Zocalo Park in Disneyland’s Frontierland has honored Dia de Los Muertos for some time now, featuring specialty displays and even snacks in honor of the annual Mexican celebration.
But things have gotten a lot bigger and better. Because this year’s Disneyland celebration extends to Disney California Adventure! Running now through November 2nd, the all-new Plaza de la Familia seasonal celebration offers live music and entertainment, interactive activities, and special decorations to enjoy.
And, of course, FOOD is playing a part in the celebration, too!
Paradise Garden Grill, located on Paradise Pier (where all of the Plaza de la Familia activities take place), has adopted a Dia de los Muertos overlay for the season, and it’s pretty epic! The menu currently features special Mexican-inspired fare, including drinks and desserts.
Our Disneyland correspondent Heather Sievers (of @DiningInDisney fame) grabbed her family and covered the Paradise Garden Grill bases! First up were the entrees – four specialty options that represent classic Mexican cuisine, and a unique salad as well.
Yucatan-inspired Vaporcitos are chicken tamales steamed in banana leaves. It’s served with ranchero salsa, golden rice, and black beans. The banana leaves distinguish the vaporcitos from more traditional tamales (which are wrapped in corn husks). But they retain the same texture and taste terrific!
The smoky ranchero salsa added a lot of depth to the dish, and traditional rice and beans complete this hearty and delicious entree.
Tacos de Estilo Callajero is a trio of sirloin beef tacos served with pickled vegetables, golden rice, and black beans. And there’s a LOT of beef here, food friends. The pickled vegetables are a unique topping for the meaty tacos and cut through some of the richness of the beef.
Mole Verde con Pollo is as striking to look at as it is delicious. The sprinkling of edible flowers atop the lovely green mole (a sauce of herbs and an abundance of spices) makes a colorful statement.
The chicken is herb-braised and fork tender. And the mole? A huge hit, full of complex flavor!
Vegetarians will be glad to hear about the fourth entree option: Tortitas de Papa Con Queso is basically a cheese-stuffed potato cake… that’s deep fried. Let that sink in: “cheese-filled” and “deep-fried.” The tortitas are served atop the ubiquitous golden rice beside a pile of crisp lettuce, tomato, and pickled onions.
Again, the ranchero salsa added a lot of great depth and acid to the dish, elevating the heavier tortitas.
The Ensalada de Frutas is seasoned with chili-lime salt and chamoy (which is basically pickling juice). The fruits include jicama, watermelon, mango, lime, and cucumber. Spicy fruit-flavored foods are popping up around Disneyland, and this is a tasty addition to that repertoire.
Heather also wanted to try an item from the Kids’ Menu.
It was, unfortunately, the only loser of the day. The Kids’ Cheese Quesadilla is simple enough: jack and cheddar cheese in a whole wheat tortilla. And it is as blah as it looks.
Thankfully, the meal didn’t end on a bad note because the desserts for the celebration include the gorgeous Pan de Muerto.
The colorful sprinkles add a lot of fun, while the rich cake (perfectly golden!) and vanilla custard filling are a true indulgence. It’s a must!
Heather wanted to get in on the Tres Leches Parfait, too… but so did everyone else, apparently, because it was sold out. She’ll be back for it soon, don’t you worry!
Finally, Paradise Garden Grill also has a few other snacks, including the traditional street food called Elote (corn on the cob with mayo, cheese, cayenne, and lime!).
Heather opted instead for the super refreshing Pineapple Agua Fresca. She reports that it’s sweet and yummy!
But the fun doesn’t stop with the food. The Plaza de la Familia seasonal celebration includes live music and dancing with The Storytellers of Plaza de la Familia and The World of Coco Exhibit — both themed experiences inspired by Coco, the upcoming Disney Pixar film! (Have you seen the previews for this? Because it looks seriously gorgeous.)
Additional activities include complimentary face painting and photo opportunities at the Mexican Tree of Life, or “Árbol de la Vida,” which is also a spot where families can remember and celebrate loved ones.
For more information on the Plaza de la Familia seasonal celebration, visit our Plaza de la Familia page here.
So get ready for a celebration of family and the spirit of Dia de los Muertos with the Plaza de la Familia celebration at Disney California Adventure!!
Will you be celebrating Dia de Los Muertos in Disneyland? Please let us know with a comment!