REVIEW: Merry Mashups Offers ‘The Santa Clauses’ Inspired Hot Cocoa for the 2023 Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure

The Merry Mashups Marketplace is usually known for inventive dishes at the Festival of Holidays in Disney California Adventure. However, this year, all the dishes and beverages available at the marketplace have been seen at the festival before, although in different locations.

Menu for Merry Mashups Marketplace at Disney California Adventure Festival of Holidays 2023

Food:

  • Southern Mac & Cheese – $9
  • Santa’s Milk & Cookies Hot Cocoa Inspired by the Disney+ series “The Santa Clauses” – $7

Beverages:

  • Maple Hazelnut Hot Buttered Rum – $17

Previously, the Southern Mac & Cheese was available at Holiday Duets Marketplace in 2022. Santa’s Milk & Cookies Hot Cocoa and the Maple Hazelnut Hot Buttered Rum were also available in 2022, at Making Spirits Bright.

Photos of Menu Items from Merry Mashups Marketplace at Disney California Adventure Festival of Holidays 2023

Southern Mac & Cheese – $9

with Andouille Sausage and Spiced Panko Crunch

This was a bit of a letdown. It’s rather run-of-the-mill, like a normal macaroni salad that someone accidentally dumped some lackluster Cajun seasoning into. Our serving seemed to be reheated and dried out, though it was still oily. In fact, the oil soaked through our serving tray and bled onto the table beneath.

The andouille sausage doesn’t combine with the overall dish as well as we hoped. This is not the mac and cheese we will be returning to, as the Savory Kugel Mac & Cheese at A Twist on Tradition is excellent.

Santa’s Milk & Cookies Hot Cocoa Inspired by the Disney+ series “The Santa Clauses” – $7

Whole Milk, Cookies and Cream Powder, and White Chocolate with Whipped Cream

This is one of the finest flavored hot cocoas we’ve had in a very long time.

It’s not so much cocoa as warm milk with cookies and cream flavor. But it’s a more natural, subdued flavor because, being added into the milk rather than actual hot cocoa, it doesn’t have to overcome the chocolate flavor to then layer cookies and cream on top of that.

Mixed with the milk itself, the cookies and cream come forward and create a unique drink that we highly recommend.

Maple Hazelnut Hot Buttered Rum – $17

Dark Rum, Butter, Hazelnut Paste, Maple Syrup, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and Clove with a Salted Caramel Whipped Cream

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This drink is perfect on a chilly night. The salted caramel whipped cream and maple syrup cut the alcohol, making this as easy to drink as possible.

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Don’t get us wrong — it’s still quite strong. But you won’t taste the rum through this perfect nectar-like mix.

The Festival of Holidays will run at Disney California Adventure from November 10, 2023, to January 7, 2024.

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