My 3 Tips for Disney CA Adventure Food & Wine Festival 2016
I was excited to hear that the Disneyland Resort was finally going to host a Food & Wine Festival. I've been to the one a Walt Disney World and really enjoyed the international theme there. I knew the west coast addition would have to be smaller and quite different. I looked forward to having a fun new event in California.
This food festival is a month (April 1- May 1) long event at Disney California Adventure. There are booths (referred to as the Marketplaces) for food and wine that are open everyday. Special events, guests and presentations only occur Friday, Saturday & Sunday. They have had special Food & Wine info and maps available at the turnstiles. After having experienced it the last two weeks, here are 3 of my personal tips to enjoy the Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival.
1) Go with a friend or 2 or 3... Sharing is caring.
Not only will it make the event more fun but going with a group will allow you to enjoy a small bite so you don't get too full. Then you will also have room to sample more food offerings. If you want to sample wine and beer, sharing sips will help you get to the next drink without having had too much at one booth. Friends will make standing in lines more entertaining.
2) Do some homework before you go.
The menus are online HERE so you can make a list of some dishes that intrigue you. Plus, if you or your friends have any food allergies, likes or dislikes, you can figure that out before you go and you won't be disappointed. Knowing the food offerings and also how much they cost will help you figure out how much money you'll need for this food adventure. Make a list of some things you really want to try. The food locations are divided up into 5 main booths and 1 alcoholic beverage booth. There is usually some sort of protein, appetizer and dessert offering. Suggested wine pairings are available, too.
If you want to see detailed pictures and some reviews, I recommend visiting the Disney Food Blog (not official) and read their post. Bookmark their site if you are a Disney foodie. They cover just about anything Disneyland and Walt Disney World food topics.
3) Create a food & wine budget.
Purchase a wearable event wristband. It will help you stay on a budget and make each food transaction easier. You won't be pulling out your wallet at every location. There are several designated locations to purchase these. You decide how much you put on it (if you did your homework, you'll know how much $$ you need). If you don't use it all up, you can still use it at any food or store location. It works like a gift card.
BONUS TIP: Get a Boudin Baguette
Some of the food items have some delicious sauces. You'll have it leftover on your small plate. If you go purchase a bag of fresh sourdough sliced bread from the Pacific Wharf (Boudin Bakery), you can use that to dip into some of the festival dishes. The bakery will slice up their baguettes for you. It's also a good way to share a small plate with your friends. You can make sure not to waste any of those delicious sauces or festival food.
Some other notes:
- Pace yourself. Getting caught up in the fun atmosphere can happen. Everything always looks good and when you are Food & Wine and you'll want to try almost everything. Your eyes are usually bigger than you stomach. Go on a ride or see a show in between sampling the Festival Marketplace (food booths).
- While the food booths are open everyday (11-8), the special events, wine and beer seminars are only available on the weekends. Check the website for reservations and more info.
- Some of the restaurants at Disney California Adventure are also offering special menu items that are "festival inspired" entrees.
- If you are an Annual Passholder, make sure to stop by the Blue Sky Cellar and pick up a commemorative button and recipe card. You can also purchase an event lanyard that includes food tickets.
- Check out some of the third-party vendors that are participating this year. There are several small businesses that have things like olive oil and sauces available for purchase from their carts.
- Finally, there are some special event merchandise available. It's a small and basic offering of event logo caps, t-shirt, kitchen towels and plastic appetizer holders.
There are only a couple more weekends to enjoy the Food and Wine Festival. If you have been to the one at Walt Disney World, leave that experience and expectations there. Hopefully this will be a Disneyland event that will continue to evolve and grow every year.