Disney did something big this year. They tried something new. It was ambitious, and the bar was set pretty high thanks to beloved events like Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. This is Disney, after all. So, when the first official Jollywood Nights holiday party debuted in Disney’s Hollywood Studios this year, fans were quick to point out all the highs and lows of the event.
But what really went wrong? Is the party as bad as people are saying? Were we too quick to judge this event, or was the criticism well-deserved considering the $150+ price tag? Let’s talk about it.
This limited-capacity event features a DJ spinning holiday tunes, a Kermit and Miss Piggy-hosted LIVE holiday special, a festive sing-along, a “lively Latin Street Fair,”a jazz lounge, an “other-worldly soiree” at the Tower Hotel Courtyard, character meet-and-greets, exclusive snacks, and access to shorter wait times at select attractions. Sounds like a lot, right?
If you manage to plan your night the right way (avoid long lines and check back later in the evening; prioritize your must-dos and check showtimes before your visit), you can see and do a LOT during the party. Like most things in Disney World, you have to be strategic in your planning.
That said, there are no unique holiday overlays on any attractions, no parades, and no free snacks or drinks. If you try to compare this event to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, the Magic Kingdom party seemingly offers more bang for your buck.
But is it fair to compare these events? Magic Kingdom is a WAY bigger park, so it’s easier for crowds to spread out across the park. Plus, Magic Kingdom has more attractions, a bigger space for parades and nighttime entertainment, and the gift of time and experience on its side.
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party has been going on for YEARS, so Disney has had plenty of time to work out the kinks.
What Went Wrong
Jollywood Nights started with an excited crowd on night one of the event. Smaller spaces, like the area by the Tower of Terror attraction, quickly filled with people, and the line just to obtain a party wristband stretched out the door.
There was only a small handful of character meet-and-greets, and live entertainment was set to a strict schedule. With only a few “exclusive” things to occupy their time, guests quickly found themselves flocking to the same few places, unable to disperse to other offerings.
As the night went on, the lines and crowds seemed to ebb and flow. The line to get a cookie at one location may have reached 15+ people, but many attraction wait times stayed low throughout the event.
Really, if it weren’t for the price, maybe fans would have been able to see past some of the party’s flaws. It’s not like anything went spectacularly wrong, after all. But speaking of the price…
This exclusive holiday party is not cheap; tickets range from $159-$179 before taxes, and with rising prices and new upcharges, some Disney fans are hyper-sensitive to ticket prices and the value of their ticket. To be fair, these tickets are close to the price of a regular Disney World park ticket, yet the party only lasts from 8:30PM to 12:30AM.
A 2023 Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party ticket ranges from $159 to $199, so it’s clear in terms of party-exclusive offerings, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party wins. On the other hand, a 2024 Hollywood Studios After Hours event ticket costs $155-$175 pre-tax, and those events don’t have any special holiday offerings. So, if you look at Jollywood Nights as an After Hours event with a little extra holiday flair, you might be able to tolerate the price.
After a bumpy start, many guests who attended future Jollywood Nights parties agreed that the party improved. Some guests were even able to successfully transfer their Jollywood Nights ticket to a Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party ticket.
Going forward, you may see a few extra characters out and about, and those lines for food and drinks may move a little faster. Disney is still learning, so there’s still room to grow.
Is this event as bad as people say? That’s up to you. If you want to enjoy a night in Disney’s Hollywood Studios after the park closes with some festive flair and low ride wait times, this could be the party for you. If you go in expecting Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party to transfer itself to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you may be disappointed.
With all we’ve seen and learned about this event, we still recommend giving it a try. The live entertainment was spectacular, and we had a few great treats, too. Go in with an open mind, and you just might have a good time. In the meantime, we’re always on the lookout for the latest Disney news, so stay tuned for more.
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Are you planning to attend Jollywood Nights this year? Let us know in the comments!