The Festival of Holidays at Disneyland - 510 Families

The Festival of Holidays at Disneyland

The Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure happens each holiday season at the Disneyland Resort! The 2019 Festival dates are November 8, 2019 – January 6, 2020.

My family and I were treated to Disneyland tickets. A more detailed review of our time at Disneyland during the holidays is on my blog, Mama Knows It All.

One of the best perks of living in the Bay Area is our proximity to the most magical place on Earth. Disneyland is a joy to go to any time of the year, but during the holidays, it’s even more spectacular!

From bright and fun decorations, to extravagant holiday themed parades, there’s so much to experience during what Disneyland calls The Festival of Holidays.

disneyland family with santa claus
Photo: Disneyland elves courtesy of Brandi Riley

What I love about Disneyland during the holidays is that it’s not just about Christmas. The Festival of Holidays is a multicultural celebration that showcases holiday traditions from all over the world.

We were able to get a taste of everything from Christmas to Hanukkah, Kwanzaa to Diwali, and everything in between. It was truly a special experience.

So, what should you expect if you decide to pack the kids up and make that trek down Highway 5 to Disneyland for the holidays? Here what my family thinks you must do and see during the Festival of the Holidays.

It’s a Small World is a must-do at holiday time

disneyland Small World at holiday time
Small World at holiday time | Photo: Brandi Riley

Just about all of the attractions at Disneyland have beautiful decorations during the holidays, but It’s a Small World is over the top! Every single detail has been considered to make it more magical than ever. The music, scenery, and even the way it smells inside the attraction is like a holiday fantasy!

Pro tip: If you can, try to sit in the boat in front of your kids so that you can capture the amazement and joy on their faces as they ride through.

xmas lights Disneyland
The Christmas lights at Disneyland will probably blow you away. Riding the Matterhorn at night and seeing It’s a Small World all lit up turned me into a little kid. | Photo: Karen Merzenich

Holiday Parades are magical at Disneyland

Disneyland holiday parade
Disneyland holiday parade | Photo: Brandi Riley

I don’t care what our schedule looks like, if there’s a parade coming up, we’re going to stop what we’re doing, find a spot on the route and get ready to dance!

Pro tip: We make sure to stake out our spots early, and have plenty of water and snacks for the kids before the parade starts.

Christmas Fantasy Parade Disneyland
Scenes from “A Christmas Fantasy” parade | Photo: Joshua Sudock/Disneyland Resort

Disneyland had a couple different parades during Festival of the Holidays. There’s the iconic “A Christmas Fantasy Parade”, but a new one for 2019 is “Mickey’s Happy Holidays” which has both Disney and Pixar characters decked out in holiday fashion. We were all singing and dancing along the entire time!

Try all the delicious holiday-themed food at Disneyland

Disneyland Christmas food
We picked up a Sip and Savor Pass to try a little bit of all the creative holiday-themed food | Photo: Brandi Riley

They Festival of Holidays theme extends to the food, too. In addition to holiday churros (think Santa’s Cookies and Milk or Sugar Plum Candy flavors), there are holiday favorites with a Disney spin. Look out for the Thanks-Mas Sandwich which is oven-roasted turkey with stuffing, gravy, and cranberry sauce on rustic bread.



We purchased a Sip and Savor pass, too, so that our family could try out a bunch of offerings from the Festival Foods Marketplace. There were some dishes that my family probably would have never ordered, but the pass made us feel more adventurous!

The Sip and Savor pass is a little over $50 and gives you the chance to taste 8 food or non-alcoholic beverages from participating Festival Food Marketplaces, carts and some restaurants.

Making Memories

The theme for the holidays at Disneyland is #HolidaysBeginHere and it really felt that way for our family. My kids got to meet Santa at Redwood Creek Challenge Trail and our family got beautiful pictures thanks to our MaxPass.

They also danced in the Disneyland streets to Mostly Kosher, an eclectic klezmer meet jazz band that celebrates Hanukkah, and The Suffragettes, a soulful group that sings some of our favorite jams.

Every time I looked in my kids’ faces, I saw wonder and delight. I’d expect nothing less from Disneyland during the holidays!

Disneyland at Christmas
Disneyland at Christmas | Photo: Brandi Riley

My family and I were treated to Disneyland tickets. A more detailed review of our time at Disneyland during the holidays is on my blog, Mama Knows It All.

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