Disney’s California Food and Wine Festival

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Jim Ames, the producer of Disney’s
California Food and Wine Festival,
about this year’s upcoming Festival.

This is the Festival’s third year, and it keeps getting a little bigger
(and I think a little better) every year. The major change this year is that the Festival
will be held daily from April 11 – May 5, rather than just on weekends
like it was the first two years. Hence a new name this year – Disney’s
California Food and Wine Festival.

The Festival will be expanding from the Pacific Wharf and Golden Vine
Winery areas into the Bountiful Farm area as well.
Among other things,
this expansion allows for larger areas for the demonstration kitchens – Jim said
they were turning guests away at almost every demonstration last year,
and the expansion will allow them to accommodate more guests.

Expanded Festival food offerings will be available – in addition to the
Festival Marketplace at the Lucky Fortune Cookery (which will have 9-10
tapas-style items on the menu, plus beer and wine), other counter
service restaurants in the park will be serving up special Festival menu
items. These items will be in keeping with the existing menu and price
point at each location. For example, Award Wieners will be offering a hot dog with
peppers and onions and a beer sauce. Other participating
restaurants include Corn Dog Castle, Pizza Oom Mow Mow, Cocina
Cucamonga, Pacific Wharf Cafe, and Farmer’s Market.

Other restaurants around the Disneyland Resort will be offering a
special prix-fixe Vintner’s Menu during the Festival. These
multi-course menus will be available from Napa Rose, Steakhouse 55, the
Vineyard Room, Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen, and Catal.

Also new this year will be the Sparkling Bar, located on the Upper
Terrace of the Golden Vine Winery
(in previous years the site of one of
the demonstration kitchens). At this location champagne and
sparkling wines will be available by the glass and various wine country
tapas will also be for sale.

The Taste event will be returning on the final Saturday evening (May 3) of the Festival. This year tickets will be available to the general public,
and not just to Annual Passholders. In response to guest comments, Jim
told me there will be more sit-down tables available this year, but they
feel they can do that without making the event feel cramped and
overcrowded. That was one of my favorite parts about last year’s Taste
event – it was easy to move around the room to the various food and wine
stations, but we could still always find a table (even if it was a
standing table) where we could set our plates and glasses down and eat.

Other “ticketed” events returning this year are the Winemaker Dinners,
the Napa Rose Cooking School, the Festival Wine Receptions (which this
year include special viewing of the Electrical Parade), and the Taste
Wine Like an Expert classes

Registration for the ticketed events begins on February 15. To
register, visit http://www.disneyland.com/foodandwine. The web site should go-live by February 10, if not before.

More information on the Festival and its events is available on
AllEars’ Disney’s
California Food and Wine Festival
page, where we’ll be adding
more information on the schedule, menus, events and prices as it becomes available, and once the Festival starts we’ll have event reviews and guest

Laura Gilbreath is a native of San Diego, CA. She has been making the trek up Interstate 5 to Disneyland since she was a small child and terrified of talking tikis and hitchhiking ghosts. She and her husband Lee enjoy trips to Disneyland and Walt Disney World, as well as sailings on the Disney Cruise Line.

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