Some people go to Disney for the rides, while others like to take Insta pics with Mickey Mouse and other characters. Then, of course, there are the Disneyland foodies who are there for everything sweet, savory, and Mickey-shaped. The best time for those kinds of guests to visit the Disneyland Resort in California is right now. The 2023 Disney Food & Wine Festival is happening at Disney California Adventure Park through April 25 with tons of new menu items to try, including a viral frozen elote.
Disney has really stepped it up with the Food & Wine Festival food this year. While some fan-favorites are back, like the grilled top sirloin with roasted garlic, there are also new and Insta-worthy treats like a pineapple-coconut churro you have to try that tastes like a Disneyland Dole Whip. With a
Sip and Savor Pass ($59), you can try up to eight dishes from either the 12 festival booths or select Disney dining locations in the park. However, you can also just order à la carte as you’re roaming from Avengers Campus to Pixar Pier.
I was fortunate enough to visit the Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival on opening day, and tried as many menu items as I could from park open to close. While some were a little disappointing, there were a few dishes that I wish were on the menu at Disneyland permanently. To help you navigate what’s worth it and what’s skippable, here’s a review of some of Disney’s Food & Wine Festival food.
The most talked about dish at 2022’s Food & Wine Festival was the Avocado Paleta — aka the frozen guacamole. It was not my cup of tea, so I was happy to see it missing from this year’s menu. However, the Elote Paleta at Golden Dreams emerged in its place. This sweet corn paleta with parm crema, chile-lime seasoning, corn, and cilantro was surprisingly delicious. If you love sweet corn ice cream, you’ll love this dish.
The chile-lime seasoning is basically Tajin, and it paired well with the ice cream bar to make a sweet and spicy treat. The only thing that made me not love this dish was the parm crema that clashed just a bit too much with the rest of the flavors, but without it, you don’t really have a true elote dish. While I would recommend the frozen elote to adventurous foodies, don’t get it with a Sip and Savor Pass. It’s not worth a tab at just $6.
Blueberry Pancake Cold Brew
This one’s for coffee lovers. The Blueberry Pancake Cold Brew at Berry Patch ($6.75) is a great non-alcoholic drink option at the Food & Wine Festival. The Joffrey's Mexico Origin Coffee is mixed with maple, brown butter, and demerara syrup with oat milk. To get the blueberry flavor, it’s topped with a blueberry sweet cream that’s made with cream, oat milk, vanilla syrup, blueberry syrup and blueberry purée. To finish it off, the cold brew has a cinnamon-flavored cereal crumble on top.
That may sound super sweet, but it’s actually pretty well balanced. While it might be too much if you like your coffee black, I thought it was one of the tastiest cold brews I’ve had at Disneyland — it definitely reminded me of blueberry pancakes.
Like A Lemon-Raspberry Pie Churro
There are a few churros to choose from, but the most Insta-worthy is probably the Like a Lemon-Raspberry Pie Churro at Terran Treats in Avengers Campus. The raspberry-flavored spiral churro is topped with a lemon and marshmallow glaze along with pie crust crumbles sprinkled on top. It’s not a churro you can carry around and snack on, so I suggest finding a table and using a fork to eat it.
Make sure you get all components in one bite, though. With the glaze and pie crumbles, it really does taste like a slice of raspberry lemon pie. It was a delightful surprise for $6.75, and I wish Disney had more Marvel-inspired dishes as part of the festival.
Smoked Honey-Habanero Chicken Wings
I was told to try the Smoked Honey-Habanero Chicken Wings ($8.50) from one Disneyland cast member who said it was their favorite dish of the festival, and I’m happy I took their suggestion. These spicy wings were so flavorful and filling. You get four wings with each order, which is pretty good — especially if you’re using your Sip and Savor Pass for this one. They can be found at the Cluck-a-Doodle-Moo booth across from Pixar Pier, so you can even snap a ‘Gram-worthy pic of your wings with the ferris wheel in the background.
Carbonara Garlic Mac & Cheese Featuring Nueske's Peppered Bacon
The dish that got my award for best of the festival was the Carbonara Garlic Mac & Cheese Featuring Nueske's Peppered Bacon ($8.50) from Garlic Kissed. You really can’t go wrong with mac ‘n’ cheese and bacon, right? This is so good that you might not want to share with your friends — just saying.
Another returning fave to Garlic Kissed this year is the Grilled Top Sirloin with roasted garlic-gruyère smashed potatoes and black garlic chimichurri. While it was one of the best dishes I had last year, it was kind of a disappointment this year. The garlic chimichurri was a little too overpowering and the sirloin was not as juicy. The mashed potatoes were probably the best part, but I wouldn’t splurge on this $9 dish again unless I was using a Sip and Savor Pass.
Calling all Dole Whip fans! You’ll definitely want to try this pineapple-coconut churro ($6.75) from the Buena Vista Street churro cart. The churro covered in pineapple sugar tastes just like a Dole Whip thanks to the fresh pineapple topping and coconut cream icing. If you’re not a coconut fan, you may not be as impressed since it also has toasted coconut on top, but I thought it was flavorful and fresh.
The Berry Patch booth is a can’t-miss this year. Every menu item is a must-try, especially the blueberry buttermilk pie ($6.50). The mini-sized pie was not only adorable, but also delicious. It reminded me of a Southern style chess pie with fresh blueberries, and would pair well with the blueberry cold brew. The only downside is it might be too much to eat by yourself, so you might want to consider sharing this one.
Kenny’s Family Cheesecake
The Kenny’s Family Cheesecake ($6.50) is a new menu item for 2023’s festival, and is apparently the
family recipe of Disneyland’s president, Ken Potrock. Thank goodness he decided to share his family’s secret, because this cheesecake was amazing. The star of this dish was the mixed berry compote on top. The sour berries went really well with the creamy plain cheesecake on the bottom. The blueberry pie is still my go-to choice, but this was a close second. Rating: 8.5/10
Everything at the Paradise Garden Grill is plant-based for the festival this year. While I wanted to try the Bulgogi Fried Rice, they were out when I stopped by. Some menu items sell out towards the end of the day, so be sure to order your faves first. Instead, I tried the Impossible Gyro Fries ($12.99), which were actually great.
With your Sip and Savor Pass, you get a decently-sized tasting portion. The waffle fries come with gyro-spiced Impossible beef, cauliflower cheese sauce, fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, tzatziki, and pita bread. It was like a deconstructed gyro.
Korean Fried Chicken Sliders
One dish I was disappointed in was the Korean Fried Chicken Sliders. Do not order this with your Sip and Savor Pass. They’ll only give you one slider for the tasting portion, which isn’t worth it for one of your tabs considering that for the full entree, you get two sliders for $11.49. Each slider comes with chicken, gochujang sauce, kimchi, coleslaw, and pIckled onions on a Hawaiian sweet roll.
Aside from the spice — which was very present — there wasn’t much flavor. I think there are better things to put your food budget towards. Even the Korean-style watermelon punch at the Studio Catering Co. was much better.
Celebration Chocolate Fudge Brownie
An Insta-worthy dessert that was just meh was the Celebration Chocolate Fudge Brownie ($6.50). The brownie was just a basic chocolate brownie you might find at your fave coffee shop. The chocolate pecan glaze saved it from being too dry, but was not enough to wow me. However, I thought the edible silver stars on top were a nice touch for Disney magic.
If you’re a churro fan, you’ll probably want to try all the limited time flavors available for the Food & Wine Festival. However, you can skip on the tiramisu churro ($6.75). Overall, I thought it was delicious, but there was nothing too special going on. The espresso sauce drizzled on top was lost in the vanilla-cocoa sugar coating, so it just tasted like a chocolate churro.
A Review Of The 2023 Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival
Ultimately, I wish there were just a few more options available this year — especially in the Insta-worthy category. Aside from the frozen elote and Avengers churro, there weren’t many standout items that seemed extra unique or had that magical Disney touch. However, I think overall, there are a lot of tasty dishes to try. Whether you’re planning to visit Disneyland specifically for the festival or not, you’ll definitely find something delicious if you stop by the 2023 Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival before it closes April 25.
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