For those of you who follow my travels because of my time in the Disney space, you’re in for a treat with today’s post. There’s a full dose of Disney magic in store.
I’m physically incapable (not joking) of being in California without visiting at least one Disneyland Resort theme park. During my latest trip, I only had time to go to Disney California Adventure and, as always, it didn’t disappoint.
Those who know me in person will tell you that DCA is among my favorite Disney Parks in the world. I think it does the best job of any Disney property of exploring Walt Disney’s interests outside of film and theme park development. Grizzly Peak, for instance, pays homage to Walt’s love of National Parks, which is a refreshing shift from traditional Disney “lands.”
Not to mention the Soarin’ queue beats EPCOT’s by a mile.
Because it’s Christmastime — and there’s absolutely nothing like Christmas at any Disney theme park — today we’re going to explore all of the incredible holiday offerings there are to enjoy at Disney California Adventure.
Disney Festival of the Holidays at Disney California Adventure Park
Walt Disney World Resort’s EPCOT theme park is the king of Disney festivals but Disney California Adventure hosts its fair share throughout the year, as well.
The Festival of the Holidays is a Park-wide food and beverage extravaganza celebrating various holidays — Christmas, Navidad, Hanukkah, Diwali, Kwanzaa and Three Kings’ Day — that make the season merry and bright.
In addition to decorations and musical entertainment throughout the Park, Guests can enjoy food and beverage stations at every turn. The event featured nine kiosks in 2022. Merry Mashups, featuring seasonal fusion recipes like the Spicy Apple Cider Margarita, was one of our favorites!
If you’re not a regular Disney Park-goer, make sure you familiarize yourself with the mobile order process ahead of time so you can pick up your food and drinks in a timely fashion!
Grizzly Peak gets fully decked-out for the holiday season, which makes sense since it is the land where Santa Claus is in residence from Thanksgiving weekend through Christmas Eve.
The Redwood Creek Challenge transforms into a magical holiday trail featuring Santa himself, jolly elves, and holiday-themed activities for the whole family. The wait to meet Santa Claus is often 60 minutes or more, so prepare very young children ahead of time.
Pro tip: There’s a free scavenger hunt book available for kids at the entrance of the attraction. This is a great way to entertain your little ones during Christmas at DCA without spending extra money!
Once you leave Santa’s Holiday Visit, make sure you walk through all of Grizzly Peak to take in the rustic decor.
It’s also worth stepping into the lobby of Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel — there’s an entrance near Soarin’ — to check out the stunning 35-foot-tall Christmas tree!
The Grand Californian is one of my all-time favorite Disney Resort Hotels, and it’s even more magical during the holiday season.
Christmas decor abounds in Radiator Springs, where you’re instantly transported to the world of Lightning McQueen, Mater, Doc Hudson, Flo, and more.
Radiator Springs Town Hall is decked out with tire garland and a massive tire wreath. This is the perfect spot to grab a family photo with the bronze statue of Stanley, the town’s founder.
Strands of tire garland extend all the way down the street, making Guests feel as though they’ve really stepped into the perfect small town holiday celebration.
Luigi’s tire shop gets in on the holiday spirit with a huge tire Christmas tree presented by Enterprise.
And, last but not least, this extremely festive land features classic Christmas movie posters redesigned with Cars characters.
Personally, I’m a big fan of The Lugnutcracker.
California Adventure’s Old Hollywood-themed land certainly lives up to its Tinseltown-inspired name during the Christmas season.
With decorations influenced by iconic Golden Age department store decor, this is my favorite part of the theme park during the holiday season. Buena Vista Street truly evokes feelings of shopping in Beverly Hills during a bygone era.
If you’re a frequent Walt Disney World Resort visitor, the decor feels similar to what you’ll find at Disney’s Hollywood Studios Park.
The main event is the 50-foot-tall Christmas tree that serves as the Park’s centerpiece throughout the holidays.
It features oversized vintage ornaments, including giant blown glass Santas, huge jingle bells, and bells painted with Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. Now, if only there were actual presents inside of those packages…
Avengers Campus, Pacific Wharf — soon to become Big Hero 6‘s San Fransokyo — and Pixar Pier have their own festive decor, so don’t miss out on any part of Disney California Adventure at Christmastime!
And, last but not least, don’t forget your popcorn bucket.
What’s your favorite Disney Park during the holidays?