Plaza de la Familia - Disney California Adventure

Plaza de la Familia Honors the Eternal Bonds of Family During Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort

Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort is upon us, and that means beloved fall festivities make their return! Between September 1 and November 2, 2023, Paradise Gardens Park at Disney California Adventure transforms into the Plaza de la Familia. Themes of devotion to family and Día de los Muertos (or the Day of the Dead) as represented in the Disney-Pixar film, Coco, are on full display. As Miguel sings in the film, “music is my language and the world es mi familia!” That rich spirit of Mexican heritage takes center stage in the Plaza de la Familia, where strains of mariachi music drift through brightly-colored papel picado banners, calaveras skeletons, and marigold accents.

The Daps Magic team had the chance to experience Plaza de la Familia on opening day this year. There is so much to see and do! Whether it’s watching A Musical Celebration of Coco performance, meeting Miguel from Coco, honoring loved ones at the Mexican Árbol de la Vida (Tree of Life) and Memory Wall, crafting a custom alebrije (spirit guide) mask, savoring a tasty meal, or taking in a mariachi performance, the Plaza de la Familia truly has something for everyone.

Keep reading to learn more about all the fun to be had in the Plaza de la Familia. We are happy to share a look at opening day through the photos and videos we captured!

Family Fun in the Plaza

The entrance to Plaza de la Familia is located across from Goofy’s Sky School in Paradise Gardens Park. Here, a grand archway adorned with festive marigolds points the way. Crossing through the entrance, guests are greeted with signage explaining the significance of Día de los Muertos. The story of Coco sets the scene with its powerful connection to family, love, and music.

Across the way, the Memory Wall and Árbol de la Vida provide an opportunity to pause and memorialize beloved family members and friends. Guests can add notes of remembrance to honor loved ones who have been, and will forever be, part of their lives. Throughout the day, more and more note cards take places of honor on suspended cables, representing each individual who made a difference in the lives of others. The beauty of the sentiment is accented by the neighboring Tree of Life sculpture. Here, branches of the ancestors are adorned with colorful flowers and lovingly-crafted figurines. Groups will want to commemorate their visit with a family photo of their own.

Speaking of photo opportunities, lovable Xolo dog turned alebrije, Dante, waits for his closeup just inside the entrance. Those looking to take flight with the spirits will love the winged backdrop set up on the back wall by the gazebo.

Music-lovers will appreciate the lineup of mariachi artists occupying the Paradise Garden Bandstand. Check the entertainment guide for details on the performances taking place each day. Sets often begin around before noon and continue through late afternoon.

For those looking for a tasty bite in addition to some live music, Paradise Gardens Grill has a special Mexican-inspired menu during this time of year. Specialties include Elote, Tacos de Estilo Callejero with sirloin beef, Chile Verde Chicken Flautas, a Carnitas Burrito, and the plant-based Chorizo Quesadilla.

Check out our overviews below:

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Crafts

Kids (and adults) of all ages can set their artistic side free and design a personalized alebrije mask! A shady craft area has tables complete with crayons and masks depicting either Pepita or Dante from Coco. In the film, both Dante and Pepita are fierce protectors of the Rivera family ancestors. Alebrijes are brightly colored Mexican folk art sculptures of fantastical creatures that represent the ethereal nature of the spirit world.

A Musical Celebration of Coco

A highlight of the Plaza de la Familia is the returning A Musical Celebration of Coco! The show takes place multiple times daily directly in front of the Plaza de la Familia archway. Storyteller Mateo retells the heartwarming tale and memorable music of Coco, with help from the Mariachi Divas, ballet folklórico dancers, Miguel himself, and even some special visitors from the Land of the Dead! Check the entertainment guide for the daily schedule of performances. This show is not to be missed!

Check out our opening day video:

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Recuérdame: Meeting Miguel from Coco

No visit to the Plaza de la Familia would be complete without a visit with Miguel and his friend Julio! The meet and greet takes place inside the gazebo by Paradise Garden Grill. The beautiful artistic mural entitled “Recuérdame” is the perfect backdrop for this enchanting encounter. Miguel meets guests throughout the day in between his appearances in A Musical Celebration of Coco.

Watch our meet and greet here:

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Well, there you have it—all of our favorite experiences at the Plaza de la Familia during Halloween Time! We highly recommend taking time with loved ones to engage with the shows, crafts, and characters. All of this is available at Disney California Adventure until November 2, 2023.

Have you experienced the Plaza de la Familia before, or do you plan to go this season? What is your favorite character from the movie, Coco? Mine is Pepita! Who is a family member you would like to honor on the Memory Wall? We’d love it if you would share your answers in the comments below!


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