Jollywood Nights Hollywood Studios Opening Night Review
Now that we’ve had a chance to travel home and settle we have a few things to discuss about Jollywood Nights. This hard-ticket event promised to transport guests into a world of nostalgic Hollywood glamour, blending the charm of classic Tinseltown with the enchantment of the holiday season. Jollywood Nights is a four-hour after-hours party that offers a unique blend of stage shows, exclusive party snacks, character meet and greets, and the opportunity to ride blockbuster attractions with minimal wait times. That’s what we were promised, but did the event deliver?
Let me start by saying the vibes are incredible. As soon as guests step into Disney’s Hollywood Studios during Jollywood Nights, they are greeted with a captivating atmosphere that pays homage to the golden age of Hollywood. The park was transformed into a winter wonderland, adorned with sparkling lights, festive decorations, and a sprinkling of Disney magic. We always love Hollywood Studios during the holidays, but the optional vintage dress code added an air of sophistication that really classed up the event.
Themed venues like the “Jazzy Holidays” at the Hollywood Brown Derby and the Twilight Soiree added to the Vintage Hollywood motif and were really fun additions that set the stage for the evening. We like that the party had an adult feel to it. Whereas Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is geared towards families, Jollywood Nights had an “adult’s night out” feel. We appreciated a more mature experience at Disney Parks.
Easily the best part of the evening was the addition of exclusive shows. Jollywood Nights features two brand-new stage shows that bring the magic of the season to life. From dazzling dance numbers to heartwarming musical performances, both shows were filled with artistry that left us wanting more.
“What’s This? Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas Sing-Along” was showcased at the Hyperion Theater. The silent theater elements were brilliant, showcasing a creative way to incorporate Tim Burton’s classic tale in a whole new way. However, the Jack Skellington puppet stole the show. This 15-foot puppet was an imaginative way to bring this fan-favorite character to life on stage. This show has been in development for well over a year and tapped into the background of Director James Silson’s diverse talents.
Jollywood Nights added a second blockbuster entertainment offering with “Disney Holidays in Hollywood” at the Theater of the Stars. This show revived the glitz and glamour of a vintage Hollywood television show, combining elaborate choreography, over-the-top musical numbers, and a heaping dose of Holiday Magic. We adored the Mickey and Minnie dance number, harkening back to the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers style productions. The show also offered a brand new musical number featuring Tiana which was written and produced specifically for this show.
But the moment that brought down the house was when Kermit and Miss Piggy appeared from behind a pile of Christmas Presents. Disney will hopefully be inspired by this outpouring of love for the Muppets and continue to offer more representation in future park offerings.
One of the highlights of Jollywood Nights is the chance to meet beloved Disney characters in unique holiday attire. We met the Fab Five – donning glamorous Hollywood-inspired outfits. The character meet and greets at Jollywood Nights are a photo opportunity not to be missed.
Phineas and Ferb, Powerline Max, Chip & Dale, Edna Mode, and Frozone greeted guests throughout the night. There were some long lines, but that is to be expected at every event as guests clamor for their perfect picture with their favorite Disney characters.
We didn’t have much of an opportunity to try the food, as we were focused on the shows and unique entertainment offerings. There were long lines for food throughout the night at Fairfax Fare, ABC Commissary, and Pizza Rizzo. Guests were eager to snag a “Gertie Cookie” and long lines built up for exclusive food offerings. We recommend the Buffalo Chicken Spring Rolls and PB&J Donut from Fairfax Fare. While the lines were long, many moved quickly – and again the key was maybe waiting till the end of the night. Since this was the first night of the event, we are hopeful that lines will be shorter deeper into the season.
I will say this I think for the price tag of this event it would have been nice if Disney offered up the Gertie Cookie for free for this event. The Gertie Cookie was really good and really hit the spot for a quick sweet fix. Just like picking up Hot Cocoa and a Cookie at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Disney could hand out this cookie as guests walk by and take those stunning photos of the Echo Lake Area.
Our favorite moment of the night was the Twilight Soiree underneath the Tower of Terror. The spectral house band featuring Rachel Copeland materialized in the courtyard near the gift shop exit. The Jazz band was simply incredible, but the lead singer’s voice gave us the chills. Our only complaint is that the location of the band was too small given the immense talent of the performers, we’d like to see this stage in an open area so that it can be enjoyed by more people. Also it was tough to get into the area because there was competition with the beverage service that was going on in the same general vicinity.
See for yourself…
As we bid farewell to the enchanting Jollywood Nights, it’s worth noting that, much like the opening night of Disneyland itself, perfection is a journey rather than a destination. While the event may have had a few minor hiccups, it undeniably lays the foundation for something truly spectacular. The bones of Jollywood Nights are robust, and the melding of Hollywood glamour with holiday cheer creates an atmosphere that is uniquely Disney.
Our only critique is we’d like to see some time added to the event – given the amount of things that can be done and the cost of the event, we’d like to get another hour, maybe two so we can take a more relaxed pace to enjoy the food and offerings. We found ourselves running from shows to characters to food, and it ruined the relaxed Hollywood vibes that Disney has carefully worked to curate.
Just as Disneyland’s opening night had its snafus, it marked the start of an extraordinary legacy, and we have every reason to believe that Jollywood Nights is destined for similar greatness. As Disney continues to fine-tune and refine this magical experience, we eagerly anticipate the evolution of Jollywood Nights into a holiday tradition that will captivate and enchant guests for years to come. So, let the magic live on, and here’s to the exciting future of Jollywood Nights!
Special thank you to Disney for inviting us to such a fun and unique experience at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
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