Walt Disney World is starting to release more details for the Disney Jollywood Nights event held November 11 through December 20, 2023 at Hollywood Studios. During one recent Good Morning America segment, the company indicated the Christmas party is “adults-only,” causing considerable confusion and questions among guests. We’re here to address and answer that.
As a reminder, Disney Jollywood Nights (DJN) is “counter-programming” of sorts for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom. This party will be held on 10 select nights in Disney’s Hollywood Studios (DHS), offering a more refined holiday vibe, sights of sparkling décor, sounds of modern beats over classic holiday songs, tastes of craft cocktails and decadent dishes. It’s nostalgic and it’s glitz and glam galore.
Two nights of Disney Jollywood Nights are already sold out, and given that Walt Disney World has just kicked its promotional blitz into high gear, it’s likely that more dates will become unavailable before the first party on November 11, 2023. We don’t expect all dates to sell out by then, so if you’re a local waiting for reviews before making a decision, you might have time. But tourists with only one or two nights to choose from to do DJN might need to get off the fence before reading our or other reviews.
Disney Jollywood Nights is a brand-new event, so there’s not a ton we can offer in terms of tips & tricks or insight beyond the basic details that Walt Disney World has announced. (See our Guide to Disney Jollywood Nights Christmas Party for everything we know so far.) With that said, we’ve been attending Disney hard ticket events since 2007, and have seen a lot of party concepts come and go during that time. We’ve also learned what works and doesn’t, and are able to identify some ‘red flags’ with Disney Jollywood Nights as a result.
With that in mind, there’s a lot to like about this new Christmas Party, which we cover in Why You Should Do Disney Jollywood Nights. We’re really looking forward to a more refined event that is true to theme, features the Muppets, and tries something different. There’s a good chance that DJN ends up being something special, and we want to be there for year one.
To that point, Good Morning America’s Disney100 episode included an approximately 5-minute segment on Disney Jollywood Nights. That showcased character costumes for Mickey & Friends (above), a new piece of concept art for the Muppets (below), and a taste-testing segment of some of the foods available at the event. (See the Full Food Guide & Restaurant Reservation Info for Disney Jollywood Nights Christmas Party for more on the drinks, dishes & desserts available at the event.)
Most notably, the hosts indicated that DJN was an “adults-only” event and for “grown-ups.” This caused quite an uproar on social media, and a lot of confusion among people who already purchased tickets for their kids to attend. It shouldn’t really come as a surprise to anyone who reads this site, though. We’ve pointed out from the beginning that there’s a reason why DJN doesn’t have children’s pricing for tickets.
In fact, that’s one of the main points in our ‘Why You Should NOT Do Disney Jollywood Nights’ article–that Disney is trying to gently nudge families away from attending without saying outright that DJN is “adults-only” or even aimed at adults. Well, now they did say it outright…and subsequently deleted the video from YouTube following the confusion/controversy.
Let’s start by putting your fears to rest if you’re a parent of small children who already bought tickets. The hosts technically misspoke. You are fine. Your kids will be admitted to Disney Jollywood Nights.
The Walt Disney World Resort website allows guests to purchase adult tickets or tickets for children ages 3 to 9. Granted, it’s the exactly same price as adults, which should send a message, but we’ll get to that in a minute. The site also specifically says: “Please note that children younger than age 3 don’t need a ticket.”
So for those who have already purchased tickets for DJN, the bottom line is and was that Walt Disney World is not going to stop you from bringing small children to the event. If you have not already purchased tickets for your family, the question is…should you?
There’s a reason the hosts misspoke in the first place. Good Morning America wouldn’t have just hallucinated the notion that this is adults-only out of thin air. Walt Disney World would’ve briefed them while prepping for the segment, and someone from Disney said on background that this is for grown-ups, has a more adult vibe, or something of that sort. That got twisted, slightly, into saying on air that it was “adults-only.”
But the point still remains that Disney Jollywood Nights is not geared towards kids. Nevertheless, and it should go without saying, but DJN is not going to have graphic violence or nudity. There won’t be full-contact cage fighting or sexy fire breathers or whatever else you might not want your kids to see. The issue is not disturbing or sexual stuff, it’s an insufficient amount of content aimed at children. Think Antiques Roadshow rather than Sex and the City. Your kids might be bored, but they’re not going to be asking you any tough questions.
Trust us on that. Walt Disney World already learned its lesson a decade ago with Oogie Boogie’s Freaky Funhouse Show, which the company repeatedly warned was “too intense for young children.” I will never forget the flustered faces of families fleeing from that. I have never seen so many people abruptly exit a show at Walt Disney World–nor have I ever seen so many people at Guest Services complaining afterwards.
Walt Disney World isn’t going to make that mistake again, and they know that heeding a warning is, somehow, asking too much of guests. No matter how something is advertised or sold, families have the expectation that their kids are welcome everywhere at Walt Disney World. (See also, Stitch’s Great Escape replacing Alien Encounter.)
If you ask me (and I know you didn’t!), that’s kind of unfortunate. Oogie Boogie’s Freaky Funhouse Show was absolutely awesome. Not only that, but one of Walt Disney World’s best demographics is adults without children. They’re a growing audience with lots of disposable income. But I digress.
Accordingly, it becomes a question of whether there’s enough for your kids to do at Disney Jollywood Nights. Twilight Soirée at the Tip Top Club in the courtyard of The Hollywood Tower Hotel is not for children. The Jazzy Holidays at The Hollywood Brown Derby is also not for kids.
The words “sophisticated setting” and accompanying context heavily imply that those offerings are aimed at adults. Walt Disney World isn’t going to say this directly, but I will. Families are not the target demo for this, and will likely be out of place in these spaces. (And as a parent myself now, I feel like I can finally say this type of thing without getting angry responses about being an entitled childless millennial or whatever.)
With that said, there’s still going to be plenty to do for kids at Disney Jollywood Nights! The Echo Lake throwback bash will feature Powerline Max, as well as Phineas and Ferb. Characters aimed at kids! Then there’s the DJ on Hollywood Boulevard, and the holiday street fair filled with lively energy at Holiday Fiesta en la Calle on Commissary Lane, which should also be suitable for all ages.
If your kids like the Muppets or Nightmare Before Christmas, those shows should also be great for all ages. Ditto meeting rare characters. And of course, there’s all of the attractions that’ll be open–none of which will have adult-only overlays. (That’s right, we sadly won’t be getting a Pet Semetary: Bloodlines overlay of Slinky Dog Dash.) So if you’ll be satisfied doing all of that, and riding a lot of rides with short lines…knock yourselves out!
(Frankly, one of my biggest complaints is that Disney Jollywood Nights isn’t fully committing to being an adult-oriented event that’s counterprogramming to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. It seems like it’s trying to offer a little something for everyone, and my fear is that won’t be quite enough for anyone. It’s odd to have very adult concepts at Tower of Terror and Brown Derby…but then a sing-along and the regular Jingle Bell, Jingle Bam as the nighttime spectacular. But for now, that’s just a concern. The jury is still out on Disney Jollywood Nights, and it might end up being great, a satisfying event for everyone!)
Ultimately, you could treat Disney Jollywood Nights like After Hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios but with a holiday vibe. From that perspective, it should be perfectly suitable for families with kids. Many of the event dates are also happening adjacent to very busy weeks of the Christmas season, making an After Hours event with low wait times very attractive, even if you ignore the stuff at Tower of Terror and Brown Derby. (Heck, even if you ignore all of the seasonal entertainment, DJN might be worth it solely as a means of avoiding crowds!)
Again, DJN is not targeted at families but Walt Disney World will absolutely not turn you away if you show up with toddlers or pre-teens. It’s not like strollers are going to be contraband, blocked from admission at the party. The hosts misspoke when they said Disney Jollywood Nights is “adults-only.” They should’ve said its “aimed at adults.” Similar sentiment, but the latter wouldn’t have caused the same unnecessary degree of worries among those who already bought tickets!
What do you think about Good Morning America saying that Disney Jollywood Nights is an “adults-only” event? Is there enough substance here for your kids? What about for the adults in your party? Will you attend this Christmas party at Disney’s Hollywood Studios? If so, will you do it instead of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party or in addition to it? Will your family be buying or sitting out the Christmas festivities? Are you excited for Christmas 2023 at Walt Disney World? Do you agree or disagree with our perspective on this? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!