In our Ultimate Guide to Christmas 2016 at Walt Disney World, we’ve bee questioning what Disney’s Hollywood Studios would do for Christmas as an Osborne Lights replacement for several months. Lately, the rumblings had been nothing, and that instead the park would focus on enhanced Star Wars offerings to coincide with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Well, it turns out that is (thankfully!) not the case. Today, Walt Disney World announced “Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!” a nighttime spectacular that will debut for the Christmas season on November 14, 2016 and will run nightly through December 31, 2016 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
This new Christmas nighttime spectacular will be centered around Grauman’s Chinese Theater (just like the current Star Wars fireworks) and will feature state-of-the-art projections, lasers & lights, special effects, fireworks. and a score featuring Christmas music. There will also be snow during Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!
The show will be hosted by Wayne and Lanny, the elves from “Prep & Landing” (sort of like the original World of Color holiday pre-show) and will feature scenes from Disney holiday classics including Mickey’s Christmas Carol, Pluto’s Christmas Tree, Bambi, Beauty and the Beast, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and more.
Here’s hoping that “and more” includes The Muppet Christmas Carol. With all of the in-park attention the Muppets are receiving lately, it certainly seems like a possibility. It’s also interesting that Frozen is not mentioned (it’s sure to make an appearance, right?!) nor is Toy Story, or a few other films featured in the past World of Color – Winter Dream shows.
“Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!” is obviously different in nature than World of Color, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see projection animation shared with World of Color. The Disney California Adventure show already shares a lot of its projection animation with Disney Dreams! of Christmas, the Disneyland Paris holiday castle projection show.
No word yet on whether this will replace the “Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks” for the holiday season or not, but our guess–and hope–is that it will replace the Star Wars fireworks. While both shows could run in tandem in a Celebrate the Magic/Wishes sort of way, that would require “Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!” to be on a smaller scale as something of an opening act, and our strong preference would be for this to be a full-length stand-alone show.
Given that a Holiday Dessert Party with reserved viewing, desserts, specialty beverages, and 3D HoloSpex glasses was also announced along with the new show (because how can you enjoy a nighttime spectacular without paying extra for cupcakes?!), it seems highly likely that this will be a full-length show replacing “A Galactic Spectacular.” This Holiday Dessert Party will offer reserved seating beginning one hour before each performance of Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!; the party is $69 for adults, and $39 for children, including all taxes and gratuities.
We would expect the Star Wars show to return January 1, 2017…probably retooled a bit to highlight Rogue One.
Nothing is going to be an adequate replace for the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. Unfortunately, something on that scale in a (normally) low foot traffic location is just not feasible unless they moved it to Rafiki’s Planet Watch, which seems unlikely. (But can you imagine…Christmas lights and goats?! That’s my idea of a Christmas miracle!) An Osborne Lights replacement was never going to happen at Disney Springs or any other park, as there are not any feasible locations that would not result on gridlock of guest flow.
We will miss the Osborne Lights (and Streets of America, to a lesser extent) tremendously, but one of the sacrifices in having a significantly-improved Disney’s Hollywood Studios meant giving up that display. What really worried me is that Walt Disney World would ignore Christmas at Disney’s Hollywood Studios completely this year. Thankfully, that will not be happening. Irrespective of how good this new show is, I’d still like to see more, perhaps in the form of more decorations and a mini Osborne Lights tribute (of sorts) in Muppets Courtyard.
UPDATE: It appears more is on the way this Christmas at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. From Disney: “In the spirit of bygone days and Old St. Nick visits to great department stores across the country, guests can share their wish list with him at the Once Upon a Time shop, a vintage setting along Sunset Boulevard.” Not a huge addition, but something. Here’s hoping this is just the start.
I know I’ve been pretty critical of Disney’s Hollywood Studios for the last couple of years, but I feel Disney needs to make a greater effort with interim entertainment and offerings while guests wait for the opening of Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land. Things like “Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!” are a good start, but the park could definitely use more. Regardless, it is a good start, and we’re pretty excited to see it during our Christmas 2016 visit to Walt Disney World!