Plaza de la Familia at Disneyland Park: A Vibrant Celebration of Family, Food, and Fun

Plaza de la Familia is a colorful and vibrant celebration of Mexican culture and traditions that takes place annually at Disneyland Park. Centered around Disney/Pixar’s beloved film “Coco” and the Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), this event truly brings families together through music, entertainment, food, and fun.

History of Plaza de la Familia

Plaza de la Familia made its debut at Disneyland Park in September 2017, inspired by the upcoming release of the animated film “Coco” that November. It was designed to honor Mexican cultural traditions like Día de los Muertos and the importance of familial bonds. The event was located in Paradise Garden Park in Disney’s California Adventure Park and featured Mexican folk art decorations, Mariachi music, Mexican food offerings, and a replica of the film’s “Tree of Life” photo op attraction. Guests could also participate in mask-making workshops to create their own calavera (skull) masks.

Due to its immense popularity, Disney brought back Plaza de la Familia in 2018 and expanded it to both California Adventure and Disneyland Park. The event was also lengthened from about 6 weeks to over 2 months, running from early September through early November. Over the years, Plaza de la Familia has continued to grow and evolve, with new entertainment, food/beverage options, merchandise, and activities added annually. 2023 marks its 7th anniversary at the Disneyland Resort.

When is Plaza de la Familia?

Signage

In 2024, Plaza de la Familia takes place from August 23, 2024, through November 2, 2024. It spans across both Disneyland Park and Disney’s California Adventure Park. The main Plaza de la Familia area is located in Paradise Garden Park in California Adventure. Here you can find the colorful decorations, Tree of Life photo op, mask-making workshops, and Coco-inspired cuisine. Over in Disneyland Park’s Frontierland, Zócalo Park features Day of the Dead displays including calaveras and a meet-and-greet area with Miguel from the film.

Entertainment & Activities

Coco Parade

The central entertainment offering is “A Musical Celebration of Coco,” an energetic, musical show performed several times daily that brings the key songs and themes of the movie to life through music and dance. Singers, dancers, musicians, and life-size Coco puppets perform popular songs like “Remember Me” while a lead storyteller narrates Miguel’s journey to the Land of the Dead from the film. In addition, Plaza de la Familia offers:

  • Mariachi music performances: Authentic mariachi bands play traditional Mexican music periodically throughout the day
  • Crafts area: Decorate your own papel picado (perforated paper) banners and make calavera masks of characters like Dante and Pepita
  • Face-painting: Get your face painted like a calavera skull
  • Ofrendas: Beautiful displays honoring deceased loved ones, a key Día de los Muertos tradition
  • Photo ops: Pose in front of the colorful Tree of Life statue or next to calavera figures

Over in Frontierland, guests can meet and take photos with Miguel and Dante from Coco near the Day of the Dead decorations.

Mariachi Performances

Here’s a list of Mariachi performers in Plaza de la Familia:

  • The main mariachi groups that perform are the Mariachi Divas and Mariachi Espectacular. Both are popular, professional mariachi bands.
  • The Mariachi Divas are a two-time Grammy Award-winning all-female mariachi ensemble. They play traditional Mexican music as part of the “Musical Celebration of Coco” show and at the Paradise Garden Bandstand.
  • Mariachi Espectacular is described as an “all-star” group made up of some of the best mariachi musicians from around the world. Many members are also producers, composers, and recording artists.
  • In addition to Plaza de la Familia, Mariachi Espectacular also performs at various concerts and events year-round. They are a staple at Disneyland’s holiday Viva Navidad celebration.
  • The mariachi bands play sets periodically throughout the day at Plaza de la Familia. They help create an immersive cultural atmosphere with traditional Mexican songs.
  • Guests of all ages are invited to sing and dance along to the lively mariachi music at the Paradise Garden Bandstand stage.

Special Food & Dining

Disney California Adventure Park

Food

Paradise Garden Grill (Available Aug. 23 through Nov. 2; mobile order available) 

Food Items:

  • Chile Verde Chicken Flautas topped with avocado spread, shredded lettuce, crema, queso fresco, tomatillo salsa, and pickled onions served with Spanish rice and pinto beans (New) 
  • Tacos Estilo Callejero: Trio of sirloin beef tacos with escabèche, Spanish rice, and pinto beans
  • Carnitas Burrito: House-made pork carnitas, Spanish rice, pinto beans, and salsa verde served with house-made tortilla chips
  • Chorizo Quesadilla: Poblano, onions, and mozzarella topped with cilantro crema and served with salsa roja and escabèche (Plant-based)

Food

  • Elote: Corn on the cob topped with crema, cotija, chili powder, and chicharron crumbles
  • Street-style Taco: One steak taco in a corn tortilla served with Spanish rice and pinto beans (Kid’s Meal) 
  • Cheese Quesadilla: Whole wheat tortilla filled with Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese (Disney Check Meal)
  • Chips with Salsa (New) 
  • Salsa Verde (New) 
  • Salsa Roja (New) 
  • Pinto Beans
  • Spanish Rice

Cake and Drink

  • Vanilla Layer Cake: Layers of vanilla cake with cinnamon mousse and sweet cream cheese frosting
  • Dos Equis Lager
  • Dos Equis Amber
  • Watermelon Candy Cocktail: Tequila, watermelon schnapps and pineapple juice with a chamoy and chile-lime seasoned rim

Novelties Available Throughout Disneyland Resort

Skull Sipper

Coco’s Dante Straw Clip

Available with purchase of beverage (Limit 10 per person, per transaction; available while supplies last starting Sept. 1)

Available at the following locations:

  • At Disneyland Park: Churros near Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Pretzels near Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante, and Ship to Shore Marketplace
  • At Disney California Adventure Park: Chiller at Paradise Gardens Park, Paradise Garden Grill, and Outdoor Vending Carts

Coco Skull Sipper

Includes choice of fountain beverage at time of purchase or a specialty beverage for an additional charge (New) (Limit two per person, per transaction; no discounts apply; available while supplies last starting Sept. 15)

Available at the following locations:

  • At Disneyland Park: Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante
  • At Disney California Adventure Park: Chiller at Paradise Gardens Park, Mortimers Market, Paradise Garden Grill, and Outdoor Vending Carts
  • At Disneyland Hotel: The Coffee House
  • At Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa: GCH Craftsman Grill

Sipper

Coco Souvenir Sipper

Includes choice of Coca-Cola bottled beverages at time of purchase (Limit 10 per person, per transaction; available while supplies last starting Sept. 15); Available at the following locations:

  • Disney California Adventure Park: Paradise Garden Grill and Outdoor Vending Carts

Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta (Available Sept. 1 through Nov. 9)

Food

  • Horchata Cheesecake with sugar skull décor

Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa 

Food

Grand Californian Great Hall Cart (Available Sept. 1 through Nov. 5)

  • Horchata Cookie filled with cajeta (New) 
  • Gingerbread Calavera Cookie: Gingerbread cookie with white chocolate (New) 
  • Chocolate Covered Pretzel Sticks: Pretzel rods dipped in white chocolate
  • Cookie Box: Pumpkin Mickey sugar cookie, raspberry-filled cookies, and chocolate chip cookies with chocolate candies
  • Macaron Box: Assorted macarons (New) 
  • Crisped Rice Treat dipped in white chocolate (New)
  • Mexican Wedding Cookies (New) 

Food

  • Vanilla Sugar Cookie (New) 
  • Cinnamon Chocolate Loaf Cake (New)
  • Smothered Potato Chips (New)
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Shot with Milk
  • Gingerbread Cookie Shot with Milk (New)
  • Churro Cookie Shot with Milk (New)
  • Red Velvet Cookie Shot with Milk (New)
  • Double Chocolate Cookie Shot with Milk (New)
  • Pumpkin Cookie Shot with Milk (New)
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Shot with Liqueur (Available with choice of Baileys Irish Cream, Grand Marnier, Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, Jameson Irish Whiskey, or RumChata) (New)
  • Hot Chocolate (Non-alcoholic) (Alcoholic version available with choice of Baileys Irish Cream, Grand Marnier, Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, Jameson Irish Whiskey, or RumChata)

Merchandise

Guests can take home plenty of Día de los Muertos and Coco-themed souvenirs from Plaza de la Familia, including:

  • Alebrije figures (brightly-colored Mexican folk art sculptures of mythical creatures)
  • Calavera skull decorations and figurines
  • Coco apparel like t-shirts and hoodies
  • Day of the Dead-inspired home goods like mugs, bags, and kitchenware
  • Toys and plush animals featuring Miguel, Héctor, and other characters
  • Special edition holiday pins and collectibles

The Disneyland mobile app even offers a special Plaza de la Familia digital sticker pack to use in messages and social media posts.

Crafts

Crafts

Plaza de la Familia offers a variety of crafts and other activities that’ll keep your little ones entertained:

  • Design your own paper “alebrije” (spirit guide) mask, depicting characters like Pepita and Dante from the film Coco. Alebrijes are brightly colored Mexican folk art sculptures.
  • Make papel picado banners – these are the traditional perforated paper banners hung for Día de los Muertos. You can decorate them with cut out shapes.
  • Decorate sugar skulls (calaveras). These sweet skull decorations are an iconic part of Día de los Muertos celebrations.
  • Contribute an anecdote or memory about a deceased loved one to the Memory Wall installation. This celebrates familial bonds.
  • Create an ofrenda, the traditional remembrance altars for Día de los Muertos, by adding photos, marigolds, papel picado, etc.
  • Get your face painted like a colorful calavera skull.

Memory Wall and Mexican Árbol de la Vida

The Memory Wall and Árbol de la Vida both provide interactive ways for Plaza de la Familia guests to celebrate familial connections, remember departed loved ones, and engage with Mexican cultural traditions around Día de los Muertos.

Memory Wall

  • Located across from the Árbol de la Vida statue
  • Guests can write down names/anecdotes about deceased loved ones on tags and tie them onto the Memory Wall chains
  • Serves as a place for guests to honor and remember those who were important parts of their lives
  • Inspired by the ofrenda traditions of Día de los Muertos

Árbol de la Vida (Tree of Life)

  • Inspired by traditional Mexican folk art ceramics
  • Decorated sculpture of a tree depicting various themes of life, death, family, etc.
  • The Plaza de la Familia version has a Coco/Día de los Muertos theme
  • Represents the bonds of family across generations, just like in Coco’s story

Día de los Muertos

Musicians

The event celebrates Mexican cultural traditions around Día de los Muertos and the importance of familial bonds, as highlighted in the Disney/Pixar film Coco. It features immersive decor, entertainment, cuisine, and ways for guests to honor their loved ones.

Dates & Location

  • Takes place annually from September 1st through November 2nd
  • Main celebration, located at Paradise Garden Park in Disney’s California Adventure
  • Additional decorations and offerings in Disneyland Park’s Frontierland area

Offerings & Activities

  • Colorful decorations like papel picado banners and marigold garlands
  • Traditional ofrenda memorial altars to honor deceased loved ones
  • Meet & greet with Miguel from Coco
  • “A Musical Celebration of Coco” stage show with music, dancing, storytelling
  • Mariachi music performances
  • Mexican food offerings at various dining locations
  • Craft activities like mask-making and face-painting
  • Photo opportunities with Day of the Dead iconography

Tips

  • Use early entry with your Disneyland hotel key to fully experience Plaza de la Familia as soon as the park opens
  • Utilize mobile ordering on the Disneyland app to skip food lines
  • Come in the evening to see the Plaza lit up with colorful lights

Conclusion

With its colorful decorations, lively entertainment, delicious food, unique keepsakes, and fun activities, Plaza de la Familia offers something for visitors of all ages to enjoy. Little ones can dance to the music, get their faces painted, make masks and banners, and meet beloved characters from Coco. Adults will enjoy the authentic Mexican cuisine and cultural touches paying homage to Día de los Muertos traditions. There are plenty of great photo backdrops for the whole family to capture memories of this vibrant cultural celebration. The event ultimately brings families together to honor their bonds across generations through Disney magic. Plaza de la Familia reminds us that families, whether by blood or by choice, are forever.