Festival of Holidays is back at Disney California Adventure. We like both the volume and the quality of the entertainment options and beautiful decorations that are found throughout the park. (We especially love Viva Navidad.) A big part of the holiday celebration at DCA is the Food & Wine-style booths set up around the park. Unfortunately the prices can be a bit high, so in this post I will show you Disney California Adventure’s best and worst Festival of Holidays food items.
The Best of the Best
Beef Corn Tamale a la Plancha – with spicy rojo sauce – Spicy Celebrations booth – $7.25
I’ve had an insane amount of tamales in my life and consider them to be one of my favorite foods. So when I saw that one was being sold at Festival of Holidays I originally scoffed. The tamales found at Disneyland Resorts quick service restaurants are usually bland and dry husks that should be avoided. I was shocked when I first bit in to the Beef Corn Tamale a la Plancha and found my mouth immediately filled with flavor. The spicy rojo sauce is SO GOOD. I want to drink it. In my opinion this is the best Festival of Holidays has to offer, hands down.
Nashville Fried Hot Turkey – with dill pickles – $7.00 – Spicy Celebrations booth – $7.00
Turkey has no right to be this good. The best I can describe it is it’s like a spicy chicken sandwich from Chic-fil-A, but instead of chicken, it’s turkey, but the turkey tastes more like chicken. Still with me? They could be feeding us chicken–who knows, it’s not important anyway. The Nashville Fried Hot Turkey is delicious. The $7 price tag is a bit much considering the size (it’s about as big as a kid’s fist). But taste-wise, it’s fantastic. The best part is that after you’re done with the turkey you get to eat the piece of bread that all the juice and sauce soaked in.
Warm Chocolate Float – with whipped cream and brownie crumbles (non-alcoholic) – Holiday Duets – $5.50
Hot chocolate with scoops of ice cream floating in it. That’s it. It’s so painfully simple that I can’t believe I’ve never tried it on my own or even heard of it, ever. But wow, the combo of warm creamy milk chocolate and ice cream go together so well. This was an item I was surprised by. It’s one of the cheaper items sold at Festival of Holidays, and it big enough that you could easily share it. This is an easy recommendation for almost anyone’s taste.
Sticky Toffee Pudding – with brandied vanilla sauce – Joy to the Sauce – $4.50
The toffee pudding is painfully good. Dense, gooey, and delicious.
The Really Good Stuff
Chorizo Queso Fundido – with house-made tortilla chips – Chips, Breads, & Holiday Spreads booth – $6.00
When I tried these I thought to my self, “Okay, these are fancy nachos.” I appreciated that they gave me a decent serving of both the dip and the chips in this. The highlight is the tasty and flavorful chorizo in the queso.
Beef Short Rib – with smashed potatoes & gravy, topped with cranberry sauce – Joy to the Sauce booth – $7.75
This is what I would imagine is the most palatable Festival of Holidays item for the majority of park guests. It’s just beef, sauce, gravy, and potatoes. It’s also very good. Personally I would spend the money on any of the items in the Best of the Best section above, but you can’t go wrong with this tasty chunk of meat.
Chana Masala – with grilled garlic naan – Classic Crocks & Casseroles booth – $6.50
Looks are VERY deceiving with this one. It looks like a pretty basic soup, but on the first bite I experienced a complex mix of garlic, chickpeas, tomatoes, and more. The grilled naan was warm and tasty. I think this is one dish that is easy to overlook but it definitely deserves a try.
White Chocolate-dipped Lingonberry Speculoos Cookie – Chips, Breads, & Holiday Spreads booth – $3.75
This is another deceivingly simple-looking item that I really ended up enjoying. The speculoos cookie was chewy and not too sweet, which paired well with the lingonberry inside. Also, this is a really good-sized cookie for the price.
Braised Pork Belly Adobo – with garlic fried rice – Blissfully Braised booth – $7.50
Pork belly is a guilty pleasure of mine. I know it’s not healthy to eat fatty pork, but good lord is it delicious. They really amp up the unhealthiness of this dish by including garlic fried rice, which was great. However, I can’t recommend this too highly due to the high price and small portion of pork belly. Note: The picture I took of this item isn’t fit for print and makes the entree look pretty unappetizing. If you’d still like to see it you may do so by clicking here.
Items to Avoid
Chicken Liver Pate on Toast – with cherry jam & pistachios – Chips, Breads, & Holiday Spreads booth – $5.50
Full disclosure, I am uncultured swine that does not enjoy pate. The taste and texture does not appeal to me at all, so I am
probably definitely the wrong person to be reviewing this item. I do like cherry jam, pistachios, and toast. But none of those items go well together. In fact, it was revolting. Please direct all your complaints about my unsophisticated palate to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mac & Cheese – with cornbread crumbles – Holiday Duets booth – $7.25
I regret to rank this as an item to avoid because it was one of my favorite items at previous Disney California Adventure festivals. I guess they are using cheaper, or completely different, ingredients this year because I thought it was a bland blob. You can do much better with $7.25 at Festival of Holidays.
Chocolate Yule Log – with candied chestnuts & Clementine compote – A Twist on Tradition booth – $5.00
Another heartbreaker! The yule log was one of the best desserts last year but this year’s version tastes like bland grocery store birthday cake. What happened?
There’s a lot of other food items available at Festival of Holidays that I didn’t mention due to not standing out at all after I tried them, or not having time to try at all. But hopefully this post will help you find some treats to enjoy. Let me know about your favorite Festival of Holidays items in the comments below.