Best Christmas Snacks & Food at Disneyland
For Christmas 2018, Disneyland has dozens of festive foods, including both seasonal entrees and special holiday desserts. Since the start of the season, we’ve tried a ton of these, and are sharing our favorites–from churros to cupcakes to ice cream–in this post. (Last updated November 12, 2018.)
One of the reasons we look forward to most about Christmas at Disneyland is the holiday food. No joke. Yeah, “it’s a small world” holiday, Haunted Mansion Holiday, and the Believe in Holiday Magic Fireworks are all good, but is there really as big of an E-Ticket as the Plaza Inn Yule Log or Peppermint Ice Cream? (Hint: you can’t–or at least shouldn’t–consume fireworks.)
Eating all of the special Christmas menu items at Disneyland Resort would be a herculean task, and this is a task we’ve proudly(?) attempted to undertake for the last several years in the name of research. For 2018, it seems there are even more choices than ever, and while we have yet to try everything, we’ve put a good dent in the special menu items available for Christmas and are reporting back here with our favorites.
Many of these items ostensibly have nothing to do with Christmas, particularly the hot entrees. Others sound delicious in theory, but are sort of duds. Others still just sound like really bad ideas, and are as bad as they sound. Finally, some items are just your basic pre-packaged holiday snacks, and don’t necessarily disappoint, but don’t impress, either.
This post takes a look at some of our favorites that we recommend seeking out if you have the chance…
Yule Log — Any day of the year, Plaza Inn is a gift to mankind thanks to its amazing fried chicken. During November and December, it approaches dangerous levels of awesomeness due to the fried chicken plus the Yule Log. How does the Yule Log taste? Succinctly put, the yule log had us saying “yum” and “wow” about every seven seconds!
Less succinctly put, the Yule Log is the perfect combination of sponge cake and cream, with a different variety depending upon which month you order it. None of the flavors overpowers or is too rich, meaning a single guest can easily conquer this entire largely-sized dessert. Usually, November is a pumpkin yule log and December is a coffee or chocolate one. Plan trips both months to try them each. Worth the airfare, admission, etc.
Peppermint Ice Cream — Because I was an only child, Sarah has had to teach me the “joys” of sharing (kids out there reading this: there are no joys of sharing!). We started by sharing this ice cream and quickly learned that was a mistake. Now we each order our own.
Peppermint ice cream has returned to Gibson Girl this year (it’s also across the Esplanade at Disney California Adventure), and there are a variety of different ways to order it. We like the straightforward approach of the crushed candy cane waffle cone for the “pure” taste of the peppermint ice cream, but the sundae is also a solid option.
Santa Hat Macaron – Between the two of us, this is the most divisive Christmas dessert of 2018. It’s my absolute favorite thing available at Disneyland, and since I’m the one writing the list, it makes the cut. The mint white filling and chocolate ganache are rich yet refreshing, making this a truly decadent dessert that also offers decent value (by Disney standards) as it’s a sizable macaron.
Sarah, on the other hand, took one bite and said, “it tastes too fake.” While the Santa Hat Macaron is definitely not a symphony of all natural flavors, I think that’s a bit of a harsh assessment. At the end of the day, I’m fine with her not liking it, as it means not having to share. We’d both strongly encourage you to give it a shot, as you might also love it. (Either way, it’s much better than the Green Alien “Holiday” Macaron.) The Santa Hat Macaron is available at Jolly Holiday Bakery, where there are numerous holiday options this year.
Holiday Brownie – Also at Jolly Holiday is the Holiday Brownie. When I heard the name, I wasn’t expecting much; Disneyland does a holiday brownie every year, and it’s usually nothing to write home about.
This year, it’s a different story, as this is more like a denser cupcake (there’s also a Christmas cupcake at Jolly Holiday–it’s $2 more, not as photogenic, and not as good) topped with white chocolate mousse, sprinkles, chocolate presents, and a Christmas tree gingerbread cookie. There’s a lot going on here, and it’s all delicious.
Churro Sundae – By our count, there are a staggering 10 different churro choices for the holidays. It’s no surprise that Disneyland is going big on the churros, as a recent price increase now prices these at over $5 each, or over $6 with dipping sauce.
To be perfectly blunt: no churro is worth $5-6. We have absolutely no intention of trying all of the different options, even if the Sugarplum Candy Churro and Gingersnap Churro do sound delicious.
Instead, we think the best option for your churro fix is the Churro Sundae at Golden Horseshoe. This combines peppermint ice cream and a cajeta-filled churro, along with chocolate brownie crumbles, chocolate sauce, and whipped cream. Not only is it delicious, but it offers significantly better value for money than all of the standalone churros throughout the two parks.
Chile Relleno – This entree at Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante consists of red and green sauce topped with queso fresco and crema and served with rice, ranchero beans, and pickled vegetables. It’s fantastic, with a bit of heat to it and great flavor.
You’ll notice this is the only savory entree on the list, which is a bit unfortunate. We also are eager to try the Philly Cheesesteak Hot Dog at Refreshment Corner, Roast Beef TV Dinner at Carnation Cafe, and Beef & Grits at Cafe Orleans. None particularly scream “Christmas,” but all look pretty tasty.
Disneyland Handmade Candy Canes — Overhyped, overpriced, and overrated, the Disneyland Handmade Candy Canes are a Christmas tradition at Disneyland. Given that, I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least mention them.
For the fresh ones, guests wait in line on select days well before park opening; scratch this up to “tradition” because there’s nothing special about these candy canes. The exact same candy canes are available any time during Christmas at Disneyland, so if paying $10+ for a candy cane is your thing, just get one during the day.
Other Disneyland Holiday Snacks — Unless you’re able to visit everyday of the holiday season or you want to seriously spike your blood-sugar levels, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to sample every dessert available at Disneyland for the holidays. With that said, here are some other desserts we want to try that we haven’t had a chance to sample (yet): Dessert Nachos at Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante, Jack Skellington Dessert Trio at French Market, and Coconut Cream Pie at Plaza Inn (it’s impossible not to order the Yule Log, though).
Finally, we also really want to try the Santa’s Lumps of Coal Beignets at Cafe Orleans and Gingerbread Crème BrÃ»lée at Blue Bayou. The latter one looks and sounds the best, and might just be what it takes to get us to return to Blue Bayou!
If you can try all of the snacks on our list in a single day, you have our respect. Consider it the “Disney Tourist Blog Disneyland Christmas Full Marathon” (because eating marathons are way better than running ones). If you’re visiting Disneyland during Christmas-time, make sure to read our Ultimate Christmas at Disneyland Guide to get the most out of the special Christmas offerings!
As for figuring out the rest of your Disneyland trip, including what to pack, whether you should stay off-site or on-site in a Disney hotel, where to dine, and a number of other things, check out our comprehensive Disneyland trip planning guide!
Which Holiday Time at Disneyland snacks do you enjoy? Which ones here look the best to you? Any questions about these Christmas foods? Hearing from you is half the fun, so if you have additional Christmas tips or questions, please share them in the comments!
Hi, I thought Christmas time at Disneyland starts officially on November 8th.
I tried the gingerbread creme brulee today. It tastes like crustless pumpkin pie. I kind of missed the light texture of the regular creme brulee.
One of my favorite Christmas desserts of all at Disneyland has to be the candy cane beignets at the French Market. They are amazing!
New reader to your blog and totally binging on it. Love it!
Just went today; Gibson Girl does not have peppermint stick ice cream. They do offer vanilla with peppermint stick “dust” on top which I enjoyed, but I after reading your blog I was a little bummed that the peppermint stick flavor wasn’t offered.
Delicious! Where can you find the pumpkin bread pudding?
I will be at Disneyland the week of Nov 7th. what are my chances of being able to try either Christmas or Fall desserts? I hoping at least Fall seasonal options will still be available!
Still waiting for that Trader Sam’s holiday drink post. Don’t remember a special menu last holiday season I was there (2013).
Hubs and I just planned a spur-of-the-moment trip to Dland just after Thanksgiving. I want him to see the park before all the Star Wars construction starts, AND I’ve always wanted to visit during the Christmas season.
Long story short, I’m reading all of your helpful info and thought that you could easily link your WDW Marathon posts to the sentence above along the lines of “eating everything in a single day…marathon.”
Blogging minds think alike, I suppose.
Thanks for posting!! No one can live without these Disneyland desserts.visit here http://www.balboarvpark.comfor more fun and enjoy.
Thanks for posting!! No one can live without these Disneyland desserts.
My bucket list is to go see every Disney park. So far I have only been to Florida and California. I look forward to seeing Disney abroad. You have such a great way of bringing those experiences to your blog. Thanks for the pictures and the info.
Happy to report that the peppermint ice cream and brownie skillet is available this year, my husband and I just enjoyed this new favorite treat. Thanks so much for your blog, I always seem to learn something new about the resorts here.
Thanks for the update! We should be hitting this up in just a few days! Can’t wait!!!
Oh! And forgot to ask — what is that lovely, I’m guessing, ice cream sandwich in the first pic of this entry? That picture was what grabbed my attention in the first place.
Agreed! Where do we find that tasty looking treat?!
It’s possible I just overlooked the words in my hurry to get to the photos and descriptions of these glorious snacks, but when does Disneyland generally start serving them? My first visit to DLR begins Nov 6, 2015, so I’m wondering how many seasonal items I’ll be able to sample.
Also, OMG I’M FINALLY GOING TO DISNEYLAND!!!
Unfortunately, you will miss a lot of the Christmas stuff next year. Disneyland typically kicks off its Christmas season in mid-November (often the second Friday).
That’s the bad news. The good news is that there will still be fall seasonal menus at the restaurants, which means plenty of pumpkin foods!
Have a great trip!!!
Hi Tom, can you please expand on this comment about Christmas next year. We were planning to visit in mid December 2016. I understand that Disney will be working on the new Star wars attraction. Do you know yet what the changes will be?
So happy to have seen this post!! Coming up on our first return trip to Disneyland after a 2 year hiatus and, as someone previously said, I was searching online today what might be in store as far as holiday treats and special menu items may be available at the resort. I can’t believe in the handful of times that we’ve gone, we’ve never checked out Big Thunder Ranch, so that skillet brownie is definitely on the radar. And I WILL have a Yule Log!
I have really enjoyed discovering your blog after having seen your posts on Micechat, particularly those regarding Tokyo Disneyland. While it’s been over 2 years since we’ve been to Disneyland in California, we were stationed close enough to Japan to make several visits and while we have tons and tons of our own photos, yours are simply beautiful and really take me back to all the wonderful sights and experiences that TDR has to offer, so I thank you for that. Reading your TR on Disneyland Paris has also really made me want to visit that park as well.
It’s totally off topic, but I haven’t done a post to Disneyland Paris in a while, so I’ll just say it here: if you’re considering Disneyland Paris right now, I’d aim for a Spring 2017 visit, shortly after the 25th Anniversary festivities start. I would not visit before that…
Pepermint Ice Cream.
I need to just get a mop for the drool on my desk.
Be careful…I might have jumped the gun on that one. That dessert was *definitely* available last year, but I’m not entirely sure it is this year. I’m pretty sure that it is, but I need to double-check next time I head to the park.
Aah thanks Tom – I am in the UK and was in DL in September so sadly I wont get to try it anyway….
But I can try and recreate it! 🙂
Thank you SO much for posting this!! My family and I are heading to our first Disneyland Christmas this year and I was literally just searching all over for a post on Disneyland Christmas treats. I can’t wait to try that peppermint ice cream in the waffle cone. It looks heavenly!! Thanks. 🙂
I almost went back for seconds the other night–that ice cream is THAT good. I didn’t because I figured I’d OD on candy cane between the ice cream and the cone, but it might have been worth it.
Hi Tom, love your work. We just spent Christmas at Disneyland from Australia and thanks to all your tips had an amazing time, so much that we have booked again this year haha. One thing you haven’t mentioned is how good the Hot Cocoa is actually it’s not good it’s Heaven in a cup. The best Hot Cocoa I have ever tasted and I had one every morning while waiting for the gates to open. Love your work and thank you so much for all your wonderful and helpful information.