Walt Disney World fans will remember the second weekend of November 2023 for a long time to come. It’s the weekend when Disney doubled its after-hours holiday party offerings.
You already know and love one of them, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (MVMCP). The other event, Disney Jollywood Nights, is brand new and sure to delight guests as well. Yes, the holiday parties have arrived at Walt Disney World so let’s talk about what you can expect at each one.
About Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
You probably know all about Magic Kingdom’s after-hours Christmas parties by now. After all, this event dates back to 1983 and a lot has changed over the past 40 years, but the basics remain the same.
Disney decorates Main Street, U.S.A. and other parts of the park. Then, it adds rare character greetings to ensure that guests enjoy a splendid evening. As the name implies, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (MVMCP) is family-friendly, although it does run late into the evening. Your admission ticket for the event entitles you to five hours of exclusive access at Magic Kingdom. During this timeframe, you can experience your favorite Disney attractions, often with minimal wait times. If you want to ride more attractions, MVMCP probably makes more sense than Disney Jollywood Nights, which we’re about to discuss. We say this because the open-ended nature of Magic Kingdom allows for better crowd distribution. Everything at Hollywood Studios is a bit more condensed.
At MVMCP, the signature events have returned for 2023 such as Mickey’s Once Upon a Time Christmastime Parade, Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks, and Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration is also back. The biggest difference this year is the pre-show offering of the Frozen lighting of the castle, Disney is introducing the Frozen Holiday Surprise, which looks like this:
You’ll also find attraction overlays at Tomorrowland Speedway, Mad Tea Party, Space Mountain., and yes! Jingle Cruise is up and running, too!
As for the characters, Stitch has created quite the buzz with his Hawaiian Christmas look. The Tweedles and Country Bears are also out and about and our favorite this year is actually Belle, who dresses in a sumptuous Christmas outfit and happily shows her holiday decorations.
Around the park, there are live dance parties such as Tomorrowland featuring a boy band that has audiences enthralled. There is additional live entertainment spread throughout the park including the pirates at Adventureland, characters like Jack Sparrow, Peter Pan, and the cast of Aladdin. At Storybook Circus, the Seven Dwarfs have all dressed for the holidays and in Fantasyland, you’ll find Rapunzel, Flynn Rider, and arguably the most popular character at the event….. Santa Goofy.
The magical part of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is how it instantly puts you into the holiday spirit. This year’s event feels livelier than recent years since nobody is thinking about the pandemic which brightens the collective mood. No matter when you had previously attended or if this will be your first time, you will feel the magic in the air with Disney’s Christmas cheer.
About Disney Jollywood Nights
You’ll find Jollywood Nights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The park hosts this event on select nights in November and December. Parents should realize that this event really isn’t for kids, although they’re allowed to attend….It just may not be as much fun for them. That’s why Disney doesn’t discount the event tickets for children. It’s a subtle way of saying, “Kids are always welcome, but…”
Realistically, Jollywood Nights provides adults with a chance to relax and kick back at Hollywood Studios. Live entertainment and jovial spirits drive Jollywood Nights. As an example, there is a Nightmare Before Christmas Sing-Along or the Disney Holidays in Hollywood, which stars The Muppets! Disney has also brought back Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! as a nighttime presentation during this event.
The best way to describe Jollywood Nights is a series of mini-cocktail parties as much as anything else. Yes, you can ride the various Hollywood Studios attractions, most of which are operational during the event. But Disney is really just throwing a festive soiree. You’ll find unique options like The Tip-Top Club at the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Which we feel you’ll love this experience, as it allows you to re-live the thematic glory days of the Hollywood Tower Hotel. A live band also plays near the attraction’s entrance, which brings us to an important point: Disney employs a virtual queue for some of these options. This virtual queue did malfunction badly on opening night, as guests were told the wait time was 10 minutes…when it was really 100 minutes! Yikes.
What to Expect at the New Party
Obviously, the early feedback for this event wasn’t glowing. As the first event of its kind, Jollywood Nights tested the boundaries of Hollywood Studios and Disney did run into some strategic problems and some supply-side issues.
As an example, Jollywood Nights only sold one event style t-shirt. The entire event sold only one piece of exclusive merchandise, which was a generic t-shirt. This is odd because Disney typically has all kinds of special merchandise for their events.
As for the strategic problems, guests showed up on the first night to discover that they could only check-in at one spot. Suffice to say that the line for this spot grew ridiculously long. Many of the people in the line were pretty grumpy due to this oversight. Also, Disney consciously chose to offer most of the activities at the front of the park. Management figured that guests would flock to Toy Story Land and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge for the rides, so hosting party events at the front would create some space within the park. This strategy backfired, as crowds formed early and remained significant throughout the night.
There is a consensus out there from the guests who attended both MVMCP and Jollywood Nights, that if they had to pick between the two parties, the winner would be the MVMCP. However, if your vibe is to kick back and relax, then the Jollywood Nights would be a great option.
Either way you can’t go wrong.
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