Disney recently announced a new separately ticketed party at Disney’s Hollywood Studios called Disney Jollywood Nights along with Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party dates, and a new Frozen Cinderella Castle lighting show. I was invited to a media event discussing the holiday offerings and more details were provided about the new event. This includes a Nightmare Before Christmas sing-along, the Tip Top Club being recreated, and so much more. I was also given an update on the future of some of the holiday overlays on attractions during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Let’s kick things off with Disney Jollywood Nights.
First off, attendance. I asked if the number of guests would be similar to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party or Disney After Hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I was shocked by the response. In terms of attendance, Disney geared it so everybody can go to everything because they believe everything at Disney Jollywood Nights should be a destination. In theory, every guest should be able to experience it all.
The party is limited to only ten nights in its inaugural year. That’s not a lot and it will surely sell out. Disney wants the party to be a slam dunk hit and they know it will be. If it is, they said it could expand to more nights in future years. That being said, this party won’t be for everyone. The demographic Disney is aiming for is guests who can immerse into emotional and fun parties, not just witness the events around them and look for photo opportunities. It’s about stepping into different experiences.
What’s This? Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas Sing-Along
The press release for what was happening in the Hyperion Theater during the event was vague but hinted at The Nightmare Before Christmas. It turns out that’s exactly what’s happening. You can still see the Frozen Sing-Along Celebration by day, but during the party, it will become What’s This? Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas Sing-Along. Disney is expecting four showings to happen during the party.
The show will be hosted by two performers who are Tim Burton fans, and they’ll be inviting guests to their secret basement to watch this show together in the secret cinema. The performers are waking from a dream state to take you on this wild ride, and we’re all going to have a nightmare dream. Tom Vazzana, Creative Director for Disney Parks Live Entertainment, said, “Honestly, it’s going to like be Disney in Las Vegas feel.” The whole theater will transform. They’ll dress all the walls, change out the scenery, and light it all to bring this slightly darkly, delicious, surreal sing-along through Tim Burton’s mind to life.
The show will be an overview of the whole film but in a unique way. Guests will discover the beginning and see how it morphs and changes to the end. The show will be different from The Nightmare Before Christmas Sing and Scream on Disney Cruise Line Halloween on the High Seas sailings.
The sing-along songs include “What’s This?” and “Kidnap the Sandy Claws,” and it will snow if guests sing loud and strong enough. Jack Skellington and Oogie Boogie will even show up, but we won’t be able to meet them. If you want to meet Jack Skellington and Sally, they’ll still be over at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.
Tip Top Club
The Hollywood Tower Hotel was home to the Tip Top Club on the top floor. Guests aren’t able to visit it for obvious reasons, but during Disney Jollywood Nights, it will be recreated in the courtyard of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. The experience will be surreal, like one foot in 2023 and one foot in The Twilight Zone. There will be a ghostly band playing music from the 1920s and guests will wonder if they’re actually there or not. There will also be custom food and craft cocktails. The space will be limited-capacity, but Disney doesn’t expect they’ll need a waitlist.
The Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge Piano Bar
An experience that will have a waitlist in place will be the piano bar inside the popular restaurant. This isn’t the first special event that’s utilized this space for extra entertainment, and Disney expects it to be very popular. This type of speakeasy party is something you’d only find in a big city like New York City. A singer and a pianist will be playing standards of the era from the ’20s, ’30s, ’40s, and ’50s.
Theater of the Stars with Kermit and Miss Piggy
A huge announcement for the event was the show being hosted by Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy in the Theater of the Stars. It turns out this is going to be an all-singing, all-dancing holiday show that will rival Radio City Music Hall. Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse will have a specialty number. Tiana is bringing jazz to the stage. Belle will finish out the show singing “As Long as There’s Christmas” from Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas.
Kermit and Miss Piggy will be guests throughout the entire show. They’ll physically be there – not just on a screen. Unfortunately, no other Muppets will be making an appearance. They’ll be joined by a 10-piece band, and it will feel like watching a television variety show. Disney expects three performances of the show each night.
Mickey Mouse & Gang at Animation Courtyard
Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Goofy, and Pluto will all be meeting and greeting back in Animation Courtyard. However, it’s unlike anything they’ve done before, apparently. The characters will have new costumes and backdrops that won’t be offered anywhere else. The gang wrapped their holiday movie, and the studio cases will be opened with the backdrops inside of it. Pop culture, pop icons, and being really current describe the area.
1990s/2000s Characters at Echo Lake
Echo Lake will be a throwback to the 1990s and early 2000s with Chip ‘n’ Dale Rescue Rangers, Powerline Max, and Phineas and Ferb. Each of the characters will have a special holiday overlay to their costumes. The backdrops to their meet and greets will be a Christmas tree. Each of them has created their own Christmas tree, and guests will see what they would put on their own trees.
Frozone Snow Zone at Pixar Plaza
Pixar Plaza will be the home to Edna Mode and Frozone in his Frozone Snow Zone. Yes, it will actually be snowing back in Pixar Plaza. There won’t be any other characters back in this area, and these are the only two characters that won’t have holiday overlays to their costumes. However, this area will have music, food, beverages, and remnants of 1950s pop-up cards.
Latin Festival at Commissary Lane
Commissary Lane is turning into a fiesta en la calle – a festival in the street. Festoon lights will be strung all over the area. Three different bands will be energizing the street with Latin music. There will be plenty of food and drinks. It is something that would only happen in South Beach, Miami, or a festival in a big city.
Hollywood Boulevard & Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!
We’ll end Disney Jollywood Nights updates with the beginning. Hollywood Boulevard will be the first part of the party you see as you enter. It will be known as ‘Welcome to Tinseltown.’ There will be a marquee there to take your photo with. Custom food and beverage offerings will be available up the street. DJs will be spinning holiday music, both classic and pop. It will be a true fa-la-la-la-la land. Along the street and in the courtyard in front of Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway is where you can end the night with Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!, which will be the same show guests know and love from the pre-pandemic era.
Frozen Holiday Surprise
Disney didn’t beat around the bush on this one. Dreamlights are gone as we know it, and it doesn’t seem like they’ll ever come back. The Cinderella Castle lighting celebration will be a similar length to the previous Frozen castle lighting, and Elsa will still use her magic to light up the castle with projections. I asked if they would even use projections to recreate the Cinderella Castle Dreamlights and was told, “Dreamlights are gone.”
Holiday Overlays at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party as a whole won’t change much. Some new decor will be present since the 50th anniversary is no longer happening, and I already mentioned the Frozen Holiday Surprise, which will be shown during the party as well as during normal park hours. However, not all of the attraction overlays are coming back.
During the event, I asked if they’d all be returning, including Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor’s holiday show and Tomorrowland Speedway. I was told yes, they’d all be returning except for Space Mountain. Disney then updated the party page, and the only two attractions listed to have overlays are Jungle Cruise (Jingle Cruise) and Space Mountain.
After following up with Disney, the official answer is everything listed on their website is what is actually currently confirmed. Unless the website changes or Disney magically surprises us, it appears Tomorrowland Speedway, Mad Tea Party, and Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor won’t have a holiday twist.
To make matters even more confusing, Space Mountain may or may not have its special interior lighting during the party. It will definitely have holiday music, but Disney can’t speak about the lighting inside the attraction. However, Disney did confirm the exterior of Space Mountain will have no special lighting due to TRON Lightcycle / Run.
Beyond Jollywood Nights & Magic Kingdom
There’s really nothing else left to report about the other parks. The EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays will be the same event it has been year after year. I asked if any modifications were coming to Candlelight Processional and the answer was no along with the Holiday Storytellers and Festival Kitchens. There will also be no changes to the Disney Springs and Disney’s Animal Kingdom holiday offerings.
Tickets for Disney Jollywood Nights and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party go on sale to resort hotel guests on June 29 and all guests on July 6.