Jollywood Nights is a new Christmas party coming to Hollywood Studios for the 2023 holiday season. Our guide to the event covers dates & details for Walt Disney World’s newest hard ticket event, plus our commentary about this ‘counterprogramming’ to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom, anticipated crowd dynamics at WDW in November and December, and more. (Updated August 27, 2023.)
Let’s start with the basic details that we already know about Disney Jollywood Nights (DJN). This event will be held on select nights in Disney’s Hollywood Studios (DHS), offering a more refined holiday vibe, sights of 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.
Get ready to dress in your holiday glam best or festive flair, dance the night away to merry mashups, indulge in divine treats and bubbling spirits, and snap selfies with iconic characters during Disney Jollywood Nights. For an extra dose of holiday cheer, the party wraps with the return of the nighttime spectacular, “Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!” You’ll be in fa la la la la la la la land before you can say Tinseltown!
Disney Jollywood Nights is a separately ticketed, limited-capacity holiday event from 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. on 10 select nights from November 11 to December 20, 2023. Tickets to Disney Jollywood Nights are now available for all guests. Ticket prices range from $159 to $179 per person, depending upon the date. Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members can save $10 per ticket to Disney Jollywood Nights, valid for all event nights.
Party dates for Disney Jollywood Nights are:
Saturday, November 11, 2023(SOLD OUT)
- Saturday, November 18, 2023
- Monday, November 20, 2023
- Monday, November 27, 2023
- Wednesday, November 29, 2023
- Monday, December 4, 2023
- Wednesday, December 6, 2023
- Saturday, December 16, 2023
- Monday, December 18, 2023
- Wednesday, December 20, 2023
Ticket holders will be admitted to Disney’s Hollywood Studios as early as 7:00 PM on the valid date of their ticket. These date-specific event tickets do not require an additional day theme park ticket or theme park reservation.
Experience holiday vibes throughout Disney’s Hollywood Studios with entertainment areas inspired by different genres:
- You’ll be welcomed to Disney Jollywood Nights with a DJ spinning a mix of holiday tunes. Commissary Lane comes to life with a lively Latin Street Fair.
- Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy host an all-new stage show at Theater of the Stars featuring special appearances by guest stars Tiana, Belle, Minnie Mouse, and Mickey Mouse.
- Hyperion Theater will host a spirited sing-along – more details to come.
- Encounter glitz and glamor galore at two limited-capacity entertainment experiences – a jazz lounge at The Hollywood Brown Derby and an other-worldly soiree at The Hollywood Tower Hotel Courtyard.
- Wrap up the night and enjoy the return of a festive favorite, “Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!” This Santa-sized nighttime spectacular is jam-packed with music, fireworks, special effects and dazzling state-of-the-art projections.
Snap selfies with unique photo opportunities throughout the night:
- Pose with friends for holiday-themed Magic Shots and two new Disney PhotoPass experiences throughout the night. Complimentary digital downloads of your Disney PhotoPass photos captured during the event are included with the price of your ticket.
- Meet Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and the rest of the iconic gang in Animation Courtyard on a hot set with holiday props. Get into the spirit with your fave throwback friends like Powerline Max and Phineas and Ferb at Echo Lake and strike a pose with Edna Mode and chill with one of her super friends at Pixar Place.
Enjoy after-hours access to some of your favorite rides and coasters under the stars:
- After-hours access to some of your favorite rides and coasters like Slinky Dog Dash, Rock N’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run, and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. (Star Wars: Rise of Resistance will use virtual queue during Disney Jollywood Nights.)
Guests at Disney Jollywood Nights can buy specialty offerings throughout the party, such as Spicy Korean Chicken on a Mini Funnel Cake, sweet delights including a colorful Christmas Tree Cookie Stack inspired by the iconic Echo Lake Christmas Tree, and classic cocktails and holiday beverages that can be enjoyed during the party.
It’s also unknown how these snacks and sips will feature in Disney Jollywood Nights. For example, it’s possible that the jazz lounge at The Hollywood Brown Derby and other-worldly soiree at The Hollywood Tower Hotel Courtyard will either revolve around or even require minimum food & beverage purchases. (Those are so low capacity that it’s difficult to see how they’ll be viable at scale–making them have an added upcharge thus seems plausible.)
Note: Disney Jollywood Nights is not branded as an After Hours event, so it is NOT expected that it’ll offer unlimited ice cream novelties, popcorn, or bottled beverages included in the cost of this ticketed event. Normally at After Hours, you simply walk up to outdoor vending carts stationed throughout EPCOT and grab a Premium Mickey Bar, Coca-Cola, popcorn, or whatever else.
As noted above, Disney Jollywood Nights is a brand-new event, so there’s not a ton we can offer in terms of tips & tricks or insight beyond the basic details that Walt Disney World has announced. With that said, we’ve been attending Disney hard ticket events since 2007, and have seen a lot of party concepts come and go during that time. We’ve also learned what works and doesn’t, and are able to identify some ‘red flags’ with Disney Jollywood Nights as a result.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a rundown of potential problems in Why You Should NOT Do Disney Jollywood Nights Christmas Party at Hollywood Studios. That covers everything from crowds to capacity to entertainment, and draws parallels to one of the biggest disasters in Walt Disney World special event history…which was also at Disney’s Hollywood Studios!
On the other hand, there are a lot to like about this new Christmas Party, which we cover in Why You Should Do Disney Jollywood Nights. The bottom line is that we’re truly torn. Consider those companion posts that together should help you make an informed decision about Disney Jollywood Nights.
We’ll be attending the first Disney Jollywood Nights of the year and will report back with a full review, photo report, tips & tricks, and everything else you need to know to plan for the event…or decide whether it’s right for you. Of course, with one date already sold out, you may not be able to wait until then to purchase tickets.
Based on the Disney Jollywood Nights details, it seems like this event will offer some components that are interesting and reminiscent of the now-defunct Merriest Nites Christmas Party at Disneyland. There are certainly elements of this–like the Latin Street Fair and the Muppets hosting a live holiday special at Theater of the Stars–that have a ton of appeal.
With that said, I’m concerned that this will be an incomplete event (despite the price point). Although the jazz lounge at The Hollywood Brown Derby and an other-worldly soiree at The Hollywood Tower Hotel Courtyard sound intriguing, the words “limited-capacity” are a red flag, and give me pause that these will either be difficult to access or upcharge-within-upcharge offerings.
Finally, Disney Jollywood Nights doesn’t advertise the low lines of After Hours, which makes me wonder just how many rides will be open (Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance using a virtual queue reinforces that–and means only one ride per person at most). The event also does not have the entertainment roster of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. At least, that’s my initial impression.
In theory, Disney’s Hollywood Studios offering a holiday season event after park closing that serves as counterprogramming to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a great idea. But as with anything, it’s very much contingent upon execution, and what we know about Disney Jollywood Nights thus far sounds makes it more of a toss-up than a sure thing.
I hope that it ends up being fantastic, as I think a Christmas event at DHS is a good idea and because this being a failure could mean that the concept is abandoned for another decade, rather than fixed and improved upon.
I’m already starting to warm to the idea of Disney Jollywood Nights. It’s still very much dependent upon the execution and whether the substance of the event lives up to the promise, but I think my first impression was overly sour and harsh.
On a positive note, I do appreciate that Walt Disney World appears to be trying to do something more sophisticated. This comes across very much in the spirit of old Hollywood, and focuses more on live music, performers, and atmosphere than it does on popular characters and rides. Obviously, those latter two things will be present to round out the roster, but they are not the focus of Disney Jollywood Nights.
So even if I’m a little concerned about the execution or whether there will be enough entertainment to justify the cost of admission (and keep crowds occupied–even limited-capacity events can have issues if ticket sales exceed compelling offerings), I do have to give Walt Disney World props for trying something different and more adult. We’ve wanted to see precisely this type of thing. Here’s hoping it’s fully fleshed out and a hit right out the door. (My prediction is that this will be feast or famine–either it’ll be a huge hit with its target audience or a total trainwreck.)
I don’t think Disney Jollywood Nights will be a failure in one key metric: ticket sales. This is a brand new event occurring during the popular holiday season and only has 10 dates. Bloggers, vloggers, social media influencers, College Program participants…plus some regular guests…will likely sell out the first night. I’ll be among them, because that’s what my people do!
After that, there are enough diehard Walt Disney World fans that most or all dates of Disney Jollywood Nights will sell out for the Christmas 2023 season. This isn’t the type of thing where “failure” is likely to come by virtue of (lack of) ticket sales. If anything, it’ll be like Villains Unleashed and fail to the extent that it doesn’t comport with expectations and guest satisfaction is low as a result. Again, that’s assuming that it misses the mark. It could end up being fabulous, with the target audience absolutely loving it. (Like Villains Unleashed, I’ll bet more than a few families with small children purchase tickets and find it’s not what they bargained for.)
Another big thing that’s worth addressing is the impact that Disney Jollywood Nights will have on crowds throughout Walt Disney World. Christmas is an incredibly busy time of year at Walt Disney World, and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party already screws with crowds and attendance dynamics.
One of the advantages of doing an After Hours event is that it has minimal impact on crowds since those events occur after regular park closing. Day guests thus don’t “plan around” After Hours, since it doesn’t really impact them. Although not branded as such, this is comparable to an After Hours event timing-wise.
With the 8:30 pm start time, Disney Jollywood Nights should not massively disrupt crowds. On a normal night during the holiday season, Disney’s Hollywood Studios would close at 8 or 9 pm. On Disney Jollywood Nights dates, it’s likely that the park will close at 7:30 pm or 8 pm to day guests. That’s a slight loss of time, but not enough that it’ll cause crowds to shift around significantly on its own.
With that said, there will likely be an impact on Fantasmic. Since the reimagined nighttime spectacular returned, it has offered two performances on busier days–including all but a handful of dates last holiday season. Last November and December, the first showtime typically occurred around 7 pm, with a second at 9 pm or 9:30 pm depending upon when the park closed.
Disney Jollywood Nights will mean no second showtime of Fantasmic on at least some nights. In turn, that will probably result in some guests rescheduling their Disney’s Hollywood Studios park days. That’s the logical approach if Fantasmic is a priority, as the second showtime is so much easier to catch. (See our recent Afternoon & Evening Plan for Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which illustrates why.)
As we covered ad nauseum last year, this very dynamic at Magic Kingdom can be leveraged to the strategic advantage of savvy guests. It’s counterintuitive strategy, but it works consistently there. That’s our go-to approach to Magic Kingdom for August through December, and it works without fail.
The problem, as noted above, is that it’s counterintuitive. Additionally, most guests are not savvy or have good reason (no Park Hopper tickets, wanting to see Happily Ever After, etc.) for not wanting to embrace the approach. The fact that the strategy does work without fail is a testament to the fact that the hard ticket events are so disruptive to attendance dynamics, and that the scheduling of MVMCP and resulting crowds create headaches.
Nevertheless, one silver lining here is that savvy Walt Disney World planners will be able to strategize around Disney Jollywood Nights and benefit from slightly lower crowds as a result. It won’t be nearly as pronounced as over at Magic Kingdom where the park closes ~4 hours earlier than normal, but that’s probably a good thing, as that approach clearly creates winners and losers. (All of us are benefiting from lower crowds at Magic Kingdom precisely because others are paying the price of higher crowds.)
Ultimately, I hope that Disney Jollywood Nights ends up exceeding expectations. Heck, I hope to revisit this announcement in a few days and feel more positive about it for one reason or another. (Update: it actually took less than an hour!) Once Walt Disney World provides more details, perhaps Disney Jollywood Nights will become more appealing…especially if that tease about the Muppets ends up being significant!
Or maybe Disney Jollywood Nights is simply something that’s “not for me” but will hold appeal for those who love to dance and get fancy for an evening out in the park. To find a silver lining in this new event, at least the holiday/jolly-night party at Disney’s Hollywood Studios should put some crowds and demand away from the 2023 Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, so that’s a win for longtime fans like me who love that time-tested event!
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Will you attend this Christmas party at Disney’s Hollywood Studios? If so, will you do it instead of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party or in addition to it? What do you think about Disney Jollywood Nights? What are your thoughts on ticket prices? Will your family be buying or sitting out the Christmas festivities? Are you excited for Christmas 2023 at Walt Disney World? Do you agree or disagree with our perspective on this? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!