Sunday, November 13, 2016

Disneyland Festival of Holidays

Happy Sunday! Well today was supposed to be a relaxing day at home, cleaning the house and just getting prepped for the week. Well once everyone was awake, Theresa asked "Do you want to go to the Festival of Holidays at Disneyland?" Umm. Yes!
This little boy was certainly excited too! He turned 3 just a couple days ago, which means he finally gets his own Annual Pass! Now he has a card like Mommy and Daddy!

I did warn Theresa ahead of time that this morning was the RunDisney Super Heroes Half Marathon, so the parks would likely be a little bit crazy. Undaunted we pressed on. Knowing that parking is always crazy at the Mickey and Friends lot, I had already thought of going to the Toy Story parking lot. When we drove down Interstate 5 and saw the exit ramped backed up into the lanes of traffic on the interstate, I was pretty sure we had made the right decision.
Well we made our way over to the Toy Story lot only to be greeted by rows of orange cones and signs saying that the lot was closed! Closed? How could it be closed?
So in the end, we did something we've never done at Disneyland before. We drove through a nearby neighborhood, found street parking, and walked 1.2 miles to the Disneyland entrance plaza.

Alli will take off walking and never even look back. Keep up with her Ian.

It's Holiday Time at the Disneyland Resort! Disney California Adventure is celebrating a Festival of Holidays.

Phew. Really expensive for us, but someone is happy that he has his own annual pass now.

Oh yeah. Now I'm remembering that Theresa asked me to comb his hair before we left the house this morning. Oops. Well now he's going to have a wild picture linked to his Annual Pass.

There's lots of events going on during the Festival of Holidays, but the one we're here for is the Festive Foods Marketplace Kiosks. After the spring Food and Wine festival was such a success, there were rumors that it would be coming back again around Christmastime, but now with a holiday theme. This is the first weekend of the event, and the whole thing wraps up January 8th.

After having only 8 booths earlier this year at the Food and Wine Festival, now there are 14 food booths and they're a little bit more spread out than before. Very happy about that.

Well, there's one thing that hasn't changed. High prices and tiny portions.
Meh, this is what we're here for so I'm not going to not get something, but I'll probably be a little less cavalier with my choices.
We'll start the day at Nosh and Nibbles. Here we sampled a Brisket Potato Croquette with Horseradish Creme - $7.50.
After getting handed this, I was thinking... Um.. This is 6 tater tots...
Removing some of the brisket on top, I discovered I was wrong and that it's 3 long potato pieces. Well it's about the same size. Flavor-wise, I didn't think it was anything special. Brisket, mushrooms, horseradish and potato. Not bad, but no-where close to being worth $7.50. It's 11am and I was thinking there weren't many lines because it was too early. Maybe it's just too expensive.

Our next stop was at the Heritage Cottage with a Braised Beef Short Rib with Smashed Potatoes & Sauerbraten Sauce - $8.75

Well at least it's a chunk of meat.

Alli wasn't interested. Theresa said "it's steak" and then she opened her mouth. After tasting it though, she gave T quite the look like "this is not steak".

Spice Salutations was our next booth. I forgot to take a picture before we started chowing down, but here is the Chicken and Potato Curry with Kafir Cream & Grilled Naan - $6.50. Out of all the items we tried today, this was my favorite, along with T. Even Ian and Alli kept opening their mouths whenever we offered it, so you know it's got to be good. And for all the other booths that skimp with their portions, I thought this was actually a good deal.

Along with the curry, I ordered a creamy dessert, just in case the curry was too spicy. Here's the Cardamom & Saffron Sweet Cheese Tart with Mulled Fruit - $4.25.

Ian and I taking turns getting bites.

At each of the booths, the cast members would usually make small talk while you're waiting for your food. Many of them talked up the Southern Home Holidays booth and the jalapeño mac and cheese. Well I guess we'll have to try that.
Once we arrived, this was the only booth that I asked for one of everything.
Shown are the Grilled Spicy Chicken Sausage with Red Beans & Rice - $7.50 and the Southern Mac & Cheese with Jalapeño Corn Bread Crumble - $7.00.
Oh man. They need to underline Spicy or something. I'm the kind of guy who puts tabasco on pizza and habanero sauce on my burritos, but even I could tell that this had some heat to it. It was tasty, but for the size and the price, I doubt I'd get it again.
The mac and cheese tasted pretty good too. The mac was good, though T thought the crumbles tasted more like stale croutons than they did cornbread.

For dessert, most of us enjoyed the Sweet Potato Pie with Candied Pecans - $4.50. I'm not sure what that is on top, but it's not ice cream. Even after finishing the two dishes above, it still hadn't melted. All four of us dug in, and we all enjoyed this dessert.

After spending $46 on food so far, T and I were starting to get full. We skipped quite a few booths and instead went to the one T wanted to try.

Okay, here's my contender for the worst deal of the festival. The Chicken Cilantro Tamale with Roasted Tomatillo Salsa Verde - $7.50 and the Beef & Cheese Tamale with Red Chile Sauce - $8.00. Neither of these were very good. A bit of masa and not very much filling. And seriously, $8 for a single tamale? After a few bites of each, these ended up on the top of the stroller and would eventually be fed to the ducks.

As we were finishing our meal, we heard "Theresa! Theresa!" It's our co-worker Catherine and her family enjoying DCA today too! It's fun when you randomly meet friends in the parks!

Let's go on a ride!

The 5 of us all loaded into the Golden Zephyr.


Alli really loves riding!

Once we came to a stop, we got out and headed to the exit. Ian said "Let's ride it again!" The cast member overheard him and said "Go ahead!" Sweet!

Hi! In the end, we all rode it three times.

Next Ian wanted to go on the Ariel ride.

Hi guys!

Alli was waving at everyone, including Ursula.

And as is the case for most rides, after we exit we hear, "Let's ride again!"

Time to tell Lucas goodbye. See you later!

"Mommy, I want to feed the ducks." But we don't have any bread. "Why do we don't have bread?"
No worries Ian. I know where to get some bread. At the Boudin bakery tour we each got a small sample of sourdough bread.

Ian enjoyed tossing the ducks bread, as well as the aforementioned tamales.

No one on the stage here now, but we enjoyed hearing the group that did take the stage singing Christmas carols.

The park is surprisingly uncrowded today, especially for being the first week of the holidays. The carousel is popular with the littles so we rode it one time.

Two times.

Three times.
Yes Alli, that's the otter's tongue.

And yes, that's your tongue too.

It's Jacob! He hasn't eaten lunch yet, so I recommended the curry and the spicy sausage. He agreed that the curry was really tasty. And that the sausage was particularly spicy.

There's one more booth we wanted to make sure we hit today. The best way to end our noshing is at the Treats For Santa booth.

We'll start with something savory, like the Harvest Puff Pastry with Leeks and Parmesan - $4.25. I thought this was quite tasty and wouldn't mind having one again.

But Santa isn't really into Puff Pastry with Leeks, is he? No, when you think treats for Santa, you're thinking cookies.
There are 6 different cookie choices available and you can get 1, 2, or 3 cookies for $3.75, $6.50, and $9.25. We got a classic Holiday Mickey sugar cookie with frosting. Ian was presented three color choices and chose green. The cast member asked what color his tongue was going to be when he was done and he said "Green!"

Alli getting some cookie too.

The Sugar Glazed Ginger Snap was a hit with everyone. It was a decent size and was pretty tasty.

The Spiced Chocolate Candy Cane was a little small, and no one could taste any spice in it. But other than the size, it was not bad for a peppermint chocolate cookie.


How about that tongue Ian?

So what's going on back here?

Just underneath the ramp for Grizzly River Rapids was a booth with a couple cast members scanning passes and giving away buttons. You can see one on Ian's shirt below. Also was a special photo spot for passholders.

Not far away was a table with coloring pages for kids.

T and I had thought to take the kids to see Santa, but once we arrived and saw the line, our minds were quickly changed. After telling Ian though that we were going to see Santa, he of course asked if we were going to see him. Luckily Ian was content waving to Santa and signing his name in Santa's nice list.

Well it was a fun day at Disneyland. Can't believe how hot it was for being the middle of November. I think it hit 90 here today. After eating all that food, both Theresa and I were fine with the long walk back to the car. Alli was quite happy to be bouncing up and down on my shoulders.

We must have worn Ian out.

And on the drive home, both of them decided to knock out.

Well with all the holiday prep going on, it might be a few weeks until we're back at Disneyland again. I'm glad we took a special trip today to go see the festivities!

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