Our top tips when visiting Disney Jollywood Nights, the new holiday event taking place at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
The holidays have arrived at Walt Disney World, and you can celebrate with not one, but TWO special after hours events. Over at Magic Kingdom, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party has returned for another year to enjoy. And at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, they have introduced the brand new Disney Jollywood Nights, a celebration of glitz and glamour. The new event will be taking place on select nights now through December 20, and we’re sharing some of our top tips for visiting based on our experience at the party.
Our Top Tips for Visiting Disney Jollywood Nights
This is the first year of Disney Jollywood Nights, making it a first-time experience for everyone going! If you plan on visiting this holiday season, we’re sharing our top tips for Jollywood Nights to make the most of the hard-ticket event.
Get There Early
While the event officially takes place from 8:30 PM to 12:30 AM, your ticket will allowe you into the park at 7 PM. That means you’ll have an hour and a half where regular parkgoers are still mixed in amongst the party guests. There is a lot to fit in during four hours of the official party, so we recommend getting to the park entrance right at 7 (if not a bit earlier) to ensure you don’t miss a minute of the allotted time your ticket allows.
While you won’t be able to participate in party-exclusive events until the Jollywood Nights actually begin, this is a great time to take in a ride, You can also settle in and scope out an area where you’ll want to be once the party begins, so you can hop right into line for a character, food, or show. One of the most popular events of the night is Jazzy Holidays at the Hollywood Brown Derby, which opens up on a first-come, first-served basis close to the beginning of the event. Once the first seating of the night reaches capacity, the event turns over to a walk-up waitlist on the My Disney Experience app. Because of this, if Jazzy Holidays is a must-do for you, we recommend getting there early to get one of the first seats of the night.
You’ll also want to check in for your virtual queue spot for Rise of the Resistance, which is the only ride using a virtual queue throughout the event.
The Shows Are a Major Highlight
While you’ll find plenty of entertainment throughout the park, there are two major shows (aside from fireworks) that can be experienced at Jollywood Nights. Holidays in Hollywood takes place at Theater of the Stars four times throughout the night, and was a major highlight of the event to us. The variety show is done like a live broadcast, with song and dance numbers featuring some of your favorite Disney characters. You can expect to see Miss Piggy and Kermit, Tiana, Belle, Mickey and Minnie performing throughout the show. There’s fun music and incredibly choreography, which made this a must-do of the night in our books.
The other show you can experience is at the Hyperion Theater, where there are four performances of What’s This? Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas Sing-Along.The show features live performers, characters, and effects alongside a sing-along for The Nightmare Before Christmas. Fans of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party will be thrilled to see the giant Jack Skellington on stage, the puppet that is typically exclusive to Not-So-Scary. Even if you aren’t a major fan of The Nightmare Before Christmas, the performance is a sight to behold, and a really unique show to take in.
Plan Out Your Must Dos Ahead of Time
Perhaps the most important tip of all is to prioritize what you want to get done during Jollywood Nights ahead of time. One thing we found during our time at the event is that there were some lengthy lines for characters, dining, and photo opportunities. For characters, you’ll find photo opportunities with rare characters like Max as Powerline, Chip ‘n’ Dale as Rescue Rangers, as well as Mickey and friends in party-exclusive outfits.
The event also includes special food options such as Holiday Fiesta en la Calle at ABC Commissary, party-exclusive treats and drinks, the Twilight Soirée at The Tip-Top Club, and Jazzy Holidays at The Hollywood Brown Derby (the latter of which requires joining the walk-up waitlist on My Disney Experience). Throughout the night, lines for some of these experiences were incredibly long, especially for spots like the Twilight Soirée at The Tip-Top Club, Jazzy Holidays, and character meet-and-greets.
Do Your Must-Dos in Order of Priority
We recommend prioritizing which experiences are most important to you and your group and doing them in order of priority. Is meeting Max as Powerline a must-do for you? Make sure to head over to Echo Lake to get in line for that early. Do you really want to take in Jazzy Holidays at The Hollywood Brown Derby? Make sure you join the walk-up waitlist for the experience ASAP, so you don’t spend your night waiting in line for standby.
Between the shows and entertainment, character experiences, and dining, there was absolutely no way to get everything done over the course of the night. And that’s not even counting the rides, which we found had fairly low wait times throughout the night. By making sure you know what you want out of the night, and prioritizing those aspects, you’ll get the most you can from Disney Jollywood Nights.
Take Advantage of the Magic Shots
With the cost of admission to the party, you’ll have access to some pretty incredible Magic Shots for the night. One tip, though, is you’ll just need to know where to find them! Two of the most unique Magic Shots you can find include one done in slow motion with a robotic arm, and another done with a camera array to give you a gif-like effect. Both will make you feel and look just like a movie star (very on-brand for the event). You’ll find both of these options over in Animation Courtyard, which is also where a lot of character photo opportunities are.
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While you’ll see major lines for the characters in Animation Courtyard, if you’re interested in the Magic Shots, look for the Cast Members with the iPads who will direct you to a separate queue. The Magic Shot made to look like it’s in slow motion can be found in the Disney Jr. building, while the Magic Shot done to give you a gif-life effect is in the nearby Studio Store.
Plan Out Your Transportation Options
While Disney transportation is running as normal to get to Jollywood Nights, it’s important to note that the Disney Skyliner is not running after the party ends. Instead, Disney provides buses that will take all guests backs to their Disney World hotels, including those staying at the Skyliner resorts. So while you will still have transportation provided to you, you will want to plan to take a bus back as opposed to the Skyliner if you’re staying at Disney’s Riviera, Caribbean Beach, Art of Animation, or Pop Century Resorts.
Take Advantage of Empty Spots
Since there are so many exclusive treats and entertainment options, most people at the event gravitated towards those. However, that meant that plenty of normally popular spots throughout Hollywood Studios were practically empty. For example, Oga’s Cantina at Galaxy’s Edge, which normally is filled to the brim with people, was practically empty. It was so empty, in fact, that you were able to walk right up and get in for a drink.
This was true for other spots as well, such as at Trolley Car Café, which normally has a lengthy queue. Rides were another opportunity to experience with little to no wait. While there was an incredibly long line for Trolley Car Café the Twilight Soirée right outside of Tower of Terror, the ride itself had a wait time of 13 minutes (meaning a walk on) for much of the night.
Visit the Twilight Soirée, But Skip the Bar
Speaking of the Twilight Soirée at The Tip-Top Club, this was one of the most highly anticipated events of the night for many people — and it showed. The entertainment takes place in the courtyard of the Hollywood Tower Hotel, where a band is set up for live music beside a bar to pick up event-exclusive drinks.
While the music is incredibly fun, the line for the bar was particularly lengthy. Unless the bar is one of your must-dos for the night, we’d recommend snagging a drink from somewhere else in the park and bringing it over to enjoy the music instead of spending that time in line.
Thanks to Disney for hosting us on the opening night of Jollywood Nights, where we were able to experience food, beverage, and entertainment options including the much-anticipated return of nighttime spectacular, Jingle Bell Jingle Bam. #jollywoodnights