The holidays are my favorite time to visit Disneyland Park. I can’t get enough of the Christmas décor and of course, all the seasonal holiday eats. On a recent Saturday I gave it a good try: I spent one full day eating my way through Disneyland's seasonal treats.
My recommendation: Check the Disney Parks blog for the entire list of holiday treats, then make your own list and check it twice. Through Jan. 6, there'll be a ton of season's eatings out there! Here are my recs for must-have holiday treats at Disneyland.
Mickey Mouse gingerbread cookie, $3.99
Where: Candy Palace
Details: When I lived in So Cal and had a Disneyland annual pass, Ithis was available all year long because gingerbread was Walt Disney’s favorite cookie. Times have changed, and now it's a limited-time treat. I always get at least two — the gingerbread flavor is strong, the cookie's thick, and the chocolate-coated ears add a nice sweetness.
Churro Sundae, $7.49
Where: The Golden Horseshoe
Details: Don't even think about getting this unless you love peppermint. Two huge scoops of peppermint ice cream topped with whipped cream and brownie chunks accompany a cajeta-filled churro in this over-the-top sundae. Cajeta is like dulce de leche: a Mexican caramel sauce made from goat’s milk, a luscious layer of which nestles inside the churro. The Golden Horseshoe is the only place you can find this churro. I couldn’t finish all the ice cream, but I devoured the churro and brownie chunks — and found myself wanting more.
Mickey and Minnie gingerbread Krispy, $5.99 each
Where: Pooh Corner, Candy Palace
Details: These adorable gingerbread-inspired Mickey and Minnie Crispies they don’t have any gingerbread flavor: That color comes from the brown sugar coating on top of rice crispies. They come in different Disney character shapes and taste like the traditional Crispy, but to me, they're even better because of their holiday gingerbread styling.
Mickey snowflake cake pop, $4.99
Where: Candy Palace
Details: This cake pop is made with fudgy chocolate cake, with chocolate Mickey ears. There’s also a cute snowman cake pop that’s made with vanilla cake, but chocolate is always my go-to.
Gingerbread cookie, $4.49
Where: Red Rose Taverne
Details: This festive gingerbread from Beauty-and-the-Beast-themed Red Rose Taverne is similar to the Mickey-shaped one with the chocolate ears — it’s thick, chewy and has a strong gingerbread flavor. It has more frosting than the others, and while it might have been my imagination, it tasted slightly sweeter. If you’re going for the most Instagrammable gingerbread, this would be it.
Peppermint holiday sundae, $7.99
Where: Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor
Details: This sundae from Gibson Girl comes highly recommended by my foodie friends and fellow Disney fanatics Aaron and Janell Kent. It's loaded with peppermint ice cream, hot fudge and crushed peppermint bits on top. The peppermint flavor is intense — but I’m sure you already figured that out. The chocolate-covered waffle bowl even has peppermint candies for extra minty flavor.
Santa Hat macaron, $5.99
Where: Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe
Details: This is everything a macaron should be: Spongy cookie on the outside, luscious minty chocolate inside. The peppermint flavor is balanced by the chocolate ganache. It's super fragile, though. The cookie cracked minutes after I took this picture.
Tip: If you’re getting more than one treat at the Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe, ask for a container or tray with a lid. It helped to preserve my macaron even after it cracked.
Candy cane beignets, $5.49 (three-pack)
Where: Mint Julep Bar
Details: A few years ago I did a guest review of the Mint Julep Bar’s seasonal gingerbread beignets on The Disney Food Blog. This year’s candy cane version is very similar in shape, size and texture, but instead of fragrant gingerbread and cinnamon, it’s minty. The peppermint flavor is just right. The beignet is warm, chewy and covered with powdered sugar and finely crushed candy cane bits. If peppermint is your thing, you can even get a six-pack for $8.99.
Gingerbread man, $3.99
Where: Market House Café, Jolly Holiday Bakery Café
Details: While this gingerbread cookie is thinner than the Mickey Mouse one with chocolate ears, it isn’t crispy — much to my delight. It’s actually very dense with a beautifully pronounced gingerbread flavor. My second favorite part s the thin layer of icing on the bottom.
Cookie shot with milk, $8
Where: Lobby of Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel
Details: You don’t have to enter Disneyland to enjoy this seasonal treat. Just head to the lobby of Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. You’ll see a huge display of 600 pounds of gingerbread, right next to which is a small holiday kiosk where you’ll find cookie shots, Mickey-shaped whoopie pies, gingerbread men, cookie boxes and more.
The cookie shots are a fun take on milk and cookies. Choose regular or chocolate milk ($8 each), or for a more adult version, liqueur (RumChata, Baileys Irish Cream or Peppermint Schnapps) are available for $14. The cookies have a peppermint candy-studded rim and a thin layer of hardened chocolate, so you don’t have to worry about leakage. They're chewy but firm, and perfect with the milk inside.
Churro with crushed pretzels and peppermint, $5.25
Where: Churro cart near Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Details: No trip to Disneyland is complete without a churro. This one made history because it’s Disneyland's first chocolate churro — and this cart is the only place you can get it.
The churro is made from chocolate dough, dusted with cocoa powder and finished with pretzel bits, chopped peppermint candies and chocolate sauce. It’s like a brownie-churro hybrid, and definitely one to get if you want a good mix of cinnamon and chocolate.
Space dip pizza, $8.99
Where: Alien Pizza Planet
Details: I love spinach and artichoke dip, and it's even more glorious on a pizza. Alien Pizza Planet blew my mind with this one. The pizza has a hearty, bready crust and the spinach and artichoke dip is creamy and cheesy, with crispy capicola strips for texture. Out. Of. This. World. Too bad this isn’t available all year long. You can order by the slice, but whole pies are available for $43.99.
Green alien holiday macaron, $5.99
Where: Alien Pizza Planet
Details: I like my macarons to be super sweet, but if you prefer fruity and sweet with a tart aftertaste, this little guy is perfect. The macaron is spongy on the inside with a slightly crispy shell, and the sandwich has a blackberry-and-lemon-curd filling. It’s the ultimate one-two punch: sweet blackberry buttercream with a perfect pucker from the lemon.
Reese’s pretzel rod, $5.99
Where: Pooh Corner
Details: Peanut butter lovers, rejoice — there’s a brand-new peanut butter treat in the park. I'm not sure if this is a holiday treat, but the salty-sweet snack is so popular that it often sells out. This pretzel has a delicious milk chocolate layer and is studded with lots of Reese’s Pieces candies. I love the intense peanut butter flavor and constant crunch.
Pro tip: If Pooh Corner sells out, check the display case at Marceline’s Confectionery in Downtown Disney.