From Mickey-Shaped Macarons to the Impossible Nacho Mac & Cheese, there are so many great bites and brews to discover at the 2023 Disney California Adventure Food and Wine Festival!
2023 Disney California Adventure Food and Wine Festival
Hi friends! The Disney California Food and Wine Festival is one of my favorite events at Disney! I’ve been every year they’ve held it, and I plan to go every year for the near future. I love that you can pack in all the fun of a normal Disney trip in PLUS get to partake of all the amazing food and wine that Disney has to offer at the Festival Marketplaces. It’s truly a unique offering and such a fun time, whether you’re doing a date weekend, a girls weekend, an adults-only weekend or even a family affair – you just can’t go wrong. So today we’re sharing a few tips AND some of our favorites from each Festival Marketplace.
Disney California Adventure Food and Wine Festival Tips
Food & Wine Festival Sip and Savor Pass
One of the most valuable tips I have for you is to snag the Sip and Savor Pass! At just $59 (including tax), the pass includes a commemorative credential plus 8 coupons redeemable for eligible food and beverage offerings. In addition to a reduced price (just $54), Magic Key Holders will receive a special souvenir lanyard. What I love about this pass is if you’re planning to eat your way through the festival it’s just a great deal…much better than purchasing individual items. I think it also helps you to keep to a budget if you’re trying to do that. NOTE: the pass does not include alcoholic items or souvenirs, so plan accordingly and you’ll simply pay separately for those items.
It’s also important to note that Sip and Savor Passes are available at Elias & Co., Festival Gifts, Julius Katz & Sons, Rushin’ River Outfitters and Seaside Souvenirs IN ADDITION to the Sip and Savor Cart and Festival Marketplaces. So if you find that the cart and marketplace lines are LONG, skip ’em and get your pass at one of the other locations.
Food & Wine Festival Tasting Passport
Another tip is at the same time you grab your Sip and Savor Pass, also grab a Disney California Adventure Food and Wine Festival Tasting Passport! It’s a handy dandy pamphlet that lists what is at each Festival Marketplace, includes a Festival Map AND has a spot for you to get stamped at each kiosk. If you’re like me and see this as a challenge to get all the stamps, you’re going to love it.
Order all your items from one kiosk
Maybe one of the best tips I have for you is to try to plan ahead and figure out just what you want to try from each kiosk (I have a good list started for you below), then find the SHORTEST line you can and ORDER THEM ALL. That’s right, you can order all of your items at once and then simply visit the window at each kiosk and show them your receipt to redeem! Some of the lines (especially the first few kiosks) can get REALLY long and you don’t want to be wasting time waiting in line, right? So a little planning ahead of time can SAVE you a lot of time.
Start with Garlic Kissed and Cluck-A-Doodle-Moo
From experience it seems that Garlic Kissed is the most popular booth and the wings and slider at Cluck-A-Doodle-Moo ran out mid-day on the first day (they did restock). So my advice is if you get to the festival early, start at Garlic Kissed and grab Cluck-A-Doodle-Moo before there is a huge line for ordering and pick up…and before items sell out.
Check out the Merch!
There are some amazing products created this year for the festival. Be sure you stop by the main Festival Gifts booth (right outside the Little Mermaid ride) and browse some fabulous finds.
Best Things to Eat and Drink at the 2023 Disney California Adventure Food and Wine Festival
Ok, let’s get into the meat (literally) of our post! Here are some of our MUST-TRIES and favorites from the 2023 Disney California Adventure Food and Wine Festival:
Let’s give ’em something to talk about…
Before we get started on my FAVORITES, I know you’re going to ask about the “controversial” or stand-out item on this year’s marketplace menus: the Elota Paleta.
Elote Paleta from Golden Dreams
The Elote Paleta is a sweet corn paleta with parm crema, chile-lime seasoning, corn crunch, and cilantro. Ok, once I took the cilantro off (I have the cilantro soap gene, don’t come for me!), I actually kind of liked this one! It was like a cold, sweet cream corn taste…not overwhelming at all. I’ve seen folks say they wished that the corn on top would have been fresh versus freeze-dried, but for me the freeze dried kernels worked. Now my niece was with me and she wasn’t a fan, so I think this will be a hit or miss for most, but I do think it’s worth a try!
Now on to my FAVORITES!
Here is a list of my NEW favorites from this year’s Festival Marketplaces, along with a few returning favorites from previous festivals.
Mickey Mouse Shaped Macaron made with SNICKERS® from Nuts About Cheese
This chocolate Mickey macaron is forever the star of the festival! This Chocolate Mickey Macaron is filled with Caramel Ganache and SNICKERS® Bar Pieces and is BIG enough to share unless you’re like me and wrapped what I couldn’t finish up to take home. Such a delicious, must-have treat. And it’s Mickey-shaped…need I say more?
Petite Burrata from Nuts About Cheese
A NEW item that you must try this year is the Petite Burrata! I love a good burrata. This one comes with grilled ciabatta with tomato & olive jam, burrata cheese, pesto and freeze dried balsamic. The taste was 100% on point. It was served cold and I have to say that it would have been much better warm, but it’s still worth getting.
Beef & Barley Poutine from D•Lish
Another NEW item! I think I was skeptical about this one at first. The poutine I had at the Festival of Holidays a few months ago left me wanting. But poutine has been redeemed! This dish comes with potato bites topped with braised beef short rib, cheese curds, stout gravy and lager micro sponge. So tasty!
Kenny’s Family Cheesecake from Berry Patch
Cheesecake lovers unite! Another NEW item, this thick cheesecake is topped with mixed berry compote.
Blueberry Pancake Cold Brew from Berry Patch
I feel like this is getting all the buzz early on this festival, and for good reason. The Blueberry Pancake Cold Brew starts with Joffrey’s Mexico Origin Coffee, maple, brown butter & demerara syrup and oat milk, with a blueberry sweet cream made with cream, oat milk, vanilla syrup, blueberry syrup and purée, garnished with cinnamon-flavored cereal crumble. It sounds like a LOT, but honestly it was just a great-tasting, creamy cold brew! The blueberry was subtle and overall it was a delish drink!
BBQ Beef Brisket Slider from Cluck-A-Doodle-Moo
Another NEW must-have item! The BBQ Beef Brisket Slider features tender and flavorful beef brisket topped with Fiscalini Farmstead Smoked Cheddar and dill pickles on a salt and pepper brioche bun. This may have been my favorite savory bite from the festival this year. Just so delicious!
Impossible™ Nacho Mac & Cheese from Avocado Time
I love a good Impossible dish! Another NEW item, this year Avocado Time has a cheddar mac topped with seasoned Impossible™ ground beef, tomatoes, olives, jalapeños and guacamole. I don’t know why I have never thought to make mac & cheese this was but it was bursting with flavor and just oh, so delicious!
IPA Sausage Dog from California Craft Brews
A returning favorite, the IPA Sausage Dog features a sausage on a soft pretzel roll with onion-pepper Jardinière, cheddar cheese sauce, and malt vinegar-jalapeño crunch seemed pretty busy to me, but I have to be honest, the combo was delicious! And a great pairing for one of those Cali brewskies.
Chile Relleno Empanada from Peppers Cali-Ente
My favorite pick from last year, the Chile Relleno Empanada has returned! Served with arbol pepper salsa and Oaxaca and Cotija cheeses, this is one delicious pastry pocket! With so much to eat in one day I didn’t finish any of my tasting portions, with the exception of this one (having split it with a friend). This is a must-try.
Carbonara-Garlic Mac & Cheese from Garlic Kissed
Another returning favorite! I mean, you just cannot go wrong with mac, cheese and bacon. This Mac & Cheese is made with white cheddar cheese sauce and topped with peppered bacon and it’s SO GOOD. An easy win in my book!
Glazed BBQ Pork Belly from LA Style
Another returning favorite, the pork belly is always so good! After the spicy noodles from the Lunar New Year festival, I wasn’t sure the crispy pork it came with could be topped but by golly, they’ve done it. The glazed bbq pork belly is tender, packed full of flavor and delicious! Served with furikake-togarashi mac salad.
Sake-Melon ’75 from LA Style
Sake-Melon is back! If there’s ONE DRINK you get during the festival, make it the Sake-Melon ’75! WHEW this one packs a punch. Made with sake, ginger liqueur, prosecco, rock melon syrup, and lemongrass-citron purée, it’s a festival of flavors in each delicious sip!
Non Marketplace Finds
So many of the bites and brews can be found at one of the 12 Festival Marketplaces at the 2023 Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival. But there are also amazing festival finds throughout the park and even into Downtown Disney!
Horchata Cold Brew from Pacific Wharf Cappuccino Cart
Cold brew with a view! If you’re a fan of horchata, you MUST GET this delicious combo! A creamy blend of cold brew and house-made rice and cinnamon beverage it sure to tickle your taste buds and give you the energy to get through a few more of those festival marketplaces!
So there you have it, friends! I hope this helps with planning an epic culinary trip to the Happiest Place on Earth. Do let me know if you have any questions!
For More Food & Wine posts, check out:
- 2022 Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival
- 2020 Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival
- 2019 Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival
- 2018 Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival
For More Disneyland Dining posts, check out:
- 25+ of the Best Things to Eat and Drink at Disneyland
- 25+ of the Best Things to Eat and Drink at Disney California Adventure Park
- Best Things to Eat and Drink at Disneyland’s Avengers Campus
For Disney World Dining posts, check out:
- 50+ of the Best Things to Eat and Drink at Walt Disney World
- Guide to Drinking Around the World at EPCOT
- Guide to Drinking Around the World at EPCOT