The Disney’s California Food and Wine Festival has been revived! After a 5 year hiatus, Disney’s Food & Wine Festival returned to Disney California Adventure on April 1, 2016. Park admission is required, and the event has pay and free versions of their food and wine seminars with guest speakers and experts in the culinary scene. For example, for $149 you can purchase the limited VIP package and get up close to celebrity chefs and receive a special gift.
My friend invited me to join her to check out this long awaited event, and we came on the Saturday of opening weekend. We arrived at 9:30 am only to find out the event didn’t kick off until closer to noon. We killed some time at the attractions, like Radiator Springs Racers, and came back to find everything open.
There were 6 food marketplace kiosks, which were lined up from the Carthay Circle restaurant area all the way to the Pacific Wharf area. The food tastings were not priced higher than $7.50, and the menu had beer and wine pairings suggestions of various prices, along with kiosks with beer and wine flight (targeting specific California regions).
To make it easier to pay, it was suggested to transfer money on a gift card. The Food and Wine Festival had a small gift card which you wore on your wrist. Annual passholders could also buy a lanyard with 6 prepaid tabs for $45, but it was only valid for food not drinks. Shellie is a passholder and purchased us a lanyard. While it sounded like a good offer, it really was cheaper to pay out of pocket.
The portions were bite size tastings, and many people complained it was a bit pricey. The event was very similar to the Epcot’s version, but not as organized. I guess the cast members were still getting the kinks out of the opening weekend, and after all, it has been 5 years since the last festival.
Some marketplace ran out of food and said it would be 1/2 hour until they could whipped up more. The Cauliflower and Chili burrito was the one that eluded us twice, and we also heard the Shrimp and Crab cocktail was another one which disappeared quickly. We were fortunate to have tasted food from 5 of the 6 marketplace:
Viva Fresca and a Southern California flight
By The Bay
I had a good time, but overall it’s a pretty pricey event, especially if you also include $18 for parking and park admission. Annual passholders do not get any additional discounts, but they do get access to the Celebrity VIP experience seminar, if they sign up early enough. We left the park at 7:00 pm and I tallied up my receipts. We missed the Wine Country marketplace, and we missed out on the cauliflower burrito and still ended up spending $160 for the day.