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Disney California Adventure Food and Wine Festival — Tips & What I Ate

What to expect during the 2020 festival

I'm an annual passholder on my own dime. My Sip and Savor Pass was provided by Disneyland Resort.

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.

Fiscalini White Cheddar Lager Soup from the Nuts About Cheese Festival Marketplace at Disneyland Food and Wine Festival.
Fiscalini White Cheddar Lager Soup from the Nuts About Cheese Festival Marketplace

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

A table full of every food dish offered at the festival at its media preview event.
The food display at the media preview.

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?

The a man walks by the Uncork California Marketplace at Disney California Adventure.

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.

People line up to buy the Sip and Savor Pass at the festival.

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.

The menu posted on the Golden Dreams Marketplace kiosk.
Alcoholic beverages run in the $14 range but most food is at this price point.

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.

The huge Mickey macaron in a paper tray held up in front of a green plant wall.
If you like sweets, order this.

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

Barbacoa tacos held up over the water with the Pixar Pal-A-Round Ferris wheel in the background.

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

Multiple bowls of sample-sized watermelon and cucumber poke on a table at the Disney California Adventure Food and Wine media preview.

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

The fried chicken and waffle sandwich in a paper tray in front of some foliage at the Disneyland Food and Wine Festival.
A bit gluttonous but I had to try it.

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

The fried guacamole and carne asada in a paper tray held up with Pixar Pier in the background.

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

A paper tray with the fried artichoke hearts with lemon aioli in front of the Marketplace mural with hearts and a Hidden Mickey.
Do you see the (sort of) Hidden Mickey?

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

I hold the Disney California Adventure Food and Wine Festival Tasting Passport in front of the big festival sign.

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.

The Cali-ente Marketplace kiosk which sells spicier fare.
Hold your food up to the purple pepper mural for a great Instagram shot.

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.

Disney California Adventure Food and Wine merchandise on a table from T-shirts to wine gadgets.
Especially popular is the Chef Headband and the Spirit Jersey.

What are you looking forward to about the Disney California Adventure Food and Wine Festival in 2020?

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