Disney Jollywood Nights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a new holiday party that debuted this year. We have been talking about how excited we’ve been the past few months leading up to this event. I was nervous as we got super close because I wasn’t sure how we should plan the night to ensure we did everything they had to offer.
On November 11th, we walked into this brand-new event with a loose plan, but we knew we wanted to accomplish a lot. We knew we wanted to experience the Jazzy Holidays at The Hollywood Brown Derby, the two shows, the Latin section of the party, the Tip Top Club, and, of course, we wanted to see some characters. Unfortunately, our night didn’t go as planned. We made a few mistakes, but Disney made some even bigger ones with this event.
Our Big Mistake
We waited in this vast group to join the waitlist for the Jazzy Holidays experience. We joined the waitlist, and it quoted us a 10-minute wait, and apparently, that is what everyone got quoted. There was an IT problem which caused everyone to get quoted at 10 minutes. We stood by the restaurant entrance for 10 minutes and realized we weren’t being called up. After standing around, we decided to run over to Animation Courtyard and meet Goofy with his new party-exclusive backdrop.
We learned during this that Goofy and Pluto share this backdrop, so they switch each set. It seems that is also happening with Daisy, Donald, Mickey, and Minnie. So, if you want to see all the characters, you will have to come back once they switch. Anyway, once we got to the front of the line and started our interaction with Goofy, we got called for the Brown Derby, so after we took pictures, we ran over.
Craig was so excited about this offering, and watching it not meet his expectations was sad. We walked into the restaurant, and it lacked Christmas decor. The only decorations were some garlands across the area where the piano player was. The piano player was very talented, but this was marketed as a Christmas jazz club, and they were playing Disney movie songs like You’re Welcome from Moana and You’ve Got a Friend in Me from Toy Story. It felt like after five Disney songs, they would sing a Christmas song. I wish they would’ve mixed in some Disney Christmas songs since there are a handful to mix with classic holiday songs.
The part that was shocking was that when he got up to take a break from playing, there was no atmosphere music. Other than that, it took about 25 minutes to get water and drinks to the table. It isn’t the restaurant’s fault that we started to get anxious. It’s just that this was starting to eat into our party time. We already waited 35 minutes to get called to the restaurant, and they took another 30 minutes to get anything at the table. This is when we realized they want you to treat this like a dinner and not just a quick experience. We didn’t have that kind of time.
We asked for the check the minute our server let us know the food was on the way. We were getting frazzled because we needed to get to the 9:30 p.m. showing of Holidays in Hollywood, and we ended up missing that show because it started before we could get into it. Thankfully, we saw it later in the night, and it was definitely the event’s highlight.
Our biggest mistake of the evening was prioritizing the Hollywood Brown Derby experience over everything else. It really made the rest of the night feel impossible.
Mistakes That Disney Made
The biggest mistake Disney made was overselling this event. The minute the party started, it was evident that the crowds would be wild all night. Most of the crowds sat between Hollywood Brown Derby and the Tip Top Club all night. Sunset Boulevard felt very chaotic. This type of event would thrive and be successful if the number of people allowed into the party was very controlled. There were just too many guests at this holiday party.
Another mistake they made was not having a free snack like a cookie or drink. That offering is what makes Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party unique and worth it. In my opinion, the Santa Gertie Cookie should’ve been included with the ticket. All they needed to do was have a separate booth that was responsible just to pass out these Gertie cookies and maybe even hot cocoa. I think that would’ve made many guests feel like their ticket had more value.
The other mistake Disney made was making this event only 4 hours long. It definitely needed to be longer. I think it would be more successful if the party were an hour and a half longer or even two hours longer. Currently, the event starts at 8:30 p.m., and I think it should start at either 7:30 p.m. or 8 p.m. and end at 1 a.m. or 1:30 a.m., allowing more time to do everything.
We didn’t get to ride a single attraction; we only met one character and had to pick and choose what we did. Craig went to see the Nightmare Before Christmas Sing-Along, and Ryno and I went to the Commissary Lane to see the Latin area. Unfortunately, the minute we got over there, the rain started. Of course, Disney has no control over the weather, so we can’t blame the rain on them. If we had more time, we wouldn’t have had to pick and choose what we did.
I hate to keep pointing out their mistakes, but I have one more to share. They needed to have more decor and theming in Hollywood Brown Derby and at the Tip Top Club. They both felt very empty and bare. We just ate at the Hollywood Brown Derby earlier in the week, and I was imagining what it could look like with holiday decor. I pictured a Christmas tree, garlands all across the restaurant, and twinkling lights. Unfortunately, there was none of that except for in a tiny spot.
I know this isn’t the most positive article I’ve ever written, but these mistakes must be shared. At this moment, I can’t recommend this event to anyone. I feel like part of the reason we didn’t have the best night was because of our choices and some of the mistakes Disney made. If you are solely using this event to enjoy rides with low wait times, then I think you will have a good time and feel your ticket is worth the price. Now if your goal is to experience all the holiday offerings, good luck. We weren’t able to master this event and figure out how to do it right. The best advice we could give you is to avoid the Hollywood Brown Derby experience.
Hi, I'm Erica, and I write about all things Disney. Before working for The DIS, I was a theme park performer at SeaWorld, but I also performed at Disney. I have such an immense love for theme parks to the point I studied them in college.