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Greatest & Worst Snacks at 2024 Disney California Journey Meals & Wine Competition


This ranks our 10 favourite savory snacks and decadent desserts on the 2024 Disney California Journey Meals & Wine Competition, which is Disneyland Resort’s spring culinary occasion. We additionally share dishes to keep away from in our ‘worst of’ checklist from the DCA foodie fest.

Slightly than doing particular person market sales space opinions, we wished to spotlight the nice, dangerous & ugly of the 2024 Disney California Journey Meals & Wine Competition. This checklist shares some must-try snacks for these of you visiting within the close to future who desire a concise useful resource of what to eat at this 12 months’s flagship Meals & Wine Competition at Disneyland Resort.

We’ve already tasted our means across the 2024 DCA Meals & Wine Competition, attempting all 17 of the brand new and returning dishes and desserts. All instructed, there are 80 new gadgets, however the overwhelming majority are alcohol. The occasion runs for the following couple of months, by means of April 22, 2024. Numerous favorites from final 12 months have returned, and are pretty much as good as ever.

The Sip & Savor Cross is again for the 2024 Disney California Journey Meals & Wine Competition, providing a commemorative credential, lanyard and tabs redeemable for meals and nonalcoholic drinks on the market cubicles. The brand new-for-2024 twist is which you could both buy a 4-tab or 8-tab Sip & Savor Cross.

We suggest shopping for the Sip & Savor Cross. It’s a superb worth as long as you purchase solely the costliest (savory) gadgets at every meals sales space. Even on the barely increased per-tab value level for the 4-tab model, your per merchandise breakeven price is $7.75 (it’s $7.62 for the 8-tab model).

With a number of savory gadgets on our ‘beneficial’ checklist under clocking in at $8 to $9 every, the cross gives good bang for buck in the event you’re planning on sampling a variety of gadgets on the occasion. Ideally, you’d use the Sip & Savor Cross for savory gadgets and pay for desserts out of pocket–so get the 4-tab or 8-tab model with that plan in thoughts.

Our different suggestion can be ordering as a lot as doable at one sales space. Lots of people don’t understand that is doable, however you possibly can order from any of the menus at any of the cubicles, that means that you just simply save your receipt (DO NOT LOSE IT!) and go to the return line fairly than ready in line to order yet again. We attempt to order from ~3 cubicles at a time, which is in regards to the candy spot. (We’ve achieved extra earlier than, however regretted it. Seems our eyes had been greater than our stomachs.)

Which brings us to a different level–the dishes are very filling regardless of being snack-sized, which is a results of their virtually across-the-board heartiness. That has grow to be the character of the beast with this occasion. We’d’ve described the DCA Meals & Wine Competition delicacies as “too heavy” two years in the past, and it skews even additional in that course for 2024. There are extra sorts of mac & cheese than there are vegetable-centric dishes.

This is smart to an extent–California has plenty of nice avenue meals that’s indulgent or decadent. It’s additionally a state of various and creative flavors, coastal delicacies, and wholesome dwelling. So it’s barely disappointing that the Disney California Journey Meals & Wine Competition virtually singularly focuses on “elevated consolation meals.”

That is stunning provided that EPCOT’s festivals have achieved a greater job at providing a spread of fascinating and bold delicacies, with each lighter and heavier dishes. With that stated, the general high quality of the culinary lineup on the DCA Meals & Wine Competition continues to be very excessive, and with fewer “misses” than its Epcot counterpart. Nonetheless, the menus play issues protected much more than we anticipated.

Anyway, let’s begin with the best-of the Disney California Journey Meals & Wine Competition checklist…

Shrimp Papas Locas (Peppers Cali-Ente) – This dish consists of cheddar-bacon potatoes with jalapeño cheese sauce and chipotle shrimp. That is directly comforting and hearty, whereas even have a wealthy and nuanced taste profile.

It does deliver a bit of warmth, however nothing that ought to scare anybody away. The cheddar-bacon potatoes are out of this world, and the shrimp bathed in cheese sauce–and paired with the potatoes–are additionally glorious. That is proper up there for me as the most effective savory dishes of the DCA Meals & Wine Competition–most likely my #2 choose.

Chile Relleno Empanada (Peppers Cali-Ente) – It’s a fairly comparable story with the empanada on the identical sales space, which is served with Arbol pepper salsa and Oaxaca and Cotija cheeses.

It’s Southern California, so good empanadas are ample in the true world exterior Disneyland. But this nonetheless shines. The pastry is perfectly-prepared, flaky on the skin and doughy inside. One other winner at Peppers Cali-Ente, albeit inferior to the Shrimp Papas Locas. Each are nice makes use of of Sip & Savor credit, too.

Cheeseburger Bao (California Craft Brews) – Served with Thousand Island dressing, grilled onions, pickle, and tomato relish. The Disneyland culinary staff stated they had been attempting for a Massive Mac meets In-N-Out Burger.

I used to be skeptical, however they nailed it. I attempted a few these for, uh, high quality management. Each had been incredible (one was a bit too doughy), with the bao itself being an ideal burger and the dressing plus grilled onions doing an excellent job of mimicking In-N-Out’s Animal Type. It’s nonetheless inferior to the true deal, however I can simply see this changing into a fan-favorite, very like the cheeseburger egg roll at Magic Kingdom in Florida. Extremely beneficial–one other prime 3 dish for me on the 2024 DCA Meals & Wine Competition.

S’mores Caramel Tart (California Craft Brews) – This dessert consists of a graham cracker tart shell full of caramel and chocolate ganache topped with a toasted marshmallow.

I used to be additionally skeptical of this, as Disney is keen on tarts with low-quality crust and really strange components. This far exceeded expectations. The key to success right here is the caramel filling and wealthy chocolate ganache. I wouldn’t say it’s top-tier quality-wise, however it’s adequate as an indulgence. Oh, and that is wealthy. You’ll most likely wish to share it.

Carbonara-Garlic Mac & Cheese (D-Lish) – This elevated mac & cheese has been round for a number of years, bouncing from Garlic Kisses to D-Lish. Along with a pleasant combination of cheeses, the bacon chunks made this a hearty and scrumptious dish.

Of the mac & cheeses dishes served at DCA festivals (and there are plenty of them!), that is far and away my favourite and the one one which I really love. It’s a responsible pleasure dish that’s additionally top quality and scrumptious, rounding out my prime 5 on the pageant. Give me this in a full sized bread bowl over at Aunt Cass Cafe in San Fransokyo Sq.!

Olive Oil Cake (D-Lish) – This cake is glazed with lemon curd, topped with vanilla bean Chantilly, and completed with recent candied lemons, strawberry crunch, and lemon-lime gelée.

Don’t let the title idiot you–it is a lemon-flavored cake, not an olive oil-flavored cake. I’m not notably a fan of lemon desserts, so I solely discovered this to be okay. Sarah, who loves lemon, additionally beloved this. We each thought that it was one of many lighter and fewer wealthy desserts on the DCA Meals & Wine Competition. Undoubtedly value giving a strive!

Snickers Caramel-Peanut Milk Chocolate Mickey Macaron (Nuts About Cheese) – It is a chocolate Mickey Mouse-shaped macaron full of caramel ganache and Snickers items. Does that sound good? It ought to, as a result of it’s incredible!

This wasn’t essentially destined for greatness, however it has grow to be a fan-favorite since launching a number of years again. Whereas Disneyland can do macarons rather well, simply as typically they’re overly synthetic or in any other case miss the mark. Not so right here, that is the most effective model of precisely what you’d anticipate in the event you’re imagining this dessert. This Mickey Macaron is the iconic meals of the DCA Meals & Wine Competition because of its look. Fortunately, it’s additionally scrumptious. Extremely beneficial–one other prime 5 entry.

Carnitas-style Pork Stomach (LA Type Sales space) – This pork stomach with esquites corn mac salad has Asian influences, and is one thing you may discover in Koreatown. The portion right here is sizable, with the meat being wealthy and deeply flavorful–but in addition a bit on the fatty facet (even for pork stomach).

I appreciated this much more than Sarah did–it’d be one among my prime general picks. In the event you’re a more healthy eater or have already had a number of heavy dishes, you may look elsewhere. One other nice use of the Sip & Savor Cross tabs, although.

Grilled Prime Sirloin (Garlic Kisses Sales space) – We each love this–it’s been our #1 savory suggestion of your entire DCA Meals & Wine Competition for the previous few years, a development that continues for 2024. The grilled prime sirloin is an absolute crowd-pleaser, providing an approachable dish for “meat & potatoes” folks in addition to one thing extra bold for foodies.

The roasted garlic-gruyère smashed potatoes with black garlic chimichurri are creamy and addictively scrumptious; the perfectly-prepared meat topped with refreshing chimichurri and fermented black garlic are likewise incredible. Extremely, extremely beneficial.

BBQ Beef Brisket Slider (Cluck-A-Doodle-Moo) – This slider is topped with smoked white cheddar and dill pickles on salt and pepper brioche.

This sales space has achieved variations of the slider up to now and, like these, this beef brisket model was satisfying. We had been skeptical that the briskey can be low high quality, masked by cheese and toppings, however that is actually tasty. The meat is scrumptious by itself, and the opposite components solely improve–not masks–it. And but once more one other nice Sip & Savor merchandise.

Additionally on the Cluck-A-Doodle-Moo sales space is the Cheese Pizza-flavored Wings, which make neither our ‘better of’ nor ‘worst of’ lists. These are roughly precisely what you’d anticipate–hen wings that vaguely style like pizza. I really like hen wings and these are a nice model, however I’m “over” the development of attempting to make them style like another meals. To every their very own, I suppose.

Loaded Carnitas Pretzel Bites (ODVs) – These are discovered at outside merchandising carts all through the park; we ordered ours over by Paradise Gardens. The pretzel bites are piled excessive with carnitas, and accompanied by cheese sauce, salsa verde, cilantro, and onion.

That is the one non-marketplace dish we’ve tried up to now on the 2024 Disney California Journey Meals & Wine Competition. I beloved these as a easy and enjoyable meals. Sarah was much less eager on them. We’re additionally trying ahead to attempting the Pastrami Fries at Smokejumpers Grill, Charcuterie Flatbread at Sonoma Terrace, Rooster Lollipop at Studio Catering Co., and whole menu at Paradise Backyard Grill. We’ll report again on the “outcomes” as soon as we’ve sampled these alternatives.

To recap, the 5 must-order dishes on the 2024 DCA Meals & Wine Competition are as follows:

  1. Grilled Prime Sirloin (Garlic Kisses)
  2. Shrimp Papas Locas (Peppers Cali-Ente)
  3. Cheeseburger Bao (California Craft Brews)
  4. Snickers Mickey Macaron (Nuts About Cheese)
  5. Carbonara-Garlic Mac & Cheese (D-Lish)

From our perspective, the highest 5 is a minimize above every thing else, and any of those might realistically be #1 relying upon what we’re craving. These are the issues it is best to make a degree of attempting above every thing else. (Sarah would add the Olive Oil Cake to the checklist.)

Listed below are the dishes we’d suggest you don’t devour on the 2024 Disney California Journey Meals & Wine Competition…

Worst of DCA Meals & Wine

Earth Eats Sales space – The 2 dishes listed below are:

  • IMPOSSIBLE Rooster Parm Bites with tomato and cheese sauces and grated parmesan
  • IMPOSSIBLE Beef Stroganoff: Egg noodles tossed in a mushroom cream sauce with IMPOSSIBLE beef and bitter cream

Each are unbelievably dangerous. You may even say they’re Impossibly terrible. And by that, I imply how did these even get authorised for the menus? Did anybody with functioning style buds strive them beforehand? Of the 2, the hen parm bites are the larger offender, tasting like breaded cardboard slathered with flavorless sauce and flavorless cheese.

By comparability, the meat stroganoff is okay-ish, because the pretend meat right here is ok and the noodles aren’t the worst factor ever. However the totality of the dish continues to be bland and boring, largely devoid of taste or depth. The issue with each dishes is that they’re too dependent upon pretend variations of actual meals, and in consequence, there’s little or no that’s regular to masks the lab-made elements. In any case, this sales space is a straightforward skip. Earth Eats makes the Italy sales space at EPCOT appear like a master-class within the culinary arts.

Baja-style Fish Taco (LA Type) – This “fish” taco is served with cabbage slaw, cilantro-lime crema and pico de gallo. I didn’t understand this was plant-based after I first began consuming it, and my preliminary response was, “wow, they used a low-quality fish stick for the meat right here.” Upon realizing it was plant-based, I felt a little bit higher in regards to the taco…however nonetheless not nice.

The distinction between this taco and the Earth Eats stuff is that there’s an ample quantity of toppings right here and it virtually works at masking the flavour of the fake-meat fish. Not fairly, although. In the event you’re dead-set on attempting this dish, don’t let me dissuade you–it’s not practically as dangerous because the “meals” at Earth Eats.

Ultimately, my disappointment with these three dishes just isn’t merely a vendetta in opposition to Inconceivable or plant-based meals. On the contrary, I might love some lighter and veggie-forward counterprogramming to the comforting delicacies on the different cubicles. The issue is that these dishes are largely extra of the identical–heavy and hearty, however not practically pretty much as good. This made me actually miss the Artichoke sales space, which had provided exactly that previously. Your mileage could differ, although.

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Do you’ve any favourite–or least favourite–savory snacks or decadent desserts on the 2024 Disney California Journey Meals & Wine Competition? Will you be attending the occasion? Any new or returning cubicles you’re excited to strive? Do you agree or disagree with our picks for the most effective & worst dishes on the 2024 Disney California Journey Meals & Wine Competition? Share any questions, ideas, or further ideas you’ve within the feedback!