From Mickey-Shaped Macarons to the Carbonara Garlic Mac & Cheese, there are so many great bites and brews to discover at the 2022 Disney California Adventure Food and Wine Festival!
2022 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 (there was no festival last year due to covid, but I did attend A Touch of Disney) 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 $57 (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 $52), 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 Peppers Cali-Ente
From experience it seems that Garlic Kissed is the most popular booth and the Chile Relleno Empanada from Peppers Cali-Ente is the most popular item (for good reason, see below). So my advice is if you get to the festival early, start at Peppers Cali-Ente and Garlic Kissed 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 2022 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 2022 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 items on this year’s marketplace menus: the Peanut Butter & Jelly Mac and the Frozen Guacamole. I do have to say I didn’t overwhelmingly love either of them…they’re not TOP on my list. However, I do think that you should try them and see what you think! Honestly that is what everyone else is talking about, so form your own opinion (oh and do tell)!
Peanut Butter & Jelly Mac from Nuts About Cheese
This somewhat sweet, not savory, mac is topped with brown sugar streusel and strawberry crackle (aka POP ROCKS). The crackle definitely caught me by surprise! While I didn’t LOVE this one, I also didn’t hate it. And I do think it could be a big hit with the kiddos…if you try it, be sure to tell me what you think!
Frozen Guacamole from Avocado Time
This one starts with an avocado paleta (aka popsicle) and topped with lime crema, pico de gallo, and chile-lime seasoning. This one is GORGEOUS in presentation. I would buy it alone for that! That’s the food blogger in me talking. And while I also didn’t love this one, it was such a fun one to try! It was certainly delicious, like guacamole is, but I’m not sure I needed it to be, well…frozen. Do let me know if you try this one as well!
Now on to my FAVORITES!
This is a list of my TOP TEN favorites from the 2022 festival…
Black & Tan Beef Potato Puffs from D•Lish
I think I was skeptical about this one at first. But I should have known. Disney does beef so well and these tender chunks of beef were covered with a delicious Karl Strauss Wreck Alley stout gravy and lager micro sponge all settled on top of tater tots. It was really a delicious combo.
SNICKERS Caramel-Peanut Milk Chocolate Mickey Macaron from Nuts About Cheese
This chocolate Mickey macaron is a star! Filled with caramel ganache and SNICKERS pieces, this beauty 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?
Blueberry-Buttermilk Pie from Berry Patch
I have to confess I’m not BIG on pie, but this one takes the…cake? With a traditional flavored pie crust, a custard-like buttermilk filling topped with ripe blueberries all baked into one, there wasn’t anything not to like.
Cherry-Chocolate-Mint Dessert Cocktail from Berry Patch
So I had as insider tip that this one was a good one. It definitely earns its name of “dessert cocktail” because I felt like I was sipping my dessert! Made with vodka, crème de menthe liqueur, cherry, chocolate syrup, coconut cream, and heavy whipping cream, my only tip for this one is to sip it from the glass like you do a cold foam drink to get the whole drink experience.
IPA Sausage Dog from California Craft Brews
New to the lineup this year, this one ain’t your typical hot dog. I was skeptical because this 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
Here’s where I introduce my #1 favorite from the festival this year: the Chile Relleno Empanada! 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
A 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!
French Onion Grilled Beef Tenderloin Slider from Cluck-A-Doodle-Moo
Another returning favorite! Topped with a Gruyère cheese sauce and caramelized onions served on an onion roll, you’re not going to want to skip this delicious hunk-o-meat! Disney just does beef so well. Always.
Glazed BBQ Pork Belly from LA Style
Another food that Disney does well outside of beef? Pork. It’s pork. 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
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 2022 Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival. But there are also amazing festival finds throughout the park and even into Downtown Disney! Here are a few of our fave non-marketplace finds:
Old World Aged White Cheddar Lager Soup from Sonoma Terrace
Always get the cheddar soup. That’s my Disney motto. It was so good, like I knew it would be, but paired with a toasted fig and prosciutto sandwich?! Get out of town. It was a delicious and hearty combo.
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!
I think it’s worth mentioning that I tried a TON of bites from this year’s festival. And lest you think I left some of the noteworthy items off my list, here are my honorable mentions…
Next Level Crackers & Cheese from Nuts About Cheese
So this was a great bite and I have nothing against it at all…I just think if you’re going to pick one item from Nuts About Cheese is should be the Mickey Macaron, and chances are you might try the PB&J Mac just to try it. So don’t feel bad if you don’t give this one a go. If you do, these house-made herb crackers with white cheddar-infused fromage blanc, spicy prosciutto spread, and cherry jam pair nicely with a glass of red wine!
Chocolate Hazelnut Crunch from Uncork California
Chocolate-hazelnut mousse topped with chocolate-hazelnut glaze and a gold leaf is a returning fave…meaning you may have already enjoyed this one. If it was TOP on your list, by means, get it again! It’s just as good this year. I just happen to think there are more new bites to try this year…
Ají de Gallina from Peppers Cali-Ente
This dish features spicy yellow chile creamed chicken with jasmine rice and olive tapenade. It’s a little spicy and a lot delicious! But I do have to say if you’re only going to try one item from Peppers Cali-Ente, it should definitely be the empanada.
Chicharron-crusted Fried Artichoke Dip from I ♥ Artichokes
Oh man I wanted to LOVE this one and while it was good, it didn’t make my top ten list. Served with with smoked pepper crema and Oaxaca cheese, the Chicharron-crusted Fried Artichoke Dip is still certainly worth trying if you’d like.
Petite Avocado Impossible Burger from Avocado Time
If you’re a veggie or a vegan, you can’t go wrong with this delicious little “burger.” But since it’s a returning item served alongside the showstopper Frozen Guacamole, I think you should opt for the newbie this time around.
Mango-Carrot Gazpacho from Golden Dreams
No police here! Not to be confused with with gestapo, this chilled mango-carrot soup is topped with grilled shrimp and jalapeño crema and is bright and delicious. If you choose one item from Golden Dreams, this would be my choice, even though it didn’t make it in my top ten.
Grilled Top Sirloin from Garlic Kissed
Repeat after me: Disney does beef well. So if you want to try the top sirloin, I have no beef with you (see what I did there?). Served with amazing roasted garlic-Gruyère smashed potatoes and black garlic chimichurri, this is a great dish. I just happen to think the Carbonara-Garlic Mac & Cheese is just a smidge better.
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:
- 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