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Corn Dogs at Disneyland - A Review with Photos

elmomonster Dec 8, 2006 04:12 PM

Inside the Happiest Place on Earth, there exists the "Smallest Place on Earth to Work": the Little Red Wagon at the end of Main Street, U.S.A..

There, in a parked truck, inside a compartment the size of a janitor's broom closet, two Disney Cast Members toil in what I imagine is the worst job at Disneyland. But the problem isn't just the cramped quarters; it's the sputtering deep fryer crammed in there with 'em.

In August, when the mercury can easily climb past ninety in Anaheim, the closest thing to hell I can think of would be an eight-hour shift hunched over a smelly vat of boiling grease inside a sweltering sweat box made of metal. Whatever type of cooling or exhaust system they are provided can't be enough.

All this in the name of cooking hundreds of hand-dipped wieners for tourists in floppy Goofy hats.

In the first two summers after high school, I passed by the Little Red Wagon every morning to walk to a relatively cushier job as a cashier in the Adventureland gift shops. And before I would spend my workday in an air-conditioned store, I used to say a little prayer for my comrades who were stuck with corn dog duty.

Even today, as an Annual Passport holder, I still feel the prickly pangs of pity when I line up to order a corn dog, knowing that those sorry souls suffered to make my lunch.

But despite it, the products of their labor is recognized by many as the best thing to eat in the park. In fact, it is my opinion that these corn dogs are probably the only decent meal to be had within the confines of the Magic Kingdom. But at $5.80 for a corn dog and a small bag of Lay's chips (and an additional $2.90 for a fountain drink), one pays a premium for the pleasure, just like all other things sold inside the resort.

The corn dogs, however, are colossal, as long as my forearm and just as thick. Deep fried to a dark mahogany brown, it's as greasy as they come. A napkin I wrapped around its base for gripping turned clear on contact. Enough oil leeched out of its pores to lube up a bodybuilder, but the corn dog was scrumptious and filling enough to also feed one.

A good and generous slathering of plain yellow mustard cuts through the richness of the juicy beef frank found at its core; but it's the fried and porous cornbread crust that I savor most. Thanks to the pull of gravity, almost all of the corn dogs produced are inherently lopsided, but it seems that the more asymmetrical the shell, the better the experience. Best of all is when the batter tears halfway through cooking, creating gnarled knobs of goodness reminiscent of crackly hush puppies.

So, the next time you order a corn dog from the Little Red Wagon, do those working there a favor if they're looking down-and-out: tell them thanks.

Little Red Wagon
Disneyland Resort
(714) 781-4000
1313 S Harbor Blvd
Anaheim, CA 92802

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  1. ReelMike84 Dec 17, 2007 08:09 PM

    My first experience with a DL corn dog came from the "Little Red Wagon" and unfortunately it wasn't one I remembered for how great it was. The corn dog came out large and pipping hot, yet upon biting into I was hit with deceptively hidden ooey gooey uncooked batter.

    The second time around I went to the "Corn Dog Castle" in CA Adventure hoping for a better experience. Wishing for the best I cautiously bit in... it was cooked! But wait...what's this? The whole thing was practically batter! Was there a hot dog somewhere in there? Once I hacked away at the completely gross amount of batter I was good to go. I guess I got my money's worth this time to make up for lost batter in the first round. Oh well. I think I've just had bad luck with my hotdog/batter ratio, because my friend who got the corndog at the same time had one of utter ratio perfection.

    Looks like for me third time will be a charm. But I'm willing to give it another go.

    1. s
      Scotty Dec 17, 2007 07:55 PM

      Due to this post, I got a corn dog at Disneyland last weekend.

      I have to say I'm now always going to buy at least one everytime I go. It was the best corn dog I ever had and I think the best food item at the Resort.

      Thanks elmomonster!!

      1. m
        mlgb Feb 5, 2007 02:45 PM

        If one needs a fix of hot grease at Disneyland, the fish, chicken or mozzarella sticks at the Golden Horseshoe are better than those awful corndogs. And you can watch Bill Hill and the Hillbillies at the same time.

        Rancho del Zocalo isn't bad, either.

        1. Will Owen Feb 5, 2007 09:06 AM

          OK, first time EVER to Disneyland (hey, it's only been 52 years!), and had to try the corn dog. Well, I am not deeply impressed. Big, for sure...but the characteristics described above are the result of a bunch of stuff simply done wrong. Batter too heavy and improper cooking temperature are why it's greasy, and why the batter's overcooked on the outside, the weenie is really too hot to eat, and yet there are pockets next to the meat where the batter is not cooked at all. As for flavor, I prefer more of a corn taste and much less sweet. But it sure is large...

          Disagreeing further with the consensus here, we found our lunch at the Mexican restaurant in Frontierland to be very nice and not as ridiculously expensive as we'd expected. Mrs. O's carne asada plate was generous and tasty, and I thought my grilled chicken blew El Pollo Loco's out of the water.

          1. h
            High Maintenance Jan 10, 2007 02:49 AM

            Had to try this after your review. Just an amazing experience! Best corndog of my life. I will be going back to Disneyland soon.....just to have this euphoric experience once again.

            1 Reply
            1. re: High Maintenance
              elmomonster Jan 10, 2007 02:57 AM

              I'm itching for one right now...and I just ate a $22 sushi dinner! Need me some grease to offset all of the fish!

              http://elmomonster.blogspot.com

            2. g
              GrindzHound Dec 12, 2006 05:11 AM

              Very fun review to read! I can guarantee that I'll be trying the corndog on my next visit to D-land.

              1. notmartha Dec 8, 2006 07:15 PM

                I think they are the same. The one at CA Adventure has a spicy version for the dog (polish?) that you can't get at the cart. It's been a while though. And you can order the meal without the chips, even though it doesn't say that on the cart.

                The corn dog, and the turkey drumsticks are the only things at Disney that's reasonably good, filling and not too over priced.
                The corn dog gave me indigestion though (but they are so much better than the Hot Dog on a stick version)!

                3 Replies
                1. re: notmartha
                  f
                  frank828 Dec 8, 2006 07:19 PM

                  I tend to stick with CA adventure for the corndog because of the additional bevarage options there haha. Last time i went i had a nice glass of zinfandel from the wine place and a corndog and relaxed out in front of the water.

                  1. re: notmartha
                    Dommy Dec 8, 2006 07:24 PM

                    They also have a cheese stick version at CA... VERY bad for you... but SOoo good...

                    --Dommy!

                    1. re: Dommy
                      notmartha Dec 9, 2006 05:38 AM

                      Sounds good! I have to confess - I like the cornmeal (especially the crispy outer pieces) more than the filling...

                  2. j
                    joea Dec 8, 2006 05:52 PM

                    Be aware - The little red wagon is not always there. I don't know the criteria for it to be open -but- the Mrs. has made this an important 'ride' at the park and has left disapointed before.

                    IMHO - the Red Wagon Corn Dogs are better than the ones avail in CA Adventure

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: joea
                      Curt the Soi Hound Dec 8, 2006 06:58 PM

                      Wow! I've never seen the wagon closed, at least after 11 am.
                      Average a park visit a week, when in town.

                      1. re: Curt the Soi Hound
                        The Oracle Dec 8, 2006 07:06 PM

                        Where exactly is the wagon? On my last trip, I tried to locate it, but to no avail.

                        If you are at the park entrance, walking up Main Street.... then what? (Is it completely past all the shops Main Street? - and which side typically?)

                        Going next week... can't wait!! :)

                        1. re: The Oracle
                          notmartha Dec 8, 2006 07:12 PM

                          It's next to the photo shop, I think. Walking up main, it's on the right hand side before the plaza center with the Walt Disney statue (yes, past all the shops).

                      2. re: joea
                        f
                        frank828 Dec 8, 2006 06:58 PM

                        what do you think makes them better? ive only had them at Ca adventure and was under the impression that they are the same thing.

                      3. Pei Dec 8, 2006 04:28 PM

                        Your post could not have been timelier. I was honestly just talking last night to my friend about planning a Disneyland trip next time she's back in LA. And corn dogs were definitely on the list of reasons to go!

                        Excellent post and photos, enough to make a kid who used to go every other weekend long for her high school days (and believe me, I otherwise HATED high school!).

                        But next time...you must take a photo of the dog with your forearm next to it. You know, for perspective.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Pei
                          elmomonster Dec 8, 2006 08:38 PM

                          I know, I ought to! It sounds like an exaggeration, but it *really* is the length and size of my forearm!

                          http://elmomonster.blogspot.com

                        2. Clare K Dec 8, 2006 04:19 PM

                          Damn. I never thought I would crave corn dogs but after your description and photos, I could use one right about now...

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