Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival 2016

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After an absence of several years, the Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival has returned for the month of April 2016. Some changes from the previous iterations include more upcharge events and the introduction of individual food booths (ala EPCOT’s popular Food & Wine Festival).

Sadly, however, unlike EPCOT, the California version of the Festival does NOT include any live musical component like the Eat to the Beat Concert Series.

And in fact, Food & Wine is the nominal reason that the Pixar Play Parade (to be featured soon!) is not being run this month throughout the park as the Festival has taken up some of its performing corridor along Paradise Pier. However, a returning smaller Incredibles-themed show is running temporarily at Paradise Pier instead (to be featured once I can go check it out!).

In the meantime, weekend guests at Disney California Adventure will find the former Mad T Party backlot area stages being used for lifestyle presentations…

I prefer T to wine.

I prefer T to wine.

And culinary classes…

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Although unlike in previous years, samples are no longer given out after these presentations.

And the formerly first come, first served free celebrity chef events are now pre-paid ($99-$149 plus tax & tip in addition to park admission) and held inside Stage 17 (the former location of Olaf’s Snow Fest). As I’m not a celebrity chef fan or diehard foodie, the only one of these events announced that somewhat interested me was the discussion with Kurt Russell (on his experience with winemaking) simply due to his Disney history, but that’s out of my price range!

Beverage seminar at Sonoma Terrace.

Beverage seminar at Sonoma Terrace.

For those interested in discussions of wine or beer-brewing at a lower price point, other “beverage seminars” can be found at the Sonoma Terrace for $15 each and may include sample tastings.

One of the food booths at the Festival.

One of the food booths at the Festival.

I strolled past the food booths (which can be found on the walk to and from Paradise Pier down to Carthay Circle) and checked out some of the menus, but while a few of the dishes did sound good, once I saw the actual portion size on a friend’s White Cheddar Ale and Bacon Soup in a bread bowl, I passed.

When your spoon is bigger than your food portion…

When your spoon is bigger than your food portion…

There were about two spoonfuls of soup in a piece of sourdough bread the size of a dinner roll. So for me, I was much more inclined to enjoy a full-sized soup in a bread bowl for only a few dollars more! But for those who like small plates and tastings, I’m sure this event will be right up their alley!

One word of warning though – at least the first weekend, the booths kept running out of food and/or ingredients during the day, so if your priority is the food tastings, go for those first!

Do you plan to visit or have you already visited the Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival? What did you think of it?

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