Disney California Food & Wine Festival Guide for First-Timers

Whether you’re planning your first trip to the Food & Wine Festival at Disney’s California Adventure Park or will just be at Disneyland for spring break and are curious to know what the Food & Wine festivities are all about, this Disney California Food & Wine Guide for first-timers has all the information you need to help you prepare for a delicious time at the festival. Mickey-Shaped Macaron in front of the Disney California Food & Wine Festival SignI’m thrilled to have just had my very first Disney Food & Wine Festival experience and it was indeed delicious (in full disclosure: I attended the opening day of the festival as part of the media event and received a complimentary Sip & Favor Pass to help with covering the event). Even if you’re not a self-proclaimed “foodie” or wine aficionado, there’s something for everyone to enjoy at the Festival. You get all the fun of a normal Disney trip, plus the addition of some specialty food & drink offerings! In fact, many people plan Disney trips around the Food & Wine Festival year after year, saying it’s one of the very best times to visit Disneyland! GetAwayToday Disney CouponBut if you’re Food & Wine Festival first-timer (like me), you probably have some questions! So, this Disney California Food & Wine Festival Guide for first-timers is especially for you! Get all your major questions answered with everything you need to know about the Disney California Food & Wine Festival, helping you to decide if the Festival is something you’d like to experience or helping plan your first Food & Wine trip! A plate of brisket fries in front of a Disney Food & Wine Festival Sign

What is the Food & Wine Festival?

The Disney California Food & Wine Festival is a special foodie event that takes place each spring at the Disneyland Resort. The Festival first debuted in 2006 and has been serving up delicious food and drinks inspired by various California ingredients ever since. This year’s event is the longest running to date, taking place from February 28th – April 21, 2020! In addition to the delicious California-inspired cuisine and specialty beverages, guests at the Festival can enjoy with cooking demonstrations, seminars, music, live entertainment, specialty merchandise, and more! A Disney Food & Wine Festival Sign

Finding the food is easy with the majority of the 13 cute Festival Marketplace Kiosks (small food stands) located along the main thoroughfare in Disney’s California Adventure Park – most of which sit along the pier area. This year, the Festival Marketplace Kiosks include:

  • Avocado Time
  • Berry Patch
  • California Craft Brews
  • Cluck-a-Doodle-Moo
  • Garlic Kissed
  • Golden Dreams
  • I Heart Artichokes
  • LA Style 
  • Nuts About Cheese
  • Off the Cob
  • One in a Melon
  • Peppers Cali-ente
  • Uncork California

Collage image of Food & Wine Festival StandsGuests can find additional specialty food and drink options throughout the park like at The Festival Beer Garden (located in Paradise Gardens), offering a variety of local craft and brewed beers. Cocktails at Sonoma Terrace also feature specialty beverages, brews and bites. Plus, you can find special items at the Cappuccino Cart, the Festival Food and Beverage Cart, Hollywood Land Churro Cart, and Paradise Garden Grill.

How is Disney California Food & Wine different from Epcot International Food & Wine? 

For those familiar with Walt Disney World’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, the concept at Disney California is very similar although a smaller scale. The two biggest differences are in the timing and the type of cuisine. At Epcot International the focus is of course on international cuisine; whereas the focus is on California-inspired flavors at Disney California Adventure’s festival. Another key difference is that Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival takes place in the fall (lately sometime in August-November); whereas the California Festival takes place in the spring (February – April this year).

How much is the Food & Wine Festival?

Because it’s just a fun limited-time addition to Disney’s California Adventure Park, there is no additional charge to attend the Festival. Your park ticket is all that’s required and you get to enjoy many of the festivities as part of your entry to the park. As with any normal visit to the park though, you do need to pay for the different food & drink offerings you’d like to try. One possible way to save money with that is to purchase the Sip & Savor Pass. Disney Sip & Savor Pass in front of Food & Wine Festival Sign

What is a Sip & Savor Pass? 

The Sip & Savor Pass is a commemorative credential (on a lanyard) that includes 8 tear-away coupons redeemable for various food and beverage offerings (non-alcoholic only) at each marketplace kiosk and some of the additional locations throughout the park. The pass is available for $56 (including tax) for regular event guests or $51 for annual passholders. You can purchase the pass at the Sip and Savor Cart, Seaside Souvenirs, Elias & Co., Kingswell Camera Shop, Rushin’ River Outfitters, Studio Store and each Festival Marketplace. The pass is valid through April 21, the last day of the Festival. So, you don’t need to use all your tabs in one visit if you’ll be there for a few days.

Is the Sip & Savor Pass worth it? 

If you’re someone that wants to “try it all”, the Sip & Savor Pass is definitely a good value. Most main dish food items were in the $8-$9 range. So, if you get 8 food items for $8.50, you’ve definitely saved money with the pass. Most of the non-alcoholic drinks and dessert options though are in the $6 range. So, if you intend to just try the non-alcoholic drinks and treats, it would actually makes more sense to just buy things individually (as the math on $6 x 8 doesn’t work out in your favor). Also, while there are quite a few plant-based/meatless entree items, you might find it better to  purchase items individually if you are vegetarian. So, your mileage may vary on the value on the pass. But, I think it definitely is worth it if you intend to try a variety of the savory food entrees.

Do I have to stand in long lines? 

Not necessarily! The Festival is definitely a popular event and takes place over all the major spring break weeks here in the US. So, it’s a popular time at the parks and we did definitely see some fairly long lines at certain kiosks. But let me give you a HUGE tip…Food & Wine Festival Sign  Yes, you read that sign correctly! Find the shortest line! You can buy food one one marketplace kiosk and pick up at another. Plan ahead and decide on all the items you’d like to try (sold at any kiosk), then simply find the SHORTEST line you can and ORDER THEM ALL. We did this on a Saturday night right over the dinner hour when lines were long. And it was AMAZING! We happened to find a line that was MUCH shorter than some of the nearby kiosks where I ordered 4 items (each item from a different kiosk).  Then, you simply take your receipt to each kiosk window whenever you’d like and pick up what you already ordered. SO easy and SO much faster! Just make sure you don’t lose your receipt!!!! Disney Food & Wine Festival Receipt

Is the Food & Wine Festival fun if I don’t drink alcohol?

Absolutely – YES! I’m not a big drinker and in fact did NOT have any alcoholic beverages while I was there – though The Blue Angeleno Cocktail did sound AMAZING, I simply ran out of time to get it (made with white rum, blue Curaçao, orgeat, sweetened coconut cream, pineapple juice and Simply Orange, YUM!!!!)! I didn’t feel like not being a big drinker detracted from the experience at all. Also, all the adults I saw were drinking responsibly. It definitely didn’t feel like some crazy party/drinking scene. While there are many different craft beer, wine, and cocktail options at the festival, there are also many specialty non-alcoholic drink options! I LOoooooved the non-alcoholic Farmstand Punch (pictured below)! So, I think the festival is very enjoyable even if you don’t drink! Farmstand Punch

Is the Food & Wine Festival good for families?

With a name like “Food & Wine”, you might think this is only good for hard-core foodies or big drinkers. But I don’t think either is the case at all. In fact, I think this can be a really nice time for families to visit. One thing I love about traveling with kids is exposure to new things – like new foods! Even my pickiest eater seems more adventurous when we’re at a fun place like Disneyland and is more willing to try new things. So, the festival can be a great way to encourage kids (and picky adults) to expand their palate.

Everyone in the family can try a nibble of fun things like “fried guacamole” or “Impossible™ Cheeseburger Mac ‘n Cheese” (vegetarian). Plus, kids will probably love virtually all of the non-alcoholic drinks (like that Farmstand Punch) and many of the fun dessert treats as well. I mean, who can resist a Mickey-shaped macaron?! Caramel Peanut Milk Chocolate Mickey MacaronIn addition, there is some adorable family-friendly entertainment! On select days, kids ages 3-11 can cook with Chef Goofy at the Hollywood Backlot Stage as part of the Junior Chef Experience and/or meet Chef Goofy for fun photos at the character meet and greet in that area. Additionally, you can take advantage of fun craft stations throughout the festival! While I didn’t have my boys with my on this trip, I know they would have LOVED doing this!! Chef Goofy is just adorable!Families will also love The Jammin’ Chefs, where Chip & Dale join in on some cooking themed musical fun! It’s such a fun little show with multiple showtimes each day. So, families traveling with kids will definitely want to catch this one! In addition to all the awesome food and entertainment, there are also cooking demonstrations, culinary adventure tours, celebrity chefs visits and more. Plus, you’ll find adorable Chef Mickey/Minnie ears and all kinds of fun foodie festival merchandise only sold during the Food & Wine Festival.Food & Wine Festival Chef Mickey Ears

With so many fun activities, delicious food, and specialty items, I’m confident you’ll find something to enjoy at the Disney California Food & Wine Festival – whether you’re a first-timer or an annual goer. And, if you still have questions or think there’s something we need to add to this Disney California Food & Wine Festival Guide, please let us know if the comments below.

Save Money on your Food & Wine Trip… 

To save money on your Disney Food & Wine trip, consider booking through our favorite affiliate partner Get Away Today! We’ve used them to book our trips and so we’re thrilled to partner with them as an affiliate! Not only do they genuinely love Disney, but they really make the whole process so easy and try to get you the best deal. Use our exclusive Get Away Today coupon code: MOMENDEAVORS to save even more! You can book online or call their agents at 855-GET-AWAY (just be sure to mention “MOMENDEAVORS” for the extra savings on your 2-night or longer Southern California vacation package)!

If you’re a larger family (like us) with 5 or 6 people in your group, I definitely recommend checking into the Anaheim Courtyard Marriott Theme Park Entrance (located right across Harbor Blvd. from Disneyland). It’s a Get Away Today partner hotel – a hotel I recently got to stay in as part of the AWEsome Retreat Conference and I was really impressed! Cannot wait to stay there with my family soon. You can check out a full room tour of the hotel on my IGTV Channel here.

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