After last year's media blitz, the resort hosted a much more low-key media day last weekend, and we took the opportunity to take a closer look at one of the elements we didn't focus on so much last year: ¡Viva Navidad! on the Boardwalk at Disney California Adventure.
During ¡Viva Navidad!, the Paradise Garden Grill switches its menu of Mediterranean-inspired skewers to feature Mexican holiday favorites. There are a few changes this year: The Torta al Pastor is up 50 cents; the Chicken Mole no longer comes with a side of tortillas, and the Mahi Veracruzano is gone, replaced by a Ceviche Plate.
For dinner, Laurie and I chose the Chicken Mole ($12.99),
and the Ceviche Plate ($8.49).
I couldn't help but compare this chicken to the rotisserie chicken dinner I ate last month at Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe during Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom.
Disney World offered more chicken for two dollars less (a half versus the quarter dark at Disneyland), but Disneyland's meal delivered far more flavor, with a decadent, slightly spicy and chocolatey mole sauce covering the meat. The corn salad and achiote rice blew away the simple mashed potatoes and green beans from Disney World, too... which should be no knock on the Disney Word sides. They were well seasoned, and tasty, but just one-dimensional compared with the much more pungent spices in the Disneyland accompaniments. (Potentially interesting side note: I conned my nearly-two-year-old, French-fry-loving nephew into eating several handfuls of the WDW green beans by telling him they were "green Christmas fries." Hey, whatever gets the job done.)
I missed last year's fish entree, but enjoyed this year's ceviche. With a cool, spicy flavor not unlike a gazpacho, the ceviche included mostly bay shrimp with a smattering of white fish. On a cool California evening, I preferred the mole, but wouldn't hesitate to cool off with the ceviche on a warmer weekend afternoon.
Oh, and here's one more big difference between the meals at Disney World and Disneyland: At Disney World, all that chicken balanced on a flimsy paper plate, and we had to eat with those weak plastic utensils you find at all of Disney World's quick service restaurants. Yet here at Disneyland, we ate off real plates with metal flatware — much better for helping your food keep its heat, while also helping you to enjoy it.
Also helping us to enjoy our meal? The live entertainment.
Insiders know that the stage next to the Paradise Garden Grill hosts some wonderful musicians throughout the year, so I was pleased when I saw Adelaide come to the stage for a set as we were walking to a table, food in hand. Hey, that Cosmic Ray animatronic might be cute (the first time you see it, at least), but it's no match for a hot band laying down salsa classics that had other diners up dancing in front of the stage.
The holidays are supposed to be a celebration, a party. With ¡Viva Navidad!, Disney's found the right mix of spicy food and fun music that should put local fans in a festive mood to fit the season.Tweet
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