California Adventure Festival of Holidays Review


Disney’s Festival of Holidays is a food-centered event in Disney’s California Adventure theme park. The California Adventure Festival of Holidays runs from Nov 12, 2021 to January 9, 2022. 

It’s a fun way for park-goers to experience holiday dishes from different cultures including Christmas/Navidad, Diwali, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Three Kings Day. 

Guests will find food booths spread throughout the park with a plethora of food, beverage, and desserts available for purchase. To get the most bang for your buck a Sip & Savor can be bought. The pass includes 8 tabs that can be turned in for food and drinks (excluding alcohol). 

California Adventure Festival of Holidays lanyard

A few tips for attending the California Adventure Festival of Holidays:

  1. Come hungry. There are so many delicious things to try. Eating any kind of meal beforehand will impair your ability to make the most of the marketplace.
  2. Come with friends! Attending in a group will allow you to share dishes. The servings are small, but still very filling. This will allow you to taste a bite or two without filling up on one thing. You’ll be able to taste more dishes this way. 
  3. Order everything from one booth! This is a new feature that allows you to order any dish from any stall. After ordering, simply walk to whichever marketplace booth you’ve ordered from and join the pick up line with your receipt. This was really convenient!

I happened to be at the parks during the first weekend of the California Adventure Festival of Holidays. I followed the first tip and showed up hungry. But my group didn’t heed the second tip. We all got our own servings and ended up being absolutely stuffed. This cut our eating experience short. I wasn’t able to get to every marketplace stall, which is a little bit disappointing. I’m hoping to get a chance to go back and try the rest!

Here are my personal highlights.

Holiday Duets Marketplace

The pork belly adobo with garlic fried rice is always a win. This is a classic Filipino dish in which the meat is marinated in vinegar and soy sauce. I may be slightly biased being half Pinay, but this was hands down my favorite dish of the day.

For a food event that feeds hundreds of people a day, I am amazed at how Disney manages to cook such a tender piece of meat. 

California Adventure Festival of Holidays Pork Belly Adobo

This paired well with the Calamansi Melon Lemonade. Calamansi is a citrus often used in Filipino foods and drinks. It was fitting that this was an option. It was a great balance of tart and sweet. It’s also toddler approved!

Calamansi Melon Lemonade

This booth also serves:

  • Shrimp & Grits with Andouille Sausage 
  • Pabana Cachaça Colada – Cachaça, passionfruit, banana, mango, coconut cream, and lime

Winter Sliderland Marketplace

The Nashville Hot Turkey Slider with dill pickle. This one was just okay. Can we really call it a slider if it’s on one tiny piece of bread? It was meaty and spicy, but didn’t have a “WOW” flavor factor. 

California Adventure Festival of Holidays Nashville Hot Turkey Slider

The Beef Pot Roast on a Potato Roll was delicious. It’s another dish that leaves me wondering how Disney manages to mass-cook tender meat. The roll was soft and the horseradish sauce was a perfect compliment to the pot roast. 

Pot Roast on a Potato Roll

It was hot in SoCal during the first official weekend of Christmas at Disneyland/DCA. This Prickly Pear Tea Lemonade was a perfect afternoon refreshment. 

Prickly Pear Tea Lemonade

Grandma’s Recipes Marketplace

Mickey gingerbread cookies are a hot commodity this time of year. The parks sometimes even sell out of them. The Gingerbread Mickey offered at the California Adventure Festival of Holidays event is the best gingerbread cookie available! It’s huge, lightly covered in glaze, and covered in festive sprinkles!

California Adventure Festival of Holidays Gingerbread Mickey

Grandma also serves:

  • Impossible™️ Arepa Encantada
  • 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

The Reimagined Beef Brisket Wellington with Oikos® Greek Yogurt-Onion Sauce was delightful. The flakey puff pastry paired well with the brisket drippings and yogurt sauce. 

Reimagine Beef Brisket Wellington

You can also try:

  • 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

Favorite Things Marketplace

One of my favorite things to eat is Indian food. Of course I had to try the Chana Masala with Grilled Garlic Naan. This is one of the festival’s vegetarian options. The Chana Masala was delicious. The garbanzo beans were cooked to perfection and the masala sauce was as good as I expected a festival food to be. The only disappointment was the garlic naan. Maybe it was just my piece, but I found it to be much too salty. 

Chana Masala with Garlic Naan

This stall also serves:

  • Holiday Stuffing Mac & Cheese
  • 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

The Esquites Carnitas Mac & Cheese was a favorite. It had all the comforting flavors of esquites – a Mexican snack dish made of corn, butter, and chile. The carnitas was flavorful and tender. I expected the mac & cheese to be overpowering, but was pleasantly surprised to find it complimented the other flavors well. 

Esquites Carnitas Mac & Cheese

Other offerings:

  • Holiday Spiced Wings with citrus cranberries
  • Holiday Mix
  • Honey Guava Pisco Punch – Pisco, guava, spicy honey syrup, ginger, and lime juice

The menu for Epcot’s International Festival of the Holidays was just announced for those closer to Orlando!

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