While it’s true that there’s no place like home for the holidays. We think going to Disneyland during this magical time is pretty awesome too. Holidays at Disneyland runs from Nov. 10 – Jan. 8. This year has some pretty awesome new features, including the Festival of Holidays and a brand new holiday-themed “World of Color – Season of Lights.” We’ve got your insider’s guide to making family memories during the holidays at Disneyland.

All New: Festival of Holidays
Get ready to discover a Disneyland holiday like nothing before. Festival of Holidays in Disney California Adventure Park features an array of food, music, entertainment and so many other surprises. The cornerstone of the celebration is the Festive Food Marketplaces, where guests of all ages will sample diverse drinks and food from tons of diverse cultures. Kids can create holiday crafts and gifts, and chat with Santa at Redwood Creek Challenge Trail.

Visit the Heritage Cottage for some braised beef short ribs, Weisswurst Sausage and Sauerkraut with stone ground mustard and pretzel crumble, and vanilla rice pudding with apple compote and cinnamon streusel crunch. There’s also a tasty Roasted Turkey Slider with cranberry sauce and gravy at Winter Sliderland. That’s right; it’s not just about hot dogs and popcorn this holiday season!

Festival of Holidays features 50 brand new performances of nine unique shows, with Disney characters, street parties, musical ensembles and dance performances. The celebrations include Diwali, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas/Navidad and Three Kings Day. Check out traditional Indian dance that builds to a Bollywood party, or listen to a Klezmer band with a new global sound. And you don’t want to miss the Mariachi Divas and an a cappella vocal group that puts an R&B spin on holiday songs.

Insider’s Tip: If you have a Princess Elena of Avalor fan at home, you don’t want to miss the festivities. This new Disney princess makes her debut at the Disneyland Resort during Festival of Holidays.

navidad

Brand New World of Color – Seasons of Light
You don’t want to miss the entertainment show that’s like no other: World of Color – Season of Light! is a 28-minute outdoor show that features projected film clips on an immense water screen in Paradise Bay. During this new show, you’ll enjoy classic holiday songs and favorite Disney movie moments together in a show that will leave you with all the warm holiday feels.

Insider’s Tip: Since World of Color is brand new this year, you may want to grab a few Fast Passes to ensure you get a great spot. But remember, if you’re standing in the front row sections, you’re bound to get wet!

Cars Land

More Holiday Fun at California Adventure Park
If your little racer can’t get enough of Lighting McQueen and his buddies, check out Cars Land in California Adventure Park. The land is transformed with unique holiday decor in the theme of cars, wheels and motor oil. Be sure to have your photo taken with the “snow car” at the entrance to Cars Land. It will make the perfect photo for your holiday card!

Be sure to stop by “Disney ¡Viva Navidad!” This lively holiday experience features the richness and warmth of the Latino culture, filled with holiday traditions, jubilant dancing and exciting music. Based in and around the Paradise Garden area, the special activities include live Latino music, holiday foods and crafts, the “Disney ¡Viva Navidad! Street Party” and, of course, appearances by some popular Disney characters.

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The “Must-Sees” of the Disneyland Holiday Season
The fun doesn’t stop in Disney California Adventure Park. Kids (and parents) will feel like they’re on an African Safari on the Jingle Cruise, which is the famous Jungle Cruise with a holiday makeover. There are lots of new seasonal jokes and fun decor in the heart of Adventureland. The Jingle Cruise is a great ride to embark on when everyone’s feet need a rest and you want to sit for a more relaxing ride.

Don’t leave Disneyland without a visit to it’s a small world holiday. Hear the famous song coupled with holiday tunes as you ride the relaxing water cruise through the thousands of lights that adorn the classic “small world” display and check out the holiday additions. Make sure to check out small world at night to see the gorgeous outside display of lights.

Insider’s Tip: “it’s a small world” is celebrating its 20th holiday season. See if you can find the “Hidden 20s” on your small world voyage.

Three Kings Day

Don’t forget to cruise by the Haunted Mansion Holiday, which is decorated for the holidays by Jack Skellington and fiends from Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. Make sure to take a deep smell as you pass the newly-designed holiday gingerbread house display. You’ll be craving gingerbread when the ride ends. And make sure to say hello to Santa Claus who is spending his days at Critter Country.

The Christmas Fantasy Parade is back and includes favorite character and princesses, along with a few gingerbread men, toy soldiers and Santa for a truly magical parade that will get everyone in the holiday spirit. And the Believe… In Holiday Magic show is back, with includes awesome fireworks, music, stunning lighting displays, and a magical sprinkling of snow over Main Street, U.S.A.

a-christmas-fantasy-parade

Disneyland and California Adventure Park
313 Disneyland Dr.
Anaheim, Ca 92802
Online: disneyland.disney.go.com

Have you been to Disneyland during the holidays? What’s on your “must-see” list at the park this time of year? 

— Leah R. Singer

Photos courtesy of Disneyland Resort