Friday, December 1, 2023
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Disney Makes Jollywood Nights Adjustments & Provides Uncommon Characters After Opening Night time Meltdown

After an operational meltdown on the inaugural evening of the Jollywood Nights laborious ticket occasion, Walt Disney World made a ton of enhancements and additions for the second Christmas occasion. This covers the entire modifications, how they enhanced the visitor expertise, and our commentary about the place the laborious ticket providing goes from right here.

For starters, we need to acknowledge that our Disney Jollywood Nights Christmas Social gathering Evaluate: Good, Unhealthy & Ugly is already changing into considerably out of date. Whereas we’d encourage any potential party-goer to learn that earlier than buying tickets to Disney Jollywood Nights (DJN), we’d additionally encourage you to ignore to sections about logistics, strains and operations. Principally, the substantive sections (stage exhibits, lounges, and so forth.) are nonetheless correct, however different components are distinctive to nighttime one.

To that time, we’ve obtained plenty of questions from those that have tickets to Disney Jollywood Nights questioning whether or not they need to attempt to cancel or change to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Social gathering. Truthfully, it’s unattainable for us to reply that for you. If the occasion seems to be underwhelming to you even assuming operational enhancements, you won’t need to attend. Everybody else on the fence about DJN, particularly in December 2023, we’d encourage a ‘wait and see’ method. As destructive as our overview was, the occasion is clearly already getting significantly higher. Sufficient to justify dropping all that cash? Effectively, it’s going to rely…

The primary huge change was to the reservation course of for Jazzy Holidays on the Hollywood Brown Derby. In response to Walt Disney World, tables will now be obtainable on a first-come, first-served foundation till Jazzy Holidays at The Hollywood Brown Derby reaches capability for the primary seating of the evening, at which level Disney will open up further capability through walk-up waitlist within the My Disney Expertise app all through the night.

The queue for the first-come, first-served seating will open near the start of Disney Jollywood Nights. Seating is restricted and Walt Disney World anticipates filling that seating shortly. As soon as seating has reached capability, examine availability to hitch the cellular walk-up record for this expertise all through Disney Jollywood Nights.

That alone is an enchancment. If Jazzy Holidays is de facto vital to you, our tentative recommendation could be to get within the standby line earlier than the occasion even begins. For everybody else, we’d advocate merely rolling the cube and hoping the walk-up waitlist pays off. Jazzy Holidays will not be that good, and it’ll eat up plenty of time throughout DJN.

One other huge improve comes earlier than the occasion even begins. On the first DJN, there was a single in-park wristband distribution level on the Mickey Shorts Theater, resulting in very lengthy strains for visitors to check-in to the occasion–beginning the occasion off on the improper foot.

On the second Disney Jollywood Nights, there have been extra wristband distribution factors all through Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Going ahead, visitors can decide up their DJN wristbands and credentials in Grand Avenue close to MuppetVision 3D or the Star Wars Launch Bay. Utilizing two areas on reverse sides of the park ought to result in a smoother check-in course of going ahead.

Lastly, a bunch of uncommon characters had been added to the second Disney Jollywood Nights. Right here’s a listing of latest characters and their areas:

  • Mary Poppins & Penguin Waiter (Grand Avenue)
  • Snow White & Dopey  (Grand Avenue)
  • Jiminy Cricket (Entrance of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway)
  • Pinocchio (Entrance of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway)
  • Santa Sew (Echo Lake)
  • Santa Duffy (Mickey Shorts Theater)

The very first thing to notice right here is that these had been unpublished appearances, which means each that they’re topic to alter and likewise that demand for at the least a few of these characters was artificially low at evening two.

Clearly, the aim with extra uncommon characters is to dilute demand amongst character hunters. As an alternative of 1-2 hour strains for Phineas and Ferb and 30-45 minutes for Powerline Max and different characters, these numbers may go down a bit.

With that stated, occasion attendees who went particularly to fulfill Phineas and Ferb aren’t going to all of the sudden need to meet Santa Sew as a substitute. He’s not an alternative choice to diehard followers of a selected (completely different) character. Furthermore, extra characters might improve curiosity within the occasion amongst character hunters, inducing extra demand over the course of the DJN season.

In different phrases, it’s too early to say what the exact impression of much more characters will likely be at Disney Jollywood Nights. Once more, we glance again to Villains Unleashed, which had far more characters and nonetheless melted down. Meet & greets are so low capability that it doesn’t take many visitors to overwhelm them. The true ‘win’ could be extra occasion attendees doing points of interest, which have hourly capacities that dwarf meet & greets.

By way of commentary, we now have rather a lot of ideas about all of this. Let’s begin with the massive image, which is that it’s nice to see Walt Disney World take heed to visitor suggestions and add extra choices to Disney Jollywood Nights. It is a firm that’s nearly incapable of doing something shortly, so it’s stunning and heartening to see so many modifications within the span of a single week.

My guess could be that this was motivated not simply by visitor suggestions and complaints, however from every week of destructive ticket gross sales for Disney Jollywood Nights. That means that the variety of folks making an attempt to cancel or have their tickets modified to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Social gathering (which offered out a ton extra dates this week–most likely no coincidence!) exceeded the variety of new tickets offered for Jollywood Nights. One thing like that would definitely mild a fireplace underneath Disney to behave quick!

Regardless, kudos to Walt Disney World for being attentive to visitor suggestions and complaints, and making main modifications in comparatively brief order. Whereas we’re envious of evening two attendees (particularly a pair characters they received to fulfill) and need this may’ve occurred from the outset, we’re additionally blissful to see modifications. It’s undoubtedly higher late than by no means!

As for the way a lot it will transfer the needle, it’s actually troublesome–and possibly nonetheless too early–to say. We’ve already heard a number of experiences from attendees at evening two of Disney Jollywood Nights, and so they had been all far more favorable than the inaugural occasion. Some had been downright effusively constructive, saying they most well-liked it to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Social gathering.

Whereas we weren’t at evening two of Disney Jollywood Nights and won’t be attending once more till Christmas 2024, I’m inclined to consider among the constructive sentiment. Operations and logistics are little doubt higher because of the entire modifications, which means there’s far much less friction–a development that’ll proceed going ahead.

The demographics have additionally modified, which means that visitors are most likely higher distributed all through the occasion. That coupled with smoother operations ought to lead to a really constructive change to the movement of the occasion. Add extra uncommon characters to the occasion, and it’s probably that Disney Jollywood Nights feels prefer it has extra to supply visitors. So all of these are wins.

With that stated, there’s a ceiling on all of this. There are methods that the substance and ambiance of the occasion are unlikely to alter, as main choices aren’t going to be added to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Toy Story Land, or different areas of the park that really feel ignored.

It’s additionally unlikely that Walt Disney World has the time or sources to retool the Tip Prime Membership at Tower of Terror or Jazzy Holidays at Brown Derby. However perhaps these will change into “higher” by advantage of fewer visitors being , making them much less aggressive and decrease stakes.

On the plus facet, no retooling of the 2 foremost stage exhibits is critical. These had been good to nice from the soar, and will proceed to be in order the season goes on. If something, they’ll get higher because the performers discover their groove. (They had been already top-notch evening one.)

The potential flip facet to that is that Walt Disney World visitors will begin to see extra constructive experiences. Once more, our guess is that the final week noticed extra cancellations than new ticket gross sales. Our guess could be that the approaching week sees a serious reversal of this, with folks buying tickets as a substitute of cancelling.

In different phrases, the approaching events may very well be busier than the second occasion–which means that strains and wait occasions begin creeping up. With that stated, Walt Disney World will undoubtedly proceed to tweak the occasion as the vacation season continues.

As we famous in our overview, it seems that a ton of cash was invested in creating and advertising this occasion, to the purpose that it probably gained’t break-even from the primary 12 months. Disney has a vested curiosity in seeing this succeed and are available again for 2024. They’re going to do every thing potential to make sure that occurs.

The subsequent Disney Jollywood Nights is barely in a pair days–it’ll be fascinating to see whether or not that’s sufficient time to make another modifications. However the occasion following that may be a full week later–our guess is that there will likely be much more changes earlier than that.

Lastly, we need to take (an excessive amount of) time to fixate on that final character: Santa Duffy. For a lot of (most?) of you, this may appear to be an insignificant addition. For mainstream Walt Disney World visitors, Duffy might be the least-recognizable character on that record.

For a small faction of diehard Disney followers, Duffy is just like the white whale. For those who’re unfamiliar with the character, the historical past of Duffy the Disney Bear in the US is a bizarre one. He was initially developed as an ancillary toy, Mickey’s teddy bear, relatively than as a standalone character.

To make a protracted story brief, Duffy was then reimagined barely and thrust into the limelight. Shopper merchandise tried to make him a merchandising powerhouse, with tons of Duffy bears and changeable outfits on retailer cabinets, in addition to a Duffy meet & greet and different appearances.

At one level, he met on this Santa Duffy costume at EPCOT (the place Asha from Want meets at present) and was on the lead Minnie & Mickey float in As soon as Upon a Christmastime Parade throughout Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Social gathering (see above). All of this failed spectacularly. For those who requested plenty of Walt Disney World followers (us included), Duffy felt pressured.

The character led with merchandise, making it really feel much less just like the natural introduction of a brand new unique theme park character (the primary since Figment?) and extra like a crass money seize. Duffy had his loyal followers, to make certain, however the overwhelming majority of visitors rejected him. I bear in mind seeing the Duffy character meet & greet with no line in any way…and we nonetheless didn’t soar into it.

They are saying time heals all wounds, however that’s probably not what that is about. Relatively, it’s an outgrowth of The Duffy Phenomenon at Tokyo DisneySea. (That article is effectively price a learn if you happen to’re curious to know extra.) There, Duffy and pals have been immensely in style, and it’s largely natural. Certain, Duffy is an absolute beast in the case of shifting merchandise, however his crew additionally exist within the park in significant methods.

The underside line is that we hated Duffy at Walt Disney World, and love him at Tokyo DisneySea. Perhaps that’s a matter of bias, however we predict there’s a significant distinction. And we’re not alone.

As social media has damaged down obstacles and worldwide journey has change into extra accessible, there are a ton of different Disney followers identical to us who’ve “rediscovered” Duffy and now love the character. Suffice to say, if I noticed Santa Duffy on the first Jollywood Nights with an hour-long wait…I might’ve jumped into it.

What’s most stunning about Santa Duffy being added to the character lineup at Disney Jollywood Nights is that the choice so as to add him was made within the span of every week. Though they probably had the costume nonetheless sitting in storage, that is principally Walt Disney World breaking the ‘in case of emergency‘ glass and bringing out a heavy hitter.

Disney has been flirting with the concept of bringing Duffy and pals again to Walt Disney World and Disneyland for some time now, and it has felt like an inevitability. Nonetheless, I additionally anticipated that it could be very deliberate and methodical, with cautious advertising to construct as much as the momentous event to maximise hype and curiosity. As an alternative…they only randomly put Santa Duffy on the market.

After all, this might imply completely nothing and Santa Duffy might disappear after the Disney Jollywood Nights season is over and the character might have a ‘correct’ rollout in 2024 or at any time when it’s going to occur down the street. I’m nonetheless stunned that they went this route.

In the case of Duffy, one factor I might add is that you just shouldn’t put any inventory in his debut evening wait occasions. Santa Duffy was in an out-of-the-way location, and occasion attendees aren’t spending their nights glued to social media. That’ll change to a point by the following occasion, and much more so by those after that.

Not solely will phrase get out, however some Duffy diehards will truly buy tickets simply to fulfill the character. (I’m not even kidding.) By the top of the Disney Jollywood Nights season, I might count on his line to die down a bit, but it surely’s going to worsen earlier than it will get higher.

That’s sort of our expectation for Disney Jollywood Nights as an entire–the rising pains will proceed, however the occasion will hopefully hit its stride by mid-December 2023. It’s good to see Walt Disney World making main modifications after the primary occasion meltdown, however there’s solely a lot that may be addressed in-season. Right here’s hoping that they’re capable of make it ‘ok’ this 12 months and improve visitor satisfaction to a adequate diploma that the occasion is introduced again for Christmas 2024. Between from time to time is when the main changes and enhancements can actually occur.

Planning a Walt Disney World journey? Study inns on our Walt Disney World Accommodations Opinions web page. For the place to eat, learn our Walt Disney World Restaurant Opinions. To save cash on tickets or decide which sort to purchase, learn our Ideas for Saving Cash on Walt Disney World Tickets submit. Our What to Pack for Disney Journeys submit takes a singular take a look at intelligent gadgets to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Trip Guides will assist. For complete recommendation, the very best place to begin is our Walt Disney World Journey Planning Information for every thing it’s worthwhile to know!


Did you attend the second evening of Disney Jollywood Nights? In that case, what was your expertise? Higher or about the identical as evening one experiences? For many who have already got tickets to the occasion, are you taking a ‘wait and see’ method to enhancements? After studying experiences from evening two, will you buy occasion tickets for Disney Jollywood Nights? Do you agree or disagree with our overview? Any questions we can assist you reply? Listening to your suggestions–even if you disagree with us–is each fascinating to us and useful to different readers, so please share your ideas under within the feedback!

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