Every year Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure Park get a festive makeover to get ready for the holiday season, and this year is no different. While usually this change is extremely Christmas oriented, California Adventures is widening its view to celebrate a multitude of winter holidays with the Festival of Holidays.
Its a wonderful time to come and experience a bit of different cultures, through live entertainment, crafts, and my personal favorite, with food! The Festival Foods Marketplace offers twelve different food and drink kiosks packed full of amazing foods from different traditions, so you can taste and savor a little bit of everything. Here are a few of the foods and drinks we tried during our visit to the Festival of Holidays:
- Macaroni and Cheese w/ Cornbread Crumbles
This was the first thing we ate when we came into the park, and oh my gosh it did not disappoint! The cheese is super creamy and the cornbread bits really elevate the whole dish. Starting the day with this was a great idea, except we had to keep reminding ourselves to try other things instead of constantly coming back for this one.
Roasted Turkey Slider w/ Cranberry Sauce
I’d give this one a solid B. The slider is full of stuffing and cranberry sauce, it almost tastes like you’re eating Thanksgiving leftovers. The flavoring in this wasn’t very strong, and it got soggy very quickly, so it was a bit of a mess to eat. While it was good, there are so many other amazing dishes offered, you could skip this one and not miss out.
Holiday Ham Slider w/ Pineapple Relish
Wow! This was easily my favorite of all the things we ate. The pineapple relish gave the perfect amount of sweetness to balance the savoriness of the ham. Not to oversell it, but this is definitely not one to miss.
Reuben Potato Smash w/ Russian Dressing and Rye Toast Crumbles
These were absolutely delicious. They tasted like a creamier, fluffier version of a potato latke, with a lot of rich flavoring. My only complaint is that you don’t get more of it.
Spicy Peanut Brittle
What I wasn’t expecting with this one is that it comes prepackaged, but it actually came pretty handy. I was able to buy this, stick it in my bag, and then have a little something to snack on when standing in long ride lines. The peanut brittle is a wonderfully crunchy sweet treat with a bit of a kick. There was a kind of spicy aftertaste, but its just a little tingle that makes you want to grab another bite. I should also mention that my mom really enjoyed this one, and she usually hates peanut brittle.
Sticky Toffee Pudding w/ Brandied Vanilla Sauce
Ooo this one was so sweet. I could only manage a couple of bites before it just became to much for me. The vanilla and toffee flavors were incredibly rich and the cake itself was perfectly moist, so that it crumbled just so. This is a great dessert to share.
Beef Short Ribs w/ Smashed Potatoes and Gravy
While the dish as a whole had great flavoring and was quite delicious, I didn’t find it very memorable. With so many other stand out options to choose from, you could skip this one and go for something a bit more memorable.
Nashville Hot Fried Turkey w/ Dill Pickles
I had never tried fried turkey before, even though it has been a popular Thanksgiving dish in the US for the past few years, and I must say I was pleasantly surprised. With this dish, you get a piece that is beautifully crisp on the outside yet nice and juicy on the inside. The turkey was very spicy, and I found it to be quite overwhelming if I took to big of a bite, however, my friend said it wasn’t spicy at all, so maybe I’m just kind of weak when it comes to things like that. This dish is amazing, and I would absolutely recommend it, and order it again.
Braised Pork Belly Adobo w/ Garlic Fried Rice
This dish was absolutely mouthwatering! You’re getting a fatty, tender piece of meat that just pulls apart wonderfully. Its garnished with prok rinds, which offers a great contrasting texture, and the garlic rice elevates the flavor of the while dish. I would absolutely recommend this dish.
Hot Buttered Rum w/ Cinnamon Stick
This drink quite literally tastes like a cinnamon roll fresh out of the oven. Its very yummy, but also very sweet. If you are a fan of warm alcoholic beverages, then this one should definitely be on your list.
Apple Lemonade w/ Whipped Cream and Caramel
Ok, I’ll be honest, I really wanted to like this drink, and I was so disappointed. The lemonade is pretty good, tastes just like a granny smith apple and has the perfect amount of sweetness. Unfortunately that’s where the praise ends. The whipped cream and caramel absolutely ruin the drink. After the fist sip it felt like I was just drinking cream. I would say skip this one, or get it without the toppings.
Brews and Bites
California Adventures already offers a good range of beers, so the addition of another beer cart has just put them over the top. We tried the Victoria Brewing Co. Prima Pils and the Unsung Brewing Co. Naturia. The Victory is very light and easy to drink, while the Unsung is more of an amber with a nice balance of bitter and fruity notes. Of the two I preferred the Unsung, I actually enjoyed it so much I would keep ordering that one instead of trying other things.
These were just a few of the things offered in the Festive Marketplace, you can find the full menu on Disney’s website.
Would you want to try any of these foods? Let me know in the comments.