The 2018 Food and Wine Festival is happening at Disney’s California Adventure from March 2 through April 12. Jaclyn paid a visit recently and gives us all of the delicious details on this Disney dining festival.
For the past few years I have been wanting to try The Food & Wine Festival at Disney’s California Adventure. I have heard great things and we decided to join in on the fun this year. The Food & Wine Festival is located inside Disney’s California Adventure Park. Every year, for 6 weeks, the Food & Wine festival hits with amazing culinary creations, family friendly seminars, live music, and special tastings with world famous chefs(at an additional cost). Basically take your favorite food festival, add a little music to it, and put it inside an amazing theme park for the perfect trifecta!
We arrived as the park opened at 8am and bought our theme park tickets, as theme park tickets are required to attend the Food & Wine festival. We went on a few rides and I scoped out the 14 different marketplaces you can choose from and I set my targets. The menus are listed outside so you can see what they have to offer. Once the marketplaces open lines start to form so it’s good to have a game plan.
One of the first things you should do is pick up a passport. Your passport will list all the marketplaces, where to find them, and the menus. You bring your passport to every stop and get stamped when you purchase. It’s a really fun way to keep track of your eating destinations! Reading through the passport I was blown away by the options! Avocado & Peer Jack Petite Guacamole Burger, Fried Artichoke Carbonara, Strawberry Frose, are just to name a few. It was hard to decide where to begin but I had a few good ideas…
My first stop was Eat Your Greens. I ordered the Grilled Asparagus Caesar salad and paired it with a LOLEA Sparkling Frizzante Sangria. The salad was delicious and a fun play on the traditional caesar. It was a great appetizer to start the day. The Frizzante came served with fresh blackberries! If you like sweet and sparkling then this drink is the one for you.
My next stop was Food at Citrus Grove. I ordered both the citrus brined pork roast with lemon pepper slaw and the crispy orange chicken and rice. Both were bursting with flavor and should not be missed. The portions are great for sharing between two.
After lunch the kids wanted to see Disney Junior Live which means waiting in line. Normally, waiting in line is not too enjoyable but it’s a different story during the Food & Wine festival. Waiting in line is the perfect time to pick up a flight of wine at Uncork California! You can decide between a red or white flight. I went with the white wine flight featuring wines from Napa, Santa Maria, and Monterey. The wine flight comes in a portable tray carrier with the wines listed on a business card so you know which one you are trying. Each wine had totally unique and different flavors. It was a great assortment and I have my eyes on the red wine flight for next time.
After a ride on Toy Story Mania it was time for my last stop, Off the Cob. The Shrimp Boil Tacos with sausage and corn were really speaking to me. I’m so glad I stopped here because this was by far my favorite tasting. The flavors were incredible and spicy. Genius move to put sausage in a taco, plus the shrimp were big and meaty. I was completely impressed.
Overall, I was really impressed with the quality of food at the Food & Wine festival. I can’t wait to go back to try more and it is something I will plan on doing every year. Here are a couple of tips I have:
Don’t judge a marketplace by the lines. There are kiosks that have been featured for years at the festival as well as new ones and both are equally delicious. I had my eyes, and nose, set on the Garlic Kissed kiosk but the line was insane! That’s when I decided to stop at Off the Cob, with a much shorter line, where I ended up finding my favorite dish from the entire festival.
I would also plan on doing the festival in a span of 2 days. There is so much to try and if you want to enjoy other park offerings like rides as well, two days would be perfect.
Make sure you pick up passports for your kids too. They will have fun trying new things or simply just getting stamped.
Lastly, don’t forget to enjoy the live demonstrations and music. It truly is a fun and magical time, but hey, isn’t that what Disney does best?!
Try saying that three times fast! Thanks to Jessica for these great tips on how to get more bang for your buck at Disneyland Paris.
If a trip to an international Disney park is on your bucket list but you think that you can’t afford it – I’m here to help! Disneyland Paris can fit in to just about any budget if you follow these simple tricks:
1. Go In The Off Season
If at all possible, travel in the shoulder season (April, May, October, November). The weather is quite nice – you may need to pack a sweater but you also won’t need to be concerned with overheating in the European lack of central air conditioning. Additionally, you won’t need to worry about the big summer crowds that can sometimes bring the wait times for certain attractions to over two hours both at Disneyland Park and many of the tourist sites in Paris.
The shoulder/off-season will also allow you to find the best deals for your airfare. Many airlines will run special fares and sales to get more people to book in this time. Affordable non-stop options are very frequently available from major cities such as New York, Boston and Ft. Lauderdale. Also of note: there are a few low-cost European carriers who operate non-stop flights from Orlando if you’d like to create an ultimate Disney park hopping experience!
Be sure to check to make sure your desired dates do not occur during a break period for UK schools, however, as our British pals do make up the largest group of guests who travel to Disneyland Paris!
2. Stay At A Partner Hotel
While the official Disneyland Paris hotels do sometimes provide great packages – do not shy away from staying in the Disneyland Paris partner hotels. Our last trip we stayed at the Vienna House Dream Castle – the cost was nearly half of what we would have paid for one of the “on site” hotels and we absolutely loved the theming and staff.
Please be aware that you will miss out on the Extra Magic Time provided by the primary Disney hotels (like Extra Magic Hours here in the States) but if you are going in the shoulder season it is absolutely not necessary. We were able to walk-on to several attractions in the early evening (Pirates three times in a row one night!) and still loop back around to catch a great spot to view Disney Illuminations at closing.
Dream Castle, B&B, Explorers and Magic Circus are all wonderful options for your vacation and provide free bus service to the parks every 15 minutes. At the end of the night, they will typically have 2-3 buses running between the partner hotels and the Disney Village stop simultaneously. If you’re a frequent Walt Disney World traveler, it is really not so different from staying at a Disney hotel off the monorail line. In fact, I feel like I spent less time waiting for the Dream Castle bus than I typically do for Caribbean Beach at Disney World!
3. Skip The Meal Plan
If you do stay at a partner hotel, you may not have the meal plan option for your vacation. That’s okay! Believe me – you really may not need it. Meal plan options at DLP hotels include: breakfast, half board (breakfast + one other meal) or full board (three meals). The parks often open a lot later than they do here in the states (10am or so) and the partner hotels often include breakfast buffet in their rates. The best strategy is to wake up, have a large and leisurely breakfast and then head to the parks. This way you can often get away with just one meal in the parks.
You can also find some cheaper food options in Disney Village such as the tried and true Earl of Sandwich and a great little Italian place called Vapiano. If you’re planning to spend one of your days hopping between Disney Studios and Disneyland Park, it isn’t difficult at all to pop in to one of these locations to save a few Euro.
It is important to remember that in Europe, meals typically take a lot longer than they do in the states. Do not expect to get in and out of a table service restaurant in just one hour – for a character dining experience you will need to give yourself at least two hours. You can save a lot of time and money by choosing just one or two table service meals during your trip.
Quick service restaurants are everywhere in the parks and usually have three set meal options with the ability to order a la carte as well. These meal sets will typically have a salad/appetizer, the main course and a dessert. A few times this trip we were able to split one meal set between two adults and still felt full! (Note: This was not possible at Colonel Hathi’s Pizza Outpost because their pizzas are just way too delicious to share…or maybe we were just hungry that day.) If you are traveling with children especially this is a great strategy.
4. Shop Souvenirs in Disney Village
Surprisingly enough, we found a lot of our souvenirs at discount at World of Disney in the Disney Village. At least at the time of this writing, they have had an entire table out front regularly with up to 40% off some merchandise. Additionally, most stores in Disney Village have small souvenirs up near the register – these are typically very reasonably priced so you can get a lot of them for stocking stuffers, office gifts, etc.
Another great deal we found in Disney Village was in the Art of Disney store. We collect attraction posters and wanted at least one from Disneyland Paris. They had an option to create your own on either paper or canvas and have it shipped to your home (would definitely save luggage space) or, the option we went with, was a full 12 paper poster package! Fit easily in our suitcase and several of the attraction posters we will be framing here at home to give as gifts.
5. Use a Marvelous Mouse Travel Agent
Of course your best money-saving tip for any location is to use a Marvelous Mouse Travel Agent! They will always be up to date on all current promotions, time-saving tricks and money-saving tips! We are always happy to assist you in creating your dream vacation, no matter your budget or destination.
Southern California has so many exciting attractions and destinations to visit and explore. Thanks to Monica for this fun look at some of the options you have to check out during your SoCal vacation!
What? There are other things to do and see in Southern California than visit the Mouse House? Well yes, yes there are! There are so many options and I’m here to highlight some of them!
If you love cars, a visit to The Nethercutt Collection Museum, located in Sylmar, CA, is a must! Both self-guided and guided tours are available. They have a bit from the Antique Era, Vintage Era, Classic Era and Post-War Era. Pictured here is a 1926 Pierce Arrow Roadster:
If your idea of fun is sword fighting or jousting, then a Medieval Times dinner is the place for you. It’s located in Buena Park, CA and features medieval style tournaments and games and dinner. What’s on the menu? Herb potatoes, roasted chicken, tomato bisque soup, just to name a few. A full service bar is also available for those 21 years and over.
Maybe you want to get closer to nature, more specifically wild nature. San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park is a great choice! The park offers several safari tours including and “Roar & Snore Safari” where you can spend the night in the park. Enjoy the different wild animal exhibits and support conservation!
If marine life is more your cup of tea check out Sea World in San Diego. Here you can experience shows, marine life presentations, explore aquariums, behind the scenes tours with killer whales and thrilling rides.
There are always our beautiful harbors, such as Ventura Harbor where you can take a boat ride, enjoy lunch near the water or stop in the one of many shops.
Maybe jumping in the water in Santa Barbara or maybe soaking in the sun in Newport Beach is what you’re looking for! We have that covered too.
Whether you are planning a trip to Southern California without a visit to Disneyland or you are looking to add on a few extra days to your Disney vacation, SoCal has so many great things to see and do. Contact your Marvelous Mouse Travels agent to get you to any of these locations, plus the hundreds more that Southern California as to offer!
Want to join the Marvelous Mouse Travels team? Visit this page to learn more.