Yuletide Guide to Disney Festival of Holidays at California Adventure Park

It’s the yuletide season, and the Disney Festival of Holidays is coming ’round California Adventure. Sure, there might not be any snow on the ground in sunny Southern California—though you might see a few faux flurries flying around from time to time. But with a steady soundtrack of holiday tunes and a smorgasbord of seasonal snacks and sips courtesy of the Festival of Holidays, all with vibrant multicultural flair, it’s hard not to feel merry and bright when walking around Disney California Adventure Park.

If you’re jingling all the way over to Disneyland Resort this holiday season, then dash away, dash away, dash away all. Because we’re unwrapping the gift that is the Disney Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure Park. And trust us, this is one festive festival that you’re definitely going to want to add to your travel to-do list.

Carthay Circle at Christmas in Disney California Adventure Park
Carthay Circle by HarshLight is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

What is the Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure Park?

Held at Disney California Adventure, Festival of Holidays is a joyful celebration of beloved holidays and multicultural traditions. Just like the similarly named International Festival of the Holidays at Epcot in Walt Disney World (confusing, we know!), the Disneyland Festival of Holidays pays homage to diverse winter festivities from around the world, which also happen to be celebrated by families right there in the Golden State. Holidays celebrated during this festive fête include Hanukkah, Navidad, Three Kings Day, Diwali, Kwanzaa and, of course, Christmas.

Just like any other Disney festival, this holly-jolly holiday celebration is an all-out party, complete with the sights, sounds, tastes and traditions of the seasons, all with a multicultural twist. That means spirited entertainment offerings like live music and appearances by Disney characters and a merry buffet of yuletide treats cooked up by Festive Foods Marketplace booths and other dining outlets around the Disneyland Resort. There’s even a chance to see old St. Nick himself. Needless to say, a day spent exploring the festival is sure to leave you feeling the holiday spirit.

Best of all, access to it all is included in the cost of your park ticket (it’s a Christmas miracle!), allowing you to experience:

  • Eight different booths at the Festive Food Marketplace (food and beverage costs not included)
  • Musical and dance performances
  • Seasonal character appearances
  • Exclusive merchandise (not included)
  • And other festive, family-friendly fun

Christmas tree with decorations

When is the Disneyland Festival of Holidays?

The Disneyland Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure Park typically takes place from early November and into the New Year through early January, lasting around two months. This year, the Disney Festival of Holidays runs from Friday, November 10, 2023, to Sunday, January 7, 2024. Daily park hours at California Adventure Park vary, so we suggest that you refer to the Disneyland app or website for the most up-to-date schedule. However, you can expect the park to open at 8 AM and close around 10 or 11 PM.

How much should I plan to spend at the Disney Festival of Holidays?

As we mentioned earlier, although you don’t need a separate ticket to get into the Disney Festival of Holidays, any seasonal dishes or drinks that you would like to try at the event are at an additional cost. Prices for these items range from around $6.50 to $9 for food items and from $7 to $17 each for beverages. We suggest that you look over the menus on either the Disneyland app or our festival foodie guide to get an idea of what snacks and sips you might want to sample so you can estimate your costs ahead of time. Additionally, any exclusive merchandise you decide to buy also costs extra.

Disney ¡Viva Navidad! & Three Kings Day

While many people in the United States and across the globe spread glad tidings by saying “Merry Christmas,” folks in Central and South America, as well as Mexico, wish each other good cheer with a hearty “Feliz Navidad.” Disney ¡Viva Navidad! and, for just a short time in January, Three Kings Day pays tribute to these south-of-the-border yuletide traditions with lively holiday tunes, a kaleidoscopic street party starring Mickey and Minnie and dancers in cultural garb, festive decorations around Paradise Gardens Park like piñatas and papel picado, and celebratory snacks.

In early January (on January 6, 2024, this season), Three Kings Day, or El Día de los Reyes Magos, brings the Latin American tradition of the Epiphany to Paradise Gardens Park. Honoring the three wise men, this vibrant celebration provides a festive finale to the Disney California Adventure Park’s holiday festival, with live entertainment like mariachi music and folklórico dancers, Disney characters in fiesta-ready attire and no shortage of spirited photo opportunities.

Chocolate Peppermint Churro at Disney Festival of Holidays
Chocolate Peppermint Churro at Disney Festival of Holidays © Disney Parks Blog

Holly-Jolly Bites & Beverages

One of our favorite parts of any holiday is the special food, and the Disney Festival of Holidays is no exception. Festive Foods Marketplace booths and other dining locations around Disneyland Resort dish up merry bites and beverages inspired by the multicultural culinary traditions of the festival. This seasonal smorgasbord features a veritable buffet of holiday flavors, offering something that is sure to satisfy your every craving.

Festive Foods Marketplace

From Braised Pork Belly Adobo to Savory Kugel Mac & Cheese to IMPOSSIBLE Chicken Curry Bites, there’s a festive flavor for everyone at this seasonal soiree. Wash it all down with a classic cup of hot cocoa or, if you’re looking for something boozy, a Chocolate Mint Stout Shake with horchata cream liqueur or a Churro Ale with Frozen Beer Slush featuring flavors of butterscotch and gingerbread. To take a look at all the delicious details, don’t miss our festival foodie guide.

  • A Twist on Tradition – Holiday favorites with a twist
  • Brews & Bites – Frosty beverages and savory snacks
  • Favorite Things – Yuletide classics with cultural flair
  • Grandma’s Recipes – Traditional flavors that have been shared around the holiday table for generations
  • Holiday Duets – Merry pairings like mac & cheese and chocolate & caramel
  • Making Spirits Bright – Spirited snacks and sips that will leave you feeling festive
  • Merry Mashups – Festive fusions of favorite holiday flavors
  • Winter Sliderland – Holly-jolly handhelds
Christmas Tree with Pixar Pier in the background at Disney California Adventure Park
Christmas Tree by ppelleti is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Other Dining Locations Serving Seasonal Snacks & Sips

The Festive Food Marketplace isn’t the only spot you’ll find the flavors of the season. Many other Disney California Adventure Park restaurants also get in on the festive fun. The gastronomic celebration even continues in Downtown Disney District, so you can keep the party going even after you’ve left the park. If you’re hoping to sample some of the traditions of Navidad, you’ll especially want to dash on over to Paradise Garden Grill and Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta, which serve up Latin dishes with festive flair all season long.

For Disney ¡Viva Navidad! menu items and other festive food and beverage offerings around Disneyland Resort, don’t miss our complete holiday dining guide. Other dining outlets with festival selections include:

  • Hollywood Lounge
  • Lamplight Lounge
  • Paradise Garden Grill
  • Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta
  • Pym Test Kitchen
  • Smokejumpers Grill
  • Sonoma Terrace
  • Studio Catering Co.
  • Terran Treats
  • Cappuccino Cart
  • Churros near Goofy’s Sky School, in Hollywood Land and in Grizzly Peak
  • Festival Food and Beverage Cart
  • Splitsville Luxury Lanes
  • Tortilla Jo’s
Christmas in Hollywood Land at Disney California Adventure Park
Christmas in Hollywood Land by HarshLight is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Sip and Savor Pass

Hoping to sample a whole sleighful of seasonal flavors? Or perhaps you’re heading to Disney California Adventure Park with friends or family. Then you might want to pick up a Sip and Savor Pass. Priced at $61 each (or $56 for Magic Key holders), this VIF (Very Important Foodie) pass allows you to try eight different food items or non-alcoholic drinks for one flat rate. All you need to do is tear off one of the entitlement tabs off of the lanyard when making your selection.

Not only is this a convenient way to help you stick to a food budget or split costs within a group, but it can also be very cost-effective if you choose the most expensive menu items. For example, some dishes can cost up to $9 each, meaning that you could save up to $11 versus if you had purchased things separately. Just remember that these are only tasting-size portions, not a complete entrée. So, you will likely need to buy at least a few things if you want to feel full. Passes can be purchased at the Sip and Savor Cart, Festival Gifts or Seaside Souvenirs.

Disney Festival of Holidays 2023 Entertainment & Activities

Whether you want to rock around the Christmas tree to some holiday tunes, see your favorite Disney characters all decked out in yuletide attire, come face-to-face with Santa or get hands-on with some seasonal arts and crafts, you and your merry-making crew can do it all at the Disneyland Festival of Holidays. Here are all the holiday happenings you can look forward to.

3 Cáballeros on stage in costume during Disney ¡Viva Navidad! for Disney Festival of Holidays

Live Music & Other Entertainment

We don’t know about you, but nothing puts us in the festive spirit quite like a seasonal soundtrack of holiday tunes and possibly a little dancing. If you feel the same way, then you’re in luck because the Disney Festival of Holidays has a whole lineup of multiculturally inspired live entertainment that is sure to spread some yuletide cheer. From swingy and soulful Christmas songs to spiced-up Navidad rhythms, from Bollywood-inspired dancers to the Holiday Toy Drummers, here are all the Disney Festival of Holidays acts you won’t want to miss.

  • Disney ¡Viva Navidad! Street Party – Joyful first honoring the holiday traditions of Mexico and Brazil, complete with cultural performers like folklórico dancers, drummers, Brazilian samba dancers, mariachi and even towering, 12-foot-tall mojiganga puppets Mr. and Mrs. Claus
  • Mostly Kosher – Tribute to Hanukkah with an eclectic medley of musical styles like klezmer, Latin, rock and jazz
  • Blue13 Dance Company – Bollywood-style Diwali celebration with traditional dances
  • Phat Cat Swinger – Big Band holiday tunes with brass and class
  • The Mistletoes – R&B acapella group celebrating the spirit of Christmas and Kwanzaa
  • Tina and The Sounds of Celebration! – Seasonal setlist with Latin flavor and a merry medley of salsa, cumbia, rock and merengue
  • Holiday Toy Drummers – Playful percussionists with rhythmic precision
  • Mariachi Divas – GRAMMY Award-winning group playing bilingual yuletide tunes
  • Wayu Ban – Traditional Colombian music fused with Caribbean folklore beats and styles like champeta and cumbia
Christmas at Grizzly Peak in Disney California Adventure Park
Christmas at Grizzly Peak by HarshLight is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Santa Claus & Disney Character Appearances

Along with spirited performances of holiday tunes, you can also enjoy some seasonal cheer with a dash of Disney magic during appearances by festively attired Disney characters and, of course, Kris Kringle himself.

Meet Santa at Redwood Creek Challenge Trail

It wouldn’t be Christmas without a Santa Claus sighting. Luckily, you can see St. Nick all season long at Disney California Adventure Park. This year, the jolly old elf sets up shop at Redwood Creek Challenge Trail from November 10 through December 24. The entire area gets all gussied up for the holiday with merry decorations, outdoor activities like a Santa-themed scavenger hunt and seasonal decorations. So, be sure to grab an activity map and spend some time exploring.

Mickey’s Happy Holidays

In our opinion, one of the best parts of going to Disney Parks is seeing our favorite Disney characters, especially when they’re all dressed up in their festive best. Mickey’s Happy Holidays is a Christmassy cavalcade of merrily attired Disney and Pixar characters who march to the beat of the Holiday Toy Drummers. This holly-jolly holiday procession jingles all the way through Disney California Adventure, with dance breaks in Carthay Circle and Paradise Gardens Park.

See Your Favorite Disney Characters

Not only can you see Disney characters parade around in their festive finery alongside the Holiday Toy Drummers for Mickey’s Happy Holidays, but you can also mix and mingle with them during a merry meet-and-greet. Many characters, like Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Mirabel from Encanto, will be popping up throughout the festival in their holly-jolly holiday garb to take festive photos.

Christmas in Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park
Christmas in Cars Land by HarshLight is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Complimentary Arts & Crafts

Do you have fond holiday memories of getting crafty or writing a letter to Santa? Then these festival activities are for you. Best of all, they’re completely free to do, and even adults can do them, too! (Ummm, sign us up!) Some of the ways you can get hands-on at Disney California Adventure Park this holiday season include:

  • Send Santa a letter with your Christmas list on Buena Vista Street
  • Color your own papel picado (Mexican-style paper cutting) at Paradise Gardens Park
  • Three Kings Day crafts
Christmas at Disney California Adventure Park
Christmas at Disney California Adventure by HarshLight is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

So, are you going to the Disney California Adventure holiday festival this year? Which festival offering are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments! Then, learn how you can save some extra cash for tasty festival treats or event-exclusive merchandise with our discounted tickets for Disneyland Resort.

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