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The Festival of Holidays Returns to Disneyland

The special holiday celebration culminates the best cultural displays for a stunning event at Disney’s California Adventure Park.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year at Disney’s California Adventure Park. The Festival of Holidays has returned and with it came all of the holiday eats, treats, displays and family fun we’ve come to know and love. 

Celebrating Disney’s Festival of Holidays

The Festival of Holidays at Disney’s California Adventure Park celebrates the cultural diversity of the holidays with food, music and dance from around the world. This year’s festival runs through January 8 and features special performances, exhibits and meet-and-greets with beloved Disney characters in holiday attire. Here are five things you shouldn’t miss this season at Disney’s California Adventure Park.

Mickey’s Happy Holidays

The special new holiday parade is a fun one, with Mickey and the gang all dressed in fun colors and festive attire. The parade has four show times (typically 12:20 p.m., 1:45 p.m., 3:45 p.m. and 5:15 p.m.), so it’s easy to catch it throughout the day. There are viewing areas by the Paradise Garden Obelisk, Carthay Circle and along Hollywood Boulevard. 

Mickey's Happy Holidays at Disney's California Adventure Park | WHERE Traveler®
Mickey's Happy Holidays at Disney's California Adventure Park (©Melanie Lee)

World of Color - Season of Light

Who doesn’t love a great World of Color display? “World of Color: Season of Light” is now playing especially for the season, and it’s a fabulous display of colors and festive fun mixed with some of our favorite Disney magic. If you don’t want to deal with a long wait in the crowd, splurge a little and book the World of Color Dessert Party. For $89, diners can enjoy a fun selection of desserts and beverages (with two alcoholic drink tickets for those over 21) and a special area with reserved seating. “World of Color: Season of Light” has showings at 9 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. 

World of Color - Season of Light at Disney's California Adventure Park | WHERE Traveler®
World of Color - Season of Light at Disney's California Adventure Park (Courtesy The Walt Disney Company/Disneyland)

Festive Foods

One of the best parts of the Festival of Holidays is the outstanding food. If you’re a fan of churros, the various churro carts have special holiday editions like the Peppermint Churro at the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail or the Chocolate Cherry-Pistachio Churro in Hollywood Land. Cozy Cone Motel has a special Christmas Tree Cone, and Schmoozies has a Chocolate-Cherry Yule Log Shake. These are just a few of the fun food offerings you’ll find; there’s certainly no shortage of festive foods to take in this season!

In addition to the exclusive specials you’ll find at the park’s restaurants and year-round kiosks, you’ll find numerous Festive Foods Marketplace booths situated around the grounds. Each of the nine booths offers limited-time food and beverage items like the Chicken Tikka Masala and Mrs. Claus’ Hot Cocoa Macaron in the Favorite Things cart, and Turkey Poutine and a Spicy Apple Cider Margarita in the Merry Mashups cart. Purchase a Sip & Savor pass for a discounted tasting—you'll receive eight tabs that can be redeemed at any of the Festive Foods Marketplace booths. 

Mrs. Claus’ Hot Cocoa Macaron at Disney's California Adventure Park | WHERE Traveler®
Mrs. Claus’ Hot Cocoa Macaron at Festival of Holidays (©Melanie Lee) 

Holiday Performances

The music of the season is in full swing at Disney’s California Adventure Park. There are numerous spots to take in the tunes with so many performers all throughout the parks. Catch the "Disney ¡Viva Navidad! Street Party at 12:05 p.m., 1:15 p.m., 2:15 p.m., 3:50 p.m., 4:45 p.m. and 5:45 p.m. at Paradise Gardens Park. The Holiday Toy Drummers play throughout the day at 9:45 a.m., 10:45 a.m., 11:40 a.m., 12:40 p.m and 2:45 p.m. You can see the Mariachi Divas at Pacific Wharf at 11 a.m., 11:55 a.m., 1:10 p.m. and 2:05 p.m. The Mistletoes also play at Pacific Wharf, and you can catch them at 3 p.m., 4:10 p.m., 5 p.m., 5:45 p.m., 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. Mostly Kosher performs at Sonoma Terrace at 3:15 p.m., 4:25 p.m., 5:35 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 7:40 p.m. 

Mostly Kosher at Festival of Holidays Inside Disney's California Adventure Park | WHERE Traveler®
Mostly Kosher at Festival of Holidays (Courtesy The Walt Disney Company/Disneyland)

Character Greetings and Photo Opportunities

If you’re a fan of character greetings (aren’t we so excited they’re back?), you won’t want to miss all of the fun photo opportunities with the characters dressed up for the season. Check the Disneyland app for PhotoPass spots like the holiday overlay at the Cars Land Entrance, the Buena Vista Street Christmas Tree and Paradise Gardens Park. You’ll also find some surprise characters like Dug (wrapped in Christmas lights) and Mr. Frederickson near Grizzly Peak. There are also plenty of great photo opportunities in the many festive lands with their holiday overlays and decor. 

Holiday Decor at Radiator Springs Inside Disney's California Adventure Park | WHERE Traveler®
Holiday Decor at Radiator Springs Inside Disney's California Adventure Park (©Melanie Lee)