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 comments.