Disneyland Food and Wine Festival with Kids
Does Disneyland have a Food and Wine Festival like one that’s held in Epcot at Disney World? Yes, there are some similarities to that event. The annual Disneyland Food and Wine Festival, held inside Disney California Adventure park runs from February 28th through April 21st, 2020. It’s held on 54 consecutive days so you have plenty of opportunity if you’re visiting during springtime at Disneyland. Read these tested tips for taking on the Disneyland Food and Wine Festival with kids, focusing on what to do with toddlers and preschoolers!
5 Quick Things to Know about the Disney Food & Wine Festival Before You Go
- Do You Need a Ticket for Disneyland Food and Wine Festival? 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.
- Where is the Disneyland Food and Wine Festival Held? 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 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, the Junior Chef show and Chef Goofy meet ‘n greet take place on the Backlot Stage in Hollywood Land.
- Is Disneyland Food and Wine Family Friendly? 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.
- Do they have straws at Disneyland? 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 shake 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
What is a Sip and 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. If you lose your receipt you can’t get your food, so put it in a safe place! 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 –
- Elias & Co
- Festival Gifts
- Festival Marketplaces
- Kingswell Camera Shop
- Rushin’ River Outfitters
- Seaside Souvenirs
- Sip and Savor Cart
- 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! The Sip and Savor Pass also has the added benefit of a location guide. So great when you’re taking on Disneyland Food and Wine with kids and want to quickly find your menu favorites!
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 and 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 Brisket Fries and Buffalo-style Roasted Turkey Leg 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 $56 (including tax) for regular park guests. Annual pass holders will receive an additional discount. This means each item costs you an average of $7.00. Is the Sip and Savor Pass worth it? Yes, if you aim to only purchase treats that reach or exceed that number to get the best value from your Pass purchase. (ie: you’ll lose money choosing items cheaper than $7.00 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!)
The popular Junior Chef experience is ideal, but only for kids aged 3-11. While toddlers and preschoolers won’t be able to cook along with Goofy, they might still enjoy watching. No advance sign-up registration is available so show up early if you plan to participate with kids who fit the age criteria.
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. However there have been improvements for the 2020 year! The Festival of Holidays has multiple coloring areas with kid-friendly crafts. During Disneyland Food and Wine, there are also craft tables set up in the Hollywood Land area (near the Jr. Chef stage). But the main Food & Wine Festival area is 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 so this is the ideal location for dining. In between the marketplace kiosks, 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)
New for 2020 – Chef Goofy Meet ‘n Greet
This special event Disney character meet ‘n greet with Chef Goofy was sorely needed and much appreciated for parents with younger kids! Chef Goofy meets near the Backlot Stage in Hollywood Land. For shorter lines, aim to meet before the stage shows as the crowds will increase after the show.
Six times a day the Jammin’ Chefs host a pop-up song & dance party in the Paradise Gardens Park area. The Jammin’ Chefs feature 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.
In 2019 I had the opportunity to visit the Disney California Food & Wine Festival on two separate occasions: once 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. For 2020, here are some suggestions of festival foods that kids would enjoy, along with my thoughts on the items I tried.
There seem to be fewer kid-friendly dishes and drinks this year. Some items that appear to be kid-friendly mention “slight traces of alcohol” which is disappointing. I’ve noted below which items include trace amounts of alcohol and why. I’ve chosen not to add alcoholic drinks to this list of dining options.
California Craft Brews Marketplace
- Pepperoni Pizza Egg Rolls – KID-FRIENDLY – this is the only food item sold at California Craft Brews (the rest of the menu is alcohol). The lines for this particular marketplace kiosk are incredibly long. Consider ordering this dish from another kiosk and then picking up to skip the long lines. The egg rolls are crunchy and flavorful. Accompanying dipping sauces add flavor though some kids may request them on the side.
Nuts About Cheese
- Fiscalini White Cheddar Lager Soup served in a Mini Boudin® Sourdough Bowl (Vegetarian)
- Impossible™ Cheeseburger Mac & Cheese (Vegetarian) – KID-FRIENDLY – creamy but does have a strong mustardy-flavor so likability for your kids may vary.
- Oikos® Greek Yogurt Banoffee Tart – KID-FRIENDLY
Golden Dreams Marketplace
- Brunch Fried Chicken & Waffle Sandwich with Mimosa-inspired Slaw and OJ Bubbles – kids might enjoy eating this “deconstructed”. It is delicious but does get very soggy quickly. The popping bubbles filled with orange juice are totally fun!
- Seared Verlasso® Salmon with Lemon Pea Purée, Black Rice and Meyer Lemon Relish (Gluten-Friendly)
- Strawberry-Rose Lemonade (Non-Alcoholic) – KID-FRIENDLY – extremely sweet but sure to be a hit with kids.
- Fig & Lavender Cold Brew (Non-Alcoholic)
One in a Melon Marketplace
- Compressed Watermelon and Tomato with Whipped Ricotta and Lemon Olive Oil (Vegetarian, Gluten-Friendly)
- Poke-style Watermelon with Cucumber (Plant-Based, Gluten-Friendly) – refreshing on warm day, this fruit and veggie combo has a slightly spicy l kick.
- Pabana Cream Puff with Mango, Passion Fruit and Banana Mousse – KID-FRIENDLY
- House-made Watermelon Agua Fresca (Non-Alcoholic) – KID-FRIENDLY
- Asian-style Beef Barbacoa Street Tacos
- Smoked Bacon Barbecue Beef Loco Moco on Rice (Gluten-Friendly)
- Monkey Bread with Caramel Whiskey Glaze and Candied Pecans (Contains trace amounts of alcohol- drizzled with a whiskey glaze)
Peppers Cali-Ente Marketplace
- Creamy Poblano Pepper Pasta (Vegetarian)
- Grilled Shrimp Tacos on Jicama Tortillas (Gluten-Friendly)
More Food and Wine Festival Foods with Preschoolers and Kids
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.
- Raspberry-Lychee-Rose Custard with Mixed Berry Compote – KID-FRIENDLY – tangy and sweet combo but note that the lychee does offer a texture that may off-put some kids.
- Oikos® Greek Yogurt California Berries Summer Pudding (Contains trace amounts of alcohol- berries are soaked in Grand Marnier).
- Ruby Citrus Sparkler (Non-Alcoholic) – KID-FRIENDLY
Avocado Time Marketplace
- Petite Impossible™ Burger with Guac and Pepper Jack (Vegetarian) (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.
- Tortilla-crusted Fried Guacamole with Carne Asada – if your kiddo loves avocados and guacamole, this one with tender pieces of beef can’t be beat!
Kid-Friendly Options at Disneyland’s Food & Wine
- Black Garlic Pork Belly Banh Mi – delicious sandwich that some children might enjoy eating deconstructed.
- Carbonara Garlic Mac & Cheese with Nueske’s® Bacon – KID-FRIENDLY – The garlic mac & cheese version from last year was my daughter’s favorite dish at the 2019 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.
- Ranch Fried Chicken Wings with Buffalo Hot Sauce Drizzle
- French Onion Grilled Beef Tenderloin Slider – this new option for 2020 was just as yummy as the incarnations in previous years.
- Chocolate Hazelnut Crunch -KID-FRIENDLY
What’s Missing from the 2020 Food and Wine Festival Menu?
- There are fewer kid-friendly foods on the 2020 Food and Wine Festival menu. I’ve noted that most of the items that kids will enjoy are beverages or desserts this year. I had the opportunity to try many of the new foods this year and have noted which items are the most kid-friendly.
Off the Cob
- Mini Chicken Chimis with Chimichurri Corn Pico de Gallo and Chipotle Crema
- Shrimp and Braised Corn with Chorizo (Gluten-Friendly)
- Mickey-shaped Caramel-Peanut-Milk Chocolate Macaron – KID-FRIENDLY – this macaron is the knock-out must-have dessert for the 2020 Disney California Food and Wine festival. Consider buying more than one, because your kiddo will not want to share!
- Farmstand Punch (Non-Alcoholic) – KID-FRIENDLY – refreshing and delicious, that’s not overly sweet.
I Artichokes Marketplace
- Fried Artichokes with Lemon Aïoli (Vegetarian)
- Artichoke Toast with Artichoke Cream Cheese and Olive & Artichoke Tapenade (Vegetarian)
Hint from my friend Mindy at This Fairy Tale Life, this marketplace will likely have the lowest crowds. Consider placing your food order here as the lines are likely to be low.
More Kid-Friendly Foods at Disney Food & Wine
Some of the quick service restaurants and vending carts are also serving up Disney Food and Wine Festival dishes. Some of these options are available as a Sip & Savor sampler dish that’s a smaller portion.
- Almond Mocha Shake -KID-FRIENDLY
- Almond Mocha Affogato -KID-FRIENDLY
Paradise Garden Grill
- Impossible™ Meatball Submarine (Plant-Based) -KID-FRIENDLY – this favorite returns for 2020, with meat-less plant-based “meatballs” that kids will think are the real thing!
- Beer-battered Fish Tacos, with Karl Strauss® Follow the Sun Pilsner-infused Batter -KID-FRIENDLY – for seafood-loving kiddos, this one is a great savory meal choice and it comes with tortilla chips.
- Buffalo-style Roasted Turkey Leg with Celery Slaw and Blue Cheese (Gluten-Friendly)
- Brisket Sliders
- Brisket Fries -KID-FRIENDLY – the Sip and Savor sized portion is a great value and still appropriate for sharing. Salty and savory with lots of meat (ask for the green toppings on the side for picky kids).
- Black Forest Parfait -KID-FRIENDLY
- Berry Spectacular Cookie Shake (Non-Alcoholic) -KID-FRIENDLY – very VERY sweet and thick shake tasted like melted ice cream cake that’s topped with frosted animal cookies.
Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta
- Chocolate-Hazelnut Cheesecake -KID-FRIENDLY
Hollywood Churro Cart
Churro topped with Peanut Butter Cream, Chocolate Icing and Chopped Peanuts -KID-FRIENDLY
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 with kids that satisfies both 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.
In 2020, the marketplace kiosks feature adorable moving parts. While waiting in line with kids, point out these signs and have them point out their favorite features!
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 (42″ height requirement)
- Redwood Creek Challenge Trail (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!