We ate our way around DCA this holiday season (in the name of journalism!) to bring you our picks for the best 2021 Festival of Holidays snacks at Disney California Adventure.
Have the holidays got you in the mood for something deliciously different? We know the cure for that: the Disney Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure Park!
The numbers on this foodie fantasia are something serious: 8 locations around the Festive Foods Marketplace, each offering multiple festive food and drink options to delight you. And you only have until January 9, 2022 to experience them.
There’s something for everyone, but where should you begin? Of course, we favor the “start at one end and snack your way to the other” approach, but if Webslingers is calling you and you don’t have time to be that thorough, we can help!
Here, then, is our handy list of the 5 treats that can’t be beat, to help you make the most of your visit to this year’s Festival of Holidays!
Our Favorite Snacks at the 2021 Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure
Here are our five favorite 2021 Festival of the Holidays snacks on offer at Disney California Adventure:
5. Reimagined Beef Brisket Wellington
- Where to find it: A Twist On Tradition
- Cost: $8.50
The Not-So-Hidden Mickey
There is quite a bit of “reimagining” going on here, even if the final shape surprises exactly no one. This traditional holiday dish has been transformed into a hidden Mickey!
The filling here takes the form of a delicious beef stew served in a pastry “bowl” (with ears!). The cubed beef brisket is tender and abundant, and it is surrounded by rich, flavorful gravy.
The real star of the show is the pastry itself. The puff pastry of traditional beef Wellington could never stand up to all of that gravy, but “Mickey” is more than up to the challenge, maintaining structural integrity while remaining a delicious part of this winning, warming dish.
4. Bourbon Cranberry Cocktail
- Where to find it: Winter Sliderland
- Cost: $14.00
Not Your Grandma’s Cranberries
Thirsty yet? The Festival of Holidays has that covered too, and there are some real holiday delights to be found. This tart, terrific treat is a refreshing winner that pairs perfectly with the savory snacks available at Winter Sliderland, particularly the Beef Pot Roast on Potato Roll.
Like a lot of cocktails whose name is essentially the recipe, this seems simple enough at first glance, but a hint of orange juice keeps things from getting too sour, and the addition of House-made Cinnamon-Sugar Syrup brings notes of complexity that are pleasingly perfect.
Hint: Don’t leave that Cranberry Garnish on its little skewer. Those berries are delightful little flavor bombs that burst forth with refreshing super-powers in your mouth.
3. Cinnamon & Sugar Holiday Tart
- Where to find it: Making Spirits Bright
- Cost: $6.00
This Tart’s Got Pop
This one just might fool you! The Cinnamon & Sugar Holiday Tart looks enough like the commercial toaster-pastries that inspired it that you might find yourself bracing for a sugary-sweet part of any nutritious breakfast, but it isn’t so!
Of course, the festive frosting is delicious, and the cornucopia of red and green sprinkles leave no doubt that this is an all-ages treat, but the filling is surprisingly chill about the whole thing, delivering a subtle cinnamon-sugar flavor that is never over the top.
The real hero here is the pastry, which has definite notes of delicious, buttery shortbread flavor, while maintaining a soft, pliable texture that holds everything together neatly and delivers this taste sensation!
2. Holiday Spiced Wings
- Where to find it: Merry Mashups
- Cost: $8.00
The Spice Is Nice
Your mileage may vary, but on our visit to Merry Mashups, we were presented with one of the most generous portions I had ever seen at any Disney foodie festival. Five plump, delicious Holiday Spiced Wings were delivered like a present from old Saint Nick himself, and we could not have been more glad, because they were sensational.
The Festival Guide and Tasting Passport are light on the details as to what “holiday spices” were applied, but my best guess says at least one of them was sugar, lightly dusted on top when the wings are hot from the oil, resulting in a very light crust of sweet holiday goodness over moist, perfectly cooked chicken.
The wings are accompanied beautifully by a scoop of Citrus Cranberries that cut through the hint of sweet delivered by the wings with a positive punch of sour that makes for an imaginative and very pleasing holiday treat!
1. Hibiscus Ginger Mezcal Mule at Favorite Things
- Where to find it: Favorite Things
- Cost: $14.00
And the Winner Is …
The Favorite Things booth is aptly named. They have created a festive and fun variant of a classic cocktail, that is creative, bright, delicious and hands-down the star of our visit to this year’s Festival of Holidays.
Mezcal, House-made Hibiscus Syrup, Ginger, Lime Juice and Topo Chico Mineral Water combine to make a very special taste sensation that you will probably never be able to replicate at home, no matter how much you try.
Warning: The House-made Hibiscus Syrup is the sweetest thing you will ever taste in life and must be stirred into the drink before you take a sip on that straw (like I did).
That misstep aside, this is a treat that is tasty, imaginative, and fun. Most mules get their punch and their bubbles from ginger beer, but this uses a combination of real ginger and mineral water to provide this combination of spice and effervescence, and the result is delightful.
The sweet of the hibiscus syrup and the spice of the ginger balance one another perfectly, creating a complex and exciting experience that you will be glad you took the time to enjoy.
Watch out! The Mezcal packs a punch.
2021 Festival of Holidays Snacks at Disney California Adventure: Make Your Own Picks
Dreaming about the festive food and drinks waiting for you at Disney Festival of Holidays is fun, but the real fun is waiting for you at Disney California Adventure Park, and the chance to pick your own favorite treats.
But hurry! Just like the holidays that inspire it, the Festival of Holidays will soon be over for another year. The Festival of Holidays continues until January 9, 2022.
Not sure if you’re going? You can just get more information about a potential Disney vacation.
2021 Festival of Holidays Snacks: Your Guide to a Disney California Adventure Christmas