How to do the Disney Food & Wine Festival like a PRO

Disney California Adventure is having a Food & Wine Festival! We attended the Christmas and Lunar New Year food events at Disney's California Adventure Park and knew that this one was going to be even better.  Is it worth it to go to the Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival? Today we share our best tips for getting the most out of a Disney food event AND a review of the 2017 Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival:

This is just a small sampling of the dishes we tried during this year's Food & Wine Festival . Did you spot that snappy digital camera in the photo?

Check out our review of the Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II – we took it along with us to Disney California Adventure (DCA) for the day to see how it performed. And it was Disney perfect! Okay, now back to the food *wink wink*

How do the food events at Disney California Adventure Park work?

Disney's food events at Disney California Adventure take place in a series of kiosks set up starting just after Cathay Circle restaurant and working their way back through Paradise Pier, just past Goofy's Sky School ride. Each kiosk offers two to three savory dishes and one to two dessert options. For the Food & Wine Festival, each kiosk also offered beer and wine plus there was a whole kiosk dedicated to beer and another for wine. At other festivals we've attended, the drink offerings sometimes include fruit and other themed non-alcoholic drinks.

The Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival is going on now through April 16, 2017 so hurry and get your tickets today! Access to the festival is included with your admission to the Disney California Adventure Park but you will need to purchase any of the food or drink items you want to try. Additionally, some of the events within the Festival are accessed by reservation only: check this listing on the Disneyland Resort site for more details.

Have you seen how fast they are turning Tower of Terror into the new Guardians of the Galaxy ride? It's only been like 2 months since they shut Hollywood Tower of Terror down. Okay, okay, now back to the festival …

Ten tips for enjoying Food Festivals at Disney Parks

During Festivals, the walkways are crowded and the lines can be long, especially on weekends, like the Saturday we went. If you're like us, you want to enjoy the festivities but hate dealing with all the crowds. There's got to be a way to get in, enjoy the festivities, and get out with all of your nerves intact. Well, we're gonna share our secrets with you!

Start at the back

Here's a secret: the kiosks at the back of the line are always less crowded that then ones closer to the Park entrance. Rather than walk through the entrance of DCA past Cathay Circle, enter through the Grand Californian Hotel or jog right after you enter the Park and go past Soarin'. When you get to The Little Mermaid – Ariel's Undersea Adventure, take a right and head towards Goofy's Sky School. Each of the kiosks have maps of all the stops along the tour. Start at the end and work your way back towards the Park entrance.

Get the AP deals if you are an annual passholder

The dish prices at each kiosk range between $5 and $8, with desserts around $4-5 each. If you're an annual passholder, you can pick up a special AP badge and coupons for 8 dishes at $45. And, you'll collect a unique button at each counter where you purchase a dish.

Pick up your Sip and Savor Pass at the shop by The Little Mermaid – Ariel's Undersea Adventure or at the AP area inside the outdoor dining area just past Goofy's Sky School. Here's what the badge holder looks like:

Tag Team It

Like we said, the lines do get long. If you're heading to the Parks with a group of friends or family, split up to purchase food at each kiosk and then meet back at a central place. All the food will be the same temperature when you meet up and you won't have to spend hours waiting in lines.

If you get the AP deal, you'll be able to collect a button for each dish ordered at each kiosk, no matter if you order multiples of the same dish. My husband and I each bought a Sip and Savor Pass, split up to stand in line, and then used 2-3 of our passes at each kiosk to order the dishes we wanted to try. When we met up at the table, we exchanged the multiple buttons we got from the kiosks and added them to our lanyards.

Avoid meal times

Lunch is the busiest time at the kiosks. We found that 10am and after 1pm were great times to make the rounds to the kiosks. After 3pm expect shortages at the more popular booths – they run out of food!

We picked up these dishes at the Lemon Grove and Seafood … Sustained kiosks and ate them at the standing tables by the kiosks. Clockwise from top left:

  • Cage-free Deviled Eggs with Farm-raised Smoked Trout with Cream Cheese and Chives
  • Verlasso® Sustainable Salmon Tataki with Avocado Wasabi Purée and Furikake Dust
  • Meyer Lemon Macaron with Blueberry Marmalade, Meyer Lemon Cream and Blueberry Dust
  • Duck Confit on Potato Smash with Meyer Lemon Preserves

Finding a place to sit

All of the kiosks have standing tables where you can eat but if you want to sit, there are a few options. If you don't need a table, the benches behind Mater's Junkyard Jamboree, just before the entrance to A Bug's Life, are shaded and quiet. If you want to sit for a while, head to the eating area past Goofy Sky School and enjoy the shaded picnic tables. Avoid ditting around the hot dog stand before the Goofy ride – it's typically crowded.

We enjoyed this smorgasbord of deliciousness on the picnic tables by the AP area past Goofy's Sky School. Clockwise from top right:

  • Jackfruit™ Carnitas Banh Mi Nachos with Cilantro Crema and “Pickled” de Gallo featuring The Jackfruit Company™
  • Sweet Corn Nuggets with Beef Chili, Spring Onions and Sour Cream
  • Braised Wagyu Beef on Creamy Polenta with Haricot Vert-Red Onion Salad and Roasted Cipollini Onion featuring Melissa's® Produce
  • White Cheddar Lager Soup served in a Mini Boudin Sourdough™ Boule
  • French Onion Mac and Cheese with Parmesan Crumble and Chives
  • Bay Shrimp Louie Salad served in a Mini Boudin Sourdough™ Boule

Start early

Like we said earlier, sometimes the kiosks run out of the more popular dishes. Or the lines get so long that it's impractical to wait. By the time we reached the Bacon Twist and Garlic Kissed booths, both had lines of more than 50 people long. We recommend scoping out the offerings list on the Disneyland Parks website here to plan your route and hit those “can't-miss” kiosks early in the day.

Save the less popular kiosks for later in the day. This Verlasso® Sustainable Salmon Tataki with Avocado Wasabi Purée and Furikake Dust was deliciously refreshing in the hot afternoon.

Go more than one day

The Food & Wine Festival is more enjoyable if you can take your time going to each kiosk and savoring their offerings. Plan to go the DCA on two or more days – hit up a couple of the kiosks early in the day and then enjoy rides the rest of the time. You'll be more relaxed, feel less full, and hey, it's another reason to go the Parks more often! We're going to be heading back to sample the food at the kiosks we missed this last time around.

The entrees are the best deal

If you're getting the AP Sip and Savor Pass, the entrees are going to give you the most value for your $45 investment.

This Chilled Cioppino Soup with Shrimp, Crab Claw, Grilled Olive Bread, and Olive Oil drizzle at the Olive Us kiosk runs just under $8 but with the AP Sip and Savor Pass, you're paying $6.50 on average per dish. It's an awesome deal!

Ask the locals (cast members)

Who knows what tastes the best? The Cast Members! If you;re not sure what to order, ask them what they like. We asked at one booth and both of the Cast Members were vegan so they recommended the vegetable dish. In that case, you can ask them which dishes are the most popular. This way, you don't end up with a dud (though Disney usually nails it every time!).

Research online first

Hey, you're here so you're already doing this one! Disney parks also does an amazing job of spreading the news on their blog and via their newsletter: sign up here: XXXXXXXXXX. You can also do a google search and find some great reviews, videos, and more of the food to see what's available, like these:

We found that these Meyer Lemon Macaron with Blueberry Marmalade, Meyer Lemon Cream and Blueberry Dust were an amazing deal by researching online before we went. $4 for a macron the size of your hand!!

Share on social media

Many of the kiosks have sponsors. Check out the sponsors and tag them on social media when you share. You never know, they just might comment on your post! We shared this post:

And Melissa's produce, the sponsor of the French Onion booth, commented on our post!

Have fun

Most importantly, have fun. I get stressed out pretty easily so this is a tip I really have to try to remember. At the end of the day, these events are about the experience; trying new foods and being together with friends and family. If the lines are too long and the

Are you planning to visit Disney California Adventure's Food & Wine Festival?

Or did you already go? We'd love to hear all about your plans or experience in the comments area below this post.

Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival - Review, tips for Annual Passholders AND day trippers, PLUS a look at this year's food offerings.

Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival - Review, tips for Annual Passholders AND day trippers, PLUS a look at this year's food offerings.

Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival - Review, tips for Annual Passholders AND day trippers, PLUS a look at this year's food offerings.

Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival - Review, tips for Annual Passholders AND day trippers, PLUS a look at this year's food offerings.

About the Author

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Jennifer Priest is a 20+ year designer in the arts & crafts industry and home DIYer with a passion for creativity. An Army veteran raised on a ranch, from her experience, she shares smart DIY projects that save money and fun craft ideas that anyone can make. Besides blogging, Jennifer is a Master Practitioner and Trainer of NLP, Hypnosis, and MER, and coaches other online entrepreneurs on money mindset, business, and living an intentional life. When not blogging, Jennifer is having adventures in the wilderness, on road trips, playing with her cats, and making paleo food.

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