Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Review: Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Holiday Party at Hollywood Studios

Disney has the dessert party pretty much down pat — rope off a prime viewing spot, dish up some themed desserts, and voila! Upcharge event!

The latest entry in the genre is the Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Holiday Party, which we attended earlier this month at Hollywood Studios.

This party started considerably earlier than most dessert parties, because the show itself started at 6:30 p.m. — barely dark. That meant dinner time — and that's why this wasn't just a dessert party but a "holiday party." In addition to a table of mini-desserts, there were a number of appetizers — small salads served in cute-but-impractical plastic cones, spinach-artichoke dip with pita triangles and some pretty impressive meatballs. There also were some spectacular drinks: the apple cinnamon cocktail and the gingerbread martini. Altogether, this was more of a progressive dinner than a dessert party.

The event normally is held in the courtyard of the Great Movie Ride, which is a fantastic backdrop, but the weather was iffy the night we had tickets. Instead, our party was held inside the Disney Junior theater, which had less ambiance but afforded more opportunity for seating.

Our main beef with dessert parties in general is the feeding-frenzy quality, and this was no different. It's a mad dash to grab a table, followed by a mad dash for food, followed by a mad dash for the best standing-room spots for the party. We did get a photo op with Santa Goofy, without any sort of mad dash.

For us, the main appeal of any dessert party isn't the dessert — which we think is largely overrated — it's the reserved viewing area for the show. In this case, the viewing area was set slightly back from the Great Movie Ride, just behind the handicap viewing area. It pays to be close to the front for any of the new shows, which heavily feature projections on the buildings. The show itself was fun — the laser effects especially — but largely underwhelming.

The Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Holiday Party will continue to be held through Dec. 31 at a cost of $79 per adult or $45 for children age 3-9, tax and gratuity included. The Star Wars: Galactic Spectacular dessert party will return in 2017.

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