An Evening at Disney’s Jellyrolls

by Gray Cargill on July 12, 2009

As a child-free adult, I’m always looking for adult-oriented entertainment at Disney World to help me relax after being surrounded by kids in the parks all day.  And I do love a good piano bar.  Jellyrolls (named after Jelly Roll Morton, a legendary jazz pianist, not the pastry) is a perfect adult escape.  It is located on Disney’s Boardwalk, convenient to several Boardwalk hotels and an easy walk from Epcot (and an easy cab ride from my hotel, Coronado Springs).  I spent an evening at Jellyrolls during my May trip to Disney World–but I didn’t go solo.

I thought it would be fun to pull together a group of other people who were visiting Disney World at the same time I was.  I like meeting new people when I travel, and am a regular on a couple of Disney message forums online. I posted a message in the Solo and Adult Traveler forum at the DisBoards saying that I was planning on being at Jellyrolls on Friday night and would love to meet up with others at that time.  One by one, people started replying that they would come.  It was an all-women group, as it turned out.  Nobody planned it that way, though I can see how that might make some women more comfortable meeting strangers.

I shared my photo and cell phone number with the smallish group who planned to meet (via private email), so they would know who to look for and how to reach me if they were running late or couldn’t make it.  I don’t recommend this tactic in most situations to most women.  For me, in this instance, it was a calculated risk.  Anyone who knows about my blog–which appears in my signature link on the DisBoards–can easily find my photo online, and I figured if worst came to worst and I wound up giving my cell phone number to the wrong person, I could always change it after my trip.

Six women showed up for the meet, including me, and two more who were there with other friends stopped by our tables to say hi.  Everyone was very nice, and I had a great time meeting them and really enjoyed Jellyrolls.  It wound up being a fun evening.  My only disappointment was the music made it difficult to chat  with my new acquaintances; I hadn’t foreseen that.  Most live bands take a break between sets; that doesn’t happen at Jellyrolls.  They have two duos who take turns working in shifts, so that there is always music playing all night long.  So basically we had to yell to hear each other.  In the future, I’d probably schedule a meet somewhere else more quiet for a “get acquainted” session beforehand, and then move the party to Jellyrolls.

So what’s Jellyrolls like?  A rollicking party, that’s what!  The place was packed and everyone was having a great time.  The piano teams on this evening were Ray and Scotty, who seemed like old pros, and Mike and Mike.  The music was terrific and the four men very musically talented.  They engaged in a lot of funny banter between–and during–songs.  Many of the same songs that turn up in all dueling piano bars (like Sweet Caroline) were played here, too.  But Jellyrolls is probably the only piano bar in the world where the whole house will sing “It’s a Small World” with gusto.  Scotty performed a Britney Spears song (in character) that brought down the house.  The people-watching here is pretty entertaining, too.

Will I go here again?  Absolutely!  There is a decent amount of bar seating for solos, so I would feel perfectly comfortable going here alone in the future, too.   There is one strange thing about this bar:  In order to run a tab. you have to hand over your credit card for the duration of your stay (they literally walk away with it and you don’t get it back until you’re ready to leave).  I wasn’t too crazy about that. But it wouldn’t stop me from going again. If you come here, don’t just bring a credit card though.  You’ll need cash to pay the $10 cover as well as for making song requests.

So do yourself a favor, and if you’re headed to Disney World solo any time in the near future, do plan to spend an evening or two at the oh-so-fun Jellyrolls.  Play it by ear as a solo, or pull together a meet like I did, either way, you’re bound to have a good time.  Jellyrolls opens at 7pm, the music starts at 8pm, and there’s a $10 cover.

For more information, check out this great Jellyrolls fan site.

SoloFriendly July 22, 2009 at 9:39 pm

It makes sense from their perspective–they probably HAVE had people duck out without paying their tabs–but I just didn't like it. I'd rather pay as I go.

SoloFriendly July 22, 2009 at 3:39 pm

It makes sense from their perspective–they probably HAVE had people duck out without paying their tabs–but I just didn't like it. I'd rather pay as I go.

Bixie23 July 22, 2009 at 8:22 am

I thought it a bit odd the first time, but I noticed the stack of cards the bartender was holding and didn't feel like mine was being singled out for any kind of fraud. It makes sense to me; rather than running the card it's a kind of insurance that you don't walk out without paying your tab, even if you'd prefer to pay in cash at the end of the evening.

Brad July 20, 2009 at 4:13 pm

Hrm…maybe I should consider the possibility that I've been getting suckered by bartenders and should check my credit card statement carefully! ;)

SoloFriendly July 20, 2009 at 4:07 pm

No, they haven't done that anywhere I've ever been, which is why I found it odd. I've been in a lot of major cities in the past few years–Miami, New Orleans, Nashville, Providence, New York, Chicago, Montreal–and I've never encountered that before. Does no one else find it disconcerting to hand over your credit card to a total stranger for a couple of hours???

Brad July 20, 2009 at 3:51 pm

We definitely have credit card holds in Dallas. I think it's the rule not the exception. They don't do that when you visit Vegas?

SoloFriendly July 20, 2009 at 3:26 pm

Hi, Heather! Welcome to the site. I'm so glad you liked the review. So the cc hold is an Orlando thing? I have never seen that anywhere else. I hope it doesn't become a nationwide trend or anything. Definitely give Jellyrolls a visit, even if you have to go without your hubby! And be sure to come back and let everyone know how it went.

Bixie July 20, 2009 at 7:04 am

Thanks for the review–I've wanted to head to Jellyrolls for a long time but can't seem to talk my hubby into it–I MIGHT feel comfortable enough to go solo now :)

Holding the credit card to run a tab seems to be fairly common here in Orlando; I didn't know it wasn't done elsewhere.

SoloFriendly July 18, 2009 at 6:59 pm

Yes, it's true you can make song requests for free. But as you say, those songs aren't as high a priority for them. And honestly, I'd feel weird about requesting a song if I wasn't willing to fork over a tip. At least these guys will play an entire song. I've been to piano bars where there's so much starting and stopping of music due to “bidding wars” that it's more like a free-for-all than entertainment.

32 ounces?! Whew, that's over my limit.

Betsy July 18, 2009 at 4:44 pm

I'm a HUGE Jellyrolls fan. There's no better place to spend a WDW evening in my estimation. In my experience, however, you CAN make song requests for free…they're just a slight bit more likely to play them if there's a fiver attached ;-)

Another note: there's usually a drink special each night; purchasing this means you receive about a 32 ounce glass of the stuff. It's not usually too potent, but still, that's a lotta liquid!

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