New holiday nighttime show debuts at Disney's Hollywood Studios

November 14, 2016, 5:06 PM · Walt Disney World tonight debuted its latest holiday show: "Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!" at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Consider this the replacement for DHS's long-running holiday extra — the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, which closed last year after a 20-plus year run, to make way for the park's upcoming Star Wars land.

The 14-minute show extracts the tiniest bit of vengeance for the Osborne display by evicting one of the park's current Star Wars shows, Star Wars A Galactic Spectacular, at least temporarily. "Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!" celebrates the holiday season by playing every bell and whistle in Disney's nighttime entertainment repertoire: projection mapping, fireworks, lasers, and — hey, the Star Wars show doesn't have this! — snow. Let's take a look:

It's fun show — a delightful reward for visitors at the end of their day. No , it's not the emotionally-charged experience that World of Color's Season of Light show delivered when I watched that premiere in California last week. But that's not a fair comparison.

World of Color is one of California Adventure's leading franchises — an attraction that's charged with drawing new people into the park. Jingle BAM is here pretty much to lure current visitors into staying through the end of the day at the construction-filled Hollywood Studios instead of abandoning the park when they finish its attractions by mid-afternoon.

Both shows do their jobs exceptionally well. There's an attempt at narrative here — cross-promoting Disney's "Prep and Landing" holiday characters, but it really doesn't matter. Like World of Color, it's all about the spectacle. Yeah, we know that "snow" is just soap bubbles, but everyone coos and ahhs and smiles when it drifts down onto the crowd. The projections serve more eye candy that anyone can consume in one viewing and... who doesn't like fireworks? Especially fireworks with lasers.

Now if only Disney could come up with a better name. Could someone enjoin WDW's entertainment department from using exclamation points in show names for, I don't know, the next five years or so. Whatever it takes to break the habit.

Disney needs a solid brand name for its projection shows. Perhaps Paris' "Disney Dreams" is too close to the name of the Disney Cruise Line ship for an American audience. But these are wonderful shows that deserve the power of a brand to promote them - instead of another throw-away title that Disney tries to salvage by throwing an exclamation point at the end.

"Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!" will play in the Chinese Theater courtyard nightly through Dec. 31.

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Replies (4)

November 15, 2016 at 9:39 AM · So whilst in Hollywood Studios, did you see any buildings or construction going vertical for the new (cheap) Toy Story Land or Star Wars Land?

Or are we still at the prep stage ?

November 15, 2016 at 11:48 AM · Big cranes on site. Still looks like demo work.
November 15, 2016 at 7:41 PM · The name never made sense to me. Not really that clever or catchy. I agree that with some better branding the shows could be tied together. The world of color connection is a good one.

On an unrelated note I wish they would theme those concrete boxes they have in the Viewing plaza courtyard to run these shows. They are ugly eyesores and the most prominent things in the area.

November 16, 2016 at 8:23 AM · I was standing just in front of and between those towers. In fact, I had to sign a release for Disney because I was standing next to the 360-degree camera they'd set up to record the first night's show and I was potentially in their shot. So it was a good spot. ;^)

But you're right. Anything behind the towers gets dicey for views.

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