It’s been 6 years since the last Disney California Adventure Food and Wine Festival. A new version of the favorite is back and better than ever! Now it’s bursting out from the central plaza area and into various parts of the park. In addition, several prominent food and wine experts are on hand to share tips and experience in cultivating great tastes.
The first thing noticed about Food and Wine are the various banners that adorn poles throughout the park. It signifies that this is not just a centralized event, but something that DCA is celebrating as a whole. As you make your way towards the back of the park, the main food area is along the parade route. This is where the various stands for various bites are contained. LAStyle, Wine Country, Viva Fresca, Gold Rush, The Farm, and By The Bay all feature unique California cuisine, in addition to beverage choices to accompany. The Vineyard and The Brewhouse also contain beverage choices to sample.
Within the first few hours, I sampled the Pork Belly Bao Taco and Milk Chocolate Caramel Tart from LAStyle, the Zinfandel-Braised Wagyu Beef from Wine Country, and White Cheddar Ale and Bacon Soup served in a small Boudin bread bowl from By The Bay. The taco had a great combination of sweet and savory. It didn’t overpower the senses with either taste and had a wonderful Bao bun that was soft and tasty. The tart was chocolatey and looked amazing! It was one of the better treats among the choices. The beef was like a roast, but one of the best beefs I’ve had. The polenta mix was very good, and had some fresh peas and other veggies with it. The soup is my favorite so far (maybe because I like bacon) as it had a good and strong cheddar taste that was mixed well with the bread and bacon flavors. My only complaint with it is that there wasn’t a lot in the serving.
This review is only because of having a limited time at the festival so far, but from what I’ve tasted, I will be getting more and having repeat tastes.
Over in Hollywoodland, there are a few converted drink bars from Mad T Party that are serving the same menus. A peach margarita is one of the featured items, and has a very peachy taste to it. It’s hard to tell there’s alcohol contained. On the main stage that formerly had acts for Mad T Party, the decorations are now a very natural look with video to show off the festival. On the stage that usually has Performing Arts, free demonstrations of cooking will take place. Over at Stage 17 is where the celebrity chefs and wine connoisseurs will display their prowess.
Also in Hollywoodland, the small shop kiosk area that is by the entrance to Stage 17 features much of the merchandise for the festival including aprons, shirts, wine glasses, towels, and other various items.
At Blue Sky Cellar there is an Annual Passholder lounge where the original movie featured there is playing again: Golden Vine. This documentary was actually an attraction when the park first opened and was playing in the building. It’s nice to see something return to the park for a change, and is a good gift to AP’s. Each week Passholders can receive a different button from the lounge, and enjoy charging stations. Right outside of the Cellar entrance is a place to buy an AP exclusive tasting lanyard. For $45 a Passholder can purchase this tasting card that is good for 6 tastes among the marketplace. ANY 6 tastes. So, you could get 6 of the same item and they won’t stop you. As pricey as it sounds, it’s a good way to go as some of the items are more than $7. It’s available for one Passholder per day.
In my first experience, this festival has gotten way better (not that it was bad in the first place). Having been to the Epcot Food and Wine it feels like much of that has been transplanted to DCA, but with a California twist. I even noticed a lot of the utensil dispensers looked like the ones from Epcot. Still, it livens the park up and makes it a hot spot. The food is excellent. The atmosphere is festive and floral. It’s a nice touch to an already great park. And I have a feeling it’ll have me spending most of my time in it for April! As we spend more time at it we’ll have more details and a guide!