For years I have wanted to experience the Food and Wine Festival. Unfortunately for me the year I found out about it California Adventure announced that it wouldn't be back for a few years because of construction in the park and various reasons. So I patiently waited for its return and when I found out it was back this year I was determined to go. Sadly due to my hectic schedule I was only able to go on the last day. I know, I know, I wish I could have gone earlier so you could see it before it was over. At least this will give you a good idea of what it is like if you have never been. I know that Disney World in Florida has this every year at Epcot. So for those of you who have been to that one you can see if anything is different between the two. I went with my mom because she loves wine just like me and we did it to celebrate her birthday early! I do want to preface this with it was extremely busy when we went. Not only was it the last day of the festival but it was also Dapper Day and Goth Day. This being said, it was difficult to get pictures due to the crowds as well as a lot of this were sold out by the time we got there at noon. I did try my hardest to get as much as I could.
The Different Stands
The festival was set up in different stands. Each one had its own name and they all served different things. The stands were labeled:
- The Vineyard
- Wine Country
- Viva Fresca!
- Gold Rush
- The Brewhouse
- The Farm
- By the Bay
There were premade taped lanes on the ground which directed you where to stand in line. Every stand was walk up service. You would order and then move to the window to pick up your food and/or beverage. There were also large banners near the lines for each stand showing what was served at that particular stand.
What Each Served
LAstyle: chilled Ahi Poke, Pork Belly Taco, Milk Chocolate Caramel Tart
The Vineyard: Sommelier-selected wine flights and wines by the glass
Wine Country: Zinfandel-Braised Wagyu Beef, Roasted Yellow Beet Salad, Blackberry Gallette
Viva Fresca!: Fried Shrimp Soft Taco, Anaheim Chile and Roasted Cauliflower Burrito, Strawberry Mango Agua Fresca, Tecate Michelada
Gold Rush: Triple Cheese Mac with Smoked Chicken, Artichoke Chips with Spicy Aioli, Apple Bacon Whoopie Pie
The Brewhouse: Offering a selection of beer flights and beers by the glass
The Farm: Roasted Vegetable Thai Curry over Jasmine Rice, Tenderloin Slider with Smoked BBQ Sauce and Bleu Cheese, Meyer Lemon Macaron with Blueberry Dust
By the Bay: White Cheddar Ale Soup with Bacon in a Boudin Sourdough Mini-Boule, Chilled Shrimp and Snow Crab Cocktail, Coconut Tapioca Flight with Fresh Mango
Like I said earlier a lot had sold out by the time we got there and the lines were extremely long. We did wait in line for Gold Rush because I had heard amazing things about the whoopee pie and the mac. We figured since we were getting multiple things that waiting wouldn't be too bad. The line actually moved really quickly (well relatively quickly) and we also were in line next to some people who were constantly on the phone with friends in other lines and got a play-by-play on what was sold out.
Gold Rush was one of the only stands that we went to due to reasons stated earlier. I was determined to get the whoopie pie! The weather was really nice and it was fun seeing people get in line with other food.
So I have to talk about these two delicious items above. The mac'n'cheese was so much better than I expected. It was super creamy and full of flavor; it almost reminded me of Panera's mac in regards to the creaminess and the texture. It was smoky and cheesy and there were chunks of white meat chicken as well as bacon crumbles. Now the whoopie pie was literally life changing to me. I honestly have had whoopie pies before and they were ok. I have never been whoopie pie crazy. This changed that! I now have to figure out how to replicate this, it was AHMAZING! The shell was so moist and flavorful. It was apple flavored I believe. On the inside there was a ring of maple icing along the outside of the shell and in the middle was an apple compote. On top was a candied bacon crumble. So good! I really had to resist ordering five of them.
Blue Sky Cellar AP Lounge
After devouring our food we wanted to get glasses of wine from the bar at the Trattoria restaurant because we knew the line would be shorter. As we headed over we noticed the banner that Said Welcome Annual Pass Holders! So naturally we had to check it out. The Blue Sky Cellar is a little building on the side of the restaurant that gives a preview of what is to come inside the parks. There is usually a video reel and all over the inside is concept art for rides, buildings, and lands. It has been closed for like six months so I was really excited that we got to go inside it.
We were given these two buttons as we entered. They are so cute and I kind of collect the buttons from the parks. Inside it was nice and cool. There was a video reel showing how wine is made and it also explained the different kinds of wines as well as the differences. There were also tables set up where you could eat and drink.
There were also charging stations set up for your phone which I thought was really cool of them to do. It definitely had a lounge feeling inside.
There was also AP exclusive shirts you could buy. I know that it is expensive to be a pass holder but I do really feel that Disney tries to do nice things for their APs. I personally think that it is worth it, especially since they are constantly giving out free stuff and create free events that you can go to. Okay, my tangent is done.
The Mendocino Terrace
After the Blue Sky Cellar we walked right across the way to the Mendocino Terrace to get ourselves some wine. My mom order her favorite, Moscotto, and I ordered a sparkling Rose. We were very happy with our selections and the bartenders were really nice. This is also how we found out that it was goth day haha. Our bartender was really friendly and was talking with us as he was pouring our drinks.
We decided to sit on the railings that faced the grape vines and enjoy our wine. It was a nice break from walking around and it wasn't crowded over there either which was nice.
The Vineyard was the other stand that we went to. We waited a little bit between here and our wine from the Mendocino Terrace. We walked around Disneyland for a little bit and headed back over in hopes that the lines had died down a bit. We actually got lucky and got in line before everyone else decided to three minutes later. We planned on sharing a flight of wine. When we went to order they were out of the chardonnay trio we wanted. We ended up getting the Cabernet trio instead because the Pinot trio was now a duo (they sold out of one of the wines). It was ok, we aren't big fans of dry wine but they definitely were some of the better ones I have had in my life. Our sample included only two of the original wines and one was a replacement for one that had sold out.
Other Things Offered
Besides the stands there are also a lot of things you can do. There are celebrity kitchen seminars you can attend as well as beverage seminars. Also throughout the park there are festival inspired foods. At the Terrace for example you could order a cheese and fruit plate or a sausage sampler.
Overall I had a lot of fun. I wish I had known about the other stuff going on that day because I probably would have arrived sooner. I really enjoyed trying out the food and the different wines. I would definitely go again. If I do go next year I will end up getting the Food and Wine Pass. It was $40 this year and you get six samples of your choice (food or wine) and I will definitely not be going on the last day either. I think that if you are a foodie, wine lover, or beer lover you would enjoy this!