Disney’s California Food and Wine Festival 2009

Disney’s California Food and Wine Festival 2009, one of my favorite annual events, will be back in 2009 with a longer run and an expanded slate of “Signature” events. This year’s Festival is six weeks long, from April 24-June 7, with events held daily. There will be over 600 complimentary demonstrations – everything from cooking demonstrations to wine, beer, and spirit tasting sessions.

There are several new signature events this year that look very interesting to me – starting, not surprisingly, with Sweet Sundays. 🙂 This appears to be very much like the Epcot Food and Wine Festival event of the same name – a buffet breakfast accompanied by sparkling wine, followed by a cooking demonstration by a noted pastry chef, who prepares three desserts that participants then get to sample for themselves. Details as to location, time, and price are not yet available on Disney’s web site, but I’m told they are coming Soon. We will be updating our AllEars page accordingly, so keep an eye HERE, too.

Another new event is called Behind the Scenes With…. There’s not a lot of information on this one yet, but it looks to be a more intimate gathering with a celebrity chef or winemaker, where guests will have the opportunity to interact with him/her and ask questions, all while enjoying appetizers and wine. Scheduled to appear are Guy Fieri, Keegan Gerhard, and John Lasseter. I’m especially excited about the John Lasseter event – I had no idea he and his wife owned a winery. These are currently scheduled to be held in the Animation Courtyard (inside the Animation Building) on select Thursday and Sunday evenings.

The theme of this year’s event is World Celebration, and the World Celebration Dinners are another new event. Each World Celebration dinner will feature a menu and wines from a single country or region. They will be held on select Wednesday evenings at The Vineyard Room restaurant inside Disney’s California Adventure. Again, more details will be forthcoming Soon.

By popular demand, they have added a new Advanced Wine Course class this year. It will also be taught by Michael Jordan, Master Sommelier at the Napa Rose restaurant. This will be a much more intensive experience, and will be taught in a series of three two-hour sessions, held on consecutive days. Students must attend all three days of their session. This one will be held in the Convention Center at the Grand Californian Hotel. There are two sessions: May 5, 6, and 7, and May 12, 13 and 14.

Returning Signature events include the Winemaker Dinners, held on Fridays at Steakhouse 55, the Festival Wine Receptions, the Introduction to Wine Tasting classes, and the Napa Rose Cooking School. In a post from Barry in the rec.arts.disney.parks newsgroup, he said that he had spoken to Chef Andrew Sutton about the cooking school. When Barry expressed an interest in learning about sauces, Chef Sutton said he was going to incorporate that into the class.

Also returning is the popular Taste event. And apparently its popularity has continued to grow since this year it will be held on two nights – June 5 and June 6. The June 5 night is a bonus for those who have Deluxe Annual passes – since that is not a blockout day they won’t be required to purchase a blockout day pass to attend, like they would on June 6. (Southern California and Southern California Select AP holders are still out of luck, though – both days are blocked out for them.)

One area where they are cutting back this year is the food offerings. The Lucky Fortune Cookery is closed for renovation, so they won’t have it available as a location for the Festival Marketplace, where they were able to offer appetizer-sized servings of special Festival foods, wines, and beers. Instead, as they did last year, they will be offering special menu items at most of the restaurants around DCA: Taste Pilot’s Grill, Farmer’s Market, Cocina Cucamonga, Pacific Wharf Cafe, Award Wieners, Pizza Oom Mow Mow and Wine Country Trattoria. If it’s like last year these will be full-sized menu items and not appetizer-sized – which makes it hard to try very many of them. There will also be tapas offered at the Lounge at the Golden Vine Winery, so perhaps they will expand the selection there.

Registration for the Signature Events opens on the Food and Wine web site, http://www.disneyland.com/foodandwine, at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, February 24. Additional information as to locations, prices, and times should be available there soon, if it isn’t already.

Hope to see you at the Festival!

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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