Edited November 24, 2016
Princess Elena of Avalor arrived at California Adventure recently. I met her on the first day she was out and saw her Grand Musical Entrance, too. I hope you can work this into your visit, as it was a ton of fun.
Check out everything in this post for what you can expect from Elena, plus everything else there is to see at California Adventure for the holiday season. Festival of Holidays is a lovely celebration. Enjoy it!
Follow me for the details.
In this article
Where to Meet Elena
Princess Elena of Avalor is located in Paradise Pier. Walk through the park and into this land to find her back near Boardwalk Pizza. A large gazebo has been transformed to host her meet-n-greet.
Find this entrance:
Upon walking back, you’ll see two character set ups on your right.
The first, Viva Navidad, is for rotating characters. Find Mickey and Minnie, Goofy and more here throughout the day. While empty, it makes a cute backdrop for a family photo or selfie, so don’t hesitate to take advantage of the space.
After Viva Navidad, you’ll find Elena’s gazebo. It’s beautifully decorated.
The line looks like this.
She’s adorable! Really enjoyed this character meet. I hope you do, too.
Check the free Disneyland app for her times for the day you visit. Find out how to do this in my post on characters.
If you don’t use the app, you can find her times in the Entertainment schedule located near the maps at the front of the park when you walk in.
On the app, you’ll find info that looks like this for your visit:
As with all character meets, she gets busier as the day goes on. I recommend substituting her for Olaf in my plan on how to start your day at DCA. Olaf’s line is typically quite short, so see him later on and Elena instead.
Where to see her Grand Musical Arrival
The Musical Grand Arrival is a ‘moving stage’ show that includes 3 songs, dancing, and singing.
Find this back near where you meet Elena.
This stage (or float) will come out of the Paradise Pier doors near the end of California Screamin’. It will travel down this path, but won’t stop en route:
Set up where I am here in front of Goofy’s Sky School. Those blue lines on the ground are where you can move up to as soon as Elena’s float settles. First, you must line up behind the path, about 10 feet back, so that the float can make a wide turn upon arrival. Once it turns, cast members will invite you to move up to the blue line.
Don’t make the mistake of setting up on the blue line if you arrive early, as you will be asked to scoot back off the path for the float’s turn.
The show is about 15 minutes long. It’s a great way to see Elena a second time.
As with the character meet, you can find the times for this show on the free Disneyland app. It will look like this:
Be sure to check for your day’s times, as these shows sometimes change. This information can also be found in the Entertainment guide located near the maps at the front of the park.
Before and after Elena performs the musical arrival, the Viva Navidad Street Show is held. It’s a ton of fun. Check the entertainment guide for times on this, too. You’ll see many classic Disney characters.
Festival of Holidays Overview
I have been so super impressed with this new addition to Disneyland Resort Holidays. Disneyland used to hold most of the holiday entertainment, but now DCA has stepped up and has so much for you to do.
Pick up a Festival Guide at the Festival entrance, just beyond Carthay Circle, headed towards Bugs Land.
It will look like this:
Festival of Holidays Food
On the first day of Festival of Holidays, I had 3 dishes before noon. The food is divine! Take a look at the menus before you arrive.
Each booth has a marker outside detailing what you can order. AP discounts don’t apply. 🙁
The portions are the perfect size for sampling. Don’t expect to make a meal out of one dish, but instead try a few.
Festival of Holidays Free Activities
There’s plenty to do in the festival. Four tables are set up, celebrating four different holidays. You can sit down at each table and do a craft, learn about the holiday and more.
Festival of Holidays Entertainment
There’s plenty of entertainment, too. The Toy Soldiers are my favorite!
Look for other surprises as you walk around shopping and eating.
Stages are set up in little pockets here and there. Look for the sign outside to tell you who is playing and when.
Festival of Holidays Shopping
Along the festival path, you’ll find little kiosks to shop from. They hold everything from seasonal Disney merchandise to Annual Passholder t-shirts to products like these, below. AP discounts apply to the shopping.
Santa at the Redwood Creek Challenge
I was really sad learning that Santa was leaving Elias and Company to move into the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail.
Upon arriving, my sadness disappeared as I walked around looking at all there is to do. This area of the park is really cute. Plan to spend about an hour here visiting Santa, seeing characters and playing elf games.
When you walk in, take a look at this map to find the games. They’re all super cute.
Santa’s house is ADORABLE with buckets of carrots and hay on the top for reindeer.
The wait looked to be about 30 minutes from this point. Once I take my kids, I’ll share photos of the actual Santa encounter. It’s adorable and I much prefer it over Santa’s set up in Critter Country at Disneyland.
You’ll rarely find me recommend a DCA option over a Disneyland one, but they keep getting Santa right. The elves are back, too! Don’t miss visiting with Lollipop, Snowflake and all their pals.
Before you get in line, sign the Nice List, too.
I’m in the parks once a week and will share many photos like you see above on Facebook.com/DLRPrepSchool. Come see me there for lots of information.
Let me know if you have any questions.
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