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Disneyland Dining: The Mediocrest Place on Earth

My review of various Disneyland haunts. I haven't tried them all so please chime in if I'm missing anything vaguely edible

Ah Disneyland, home to fun and adventure for children of all ages. The happiest place on earth...except when it's time to eat, when it becomes a minefield of overpriced mediocrity and downright horribility. Is it possible to find great food in Disneyland? Not really...but there is the better and the worse. As a fairly regular guest, I thought I would share my experiences in Disney dining and help you identify the pitfalls and possibly, a few hidden gem.

This week we will focus on the the popular Disneyland Park and next week, we will cover the less popular though in my estimation underrated Disney California Adventure, but first, a few helpful eating tips for both parks.

Tips for the Hungry Mouse

1. You can bring outside food into the park. That's right, you can bring food from home or elsewhere and eat it in the park. Technically, you are supposed to eat such food in the front picnic area, but I've never had a problem setting up at one of the outdoor restaurant tables. (There is a Lee's Sandwiches that opens at 7:00 a.m. just a few miles from the park on Harbor Blvd.) Even if I don't bring a full meal, I usually bring some healthy snacks so I have some alternative to the high priced goodies that tempt you throughout the park.

2. Bring water. Even if you don't bring food or snacks, there is no reason to pay Disney prices for water. I usually bring at least a bottle per person. If you freeze them the night before, they stay pretty cool most of the day.

3. Avoid Hamburgers. Even at the places I say are decent, do not order hamburgers. I don't know what Disney does to their hamburger patties but they are revolting, grey discs that have no place between a bun. Anton Ego would not swallow.

4. Remember the First Corollary of Disney Dining: Nothing is Great/Everything is Expensive. You will have a better time if you accept this rule. As a food blogger, I suspend my usual standards when I enter the Magic Kingdom. There are a few good bites, but no amazing finds, and sweets tends to be better than savories. Just repeat the rule to yourself: Nothing is Great/Everything is Expensive. You'll live to eat another day.

5. Reserve a table. At some choice dining spots, particularly the Blue Bayou at Disneyland and Ariel's Grotto at California Adventure, reservations are required. Call Disney Dining at (714) 781-DINE.

6. Disney is dry/California Adventure is wet. You won't find alcohol for sale at Disneyland park, but you will find it at California Adventure.

And now for the food, by Disney location. First a few caveats for both this list and next week's. This list is by no means exhaustive but reflects some of the things I have experimented with, for good or ill, over the years. Also, it covers only food within the park, not Downtown Disney or food at any of the hotels.


About that corndog cart

The only single Disneyland food that gets buzz among foodies is the corndog cart on Mainstreet USA. Even Jonathan Gold has sung the praises of the little red wagon. It's located on the right side of Main Street, from the direction of the entrance, right before you hit the Carnation Cafe. When done well, these things are indeed wonderful...a perfectly fried, sweet and chewy cornmeal coating, hand dipped such that it bulges at the top and locks in the hot dog juice. Of late, however, they have had a problem with the grease having a rancid odor, a smell that makes me nauseous before I even bite into the dog. If you can smell the grease before you can see the cart, you may want to pop across to Disney California Adventure's Corndog Castle, which I will cover next week. Same dog, fresh grease.


New Orleans Square has some of the most promising food in the park, as you might expect from an area that is named after one of America's most prominent gastronomic destinations.

Blue Bayou

One of the most sought after seats at the Disney table, the Blue Bayou's main draw is the location. It is situated inside of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, which gives you the feeling of dining alongside a bayou at night. It's fun to sit and watch the pirate boats pass by. The food is mostly mediocre, but they do serve one of the last great Monte Cristo sandwiches. I love a Monte Cristo...ham, cheese and turkey on white bread, battered and fried and served with jam. The BB does a near perfect version of this classic. My biggest beef with the Bayou is that the food is ludicrously expensive, and this includes the Monte Cristo which weighs in at almost $20 (although it is big enough to easily feed two). Overall, the BB is a great thing to do once, but call in advance for reservations, (714)781-DINE, because it fills up.

Cafe Orleans

For the food of the Blue Bayou without the fun of eating inside a ride, Cafe Orleans is a table service restaurant with a similar menu, including the vaunted Monte Cristo, and reservations are not required.

French Market Restaurant

The French Market Restaurant is a decent cafeteria style restaurant right next to Cafe Orleans. They do a fine fried chicken, and I like the pork on the BBQ pork po-boy, though the bread is perpetually stale.

At the service window on the patio of the French Market you can get little apple dumplings and the popular "mint julep" which is also served at the Cafe Orleans and the Bayou. Now, as a fan of real mint juelps, I have to say that I am deeply offended that anyone would call this non-alcoholic, fluorescent green elixir that smells and tastes like something you would polish furniture with, a mint julep. I don't know what it is; I don't know that I want to know what it is, but it certainly does not contain mint or Bourbon and therefore, has no business being called a mint julep.

Royal Street Veranda

The Royal Street Veranda is a window near the Pirates ride which serves clam chowder and gumbo in a sourdough bowl. It's not bad when doused with Tabasco (think a decent canned soup in a Boudin boule) and pretty quick if you are trying to get on with your day at the park without a long lunch break.


Tomorrowland Terrace

The futuristic Tomorrowland Terrace is a large circular stand at the center of Tomorrowland. In the world of tomorrow, food will apparently have lost all redeeming value and have been reduced to tasteless burgers, wilted lettuce and flavorless chicken sandwiches. Tomorrowland Terrace may be the worst food in Disneyland, which is saying a lot...AVOID, AVOID, AVOID.

Redd Rockett's Pizza Port

Big slices of pizza and pasta are available at the Space Mountain adjacent Redd Rockett's. It's pretty similar to a Sbarro or similar mall-Italian place. They do have some decent pastas with some nice garlic in the sauce. Pizza Port is a pretty safe bet in the otherwise dangerous culinary world of Tomorrowland.


Bengal Barbecue

I'd heard some good recommendations for the satay-style skewered meats at Bengal Barbecue in Adventureland. The skewers looked like satay, but they were salty, really, really salty. I won't be returning.

Tiki Juice Bar

One of the few places you can get a Dole Whip outside of Hawaii is in the juice bar outside the Enchanted Tiki Room. Personally, I'm not fan of these popular tropical fruit sherbets which come out of the soft-serve machine. They have an artificial/chemical taste I find off-putting, but if that's your thing, you can get it here. Now, an Enchanted Tiki Bar, that would be cool.


There are lots of carts that serve food at multiple locations around the park...here's a guide to just a few of them.


Disneyland does a pretty decent churro. They are crispy on the outside, chewy within...my standard Disney breakfast.

Ice Cream Bars

There are carts all over both parks selling various ice cream novelties such as mouse shaped ice cream sandwiches, frozen bananas and chocolate covered Mickey Mouse ice cream bars. Most of these are pretty decent. I particularly like the chocolate covered Mickey Mouse bar. The chocolate is rich and the ice cream isn't too sweet. However, these ice cream bars come with two caveats: (1) Do not read the ingredient list...just don't; (2) I don't know what Disney uses in their freezer carts, but these things are hard as rocks. Seriously, you could chip a tooth on one of these things...or kill someone if you threw it hard enough. I literally wait 15 minutes before eating one of these mouse-eared treats, maybe less on a really sweltering summer day.

Well, that was pretty bleak wasn't it? The food is actually a bit better and Disney California Adventure, which we will review next week, so stay tuned Disney diners.


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  1. You may do it all the time, but The Mouse does not appreciate you bringing in your own food. According to Disneyland's website http://disneyland.disney.go.com/disne... the only food items allowed to be brought into the part are ones for guests with specific dietary restrictions (and an allergy to overpriced food ain't going to cut it). Yes, this includes bottled water. Drinking fountains are plentiful around the park. The reason such food is allowed in the front picnic area is because that area is not inside the park proper.

    6 Replies
    1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

      That may be the official rule, but I've never seen it enforced. They search your bags on the way in and I always have multiple bottles of water and snacks and have never had any problem.

      Now, if you set up an elaborate outside meal, you might have problems, but I'm talking about more subtle stuff.

      1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

        "Tough beans" if The Mouse doesn't like it. The prices there are outrageous -- admission AND food.

        If they don't wring every possible dollar out of every possible "guest" then they'll manage very nicely nontheless.

        I would add plan food for the trip home as well. The restos in the surrounding area are, as is typical of most tourist areas, overcrowded, overpriced and entirely disappointing. Tired, overstimulated kids don't do well with waiting.

        1. re: rainey

          Agree, the food at Disneyland sucks, but I don't think a blanket statement that there is nothing chow worthy in the surrounding area is quite accurate. Maybe not in the immediate tourist area adjacent to Disneyland, but in not to far distant neighborhoods in Orange and L.A. counties are plenty of places frequented by chowhounds. One example is Renu Nakorn, a few miles north on I-5, and then maybe a half mile east on Rosecrans.

          1. re: ChinoWayne

            Rightly said!

            I haven't been down there in more than a decade and I was thinking of having the "Disney" experience with kids as a local rather than considering what someone who does the area only rarely might not want to miss.

            1. re: rainey

              If you haven't been down here in a decade how on earth do you know what's in the adjacent area? While I don't eat on Harbor Blvd. (nobody who lives here does) there is plenty of delectable stuff within a 5-10 minute drive of Harbor and Katella.

              1. re: Das Ubergeek

                And if you haven't been there in more than a decade , you have no idea what the food is now like inside Disneyland, the new Park (Cal Adventure), the new hotel, blah blah blah.

      2. This review was not nearly as negative as your title made it sound.

        "...they do serve one of the last great Monte Cristo sandwiches."
        "The French Market Restaurant is a decent cafeteria style restaurant."
        "They do a fine fried chicken..."
        "The Royal Street Veranda...serves clam chowder and gumbo in a sourdough bowl. It's not bad when doused with Tabasco."
        "Redd Rockett's [has] some decent pastas with some nice garlic in the sauce."
        "Disneyland does a pretty decent churro. They are crispy on the outside, chewy within..."

        "Well, that was pretty bleak wasn't it?"

        No, not really.

        6 Replies
        1. re: The Old Man

          Fair enough, but keep in mind, when I say "decent" in the Disney context, it means decent for Disneyland, which is a bit below the standard I would use in the real world or in any other post on Chowhound.

          1. re: sku

            As a Disneyland fanatic I certainly agree that there isn't great food at DL and it certainly is overpriced. But I think that's true of any theme park.

            That said I appreciate your detailed review and look forward to its next installment.

            1. re: sku

              The real question is whether or not you would ever choose to eat at any of these places if you were not trapped in the Magic Kingdom. Most of us would not. Disney knows that time is money for most people at the park. It is not really feasible to leave the park for two hours to get a decent burger. So visit after visit, we pay way too much at restaurants that would never be able to do business on the outside.

              But on the positive side, if that is the food of the future... it will be a cure for obesity!

              1. re: Matt93312

                Overall, the food at the Disneyland resort is not bad on an absolute scale, very good on a theme park/tourist attraction scale.

                But to answer your question: Yes, there are places/items from Disneyland that I would choose to eat (and even pay the same theme park price) if they were available locally (SF bay area):

                - Napa Rose, especially the Chef's Counter
                - Monte Cristo sandwich from New Orleans Square (at Blue Bayou dinner or Cafe Orleans all day) - It's a guilty pleasure but very well executed. I would eat it once a year.
                - Fried chicken from the Plaza Restaurant
                - Bacon-wrapped asparagus skewer from the Bengal BBQ
                - Turkey leg - This is a specialty item not easily found - the Disney version is way better than the ones they sell at Ren Faire.
                - Combo nachos (beef and chicken) from White Water Snacks at the Grand Californian

                Napa Rose Restaurant
                1600 S Disneyland Dr, Anaheim, CA 92802

                Blue Bayou
                1580 S Disneyland Dr, Anaheim, CA

                1. re: Matt93312

                  Yes there really are quite a few food experiences inside the parks that I would enjoy if it didn't cost me $15 parking and whatever for a ticket. In fact you'll find locals with annual passes that go to the parks for the eating and enterntainment rather than the rides...which of course is why they even sell APs in the first place.

                  In addition to the ones makoka mentioned, I like a nice sitdown at the French Market patio, with a latte and fritters, listening to the Royal Street Bachelors. And a Krispy Treat to take home.

                  Wine Country Trattoria isn't bad either.

                  1. re: mlgb

                    Agreed on Wine Country Trattoria! I haven't liked the entree choices at the French Market all that much, but the Royal Street Bachelors are great. I will have to try the fritters next time.

                    French Market Cafe
                    2321 Abbot Kinney Blvd Ste 200, Venice, CA 90291

            2. Thanks for the review. I've got to tell you...the popcorn is the best. I just love it. And the big dill pickles...and the pinapple spears. I agree with you the food is not generally good..(and downtown disney is even worse) but I still eat my way through the magic kingdom. Oh yeah...and the frozen banana...

              11 Replies
              1. re: LA Buckeye Fan

                I totally forgot about the big dill pickle. Thanks for the reminder.

                1. re: LA Buckeye Fan

                  "...and downtown disney is even worse..."

                  Not to be a naysayer here but Napa Rose is one of the top rated restaurants in the state. For a family dinner Storyteller's is good and as is Whitewater Snacks.

                  1. re: The Old Man

                    I've heard the same, and to be honest I've never eaten there. But the Spanish restuarant (Cava I think?) is horrible. As is the italian. I do like the La Brea Bakery pretzel bread and thick cut bacon for a yummy breakfast! In summation, I stand corrected. :)

                    1. re: LA Buckeye Fan

                      I've actually had decent meals at Catal, especially after long days at the park. My daughter especially likes the huge bowl of macaroni with butter / olive oil, and at 6- it's not a bad deal; in fact, the pricing, especially in relation to Disney, is quite fair. I even went to a winemaker dinner there one night with Silver Oak, and the food was above average and the wines were poured like you wouldn't believe. It was certainly a different experience wandering around the "Magic Kingdom" afterwards.

                      Napa Rose is fine, but I think somewhat overrated- if you happen to be there when they are serving a large group / meeting- try to leave because service will be slooow, but not next door to Storyteller's, where I've had nothing but mediocre food.

                      As an add to the food at the park itself-

                      Rancho Zocala (Frontierland) - Del Taco at Disney Prices

                      Village Haus (Fantasyland)- Tomorrowland Terrace with a Gepetto theme

                      Big Thunder BBQ- actually decent in the context of the park, but closed and unlikely to return.

                      Hungry Bear Inn (Bear Country)- used to be my go to place when I was a teen- somehow my friends and I had convinced ourselves that the burgers there were better than anywhere else.

                      Carnation Cafe on Main Street- breakfast were not too bad here.

                      RIver Belle Terrace (Adventureland)- used to be ok for breakfast, since remodeled.

                      Plaza Inn (Main Street)- Buffeteria style stations- had maybe the saltiest pot roast ever!

                      Of note, I have not been to any of these places in 10+ years, as like the OP mentioned, you can get away with bringing a certain amount of "snacks" into Disneyland. The only places I've eaten at recently are the Corn Dog Cart and Tomorrowland Terrace, which is as bad as advertised, except for decent fries, but I was held hostage since my child wanted to do that Jedi thing. However, they do offer a 3.99 toddler meal which includes a color changing straw, a drink (incl. milk or juice), apple sauce, and a small cup of arroz con pollo (the chicken is just a few bits of meat) that my kid seemed to like. She also loves just the pineapple juice from the tiki bar.

                      Of course, there's a wealth of info on the web- just search disneyland dining

                      1. re: LA Buckeye Fan

                        When I was in Nha Trang, Vietnam, they served their banh mi on a dense, pretzel-like bread.... they were magnificent. I smell a business opportunity! :)

                        Mr Taster

                        1. re: LA Buckeye Fan

                          Big Thunder BBQ is open again. Pricey but not bad.

                          1. re: calabasas_trafalgar

                            We won a dinner here a few months back. Food was OK. I'd say 70% there but you could definitely tell something wasn't right (ie obviously pre-boiled pork ribs completely void of smoke flavor)

                            Wasn't bad, but I wouldn't pay their asking prices. AYCE though.

                            For fun, watch the performance the whole show. Do they love what they're doing, or do they want to stab themselves. You decide.

                            1. re: calabasas_trafalgar

                              That's encouraging--great memories eating tasty BBQ in front of an open fire with fireworks booming overhead! (Is it open daily, or just on weekends?)

                              1. re: Funwithfood

                                In the past it's been seasonal, but sometimes open on the weekends. It's outside too. IIRC it also closes before the fireworks happen. I'd call Disney to verify if it would be open, and to make a reservation (714) 781-DINE (3463)

                                1. re: Funwithfood

                                  Just got back from Disneyland, and Thunder Ranch BBQ was open on the weekend, but was closed on Monday.

                          2. re: LA Buckeye Fan

                            LOL....I'm with ya on this. I loved reading this thread because now I'm reminding myself I need a Disneyland fix.
                            I go to Disneyland to escape....many times I've thought of hiding there and staying all night :). The food, the rides, the people watching, the children laughing and the popcorn, dill pickles, pineapple spears and those memorable frozen bananas....yum. Thanks for the review of all the restaurants....over the years I think I've hit them all at one time or another and the food, as you say, isn't all that fabulous. But, really, who goes for the food anyway?

                          3. I love those corn dogs. You can also get them in California Adventure.

                            1. While *water bottles* are expensive, you can get a cup of tap free from any of the restaurants. This actually is kind of convenient; I always, always seem to lose every water bottle I have. Probably a sea of my water bottles sitting at the bottom of Space Mountain.

                              1. Let's not forget about Club 33: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/567255

                                I believe it's the only place where you can get booze in Disneyland proper.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: kevin h

                                  Ah Club 33. I'm already loosing loosening my belt a notch in memory of their decadent dessert bar with the best macaroons I've ever had.


                                  1. re: ReelMike84

                                    The macaroons, happily, are available at the bakery on Main Street, U.S.A.... and wow, are they good.

                                2. I love this! I have it in my books to do my own complete food review of the park from mickey ear pretzels to monte cristo sandwiches.

                                  I agree with some of what you said. I loved the monte cristo, I'm not a fan of the dole whips, and if I'm getting a corn dog it comes from Corndog Castle. Of the few times I've eaten at the cart once the better was undercooked and another time the batter to dog ratio was WAY off. I never have a problem at the Castle. I do like the Bengal BBQ place though, but I agree sometimes they overdo it with that salt shaker.

                                  Things I do like that you didn't mention in Disneyland are the chocolate covered bananas, the fruit boxes, the giant pickles, and the Plaza Inn fried chicken.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: ReelMike84

                                    And the, meal for three (at least for us) turkey leg.

                                  2. Out of date the day it was posted. For updated menus, see Allears.net .

                                    French Market revised their menu at least as far back as October, no fried chicken, no po-boy. The new "healthy" French Market menu:

                                    Actually, the really good "broasted" chicken was always at the Plaza Inn.
                                    You'll want to check out River Belle Terrace for BBQ pork.

                                    Rancho del Zocalo has a reasonably good chicken Caesar salad and a Pollo-loco- style grilled chicken.

                                    Royal Street Veranda is mostly about the bread, there's hardly enough soup to bother, but of the three I actually like the veggie gumbo best. We also like the fritters (really more like cream puffs with a gloppy lemon curd).

                                    The deep-fried snacks (fish sticks and mozzarella sticks) with dipping sauce at the Golden Horseshoe are pretty good, and usually freshly made.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: mlgb

                                      I went back to try the French Market revised menu last weekend. It was terrible. It appears that they are trying to make it more healthy, but they were much better with the fried chicken and po-boys. I had a "jambalaya" which had very little rice and was bathed in a pretty flavorless tomato sauce...it was more of a ratatouille with meat. The only redeeming quality was that they still have the little Tabasco packets. The citrus chicken was pretty much bland hotel-style rubber chicken and the salmon looked the same. I missed the fried chicken and stale bread po-boys.

                                    2. I go there a lot and pretty much stick to:
                                      -vegetable skewers at Bengal BBQ
                                      -the giant burgers at Storyteller's Cafe in California Adventure
                                      -cupcakes and cookies in the Pooh's corner store.
                                      -mango from the fruit stand carts.

                                      I still need to try the Enchanted Cottage place in Fantasyland that has brautwurst and knockwurst.

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: EatinThePizzaNaked

                                        Storytellers...How could I forget that corn chowder! Great stuff.

                                        We also like the freshly prepared grilled sandwiches and fries at Whitewater Cafe. And not many people seem to use it midday. We usually get the chicken breast one, but the burgers look good too.

                                        Tomorrowland Terrace must be the worst food in the park. I'd just go over to Pizza Port, you can carry your food over to the Terrace to watch the Jedi.

                                        1. re: mlgb

                                          The last burger I had there wasn't very good but the shredded beef nachos were fabulously filling and delicious, not to mention inexpensive.

                                          1. re: ReelMike84

                                            Are those from Whitewater? They do look good. Waaaay better than the bad, bad ones from Cucina Cucamonga. I wouldn't even eat there if someone offered to pay for it. On a par with Tomorrowland Terrace for worst food in both parks.

                                            1. re: mlgb

                                              Whoops! Yea I forgot to mention that those nachos were in fact from Whitewater. You can also get chicken as well.

                                        2. re: EatinThePizzaNaked

                                          The Enchanted Cottage wursts are pretty good. DH and I had one type each and shared recently, though now I can't remember which one I liked better... This location also has the advantage of being somewhat hidden and hence has almost no line and easy-to-find table seating.

                                        3. We live near the park and have annual passes, so we rarely feel the need to eat inside the park for eating's sake. We'll either bring food with us (sandwiches, which although technically against the rules, is never enforced), or go home at meal times. We're not usually inside the park for more than 3 hours at a time anyway.

                                          Having said that, there are some good food places inside Disneyland park as you've mentioned (and more in California Adventure, so can't wait for your next installment!). One of my personal sinful favorites is the Chimichanga. Located near the end of main street, usually in front of the corn dog cart, they sell these deep fried, beef and bean stuffed monstrosities side by side with the turkey legs. The crunchiness of the fried tortilla wrapping, and the yumminess of the beef and bean interior is just delightful. My wife hates them, but like I said, they're my little secret habit.

                                          The broasted chicken at Plaza Inn is another good one. If I'm not in the mood for a big meal, the kid sized chicken (with just one drumstick) for $5.99 works as a small snack. Plaza Inn also allows 1 refill of your drink, if I recall correctly, which is something most of the other places won't do, despite all charging the same price.

                                          Gibson Girl Ice Cream is a great place to get your cone on, as is the Blue Ribbon Bakery for a cup of coffee.

                                          There are definitely some stinkers to avoid, like the hamburgers at Tomorrowland Terrace. yuck!

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: kingkong5

                                            I never thought the chimichanga looked very appetizing so I've always just passed them by. Plus their close proximity to Thunder Mountain makes me think of hurling said fried burrito in a train car.

                                            1. re: kingkong5

                                              Yes, BRB has the good coffee/latte, although the line is so slow. Some of the deserts are good. Krispy Treats, Choc Chip Cookies, even the biscotti (choc dipped of course).

                                              1. re: kingkong5

                                                Just had the chicken at the Plaza Inn for the billionth time a couple of weeks ago as it is my go to place for lunch. Very disappointing this time. The chicken had a "chlorine" taste.

                                              2. Go to Napa Rose.
                                                Go to Napa Rose.
                                                Go to Napa Rose.

                                                6 Replies
                                                1. re: EclecticEater

                                                  We had a group of six at Napa Rose, and it was just so-so, but the price was so so expensive. It's a pretty restaurant, and you can get a decent cocktail, but the food is way over-rated, imho. I won't say to not eat there, but be prepared for a costy meal that is just a tad under-great.

                                                  1. re: EclecticEater

                                                    I ate in the Napa Rose bar area last December, just to get a nice cocktail and a try out their some of the food; they have some of the same items in the bar as they do in the restaurant. Food was hit or miss IMHO. And I had very snotty service from a horrid waitress, a review that i posted to Yelp if yr interested. Based on the food I had in the bar, I'm not sure it's worth the $$.

                                                    1. re: cosmogrrl

                                                      My experience @ NR in December was PHENOMENAL! Sat @ the Chef's Counter, had an 8-course meal for a great price. Maybe the snooty service applies to the bar area? B/c we had great Disney service

                                                      1. re: OCAnn

                                                        I think the service was due to the server and her assistant. I've always heard great things about NR service in the bar. And I've always had great service at Disney. This was truly a horrific experience though. WORST EVER in my experience. So bad I left a 10 cent tip. Which I have never done. I won't hold it against the NR but I won't be eating there for a while; it left a bad taste in my mouth. And I did write to the company, and the CM I told was horrified.

                                                        1. re: cosmogrrl

                                                          =( Sorry your experience was *that* bad. I hope they write back...and if they do, let us know what they said.

                                                          1. re: OCAnn

                                                            They write back promptly. Quite a long letter of apologies. Basically said the manager and the server would be spoken too, and the offending parties fed to the dragon that lives under the castle. Well maybe not that last part, but it sounds funny... ;)

                                                  2. Wow, thank you for this wonderful and informative post! Speaking as an ex-Disneyland castmember, all I can tell you is that, well, the brains in between those mouse ears know two things: (1) guests are captive audiences; and (2) most people don't go to Disneyland for the food. A good rule of thumb nowadays is to consider grazing while in the park (as you mentioned above, a corndog here and a churro there) and then having a nice meal outside the park either at Downtown Disney or in the Grand Californian Hotel.

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: OCKevin

                                                      The bag check people will let you take an "appropriate" amount of food inside the park. That is, if you are a family of four, they'll let you through with four sandwiches, etc. Not ten sandwiches, and not the separate components of sandwiches to assemble inside the park.

                                                      Any restaurant that serves soft drinks will gladly give you a large glass of ice water at no charge. I bring a wide-mouth Aquafina water bottle into the park so I can transfer the water and ice cubes into it instead of the flimsy paper cup (easier to take onto rides and carry in your sack).

                                                      Redd Rockett's pizza is 90% crust. Not worth the money. But their pasta is ok. Kid portion pastas are decent. Grownups can order kid's meals.

                                                      Cafe Orleans serves good fries tossed with parmesan cheese and garlic. We always nosh on an order of these while waiting for our entrees.

                                                      I agree that the burgers at Tomorrowland Terrace are not good but some of the other sandwiches are not bad.

                                                      1. re: OCKevin

                                                        Yes, that's what we usually do, and you are right, it works best that way. We don't go to Disneyland for the food, but we never leave dissatisfied for the experience.

                                                        1. re: OCKevin

                                                          ....or go to banh mi che cali beforehand and smuggle in some outgrageously delicious banh mi into the park (3 for $5).

                                                          Mr Taster

                                                        2. I concur about the Monte Cristo sandwich. Really good rendition (though I can eat at most one a year). If you are seeking this specifically, keep in mind that the Blue Bayou only serves it at lunch time. Cafe Orleans is a better choice to get the Monte Cristo if the atmosphere of the Blue Bayou is not a must for you. At the Blue Bayou, the cajun salmon is decent.

                                                          I like the Bengal BBQ, though their prices are quite high if you make a meal of the skewers. Between DH and I, 4 skewers each, a Mickey pretzel to share, and 2 fountan drinks set us back $40. I agree the sauces are on the salty side, though I'm a self-prescribed salt queen so I don't mind them. I think the best skewer is the bacon-wrapped asparagus.

                                                          The smoked turkey leg is also very tasty and not a bad value for the size and amount of meat you get. I love turkey legs and get them every year at Renaissance Festivals. The Disney leg is both tastier and cheaper (!) than the Ren Faire staples.

                                                          7 Replies
                                                          1. re: madoka

                                                            I am new to this board and found very few Anaheim threads that didnt mean a hot pepper. Is there a thread regardding restaurants outside the park? We were looking at Joe;s Crab Shack and Bubba Gump's and various other establishements. OR taking the time to leave the park going out to one of these restaurants and back to the park take up too much time that were better off eating the mediocre food for convenience??? We will have 3 days here.
                                                            If a link to outside park food could you please refer it to me.
                                                            Also is target the place to pick up some water?
                                                            thanks so much!

                                                            1. re: palmtree38

                                                              Joe's Crab Shack and Bubba Gump are far worse than the food inside the park. If those are your favorite restaurants then I wouldn't worry. There are chain restaurants continuing on Harbor near the Convention Center such as Buca de Bepo, or however it's spelled.

                                                              There is a Mimi's Cafe not far from the park entrance on Harbor. For water there's a 7-11 at Katella/Harbor; and a Food for Less on Katella at Euclid.

                                                              The restaurants at Downtown Disney are not especially cheap for what you get.

                                                              1. re: palmtree38

                                                                "...that didnt mean a hot pepper..."

                                                                What does this mean?

                                                                Anyway, Whitewater Snacks and Storytellers are both good and they are in the
                                                                Grand Californian hotel next to DCA. Mimi's, mentioned below, is also a good tip. Never eat at Captain Kidd's across the street from the park entrance.

                                                                1. re: The Old Man

                                                                  Never eat at the Baker's Square on Harbor Boulevard, either -- truly the most G-d awful place on the boulevard. In fact other than Mimi's, Red Robin, Buca di Beppo and Joe's Italian Ice, skip Harbor Boulevard altogether.

                                                                2. re: palmtree38

                                                                  Wow... I wonder what the search did to you, because I can tell you from long experience that we have at least one "what's near Disneyland" thread a month.

                                                                  First of all, if you're in the park, stay in the park, because by the time you get back to your car, drive somewhere, eat, pay, drive back, and get back to the park you're out three hours of your day at Disneyland. If you want to eat outside the park, bookend your visit to the park with breakfast or dinner (you can see the fireworks from miles around, though you'll miss the soundtrack, which I don't mind).

                                                                  Certainly don't leave the park just to go to Joe's Crab Shack or Bubba Gump's (these places are terrible and they know you're tourists who may never return and it definitely influences the service).

                                                                  You can buy water anywhere. There's a Target on Harbor and Chapman, a Vons grocery store on Chapman and Haster, a Mexican market called Fiesta Mexicana on Ball Road and Anaheim Blvd., another Vons on Lincoln and Anaheim, an Albertsons on State College and South...

                                                                  As for restaurants, it will help if you give us some guidelines -- not more than X minutes' drive from Y intersection, or not more than Z dollars per person (including/not including tax/tip, wine, etc.), certain kinds of cuisine you want to try...

                                                                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                    Hello .thanks for the responses. We will be in the garden grove area and read on Trip advisor about bubba gumps/joes crabshack for decent meals not fancy for children/families. Also cheese cake factory was mentioned. So yes you have a good point this would take about 3 hours of our time to leave the park to get all the way there.

                                                                    I went under california search and put in Anaheim and there was several threads on a type of hot pepper used in food dishes not the location anaheim near disney.

                                                                    So children in mind. fun places not really fancy as we will be going to higher end restaurants in san diego on our holiday. Italian. mexican, or decent pub foods. These will be for lunches that I am looking for in the park or walking outside. We will go to one dinner near garden grove area that we could use a recomendation on if bubba gumps and joe crab shack are "crappy".

                                                                    thanks everyone.

                                                                    1. re: palmtree38

                                                                      TripAdvisor is full of people who want the same exact food they can have at home, but near Disneyland instead. Bubba Gump's and Joe's Crab Shack are huge, expensive chains that do nothing very well. The same with the Cheesecake Factory... a waste of time, and an expensive one at that -- you can eat a way better main dish for $15 elsewhere.

                                                                      As far as Italian, two recommendations for you: Marri's, on Katella and Walnut in Anaheim (just at the southwest corner of Disney property) is decent red-sauce Italian-American, OK pizza, just avoid the tortellini (they're not very good and they tend to be heavy, though the menu lists them as house specials). The other is Carolina's, on Chapman and West in Garden Grove. Stick with red-sauce (don't order anything weird like "Italian enchiladas" or "Mexican cannelloni" or any such nonsense). If you order a glass of wine you can expect a glass that is filled to brimming, and they give you a little dish of spumoni after each meal.

                                                                      Mexican -- if you're willing to drive 10-15 minutes from Disneyland you will run into one of the best Mexican seafood restaurants in the LA area, Mariscos Puerto Esperanza, on the corner of Tustin and Taft in the city of Orange -- basically you go up to Ball Road (which turns into Taft Ave. when you cross the city line), turn right, and just before it ends make a left into the parking lot of the minimall. You can do a search for this place on Chowhound and see reviews.

                                                                      Decent pub food -- we don't have too many English pubs but if you want to head up Harbor Blvd. to Fullerton, you can go to The Olde Ship, which isn't bad and feels very homey. They have decent fish and chips and excellent sticky toffee pudding. Or if you want Spanish pub-type food, also on Harbor Blvd. in Fullerton is Lizarran, which is the only US branch of a Spanish chain of tapas restaurants.

                                                                      For Garden Grove -- that is one of the towns that make up our Little Saigon. If you go just a little further you could go to Xanh, on the corner of Brookhurst and Edinger in the corner of a large plaza. It's Vietnamese food, very fresh and very accessible to people who may not have tried it before (menus are in English, waitstaff speak English perfectly, it's totally kid-friendly and the service is excellent.

                                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/575857 (my review of Puerto Esperanza

                                                              2. Will you do the eateries at the hotel?

                                                                I haven't been to Disneyland in over a decade so I wouldn't venture an opinion on any resto but I will say when the kids were small and we were regulars, we always took the monorail outside the park to eat at the hotel. It wasn't that the food was so much better as that we could clear our heads, sit down and get table service and let the kids unwind a little.

                                                                It was a strategy that really made the whole experience more enjoyable and endurable for us.

                                                                7 Replies
                                                                1. re: rainey

                                                                  our hotel offers complimentary hot breakfast and dinners a few days a week. We thought we would take advantage of them when we could and dine out the other times. We do have a character lunch booked for one lunch.

                                                                  1. re: palmtree38

                                                                    Sounds like that's working for you. But I was referring to the fact that the Disneyland Hotel is one option for anyone. It's not restricted to guests and there is a complex of eateries, shops and recreation opportunities.

                                                                    Once upon a time at the hotel there was a water feature with a miniature marina and radio controlled boats that my kids really loved. Funny thing: that radio controlled boat thingie and what amounted to a traditional playground out on the Tom Sawyer Island is what they really liked about Disneyland. (I understand they've completely gutted all those things like the teetering rocks on Tom Sawyer Island.)

                                                                    But, I digress. My point was that a simple ride on the monorail at mid-day with a stop at the hotel affords additional resources outside the confines of the park proper. And it's accessible to anyone.

                                                                    1. re: rainey

                                                                      I'm definitely going to be trying some hotel food. In response to the post I did on California Adventure (see link below), many people said the food at the Grand Californian Hotel, which is adjacent to Calif. Adventure, was good, so I'm planning on hitting that up. I hadn't considered Disneyland Hotel since, as a local, I never really have a reason to be over there but maybe I'll check it out as well.


                                                                      1. re: sku

                                                                        good ideas.. thanks for the input.. Funny if you go on trip advisor so many mention restaurants that on here are poor service low end food. (bubba gumps joes crab shack) are these restaurants like Senior Frogs/hard rock cafe? that people go to for the name? We have been to 2 senior frogs and service was horrible food was average and long waits. (mexico and bahammas) we said we would never dine at one again.

                                                                        1. re: palmtree38

                                                                          That is exactly what Bubba Gump's, Joe's Crab Shack, etc. are like. Just awful.

                                                                        2. re: sku

                                                                          Try the Storyteller's Cafe or the more upscale, adult-taste oriented Napa Rose at the Grand Californian Hotel. The hotel is within a short walking distance of both Disneyland and California Adventure. Expect to pay between $20-$30 at the cafe and $30+ at Napa Rose. The food is a bit overpriced but way better than anything at the parks. If you have a time crunch or the park is crowded, skip the fine dining experience and have fun on the rides and enjoy the shows.

                                                                    2. re: rainey

                                                                      If you do hotel restaurants, I'd recommend Yamabuki for Japanese (at the Paradise Pier hotel) and Napa Rose for upscale (at the Grand Californian)--both are very, very good. I believe both have good reviews if you do a search.

                                                                      Napa Rose Restaurant
                                                                      1600 S Disneyland Dr, Anaheim, CA 92802

                                                                      Yamabuki-Disneyland Pacific
                                                                      1717 S Disneyland Dr, Anaheim, CA

                                                                    3. I recommend that you actually open up all of the replies in this response, as well as sku's other posting on California Adventure, and you will get some recommendations for places to eat (and to avoid) within the "Resort Area".

                                                                      Better than just making and accepting blanket statements.

                                                                      1. While technically not in Disneyland proper(nor the California Adventure park), I recommend ducking into the White Water Snack Bar off the pool in the Grand Californian for your lunch needs... you don't have to be staying there and they have a really tasty grilled chicken sandwich with guac and fire roasted green chiles. They also serve cerveza in case you want to have a buzz without paying for the park hopper ticket. They have some grab and go salads. Also, the nachos are supposedly pretty good.

                                                                        Sigh... I can't believe I'm sacrificing my new favorite place to go get some chow to the chowhounders.

                                                                        I hope you enjoy it.

                                                                        8 Replies
                                                                        1. re: DrBruin

                                                                          dR BRUIN
                                                                          now i like what your mentioning .. yumm.. steak dinner at disney and over crowded kids screaming to enojoy a overpriced meall NES PASS..
                                                                          I LOVE Guac and chicken type wraps and natcho like fixings.. and nice cold beer that is not DOUBLE THE PRICE.. w LIKE CASUAL but not the mcdonalds type crapole.. Will this white water snack bar be open in january>>>>

                                                                          1. re: palmtree38

                                                                            It's always open. Half the time in January we're in the seventies (temperature, not decade) anyway.

                                                                            Don't knock the steak dinner. Most people with kids pass on the fancy restaurants. I can only think of one time I had kids at all in the fancy places, and that was at Yamabuki right as Disney's California Adventure closed for the day. Steakhouse 55 is better than Morton's...

                                                                            1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                              What is the ESPN Zone Restaurant like??
                                                                              We are meeting a friend from La who suggested going here rather then bubba gumps/joes crab shack. I dont remember seeing his hotel mentioned before?

                                                                              1. re: palmtree38

                                                                                ESPN Zone is half sports bar, half Dave & Busters....

                                                                                1. re: palmtree38

                                                                                  Are they really trying to drag you to every possible chain?

                                                                                  ESPN Zone is fine, if you like Coors Light and chicken strips with fries. If you like food, try elsewhere. Ninety minute waits, too.

                                                                                  Really, honestly, if you don't want to go far, eat at Marri's.

                                                                                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                                    yeah and football game playing and no reservatioins allowed.. They suggested rainforest cafe next.. we got one of those here. pay for atmosphere for fries and chicken strips lol
                                                                                    i hear that ESPN isnt cheap either for this crap..

                                                                                  2. re: palmtree38

                                                                                    ESPN zone is basically OK for Bar Food. I usually go there when I want to watch my hockey game whilst at Disney. The Big snack platter isn't a bad deal and gives you a ton of food. Nothing noteworthy though. FYI if you become an ESPN Zone member you can make reservations up to 3 days in advance, and it's free.

                                                                                  3. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                                    I second on Steakhouse 55. Had a special birthday dinner for a friend back in December. Awesome service, our waiter was fantastic, top notch service;. and I really enjoyed the food. Had a very lovely steak and the scallops were perfect.Plus being away from the din of the park was lovely and there were no screaming children.

                                                                              2. Healthy plug for the Cove Bar right behind Ariel's Grotto.

                                                                                Really not too bad for the price + alcohol, and great view now that the water's back.

                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                1. re: ns1

                                                                                  isn't Areil's Grotto a fixed price deal & expensive?

                                                                                  1. re: sparkareno

                                                                                    the cove bar is behind the HOST station on the top, it is NOT part of ariel's grotto

                                                                                    If you enter ariel's grotto, just walk past the host into the back area -that's the bar. Do NOT go downstairs.

                                                                                    1. re: ns1

                                                                                      Just there last week, and sad to say: no calamari as someone earlier (thought it was this thread, but maybe it was another) had suggested.

                                                                                      Lobster nachos were much heavier on the lobster than anticipated, which was nice, but way low on the cheese ratio or the beans - a big plate of dry chips leftover despite our best attempts to spread out the good stuff. A surprisingly excellent pour of Guinness, and a very nice view. Overall, a good place to kill an hour and feel like a grown-up.

                                                                                      1. re: thursday

                                                                                        the GF thought the tri tip sliders were the winner of the day, and stay away from the super girly drinks. Not nearly enough alcohol, but the margaritas and martitini's were fine.

                                                                                2. as bad as Disney is, for bad theme park food, no one can touch Sea World!

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: calabasas_trafalgar

                                                                                    OMG the prices there were outrageous. U have to say we went to the hospitality building where the keep parents happy and there was a deli in there that we had a very good sandwich/potato salad. Fresh and healthier and more reasonable then the fast food locations and we had complimentary beer to wash it down!!!

                                                                                    Lucky my kids were not too hungry and little they split a lunch in one of their whale buckets. hand full of fries if that and few chicken strips for $10~

                                                                                  2. How is Catal in Downtown Disney? (We haven't been in a while, but have always enjoyed good food and good service.)

                                                                                    P.S. The fried mozzarella sticks & fries in Frontierland..best deal in the park!

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Funwithfood

                                                                                      I went to Catal in December and it was good as always.

                                                                                      1. re: LisaN

                                                                                        Always enjoy my experience...It's been too long, I need to go back. :)

                                                                                    2. I actually really like the Blue Bayou; I like their steaks a lot! The Five pepper is always tasty, and I love the Surf n' Turf. At $39 it's not a bad price, but then again I live in SF, I've never seen a Surf n' Turf under 50. My filet was a nice piece of meat and the lobster was very tender. Five Pepper is considered to be salty by some, but it is cooked on a bed of salt. I wouldn't say the food is spectacular but it is tasty. And I do like the gumbo, but it's certainly not the best I've had. We just ate there Saturday and all 5 of us enjoyed the meal. The ambience certainly is a big win!

                                                                                      I also like River Belle Terrace salads, and the pickled zucchini is a hidden gem on the condiments table.

                                                                                      1. And who goes to Melisse, Valentino or Spago for the ride? You know what I mean.

                                                                                        As a mom of two kids now 12+ and 9, I gots to say the Disneyland food is some of the best around in terms of theme park offerings. Have you ever been to Soak City in Palm Springs? Or Adventure City in Buena Park? Vile stuff. Disneyland food mediocrity is the pinnacle of theme park experience, really, in my experience. Nobody goes there for the food anyway. You go for the fun and the food is to refuel.

                                                                                        Having said that, and having been an annual passholder for over 5 years running, I want to give props to the following purveyors in Disneyland: the churro cart, the ice cream shop on Main Street, the fried chicken at French Market, the beef dip at same, the ice cream sundaes at the Golden Horseshoe, and really, the burgers are NOT THAT BAD. They are not Father's Office quality, but then again, Father's Office doesn't have PRINCESSES!
                                                                                        even Eeyore.

                                                                                        I ate at Club 33 years ago and it was not worth it. Stuffy, English hotel restaurant setting, overdressed salads, banal, tasteless food offerings, and alcohol. Skip it and get loaded at Downtown Disney or DCA.

                                                                                        Similarly, Blue Bayou's food is really under whelming. Even my then 11 year old there at a birthday party was disgusted. Skip it and go on the ride twice to get atmosphere.

                                                                                        Our usual lunch places are just about anywhere in New Orleans Square, particularly French Market Plaza or Cafe Orleans, and in Fantasyland, the Village Haus (burgers etc), Tomorrowland Cafe (I know OP said it sucked but there are different lines depending on what you want to eat) or the Mexican place in Frontierland.

                                                                                        The food is overpriced, for sure, but is not inedible, and will not deter you from coming back to Disneyland.

                                                                                        If you are an out of towner chowhound with kids, give it up for a day. It's not worth it to eat outside the park (or really even at Downtown Disney) if you just have a day or two at DLand.

                                                                                        1. I love the Napa Rose. We had the vintners/wine flight dinner. Everything was wonderful. They really take time to prepare a wonderful feast for the eyes as well as the palate. It appears that they really own the "local, fresh, seasonal" style. The wines were nice (not stellar) but they did pair well with the food.
                                                                                          The people next to us were vegans (ordering the same prix fixe dinner) and the staff and chef's went out of their way to please them.
                                                                                          We had a very nice time, give yourself 2 hours for the meal.

                                                                                          Napa Rose Restaurant
                                                                                          1600 S Disneyland Dr, Anaheim, CA 92802

                                                                                          1. Usually when I go to Disneyland I eat as much junk food that I love. This past weekend I went to enjoy Disneyland but also try some new places to eat other than the usual bugers and fries. So here it goes:

                                                                                            Churro - A staple. I never go to Disneyland without having one. Its my favorite thing there.

                                                                                            Chimichanga - You can find it at the turkey leg cart at then end of Main Street before crossing the moat into the castle. I have to say this was my newest guilty pleasure. It was deep fried, greasy, full of beans and mystery meat, seasoned with familiar Mexican spices and it was so good. It was like a Taco Bell experience on steroids! And the chimichanga was the size of a Chipotle burrito with everything except this thing had nothing organic about it. It was all processed and all good.

                                                                                            Cafe Orleans - Finally had the gumbo which could be my new favorite thing at Disneyland. Also had the Monte Cristo which was a little too rich. Good but after a few bites, it got to me.

                                                                                            Over at California Adventure

                                                                                            Corn Dog - After reading about how good it was at California Adventure, I had to have one but it was just too greasy. Now I dont think its the one from Corndog Castle because that one is demonlished with all the construction there so I will have to try it out some other time.

                                                                                            Taste Pilot's Grill - Tried the ribs which were very good. I dont know how often I will go here for them but its nice to know that its an options if I am feeling particularly carnivorous and dont feel like grabbing the usual burger.

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: funkycold

                                                                                              I have never tried a chimichanga, and now it is on my must-do list for the next trip! My husband is super fond of the churros but I'm not a big cinnamon fan so I usually just have a bite or two of his. They are delicious when hot and freshly made.

                                                                                              I've also heard good things about the new menu at the Village Haus, especially the apple strudel and black forest cupcake desserts. Hopefully Corn Dog Castle will reopen when they finish re-doing the dining area in that corner of Paradise Pier. The hotlink corn dog was just sooo good. Of course it was greasy and not at all healthy, but also juicy and spicy the way a hotlink should be.

                                                                                              1. re: madoka

                                                                                                Award Wieners in Calif Adventure - Hollywood Backlot area is now serving corn dogs. The corn dog was just like the ones served on Main Street in Disneyland, not the hot link variety.