If you have been following us long enough, you have probably read one of my reviews of the two different Star Wars fireworks dessert parties that have been offered at Disney’s Hollywood Studios over the last few years. With the debut of the new “Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!” show last night, Disney has rolled out a new version of the popular dessert party to placate guests until A Galactic Spectacular returns in January.
The “Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Holiday Party at Disney’s Hollywood Studios” has been quite popular, selling out on many evenings already. We had actually missed getting tickets to the first party when they first went on sale, but we continued to check for availability everyday. Last week, we did finally find two spots for the very first one and booked it immediately. The moral of the story is to keep checking back if it isn’t available when you first attempt, tentative guests will often cancel just a few days out.
The party starts 1 hour and 15 minutes before the show begins. Check-in begins about a half-hour before that and allows guests to obtain a wristband so they can just walk-in when the party starts. Tables are available on a first-come, first-serve basis, so if you absolutely want a table with seats, get here early.
Unlike the indoors Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular dessert party (version 2), this one is held outside in the courtyard of the Great Movie Ride. While it seems a bit strange to put this outside in the colder months, especially for an evening event, the backdrop is pretty wonderful. The space was a little cramped though and it was often difficult to not find a line for food or beverage throughout the night. They may need to either add a few stations or decrease the number of guests, but I assume neither of those will ever happen “because MONEY”.
I often waited between 5-7 (yeah, seven) minutes for a drink at the bar, which seems like a bit much considering the amount you are paying here for a premium experience. If I’m out in the park, I understand that lines are inevitable and a part of life. If I’m paying an up-charge for something, I expect some better service. If you wait a long time at a restaurant for your food to arrive, you get angry. At $69 per adult and $39 per child (Which jumps to $79/$45 December 18th-31st), I expect not to wait very long.
Let’s talk about the food and drink…
Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Holiday Party Snack Stations
I recall my very first Star Wars dessert party was disappointing as they really hadn’t prepared for it at all. That was not the case this time around as all of the stations were decorated just right. My first Star Wars dessert party still featured FROZEN-colored table cloths…
There are 4 food stations overall, two featuring the same “handheld” desserts, while another features non-dessert snacks, and the last has cakes, ice cream, and a snack mix. There are also two bars adjacent to one another and then a non-alcoholic drink station.
The chocolate cupcake with mint frosting and peppermint bark was one of the highlights for us. A larger version of this cupcake is sold in the park throughout the day now.
I also LOVED these gingerbread cookies. Sadly, no one could give me a full description of it, but it is enjoyable if gingerbread is your thing.
The lemon meringue tart was solid as well.
The ubiquitous crispy rice treats were also on hand, and tasted the same as always.
The “non-dessert” food station befuddles me. It is an expanded line from the Star Wars offerings, but I’m still not certain that all of these items need to be here.
The holiday antipasto looked kind of gross, but I took one for the team and tried it. It was surprisingly tasty.
The kale, collard and pomegranate onion slaw seemed a bit out of place, but it really wasn’t bad.
The meatballs were fine too, albeit seemingly out of place at such as event with a dessert-heavy spread.
The spinach dip was solid as well. Again, I didn’t hate any of the “non-dessert” offerings, I’m just not sure that we needed more of them. I would have rather they spent the time on the dessert line-up as it is a little thinner than the previous incarnations.
I could have done without the “warm salted caramel cottage pudding”. It was way too salty, and yes, I know that salted is in the name.
My favorite thing we had the entire night (other than alcoholic drinks) was the warm chocolate torte with cream cheese glaze and candy cane dust. It reminded me of a homemade chocolate cake and the cream cheese icing was absolute perfection. Add ice cream to this at the end of the station and you won’t regret it.
The only thing missing was the nitro-based dessert from the Star Wars party, which is a real loss. I was surprised that it wasn’t offered here, but I understand the need to differentiate these parties from one another at some point.
The winter spiced party mix was solid and fit the party well.
Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Holiday Party Beverages
The bars offered two specialty beverages and a good selection of beer and wine.
I enjoyed the Apple Cinnamon Cocktail quite a bit, but the other specialty drink was my personal favorite.
The Gingerbread Martini was… everyone say it with me… PHENOMENAL. I think I ended up having three of these, including the one they handed me when I walked in. I enjoy creamy alcoholic beverages, as you might know by now, but even those in my party who usually do not found this to be their favorite offering from the party overall.
We also tried some the wines. Pictured above is the Cabernet and the Pinot Noir. Both were enjoyable, not the worst quality wines I have had in a Disney theme park.
As always, a selection of juices, teas, canned soft drinks, coffees, and water is available at a separate station.
The viewing area for the fireworks show was no different than Star Wars, located just off to the left side of the Center Stage area in front of the Chinese Theater. This is still the best place to see fireworks from in this park, and especially this show. There are snow and laser effects that are only best seen from this general area, so you will either need to book this party or show up at least an hour before the show to grab a spot up here. My viewing tips for the dessert party remain the same as from previous reviews, just stay off top the right of the viewing area if you want to see more of the show.
The show itself is fine, even lighter on pyrotechnics than the Galactic Spectacular show. That being said, there are two segments using the lasers that I absolutely adore, but overall, it’s fairly “meh” and far from any sort of substitute for Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular, or dare I say it, the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.
A dessert party is only as good as the show it is for, and I don’t think anyone was too crazy about this one. The food and beverage had a lot of good offerings, but there were a few misses. The biggest problem for me was the lines and overcrowding. Again, when you pay this much money, you expect somewhat better service. I had not waited in lines for food or drink like this at any of the 5 other dessert parties I had attended at this park, and I don’t expect it from this one.
While there was no large gift like at the Star Wars offering, guests at the Jingle Bell, Jingle Bam! Holiday Party get to meet Santa Goofy and also get an exclusive pair of HoloSpex glasses.
The HoloSpex glasses are cool as they make reindeer shapes when you look at lights or fireworks.
The Santa Goofy meet and greet that comes to each table is a nice gesture, but the lighting is terrible in the area for something like this.
While it some ways it feels like a downgrade from the previous incarnations, the Jingle Bell, Jingle Bam! is a viable option for anyone who wants to drink, eat, and be merry instead of standing in a packed crowd for an hour waiting for this nighttime show to start. While I don’t think it was as good as my previous dessert party experiences, I’m still not sure that I wouldn’t recommend it to those interested. This is a busier time of year, and sometimes avoiding crowds is just worth the uncharge if you can afford it.
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