Disneyland Churro Challenge - Review

Churros are a huge part of Disneyland culture. Some people have the location of every churro cart in the parks committed to memory and, “I was getting churros,” is a perfectly valid excuse to cut the line for The Haunted Mansion and catch up to your friends. For whatever reason, churros are just inherently tied into the very fabric of Disneyland. Recently the sugary sticks were brought to the center of everyone’s attention with their very own Churro Challenge as part of the ongoing Pixar Fest offerings, and Brittany and I went all in for the win on our most recent visit.

In order to take part in the Challenge you had to first buy a map at one of four participating churro carts. Following that it's fairly simple, just get a sticker for trying each churro and then head to the AP Corner and pick up your button to show off that you finished! The Challenge officially ran from May 14 - June 8 and was exclusive to Annual Passholders, but don’t worry, if you want to get your hands on these limited edition churros you still can! All four churros will be available for the duration of Pixar Fest (ending Sept 3, 2018). I have some opinions on the Challenge itself, but since it’s already finished, I’ll save that for the end of this post. For now, let’s just jump into what you’re really here for… Churro rankings!

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Pixar Fest Churros - Ranked

The following rankings are my own opinions of the churros, which I personally tried. Prior to eating the churros I had seen reviews of the best/worst of the bunch and after trying them myself, I ended up disagreeing with much of what I had read. I myself do like churros (Brittany not so much), so I was excited to go on this flavor journey and here are my results.

1. Ants on a Log Churro

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This A Bug’s Life inspired treat is the only one of the four churros that can be found in California Adventure and was the first one we tried. Now I don’t know about you, but when I think of ants on a log I think of peanut butter, celery, and raisins. Don’t worry this churro has nothing to do with celery, definitely no health food inspiration here. This churro starts with the standard cinnamon sugar as the base (the log), but then it’s drizzled with donut icing and rolled in cocoa cereal (the ants). This was my favorite because it’s just a solid upgrade on the classic. It wasn’t trying too hard to be anything else, just an improvement on something I already enjoy.

2. Kevin’s Churro

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This rainbow colored churro is a simple representation of the beautiful multi-colored plumage of Kevin the Snipe from Pixar’s Up. This one very easily could have been number one on our list as well, but I put it in second because while it was just as tasty, it wasn’t as inspiring in its detail as the Ants On A Log. Covered in lemon sugar and finely ground rainbow cereal, this churro is basically a hand-held bowl of Fruity Pebbles. This one is definitely the simplest of the four, but it really stood out. (Side note: I had read some reviews that ranked this as the worst churro by a long shot and we were not at all looking forward to it, so needless to say we were pleasantly surprised.)

3. Presto Rabbit Churro

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“Presto!” was the Pixar Short that originally ran before WALL-E in theaters and is definitely one of the funniest in Pixar’s long line of incredible animations; This carrot cake style churro however, not so much. This one was definitely a bit of a let down for me because a carrot cake churro with a side of cream cheese icing sounded perfect to me when I found out about it. In reality I found the churro to be bland and the icing to be too much. It’s just regular churro dough with carrot cake flavored sugar, not really a good representation of the rich earthy flavor of real carrot cake. On the other hand the icing was just over the top too sweet and fake tasting, not creamy like it should have been.

4. Coco Churro

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Much like the first two could’ve tied for the top spot, it was hard to decide which two were the lowest as well. The Coco Churro get’s the bottom spot though because not only did I not enjoy it, I also think it was advertised incorrectly as well. It was marketed as being dusted with cocoa powder, rolled in salted cinnamon sugar, and served with spiced chocolate dipping sauce. Now to me that sounds like a churro version of Mexican hot chocolate (which I absolutely love), a warm delicious combo of cinnamon/baking spice and creamy chocolate. Turns out they really meant SPICY chocolate, not SPICED chocolate. The dipping sauce is cayenne infused or something along those lines and nothing like the warm fuzzy deliciousness I was expecting from the description. In addition I thought this churro was just really messy, the chocolate sauce was runny and sticky not creamy, it just got all over the place.

Thoughts on the AP Churro Challenge

Overall, I thought the concept and execution of the Challenge was well done, but I do have a few comments I’d like to make as well. First of all, the maps to participate were $5 each and while that’s not an issue on its own, it’s confusing as to how this was presented as an AP exclusive. Now normally the AP food “scavenger hunt” events (ie: Food & Wine Festival or Festival of Holidays) are included in the price of the food itself. Buy the food, collect your stickers, win your buttons, something along those lines. Then there are also the paid scavenger hunts that are open to everyone (ie: Egg-stravaganza) where anyone can buy a map and win the prize. To me this was just a weird combination of the two where they wanted the exclusivity and pay-to-play aspects combined.

Keep in mind too that you still had to pay for all of the churros individually and even weirder still you could just buy the map and get a completion button without eating/buying a single churro. I’m sure there’s some kind of legal “no purchase necessary” aspect to this, but it just seems weird that some people are walking around with completion badges for something they didn’t even attempt. (Full disclosure: Brittany and I each bought maps, but we shared each of the churros. There’s no way we were eating four churros each and keeping our reservations at Cafe Orleans as well.)

Until Next Time

Don’t forget, even though the official challenge is no longer taking place, you can still eat all four churros for the next few months of Pixar Fest. I definitely could see myself getting some of these a second time, but with the whole Pixar Fest Food Checklist recently released, we’ve got plenty more eating to do before we start repeating! Stay tuned for more of our Disney foodie adventures as we sort through the good, the bad, and the delicious. It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it!

PS: If you don’t already, you should definitely follow Jeff Granito Designs on Instagram. He created the amazing artwork for the challenge maps/buttons and has an impressive working relationship with Disneyland overall. Definitely worth checking out!