It’s that magical time of the year . . . Spring is just about to burst out in a glorious riot of blooms and color. We’ve had some heavy rain in the past week, cool temperatures as well, but that should moderate over the next few weeks. That also means Spring Break is nearly upon us. Crowds from some of the early schools will start appearing at the Disneyland Resort as soon as next week. To help soak up those extra bodies, Disney California Adventure has just launched its 2018 Food and Wine Festival. Let’s take a look around at the festival, Star Wars and Pixar Pier construction and a few other little tidbits from the Disneyland Resort.
Food and Wine Festival
If you are a pass holder, you can buy a tasting card for $45 which gives you 8 items from the festival booths this year (food only, no alcohol). Head to the camera shop on Buena Vista Street or to the Hollywood Pictures Backlot to buy your card.
A group of MiceChatters headed into the festival on Sunday to give it all a try. (don’t miss out on events like this, join our Sunday Fun Days Facebook Group HERE)
Although you’ll find merchandise, entertainment, and even some vendor booths, it’s the food and beverage that draws most folks to the festival.
Warning, it’s busy this year.
The festival launched with HUGE crowds. Lines for the popular booths were long and took about 20 to 30 minutes to the register. Our recommendation is to visit during the week if you can.
Nuts about Cheese is also hidden away in the backlot. Just to the left of it is a merchandise shack where you can buy your tasting card (available for APs only).
Unlike the Epcot version of the event, all the booths at DCA look the same. That gives the festival a bit of a generic feel, but it also has a simple elegance to it. The event as a whole has improved vastly over the years, though the change was incremental from last year to this year. It’s mostly the same event you remember from 2017.
The least popular booth at this year’s festival seems to be “Eat Your Greens” which never has a line.
The food is all pretty good. Some items like the tacos, burgers and most of the steak items are very good. We’ve only sampled a small portion of the items (which cost us a small fortune as well) and have yet to run across something that didn’t agree with us. We’d love to hear your thoughts on what the hits and misses are so others can avoid the expense of a bad item.What are your DCA Food and Wine Festival hit and misses this year? Click To Tweet
If all the walking and crowds get you down, head back to the Paradise Garden area. The Garden Grill is now serving a special festival menu and there’s a Beer Garden as well, so you can sit, relax, and listen to some great festival entertainment! This is my goto spot.
Some friends of ours were on stage this past week, Five Got Rythm. The’re a fun swing band and their vibe suited the festival.
The Jammin’ Chefs were also performing in the Paradise lagoon area.
And the pop-up stage in the Paradise Pier seating area for World of Color had a cover band backed by video screens. They pulled in a pretty good sized crowd.
First off, this isn’t really a merchandise event. While Disney pulls together some of the food and wine related items that they already have in stores, they also produce a few festival only items. This year’s Mickey image is quite good. They’ve also moved the featured artists from Off the Page (where they were last year) to an inexplicably hidden spot behind the Coke building in the Hollywood Pictures Backlot (not too far from Monster’s Inc). When I say hidden, I mean it. You will not find the artists unless you really look for them around the back of the building.
See this refreshment building with the super long lines . . . the Disney artists are hiding behind it. Seriously.
This past weekend they had beloved artists Mike and Patty Peraza. Mike was the art director for Little Mermaid, Duck Tales and tons of Disney animated films. He actually met his wife Patty when they were working together on a project (I want to say Mickey’s Christmas Carol but I can’t quite remember). Patty created a piece for the festival which is sort of like a quilt. It’s stunning.
Fine artists like the Peraza’s will appear every weekend during the festival.
Don’t forget to head back to this hidden spot and meet the artists in person. They’ve scheduled a lot of first-rate talent for this hidden spot.
You’ll find demonstrations on the Sonoma Terrace, on the stage in the Hollywood Pictures Backlot, and celebrity chefs in the Hyperion Theater.
Pixar Pier Rising
There’s not much time left for Disney to get the Pier ready for Summer.
DCA This and That
Every year during Food and Wine Festival, I like to take a look at the vineyard at the Golden Vine Winery. At the beginning of the festival, the vines look like dead sticks. But by the end of the festival, they are fully leafed out and lush green. For me, they are a symbol of rebirth and spring awakening.
The first little bits of green are JUST starting to bud. The growth will be quick.
In Bugs Land, the temporary wrap over the mural remains a mess. The west corner of the wrap is already failing, the colors don’t match, and the seems are already bunching up.
Black Panther’s arrival is dramatic. He’s using the same vehicle that Black Widdow used last summer.
Gone Hollywood has gone Mickey. The shop just to your left as you enter Hollywood Land previously featured Marvel and Star Wars items. It is now entirely Mickey. With this being Mickey’s 90’s anniversary, we expect to see lots more Mickey everywhere this year.
Your arrival experience at Disneyland has been changed a bit. If you park at Mickey and Friends, you come down the escalator and then double back into the ground floor of the parking structure for security screening and tram loading. The tram route itself has been reversed – trams now run clockwise instead of counter-clockwise.
Once you hit the bottom of the escalators, you head back inside . . .
Security doesn’t have as much room to queue you up, so they’ve spread out the metal detectors and seem to be better staffed than normal.
Meanwhile, in Downtown Disney, there are even more projects going on.
Construction walls have finally gone up at the old Build a Bear location. Two new restaurant brewhouses will be going into this building side by side.
The temporary dress shop between the two restaurants is still open for now and has a great collection at the moment. It’s neat to see so many unique and fashonable items. Wish they had items as fun as this for the men.
The Orange Bird dress comes in two versions, an orange and purple and an orange and cream. Surprising to see Orange Bird so popular here when he was a Disney World character.
Naples patio construction and remodel continues. They remain open through all the work.
And the massive redo of the World of Disney is also well underway. Half of the store is now off limits and the construction wall separating the two halves has been obscured a bit with shelving and signage.
The new purchase with purchase item is a Mickey Mouse tote. Would make a nice pool bag for summer or gym or diaper bag.
We expect all the whimsical character props to be removed from the store when it reopens.
I’m not a fan of trash can merchandising. Doesn’t it look like they’ve thrown Shelly Mae and Duffy in the trash? Unappealing.
Star Wars Land Construction
Things look mostly the same this week as they did last week, at least from the outside looking in. Work on the interior of the attractions is now at a fever pitch. Ride systems are being installed. Sets and lighting will follow. What we have been focused on is all the rock-work. It’s truly impressive and on a massive scale.
The show buildings are already the largest in the resort and these mountains tower over them.
From inside the park, the rocks will hide the buildings. You can see how they are using forced perspective and floating pieces to achieve the illusion of scale and depth.
And that brings us to the end of another update. Two in one week from Disneyland. But we’ve also got a Knott’s Boysenberry Festival Update for you HERE and a beautiful Epcot Food and Wine Festival Update for you HERE.
Don’t miss out on our Boysenberry Festival meet-up on March 18th. Info HERE.
|THANK YOU FOR READING!|
|All of us on the Disneyland Photo Update crew would like to thank you for joining us today. My thanks to Dsny Debbie for eating all that Festival food so you don’t have to. Yes, it’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it. Am I right?!
Do you live in SoCal or plan to make a trip soon? Want to meet up with your fellow MiceChatters in the parks and tourist hot spots all over Southern California? Join our new MiceChat Sunday Fun Days Group today!