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Dining in Disneyland: Lunch at Tangaroa Terrace

Dining in Disneyland columnist Heather Sievers chimes in with her review of the brand new Tangaroa Terrace at the Disneyland Hotel!

Since the day it opened, I’ve been wanting to check out Tangaroa Terrace at the Disneyland Hotel.  I had been by to take a peek, but had not had a chance to dine there.  After the guest review posted here on The Disney Food Blog, I was so bummed to hear of a not so stellar experience, that I just didn’t make it a priority.

Restaurant Signage

And then I got an invite from a friend to meet her and her little ones for lunch… I am happy to report that I had a completely different experience and guess what? I absolutely LOVED it. Yes, LOVED in all caps.

Atmosphere and Ordering

We headed over for lunch about 1:30.  The first thing I noticed is that there were zero people there.  We walked through the empty patio seating area to the front doors without passing one person.  My guess is that most guests were still in the parks and that there are still a lot of people who have no idea that this place even exists.

Empty Patio Seating

Ordering is simple, walk up to the kiosk, choose which type of menu you’d like to take a peek at, and follow the touch screen directions.  There is also a large menu board just in case you don’t want to (or don’t know how to) scroll through the digital menu.

View Upon Entrance

Menu Board

Home Screen for Digital Kiosk Ordering

After touching the screen to begin, you see three menu options: Burgers/Sandwiches, Specials/Salads/Flatbreads, and Kids’ Menu. You can press any of these for a full selection of that particular item, or press one of the featured food items below for more info on that particular item.

Menus & Special Featured Dishes

I chose Kids’ Menu First and up came the options of a Cheeseburger, Hamburger, Chicken Nuggets or Grilled salmon.  Each of the kids’ meals comes with a side of grapes, a mound of sticky white rice, and a drink.  Drink options include a small bottled water, juice box or milk carton.  All kid’s meals but the salmon are $5.99 each; the salmon is $6.99.

Kid's Menu Options

After you touch the desired menu item, another screen comes up with a detailed description of that menu item; you can choose the quantity of that menu item as well.  So, if you want one order of chicken nuggets, touch the “1″, if you need two, touch the “2″ and so on.

Detailed Item Description and Quantity Selection Screen

After ordering the Kids’ Menu items, I visited the Specials/Salads/Flatbread Menu Items.  I went with the Asian Chicken Salad.

Specials/Salads/Flatbreads

"1" Asian Chicken Salad, Please

After the ordering is finished, a detailed screen showing your total order comes up.  Please note that you can use an annual pass for a discount here.  The kiosk, however, will not take the discount off.  You must hand your AP to the cashier to get your discount.

Order Review

And.... We did it!

Whew…. Because I was a first timer AND taking photos as I went along, ordering took me a little longer than it should have.  My session even “timed out” once while I was playing with the kiosk and reviewing all of the menu items on screen.  Next time, I think it will be quick and easy.

After ordering, you may choose to grab any extras such as chips, fresh fruit, and your beverages.  There are also a wide variety of pastries, desserts and prepackaged sandwiches, salads, fruit platters and fruit cups.  Prepackaged cereals and milk can be purchased all day long as well.

The Tiki Room's "Fritz" with Some Fresh Apples

Assorted Chips & Apple Crisps

Bananas & Assorted Dry Cereals

Self Serve Refrigerated Case: Salads, Sandwiches, Fruit, Desserts, etc.

Turkey Sandwiches

Garden Salad

Fresh Fruit Platter

Fresh Fruit & Yogurt Parfait

Beverage Options (Fountain Drinks Also Available)

Fountain Drinks, Coffee, Juice & Tea

Condiments, Silverware, & Napkins

After you’ve chosen any extras, you simply hand your printed receipt to the cashier and pay (don’t forget your AP for a discount).  You are then given a number and can sit either indoors or outdoors.  The indoor seating, however, is very limited.  I did not view this as a problem, because the outdoor seating is really lovely.  There are both covered and non-covered areas on the patio, and your views of the hotel and new Monorail Waterslide are spectacular.

The Kitchen Provides Food for Trader Sam's & Orders Placed at the Pool as Well

Indoor Seating

Outdoor Seating View of the New Monorail Waterslides

Outdoor Seating Disneyland Hotel View

OK, after the long photo tour, we were finally seated.  On this beautiful sunny So Cal day, we chose outdoor seating.  We wanted a pool view and our party consisted of 6: 2 adults and 4 kids.  With volume issues and busy little bodies, we definitely made the right choice.

While we waited for our food to arrive, I noticed how immaculate the whole area was (inside and outside).  Not a piece of trash or spilled drink, no crushed ketchup packets on the ground, not a single napkin blowing in the wind.  The planters were pristine, the trees were gorgeous, and the flowers colorful.  Our own tropical tiki paradise.

Tiki Decor: We thought it would be super cool if he squired water or mist

Eats

When our food arrived, it looked absolutely delicious.  I am always on the lookout for a tasty salad at the Disneyland Resort and I’ve found a few new go-to favorites.  I ordered the Asian Chicken Salad: Diced chicken breast on a bed of mixed fresh lettuce with cabbage, carrots, red & gold peppers, cashews, cucumbers, and rice noodles tossed in a sesame vinaigrette.  Let me just say that I ate every last bite.

Asian Chicken Salad

Looking for another delicious salad option?  Then you must try the Crispy Tofu Salad.  A great option for vegetarians, this masterpiece features ginger-soy marinated panko-coconut crusted tofu served on a blend of lettuces, cabbage, carrots, red & gold peppers, & grape tomatoes tossed with citrus vinaigrette.  Although I did not get to taste this one, my friend ordered it and said it was fantastic.  So fantastic in fact that she went back again for it the next day! I’m for sure trying this one on my next visit.

Crispy Tofu Salad

While drooling over these salads, we also had kiddos that were devouring their food.  No one complained and each of them became members of the clean plate club. The burger and chicken breast nuggets were resort standards.  I did love the fact that they came with grapes and rice as opposed to fries.

Kid's Hamburger Meal

Kid's Chicken Breast Nuggets Meal

The grapes were sweet and fresh; my kids were annoyed that I kept munching on them!  The rice was also perfect — just the right amount of sticky.  The cast member helping us stated that they purposely don’t “offer” sodas to the kids.  Drink options are healthier choices (as listed above).  However, if you do want to treat your child to a fountain drink, they will substitute it at no extra charge for you.  We also had one order of the kids’ grilled salmon and that was a hit, too.  Overall, I was very impressed with the Kid’s Menu.

Kid's Grilled Salmon Meal

Depending on the appetite of your child, these kids’ meals may be a bit small in portion size.  To supplement, we also ordered a cheese flatbread for everyone to share.  I’m happy to report that this was tasty too.  Another item devoured.

Cheese Flatbread

Since there were only two adults, we didn’t really get to see much of the “bigger” menu items.  The salads were huge hits, but there are also burgers, sandwiches, fish dishes, and a daily special to choose from.  I was able to snap a few yummy looking photos.

Kalua Pork Flatbread and Kid's Chicken Breast Nuggets

1/3 Pound Angus Hawaiian Bacon Cheeseburger with Sweet Potato Fries

1/3 Pound Angus Cheeseburger with Chips

At this point, we were all pretty full, and my friend had a quick meeting she had to attend to.  So, what better to do with the kids for an hour than hold a dessert tasting.  We headed back into the restaurant and I told them they could pick whatever they wanted.  SO MUCH FUN!

We started at the pastry case where there were tons of delicious-looking items.  I had been thinking about the banana bread here since I popped in for a peek when Tangaroa Terrace first opened.

Banana Bread

Pineapple Lilikoi Pie

Pineapple Macadamia Nut Muffin

Blueberry Muffin

Bran Muffin

Cinnamon Roll

After perusing the pastry case, we hit the refrigerated dessert case.  Here there were three options.

Sweet Potato Cake

Sweet Memories Cake

Dessert Flight: Tropical Parfait, Mickey Chocolate Brownie & Pineapple Upside Down Cake

We left the restaurant with the banana bread, a cinnamon roll, the sweet potato cake & the dessert flight.  Instead of eating at the restaurant, we headed over to the pool area and ate there at the tables.  You must have a room key for pool entrance; our friends were staying there.  They had no problem with us bringing the food in, so if you are a hotel guest and want to have your Tangaroa Terrace dining poolside, you can!

The boys tore into the cinnamon roll, and ate every last bite.  I tried a little piece, and, personally, I didn’t think it compared to the ones sold at Main Street Bakery.  Not nearly enough frosting and personally I like my cinnamon rolls heated.  It was also a little on the dry side.

Cinnamon Roll: Not quite enough frosting for me

Next, we tried the banana bread.  This was such a disappointment.  I am a huge banana bread fan.  My perfect piece would include no nuts and an ooey gooey center.  In this case, the bread looked like it would fit my standards, but alas it was dry and had little flavor.

Banana Bread: Looks Tasty, Tastes Bleh

Next we opened the Dessert Flight. This was by far the group favorite.  Consisting of a trio of desserts, we ate the chocolate mickey brownie first.  The brownie was thick and chocolaty, more dense like fudge; not cakey (is that a word?).  It was dipped in chocolate and had little chocolate chips in it that added a nice crunch.  Quite tasty.

Dessert Flight

Mickey Shaped Brownie

Next we tried the tropical parfait.  It was also delicious, the kids weren’t big fans, but I really enjoyed it.  It was sweet, fruity and tart.  A perfect combination.

Tropical Parfait

My favorite of the three though? The pineapple upside down cake. It was moist and fresh with lots of flavor. I loved the portion size of all three desserts, it was a great item to share and allowed us to taste a variety of treats.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Our last dessert was the sweet potato cake.  I am a huge sweet potato fan, so I had high hopes for this one.  Unfortunately, it was a big let down.  It was moist, but the flavor was just really bizarre to me.  Very sweet, but I didn’t taste any sweet potato at all.  The frosting was a cream cheese base, but tasted more fruity than cream cheese-like.  A really odd flavor that I didn’t enjoy at all.  I really wish we would have tried the Sweet Memories Cake instead.  It was a chocolate layered cake.  A cast member told us it had crunchy rice crispy pieces in the frosting layers, sounds much more appealing to me than the sweet potato cake.

Sweet Potato Cake

Overall

Overall, I thought that Tangaroa Terrace was a really great dining experience.  The first reviews I read were not fantastic, so I was pleasantly surprised when I tried it for myself.  I am thinking that now they have been open for a bit, any kinks in the kitchen have been worked out.

Something else I loved about Tangaroa? The prices.  I really feel that for what you get, the prices are very reasonable.  A table service quality for the price of counter service. Fantastic.

Tangaroa Terrace serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  You can bet I will be back to try out each and every meal option!  I’m particularly excited about the breakfast menu. French toast with banana caramel sauce? Yes please!

On a side note, neither Tangaroa Terrace nor Trader Sam’s validates parking.  If you are making a trip over to dine at either of these establishments, do not park at the Disneyland Hotel.  Rates there have gotten extremely high and only Steakhouse 55 and Goofy’s Kitchen will validate your Disneyland Hotel parking ticket.  Your best bet is to use the Downtown Disney parking lot.  You get two hours free at that lot (no validation necessary), and it’s a very quick walk to Tangaroa Terrace from there.  If you plan on staying more than two hours, you will need to validate your parking ticket in Downtown Disney for an extra 3 hours.

What do you hope to try at Tangaroa Terrace? Let us know in the comments below!

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7 Comments

  1. Savorique says:

    Looking at the digital kiosk, I imagine smartphone apps available for download as one enters a restaurant for menu browsing and ordering + payment, in the near future.

  2. MRSMIXIT says:

    I am looking forward to going there for a sunday breakfast! Before going to the park!!!

  3. Christal says:

    cant wait to try it for myself. 3 weeks left till our Disneyland trip and this blog has given me so many new park food cravings I didnt even know existed hehe.

  4. carolyn says:

    I’ll be going to the DLH in the fall and really am hoping to try the tofu salad! Looks good. Thanks for the head’s up about the banana bread! Loved the pics you took, great job Heather!

  5. Nate says:

    Great poolside dining tip! Going to try to make it in September! :)

  6. clarkeT says:

    Unfortunately this ‘Re-Imagineering’ of the Disneyland Hotel complex isn’t doing it any favors. And Tangaroa Terrace, the extension of Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar, is just one example.

    And I admit it. I’m old school here. I’m not one that thinks just because change is inevitable it is somehow good. I wasn’t at all impressed with TT & TSETB inside and especially outside. Inside too small and too dark. Outdoor terrace didn’t remind me much of a Tiki bar what with that sad iron fencing/railing surrounding it. Iron lanterns? You’ve got to be kidding me. Can’t you at least make iron to look like bamboo? Of course you can. And that furniture? Much too modern looking. Waiters & servers? Don’t get me started. What’s with those uniforms??? If you want someone to have that ‘enchanted tiki’ feeling you don’t put uniforms on your waiters/servers. Dress them up ‘in costume’.

    The only thing that was good was my martini. But how can you mess that up? But even though it’s now served in a glass instead of plastic as with the ‘use to be there ‘The Lost Bar’, I’d give anything to have it back that way. And while you’re at it. Give me back my water falls, my koi ponds, my Jungle Cruise arcade..

  7. gwinnl says:

    Wow – this information is great. Heading there in a few weeks and looking forward to trying the Crispy Tofy Salad.

    Thanks

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