What’s New/Touring Tips Disney’s California Food and Wine Festival Disney’s California Adventure

Disney's California Food and Wine Festival has returned to Disney's California Adventure this year, with an expanded schedule and a number of changes. The Festival now has events daily from April 11-May 5, rather than only on weekends as in the previous two years. There are also new venues, new events, and a larger selection of Festival food and wine offerings. Every day from April 11 though May 5 park visitors can attend complimentary demonstrations, including cooking demonstrations (samples included!), and beer and wine tasting events in the park, and try the Festival food items at the Festival Marketplace and at selected restaurants around the park.

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The Festival Welcome Center has been moved to Sunshine Plaza. The Festival Guide is available there, which includes maps and the daily event schedules, as well as information on the Signature Events.

The Golden Vine Winery, in addition to hosting the wine tasting seminars and the Festival Wine Shop on the Lower Patio, now hosts the new Sparkling Bar, located on the Upper Terrace, on weekends. Festival-goers can relax and enjoy tasting wine flights or sampling wine country tapas.

The capacity of the seating area in the two demonstration kitchens has been doubled, allowing more guests to enjoy the popular cooking (and tasting!) demonstrations. The kitchens are located in the Pacific Wharf area (same as last year) and, new this year, in the Bountiful Farm area. Also new this year, the Bountiful Farm area is now home to the Jr. Chef program, which takes place on the weekends and allows those 11 and younger to participate in making a sweet treat to take with them. The tasting area in the Pacific Wharf area now offers sparkling wine tasting, tequila tasting and wine and chocolate tasting in addition to beer tastings.

Also new this year – most weekends are going to feature a celebrity chef who will be conducting cooking demonstrations as well as book signings. In addition to Chef Jamie Gwen, who will be there every weekend, Cat Cora is scheduled on April 12-13, Bret Thompson on April 19-20, and both Nancy Silverton and Guy Fieri on April 26.

Food offerings at the Festival have been greatly expanded this year. The biggest change is that special Food and Wine Festival menu items have been added to the menus at most of the counter-service restaurants inside the park. These are full-size and not appetizer-size servings, and each item fits in with the restaurant's theme. Prices range from $3.29 to $9.29. The Lucky Fortune Cookery in the Pacific Wharf area still features appetizer-sized food, wine, and beer offerings, with about half of the items new this year. Prices range from $3.00 to $5.25. Additional appetizers and wines are available at the Sparkling Bar.

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There have been a few changes in the Signature Events (e.g. the ones you pay extra for) this year. The first being a price increase for most events. The popular Winemaker dinners at Steakhouse 55 return every Friday night, and there's a single Celebrity Chef Dinner on April 27. New this year is the Special Evening with the Gallo Family Winery on April 20, which will be held at The Vineyard Room inside the park. The Napa Rose Cooking School has also returned – and once again these very limited sessions sold out quickly. The Introduction to Wine Tasting session has been replaced by the Taste Wine Like an Expert class taught on Sundays by Napa Rose's Master Sommelier Michael Jordan, and the price has increased from $20 to $40.

The Festival Wine Receptions return this year the first three weekends of the Festival, and are offered on Friday evenings in addition to Saturday evenings. This year the reception also offers premium viewing for Disney's Electrical Parade.

The grand finale event, Taste returns on May 3, with a significant price increase – $125 this year, as opposed to $100 last year. Tickets are available to the general public this year, and purchase is not restricted to annual passholders only as it was last year. Two-time Grammy Award winning jazz guitarist Paul Brown is the featured entertainment this year.

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On weekends the complimentary sessions are filling up, sometimes as much as 40 minutes in advance. At the cooking and beer/spirits demonstrations a limited number of numbered cards are available, which the cast members hand out as people come stand in line. Once you receive a card you may not leave the line and return later, except for short bathroom breaks. You also may not hold a place in line for anyone who isn't with you. Cards are not used at the wine tasting seminars but the same rules apply, and guests must be in line when Cast Members go through checking ids and handing out wristbands about 10 minutes prior to the start.

While the venues for the various seminars/demonstrations are in the shade, the queue areas are not, and can get really warm on a sunny California day. (The first weekend of this year's Festival featured record-setting temperatures in the upper 90s.) Guests should come prepared with hats, sunglasses, and plenty of sunscreen.

NO ONE under the age of 21 is permitted in the wine tasting or beer education areas. This year there is a table just outside the wine tasting area set up with crayons where children may wait for their parents.

Reservations for Signature Events can be made on-line at the http://www.disneyland.com/foodandwine web site. Same day reservations for the Signature events (if available) can also be made at the Festival Information Center at Sunshine Plaza.

Be sure to pick up a Festival Guide at the Welcome Center – this nicely-designed pamphlet contains maps of the event venues, a schedule of events, and other information to help maximize your Festival experience.

The Festival Wine Shop, located at the Golden Vine Winery, offers a variety of wines from the group of wineries participating in the wine tasting sessions. Any wine purchases must be picked up at Package Pickup at the main entrance upon exiting the park. A variety of festival-themed merchandise including pins, wine coolers, wine stoppers, glasses, t-shirts, hats, etc. is available at the Festival Merchandise Cart set up in the Pacific Wharf area. Cookbooks by the celebrity chefs are also available for purchase there.

Recipes for items prepared during the various cooking demonstrations are supposed to be available on-line on the web site, but have not yet made an appearance.

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Food and Wine Festival General Information
Festival Menus and Prices
Food and Wine Festival Photo Gallery
Food and Wine Festival Rate and Review – Let us know what you think of Disney's California Food and Wine Festival!.

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