Disneyland’s Dia De Los Muertos
Most of my friends hadn’t ever heard of the Mexican holiday titled ‘day of the dead’, otherwise known as Diade los Muertos, until a tear-jerker titled Coco hit the big screen last year. I don’t have any Mexican lineage in my bloodline, so I guess the sideways glances and questioning looks from my friends weren’t too uncalled for when I launched into a full-blown explanation of the holiday while we waited for the previews to start.
Strangely, I have celebrated this holiday since I learned about it in my sophomore year of high school’s Spanish class. When I learned that the Mexicans take food, candles, and all kinds of gifts to the cemetery to celebrate their deceased loved ones, I thought that the best way to remember a beloved family member or friend, so much so that I brought my entire extended family to our local cemetery to eat pizza at the gravesites of those who have passed on.
Something tells me pizza may not be the way the Mexicans traditionally celebrate the holiday, but the idea is the same: it is a time for celebration, not mourning, and this fall Disneyland Resort is getting in on the trend of celebrating the happy and spooky holiday for the 2018 season! Across the Resort, there will be countless new experiences, foods, and faces that you can’t miss if you’re visiting, and we want to make sure you have all of the details before you don your best spooky makeup and take to the Parks!
Disney California Adventure
The usually quiet and relaxing Paradise Gardens will transform into Plaza de Familia, as inspired by Coco, and will be the focal point of this year’s celebrations. This limited-time makeover of Paradise Gardens will offer families the rare chance to remember their loved ones in a way only Disney can provide. As announced on the Disney Parks Blog, an interactive Memory Wall will be the place to share memories and stories before heading out to the nearby Mexican Árbol de la Vida (Mexican tree of life) photo opportunity. Other offerings at this location include mask-making and the interactive ‘The Art of Coco’ art exhibit!
Coco is all about the music, and after its soaring debut that delighted guests, A Musical Celebration of Coco will continue on in California Adventure during the festivities! The usual group of singers will return to play and sing traditional Mexican tunes, but this year, they have a new member of the troupe…Miguel himself! Look out for the Mexican folk art depiction of the beloved star of Coco.
If you’ve ever been to Disneyland, you’re familiar with the set-up and themeing of Zócalo Park; the Big Thunder-adjacent area that is always jam packed with guests. During the Dia De Los Muertos celebration, Zócalo Park will host a colorful and elaborate art display that pays homage to both the holiday and the deceased it looks to honor. According to the Disney Parks Blog “This immersive setting features beautiful marigolds and papel picado throughout the installation, along with a traditional ofrenda, calaveras (sugar skulls), an iconic figure of La Catrina and delicious food at the nearby Rancho del Zócalo.”
Of course, no Disney Parks celebration would be complete without food, and both Parks are getting in on the tasty action! Both Rancho del Zócalo (Disneyland) and Paradise Gardens Grill (California Adventure) will serve up their usual mouth-watering Mexican fare. With items ranging from chicken and rice to sirloin tacos, everyone will find something to satisfy their Dia De Los Muertos appetites! Will you be visiting during the celebration? Let us know!
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Special thanks to Maria Salerno for writing this article: Hiya pal! I am a NYC-based writer/musician thrilled to be bringing you all things Disney! I’m a WDW Annual Passholder, so you can find me in the parks regularly throughout the year. In addition to being a Disney Parks loving girl, I’m also a Disney toy and merchandise collector, a runDisney enthusiast, and Disney music and movie aficionado. You can follow me on Instagram: NYCtoAP and find me on YouTube: NYCtoAP. Thanks for reading, hope to see ya real soon!