The Disney California Adventure Food and Wine Festival is a celebration of gourmet food, grown-up drinks and live entertainment. But is there anything that kids would enjoy, especially toddlers and preschooolers at the Disney Food & Wine Festival? Fortunately there are many things that children can do! This annual Food and Wine Festival, held inside Disney California Adventure park at the Disneyland Resort runs from March 1st through April 23rd, 2019. Read these tested tips for taking on the Disneyland Food and Wine Festival with toddlers, preschoolers and older kids!
I received a complimentary Sip & Savor Pass from Disney Parks to facilitate this article. No other compensation was made & all thoughts and opinions are my own. Please note that this post includes affiliate links. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you.
5 Quick Things to Know about the Disney Food & Wine Festival Before You Go
- The Disney California Food and Wine Festival is included in the admission ticket. You do need a valid ticket or Park Hopper for Disney California Adventure park in order to experience the Food & Wine Festival.
- The Disney Food & Wine Festival dining and entertainment is located mostly in the Paradise Gardens area of Disney California Adventure park. This is where the Marketplace food and beverage kiosks and souvenir merchandise are located. The Festival Beer Garden is next to the Paradise Garden Grill. However there is an additional Food & Wine Festival area, set away from the rest. Cooking demonstrations and the popular Junior Chef show takes place on the Backlot Stage in Hollywood Land. There is one additional Marketplace kiosk here as well (LA Style).
- Yes, there is alcohol served at California Adventure & during the Food and Wine Festival held at the Disneyland Resort. However, this is still a family-friendly event & there are plenty of non-alcoholic options for kids to enjoy.
- The Disney California Food and Wine Festival can be particularly crowded during the weekends and during spring break. For lighter crowds, try a mid-week visit before spring break crowds hit the park.
- If paper straws bother you, consider bringing your own plastic or metal version. Sometimes the paper straw would get soft and soggy before we were done with the beverage. It was also tough to drink the thick ice cream float with the paper straw.
Is there a way to balance a day of eating and drinking at the Festival along with all the other fun things at Disney California Adventure? Absolutely! Keep reading for my itinerary of ideas, especially for families with toddlers and preschool-aged kids.
Benefits & Tips for Purchasing the Sip & Savor Pass
With the purchase of a Sip and Savor Pass, guests can enjoy 8 food or non-alcoholic drinks from the participating marketplace locations and inside Paradise Garden Grill.
To save time standing in line, plan out which items you’ll be ordering. You can purchase them all up front at a single marketplace register. Just be sure to hold on to your receipt. Present it at the appropriate kiosk to receive your pre-ordered food or beverage.
The Sip & Savor Pass is only available for sale inside Disney California Adventure park. You’ll find them at the following locations for 2019: Trolley Treats, Elias & Co, Seaside Souvenirs, Sip and Savor Cart, Festival Marketplaces, Festival Gifts & Artist Corner, Studio Store in Hollywood Land.
The Sip and Savor Pass comes on a lanyard so you can hang it around you neck and be hands-free for holding your festival treats! Note that you should NOT snap off your coupon tab until you’re ready to pay and the cast member at the register sees you do so. On that note, don’t hand over the Sip & Savor Pass to your toddler or preschooler, lest they snap off all your coupon tabs!
Budget Tips for the Disney Food & Wine Festival with Kids
Foods and drinks during the Disney Food and Wine Festival aren’t cheap. If you’re on a budget at Disneyland, you’ll probably be better off sharing large platters of food (see this post Best Foods to Share at Disneyland or Ways to Save Money on Food at Disneyland).
If you’re a foodie, your kids are adventurous eaters or you’re just looking for something different to do at the Disneyland California parks, the Food & Wine Festival definitely offers something new! You could also try some of the limited-time offerings inside Paradise Garden Grill just for the Food and Wine Festival. Dishes like the beer-battered cod with steak fries are large enough to share and cost about the same as two of the appetizer-sized dishes available at the Marketplace.
Cost of a Disney Sip and Savor Pass
The cost of a Disney California Food & Wine Festival Sip and Savor Pass is $54 (including tax) for regular park guests. Annual passholders will receive an additional discount. This means each item costs you an average of $6.75. Aim to only purchase treats that reach or exceed that number to get the best value from your Pass purchase. At $8.50, the Grilled Beef Tenderloin Slider is a great value. At only $5.50, the Meyer Lemon Blue Diamond Almond Macaron isn’t the best value (ie: you’ll lose money choosing items cheaper than $6.75 with the Sip & Savor Pass).
No need to eat all the things in a single day! Annual pass holders or those with multi-day Disneyland tickets can purchase a Sip and Savor Pass then spread out the use of the coupons over multiple visits.
Disney Food and Wine Festival Activities for Toddlers & Preschoolers
When you come into Disney California Adventure park, cast members will be handing out paper chef hats to anyone who would like them. Kids may enjoy wearing them (though you can tell from the lack of a hat in my photos, my daughter wasn’t keen on it!)
Unfortunately there just isn’t as much for toddlers or preschoolers to do at the Disney Food & Wine Festival as there are at some of the other food festivals. During the Lunar New Year Celebration, there is complimentary face painting. The Festival of Holidays had coloring areas with kid-friendly crafts. There are craft tables set up in the Hollywood Land area (on the right-hand side of the Jr. Chef stage). But the actual Food & Wine Festival area was greatly lacking for younger kids.
I’d also love to see at least more small tables where children can sit with their foods. We had to resort to feeding my daughter at park benches or in the stroller because tables were adult standing-height only. The Paradise Garden Grill area does have tables and chairs but in between you’ll need to find a bench to sit with your dish.
Little ones who like to dance to the music will appreciate the live entertainment during the Festival. There are three separate locations for kid-friendly music and fun.
- Paradise Garden Bandstand (in Paradise Gardens)
- Live Festival Music at Paradise Gardens Park (on Palisades Stage)
- Jammin’ Chefs (near Paradise Gardens Park Obelisk)
Six times a day the Jammin’ Chefs host a pop-up song & dance party in the Paradise Gardens Park area. The Jammin’ Chefs feature three musicians, a singer/band leader and several dancers. Chip & Dale are there to dance and encourage the crowd to clap and dance along! It’s a lively and loud show that little kids will love. Show up a few minutes before the start of the show to get a front row view (check the Disneyland app for times). It’s all standing-room only and the crowd will quickly form a semi-circle around the group.
You’ll want to position your toddler or preschool towards the front so they can see all the action. There is also an audience-participation section when about 12 kids are chosen from the crowd to play a hand-held drum. This is a fun opportunity for preschoolers to dance and play alongside the characters!
READ MORE: Disneyland’s California Food & Wine Festival – Not Just For Foodies at This Crazy Adventure Called Life
Best Disney Food & Wine Festival Foods for Toddlers, Preschoolers & Kids
The Food and Wine Festival Tasting Passport has a handy key with notations for special dietary needs including gluten-friendly, vegetarian and vegan. Also included are kid-friendly foods. Naturally you know your kids and what they’d enjoy. Take a glance at the Passport and review the images and descriptions ahead of time to see which dishes your kids would enjoy the most.
I had the opportunity to visit the Disney California Food & Wine Festival with only adults and then again with my almost-three year old daughter. I was able to taste several of the dishes and knew which ones my toddler would enjoy and which ones to skip. Here are some suggestions of festival foods for toddlers and preschoolers, along with my thoughts on the items I tried with my child.
Nuts About Cheese
- White Cheddar Lager Soup in a sourdough bread bowl
- Ham & Vella Jack Cheese Pinwheel (kid-friendly)
- Creamy Oikos Yogurt Cheesecake
- Pork Roast with BBQ sauce & Lemon Pepper Slaw
- Meyer Lemon Macaron
- Ginger Beer (non-alcoholic)
- Orange Chicken & Rice (kid-friendly) – I attended the Festival with my daughter and mom. We shared this dish but were underwhelmed. The chicken was a trio of basic breaded chicken nuggets covered in sauce and a few mandarin oranges. My toddler ate the orange slices and a few bites of rice (careful to avoid the green onions!) and nothing else. Kids who like Chinese food may enjoy, though we found it too salty for our taste. For picky eaters, request no green onions or the crunchy topping.
- Asian-Style Beef Barbacoa Tacos
- BLT Chicharron Duro with Ranch Crema
More Food and Wine Festival Foods with Preschoolers and Kids
- Salmon Peruvian Poke
- Ghost Pepper Mac & Cheese
All three options are kid-friendly, making this is a must-stop in the Marketplace. You kind-of can’t go wrong with the Food & Wine Festival dessert options with kids! READ MORE: California Adventure Food & Wine Dessert Tasting from The Happiest Blog on Earth.
- Strawberry & Coconut Rice “Frushi” (kid-friendly) – Totally delicious and unique, this one was a hit with my toddler. Not the best value at the Festival using the Sip & Savor Pass, but yummy anyway and great for kids.
- Fresh California Berry Pie (kid-friendly) – Another very tasty dessert that kids would love. The flaky tart crust is a bit messy to eat but so good!
- Strawberry Float with Vanilla Ice Cream, Whipped Cream and Crunchy Cereal Garnish (kid-friendly) – This was one amazing ice cream float! This flavorful drink had lots of ice cream and was a very tasty mix (use a straw to sip then a spoon to get the ice cream and cereal at the bottom).
Veggie, Veggie, Fruit, Fruit
- Grilled Asparagus Chicken Caesar Salad
- Cauliflower Ceviche
- Lime & Strawberry Frozen Fruit Bar Duo (kid-friendly)
Kid-Friendly Options at Disneyland’s Food & Wine
- Black Garlic Pork Belly Banh Mi
- Chocolate Crunch Cake (kid-friendly)
- Creamy Mac & Cheese with garlic bread crumble (kid-friendly) – This was my daughter’s favorite dish at the Food & Wine Festival! I was able to sneak a few bites of this creamy and delicious macaroni dish before she took the rest as her own. It does have a strong garlic flavor so keep that in mind (didn’t bother my kid). For picky kids, you could request crumbles not be sprinkled on top.
I Heart Artichokes
- Fried Artichokes
- Artichoke Toast with Olive Tapenade
- Almond Cake with Butter Streusel, Apricot Compote & Brown Sugar Creme Fraiche (kid-friendly)
- Grilled Beef Tenderloin Slider with Chimichurri Sauce
- Salt & Vinegar Parmesan Chicken Wings (kid-friendly)
- Watermelon Lemonade (non-alcoholic) – Sweet and delightfully refreshing, this is a great beverage option for toddlers and preschoolers.
More Kid-Friendly Foods at Disney Food & Wine
- Teriyaki Chicken Musubi with Pineapple Relish
- Anaheim Chili Relleno Bites
- Chocolate-Peanut-Caramel Parfait (kid-friendly)
- Yippee! Mickey’s Cotton Candy Soda (non-alcoholic) – One of the most fun options available at the Festival. Kids can mix the cotton candy ball into the soda and watch the color of the drink change from blue to green before their eyes. Also, a butter cream rim with Mickey sprinkles? How much more fun can you get?! This is a sweet beverage that’s perfect for toddlers, preschoolers and kids!
Off the Cob
- Shrimp Boil Tacos with Andouille Sausage & Corn
- Esquites Sweet Corn Nuggets with Bacon Lardons (kid-friendly)
- Peach Tea (non-alcoholic)
- Spiced Chicken on Pita with Avocado Hummus
- Suja Organic Pineapple Passionfruit Kombucha (non-alcoholic)
- Impossible Burger with Guac & Pepper Jack Cheese (kid-friendly) – Before you balk at this “non-meat” option, know that I tried it and it was amazing! If you didn’t tell the kids it’s not meat, they would have no idea. The texture & taste is just like beef and the buttery bun is delicious. Great savory option for older kids.
Disney California Food and Wine Festival Activities for Older Kids
Once inside the Food & Wine Festival area, grab a Food and Wine Festival Tasting Passport. This guide includes photographs of some of the tastings and a map with key to find the kiosks. Inside the Passport are descriptions about what food and drink to be found at each of the marketplace locations.
Older kids may enjoy keeping a hold of the Passport to direct you where to find the next treat. You can also request a special stamp inside the Passport from each Marketplace location to keep track of where you’ve visited.
READ MORE: Disneyland Food & Wine Festival 2019: Tips, Tricks, & What to Know Before You Go from Trips with Tykes
Get Hands On with Jr. Chef and Cooking Demonstrations
The highlight of the Disney California Food and Wine Festival for kids is the Jr. Chef experience. Kids aged 3-11 can participate in this complimentary activity (located on the stage inside Hollywood Land area). Chef Goofy and his cooking assistants aid kids in “cooking” up a special treat. Each child receives a ready-to-eat wrapped goody at the end of the presentation. Jr. Chef happens several times daily (refer to the Disneyland app for specific times) and is on a first-come, first-served basis.
Tweens and teens who are particularly interested in culinary arts will enjoy the once daily “family time” cooking demonstrations. These happen on Fri, Sat, Sun during the Festival and families can watch a meal prepared with tips by Chef Daniella Malfitano and others.
Finding a Balance at the Food & Wine Festival with Kids
The grown-ups want to relax in the Festival Beer Garden with a local brew or wine flight. But all the kids want to do is get on the rides! How do you find that balance of Disneyland fun in between enjoying the Food and Wine Festival? I’ve come up with an itinerary for the Disney Food and Wine Festival that satisfies parents and toddlers or preschoolers!
The Disneyland Food and Wine Festival Marketplace locations serving food and drinks don’t open until 10:30 am. This gives you plenty of time in the morning to do rides with the kids before the food kiosks even open. If you have your toddler or preschooler at Disney California Adventure park, aim to enjoy the following rides and attractions first thing in the morning (use of FASTPASS or even better, MaxPass will truly save you so much time):
- Toy Story Midway Mania! in Pixar Pier area (no height restriction)
- Pixar Pal-a-Round in Pixar Pier area (no height restriction)
- Radiator Springs Racers in Carsland (40″ height requirement)
- Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters in Carsland (32″ height requirement)
- Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree in Carsland (32″ height requirement)
- Monsters Inc. Mike & Sully to the Rescue! (located in Hollywood Land, no height restriction)
- Soarin’ Around the World (located in Grizzly Peak area, 40″ height requirement)
- Disney Junior Dance Party! (no height restriction)
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What To Do with Kids During the Disneyland Food and Wine Festival
Once the Marketplace opens at 10:30 am, consider ordering all of your food at one kiosk to save time. Then you can walk to each location and pick up your foods and drinks when you’re ready to eat. In between the Marketplace kiosks, there are rides and attractions so you aren’t just eating everything at once. Most of these rides and attractions are in the Festival area. Try working these attractions in between dining and drinking so that kids aren’t missing out and grown ups can still enjoy the Marketplace.
- Golden Zephyr (located in Festival area, no height restriction)
- Goofy’s Sky School (located next to entrance of Festival Beer Garden, 42″ height requirement)
- Jumpin’ Jellyfish (located across from entrance of Festival Beer Garden, 40″ height requirement)
- Grizzly River Run (located near the Golden Dreams marketplace, 42″ height requirement)
- Redwood Creek Challenge Trail (located near the Golden Dreams marketplace, no height restriction)
- The Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Undersea Adventure (located in Festival area, no height restriction)
- Frozen: Live at the Hyperion (located in Hollywood Land, no height restriction). This is an hour-long indoor show & a great place for babies and toddlers to nap while parents rest in between drinks & bites!
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