Festival of Holidays at Disneyland: Eat and Be Merry

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase from one of those links, we may get a commission at no extra cost to you. We appreciate your support.

If there is one bucket list everyone must cross off their list, it’s to experience the holidays at Disneyland… or Disney World. Anywhere that there is a Disney park.

I’m going to admit something and I’m begging Disney fanatics not to hate me… I used to not appreciate what the Disney parks have to offer. I just totally misunderstood the hype.

The crowds, the expensive tickets, the long lines in the dying heat of the summer… you get it. I focused on the negative. Then I got to experience the holidays at Disneyland and realized it truly is one of the most magical places on earth.

All year long Disneyland embraces each holiday and gives its guests a magical experience. If you have kids (I don’t but I have nieces), you also get to see the magic through their eyes. It’s pretty wonderful.

For 5 years hubby and I had Disneyland annual passes that we gave up a few years go. This past summer, we spontaneously decided to sign up for annual passes again. You know, Star Wars Land. Stepping foot inside the park after such a long break, I couldn’t believe how much I missed it.

The sight of Sleeping Beauty’s castle always brings a smile to my face as it reminds me of my childhood and my love for all the Disney princess movies. Who am I kidding?! I am still obsessed with everything royalty. That obviously includes Mickey and Minnie!

holidays at disneyland | blog post cover

Please note: this trip and post was written pre-Covid.

Oh and the aroma of churros gets me every time! What is it about the Mickey Mouse ice cream bars? At Disneyland, the ice cream bars just taste better.

I love to eat and be merry.

Back to the main focus of this post, the holidays at Disneyland are the best time of year. This year, we made it a priority to go soon after Thanksgiving day. We were fortunate to visit the Festivals of Holidays over at California Adventure.

Grab your light up mouse ears and let’s go!

Cinderella and Prince Charming dancing during the Disney Holiday parade

Christmas Holidays at Disneyland is the Best!

A week after Halloween was over, Disneyland undergoes an overnight transformation into a wonderland of Christmas lights and magic. If you’re someone like me that takes a bit to get into the Christmas spirit, Disneyland will do the trick.

You won’t ever hear me ramble on about how much I love Christmas time because I’d be lying. I have a love and hate relationship with this time of year. It is a beautiful time of year, but once the pressure of shopping for the perfect gift starts, I start to get annoyed. Anxiety can definitely get the best of me this time of year.

Sleeping Beauty's castle decorated with for Christmas

However, spending time during the holidays at Disneyland can transform even the biggest grinch. I promise. The Christmas decorations alone are worth the trip.

  • Visit the Christmas tree on Main Street at Disneyland or on Buena Vista Street at California adventure.
  • Admire Sleeping Beauty’s Castle all decked out of the holidays.
  • The one time you should ride It’s a Small World, it’s during the holidays. The beautiful display of lights in and outside of the ride is festive.
  • Don’t miss the Haunted Mansion ride as the Nightmare Before Christmas takes over for the holidays at Disneyland.
  • Sit and watch the Christmas Fantasy Parade at Disneyland, you’ll get to see all the characters and Santa celebrate the season.
  • Let’s not forget the fireworks!
It's a Small World Ride during the Holidays at Disneyland • TastyItinerary.com

Disneyland Festival of Holidays 2019

The Festival of the Holidays this year is at Disney California Adventure. You will enjoy a food festival, live music throughout different parts of the park and you can meet with Santa at the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail.

This event takes place from November 08, 2019 – January 06, 2020.

While I do love the Christmas vibe in California Adventure, let’s be real, food was the goal.

Christmas lights and decorations during the holidays at Disneyland California Adventure

Sip and Savor Passes

Planning to try everything? You may want to invest in Sip and Saver Passes. I thought I was going to skip it, but after my first tasty purchase, hubby and I decide to buy one pass to share. You can buy 8 festival food items with the pass at the designated locations. Any of the food items and non-alcoholic specialty drinks are included in the pass.

Cost: $56 (w/o an annual pass) or $51 (w/ an annual pass)

The pass includes a lanyard, a Festival of the Holidays pin, a passport to get stamped for fun, 8 festival food items, and a cool list of all the foodie options not to miss. Alcoholic drinks are NOT included.

You will need either park-hopper tickets or an annual pass to enter the Disney parks. Plan accordingly, if you plan to go to Disneyland and California Adventure. Tickets to visit California Adventure only are available.

Holding my sip & savor pass and yummy drink at Festival of Holidays
Got my Sip and Savor pass!

Tasty Itinerary: Eat and Be Merry with Disneyland Holiday Food

After you have your Sip and Savor pass, you can either review the list of all the holiday food options and devise a plan. Or, you can just get online at the first food stand you see as I did. I planned to try as many of them as my stomach allowed me to.

Bring it on!

Every stand has one or two dishes, sometimes dessert drinks and baked goods. If something looked interesting, but I didn’t have the chance to try it, I’ll point it out as well.

Holiday Duets: BRAISED PORK BELLY ADOBO WITH GARLIC FRIED RICE

Let’s start with my first and absolute favorite from the Holiday Duets marketplace.

The pork belly was tender, flavorful and its friend rice is the perfect sidekick. I appreciated the crunch pork rinds that topped the dish. Hubby is on keto and he broke his diet for this. After that, it was downhill for him.

Pork belly photo is blurry but I couldn’t keep it from you. I plan to return and try this one more time, just to make sure it’s still good. ?

Festival of Holidays at Disneyland Pork Belly • TastyItinerary.com
Pork Belly Adobo with Garlic Fried Rice

If you would prefer something else, you can get the shrimp and grits too.

Holiday Duets: CRANBERRY SANGRIA

Be merry, pair the pork belly with Cranberry Sangria sold at the Holiday Duets marketplace. It’s alcoholic (21+ & older), so it is not included with your Sip and Savor Pass, but it’s totally worth the extra cost. It was sweet and refreshing, the kind of drink you’ll slurp because it tastes so good and without realizing it, it’s gone. And then you’re sad but hyped up by the sugar. Did I give myself away?

Festival of Holidays at Disneyland Cranberry Sangria • TastyItinerary.com
Cranberry Sangria

The churro coffee cold brew is another option.

Day Trips from Los Angeles, CA

Looking for other day trips and things to do from Los Angels or Southern California. Check out our list of some of the best destinations for a quick and fun day away.

Favorite Things: HOLIDAY STUFFING MAC & CHEESE

I’m a sucker for mac & cheese, and yet, picky about the kind I’ll eat. Let me just say, this isn’t your Kraft macaroni and cheese. Disneyland won me over once again with their mac & cheese. If you’re a mac & cheese lover, stop by the Favorite Things marketplace.

Mac & Cheese

The macaroni pasta was cooked to perfection with a nice bite to it. It wasn’t mushy or soggy. The cheese was gooey and yummy. The crunchy breadcrumbs on top is a great addition. Thankfully, nothing close to disgusting Mac n Cheese from Flo’s V8 Cafe at Disney California Adventure.

At this booth, you will also find glazed ham shanks. I personally do not like ham, so I skipped. Taste and report back.

Looking for a festive dessert? Gingerbread Mickey Cookies are available.

Favorite Things: S’MORES ‘HOT’ CHILLED CHOCOLATE

The whipped cream that comes with this S’mores ‘hot’ Chilled Chocolate is what sold hubby on this impulse buy. It’s delicious and totally for chocolate lovers. I could taste the vanilla in the chocolate, I thought it had alcohol in it. This is a non-alcoholic drink for you.

Festival of the Holidays at Disneyland Smores Chilled Chocolate • TastyItinerary.com
Smore’s Chilled Chocolate with Whipped Cream

S’more chilled chocolate isn’t your thing (what’s wrong with you?), try the Warm Bourbon Cider.

Winter Sleigh: FRIED TURKEY SLIDER

Hubby loved this fried turkey slider. It was on an herb roll with coleslaw and cranberry sauce. I had a bite and it was very good. The problem is I think I’ve had enough turkey this past week for a while. I let him finish it.

Festival of Holidays at Disneyland Fried Turkey Slider• TastyItinerary.com
Turkey Slider

There is a beef pot roast on a potato roll at his booth. Along with a bourbon cranberry cocktail (I see this beauty in my future) and a warm peppermint chocolate float that looked divine. The whipped cream on the chocolate float was being piped from a bag. Hubby asked for a taste of it and they obliged. His eyes rolled towards the back of his head.

Why didn’t we get the float? We aren’t into peppermint chocolate. I will say, it is a nice size, shareable and you can use your Sip and Savor pass to get it.

Brews & Bites: CHORIZO QUESO FONDIDO

We went back to Brews & Bites twice because they kept running out of Chorizo. What’s the queso without the chorizo? Just queso.

When we finally got the chorizo queso fondido, I can’t say I was overly impressed. It’s good, we ate the whole thing, but not sure if it was worth the walk back and forth. Hubby and I agree that the cheese tasted way better cold.

Chorizo Queso Fondido with homemade tortilla chips

Love beer? There are two different flights available in this marketplace. One flight consisted of ales and IPAs. The other flight of beer is on the sweeter side with offerings of Berry, Horchata, Maple, and Blood Orange beers. Your pick!

Willie’s Churros: PECAN PIE CHURRO

There was no way I was going to pass up a churro! This Pecan Pie churro was topped with pecans, chocolate and caramel sauce.

Enjoying a pecan pie churro at Festival of Holidays
Churro anyone?

What to Skip?

I didn’t get to try everything; however, there is one we did have a bite each of and ended up tossing it. What a waste of a Sip & Savor pass coupon.

SKIP the loaded latke at Smoke Jumpers Grill. The latke was greasy and the roast beef while tasty, it was smothered in an overpowering horseradish sauce. Don’t think they realize a little goes a long way.

Where to Stay at the Disneyland Resort?

Coming from out of town to visit during the holidays at Disneyland? I don’t think you can go wrong with any of the Disneyland hotels, but there is one hotel I always recommend to out-of-towners.

Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa is connected to California Adventure. It’s a convenient location. You can easily step outside of your hotel and be inside the theme park or Downtown Disney.


Visit the Disneyland site to see a complete foodie list from the Disney Festival of Holidays for more info. There is also a couple of veggie options for those that don’t eat meat.

My hope is to return some time before the New Year and sample a few other things. I need to try the Pork Tamale at Cocina Cucamonga.

Did I convince you to visit the Festival of Holidays at Disneyland?


Don’t forget to share the love on Pinterest:

When I’m not daydreaming about my next vacation, drinking coffee, or playing with my dogs, you can find me on InstagramTwitter, or Facebook for more posts and stories! Would love to hear from you! -Kathy

8 thoughts on “Festival of Holidays at Disneyland: Eat and Be Merry”

  1. I didn’t grow up with the Disney films as a massive part of my childhood, so I’m not very inclined to visit it. BUT. Since I am so festive, it seems like this is the best time to go!! The food sounds incredible. A churro-flavoured cold brew?? That mac-n-cheese omgggg. I would 100% want to go for the holidays now 🙂

    Reply
    • Macey – You’re going to love Disneyland at Christmastime! When you do go, just remember to enjoy all the festive activities and decor, and don’t get too hung up on trying to get all the rides. We kind of go with the flow when we visit Disneyland and we enjoy it more that way.

      Reply
  2. You are making me miss living in Florida with Disney World and the Epcot Winter Festival…complete with passport and yummy treats.

    Like you, we have mixed feelings about Disney [parks] because every year, the parks get more and more crowded with long lines. Plus, tickets go up drastically. However, there is always something new that we want to see and we just cannot resist eating, drinking, and merrying…lol! We obsess over their festivals. I still haven’t done Pandora or anything Star Wars. Your IG stories from way back when looked great for Star Wars!

    All of this food looks delicious. Although we cannot eat the same things, Tom and I usually find a few safe treats that are AMAZING too.

    The decorations are gorgeous!

    Loving your sweatshirt too!

    Reply
    • We gave up our passes because of how crowded it got. The lines for everything were ridiculous. Since we got these passes in July again, on a day that it was basically a ghost town, we have been surprised that it hasn’t been so packed. The crowds have been pretty mild. We have been able to enjoy it. I do wonder if that will change after the 2nd ride at Star Wars opens in January.

      If you ever visit Epcot again, go after that Mary Poppins ride opens. I’m so excited about it. I have to make plans to go.

      Sorry, you can’t eat anything I posted about. There weren’t too many things on the holiday menu this time that was gluten-free and dairy-free. There was definitely a ton of beer for you!

      The sweatshirt is from Old Navy! One of my faves too.

      Reply
  3. I was just telling my husband we need to go to the holidays at Disney sometime – I’ve never been this time of year. It looks so pretty! And all that food….OMG I need the pork belly, the churro and the cocoa! Haha I actually love It’s a Small World, but I think I would really love it all lit up for the holidays. 🙂

    Reply
    • I had no idea before I moved near a Disney park that Disneyland would be part of my Christmas season. It really is a special time of year. I think if you got to Disney World, the food festival is so much bigger than the one at Disneyland. I’d love to go during the holidays to Disney World in the future.

      Reply
  4. You’re really making me want to visit during the holidays! It really does look magical and tasty! That hot chocolate and Mac & Cheese! I did sneak a peek to see the veggie options. Not bad!
    I’d totally be happy with that queso without the chorizo though.? I’d be the one in the group like, “What? What’s the problem? Cheese, good! Chips, gooood!”?

    Your hair looked amazing by the way! The curly haired look is totally working for you!

    Okay, so if I fly over next weekend, can we use your pass to get into Disney? If we need an ID, then I might need to bond with your hubby because I could probably take your ID and pass for you. Or wait…me and him go in, he leaves and brings you your ID that I just used and then you get in?
    I used my friend’s coworker’s ID to get into Universal, just sayin’! Such a schemer, my LA friend was always encouraging scheming the system.
    I hope Disney isn’t reading. Although you probably hope they are reading. Don’t worry Disney, Kathy is an honest person! She would never go for this! Please don’t ban me!

    Loved your post!!!

    Reply
    • You’re so funny! Hubby says the same about the cheese.

      Thanks for the comments on my hair. That was one day after I had gone to get my deva cut. I have not been able to replicate it. ? I’ve been thinking, well God gave me curly hair for a reason, I must look good with it.

      If it were that easy, I’d totally let you borrow my pass. Disney has become super strict. They actually look at the photo attached to the ID. Not long ago, they stopped me to do a double-take and the girl says to me, you look so different. The picture attached to my pass I had no glasses and straight hair. I think I was like 7 years younger. LOL

      When you visit, let’s totally plan a day at Disney!

      Reply

Leave a Comment

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

___________

FIND ME HERE

Grab a FREE vacation planning checklist and day-by-day itinerary planner!

What's life without Tasty Itinerary?
Let's plan a fun vacation!