Welcome back to Ride or Dine, everyone! It's been a while since we've brought you a new blog. To be fair, we've been out of theme park season for a while, but we are happy and excited to be back in the swing of it and beginning our 2019 theme park trips! This past week was one of our first trips of the year and man oh man did we kick the season off right!! We visited Knott's Berry Farm for their annual Boysenberry festival!
This was our second time at Knott's and I have to say this time was a very different experience for us. The first trip was pretty quick (only one day in the park) and the crowds were OUT OF CONTROL! We've come to learn that Knott's Berry Farm is pretty much always busy, but the first time we were there it was just too insane. This last trip we had two full days in the park and crowds, while still heavy, were a bit better than last time.
So, one cool thing we learned about Knott's that we didn't really realize before is the fandom for this park is REAL! It's not quite on a Disney level...but it's pretty close. The amount of Boysenberry t-shirts, hats, dresses, etc., in the park was CRAZY! And so awesome to see!! It really helps to get you hyped for the park and the events happening! Who knew people would rally so much for boysenberries!? (Although if you haven't had boysenberry flavored snacks, you really are missing out on a gem!)
The entire park is decorated with boysenberry-themed decor, extra floral, and banners and signs! It looks so nice and everywhere you turn there's a perfect photo-op.
This festival, dedicated to the birthplace of the boysenberry, features unique boysenberry-inspired foods, drinks, live entertainment, and attractions.
Guests are able to visit Cordelia's Pie Kitchen, a replica of Cordelia Knott's original kitchen, and create their own Boysenberry tarts. Guests can also take a stroll through the crafts fair or sip wine at the "Tied up in Knotts" Art Show.
There are also plenty of live shows and entertainment provided through the park that guests can enjoy! We had a great time watching some of the Calico Park Games like the pie walk and the Pie-eating contest!
Congrats to this little pie-eating champion for taking home the grand prize-
A freshly-baked boysenberry pie!! ...and bragging rights.
And of course, the star attraction of the festival- The Boysenberry FOOD!
Going into this festival I was fully convinced that I would get tired of the boysenberry flavor halfway through the fest and that I'd end up just breaking down and ordering chicken fingers because I'd be craving normalcy. Parker was fully convinced he wouldn't be able to get enough Boysenberry and that he'd end up wanting to get two of everything- this was one of those few shining moments where Parker was right and I was wrong :P
The festival offers these nifty tasting cards for $35 (unfortunately there are no pass discounts on these bad boys), and they get you 8 items. You can mix and match which 8 items you want from this list of 14 options.
In addition to the stands offering these 14 festival items, there are also food locations across the park with festival-exclusive items that you can purchase. While those are not included on the tasting card, we HIGHLY recommend several of those items!
The tasting card lanyard conveniently reminds you of the items you can choose from and a map of the locations that those items are sold.
The tasting card item booths all look something like this. Most festivals we've been to have booths with several items available to purchase at each. But, the extremely efficient Knott's Berry Farm has ONE item per booth. You pay at a separate register and take up your receipt or tear off one tab from your sampler card and exchange it for one item.
Tasting Card Items
Boysenberry dry-rubbed flank steak with boysenberry cream cheese topping. This was one of the top items of the festival without a doubt. The cream cheese topping was amazing and the steak was cooked perfectly!
A great way to start off the sampler!
Boysenberry Jerk Chicken Wings. This was one of Brittany's favorites but not Parker's. He thought the sauce didn't match well enough with the chicken's seasoning. Still a win for me, though.
Boysenberry glazed salmon over mixed greens and topped with a boysenberry vinaigrette. If you like salmon, you will like this dish! It's so refreshing and light. The fruit was perfectly sweet and matched so well with the boysenberry glaze on the fish. The vinaigrette was also good, although very different than we were expecting. It's more a creamy dressing than an oily dressing. Also, sometimes it's nice to stop and eat a salad in the middle of eating nothing but terribly unhealthy foods for two days straight haha.
Boysenberry BBQ Chicken skewers with boysenberry aioli. Another one of the top contenders of the fest! This chicken was SO good. Honestly, both sauces on it were amazing and I think it would've been just as good with only one of either. But, the fact that they were together was perfect!
Boysenberry pot roast over boysenberry mashed potatoes. This one was a little interesting. The pot roast was awesome! It was cooked well, very soft, and flavored perfectly. The mashed potatoes were a little odd to me. Parker liked them, but I'm not sure I like the idea of boysenberry mixed in through the potato. I was kind of hoping for maybe some regular mashed potatoes with some sort of boysenberry gravy on top. Parker disagrees with that, but he was already right once earlier so I'm gonna give this one to me.
Boysenberry Habanero Baked Mac and Cheese. Ok, ya'll know we love a good mac and cheese! And this one did not disappoint. I had read some things online that said this dish wasn't great so I set kind of low expectations, but they were blown away. I will say, if the habanero part intimidates you at all- don't be. It wasn't spicy at all. But, it was tasty, cheesy, and we loved the bread crumbs on top!
Boysenberry cinnamon sugar flour tortilla chips with boysenberry ice cream. The chips were pretty good actually, but mostly we ordered this because I have a new obsession with soft serve. I don't know why, but sometime over the last year I started wanting soft serve EVERY time we're in a park. So this was a no-brainer! Boysenberry soft serve FTW!
Boysenberry waffle with a maple boysenberry cream cheese syrup. I will say, I was expecting a bit more out of this one. The consistency is less waffle-like and more muffin-like. It's very dense. But, the syrup was everything!
And PRO-TIP: Scoop the ice cream onto the waffle. Trust us, it makes it SO much better!!
ITEMS THROUGHOUT THE PARK
These are the other boysenberry festival exclusive items offered throughout the park that you cannot use your tasting lanyard on.
Boysenberry Pie Milkshake. This was one of my favorite items from the festival, and honestly, it should be offered year round. The boysenberry flavor is actually pretty subtle here, but there are pieces of actual boysenberries and pie crust throughout which make this shake one of my favorites of all time!
Boysenberry BBQ Popcorn Chicken. Alright, so we were a little disappointed with this one. This is literally just regular popcorn chicken (which we know you can't go wrong with) nothing different or special about it. The sauce wasn't my favorite, although Parker really enjoyed it. It had kind of a spicy kick to it, similar to the sauce on top of the Mac and cheese. Maybe it is, who knows? This one was just alright.
Boysenberry Cheesecake on a stick. In theory, this should've been my favorite item because I LOVE cheesecake. And I LOVE the novelty of eating food on a stick. But, this dessert was just SO sweet. I honestly could've done without the coating, because the actual cheesecake with boysenberry pieces throughout was really good!
Boysenberry BBQ Cheddar Pizza. Parker really enjoyed this pizza. I can't even really tell you what was on it besides cheddar cheese, ham, onions, sausage and maybe boysenberry bbq sauce? That sounds right based on what we tasted, but there are no descriptions anywhere!
Boysenberry Butter Grilled Cheese with Boysenberry Jam Sandwich. All we have to say about this is YES! This sandwich was the last thing we tried of the festival, and I think we definitely saved one of the best for last! Oddly enough, I feel like the sandwich could've used even MORE boysenberry flavor (I know, I know, how can we not be tired of it yet??). There was plenty of melty cheese and butter on the toast which paired so well with the sweetness of the jam. Absolutely one of the bests of the fest!
And there you have our review of the 2019 Knott's Berry Farm Boysenberry Festival! Honestly, we probably only tried a little over half of the items offered at the festival. They also feature a 2-ft long Boysenberry hot dog (INSANE), boysenberry chili, pineapple and boysenberry Dole whip floats, boysenberry corn dogs, and SO much more!
The boysenberry possibilities are endless! If you're interested in attending this year's fest, it runs through April 28th. But, that's coming up pretty soon, so we definitely recommend planning a trip for 2020 if you can't make it this year!
1000000% Knott's Berry Farm is one of the most historically rich, authentic, total package parks in the country. It has quickly become one of our favorites thanks to the coasters, theming, and of course-food! It's got such a great vibe and there is so much to do.
We hope to return soon.
Until next time, follow along with us on the rest of our 2019 theme park adventures here and through our Instagram @rideordineblog!
See y'all soon!
Happy New Year!!! We can't believe 2019 is here already, but we're very excited for this year. We had a great travel year in 2018 visiting 7 states and over 20 different theme parks across the country! We finished the year up with one of our favorite places- Disneyland! We got to experience Disneyland during the holidays, which is always a magical time, and enjoy the Festival of Holidays at DCA! We had such a great time at this festival (and this trip in general) and we're so excited to share our highlights with you!
Disney's California Adventure Park is showcasing 12 booths for the Festival of Holidays this year. This was our first time attending a festival in Disney California (hope we can make it to their Food and Wine event this year) so we weren't sure what to expect. We're so used to Disneyworld, we thought there was no way the offerings at Disneyland could compare. We were, of course, wrong!
Brews and Bites
We started off in the best possible way! The Brews and Bites booth featured one of our favorite dishes at the festival- Chorizo Queso Fundido! To be fair, we LOVE queso so it's not hard to please us when we see it on the menu- but this one was AWESOME!
This booth also features 11 different types of beers and 2 flights to choose from!
Another home run booth- the Holiday Ham Shanks with Brown Sugar Pineapple Glaze was one of Parker's all-time favorite items!
The booth also features Reuben Potato Tots with Russian Dressing and Rye Toast, Cranberry Sangria, and an Eggnog Cocktail with Whipped Cream and Nutmeg.
This booth offered a novelty item so you know we were all over it! We had to get the holiday Mickey and Minnie cookies for the photos alone!! I mean...come on
The cookies tasted good, but I think their looks probably outweighed their taste. And their priced outweighed both of those things. $7 for these two little guys. But, I'd do it again, because I'm a sucker for anything Mickey-shaped.
This booth also features Curry Cauliflower Soup with Braised Lamb and Mintchurri, Shrimp and Grits with Andouille Sausage, Ballast Point Brewing Company IPA, and a Warm Peppermint Chocolate Float with Peppermint Hot Chocolate, Vanilla Ice Cream, Whipped Cream and Peppermint Crumbles.
Visions of Sugarplums
I wish we had something to report about this booth because looking back over the menu, I could sure go for one of these sweets right about now. But, while in the midst of Disney vacationing and indulging in desserts NON-STOP (seriously non-stop) nothing on this menu sounded appealing in the moment. Although, to be fair, we were most likely eating a Mickey bar while walking by it, so that could explain it.
This booth features Sweet Dreams and Milk which is a Horizon Milk and Choice of Dessert. The dessert options include Warm Sticky Toffee Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce, a White Chocolate Cranberry Blondie, an Eggnog Wreath Éclair with White Chocolate Icing, and Horchata Fudge. They also have a Warm Bourbon Cider with a Bourbon-infused Marshmallow, and S’mores Frozen Chocolate Milk with Toasted Marshmallow Whipped Cream, Graham Cracker Crumbles and Chocolate Drizzle.
This booth offers some fan favorites as well. The Hot Cocoa Marshmallow Macaron is a definite if you're looking to get some good photos for social media. And the Turkey and Stuffing Tamale is an interesting twist on a classic Mexican dish.
The booth also offers Lox and Everything Bagel Nachos and a Sparkling Wine Punch with Chandon Brut, Sparkling Wine and Lime Sherbet.
This is the Holiday Punch with Lime Sherbet and Sprite.
It reminded me summer and childhood and I absolutely loved it!
*Side note, the drink on its own is $6.50. With the souvenir tumbler it's $9.00.
So, $2.50 for a cute souvenir cup seemed totally worth it to me.*
Although this wasn't our favorite booth for food options, we DID visit it twice to get the pomegranate lemonade. This non-alcoholic drink was AWESOME and definitely a festival fav!
This booth also features Pumpkin Soup with Maple Cashew Cream,
Chana Masala with Grilled Garlic Naan, and Vanilla and Cranberry Trifle.
A Twist on Tradition
One of our favorite sweets from the festival! The Black Forest Yule Log Cake.
Not only is it photogenic- it also tasted great!
This booth also features Pozole Rojo Beef with Polenta, Chicken-less Mole with Spanish Rice, Modela Negra, and a Michelada with Modela Negra and Brown Sugar.
This booth is connected to the Twist on Traditions booth. Unfortunately, we were a bit let
down with this one. We typically love spicy food, so we were pretty excited, but it was lacking
a bit for some reason.
This is the Nashville Hot Fried Turkey with Dill Pickles. I had high hopes for this one because I typically love Nashville Hot Fried Chicken. But, the turkey was kind of dry and the sauce didn't have a bold enough flavor. Not a favorite.
This booth also features Jalapeño Latkes with Chipotle Crema, Chocolate Chipotle Pot de Crème, and a Pomegranate Margarita with a Chipotle Salt rim.
Making Spirits Bright
What you need to know about this booth:
Wine. Mimosas. Wine.
That is all. Enjoy!!
White Wine Flights, Red Wine Flights, and Mimosa Flights.
This deserves an extended "yaaaaas!"
This is the Beef Pot Roast on Potato Roll with Horseradish Cream. We didn't have a strong opinion on it. It was good, not great. But, we also ate this pretty late in the festival so we were getting very full.
This booth also features Candied Yams with Marshmallow Cream and Toasted Pecans,
and a Gingerbread Mickey.
And also- CIDER! Parker's Favorite, a few other sweet beers, and a non-alcoholic punch.
At this point we were too full to move. So, we skipped it. But just to keep in the know, the booth features Braised Pork Belly Adobo with Garlic Fried Rice, Cornbread Cakes with Braised Collard Greens and Smoked Bacon Gravy, and a Blood Orange Ginger Mule.
And this takes us to our favorite booth- Winter Sliderland! They feature the best item (in our opinion) of the festival! The Holiday Stuffing Mac and Cheese!
I know it's not the most photogenic item, but TRUST ME, this stuff haunts our dreams! It was so good, cheesy, creamy, just all-around amazing.
This booth also features a Roasted Turkey Slider with Cranberry Sauce, a Milk Chocolate Candy Cane Pot de Creme, a Frosty Frosé with Fleurs de Prairie Rosé, Blue Curacao, and White Cranberry Juice, and an Oskar Blues Brewery, Old Chub Scotch Ale.
And that's it for The Festival of Holidays! I'm so glad we got to check out this festival this year! It was the perfect size and had SO many delicious items! It was a very pleasant surprise.
The only downside here was that we got so full at the festival, we could barely eat any other treats at California Adventure! Well, we ate a few other things, but not many as we
normally would have.
The rest of DCA
It felt wrong to write a blog post about California Adventure and not include a quick trip review of everything else we experienced. The festival was great, but we were also mind-blown by the new PIXAR PIER!!
This was our first time getting to see the newly renovated Pixar Pier area of California Adventure, and we fell in love! The theming, the subtle nods to movies and shorts, the lights, the foods, it was all amazing! We loved it so much, we had a blast exploring every shop and stand!
Greatest. Store. Ever!
Adorable midway games.
And of course, the newly themed, INCREDICOASTER!
We also made our way over to the DCA walls for some obligatory IG pics. We had to.
They're just so cute!!
Overall, it was an awesome trip to Disney's California Adventure! We love Disneyland, but we jut don't get there as often as we do Disneyworld, so when we DO go, it always feels a bit more special <3
Thanks for dreaming up the happiest place on Earth, Walt!
And to all of our readers- See ya real soon!
to toy story land...and beyond!
Hello everyone!! We're back! We apologize for being MIA for a bit there.
We've had a lot going on which made it difficult to keep up with Ride or Dine, but I promise you we're back for good! And we're coming back with a post that's been a long time coming: our review of Disney's Hollywood Studios' new(ish) Toy Story Land!
Let me start by saying that the attention to detail in this land is nothing short of amazing.
The entire area went far beyond our expectations, we wish there was more of it!!
If you're unfamiliar with the DHS expansion, the park added a new land which consists of two new rides to join the one existing Toy Story ride, a new quick service restaurant, new merch booths, character meet-and-greets, and of course, theming galore!
One of the new rides is the Alien Swirling Saucers. This new whip ride is fun and cute, but a little too short. The wait times are still a bit ridiculous in the new land, but hopefully eventually when it gets down to normal, the wait will feel a little more worth it for this one.
The new star attraction is definitely Slinky Dog Dash, a new family-friendly roller coaster.
This cute little Slinky Dog coaster also has had a pretty lengthy wait time, and even though this ride is also short, it felt a little more worth the wait to us.
The queue was cute and felt really similar to Toy Story Mania. Thank the Disney Gods for blessing us with giant fans in the queue to combat that Orlando heat!!
Slinky Dog pulling into the station
The rides were obviously cute and we knew we'd love them (because any attraction addition is always welcome), but the biggest surprise was absolutely THE FOOD!!
We had no idea we would end up finding a new favorite quick service place in
Woody's Lunch Box. The restaurant offers sandwiches, soups, and a few other snack items,
and it blew us away!
Yaaaas mobile ordering!
The Totchos were one of our favorite items on the new menu. Potato Barrels (aka tater tots), covered in Beef and Bean Chili, Shredded Cheese and Queso with Tomatoes and Corn Chips topped with Sour Cream and Green Onions. YES, all day YES!
BBQ Brisket Melt. Sliced Smoked Brisket, Pickles and BBQ Sauce between melted Cheddar and Monterey Jack Cheeses on Grilled Sourdough. Okay, the sandwich was REALLY good. But, it was probably one of our least favorite things on the menu..but that is ONLY because everything else was SO awesome. If this was all we tried at Woody's Lunch Box we would be perfectly happy, but it wasn't, and we are thankful!
Grilled Three-Cheese Sandwich and Tomato-Basil Soup. The real showstopper. This dynamic duo is Melted Provolone and Cheddar Cheeses with a Cheddar Cream Cheese Spread on Garlic Buttered Grilled Artisan French Bread and perfectly paired tomato basil soup.
This little combo right here blew our minds. Almost everyone has had grilled cheese and tomato soup, so we were expecting it to be good, but not THIS good. This combo haunts my dreams.
Lunch Box Tarts. Basically a hand-crafted pop-tart.
Woody's lunch box offers two flavors (now three for the holidays).
Photographed above is the Raspberry Lunch box tart stuffed with raspberry marmalade, coated in strawberry fondant, and topped with strawberry pearls and dried strawberries. Admittedly, we weren't big fans of this dessert. It was a little too sweet and lacking in the filling department. We were feeling unimpressed with the dessert offerings and almost didn't even try the others. But, we're glad we went for it because the chocolate hazelnut tart made up for it!
This Chocolate-Hazelnut stuffed Pastry is coated in Maple Fondant and Candied Bacon.
Woody's lunch box is also offering a seasonal tart.
The Holiday Cinnamon Cran-Apple tart is cinnamon pastry stuffed with a cran-apple filling and coated in a vanilla fondant with Holiday decor.
In addition to the new rides and food, you can also meet Woody, Jessie, and Buzz in the new Toy Story Land. Plus, you can catch the Green Army men wandering around and performing little shows throughout the area!
So, needless to say, we loved our time in the new Toy Story Land. The theming was incredible and the food alone made endless trips to the area an absolute MUST!
Have you been to the new land in Hollywood Studios yet??
If so, share your favorite parts with us in the comments! And if not, what are you most looking forward to trying when you finally make it there?
Until next time, space cadets!
It's really Not so Scary!
Boo to you and you and you! This week we're so excited to continue on our Halloween adventure with one of our favorite places in the world: Disney World! Every year Magic Kingdom transforms overnight into a Halloween fantasy! And on select nights, the Kingdom closes early to park guests and offers an upgraded event called Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party! Most of our readers are probably familiar with MNSSHP and have either already attended or plan to in the future, but we wanted to share with you some of our highlights from this year.
Mickey's not-so-scary varies in price depending on the night you choose to attend, but generally it gets more expensive the closer it gets to Halloween. The event offers exclusive shows, meet and greets with certain characters and villains, the Boo to You parade, trick-or-treating, and HALLOWISHES (the best firework show ever)! There are also exclusive spooky snack options across the park which you KNOW we were all over! Park guests also get pretty creative with their Halloween costumes. For a list of okay attire for the event check Disney's website here.
Boo To You Parade
So, why is Hallowishes so great? Honestly, I don't know how to answer that because there are so many reasons! For one, the show itself is entertaining and filled with all of your favorite villains and Disney characters. I mean, who doesn't want to hear Poor Unfortunate Souls while watching fire explode in the sky?! Secondly, the fireworks are HUGE and literally light up the entire sky over MK. I don't want to spoil too much because seeing Hallowishes for the first time without knowing just how big and unique they are is part of the magic. But, here's a video of Oogie Boogie's part because everyone loves Nightmare Before Christmas.
Meet and Greets
Here's a list of all of the characters you can meet at MNSSHP and where to find them:
There were a ton of great food offerings during the event.
Some of these are offered during the day as well, but some are exclusive to MNSSHP.
The not-so-poison apple from the Main Street Bakery (aka Starbucks). This cupcake was SO good. Although the "apple" looking part on top is all icing so it's a bit much. But, if you scoop it to the side and just use some of it, the actual cake part is delicious. Spiced apple with pecan crunch. YUM
Candy Corn Milkshake from Auntie Gravities in Tomorrowland. We were fans of this shake. I think it was even better than the Millennial pink shake. It's marshmallow flavored ice cream, topped with cotton candy, and a marshmallow Mickey. Once again, VERY sweet, but overall it was good!
The Maleficent Dessert from Storybook Treats. It's lime soft serve in a black waffle cone with chocolate Maleficent horns. This was not our favorite treat at the party. The soft serve wasn't bad, but didn't mesh well with the chocolate horns. And it melted way too fast and started leaking out of the cone. :(
The Madame Leota Tart from Liberty Square Market. This was hands down our least favorite item of the night (and maybe entire trip). It's a tart filled with marshmallow pastry cream and candy pearls. The clear hard candy on top of the Leota printed candy is cool to look at, but the taste was just not worth it for this one.
Hades nachos from Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn. Nacho chips topped with buffalo chicken and cheese sauce. These weren't bad by any means, but the CRAZINESS that was Pecos Bill's made it almost not worth it. We waited a solid 25 (maybe more) minutes to get these. And event night means no mobile ordering :(
If you can get them at a reasonable time, I'd say go for it. But, don't wait as long as we did for them.
Hitchhiking Ghosts Cream Puff from Aloha Isle. This was the last treat of the night, and we ended on a high note. This black cream puff is filled with cookies and cream mousse. And it's adorable, of course!
*Bonus. I'm hesitant to even post about these because they were the feature of the month loaded fries from Casey's Corner for September. Meaning, sadly, they're gone. They weren't exclusive to MNSSHP by any means but they were just SO good, I wanted to share a photo of them. I don't really like posting about things you can't order anymore, but maybe this will inspire you to try the flavor of the month next time you stop by Casey's!
There are several shows and dance parties to see and join in on while at MNSSHP. There's the Cadaver Dans Barber Shop Quartet which you can hear singing ghoulish medleys in Frontierland. There's the Storybook Circus Junior Jam Dance Party in Storybook Circus. There's the Monstrous Scream-O-Ween Dance Ball in Tomorrowland (video below) where you can dance along with your favorite monsters.
And then there's the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular! This show is the main event of the entertainment lineup and is SO much fun. The Sanderson sisters host the show and invite all of your favorite Disney villains along. Although I was a fan of the old villain show, this Hocus Pocus show BLOWS it out of the water!
In addition to the shows, parade, fireworks, and meet and greets, don't forget you can also enjoy trick-or-treating across the entire park, all of your favorite rides, and exclusive Halloween merch! Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween party runs on Thursdays, Fridays, Sundays, and Tuesdays through October 31st starting at $99. Let us know in the comments if you've attended this year's Halloween party, or if you plan to! Until next time, Boo to You!
Parker and Brittany Ruhmel- Lovers of all things food and theme park related!