2016 Disneyland’s Holiday Foods and Festival of Holidays Impressions

Dec 14, 2016 | Disney California Adventure, Disneyland, Disneyland Resort, Guides, Reviews

Considering the holiday festivities have been in full swing almost since Halloween, this post is quite delayed. However, with a few weeks left in the season, and some of the parks’ busiest days in the weeks ahead, hopefully this post will be helpful to somebody out there looking for recommendations to the holiday food offerings in the parks. If nothing else, it’ll be something to look back in, perhaps next year when anticipation for the holiday season revs up again…

With so much offered, it’s impossible for one person to try everything. But I did my best in enjoying what I could, so here are my thoughts on the holiday foods this year. I should preface this by saying that I’m not exactly a “foodie” in the sense that I don’t have a particularly refined palate. I just like to eat. A lot. So everything I say should be taken for what its worth, which really isn’t much.

Festival of Holidays at California Adventure

Who doesn’t love a good food festival? I love them so much that in 2014 when I made the decision to complete the runDisney Coast to Coast challenge, I chose the Wine and Dine Half Marathon for my Florida race just so I could experience Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival.

It was a pretty exciting year for foodies as Disney brought the food festivities to California, first in the spring and now for the holidays. I only experienced the spring festival on the very last day it was at the park, so I never did a write up on it. Suffice it to say it was interesting, but the downsides of the prices and crowds outweighed the food.

The same could pretty much be said of the Festival of Holidays. I love the concept and the official announcement from the Disney Parks Blog really piqued my interest again. But it the prices, in the $8 range for the savory foods and $5 range for desserts, were just too far beyond what I personally consider a worthwhile experience at the parks where we have already paid high amounts just to gain entrance.

From the very small sampling my friends and I shared, the food was delicious. First we had the Braised Beef Short Ribs (at Heritage Cottage). The beef melts in your mouth and has a lot of flavor. The mashed potatoes were exactly as you would expect good mashed potatoes to be. It was barely enough for three of us to taste it.

Similarly, the Brisket Potato Croquette (at Nosh & Nibbles) was delicious. The croquettes were not greasy and the brisket was also very tender.

Lastly, we had the gingerbread bundt cake which was moist, and the gingerbread flavor had a good kick to it.

These foods are unarguably well made in many cases and a lot of fun to try. And a food festival is a great way to draw people into California Adventure. It’s something that should be budgeted into a visit and considered with the possibility of needing eat an actual meal soon after the tastings.

Disney’s 2016 Holiday Foods

Considering the amount of times I’ve been to Disneyland in my lifetime, I have only a few experiences with Disneyland during the holiday times. I’ve visited around Christmas maybe three or four times, and have done the New Year’s Eve celebration twice, and that’s pretty much it. I was really excited to make it a point this year to enjoy the holiday foods, and I’m so happy I did.

All of the holiday foods are listed in this post from the Disney Parks Blog. These are the ones I tried.

The Yule Log at Plaza Inn

The yule log is a perennial favorite and the one treat I’ve heard about from multiple people over the years. If I wasn’t going to try anything else (but luckily, I did), I would at least have a yule log. And it was glorious. Or maybe coffee buttercream and chocolate ganache is just my kryptonite. But this was one of the few times where I heard the hype and had something live up to it. Unfortunately, but unsurprisingly, it can sell out.

Praline Cheesecake and Chocolate Mousse Cake at French Market

I love pralines, and I love cheesecake, so thank you Disney for combining two of my not-quite-favorite-but-really-love-to-eat things. The cheesecake was dense but not heavy, and the praline flavor really came through. I would say it’s enough to share… but I really didn’t like that I had to share mine.

I already talked about the Chocolate Mousse Cake in my Halloweentime Highlights post a couple months ago. It’s a holdover from the Halloween celebration as the film is still seasonally appropriate. Gotta love being able to celebrate two holidays at once.

Mint Chocolate Soft Serve at Paradise Pier Ice Cream Co. (DCA)

It’s hard to mess up chocolate ice cream, and the mint chocolate ice cream is exactly what you would expect it to be – minty, chocolate, and creamy goodness. I highly recommend this one, especially with sprinkles because hey, it’s the holidays.

Peppermint Funnel Cake at the Stage Door Cafe

As you can see, I’m cheating here because I’m using an old photo from my archives of another funnel cake I had during the 24 Hour Disneyland Diamond Days celebration in 2015. But the peppermint funnel cake looks more or less like this one, except with a generous sprinkling of crushed candy canes.

As someone who loves peppermint and funnel cake… Give this one a pass. I only got it because it was so late and I was cold and hungry and I thought why not give it a chance. .But no one I was with was impressed. But hey, if you shake off the crushed candy canes, it’s just funnel cake and that’s always good.

Snacks at Pooh’s Corner

Pooh’s Corner has some of the most adorable snacks in the parks. Here are a few of the “Holiday Crispies” as well as Olaf marshmallows you can find there, and don’t forget the classic caramel apples which are especially adorable this time of year (pictured at the start of this post).

Your Thoughts?

What are your favorite things to see, do, and eat at Disneyland during the holidays? If you have any recommendations of your own, or comments or questions on anything I mentioned, I ‘d love to hear from you!

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