Food Menus & Guide to 2021 Festival of Holidays at California Adventure

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Festival of Holidays is Disney California Adventure’s Christmas-themed Food & Wine Festival, with multi-cultural entertainment. It runs from November 12, 2021 until January 9, 2022. This guide has full food menus and recommendations for making the most of Disneyland Resort’s culinary celebration of Christmas/Navidad, Diwali, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Three Kings Day.

For starters, some background info. After the smash success of the Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival, it’s no surprise that Festival of Holidays actually expands upon that event, with food booths for this event that are open daily from 10:30 a.m. until 8 p.m. nightly during the Holiday Time at Disneyland (Resort) season.

Prices range from ~$5 for desserts to ~$9 for the more expensive savory snacks. There are also a number of wines, craft beers, and seasonal mixed drinks, all of which are sold around the normal price points you’d expect at Disney California Adventure. Despite pricing, Festival of the Holidays is a fun event…

This is in large part due to the Festival of Holidays entertainment. There are stages set up throughout Disney California Adventure for musical acts that are inspired by the diverse holidays Californians celebrate this time of year, including Diwali, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas/Navidad, and Three Kings Day. In this guide, we will cover both the food and the entertainment.

We’ll start with marketplace menus, then reviews of specific things we tried, followed by our overall impressions of the event.

Let’s get started…

2021 DCA Festival of the Holidays Marketplace Booth Menus

Throughout Disney California Adventure there are food marketplaces at Festival of Holidays. Here are the menus for each booth:

Holiday Duets Marketplace

  • Braised Pork Belly Adobo with Garlic Fried Rice
  • Shrimp & Grits with Andouille Sausage
  • Pabana Cachaça Colada — Cachaça, passionfruit, banana, mango, coconut cream, and lime
  • Calamansi Melon Lemonade — Calamansi, cantaloupe, and house-made lemonade

Brews & Bites Marketplace

  • Impossible Chorizo Queso Fundido with House-made Tortilla Chips

Winter Sliderland Marketplace

  • Nashville Hot Turkey Slider with dill pickle
  • Bourbon Cranberry Cocktail — Bourbon, cranberry, orange, and cinnamon
  • Prickly Pear Tea Lemonade — Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Co. Ceylon Black Tea (cold brew), prickly pear beverage syrup, and house-made lemonade

Grandma’s Recipes Marketplace

  • Impossible Arepa Encantada
  • Gingerbread Mickey
  • Berries ‘n’ Crema — Huckleberry, strawberry, and raspberry house-made syrup, condensed and whole milk, and fruit-flavored cereal topped with house-made strawberry whipped cream

A Twist on Tradition Marketplace

  • Reimagined Beef Brisket Wellington
  • Reuben Potato Bites with Russian Dressing & Rye Toast Crumble
  • Churro Toffee Cold Brew Latte — Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Company Mexico Origin-blend Coffee, Demerara and cinnamon sugar, vanilla bean and almond milk topped with whipped cream and churro toffee pieces
  • Red Sangria
  • Sauvignon Blanc

Making Spirits Bright Marketplace

  • Cinnamon & Sugar Holiday Tart
  • “Hot Cocoa” Marshmallow Macaron
  • Maple Hazelnut Hot Buttered Rum — Rum and maple syrup with flavors of hazelnut, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove topped with house-made salted caramel whipped cream
  • White Wine Flight
  • Red Wine Flight

Favorite Things Marketplace

  • Holiday Stuffing Mac & Cheese
  • Chana Masala with Grilled Garlic Naan
  • Hibiscus Ginger Mezcal Mule — Mezcal, house-made hibiscus syrup, ginger, lime juice, and Topo Chico Mineral Water
  • Selection of Pale Ales and Stouts

Merry Mashups Marketplace

  • Esquites Carnitas Mac & Cheese featuring Oaxaca and Cotija cheeses with spiced puffed rice
  • Holiday Spiced Wings with citrus cranberries
  • Holiday Mix
  • Honey Guava Pisco Punch — Pisco, guava, spicy honey syrup, ginger, and lime juice

Treats for Santa Marketplace

  • Mickey Snowman Cookie Decorating Kit
  • Holiday Mix
  • Maple Hazelnut Hot Buttered Rum — Rum and maple syrup with flavors of hazelnut, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove topped with house-made salted caramel whipped cream

Viva Navidad at Paradise Garden Grill (mobile order available)

  • Chile Relleno Plate — Roasted poblano stuffed with veggie stew topped with roasted tomato sauce and tofu crema served with Spanish rice and black beans (plant-based)
  • House-made Pozole — Mild red chile and pork stew with hominy topped with shredded cabbage, onions, radish, lime, and oregano served with tortilla chips (Sip and Savor Pass portion eligible)
  • Torta al Pastor — Soft telera roll, chorizo beans, pork al pastor, cabbage, guacamole, and crema served with tortilla chips and molcajete salsa (Sip and Savor Pass eligible)
  • Street-Style Tacos — Three corn tortilla tacos filled with carne asada, carnitas, and chicken with white onion and fresh cilantro served with Spanish rice and black beans topped with queso blanco (Sip and Savor Pass portion eligible)
  • Pineapple Tres Leches Roulade — Vanilla sponge with layers of pineapple filling and cinnamon buttercream finished with white chocolate mousse and tres leches soak
  • Kids’ Street-Style Tacos — Corn tortilla taco filled with choice of carne asada, carnitas, or chicken served with Spanish rice and black beans topped with queso blanco and choice of small lowfat milk or small DASANI Water
  • Kids’ Cheese Quesadilla — A whole-wheat tortilla with melted cheese served with a mandarin orange and choice of small lowfat milk or small DASANI Water

Paradise Garden Carts

  • Beef Tamale with Red Sauce
  • Guava and Cheese Pan Dulce — Guava and cheese pan dulce finished with a colorful chocolate sarape
  • Maple-Hazelnut Hot Buttered Rum — Rum, maple syrup, and flavors of hazelnut, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove topped with a house-made salted-caramel whipped cream

Willie’s Churro Cart

  • Chocolate-Pecan Churro — Classic churro topped with maple glaze, toasted pecans, and chocolate drizzle

Grizzly Peak Churro Cart

  • Peppermint Churro — Churro coated with crushed candy canes and drizzled with chocolate and vanilla icing

Hollywood Churro Cart

  • Chocolate-Hazelnut-Strawberry Churro — Classic churro drizzled with chocolate-hazelnut and strawberry sauces

Lucky Fortune Cookery (mobile order available)

  • Bao Bun with Seasonal Fruit — Crispy bao bun filled with seasonal fresh fruit tossed in a berry sauce and dusted with powdered sugar

Pacific Wharf Café (mobile order available)

  • Apple Fritter Bread Pudding — Warm apple-cinnamon bread pudding served with whipped cream and warm salted caramel sauce

Smokejumpers Grill (mobile order available)

  • Holiday Shake — Spiced shake garnished with green whipped cream and a red wreath donut
  • Loaded Latke — Traditional latke loaded with smoked brisket topped with soy yogurt-horseradish sauce and scallions

Sonoma Terrace (mobile order available)

  • Avocado Cheese Steak — Thinly sliced steak with grilled onions, bell peppers, jalapeños, avocado spread, and melted jack cheese
  • Peppermint Cold Brew Cocktail — Cold brew with coffee liqueur, a splash of crème de menthe, and crème de cacao garnished with a miniature candy cane
  • Cranberry Mule — A twist on a classic mule with cranberry juice and agave garnished with a sprig of rosemary and a cape cranberry

Studio Catering Truck (mobile order available)

  • Deconstructed Carnitas Tamal — Rajas con queso tamale, carnitas, salsa verde, avocado salsa, crema, and queso fresco

Pym Tasting Lab (mobile order available)

  • Holiday Snack Molecules — Gingerbread and Mexican hot chocolate caramel corn, mini pretzels, honey-roasted peanuts, dried cranberries, and popped sorghum

Terran Treats

  • Pineapple-Coconut Ration — Pineapple-flavored spiral churro dipped in a coconut-flavored glaze and sprinkled with toasted coconut

Food Reviews & Tips

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There is no sugar-coating it: the menus for Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure gave us sticker shock. There are a lot of items that are priced at or above $8, which is quite expensive for snack-sized portions.

There are a couple of ways to mitigate this. The first is by focusing exclusively on desserts, which are significantly cheaper than savory items at Festival of the Holidays. If you opt to go this route, we recommend first dining at Paradise Garden Grill or Pacific Wharf Cafe, both of which have seasonal menus that are more reasonably priced.

Alternatively, purchase the Sip and Savor Pass. For this, you pay once and can choose among any 8 dishes or non-alcoholic beverages from DCA Festival Foods Marketplace locations.

We’ve done this several times, and strategically order the most expensive savory items on each menu (and pay out of pocket for desserts), which ends up saving us a decent amount of money. This cuts costs a bit and makes some of the more expensive items a bit more in line with reality.

Some of our must-try items include the Turkey & Stuffing Tamale, which is literally like Thanksgiving in a perfectly-prepared tamale.

Another must-try item is the Yule Log. This differs from the famous Plaza Inn Yule Log, which everyone knows is an international treasure.

Although the Yule Log is good, the Hot Cocoa Marshmallow Macaron is the best dessert.

Literally tastes like a cup of hot chocolate in macaron form, and has great presentation.

The Beef Pot Roast served on a potato roll with horseradish cream is shockingly delicious, albeit expensive.

Ditto the Braised Pork Belly Adobo with garlic fried rice. (Use the Sip & Savor Pass on both of these!)

In our view, almost all of these desserts served at Festival of the Holidays are worth the money relative to other desserts at Disneyland Resort. The quality of ingredients and general flavor of everything really impressed us.

Entertainment

No matter what your thoughts or interest in the marketplace food booths, every Disney California Adventure guest is a winner during Festival of Holidays for one simple reason: live entertainment. Disneyland Resort has added a number of musical acts throughout the park, which provide great supporting acts to fan-favorite, Viva Navidad.

While none of the other acts are as elaborate as Viva Navidad, which is its own little festival with multiple entertainment options and cultural components, the other acts do provide compelling diversions and really enhance the park’s energy. These groups offer a festive, high energy setting this Christmas in Disney California Adventure. Disneyland Resort management deserves praise for this ambitious slate of live entertainment.

Let’s take a brief look at each act…

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Mickey’s Happy Holidays – This is a character celebration with Mickey Mouse and friends. Guests will dance and sing along to high-energy music with favorite Disney and Pixar characters, as they march to the merry rhythms of the Holiday Toy Drummers.

Mickey, Minnie, Chip n’ Dale, Goofy and Clarabelle all don new Festival of Holidays attire, specifically for the “Mickey’s Happy Holidays” celebration. The Country Bears and the Pixar characters also sport fun seasonal overlays for this show. “Mickey’s Happy Holidays” runs twice daily, with show moments at Paradise Gardens Park and Carthay Circle.

The Sound — This uplifting a cappella vocal group brings a powerful, harmonious R&B spin to holiday songs and Disney tunes. This group performed on a stage in Pacific Wharf, and had by far the largest group of onlookers. (Although part of that is probably a built-in audience of people eating in the area.)

We both love a cappella music, and there’s something that is just mesmerizing about it. This is doubly true when it’s Christmas and Disney music. This is yet another new act at DCA for the holidays that does not disappoint.

Disney ¡Viva Navidad! — By now, regular readers probably know that we really, really love Viva Navidad. It’s no surprise that this remains the highlight of Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure. It’s one of our sleeper picks for the best overall Christmas entertainment at Disneyland Resort.

Holiday Sunset Concerts – These afternoon and evening acts perform at the Palisades Stage at Paradise Gardens Park, which is also in the area of Viva Navidad. The Holiday Sunset Concerts feature The Suffragettes, an exciting festival band that rocks the holidays with chart-topping hits.

Additional acts include Phat Cat Swinger, the West Coast’s “Little-Big Band,” presenting a fresh new twist on their swinging selection of holiday tunes. The Suffragettes perform on Sunday through Tuesday, while Phat Cat Swinger takes the stage Wednesday through Saturday nights.

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Blue13 Dance Company — Traditional Indian dances with beautiful choreography, lavish costumes, and entrancing music. The performances build to a Bollywood-style ending, which is fairly high energy.

Mariachi Divas — Long favorites with Disneyland fans, the GRAMMY Award-winning Mariachi Divas are sure to put on a great holiday show.

Mostly Kosher — This Klezmer band perform a variety of musical styles, basically coming across as a Top 40 group with strong Jewish influence. Between songs, the lead singer shares cultural traditions.

While none of the other entertainment act approaches the quality of Viva Navidad, that’s fine. It’s all in that same spirit, and the other musical acts are great to enjoy while strolling through the park, with or without food & spirits. Those diverse cultural acts are exactly what you’d expect of World Showcase at Epcot.

In that sense, DCA is beating Epcot at its own game. If Disney California Adventure keeps this up, it will solidify itself as the “ambiance park” at Disneyland Resort, and a nice change of pace when crowds across the Esplanade at Disneyland get too heavy. Thanks in large part to Festival of the Holidays, we now have a far greater desire to hang out in DCA during the Christmas season!

That’s the good news. The bad news is that if you’re on a tight budget, the food at Disney California Adventure’s Festival of Holidays is not for you. The portions are relatively small, and the prices relatively high. It’s the same idea as any Disney food & wine festival.

There are two exceptions to this. First, the desserts, most of which are served up at price points that aren’t too outlandish. It’s fun to graze from the booths, trying the different ~$5 desserts. Second, if you purchase the Sip & Savor Pass, and maximize your value with that. This can shave a couple of dollars off your average per-item cost, making them easier to justify. We usually purchase one of these to share, and enjoy dining around DCA over the course of a couple days with it!

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! If you’re preparing for a Disneyland trip, check out our other planning posts, especially our comprehensive Disneyland Vacation Planning Guide!

Your Thoughts

Do you agree or disagree with our thoughts on Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure? Any additional thoughts on specific samples? What about entertainment? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!

5 Responses to “Food Menus & Guide to 2021 Festival of Holidays at California Adventure”
  1. Chelsea Lindsay December 7, 2019
  2. julie November 8, 2019
    • David November 10, 2019
  3. Kevin November 8, 2019
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