Happy Holidays from Disneyland Resort where we’re ringing in the season at Disney’s Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure! From November 9, 2018 through January 6, 2019, the season will be celebrated with festive entertainment, decorations, and FOOD!
Festival of Holidays recognizes the traditions of Christmas, Navidad, Hanukkah, Diwali, Kwanzaa, and Three Kings Day. And a highlight for us is the Festive Foods Marketplace which presents cuisine through holiday dishes at twelve Marketplace Food Booths (plus some Treats for Santa!). American holiday traditional and globally-inspired holiday menus make up the additional offerings at Disney California Adventure, and we were on the scene of today’s soft opening to try them ALL!!
Best of the Fest
Let’s dig in to some of our favorite bites and sips!
Turkey & Stuffing Tamale with Cranberry Relish, and Hot Cocoa Marshmallow Macaron, at Merry Mashups
We found the Turkey & Stuffing Tamale at Merry Mashups, and it was a HUGE winner! Savory favorites from the season — turkey, stuffing, gravy, and veggies — were topped with a sweet-tart cranberry sauce. It was like your favorite holiday leftovers sandwich, but with a twist!
After your savory, follow up with the “Hot Cocoa” Marshmallow Macaron! Macarons can be dry and tasteless, but this one was perfectly chewy and very flavorful. The chocolate flavor was creamy and complex — not just chocolate-flavored sugar. We were hooked.
Vanilla and Cranberry Trifle at Winter Wonders
Winter Wonders is home to the Vanilla and Cranberry Trifle. This one surprised us with a super creamy texture and a good complexity of flavors. The cool, subtle vanilla paired with the tart cranberry was perfect. But it was that creamy pot-de-creme texture that won us over on this one.
Perfectly sweet and smooth, add this to your must try list.
Chorizo Queso Fundido with House-made Tortilla Chips at Brews & Bites
We dug right into this returning Festival Favorite: Chorizo Queso Fundido with House-made Tortilla Chips at Brews and Bites.
This perfectly gooey, cheesy, slightly spicy bowl is served with a surprisingly good portion of those House-made, super-salty Tortilla Chips! The only thing I’d change is the cilantro — it was overpowering.
Reuben Potato Tots with Russian Dressing and Rye Toast, and Cranberry Sangria, at Favorite Things
Definitely one of our Favorite Things! The Reuben Potato Tots is a returning dish that is going to be as popular as ever.
There’s SO much flavor going on here.
You’ll find the gorgeous Cranberry Sangria here, too!! This one wasn’t too sweet, but offered a good sweet-tart flavor that we weren’t used to. It quickly rose toward the top of our list.
Shrimp and Grits with Andouille Sausage at Holiday Duets
Holiday Duets showed up to the party with this savory dish and it’s no shocker that it’s on our favorites list. I love shrimp and grits and andouille sausage everywhere else — why not here? And they really did go a great job with this one! Savory shrimp paired with spicy sausage and creamy, cheesey grits? Yep — sold.
Warm Sticky Toffee Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce at Visions of Sugarplums
At Visions of Sugarplums, I was half-hearted about trying the sticky toffee pudding. I’ve had STP plenty of times before and was never wowed. The flavor was always a little too bitter and the cake always a little too dry. At first glance, I was sure this was how the Warm Sticky Toffee Pudding would turn out as well. But I WAS WRONG!
This pudding was drizzled with a decadent butterscotch sauce, and the cake itself was super tender and moist without an overpowering flavor. We LOVED it.
Jalapeño Latkes with Chipotle Crema at Spicy Celebrations
Once again, Spicy Celebrations surprised us with amazing eats! Once again, Jalapeño Latkes with Chipotle Crema were totally a festival favorite!! There wasn’t just heat with these, but also tons of flavor!
Spicy meets sweet in this delicious dish of Chocolate Chipotle Pot de Crème. Just spicy enough, this one offered a super creamy texture and an interesting combo of sweet and heat!
Easily a festival favorite!
Braised Pork Belly Adobo with Garlic Fried Rice, and Cornbread Cakes, at Blissfully Braised
On to Blissfully Braised, where the Pork Belly dish gets a BIG THUMBS UP! (Seriously, garlic rice, pork belly, chicharrones?? Yum!)
It’s a fun combo, but that flavor of the pork belly was SPOT on! And pairing it with chicharrones was the perfect foil of tender and crunchy!
But wait, there’s more deliciousness to choose from (or have them both!!) at this booth.
Cornbread Cakes with Braised Collard Greens & Smoked Bacon Gravy made our list of festival favorites for 2018. The cornbread itself is sweet and savory at the same time. Our team was a little bit split on this, but at least one member was enamored with it!
Cornbread and bacon with a hearty helping of gravy is a savory dish that you shouldn’t pass up!
Holiday Stuffing Mac & Cheese, and Milk Chocolate Candy Cane Pot de Creme, at Winter Sliderland
Let’s not forget some Thanksgiving flavors! The Holiday Stuffing Mac & Cheese at Winter Sliderland is a memorable pairing of flavors. It’s basically super creamy mac and cheese topped with what tastes a lot like Stove Top Stuffing Mix! Carbs on carbs with super flavor? Yup.
But don’t leave Winter Sliderland just yet. We’ve still got the Milk Chocolate Candy Cane Pot de Creme to try! This one was incredible. Smooth, flavorful, and the perfect size knowing how rich it is.
Returning for the 2018 festivities, this lovely dessert is not-to-be-missed.
And remember… there’s more festive fun in store! The Festival of Holidays includes special entertainment like the Disney Viva Navidad Street Party, Meet and Greets with Santa Claus, Festival of Holidays merchandise, special benefits for Annual Passholders, and more.
Find out about all of the happenings at the Festival of Holidays here!
And be sure to get your Printable Holiday Snack Checklist for Festival of Holidays here!
Which item are you most excited to try at the Festival of Holidays? Please let us know with a comment!