the Disney Holidays in Hollywood show. So instead, we headed to Fairfax Fare to grab some bites. I ordered the Holiday Turkey Popover ($6.29), PB&J Donut ($4.99) and Mistletoe Martini ($9). This was another home run for me! The popover was one of my favorite items. It was a good-sized portion and delicious. The donut was also good, but I could have used more jam. My friends got the Just the Sides Popover, and I didn’t love that one due to the use of anise. But the Kermit Banana Bliss was also fantastic!



Disney Holidays in Hollywood:


This was the main reason I bought the ticket. We got in line around 10:15 to secure a great spot for this show. I wanted to make sure I could see Kermit and Piggy up close! There was already a large line when we got there, but we still were able to get really great seats. The concept of the show is that you are watching a live taping of a vintage holiday special, which was a perfect theme for Jollywood Nights. This show was incredible. It very much felt like I was watching a show on Broadway. The singers, the big band, the dancers, and the characters were all fantastic. Kermit and Miss Piggy were considered special guest hosts, so they don’t really have a full number, but they are a super fun addition to the night! Tiana really stole the show for me. Her songs with the big band really helped make it feel like you were watching something from the 1940s. Mickey, Minnie, and Belle also perform and do a wonderful job. If you like that old-school holiday feeling, I would NOT miss this show. While the overall party was a bit of a disappointment, this was something I will never forget and was worth it for me!




The Fashion:


Disney put a lot of emphasis on dressing to impress for this event…and people delivered. One of my biggest regrets of the night was not slowing down to people-watch or ask if I could take different people’s photos because I loved their outfits. There was everything from high-vintage glam, to “gaudy” Christmas outfits, and my favorite of the night were these two who dressed up as Gonzo and Rizzo! I thoroughly enjoyed seeing how everyone put their own spin on Holiday High Fashion. It is NOT required to dress up for the event, but it did make it so much more fun! Think Dapper Day without the heat for the holidays.


While there were a lot of fun memorable moments of the night, there were plenty of things that went awry.


The Lows


Timing:


This party doesn’t officially start until 8:30 p.m. and ends at 12:30 a.m. We found 4 hours to not be enough time to fit everything in. What time the parks allow guests to enter has varied each night, but they can’t start the official festivities until daytime guests have exited the park. That means food, characters, and shows don't start until 8:30. We did see some characters come out around 8:15. And even though there aren’t a lot of things to do at this event, the things that you can attend take a long time. Disney did fix some of the line issues by adding extra characters to alleviate some of the timing issues, but we still felt rushed to do everything, and we weren’t even trying for every single option. I would have loved it if the park would have started serving the specialty food a little earlier when the park was open to all guests so we could have not spent so much time trying to eat while we were there. That would have eliminated some of the stress.


Theming:


What sold me on this party was the fact that it was being advertised as vintage glam with a holiday twist. While Sunset Boulevard seemed to keep with this theme, the rest of the party felt like a mess. There was a DJ playing modern dance music near the Chinese Theater that really didn’t vibe with the rest of the party. It felt weird to hear techno music while meeting Goofy dressed to the nines. Holiday Fiesta en la Calle isn’t technically vintage vibes either, but it still was a wonderful theme because they had live music and themed the food, so it still very much worked in its own way. But the rest of the areas were inconsistent and a mismatch of holiday themes. Also, they apparently introduced a new character, Ollie the Gingerbread, but there was only a sign of him and nothing else. He’s on the brochure, but you’d never know he was supposed to be a main character of the night.


Price:


And finally, my biggest complaint. This was a very hefty price tag. It’s roughly the same price as Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party which is an hour and a half longer, AND you get park access starting at 4 p.m. You also receive free cookies, hot cocoa, and an ornament. The only things included in your ticket for Jollywood are…coasters and a lanyard. Not even the prepackaged Gertie cookie is included in your ticket. There is also no parade, and the fireworks show is nothing new. It’s a show that’s been at Hollywood Studios since 2016.


This is not a $160 event. This is also not an event I’d bring my kids to, as there isn’t a whole lot for them to do. I am not sure it’s even worth $100. People keep saying that it has potential, and while it does, at $160-$180 dollars per person, it shouldn’t be a party with just potential. If Disney does decide to bring this party back, I would hope they make significant changes. If they don’t want to change the majority of the party, then the price should be lower, or allow food and drink vouchers for at least two items. And of course, my personal request, add more Muppets. I would have loved to see maybe a Sweetums meet and greet, or for the love of God, the reopening of Stage One.


If you have already purchased tickets, do not worry. I think you can still find ways to have plenty of fun. Be sure to watch reviews on YouTube to make the best game plan so you use your time wisely. I still had a lot of fun! But I just wish it were longer, or cheaper, and a little less chaotic.


Agree or disagree? Tell us in the comments what you’d like to see happen with this party!



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