From Diwali to Hanukkah: How theme parks have a good time holidays world wide

On this planet of theme parks, the vacation season kicks off as quickly because the gates open on Nov. 1. Parks like Disney World endure a full transformation in a single day, whereas others roll out the trimmings extra steadily.

One factor most theme parks have in frequent is that their “vacation” celebrations are predominantly centered round Christmas. That is actually no shock, contemplating upwards of 90% Individuals observe Christmas, based on a 2019 Gallup ballot — however Christmas is much from the one main vacation that’s noticed this time of yr in America and the world over.

Associated: 3 methods Disney is changing into a extra magical, inclusive place to go to and work

Lately, U.S. theme parks have strengthened their deal with range and inclusion, and that effort extends to including illustration for holidays aside from Christmas to their festive lineups. And since theme parks stretch out their vacation programming, there’s ample time to go to and have a good time the next fall and winter holidays:



Diwali, India’s “competition of lights,” is noticed by tens of millions of individuals throughout many religions, together with Hindus, Kains, Sikhs and a few Buddhists. The title is derived from the Sanskrit phrase “deepavali,” which interprets to “row of lights.” In brief, Diwali symbolizes the victory of sunshine over darkness, good over evil and data over ignorance. Diwali usually falls in October or November, although the precise date adjustments annually primarily based on the Hindu lunar calendar. This yr, Diwali was celebrated on Oct. 24, although theme park guests can expertise the festivities by means of the tip of the yr.

Walt Disney World

Within the Asia part of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, you may discover yellow and crimson marigold garlands and greater than 50 colourful glowing lanterns hung from teak poles that had been hand-carved in Indonesia with Balinese patterns. You may view the decorations close to the Anandapur Theater by means of the tip of the yr.


The Disney Competition of Holidays at Disney California Journey runs from Nov. 11, 2022 by means of Jan. 8, 2023. Meals, decorations and reside leisure signify various cultural traditions from world wide, together with Diwali. A number of occasions each day throughout the competition, visitors can watch (and dance together with) the Blue13 Dance Firm. Performances are held at Paradise Gardens Park and embody conventional Indian dances and a Bollywood-style dance occasion that visitors are invited to hitch.

On the “Favourite Issues” sales space within the Festive Meals Market, you possibly can pattern a hen tikka masala dish and a guava-mango lassi, each impressed by Diwali. At Disneyland’s Downtown Disney District simply outdoors the theme parks, you possibly can dine on a Tikka Masala Pizza and wash it down with a Tuk Tuk (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) at Naples Ristorante e Bar.


Hanukkah, the Jewish Competition of Lights, is an eight-day celebration that marks the restoration of Jerusalem from the Syrian Greeks and the next rededication of town’s holy temple. Probably the most recognizable symbols of Hanukkah is the nightly lighting of a menorah, however you possibly can look forward to finding many different traditions and culinary specialities related to the vacation. This yr, Hanukkah begins on Dec. 18 and ends on Dec. 26.

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Common Orlando Resort

Common Orlando has eight on-site lodges and every one has a menorah lighting ceremony in its foyer every night time of Hanukkah. The ceremonies start at sunset every night.

Busch Gardens

Busch Gardens parks in Tampa Bay, Florida, and Williamsburg, Virginia, will every mark Hanukkah in its personal approach. Busch Gardens Tampa Bay may have a commemorative photo-op billboard and an electrical menorah that may illuminate every night throughout Hanukkah.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg is introducing an all-new scavenger hunt that celebrates winter traditions world wide, together with Christmas, Kwanzaa and Hanukkah. The scavenger hunt is included with paid admission and visitors can decide up a clue sheet within the England space of the park. After you discover the vacation symbols all through the park, you possibly can flip in your clue sheet and redeem it for a candy deal with on the Emporium.


From Dec. 18 by means of Dec. 26, guests to SeaWorld Orlando can take part in a nightly lighting of a menorah in Sesame Road Land

SeaWorld San Antonio will maintain a one-night Hannukah celebration on Dec. 19, 2022. The occasion will embody a menorah lighting ceremony within the Bay of Play space at 5:30 p.m. and discounted admission to SeaWorld for the day.

Walt Disney World

Disney World honors many winter holidays and traditions throughout the Epcot Worldwide Competition of the Holidays. This yr the occasion runs from Nov. 25 by means of Dec. 30, 2022. For Hanukkah, a costumed storyteller will maintain court docket within the space between the Morocco and France pavilions of Epcot’s World Showcase a number of occasions each day, recounting tales of the music and traditions of Hanukkah from world wide. On this similar space, you may discover the L’Chaim! Vacation Kitchen which serves up basic dishes like pastrami on rye sandwiches, black and white cookies and potato latkes.

Sesame Place Philadelphia

Sesame Road resident Child Bear celebrates Hanukkah along with his household and excitedly shares traditions like lighting the menorah and enjoying a recreation of dreidel with Sesame Place guests throughout the park’s Hanukkah celebration. The occasion takes place every day of Hanukkah at 4:30 p.m. between Dec. 18 and Dec. 24, 2022.


As a part of the Disney Competition of the Holidays, the band “Largely Kosher” will carry out its Twenty first-century twist on klezmer, jazz, Latin and rock music all through the day from Nov. 11, 2022, by means of Jan. 8, 2023. You will discover the band on the stage at Pacific Wharf at Disney California Journey. Gasoline up for its efficiency on the Festive Meals Market, with Lox & All the things Bagel Nachos, Loaded Latkes or a Brisket Slider.


Kwanzaa is a celebration of African-American tradition and group. This yr, the weeklong vacation kicks off on Dec. 26 and runs by means of New Yr’s Day. Every of the seven nights represents a unique community-building precept of African tradition.

Walt Disney World

Through the Epcot Worldwide Competition of the Holidays (Nov. 25 by means of Dec. 30, 2022), Epcot guests can expertise the marvel of each Christmas and Kwanzaa with the inspiring gospel, R&B and vacation songs of the Joyful! Ensemble. Performances are held at 1:15 p.m., 2:20 p.m., 3:25 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. each day on the World Showcase Plaza.

Sesame Place Philadelphia

Every afternoon throughout Kwanzaa at 4:30 p.m., favourite Sesame Road characters will share a particular Kwanzaa storytime and Kinara lighting to commemorate and educate households about Kwanzaa ideas and traditions.

SeaWorld Orlando

Like Sesame Place, SeaWorld Orlando will maintain each day Kwanzaa festivities between Dec. 26, 2022, and Jan. 1, 2023. Head to Sesame Road Land for a time of reflection and celebration of African heritage and a nightly lighting of the Kinara.


Much like Disney World, Disneyland acknowledges Kwanzaa with festive musical performances. Each day between Nov. 11, 2022, and Jan. 8, 2023, head to Disney California Journey’s Pacific Wharf Stage the place a cappella vocal ensemble The Mistletoes will have a good time the spirit of Christmas and Kwanzaa with its cheerful vacation choruses. You may additionally come throughout a Kwanzaa-inspired candy potato loaf on the close by Grand Californian Resort’s vacation meals cart.

Latin American vacation traditions


Like different international locations the place Christianity is the predominant faith, Christmas is broadly celebrated in Latin American international locations, however there are a variety of Christmas traditions distinctive to this continent. Las Posadas, which interprets to “the inns,” is a nine-day celebration between Dec. 16 and Dec. 24 that commemorates the journey Mary and Joseph made to Bethlehem. Three Kings Day, which takes place on Jan. 6 yearly, marks the day the three sensible males discovered their strategy to the infant Jesus.

Walt Disney World

Sundays by means of Thursdays throughout the Epcot Worldwide Competition of the Holidays (Nov. 25 by means of Dec. 30, 2022), you possibly can participate in a Las Posadas celebration on the Mexico pavilion with dancers, pinatas and fiery performances by widespread Epcot band Mariachi Cobre. On the close by Las Posadas Vacation Kitchen within the Mexico Pavilion, you possibly can dine on festive vacation delicacies like barbacoa, tostadas and dulce de leche churros. And do not forget a Cranberry Cinnamon Margarita or Horchata Margarita to clean it down with.


Over on the West Coast at Disney California Journey’s Competition of the Holidays, you possibly can immerse your self in Latin American Christmas traditions all season lengthy, starting with the ¡Viva Navidad! Road Celebration Nov. 11, 2022 by means of Jan. 8, 2022. Hosted by the Three Caballeros (Donald, Duck, José Oliveira and Panchito Pistoles), this full of life road occasion options music, dancing and larger-than-life puppets of Santa and Mrs. Claus. In fact, Mickey and Minnie make appearances as nicely. All through the season, you may also see the Grammy Award-winning Mariachi Divas at Paradise Gardens Park.

On Three Kings Day (Jan. 6, 2023), Disney wraps up its festive vacation season with an occasion at Paradise Gardens Park that pays tribute to the three sensible males. You may expertise conventional decor and a particular picture alternative.

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