International winter holidays meet sweet and savory treats? And without meat or other animal products? Yes, please! This year’s Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure Park features a well-rounded offering of vegan and vegetarian foods.
Festival of Holidays archway | © Christina Favela
Eating veggies at the Disneyland resort is doable if you put in the effort, but isn’t it great when they make it easy for us? In the back of this year’s Tasting Passport, available at the first kiosk past the Festival of Holidays archway, there’s an index of all Festival of Holiday snacks that Disney has deemed ‘Kid Friendly,’ ‘Milk-Friendly,’ ‘Vegan,’ ‘Gluten-Friendly,’ or ‘Vegetarian.’ As a lifelong vegetarian who is working on transitioning to full veganism, I knew I had to try everything in those columns. It took two trips and a tasting partner, but the final result is this complete guide with photos (and opinions!) regarding all available vegan and vegetarian options at this year’s Festival of Holidays.
Tasting Passport front | © Tabitha Anctil
Tasting Passport index | © Tabitha Anctil
Note: while you can make some other offerings vegan/vegetarian by requesting no meat, sauce, etc. when ordering, for simplicity this article will primarily cover unaltered orders of what is explicitly listed in the Tasting Passport.
Holiday Mickey and Minnie Cookies, Vegetarian, Holiday Duets | © Tabitha Anctil
Following the Festival of Holidays route in order, the third booth is Holiday Duets featuring these adorable Mickey and Minnie sugar cookies as their vegetarian. How festival are they? The size of Minnie’s bow is deceiving; both cookies are roughly the same size. The cookies are soft but not mushy, and the frosting and white chocolate decorations are delicious. Definitely a safe bet for a classic dessert, especially for kids.
Pumpkin Soup with Maple Cashew Cream, Vegan, Winter Wonders | © Tabitha Anctil
Guess what? Everything on the Winter Wonders booth’s menu is vegan! The first item is a nice, thick pumpkin soup. The cashew cream is very sweet and the soup itself is a little salty, so stir them together for a nice balance. The pepitas on top add a nutty flavor that gives the whole soup a varied and interesting blend. Neither me nor my sister/tasting partner really tasted any maple in the cream, but we didn’t feel like it was lacking any flavor either. Plus, you get a pretty good amount of soup.
Chana Masala with Grilled Garlic Naan, Vegan, Winter Wonders | © Tabitha Anctil
The chana masala is very warming, perfect for a cold night. Again, it comes with a good amount and is the size is perfect for sharing, although there is only one naan bread on the side. The garlic flavor in the naan is subtle, which is good since the chana masala is so flavorful. It’s a tad bit spicy so younger kids may not be a fan but it is definitely not overwhelming. My thirteen-year-old sister didn’t mind the heat level.
Vanilla & Cranberry Trifle, Vegan, Winter Wonders | © Tabitha Anctil
Vegan desserts are possibly my favorite thing on the planet and this divine little trifle is no exception. Look at how pretty it is! Especially with the crunchy biscotti cube on top as the finishing touch. The cranberries are deliciously tart with a subtle orange flavor, and the vanilla isn’t overwhelmingly rich, making this sweet treat a definite winner. The sponge cake by itself was a little dry, but in the same bite with vanilla or cranberry it all works together well.
Candied Yams, Vegetarian, Grandma’s Recipes | © Tabitha Anctil
Don’t be fooled by the yams, this is a dessert in my opinion. While the yams on their own aren’t super flavorful, it hardly matters because they are DRENCHED in marshmallow creme and some sort of honey-like syrup. These babies are very, very, very sweet. The marshmallow creme (which, in case you were wondering, is vegetarian since only actual marshmallows have gelatin) is amazing. I couldn’t really taste the nut topping, but maybe that was all the sugar melting my tastebuds. This isn’t a negative review, by the way, because I love sweets. Just maybe be smarter than me and share more of your portion with a friend and not eat three quarters of it on your own.
Jalapeño Latkes with Chipotle Crema, Vegetarian, Spicy Celebrations | © Tabitha Anctil
These are a wonderful twist on classic latkes. I actually ordered mine without the crema so this is the one exception to the ‘no alterations’ rule. I’ve been told the crema was good and not as spicy as the latkes themselves. It comes with two, making sharing easy. The apple chips on top in place of traditional applesauce is a nice touch, especially when you eat them in the same bite as a latke. More so than the chana masala, these are pretty spicy! Just have a drink handy and you’ll be fine. The latkes themselves are thin and not too filling, leaving room to sample more food.
Chicken-less Mole with Spanish Rice, Vegetarian, A Twist on Tradition | © Tabitha Anctil
I’m a fan of seeing meat substitutes used in mainstream cooking and this dish was delicious. The texture of the “chicken” itself reminded me a little bit of jackfruit and highlight was definitely the standout sauce. I also loved the plantain chips on top. Once again, it’s a good portion size which makes it good for sharing.
Holiday Stuffing Mac & Cheese, Vegetarian, Winter Sliderland | © Tabitha Anctil
I did not personally sample this dish, instead making my sister give me a full review. According to her, the mac & cheese is very cheesy and enjoyable! The “stuffing” on top, which is pretty basic breadcrumbs, is crunchy and creates an interesting contrast. It wasn’t soggy from sitting on top of the cheese. Plus, it came with quite a lot of mac & cheese.
That’s a wrap! To sum up, you can’t go wrong with any of these dishes. While there are only eight vegetarian and vegan options, they are diverse enough that there should be something for any taste. Something they all had in common was a good enough portion size to share with a tasting buddy! My favorites were the latkes, the pumpkin soup, the chana masala, and the trifle.
Personally, I would have preferred to see more vegan options and I feel like it’s much easier to find options at the Food & Wine Festival compared to the Festival of Holidays. Still, the ones they do have are delicious and I appreciate that they are clearly indicated as vegan in the Tasting Passport.
If you’re like me and want to see more vegan or vegetarian food at the Disneyland Resort, make sure you show there’s a demand and check out some of these tasty treats at Festival of Holidays!
Which treat looked tastiest to you? Or if you’ve already sampled them, which is your favorite? Leave a comment down below!