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California Adventure Food & Wine Festival returns as we await Disney World's newest coaster
Food & Wine Festival returns to Disney California Adventure as Disneyland Paris debuts new 30th Anniversary fireworks.
Welcome to this week's theme park news roundup! With a new festival at Disneyland Resort and a new ride on the way at Disney World, there's enough news to satisfy any sweet tooth or adrenaline junkie. From drones to space dudes, here's what you need to know:
SPRING INTO FESTIVAL FUN
After a long two years, Disneyland's sister park has finally welcomed back its beloved food festival.
Running for nearly two months, Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival celebrates the cuisine and cultures throughout the state of California with live entertainment, seminars, and, of course, plenty of food.
Themed dishes and drinks are offered throughout the entirety of the park between March 4 and April 26, 2022, and the all of the menus, dishes, and vendors park-wide play off DCA's ideology, offering fresh flavors and undiscovered tastes from across the state. Though all restaurants and food locations get in on the fun, most munching goes on at the dozen Festival Marketplace booths, with tasting portions of creative dishes featuring everything from nuts and cheese to artichokes and garlic.
The best way to approach the fest is to graze, which is encouraged here. Disney California Adventure offers a Sip and Savor Pass for $57 ($52 for Magic Key holders) which can be exchanged for eight prepaid tasting portions to be used throughout the park. (Note: the price comes out to around $7 per portion, so you can save a buck if you're mindful of what you use them on!)
If you're already overwhelmed, Disney Food Blog is the spot for full reviews of every single item, guaranteeing you won't blow your money on something you won't like, but I snacked my way around the park on opening day and I gotta say, it was a nice vibe. The sunshine! The outdoor events! The low COVID-19 cases! I had an Horchata Cold Brew and Pepperoni Pizza Slider but after sampling a handful of dishes, my favorite was absolutely the Chile Relleno Empanada at the Peppers Cali-Ente booth, stuffed with Oaxaca and Cotija cheese. (And quite a portion, too.)
We do have to talk about some of the other dishes at this food festival. Disney is good at what they do, so naturally, there are two freak items intended to cause polarizing discussion that have... absolutely met that goal. I won't even engage with the Peanut Butter & Jelly Mac — served with brown sugar streusel and strawberry crackle, hard pass — but ultimately caved from curiosity and needed to order the Frozen Guacamole at Disney California Adventure's Avocado Time booth.
What I received was a delicious, creamy avocado paleta topped with pico de gallo, lime crema and chile-lime seasoning, according to the ingredient list — but there was definitely corn (not in pico de gallo!) and cotija cheese?! Which, after a bite or two, my brain simply could not process and had to immediately abandon whatever nightmarish concoction had been given to me. I'd tell you to avoid this at all cost, but that's the trap — it's so weird, so utterly bonkers that you simply need to know for yourself. I wish you luck! (Just... maybe don't chow down on this before Soarin' Over California, which has returned for a limited time.)
Disneyland has partnered with local breweries, bars and wine makers for offerings throughout the festival, and additionally offers bookable events, like winemaker receptions, for a fee. Don't miss the wine, beer, and mixology education and tasting seminars and select tasting seminars and classes at Disneyland's hotels either. (There's even one at Trader Sam's!)
Our recommendation would be the mixology seminar with Strong Water Anaheim, a local bar whose shipwreck theming is a home run for any Disney fan, on March 26 and 27, but there are plenty available, and all sound fun.)
There are culinary demonstrations in-park — don't miss April 3 with Gracie Gomez, a phenomenal Disney sous chef who appeared on Disney Magic Bake-Off — along with Disney characters dancing along with Jammin' Chefs and an Alice's Wonderland Bakery Unbirthday Party, which lets young chefs-to-be decorate sweets. All in all, a great way to ring in Spring.
ALL EYES ON PARIS
Disneyland Paris kicked off its 30th Anniversary in style with a new nighttime show and wow, those drones we mentioned a few weeks back? They're real and they are spectacular. MouseSteps was on the scene and captured some exceptional video — look at those drones!!! — which has left me desperate and daydreaming of our own version of it.
Minnie Mouse also debuted her new much-discussed pantsuit (Happy International Women's Day, we still get razzed for wearing pants!) while characters are sporting new celebratory costumes and new entertainment has taken the stage for the anniversary. Looks like a great time that will only get better when Avengers Campus debuts in summer 2022.
A NEW COASTER APPROACHES
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind may open at Epcot later this summer, but Disney has been going full hog on offering revealing sneak peeks of it directly to fans. This coaster is going to be a beast, which I am personally very excited to ride, but is it too early to say it looks phenomenal? Between this footage from the vehicle loading area and that sneak peek of the coaster track we got last October, there's reason to get amped.
The big question now is, will we get an official opening date at tomorrow's Walt Disney Company shareholders meeting? Stay tuned!
JUST A PHOTO OF OSCAR ISAAC ON GALACTIC STARCRUISER BECAUSE WE CAN