Disney’s California Adventure has added a Latino-style Christmas to their special holidays celebrations. ¡Viva Navidad! embodies the spirit of the festive environment with which most Latin American countries celebrate la Navidad. We Latinos love to make everything a party, play loud music, dance, eat, and be surrounded by family and friends. ¡Viva Navidad!, happening at Paradise Gardens, is all about that.
In the Disney way, the ¡Viva Navidad! Street Party specifically captures the essence of the celebrations and makes it their very own with the Three Caballeros, Mickey, and Minnie as the liveliest of hosts. With about six performances per day until Jan 6th, 2014, the street party is a must-see. I saw it three times in two days and wish I could go back for more because each and every time my family had a blast. Oh, how it made me miss spending Christmas in El Salvador or Mexico with our family and friends!
Even though the ¡Viva Navidad! street party lasts only about ten minutes, there’s a lot going on at once, and depending on where you’re standing, you might miss a bit. This is not like a traditional parade where all the floats and dancers go down the parade route. This street party is led by a group of Mexican folkloric dancers and mariachis who kick it off at a very high beat. They’re followed by one float with the Three Caballeros that lands right in the middle of the Paradise Gardens viewing area. Another set of dancers and mariachis are on the other end of the Three Caballeros, completing the fiesta. The Mexican dancers and mariachis are quickly joined by giant Mojiganga puppets representing Santa and Mrs. Claus, as well as samba dancers and drummers brought in to represent Brazil. And of course, it couldn’t be a Disney party without Micky and Minnie!
Sounds like fun? It IS! Here are 5 reasons why Disney’s ¡Viva Navidad! Street Party is an absolute must-see!
Mickey and Minnie’s Mexican-inspired outfits 1 of 5
Mickey and Minnie join this street party in full force, riding in individually-pulled bicycle chariots that circle them around the whole party to say ¡Hola! to all, then drops them off on-stage to dance with the Three Caballeros.
I'm loving their Mexican outfits so much that I had to ask them to pose for us to show them off. Such a treat to see them this colorful!
Giant Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus mojiganga puppets 2 of 5
Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus, as well as two Mexican Maria dolls, join the party as giant dancing puppet figures known as mojigangas — traditional to festivals in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. The mojigangas add a cool sense of art and tradition to the celebrations and kids are in awe of them.
Jose Feliciano’s "Feliz Navidad" 3 of 5
When the now-classic song "Feliz Navidad" by JosÃ© Feliciano started playing, I got emotional and teared up. This is a song I grew up listening to and singing along to. It has clearly transcended borders, not only because it's bilingual, but also because it's just a good song. It feels like my life, and to see my daughter singing and dancing to it with the ¡Viva Navidad! dancers was just priceless.
I'll bet you anything this song and the performance of it will have your kid(s) and you dancing too!
Mariachi vs. Samba music battle 4 of 5
Panchito Pistoles brings the Mexican mariachi, and JosÃ© Carioca quickly follows by inviting a Brazilian samba troupe to the ¡Viva Navidad! Street Party. What happens next is a battle of music and dance that leaves us all feeling like winners!
It’s a big party! 5 of 5
Overall, the best reason to watch one of the ¡Viva Navidad! Street Parties is because it's just plain fun. You will be part of a fiesta, especially when the dancers start asking kids out to join.
It's unlike any other experience to be had at Disneyland and totally worth the visit.