It’s that time of year again! Let’s go all around Disneyland and DCA to find the Holiday themed vegan menu items!
Many of the items are part of the Festival of Holidays, which is a food festival in California Adventure that consists of many booths and a few items at other DCA restaurants.
At Disneyland, some of the restaurants have added one or two items that are Holiday themed as well.
Here is a table of contents so that you can jump to a specific location:
- Grandma’s Recipes (Shepherd’s Upside-down Pie)
- Making Spirits Bright (Wines)
- Merry Mashups (Habanero-Hibiscus Margarita)
- Holiday Duets (Modified Churro Toffee Cold Brew)
- Favorite Things (Beers)
- Winter Sliderland (Bourbon Cranberry Cocktail)
- Brews and Bites (Beers)
- A Twist on Tradition (Vanilla Pear Mule)
- Rinse (Soaps, Bath Products, Essential Oils, etc)
- Pacific Wharf Café (Pumpkin Soup; Holiday-shaped Sourdough Loaves)
- Paradise Garden Grill (Plant-based Chile Relleno)
- Sonoma Terrace (Holly Cherry Holiday Punch)
- Gourmet Coffee Cart (Hot Blueberry Apple Cider)
- Studio Catering Co. Truck (Plant-etarium Street Tacos)
- Harbour Galley (Plant-based Pozole)
- Bengal Barbecue (Yellow Curry Rice Plate)
- Mint Julep Bar (Cranberry Julep)
- Carts and Candy Shops throughout DCA and Disneyland (Cotton Candy, Popcorn, etc)
- Holiday Drinks at Starbucks in Disneyland, DCA, and Downtown Disney
Grandma’s Recipes (Shepherd’s Upside-down Pie)
We’ll start with the Festival of Holidays in DCA. The new and probably most interesting dish is the Shepherd’s Upside-down Pie with Plant-based Ground Beef, which is available at the Grandma’s Recipes booth, as seen on the menu board below:
You can see that it has the new “Plant-based” symbol next to the name of the dish; it is two leaves with a small “v” in the middle. Disney defines this symbol as “contains no animal meat, dairy, eggs, or honey,” which means that whenever you see this symbol, the dish is vegan as-is. I am so excited that they have started to use this! As they reprint menus at various locations, we are going to see more and more menu items marked this way!
Here is my photo of the dish:
The bottom layer is mashed potatoes, then it has the plant-based ground beef mixture (they told me it is Impossible meat), topped with peas and carrots and a Mickey-shaped puff pastry. So the puff pastry is like the “crust” of the pie, and it is on top, so that is why it is “upside-down.” So you can pull a piece off the Mickey, and then layer some mashed potatoes and Impossible meat on top.
This dish is a winner for sure! If you’re in the mood for some good comfort food, this really hits the spot. I really liked the sauce/seasonings in the Impossible mixture. It was just salty enough for me, and tasted kind of like a gravy, so it went great with the mashed potatoes.
I met up with Anji and Ryan from Happy Healthy Vegan later in the day and they had one of these as well, and I think they very much enjoyed it! They pointed out that there are some similarities between this and the Ithorian Garden Loaf (Impossible meatloaf) that used to be at Docking Bay 7 in Galaxy’s Edge in Disneyland. Both feature hearty servings of Impossible meat, mashed potatoes, and a few veggies. If you enjoyed the Ithorian Garden Loaf, then you will probably also enjoy this Upside-down Shepherd’s Pie.
It was quite a big portion size, and for $7.75, I think it is a good value, compared to some other dishes we’ve seen at Festival of Holidays, Food and Wine Festival, and Lunar New Year, that were similarly priced, but not as much food.
At this booth, there are also a few drinks:
- Crimson Pear Beer Cocktail: this is vegan, as Modelo checks out on Barnivore
- Modelo Negra: Vegan, as noted on Barnivore
- Navidad Punch: This is a non-alcoholic punch / juice mixture of limeade, apple juice, and pomegranate syrup. I got one on the 2nd day I was at the Festival and it was pretty tasty, but mostly I was in it for the glow cube. The green Mickey ornament glow cube was just too cute to resist. The punch tasted like a traditional Christmas party punch:
Making Spirits Bright (Wines)
Here is the menu board, with Barnivore information below:
- Grgich Hills Estate, Fumé Blanc: Verified vegan on Barnivore
- William Hill Estate Chardonnay: They appear to use gelatin, see Barnivore entry
- Gérard Bertrand Côte Des Roses Rosé: This winery seems to have some vegan and non-vegan wines, but this particular variety is listed as not vegan.
- Klinker Brick Old Vine: The entire winery is vegan!
- Louis Latour, Pinot Noir: Unknown, no Barnivore entry
- Austin Hope, Cabernet Sauvignon: The Barnivore entries are quite old, but they do show their wines as vegan friendly. The company emails say that they have used some animal products in the past, so it’s hard to say now. If you have a moment, maybe you could use Barnivore’s template to ask them! I do this as often as I can when I find a beer/wine/liquor that has no entry, or a very old entry.
Merry Mashups (Habanero-Hibiscus Margarita)
Here there is a Habanero-Hibiscus Margarita, photographed beautifully on Instagram by sara.and.chewie:
I asked about the House-made Horchata, since horchata is sometimes vegan (when it is only rice milk), but sometimes it has cow’s milk as well. The chef at the booth told me that there is in fact cow’s milk in this version unfortunately.
Holiday Duets (Modified Churro Toffee Cold Brew)
This Churro Toffee Cold Brew is made with Joffrey’s Cold Brew and almond milk. I asked a chef about all of the ingredients.
It is always made with almond milk, so there is no need to modify that. It comes with a “non-dairy” whipped cream, but that is actually just a lactose-free whipped cream, and still contains milk. I know, it is confusing, but unfortunately this is the case with many “non-dairy” creamers and whipped creams. They are allowed to call it “non-dairy,” but not “dairy-free,” if it contains milk, but is lactose free for lactose intolerant people.
So omit the whipped cream, and also omit the churro toffee pieces that normally come on top of it.
It tasted actually like toffee, even without the toppings. I think there must be a toffee syrup in it, perhaps a toffee nut syrup? The chef assured me that it was only almond milk, and that there was no dairy in the drink. So the almond milk must be flavored with the toffee syrup. It is much sweeter than it would be with just regular almond milk and cold brew. It is $6.50, so you can decide whether you think it’s worth it. I enjoyed it a lot, it had a great flavor and gives a nice caffeine boost. But if you want more variety for a bit better price point, I would suggest the holiday drinks at Starbucks (see below in this blog post for more details).
Favorite Things (Beers)
Here is the Barnivore info about these beers:
- Stone Brewing Imperial Russian Stout: Vegan
- Bell’s Brewery, Lager of the Lakes, Czech-style Pilsner: Vegan
- Kronenbourg 1664: Vegan
- Modern Times Beer, Space Ways, Hazy IPA: The owner of Modern Times has been vegan for over 20 years, it is the most vegan brewery out there! They also run a vegan restaurant/brewery in LA (Dankness Dojo / Modern Times), which is amazing and I highly recommend it if you’re in the LA area!
Winter Sliderland (Bourbon Cranberry Cocktail)
Here, the only thing is the Bourbon Cranberry Cocktail, which should be vegan from the ingredients listed here. I couldn’t verify 100% whether it had honey in it, so please double check if you order it.
Brews and Bites (Beers)
Here is the Barnivore info for the beers available at this booth:
- Hangar 24 Craft Brewery, American Light Lager: Vegan
- Cerveza Rrëy, Kölsch: No entry
- SLO Brew, Cali-Squeeze, Blood Orange Hefeweizen: No entry
- Two Pitcher’s Brewing, Nordic Jam, Berry Lager: No entry
- The Bruery Or Xata, Horchata Blonde: There is an older entry, but it seems unclear. They are probably vegan now, but they need to be contacted to know for sure.
- Einstök Beer Company, Arctic Pale Ale: Vegan
- Lost Winds Brewing Company, Reddy or Not, Amber Ale: No entry
- Alaskan Brewing, Winter, English Olde Ale: Vegan
- Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Celebration, IPA: Vegan
- Saint Archer Brewing Company, Mosaic, Double IPA: Vegan
- Karl Strauss Brewing Company, 10 Beers for Breakfast, Maple Stout: Should be vegan, but all of the entries are quite old, so I’m not sure 100%. I wrote to them a few months ago about another beer and never got a response.
A Twist on Tradition (Vanilla Pear Mule)
Here they have a Vanilla Pear Mule with a fresh edible orchid, photographed beautifully on Instagram by sara.and.chewie:
Rinse (Soaps, Bath Products, Essential Oils, etc)
This booth has the most amazing smelling soaps, lotions, oils, etc! They have been at the DCA festivals for several years now, and they also have a permanent location in Downtown Disney. Check out the complete Guide to Vegan Options in Downtown Disney for more info about the permanent location.
They are an entirely cruelty-free brand, and most of their products are vegan as well (and they are marked “vegan friendly” on the packaging). The things to watch out for with beeswax are the lip balms, beard balm, and sunscreen. Some of their masks have dairy/yogurt. But otherwise it’s all vegan.
Below are photos of the vegan products that they have at the cart at the Festival of Holidays. They have several new seasonal scents and I can tell you they all smell incredible! I picked up a Peppermint Patti Body Spread Moisturizer and a couple of Shower Bombs.
That is going to be it for the booths at Festival of Holidays, but there are a few more Festival of Holiday items at various restaurants in DCA.
Pacific Wharf Café (Pumpkin Soup; Holiday-shaped Sourdough Loaves)
Here they have a Pumpkin Soup in a Sourdough Bread Bowl. It is marked with the “Plant-based” symbol on the menu board, so it is completely vegan with no modifications.
It was super delicious! There was a pumpkin soup at one of the Festival of Holidays booths last year as well, and this is very similar, if not the exact same recipe. Of course, now it comes in a bread bowl instead of a regular bowl, which is a major upgrade.
It has a coconut milk base, and has some curry spices in it as well. Really a great blend of flavors. It’s topped with pumpkin seeds and some grated veggies/herbs.
Also, next to the Café, there is the cart where they sell the sourdough loaves made here at the Boudin Bakery. This year, they have loaves shaped like Snowmen, Candy Canes, and Christmas Trees:
Paradise Garden Grill (Plant-based Chile Relleno)
This Plant-based Chile Relleno is from last year as well. It is a roasted poblano pepper stuffed with vegetable stew, topped with roasted tomato sauce and tofu sour cream, and served with Spanish rice and black beans. They sprinkle some vegan cheese on top of the beans. It’s marked with the plant-based symbol, so it is vegan with no modifications.
I didn’t get the prettiest one, but it was still delicious! Check out this Instagram post by Happy Healthy Vegan for a prettier one.
I like that this dish is quite focused on whole foods, it’s a great option for those who aren’t into plant-based meats as much. I would still call it comfort food though. Super tasty. The poblano pepper itself is a bit on the spicy side, but not overwhelmingly so for me. Perhaps medium-spicy.
Sonoma Terrace (Holly Cherry Holiday Punch)
Here they have a Holly Cherry Holiday Punch. I would imagine it’s quite similar to the Navidad Punch at the Grandma’s Recipes booth. If you try it, please let me know how you like it!
Also you’ll see a beer from Lost Winds Brewing Company on the menu board there. It doesn’t have an entry on Barnivore, so I can’t tell you anything more about it.
Gourmet Coffee Cart (Hot Blueberry Apple Cider)
Here they have a Hot Blueberry Apple Cider that I tried on my 2nd visit to the Festival:
It is a non-alcoholic hot apple cider with some blueberry flavor. If you’re in the mood for something hot and christmassy, it is quite good. Since this cart is right next to the World of Color viewing area, I could imagine this would be really nice when it’s chilly at night and you’re about to watch World of Color. It’s nothing too exciting, but it might hit the spot for you.
Studio Catering Co. Truck (Plant-etarium Street Tacos)
These Plant-etarium Street Tacos are returning from last year as well and I’m so happy they’re back, they’re so amazing! They are marked with the new plant-based symbol, so they are vegan without any modifications.
They are filled with Brussels Sprouts, Salsa Verde, Pickled Red Onions, Apple and Pomegranate Slaw. The brussels sprouts are roasted in a marinade that I think is mostly balsamic.
They are basically like Thanksgiving dinner inside of tacos. Such a creative, delicious, and fun dish. Definitely a 10/10 for me!
At this truck, they also have the Sleigh Ride Slush, which is a Cranberry-Apple Lemonade Frozen Slush.
By the way, I did ask a chef about the Latkes at Smokejumper’s Grill. Even with the meat/sauce taken off, they still are not vegan, because there is egg in the latkes themselves.
Now let’s head over to Disneyland and look at the couple of holiday items over there.
Harbour Galley (Plant-based Pozole)
Returning from last year, and also returning from the World Vegan Day menu not too long ago, we have the Plant-based Pozole again. This are marked with the plant-based symbol; vegan with no modifications. The menu describes it as: “Plant-based Pozole with Slow-roasted Tomatillos, Hominy, and Serrano Chilies served with Limes, Radishes, and Shredded Cabbage.”
It is $11.49, so it is a bit expensive for how small of a portion it is, in my opinion. It is very flavorful, though.
Bengal Barbecue (Yellow Curry Rice Plate)
Here, their holiday special is the Yellow Curry Rice Plate: Outback Vegetable Skewer with Herb Grilled Tofu, Jasmine Rice, Scallions and a Citrus-Miso Slaw. It is not marked with the new plant-based symbol, so I asked a chef about the ingredients. The chef told me that all of the ingredients are vegan, but Bengal Barbecue is not equipped to have separate grills, so there is potential cross-contamination, and that is the only reason why they didn’t put the symbol on it. I asked specifically about the curry sauce (the chef said that it is coconut milk based and contains no dairy), and about the dressing on the slaw (the chef said that is a vinegar base and is vegan). But some guests have been told that there is honey in that dressing, so please double check when you order.
I am often asked my opinion on shared grills/fryers. I always disclose all information I have for you on this blog and Instagram, so I will always tell you what I know about the kitchen setup, but personally, I do not think that a dish that is made with all-plant ingredients becomes a non-vegan dish when it is prepared on the same grill or in a shared fryer. It does not give any money to animal agriculture to order a vegan dish that was prepared on the same grill, so it in no way supports the exploitation of animals. And it is important to me to show restaurants that plant-based food is popular, even if they logistically can’t invest in more kitchen equipment to avoid cross contamination. I think that animals who are suffering would not care if I eat from a shared grill, but they would certainly care about a vegan option underperforming and being taken off a menu, only to be replaced with a meat one.
The definition of veganism from the Vegan Society is “a way of living that seeks to exclude the exploitation of and cruelty to animals as far as is practicable and possible.” I do not think that it is practicable or possible to demand that people avoid all instances of shared grills and fryers to be vegan. This would rule out most restaurants that aren’t entirely vegan, and it is asking too much of people to only eat at vegan restaurants, especially when there are many areas that have no vegan restaurants nearby. In fact, I think that the mentality that a shared grill makes a dish non-vegan actually harms animals because it makes veganism look more difficult than it needs to be.
That said, there is reason to avoid a dish prepared on a shared grill if you find it unappetizing. Over the years I have gone back and forth, because it is a bit disgusting and makes me lose my appetite sometimes. But in those cases, I chose something else because of my own disgust response, not because of the dish being not vegan.
All of that out of the way, here is the dish! I’m sure it would photograph better in the daylight, but it was difficult to get to everything before the sun went down — Daylight Savings Time is the worst!
I really enjoyed this one! Tofu and curry sauce are a match made in heaven. It was quite a large portion size as well. It is a bit expensive, $16.99, but there is a lot of food there as well. If you liked the Tofu/curry/veggie bowls at Lucky Fortune Cookery, then you will like this as well. The tofu is very similar — it is grilled, but the inside is quite soft.
Mint Julep Bar (Cranberry Julep)
The Holiday Mint Julep is the Cranberry Julep this year. It was very refreshing and tasty! Nothing too exciting to write home about; it tasted pretty much like you’d expect, but the cranberry, mint, and orange flavors all went really well together and I enjoyed it.
Carts and Candy Shops throughout DCA and Disneyland (Cotton Candy, Popcorn, etc)
There is some cotton candy at the carts: one that is peppermint flavored and shaped like a Christmas tree, and one that is blue raspberry and vanilla flavored with snowflake packaging:
Also, inside various candy locations throughout the parks, there is this Vanilla Snow Cotton Candy:
Also, if you follow my blog, Instagram, and Youtube regularly, you will already know that all of the fresh popcorn made at the popcorn carts throughout the parks is vegan! You can see the ingredients list for the “buttery” oil mixture that they pop it in in my other guides, for example: Your Guide to Vegan Options at Disneyland! (October 2019 Update)
I mention the popcorn because they have some new holiday-themed popcorn buckets. So you can eat your vegan popcorn out of a Christmas-tree shaped bucket!
Here it is as shown on Disneyland News Today’s Instagram:
I also saw buckets shaped like Pluto with a Christmas sweater on, and the Toy Story Aliens with flannel pajamas on.
Starbucks in Disneyland, DCA, and Downtown Disney
For even more holiday vegan goodness, you can also go to the Starbucks on Main Street, USA (Disneyland), Buena Vista Street (DCA), and the two locations in Downtown Disney. Many of their Holiday drinks can be made vegan by requesting soy, almond, or coconut milk, and no whipped cream where necessary. This VegNews article has a great summary.
Here are some of my favorites:
- Peppermint Mocha with soy/almond/coconut milk, no whip
- Peppermint Hot Chocolate with soy/almond/coconut milk, no whip
- Chestnut Praline Latte with soy/almond/coconut milk, no whip
- Mexican Hot Chocolate or Mexican Mocha: Add pumps of Cinnamon Dolce Syrup to the base recipes
Below is my first Peppermint Mocha of the season! I drink these more often than I’d like to admit every year as soon as Halloween is over!