We were given 3 park hopper tickets to experience the Festival of Holidays and magic of the holidays at Disneyland Resort to share with you. As always all thoughts and opinions are my own!
The Holiday season is in full swing at Disneyland Resort! I love the Fall and Halloween but the Holidays are so special! The sights, sounds, decor, food, entertainment and merchandise really puts you in the holiday spirit! What’s not to love?!?
Since we homeschool, I’ve been trying to find ways to incorporate it into our love for Disney and the holidays are a perfect time because there’s so much going on at the Disneyland Resort to sneak in some learning while you’re having fun! Disneyschooling is a term that combines homeschooling and Disney. There are a lot of homeschoolers who happen to have annual passes or who just love Disney so much. I thought it would be useful to share with you guys some ways to make your visit educational! I’ll also share with you some things you shouldn’t miss.
Festival of Holidays at DCA
People celebrate the holidays in so many different ways around the world. Everyone knows about Christmas but there are numerous ways different cultures celebrate during this time of year. During the Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure Park, you can experience a few of those holidays through music, entertainment and food!
At the Festival Foods Marketplace, you can buy a Sip and Savor Pass for $56. You can pick up a Tasting Passport at several kiosks located throughout the Festival Marketplace. The Tasting Passport shows you what food items are available at what booth as well as a map of the marketplace. It is color coded to indicate which foods celebrate Christmas, Diwali, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or Navidad. What an amazing way to experience the foods of these cultures!
TIP: Instead of standing in line at each festival food booth, find the shortest line, order all the food items you want (use the tasting passport to see/keep track), then go pick up the food items at the booth with your receipt.
- Blue13 Dance Company (11:45am, 12:55pm, 2:00pm, 3:15pm) entertains audiences at Paradise Gardens Park with traditional Indian dances turned Bollywood party!
- Get a taste of Diwali by grabbing the Curried Cauliflower & Chicken with Lemon Tahini Sauce at Grandma’s Recipes!
- Mostly Kosher (1:00pm, 2:30pm, 3:30pm, 4:45pm, 5:45pm, 6:45pm) entertains the audience at Sonoma Terrace with their own take on Yiddish klezmer music!
- Try the Rueben Potato Tots with Russian Dressing and Rye Toast from A Twist On Tradition or an Apple Fritter Bread Pudding at the Pacific Wharf Cafe.
- You can listen to The Sounds at either Pacific Wharf Stage (11:00am, 12:00pm, 1:00pm) or Palisades Stage (2:30pm, 4:25pm, 5:10pm).
- Definitely try the Shrimp and Grits with Andouille Sausage from Holiday Duets!
- Check out the Mariachi Divas (2:15pm, 3:15pm, 4:30pm, 5:30pm) at Pacific Wharf as they perform holiday favorites in both English & Spanish!
- Disney Viva Navidad Street Party (1:00pm, 2:00pm, 3:00pm, 4:30pm, 5:30pm, 6:30pm) at Paradise Gardens Park (sit near Bayside Brew to see the float) celebrates Navidad with The Three Caballeros, giant mojinganga puppets, musicians, dancers and more!
- Disney Viva Navidad at Paradise Garden Grill is a great area to celebrate Navidad. You can meet The Three Caballeros, Mickey and Minnie, as well as Elena. Check the Disneyland App for times! Paradise Garden Grill also has a lot of food items to celebrate Navidad such as Plant-based Chile Relleno, Torta al Pastor, House-made Pozole, Street-style Tacos, Burritos, and more.
- Check out the NEW Mickey’s Happy Holidays parade. Mickey Mouse and friends dance along with the Holiday Toy Drummers. You can catch them at 12:30pm and 4:00pm. They dance along Pacific Gardens Park and stop at the Obelisk (right in front of The Little Mermaid ride) for a short performance before they continue to dance until they get to the Carthay Circle Viewing Area.
- You MUST NOT MISS the Holiday Toy Drummers (11:30am, 1:30pm, 3:00pm, 5:00pm) that perform at the Pacific Gardens Park Obelisk (same area as Mickey’s Happy Holidays parade.)
- There are so many different food items to celebrate Christmas! I personally liked the Braised Pork Belly Adobo with Garlic Fried Rice from Holiday Duets. The Holiday Stuffing Mac & Cheese from Favorite Things is really yummy too!
FOR KIDS: Be sure to check out the tables right by The Little Mermaid ride where kids can do Festival Crafts to celebrate the Festival of Holidays. They also have face painting for a fee. I love that they have cards that kids can decorate. On the back of the cards, there’s information about the holiday! The tables also have an informative placard for each holiday that is represented.
Holidays Begin at Disneyland
After learning more about the different holidays at Disney California Adventure Park, hop over to Disneyland for more festivities! Here are some of the things you shouldn’t miss!
- A Christmas Fantasy Parade is at 3:30pm and 6:00pm. The 3:30pm parade starts at It’s a Small World and the 6pm one starts at Main Street/Town Square so keep that in mind. (Ex: If you’re at Main Street for the 3:30pm parade, you won’t watch the parade at 3:30 because it will take some time for the parade to proceed from It’s a Small World to Main Street and vice versa for the 6pm parade.) TIP: We like to sit near the fire house on Main Street. I feel like it’s not as crowded. If you’re worried about getting a seat, you can always do a dining package from Plaza Inn for reserved parade viewing!
- Main Street Christmas Tree lighting happens at 5:00pm and is just so magical!
- It’s a Small World Lighting happens at 5:15pm and it really puts you in the Christmas spirit. Shortly afterwards (it was around 5:30 when I was there), you can watch light projections on the façades! They do this every 30 minutes throughout the night!
- Wintertime Enchantment at Sleeping Beauty’s Castle happens nightly at 7:30pm and 8:30pm. They light up Sleeping Beauty Castle and there’s snow (smells like cinnamon)! We stood on Main Street before the hub. There’s a snow machine right there so you can experience the snow and have a decent view of the castle.
- Disney Holiday Dance Party at Tomorrowland Terrace is SO MUCH FUN. It happens on Friday, Saturday, and Sundays from 7-11pm. They may do them on other days during Thanksgiving and Christmas. A host leads you and teaches you some dance moves. Your favorite Disney characters come throughout the night to dance with you! We saw Goofy, Pluto, Chip, Dale, Toulouse and Marie from The Aristocats! BEST DAY EVER! A was SOOOOO EXCITED.
- You can watch Believe.. In Holiday Magic- Fireworks Spectacular at 9:30pm. Check the Disneyland App for any changes. Sometimes the fireworks are cancelled due to weather or other circumstances. We didn’t get to watch this yet but saw clips of it from Magical Kinda Mama. They also have snow all along Main Street at the end of the show as well as projections along the walls of Main Street!
Don’t forget- you can meet Santa at Redwood Creek Challenge Trail at DCA. This is our favorite place to meet him. I just love the decorations there! This area is also so much fun. You can decorate cookies, play and run around. You can also meet Santa at Critter Country at Pooh’s Thotful Spot at Disneyland. It doesn’t cost anything to meet him. The hotels have Santa meet and greets available too! Be sure to have your Christmas list ready!
What are you looking forward to the most during this holiday season at Disneyland? I hope you get to visit from now until January 6, 2020! There’s so much to do and you will have a wonderful time!