Whether you’re a foodie or not, I recommend visiting Disneyland Resort during the Disney California Adventure Food and Wine Festival. You’ll have plenty of time to slot in a trip this year as it’s happening daily between now and April 21, 2020 — a longer time frame than usual.
I had the opportunity to attend the media preview on opening day where I tasted multiple dishes and took pictures of even more as I walked around the park with other media friends. We ate a lot and I’ll highlight our favorites here.
What Is the Disneyland Food and Wine Festival?
Themed kiosks (called Festival Marketplaces) are scattered mostly down the path between Carthay Circle restaurant and Paradise Pier Gardens. As guests go about their day in the park, they’ll stop at various kiosks to sample California-inspired cuisine and tasty beverage options, of course, prepared with Disney flair. This year, Disney chefs tell
The age 21 and over set can order wine, craft beer, and cocktails made with spirits from all over California. There is more food and drink than one can possibly try in one, two, or even three visits.
How Much Is it to Attend?
You’ll need a park ticket to enter the Disney California Adventure Food and Wine Festival. Once inside the park, it’s free to browse the Marketplace kiosks and gawk at the various plates of food you’ll see other guests walking around with. Food and drink associated with the festival is at an additional cost that we’ll cover below.
Rest assured that if you’re attending for two or more days that you can find a Disneyland tickets discount.
Is the Sip and Savor Pass Worth It?
While you can purchase food and drinks at any of the kiosks on an a la carte basis, consider the popular Sip and Savor Pass.
The Sip and Savor Pass retails for $56 and is available to everyone! It includes eight tastings. Annual Pass Holders pay $51 and receive a special lanyard and commemorative magnet while supplies last. Cast Members at Marketplace kiosks will ask you to tear off your coupon in their presence (do not tear it off beforehand) when you choose to redeem one for a food or nonalcoholic drink tasting.
The Sip and Savor pass does not include alcoholic beverages so you’ll need to pay for these separately. I have a few other tips for getting the most out of your Sip and Savor Pass here:
- Due to generous portion sizes, it will be difficult for one person to use an entire Sip and Savor Pass in one day. You have until the end of the festival to use the coupons so there isn’t a rush to redeem in one visit.
- You can also buy one pass and share it between friends.
- You’ll want to use the pass coupons on high value items ($7 or more) and pay cash for less expensive items like bottled water.
After entering Disney California Adventure, it’s easy to buy the Sip and Savor Pass at the Sip and Savor Cart, Seaside Souvenirs, Elias & Co., Kingswell Camera Shop, Rushin’ River Outfitters, Studio Store, Festival Gifts, and each Festival Marketplace.
To give you an idea of a la carte costs, here is a sample menu.
What I Ate at Festival Marketplaces
Favorite Festival Marketplaces return in 2020 but Once in a Melon is new, to make a total of 13 options here. In addition, Cappuccino Cart, Festival Food and Beverage Cart, Hollywood Land Churro Cart, and Paradise Garden Grill are offering special tasting-size dishes that are eligible for the Sip and Savor Pass.
Mickey-shaped Caramel-Peanut Milk Chocolate Macaron
Festival Marketplace: Off the Cob
My favorite Disney California Adventure Food and Wine Festival food item was the Mickey-shaped Caramel-Peanut Milk Chocolate Macaron at Off the Cob.
It’s enormous and tastes sort of like a Snickers candy bar. The macaron is the perfect blend of light and chewy and it’s dipped in chocolate so that the caramel and nuts can stick to it. Of course, the filling is decadent and perfect.
Asian-style Beef Barbacoa Street Tacos
Festival Marketplace: LA Style
Asian-style Beef Barbacoa Street Tacos are up my alley as I’m a fan of pickled onions. They also hide that there is pickled ginger mixed in. The meat was cooked well and the tortillas held up well. I would order these in a restaurant for sure.
Poke-style Watermelon with Cucumber (Gluten-Free)
Festival Marketplace: Once in a Melon
I actually mostly eat gluten-free not because of allergies but because I feel better when I do. I quite enjoyed this little dish. The cucumber and watermelon poke is on top of rice, as is common with poke bowls, but I would prefer it without rice as I think it added a little blandness to the dish. I happily ate everything else!
Brunch Fried Chicken & Waffle Sandwich
Festival Marketplace: Golden Dreams
This is a pretty neat creation mostly because the orange juice filled boba-like spheres add a unique flavor and pizazz to an otherwise common yet decadent dish. Make sure to spread the slaw and OJ bubbles out so that you get some in each bite otherwise it will be too dry.
Tortilla-crusted Fried Guacamole with Carne Asada
Festival Marketplace: Avocado Time
Tortilla-crusted Fried Guacamole with Carne Asada was a highlight also. I was stuffed by the time I ordered this so I shared it among friends and we all agreed that it was a surprising crowd-pleaser.
Fried Artichokes with Lemon Aioli
Festival Marketplace: I Love Artichokes
If you’d like to take a cute Instagram photo, be sure to come here. The food is also good. I liked these fried artichokes and a friend tried the artichoke toast and said it was good. It’s one of the Marketplaces that isn’t on the main drag but rather up by Grizzly River Run. It’s shadier up there so a nice stop on a hot day.
Tips for Making the Most of Your Day
Study the Tasting Passport booklet before setting off on your culinary adventure. It lists every available food and drink item on offer at every Festival Marketplace and participating outlet. You’ll have a listing of Sip and Savor Pass eligible items on your lanyard but the Tasting Passport also lists alcoholic beverages and information for those
Each Marketplace kiosk has not only its own theme but its own wall mural that is perfect for your Instagram feed.
Opening day was a Friday and we found that the lines were shorter in the late afternoon around 2 – 4 p.m. At lunchtime, they were long and around 5 p.m. they were long as well.
What If I Have a Dietary Restriction?
The back pages of the Disney California Adventure Food and Wine Festival Tasting Passport highlight kid-friendly, plant based and gluten-free options.
You will need to use the Tasting Passport as a guide. Food that meets dietary restriction guidelines of plant-based or gluten-free are not noted on the menus posted on each Festival Marketplace, but they are noted in the Tasting Passport. I wish that they would add this detail to the kiosk menus as when you are trying to make an ordering decision, it’s nice to have immediate confirmation that what you suspect will work will actually work for you.
Impossible Foods was recently named the preferred plant-based burger of Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort and Disney Cruise Line. There are three Impossible Foods menu items debuting at Disney California Food and Wine Festival. The one I tried, Impossible Cheeseburger Mac & Cheese was so good and decadent that I forgot to take a photo of it. You can find it at Nuts About Cheese.
Special Disney California Adventure Food and Wine Festival Events
You’ll want to check what’s happening on the Backlot Stage in Hollywood Land. There will be chef demonstrations by Disney chefs and celebrity chefs that will include David Burtka, Richard Blais, Jamie Gwen, Jet Tila and Wing Lam.
The Junior Chef experience with Chef Goofy is likely to be popular and will happen on select days. Children ages 3 – 11 join Chef Goofy as they mix ingredients to create a tasty treat.
Other events include a new Disney Culinary Adventure on Wednesdays and Thursdays that takes guests behind-the-scenes in one of the many Disney California Adventure kitchens. There will also be Winemaker Receptions at Carthay Circle Restaurant featuring well-known California wineries like Fess Parker and Silverado Vineyards.
Guests can also attend seminars on Sonoma Terrace led by experts in the winemaking, brewing, and distillery fields who will also be joined by Disneyland Resort sommeliers and mixologists.
You can register for events here.
The Festival Merch
Of course, there is merchandise that can only be bought during the Disneyland California Adventure Food and Wine Festival ranging from a T-shirt exclusive to annual passholders to wine trivets. Purchase at Festival Gifts, Studio Store and Elias & Co.
What are you looking forward to about the Disney California Adventure Food and Wine Festival in 2020?
Save Money on Admission
Don’t forget to read my guide for finding discount Disneyland tickets so that you don’t have to pay full price.
Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide, like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai, that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).
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