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Dining in Disneyland: Dia de Reyes Celebration

This past weekend marked the first time the Disneyland has celebrated Dia de Reyes, also know as Three Kings Day. This special event is celebrated at the end of the Christmas season marking the occasion when the three kings, or three wise men, followed the star to Bethlehem to deliver their riches to the Christ child.

Three Kings Day Signage

Dia de Reyes Floral Display

Disneyland celebrated the event in Frontierland with special menu items, activities, performances, and character greetings.  We started our day off at Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante for a holiday feast.

Rancho de Zocalo Restaurante

Rancho del Zocalo Specialty Eats

The restaurant was offering four special menu items for the event: a Tamale Platter, a Carne Asada/Tamale Platter, a Sweet Corn Tamale dessert, and Mexican Hot Chocolate.

Rancho del Zocalo Holiday Specials

Rancho del Zocalo Holiday Dessert

Since Rancho del Zocalo is a counter service cafeteria type restaurant, we grabbed our trays and ordered one each of the entree specials. We also ordered a Sweet Corn Tamale, a  fruit platter, and Chips con Limon. After paying for our meals, we set out to find a table that would allow us to see some of the decor and watch the festivities.

Dia de Reyes "Papel Picado" are traditional Mexican Handcut Papers. These banners adorned the area.

First up was my husband’s Carne Asada & Tamale platter.  It came with one chicken tamale, carne asada, flour tortillas, rice, beans, and sides of sour cream, guacamole, salsa, and lettuce.  He ate the whole thing, so I’m going to assume that he enjoyed it.

Rancho del Zocalo Carne Asada & Tamale Platter

After the main items were gone, he scooped up the rest of the sides with the Crispy Chips con Limon, which I have to say was a fantastic idea.  We’d never purchased these chips before and they are a great snack.  You can buy a bag of them for $3.29, and for an additional .99 cents you can get a side of salsa.  So, if you’re ever in Disneyland and get a craving for chips and salsa, this is the place to go.

Chips con Limon

My tamale platter consisted of two chicken tamales along with the rice, beans, and sides of guacamole, sour cream, salsa & lettuce.  Overall I enjoyed it, although I would have liked to have had more chicken in my tamales.  My favorite part was using those yummy chips to scoop up rice and beans.

Tamale Platter

Because my boys aren’t big Mexican food fans, we promised them some “kid food” later.  We did however order them a Tropical Fruit Platter from the dessert counter to hold them over.  And I am happy to report that I have found the best fruit platter I’ve ever seen in the Disneyland Resort!

The Tropical Fruit platter consisted of pineapple, mango, kiwi, blueberries, strawberries, cantaloupe, and honeydew.  A great variety of fruit, and at $4.59 I thought it was very reasonable for a healthy snack. This is a regular menu item, so the next time you’re feeling like you need a healthy treat at Disneyland, head over to Rancho del Zocalo.

Tropical Fruit Platter

After we finished our entrees, we dug into the Sweet Corn Tamale, which I really enjoyed.  The special dessert was made to order, so we actually got to watch the cast member plate it, which was kind of fun!

Plating the Sweet Corn Tamale

The tamale was perfect for sharing; it was moist and sweet and topped with cajeta (caramel) sauce as well as a pineapple-mango-kiwi relish. Surprisingly the relish had a bit of a kick to it. I wasn’t a big fan, but lots of guests around me were devouring it.

Sweet Corn Tamale

Sweet Corn Tamale Close Up

Dia de Reyes Activities and Shows

After finishing our mid-day feast, we headed over to see the special activities there were being offered in honor of Dia de Reyes. There was face painting, coloring sheets, and crown decorating tables, which had jeweled sticker sheets to help you bedazzle your holiday headware.  Both children and adults could participate in the activities free of charge.

Face Painting Station

Three Kings Coloring Table

Make Your Own Crowns

There were also some very special guests and the Dia de Reyes meet and greet area. The Three Caballeros traded off with Mickey and Minnie who were dressed in their best traditional garb.

The Three Caballeros

Mickey & Minnie

After visiting with The Three Caballeros (we didn’t want to stand in line for Mickey & Minnie, too long!), we got lucky and ended up right in the middle of a mini parade type performance of Mickey and Minnie on their way to their meet and greet in Zocalo Park.

They started off with some dancing and were accompanied by some performers in beautiful Mexican dresses. They greeted everyone as they walked and the dancers showed off some pretty fancy moves.

Mickey & Minnie with their dance crew!

Loved the way the dresses moved. So pretty.

Mickey & Minnie on their way to meet and greet.

The End of the Parade

In addition to all of this fun stuff, Zocalo Park featured live music by The Mariachi Divas who have been performing at the Disneyland Resort for the past 9 years.  They can be seen regularly at the Pacific Wharf at Disney California Adventure as well as in Downtown Disney.

Zocalo Park

Dia de Reyes Information & Display

There was also a colorful display of traditional Dia de Reyes items in the park.

Traditional Foods Display

Rosca de Reyes (aks King's Cake) Information

Rosca de Reyes Display

More Specialty Eats

And for the grand finale, there were also two food carts getting in on the Dia de Reyes Celebration.  The pretzel cart was selling Rosca de Reyes while the churro cart offered Strawberry filled churros. Because I was “on the job” I had to try both of them.

Rosca de Reyes w/ Hidden Amendra

The Rosca de Reyes was actually not my favorite treat of the day. It was very bread-like (think fruity dinner roll) and not as cake-like, which I thought it might be.  It was however very pretty and fun to try.

Topped with candied fruit bits to make it look jeweled, the Rosca de Reyes features a whole hidden almond inside.  It’s tradition that the person who finds the almond will have good luck. My husband was the lucky one!

Rosca de Reyes

The Hidden Almond!

Next up was my family’s favorite.  The Strawberry Filled Churro.

Strawberry Filled Churro Sign

This tasty treat was your standard Disneyland Resort churro (only shorter) served up warm filled with sweet strawberry goo.  It sort of reminded us of a Strawberry Churro topped with cinnamon.  Needless to say, it was devoured in just a few seconds.  I’m thinking that this item needs to become a regular resident in the Disney Churro carts. Pretty yummy! (Editor’s Note: Strawberry Churros can be found from time to time in Disney World as well!)

Strawberry Filled Churro

Strawberry Filled Churro Close Up

Overall

The Dia de Reyes celebration ended yesterday.  It also marked the last day of the Disneyland Resort Holiday Season.  Overall, I felt that the celebration was very well done.  The food offerings were great and the entertainment and activities were so much fun.

Three Kings Statues in Zocalo Park

I’m really hoping that this year kicked off an annual tradition and that Disneyland continues to celebrate Dia de Reyes in the future. It’s unique events like this that make Disneyland so special.

Did you get a chance to visit the Dia de Reyes event at Disneyland? Would you be interested in Disneyland bringing it back next year? Tell us in the comments below!

Heather Sievers is the Disney Food Blog’s Dining in Disneyland columnist. See more of her columns here!

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14 Comments

  1. Ainsley says:

    It is quite interesting how king cakes’ differ according to the region. I am familiar with the “Mardi Gras” King Cake but have never even heard of this Dia de Reyes’s King Cake. In our version of the King Cake, there is a hidden trinket (Most often a baby that signifies Baby Jesus), and like the other version, the one who finds it is to have good luck! Our version is also more bread-like than cake, but it is often filled with cream cheese, fruit, or cinnamon and is covered in icing. The icing is colored to represent the Mardi Gras colors: purple for justice, green for faith, and gold for power. This cake also represents the 3 Kings, and the Mardi Gras celebration begins on the day of the Feast of the Epiphany, also known as Three Kings Day.
    Didn’t mean to make it a Mardi Gras education post, but it is pretty neat how different yet similar the King Cakes are.

  2. Mindy says:

    Great recap! We did just about everything but I didn’t get a chance to try the tamales/asada platter and by looking at your pictures, I sure wish I did! The strawberry churros were amazing and reminded me of when Disneyland used to have the Merry Berry Churros for the holidays.

  3. Jamie says:

    Though a rip-off when it came to the size, the Strawberry filled churros were SO good! The taste was like waffles with strawberry syrup!

  4. Heather Sievers says:

    @Ainsley – Thanks for the info, I’ve had the King’s cake with the baby before. Now I’m curious is the almond is a Mexican tradition. I’ll have to look it up!

    @Mindy – Thanks! I thought it was a really fun event. I hope they do it again next year!

    @Jamie – Yeah, they were pretty small! ; )

  5. Wendy S. says:

    Thanks for the review, I did not go and I wonder what I had miss. Glad you had a great time and I hope they do it again next year. They had showed it on the local am news program too.

  6. venessa says:

    Heather, the almond is not Mexican tradition and this is actually the first time I hear about the Roscas de Reyes having the almond but I’m sure it’s someones traditions since there’s plenty of traditions concerning this holiday. Growing up in South Texas, our Roscas came from Mexico next door and all of them had the baby Jesus baked right into it. Tradition for us was if you were eating the bread and you found baby jesus, you’d be blessed and would have to be the one to throw next years celebration which includes Tamales, posole ( sweet corn drink, ) and Mexican Hot chocolate! Also with this came the tradition of the little ones leaving their shoes out at night after placing grass or hay in them and the next morning they’d find a gift inside their shoes for them. My grandmother did this with me until I was 10. =) It’s freaking awesome seeing a holiday I grew up with in DL!! Wiki has tons more info as well http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosca_de_reyes

  7. Heather Sievers says:

    @Wendy – If it returns next year you should go! So much fun!

    @Vanessa – Thanks so much for the info! So interesting. My guess is that Disney uses an almond because they don’t want to risk guests choking on a plastic baby ; )

  8. Connie says:

    EXCELLENT report! I was so ticked off that I couldn’t attend due to being sick. I love that you took great photos of everything. Poor Disney, though…somebody forgot to tell them that they left out a word – it should be Dia de los Reyes. They also misspelled almond, LOL! It should be almendra. Oh well what the heck, I’m glad this turned out to be quite popular. The colors are spectacular!

  9. Sarah says:

    This looks like so much fun!!

    I have to say, every time I see the dining options at Disneyland I get sad for what is available at the Magic Kingdom. It isn’t even close!! Those tamales look delicious!

  10. Melinda says:

    Thank you for the post! I was hoping to make it over there, but we had birthday reservations at Ariel’s Grotto that day and spent the day at DCA. I do hope they continue the celebration!

  11. Heather Sievers says:

    @Connie – After several Spanish classes in high school and a bit in college, I also thought it was los Reyes… Wasn’t sure on the spelling of almond though, thanks! The event was great, hope it continues on as a Disneyland tradition.

    @Sarah – Sounds like you need a trip out to Disneyland! ; )

    @Melinda – Happy Birthday! You’ll have to try and make it next year.

  12. Brandy says:

    We were there on the 8th and saw the festivities as well! We tried to convince our daughter that she needed a strawberry filled churro but she was too distracted by the beautiful dancing girls with the colorful dresses on!! We watched a bit of the dancing while we devoured our ice cream treats from Golden Horseshoe – YUMMO! That was about the extent of what we were able to enjoy though,we had tired babies&grandparents that needed to keep moving ; )

  13. AJ says:

    Brandy, sounds like so much fun!! ice cream treats from Golden Horseshoe…yum!!

  14. Heather Sievers says:

    @Brandy – I plan to visit Golden Horseshoe VERY SOON to review for Disney Food Blog, CAN’T WAIT!

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