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Disney Update?

My family will be visiting Disneyland and California Adventure in a couple of weeks. I'm travelling with my husband, 4 year old, and 5-month old, plus my parents. We will be staying at a Disney hotel, so I suspect most of our eating will be in the parks, hotels, and Downtown Disney.

I have read these posts:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/576392
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/578290
Thanks sku for starting the original threads!

And also pretty much any other post that mentions Disney.

The recommendations I came away with, and the questions I had:

DISNEYLAND

Main Street
* Plaza Inn - broasted chicken
* Blue Ribbon Bakery - macaroons, Krispy Treats (what are these?), coffee

New Orleans Square
* Blue Bayou/Cafe Orleans - Monte Cristo Sandwich
* French Market - any recommendations on the new menu?
* Royal Street Veranda - mixed reviews on the chowder and gumbo, someone liked the fritters

Critter Country
* Pooh's store - cupcakes and cookies

Adventureland
* Bengal BBQ - mixed reviews, generally good for the bacon wrapped asparagus
* Tiki Juice Bar - mixed reviews on the Dole Whip. Anything else good here?

Frontierland
* Rancho Zocalo - generally bad reviews, but a few people liked it
* Big Thunder BBQ - after re-opening, reviews were so-so. Has it improved?
* Golden Horseshoe - deep fried snacks

Fantasyland
* Village Haus - generally bad reviews, but the new menu got some positive comments, especially for desserts
* Enchanted Cottage - wursts - is this still there? I don't see it on the park map.

Tomorrowland
* Tomorrowland Terrace - AVOID
* Redd's Rocket Pizza - Pizza not recommended. Which pasta would you get if you were going to eat here? Or should we just avoid it?

Food Carts
* Generally positive
* Turkey leg and chimichanga - near the end of main street
* Corndog - on main street - mixed reviews
* Churros - best place to find in the morning?
* Ice cream bars - wait until they've thawed a bit before eating
* Fruit - near Winnie-the-Pooh
* Popcorn, dill pickles, pineapple spears, frozen banana - I saw all of these mentioned in the posts, are they all from carts? Best place to find?

CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE
In general, I found the recommendations for California Adventure less specific than for Disneyland. Perhaps the quality is more consistent between dishes at each spot? Or there are fewer menu items that truly stand out?

Also, it looks like with the renovations, several places previously reviewed are now closed.

Hollywood Pictures Backlot
* Award Wieners - hot dogs not recommended. Are the corndogs here good? Is the turkey leg the same as at Disneyland?
* Schmoozies - is this any better than Jamba Juice in Downtown Disney?

Paradise Pier
* Ariel's Grotto - not recommended. But we're going anyway for the princesses. Is there anything in particular we should avoid?
* Cove Bar - I don't see this on the map. Still there? Mixed reviews.

Golden State
* Wine Country Trattoria - best place for a meal?
* Sonoma Terrace / Mendocino Terrace - any difference between the two? I saw a recommendation for port/blue cheese tasting. Anything else here?
* Cucina Cucamonga - AVOID
* Taste Pilots Grill - okay
* Boudin Bakery Tour / Mission Tortilla Tour - free bread/tortilla is good
* Lucky Fortune Cookery - okay

Sunshine Plaza
* Bakers Field Bakery - coffee
Out of the whole Disney Resort area, where's the best place to go for coffee? tea?

Food Carts
* Beer Truck - excellent reviews. Is it still in the Pacific Wharf area?

HOTELS / DOWNTOWN DISNEY

* Grand Californian - generally good reviews for the restaurants here. Overall most positive reviews for White Water Snacks. Napa Rose (which we won't be going to anyway) has both a strong cheering section and a strong booing section. Storytellers Cafe - giant burgers, corn chowder recommended.

* Disneyland Hotel - Steakhouse 55 recommended

* Catal - generally positive reviews

* La Brea Bakery - generally positive reviews

Is any of this out of date? Anything I've missed? Can anyone fill in the blanks on the questions I've asked?

Thanks!

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

La Brea Bakery
624 S La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Wine Country
2301 Redondo Ave, Signal Hill, CA

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

The Golden State
426 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90036

Rocket Pizza
122 W 4th St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

Main Street Cafe
12939 Main St, Garden Grove, CA 92840

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  1. One other question - we have reservations at Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen one night. Hubby and I lived in New Orleans back a decade ago, and were generally happy with the Brennan restaurants (from both sides of the family). Should we expect similar quality here? Any outstanding dishes to recommend?

    -----
    Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen
    1590 S Disneyland Dr, Anaheim, CA 92802

    1 Reply
    1. re: yyc_mom

      You won't get the quality or imagination of Commander's Palace because in NOLA people go to the Commander's Palace almost as if it were an attraction. At Disneyland, the parks are the attraction and the restaurants are somewhat "dumbed down" for lack of a better phrase to appeal to the most number of people.

      That doesn't mean RBJK, is bad, it isn't. The food is good and the experience a lot of fun when there is a bad playing. My three favorite dishes are the Black n Blue Filet, the Lamb Chops and the NY Strip with truffle butter. Catal is good and one of our favorite places when we are in the area is Roy's at the Garden Walk.

      I do like Rancho Zocalo, but don't expect CA's best representation of Mexican food. Other than Blue Bayou, which I would go to mostly for the atmosphere, you are going to find better food outside the parks than inside it.

      -----
      Blue Bayou
      1580 S Disneyland Dr, Anaheim, CA

    2. Storytellers Cafe has an AYCE which I believe was 20$ per adult. Not too bad for dinner. They were very nice to accommodate my Gluten and Dairy Free requirements(even for dessert). S.O. LOVED the prime rib on the buffet.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Kitchen Queen

        A second vote for Storytellers. Very nice service and good for families. Make your life easier and get reservations.
        The Hungry Bear restaurant in Critter Country just reopened after a remodel and has a new menu with a Fried Green Tomato sandwich.
        Also in downtown Disney Napolini is good for a quick slice of pizza.

        1. re: Kitchen Queen

          Dinner Buffet is $27++, they don't do it every night. Breakfast buffet is $24++

          Can find updated prices at allears.net

        2. The corn dogs at Award Wieners in DCA are good, and identical to the ones inside of Disneyland.

          1. I know that you said that you have mixed reviews about the corn dogs but I love them--no trip to Disney would be complete without a corn dog & a Monte Cristo sandwich. Corn dogs are at Award Weiners but also at a cart in DL. I always get the Monte Cristo at Cafe Orleans because it is so much cheaper than Blue Bayou but if you have never eaten at BB it is kind of a special atmosphere but pricey. Split the sandwich--it is very filling. BB charges a split fee. The garlic/parmesan fries at Cafe Orleans are excellent.

            -----
            Blue Bayou
            1580 S Disneyland Dr, Anaheim, CA

            1. If you want to see the World of Color show, look into the meal/Fastpass combination tickets.

              Wine Country Trattoria is good, but I think if you have to eat at Ariels then it would not make much sense to have two sit down meals the same day, however they do have a dinner package that includes preferred seating at the World of Color.

              Whitewater Snacks cafe in Grand Californian Hotel does a good job on grilled sandwiches and nachos.

              My experience with Storytellers is that the service can be very slow, I only suggest the buffet.
              On the regular menu we have had some real stinkers (spaghetti) but the corn chowder is great.

              I actually do like the Thunder Ranch BBQ especially for big eaters since it is AYCE, the ribs are baked and sauced, though, not really BBQ. When we go we get one person with a veggie platter which is tofu and veg skewers, but they don't care if you swap around since it's all the same price.

              Last time I was at the Hungry Bear (post McD but preremodel) it was awful.

              Last few times at Plaza Inn the chicken was flabby, but we go at off hours, obviously it wasn't freshly made.

              Beer truck is at Pacific Wharf.

              Cocina Cucamonga is not as bad as it used to be, but still isn't great.

              Good coffee can also be had at La Brea Bakery Cafe at Downtown Disney. Inside, the Cappucino cart at the top end of Main Street, and especially at the Mint Julep bar (they have the Monin syrups there). In CalAdventure there is another Cappo cart (I think near the bridge to Pacific Wharf) and Bakersfield Bakery near the entrance has good coffee drinks.

              Krispy Treats are their own rice krispy bars. I buy them at the candy stores (usually one to take home) since they are not the prepackaged ones with gloppy fake frosting. A lot of the food outlets now are only carrying the glop jobs.

              Rancho del Zocalo is very pleasant and some of the items are fine.

              Cove Bar is upstairs and behind Ariel's Grotto, you'll see it on the righthand side as you cross the bridge over to the funzone. I gather that they have dropped my favorite item,. the calamari.

              Yes I think the two names for the wine tasting are the same, but not positive what is going on upstairs at this time.

              There are fruit stand carts and popcorn carts all over the parks, with the same stuff. You don't have to make a special trip to Pooh Corner. There is a big fruit cart on Main Street (right hand side about midblock as you enter, you can get an idea of what they carry).

              Corn dogs are grease bombs. Be sure you understand that.

              For updates on menus, the allears.net website is the best.

              4 Replies
              1. re: mlgb

                "Corn dogs are grease bombs. Be sure you understand that."

                Yes they are absolute grease bombs as are the Monte Cristos.....but they are delicious grease bombs! I suspend all nutrition requirements at the gates of the Magic Kingdom.
                To the OP, even though it says you are not to bring in outside food, they let you as long as you don't try to walk in with a whole bucket of chicken. For sure, bring a water bottle which you can refill at fountains in the park. And bring some snacks for the little ones. Everything is expensive at Disney.

                1. re: sparkareno

                  We do one grease bomb split 4 ways. That's all we can handle at our advanced ages. And I will never eat one a few days before a cholesterol test ever again.

                  Also, given the portion sizes, I don't find main courses overpriced, since they can often be split. And the kid meals at $6 including a small beverage are also a good deal.

                  I skip the soft drinks and bring a few apples and snacks.

                  Dole Whips are pineapple flavored soft serve. They also have pineapple juice and floats (the whip in the juice..mmm!)

                  1. re: mlgb

                    Yes, we split the delicious grease bomb, too. We usually do a corn dog and popcorn before leaving for the day (local annual pass holders). I've heard the chimichangas are good, too. No doubt another "grease bomb", but it's not like you go there everyday.

                2. re: mlgb

                  Thanks for answering my questions mlgb!

                  We will be at the parks for 3 days (Mon-Wed), plus Sunday night we're eating at Brennan's Jazz Kitchen. We probably won't do World of Color - my 4 year old will likely need an early bedtime, and the rest of us might, too, if we spend all day walking around. We're having Tuesday lunch at Ariel's. Probably Monday lunch at Cafe Orleans. Will figure out the rest of our meals as we go.

                3. I love the corn dogs, I got one for the first time at my last trip to Disney and it was stellar, best food I've had in Disneyland. mmm. Yes, deliciously greasy.

                  Ariel's Grotto we did for the World of Color premium location. It was good food (prix fixe) and a fun experience. but it was MORE than worth it for the World of Color, that is truly a spectacular show, and I'm glad we were right in front to watch it. It'd be nice if there was seating to watch it, but it was still pretty impressive. We talked about staying to see the second show, but wound up not. We should have as we wound up staying later than expected (we didn't leave right away after the show).

                  My brother's family REALLY enjoyed the Minnie breakfast with characters they offer in Disneyland. The older girl (4) loved it, the younger girl (2) was a bit freaked out by some of the characters, but seemed to like Tigger after he shooed away Captain hook for her.

                  1. I find the Wine Country Trattoria to be relaxing, well-priced, and pretty good. I'm vegetarian but my partner can't go to Disneyland without a corn dog :-) Surprisingly tasty, affordable breakfast at La Brea Bakery.

                    -----
                    La Brea Bakery
                    624 S La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

                    Wine Country
                    2301 Redondo Ave, Signal Hill, CA

                    1. I have word of advice if you have young ones and want to see the nighttime shows. It sis possible to do that if you go back to your hotel mid afternoon, take a swim in the pool, take a nap and then return to the parks for dinner and the fireworks, or what have you.

                      1. The chowder is okay. The beef gumbo has a small bit of spice to it. My wife and I liked it. Our oldest was fine with it as well but it's worth noting.

                        The menu at the French Market changes but it's generally where we go to get our meals.

                        The Plaza Inn fried chicken was also a winner with the family.

                        The corn dogs, for me, are a must with every trip we make to Disneyland. They have served us well as a tasty snack or lunch.

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