Disney’s ‘Festival of Holidays’ showcases a variety of cultures


Celebrating the holidays of different cultures is the approach for the “Festival of Holidays” at Disney California Adventure.

Officials with the Disneyland Resort decided to honor many of the other holidays celebrated by various cultures from November to January, especially with the entertainment being offered.

“The performance groups featured at the festival give voice to their authentic cultural perspectives,” said Susana Tubert, creative director of entertainment at the Disneyland Resort.

Tubert said the resort wanted to give visitors a chance to sample, through entertainment, many of the holidays this time of year, with music, song and dance.

Besides Christmas, some of the holidays represented by entertainment include Diwali, the Eastern Festival of Lights, Hanukkah, and Kwanza.

To that end, Tubert auditioned a number of entertainment groups to represent the various cultures so that visitors could “explore diverse holiday celebrations through the universal language of music and dance.”

An additional offering is “Princess Elena’s Grand Musical Arrival.”

“She is Disney’s first Latino princess,” Tubert said.

Besides music, song and dance coming out party for the princess, the character will be available for photos too, according to Tubert.

Returning for its fourth year is the popular “Viva Navidad” street celebration.

But Christmas is the main focus, with decorations all over the theme park and a special new location for Santa Claus, in the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail attraction.

“We turned Santa’s Elves loose in there, and they had fun turning it into something Santa and kids would love,” Tubert said.

A Christmas bit of entertainment Tubert and others conceived are the “Holiday Toy Drummers.” Four “toy soldiers” parade through the “Festive Foods Marketplace” as if they are toys, only as their performance progresses they get less rigid and start dancing more and more — until recalled to the toy factory.

Tubert also helped with the “Festive Foods Marketplace.” Similar to the “Food and Wine Festival” held earlier this year, she said the idea was to offer a variety of foods representing the different cultures through what they eat.

“I’m a foodie; I tried 27 different foods and I enjoyed every bit of it,” she said.

Some of the foods offered include: Southern Mac & Cheese, Adobe Pork Bao, Chile Pozole and Sweet spiced Kugel.

“There’s also plenty of desserts, after all it’s the holidays—it’s OK to overindulge,” she said.

At the end of the night there is a new musical fountain show called “World of Color — Season of Light.” It features a variety of classic holiday songs, as the water fountains, projections and lights play in sync with the music.

This is the first year Disney is trying this approach to the holidays, and it is only inside Disney California Adventure. Disneyland will still have the holiday overlays on It’s a Small World, the Jingle Cruise and Haunted Mansion Holiday, along with the holiday themed fireworks show and “A Christmas Fantasy” parade.

All of the holiday offerings at the Disneyland Resort run through Jan. 8.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Travel

Two hours, 22 stops: Playing tourist in Washington on a double-decker sightseeing bus

Up until this summer, I'd never taken a Big Bus sightseeing tour. I'm a thrifty traveler, and the idea of paying $40 or more to sit next to what I imagined would be a bunch of boisterous tour-group types never appealed to me. But I live in a city that happens to be a major tourist attraction, so the big, red, double-deckers are ubiquitous, even when...
How far your money goes on the low-cost airlines

Perhaps you’ve been intrigued by the affordable (and in some cases downright cheap) fares being dangled lately by low-cost, long-haul carriers like Norwegian, Level and XL Airways. Fleeting introductory fares for a handful of cities are one thing, but everyday fares in and out of major hubs are another.  Let’s take a look at what you...
What to read before you hit Europe’s museums

As anyone who has been to the Louvre in Paris or the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid knows, these institutions can have an outsize effect on a city. Travelers are drawn by the art, of course, but also by the architecture and historical relics within its walls. Below, one book looks at how old master paintings have influenced the development of museums...
Talk travel: Is a 'risky connection' worth the risk?

The Washington Post's travel writers and editors recently discussed stories, questions, gripes and more. Here are edited excerpts:  Q: I was reviewing an airline reservation that I made more than a month ago and realize my connecting flight was listed as a risky connection. I am assuming this means there is a great chance of me missing my connecting...
Travel gear: rooftop tent for your car for convenience camping
Travel gear: rooftop tent for your car for convenience camping

Who knew you could enjoy a camping experience and still get a penthouse view? The Yakima SkyRise 3 Rooftop Tent delivers on its name, with a tent that is pitched atop your car via an ingenious design that uses your vehicle’s roof rack to support itself and the happy campers. Yakama has used its decades of experience in manufacturing racks to...
More Stories