Around this time every year all of the theme parks realize how much people love celebrating the holidays and they think of ways to get you back into their park. I have visited Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park a few times now and I was not fully convinced buying a full price ticket just to see the holiday decorations was worth it, but I was proven wrong. Disney really knows how to celebrate the holidays.
Since I tried to cram in everything on one day, activities at Disneyland got precedent so I missed out on some California Adventure events such as the holiday edition of World of Color and the Holiday Tree Lighting. I had a tough time seeing everything without having children, so I can imagine you would not get to everything if you had kids or a big group with you. This is partly Disney’s scheduling, such as having to choose one Christmas show at night over another since they happen at the same time, and partly due to regular aspects of the park like the long wait in line for the rides cutting into your overall time to enjoy the holiday additions.
Things to Know About the Festival of Holidays at California Adventure Park:
- Disney does not joke around when it comes to holiday decorations. I expected the lights and Christmas trees, but they have attempted to cover every inch of the park in something related to Christmas or any other winter holiday. After walking throughout California Adventure, Grizzly Peak and Cars Land have the best decorations, although every section was decked out.
- Santa’s visit at the California Adventure Park is its best asset. They decorated the Redwood Creek area in Grizzly Peak and you can wait in line to meet and take pictures with Santa. Plus they also have Santa treats where you can decorate a Mickey Snowman Cookie (which was very popular among the kids and not as popular for a Dad who loudly complained that it was too pricey for just one cookie).
- Disney really goes after your wallet with all of their Christmas merchandise. I’m sure you can find much of the same merchandise in both parks, but my favorite shop was Rushin’ Rivers Outfitters in Grizzly Peak. They had the cutest holiday items (or at least it seemed the cutest because the store looks like a cozy winter cabin).
- I was excited to try the festive food that I had heard all about, but by the time I was hungry for dinner I did not have the patience to deal with the crowd for a tiny portion of food. I would suggest trying them earlier in the day to beat some of the long lines that appear closer to dinner time.
The Festival of Holidays also includes live festival entertainment throughout the day inspired by different cultures.