20 Disney Festival Of Holidays 2022 Foods And Drinks, Ranked Worst To Best

It's the most wonderful time of the year at the Disneyland Resort: the holidays. Every year from November through early January, Disney pulls out all the stops in merchandise, food, and drink; and this year is no different. Everywhere you look there's merriment from the giant Christmas tree on Main Street to the characters dressed in their holiday best. But it doesn't stop there, a trip to the resort isn't complete without plenty of holiday-themed treats. 

There are over 100 different holiday sips and bites to be tasted throughout the parks (via Disney Parks), and while trying them all might be a hard task to swallow, it's not impossible. Sure, there are plenty of sweets, including the standard seasonal churros, hot chocolate variations, and over-the-top ice cream sundaes, but there are several savory options as well. 

While Disneyland Park seems to keep it sweet and easy, Disney California Adventure covers the gamut of food and drink thanks to its annual Disney Festival of Holidays. We've taken on the great task of tasting through the fest (items are available at year-round brick-and-mortar locations as well as temporary kiosks located throughout the park) so you don't have to. Below, we've covered our Disney California Adventure holiday food tour and ranked each item from worst to best so you know which foods and beverages to avoid and which to run to as soon as those cute little kiosks open. 

20. Chicken Tikka Masala

All we can say with this chicken tikka masala is, "where's the chicken?" This savory snack served at the Favorite Things kiosk was seriously lacking in its main protein. It took a bit of digging to find any chicken, and once we did finally strike gold and located a morsel or two, they were such tiny pieces, we weren't sure if it was poultry or a chicken-flavored piece of rice. While the cardamom basmati rice was quite delicious, it didn't make up for the lack of the signature protein

As for the sauce, it was way too spicy to stomach. We understand that Indian food tends to be on the spicier side, but there's spicy and then there's oh my god, I can't feel my tongue! One bite was all it took before we were slugging down our entire bottle of water. The lemon raita cuts some of the spice, but not enough to make a difference. Unless you're a heatseeker and a big fan of rice, we'd suggest skipping this item.

19. Maple-Hazelnut Hot Buttered Rum

This time of year, there's nothing better on a chilly evening than a piping hot cocktail. And if you're a rum fan, the best choice is definitely a hot buttered rum. So, once the sun started to set on the Festival, we hurried right over to Making Spirits Bright to grab a mug. Sadly, the Maple-Hazelnut Hot Buttered Rum failed to lift our spirits. Instead, it dashed them completely. 

Among the myriad issues with the beverage: There was no maple flavor, it was overwhelmed whipped cream full of salted hazelnut syrup, and the rum was so strong we were afraid to get anywhere near an open flame. If you're looking for a quick way to warm up with no fear of getting sloshed in the process, then this is the drink for you. But if you prefer a classic version where the sweet/salty butter batter melds perfectly with the hot rum, skip this cocktail and go for one of the other tipples provided throughout the park.

18. Atomic Pretzel

If there's one thing Disney's known for other than its churro, it's the pretzel. Often found in Mickey-form, the twisted snack is a great option when you want something simple and savory that will tide you over until the next big meal. However, the Atomic Pretzel, located at Pym's Test Kitchen, is anything but basic — and in this case, that's not a good thing. There's so much going on, we weren't sure what to make of it. Neither lunch, dinner, or dessert, this pretzel left us perplexed. 

If it were just covered with cinnamon sugar that would have been enough to satisfy both our sweet and salty cravings. But then the chefs drizzled hot caramel over it. Okay, that's a nice, holiday addition, and if they'd stopped there, we still would have been okay with it. But the toppings kept coming with the addition of crumbled candied-pepper bacon pieces as well as a bacon apple compote. Talk about gilding the lily. 

We could only get through two or three bites before we had to give up. The combination of the doughy pretzel, rich caramel sauce, and overly sweet apple compote, overwhelmed our taste buds. We love salty and sweet as much as the next person, but this was so far over the top, it went from atomic to subatomic in the blink of an eye.

17. Brisket Slider

There's just something about a slider. It's the perfect bite-sized snack to quiet that growling stomach without weighing you down. We love them, especially when they're made with something other than ground beef. Thankfully, Winter Sliderland provides Disney California Adventure patrons with not one, but two sliders this holiday season. While both are on this list, one is worth the trip to Sliderland while the other definitely isn't. 

We start with the brisket slider. Made up of thick-sliced beef, smoked onions, and horseradish ketchup on a pretzel bun, this slider could have been great ... if it weren't for the mean. When cooked correctly, brisket can be one of the best cuts of meat out there: tender, juicy, and full of flavor. It should fall apart easily when bitten into, but that was not the case with this brisket.  

The best way to prepare brisket is low and slow. Classically one of the tougher cuts of beef, it needs to be cooked for several hours in order to achieve the desired tenderness. But this brisket was dry and lacked flavor. There was just nothing special sandwiched in the middle of the pretzel bun. Even the smoked onions and horseradish ketchup couldn't improve upon this little sandwich.  So, while we'll definitely return to Winter Sliderland, it won't be this one. 

16. Turkey Poutine

Even though Thanksgiving has passed, if you're still craving a nice holiday meal with all the fixings, this turkey poutine from Merry Mashups may be for you. But if it were up to us, we'll stick with the homemade meal we enjoyed with our family as this was not the Thanksgiving feast we remember. While it has all the fixings from turkey and gravy to sweet potatoes and cranberries, this whole is definitely not greater than the sum of its parts.

The turkey was dry and lacked flavor. The sweet potatoes were just roasted chunks and the gravy was pretty much a non-descript brown liquid. We didn't understand the point of the cheese curds as they also lacked flavor and no Thanksgiving meal we've ever attended included cheese. The only bright spot was the sugared cranberries as they finally added some flavor to this otherwise bland bite. So, if you're looking for something savory, keep going down our list as there are several other options that far outshine this poutine. 

15. Guava-Melon Lassi

When we think of the holidays, we see visions of sugar plums dancing, snowflakes dotting cheeks, and plenty of colorful treats to awaken our senses. That's clearly what the beverage Imagineers behind this drink had in mind when they created it. While this guava-melon lassi from A Twist on Tradition is something to behold, drinking it is quite another story. A pretty pink concoction covered in cinnamon whipped cream and honeycomb cereal, we couldn't wait to sip this mocktail, especially on a hot day. But after one suck off that paper straw, our desires changed immediately.

What we thought would be a lusciously creamy drink full of melon turned out to be a liquid Sweet-Tart on acid. We thought stirring it up would help and while that definitely mellowed out the flavor from the rock-melon syrup, it didn't really fix the problem. Even the yogurt which gave the drink a nice, cool, creamy texture couldn't help the overly sweet syrup that rocked this sipper. It wasn't until the ice started to melt and dilute the flavors that we were able to sort of enjoy the lassi. Sort of. We were only able to take a few more sips before we decided to toss the drink altogether. 

14. Lox and Everything Bagel Nachos

We love a good plate of nachos. Those crispy taco chips covered in a cheesy sauce ... it's a great snack. But better than classic nachos, we love a good twist. Well, A Twist on Tradition lives up to that name by giving us its take: Lox and Everything Bagel Nachos. A little tray filled with bagel chips and doused with cream cheese, smoked salmon, everything spice, tomatoes, purple onions, and capers, this snack would be a great brunch option. And while we wouldn't mind nibbling on a chip or two if our friend bought this snack, we wouldn't search it out ourselves. 

Don't misunderstand, this wasn't the worst thing we tasted, but it wasn't the best either. Again, this is a case of too much going on. While bagels, lox, and cream cheese often come with all the extra fixings, we tend to go simpler and opt for just the cream cheese and smoked salmon. Since everything is all piled on top of each other, the flavors get a little garbled. It's hard to separate the salty capers from the spicy onions, or the tomatoes from the smoked salmon. You know that classic saying "too much of a good thing," well that's what you have with these nachos. Maybe if they left off the capers or tomatoes, these nachos would have been higher on our list, but with the way it currently stands, it lands closer to the middle.

13. Esquite Corn Fritters

All of this year's holiday offerings aren't just limited to those cute little kiosks that line Buena Vista Street. There are a few options at several of the brick-and-mortar spots within Disney California Adventure as well. One such offering is this cardboard cone filled with tasty esquite corn fritters. Available in Cars Land at the Cozy Cone, these battered bites are full of flavor. We just wish they were just the fritters on their own without all the extra fixings. 

The corn Fritters are everything you want in a deep-fried treat. Crispy on the outside with a creamy, moist corn batter inside and a light sprinkling of chile-lime seasoning, they were absolutely delicious. And if that had been all that was inside the cute little cone they came in, we would have gobbled them all up and gone back for seconds. Unfortunately, that's not all there is. 

On top of those delicious fritters is a chile-lime dressing, cotija cheese, and pico de gallo. While one of these could have been okay, all together it was just too much. The cotija cheese was overpowering and while the dressing was delicious, it made the fritters soggy.  

12. Mrs. Claus' Hot Cocoa Macaron

The macaron is another treat often found at the Disneyland Resort. While some flavors are offered year round, there's always a special option or two that show up during the holidays. This year they've given us Mrs. Claus' Hot Cocoa Macaron. Inspired by the Disney+ series, "The Santa Clauses," this sweet treat can be found at the Favorite Things kiosk.

A good macaron is comprised of two things: the light and airy macaron and the creamy filling sandwiched in the middle. It can be a delightful treat to satisfy your sweet tooth. But that's only when both parts come together harmoniously. While the bright red macaron is absolutely delicious, the hot cocoa filling is slightly off-tune. Instead of a creamy cup of hot chocolate, it tastes more like chocolate cheesecake with a saltiness that's a little jarring. 

The best part of the macaron is the rich, thick chocolate ganache in the center. If that were the only filling, this cookie would be much higher on our list. But that hot chocolate cream is why this macaron ends up in the middle. It's a fine treat, but in the long line of delicious Disneyland macarons, it falls short. 

11. Pumpkin Layered Cheesecake

Who doesn't love a good pumpkin dessert during the holidays? If you didn't get enough of all the Disneyland Pumpkin sweet treats offered during the Oogie Boogie Bash, here's one more to try.  

Located at Grandma's Recipes, the pumpkin layered cheesecake actually tastes like something you'd find in your grandma's kitchen. Prepared with layers of New York cheesecake and moist pumpkin cake on top of a graham cracker crust, it's light and sweet and full of all that holiday pumpkin spice we look for this time of year. 

The only reason it landed square toward the middle of our list was that there were other sweet treats that were just better. While this cheesecake checks all the holiday boxes, there was nothing special about it. A little richer than your standard pie, it definitely scratches that pumpkin itch. But if you only want to eat one or two sweet things, and pumpkin isn't your flavor of choice, we'd suggest trying something else. 

10. Curry Mac 'n Cheese

We love a classic mac 'n cheese. It's the comfort food we all want when the weather turns cold and Disneyland definitely knows how to make it. It's such a hit, in fact, that you'll find not one, but three different renditions this year at the Disney Festival of Holidays. This curry version can be found at the Twist on Tradition kiosk, and it's definitely worth a trip. 

The mac n' cheese is nice and creamy with a subtle curry flavor, but it's the cilantro oil that kicks this mac over the top. If you're not a cilantro fan, then this isn't the mac for you. But if you're like us and love that little green herb, then we're happy to report it added a nice zing to an otherwise standard mac and cheese. As a matter of fact, the only thing we weren't wild about is the addition of spicy, crispy garbanzo beans. They had a nice crunch but were just way too spicy to appreciate. We actually ended up pushing all those crispy beans off to the side just so we could enjoy the mac n'chese on its own, and unless you're a spice fan, we'd recommend you do the same.

9. Mickey Mouse-shaped Gingerbread Cookie

Gingerbread cookies are as integral to the holidays as Mickey Mouse is to Disneyland. So, the folks behind the Disney Festival of Holidays decided to combine these two classics into one giant cookie. And when we say giant, we mean giant. The Mickey Mouse-shaped gingerbread cookie from the Making Spirits Bright kiosk is big enough to enjoy yourself as long as you don't eat anything else, or you can do what we did and split it between two or three people. But whether you indulge all on your own or share with friends, this is a cookie you should definitely pick up if for no other reason than the novelty. You are at Disneyland after all.

While the cookie isn't the best gingerbread we've ever tasted, it's not bad. It's got a decent amount of ginger flavor, a nice sugar glaze over the top, and plenty of red and green sprinkles. The only thing we weren't wild about was the texture. Gingersnaps are supposed to be hard and crisp while gingerbread is supposed to be moister. This cookie fell somewhere in the middle. So, even though it's not a bad cookie, it wasn't our favorite treat at the Festival.

8. Pork Belly Adobo

If you're a pork or bacon fan, you're going to love this savory option from Holiday Duets. Depending on where you are in the world, adobo can be made up of very different ingredients. While Spanish Adobo is usually a rub or marinade made up of chilies and various spices, Filipino adobo tends to be a whole dish of meat or seafood that's marinated in vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic. Based on flavor alone, it's clear the chefs who came up with this delectable pork bite for the Festival were going for the Filipino flavors, and they definitely succeeded.

A little salty and delightfully tangy, this pork belly was absolutely delicious. The meat was tender and every bite was more flavorful than the last. When combined with the garlic fried rice, we got a dish that we not only loved but would have absolutely returned to the kiosk and asked for seconds.The only reason this pork belly isn't higher on our list is because of the large layer of fat in the middle of the thick slice of meat. We understand that pork belly comes with a substantial amount of fat, we just wish they had figured out a way to remove it.

7. Esquites Carnitas Mac & Cheese

Since your basic mac and cheese is a blank slate to which you can add whatever you want from bacon to lobster, the chefs at this year's Festival Holidays took that to heart when they created three different macaroni and cheeses. While the curry mac was solid but had its faults, the esquites carnitas mac & cheese from Merry Mashups is absolutely amazing! 

The carnitas are so flavorful, and taste like they were marinated and slow-cooked for hours. When combined with the creamy mac & cheese, it reminded us of a carnitas quesadilla. But since carnitas aren't complete without onions, cilantro, and salsa, you get those flavors as well, thanks to the corn and salsa macha mixed in with the pasta. 

But this isn't your typical Disneyland mac for the kiddies. Thanks to those spicy puffed rice crispies sprinkled over the top, this version has some serious kick. You may not notice it on your first bite, but after two or three, we can tell you there's some major afterburn. Still, if you're looking for a bowl full of comfort to get you through the evening hours (and don't mind some significant heat), the esquites carnitas mac & cheese is absolutely the way to go.

6. Chocolate Bourbon-flavored Tart

Are you a left Twix or a right Twix person? Can't decide, no problem! Thanks to this sweet treat available at Visions of Sugarplums you don't have to choose. You get both in one deliciously rich tart. Even if you don't like those chocolate cookie bars, if you love chocolate and caramel, you're going to love this. A tart that's the size of our hand, this mini pie is full of chocolate ganache and caramel layers. 

Unlike the candy which it's modeled after, the chocolate in this tart isn't too sweet. It's a thick, rich, semi-sweet chocolate that reminds us of a luscious fudge instead. But this tart doesn't stop there. Underneath the chocolate is a blanket of tasty caramel that adds a nice salty-sweet layer to balance out the flavors. And if you're wondering about the cookie, that's where the crust comes in. Light and flakey, it's the perfect compliment to what could have been a too-rich-to-stomach holiday pie. So, if you love the combination of chocolate and caramel, this treat would be a great way to end your tour through the Disney Festival of Holidays. 

5. Impossible Meatloaf

Meatloaf is one of those classic dinners we all grew up with. It was something Mom threw together on a busy winter night that we enjoyed with potatoes and maybe a little gravy. Since it's such a classic family meal, it makes sense that the chefs added it to Grandma's Recipes for the Disney Festival of Holidays. But like all things at the festival, this meatloaf comes with a twist: vegetarians can enjoy it too! That's right, this meatloaf isn't made with ground turkey or beef; instead, it's made with Impossible Beef. 

Though it combines soy, coconut, yeast, and food starches, per Impossible Foods, this "beef" absolutely tastes like the real thing. We were genuinely surprised to discover that the nice thick slice, which is doused in a white country gravy and served on top of a scoop of creamy mashed potatoes, was as delicious as meatloaf one Nana used to make. One bite and we were immediately transported back to all those winters spent at our grandmother's house during Christmas break. The crispy shallots sprinkled over the top added a nice pop of sweetness that tied the whole dish together. If you're a meatloaf fan, do not miss this. The only way it could have been better was if there were more of it.

4. Huckleberry Sake Sangria

One of the things that Disney California Adventure is known for is its abundance of beer, wine, and cocktails. So, of course, there were going to be ample cocktail and mocktail options throughout the Festival. While there were a few misses, the huckleberry sake sangria, poured at Holiday Duets, was not one of them. Made with merlot and huckleberry syrup, the East-meets-West cocktail is beautiful to behold thanks to its maroon color and bright orange wheel garnish. But if you're concerned that this sipper might be on the strong side, don't be.

Even though a classic sangria is made with a higher-proof liquor, the mixologists behind this tipple decided to switch out the brandy and orange liqueur for the lower ABV sake. It's an interesting alternative that adds a nice sweet flavor that melds well with the red merlot and huckleberry syrup. But they don't stop there; the barmen also added a float of sparkling water to give the drink a nice festive feel. Overall, this sangria is a nice light option if you're looking for something to imbibe while walking the park.

3. Holiday Ham Slider

We mentioned earlier how much we love a good slider. Those little buns that are stuffed with so much yumminess, you can't believe it's only a bite or two. While that other slider from Winter Sliderland isn't even worth a sniff, this Holiday Ham Slider is a must-try. Every part of this slider is pure magic from the thick slices of ham to the melted Gruyere to the salt and pepper brioche bun. 

But the ingredient that really knocks this slider out of the park is the cranberry-bacon jam. The folks at Disneyland should take that jam and bottle it for us to take home. It's sweet and tangy with just a hint of salty goodness thanks to the bacon. While we could've eaten that jam straight and been fully satisfied, the condiment's sweet tang perfectly complimented the savory ham and Gruyere, elevating the whole sandwich to another festive level. 

2. Peppermint Bark Bread Pudding

Peppermint bark is one of those classic holiday treats that can be found all over the country during the holiday season. So, it makes sense that the chefs at Disney California Adventure would want to turn the chocolate treat into a special dessert for the Festival. It could have been a brownie, cookie, or cupcake, but instead, they made bread pudding, a dessert of which we're not big fans.

Made with chunks of bread and plenty of sugar, we've often found this confectionary to be very heavy and way too sweet. And when we saw this pale pink dessert, piled high with whipped cream and a crème anglaise, it seemed to highlight all the things we hate about bread pudding. We couldn't have been more wrong!

This bread pudding was absolutely the best food item we tried all day. There was a subtle peppermint flavor throughout the dessert and just the right amount of dark chocolate chips. While it's piled high with whipped cream, a creamy anglaise, and flakes of peppermint, the topping didn't take away from the dessert. Instead, it added to the whole experience. Served piping hot, it's a gorgeous pink treat that's definitely worth a trip to the Pacific Wharf Café.

1. Churro Toffee Cold Brew Latte Cocktail

Nothing is better any time of day or night than a cold brew latte. A wonderful combination of cold brew coffee and steamed milk, it's the perfect pick-me-up. Well, the brains behind the food and drink at the Disney Festival of Holidays took that to heart when they created this cocktail that's as close to perfection as we think a cold brew latte can get. 

It's fitting that you can find this drink at the Favorite Things booth because it was hands down our favorite thing at the Fest. Cool and creamy, this latte was full of coffee flavor. But the mixologists didn't just mix together Joffrey's Coffee & Tea Company's Mexico Origin Blend coffee with some cream. Since it's the holidays, they went all out and added coffee liqueur, cinnamon sugar, vanilla, and almond milk for a subtly sweet, creamy concoction that goes great with any morning pastry or afternoon slider. The coffee liqueur isn't too sweet and adds just the right amount of liquor to remind you it's a cocktail without knocking you out. 

But since no trip to Disneyland would be complete without a churro, they mixed in a little churro syrup for that sweet cinnamon flavor so many of us love. Our favorite thing about this latte though was the chocolate toffee crumbles on top of the sweet whipped cream. It was the perfect way to finish off this drink that we would imbibe over and over all day long.