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Dining in Disneyland: Storytellers Cafe and the Happiest Haunts Tour

Dining in Disneyland columnist Heather Sievers reviews a fun Halloween-y evening: dinner at Storyteller’s Cafe followed by the Disneyland Happiest Haunts Tour!

Located inside The Grand Californian Hotel, Storyteller’s Café is usually one of our go-to breakfast/brunch stops. This trip, however, was for dinner. With tickets to the Happiest Haunts Tour in hand, we needed an early, low-key meal. We wanted to take care of business and get out of there so we could get over to California Adventure’s Tower of Terror to start our “haunting.”

Eats

Storyteller’s is known for its buffets. They have a breakfast/brunch buffet as well as a dinner buffet. But we opted for the menu/table service action this time around.

Dinner starts off with a bread basket overflowing with freshly baked cornbread muffins and loaves of white bread. And if you’re sitting at our table, there are usually mojitos involved. Our party included 3 adults and 2 children, so there were quite a variety of dishes to examine!

Mojito

The menu options are not aplenty, but as far as I can tell, there isn’t a bad one on the list. As a starter, I had the Charred Nebraska Corn Chowder. This soup is one of my favorites. It’s creamy, sweet and savory, full of chicken, and topped off with bacon. Yum!

Nebraska Corn Chowder

For my entrée, I chose the Margherita Flat Bread with grilled chicken. I do have to say that although it was good, it was definitely not the best. It was more “pizza”-like, not “flatbread”-like — which in my book means crispy. Flattened out and crispy, it would have been delicious.

Margherita Flatbread

My husband had the Sonoma Valley chicken, which was dark chicken meat in a red wine sauce topped with — you guessed it: bacon! It came paired with mashed potatoes and broccoli.

Sonoma Valley Chicken

Our friend that was with us had the Lobster Cobb Salad, which she absolutely loved. It was loaded with lobster meat paired with avocado, hard boiled egg, bleu cheese, lettuce, and wait for it… more bacon!

Lobster Cobb Salad

The kids’ menu at Storyteller’s is great. My ten year old recently discovered he liked pizza — I know, I know, what kid doesn’t like pizza? But seriously, he’d just tried it about a month before. Anyhow, the kids’ menu features a make your own pizza kit, which comes out right away so your child can “prepare” it. It then gets whisked away to the kitchen only to return cooked and ready to eat.

Kids' Menu -- click for larger image

Kids' Pizza Kit

Making the Pizza

Our waiter was new (aka “earning his ears”), so he didn’t realize that the kid’s chef hat was supposed to be brought out with the pizza making kit, not after the pizza was cooked — but really, who cares? My son still thought it was a blast.

Chef's Hat

Finished Pizza

My youngest chose the chicken breast nuggets, which is a staple on most kids’ menus. Boring, but always eaten without complaints.

Kids' Nuggets

Other kids’ menu options include Cheesy Macaroni, Salmon Filet with Steamed Rice, and Pasta with Turkey Meatballs (sounds yummy; wish I could order from the kids menu). Each meal on this menu comes with a choice of drink including juice, milk, chocolate milk, or water. All kids’ meals are $7.99, which I think is pretty reasonable for a sit down meal.

Disney’s Happiest Haunts Tour

Now as a little extra bonus, you get to hear about Disney’s Happiest Haunts Tour. This was our second year taking the Happiest Haunts Tour. Last year we did it sans children, this year we splurged and took the whole family and a friend.

Let me start by saying that the tour is not cheap. It was $64 a person; annual passes can be used for a discount (cost with discount is $51.20). The group meets at the Tower of Terror where we are introduced to our “guide”.

Happiest Haunts Tour Guide

He then takes us to the FRONT of the line for Tower of Terror all the while telling us about ghosts in Disneyland and the history of Halloween. We are given our “Ghost Relations” keys to wear so that everyone knows we are a part of this awesomeness.

Happiest Haunts Tour key

I don’t want to ruin any fun for those of you who might take the tour, but let’s just say that you learn lots of silly Halloween facts and get to go to the front of the line for the following “spooktacular” rides: Tower of Terror, Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy, Big Thunder Railroad, Snow White, and the grand finale of the night, The Haunted Mansion all decked out with Jack Skellington and his crew from The Nightmare Before Christmas.

The tour is LONG, about 4.5 hours! We did still get our yummy Mickey Halloween Rice Crispy Treat at the end, though.

A Glowing Happiest Haunts Tour

If you are looking for something fun to do around Halloween time, this is really a special treat. “Cutting” to the front of the line wearing your special Ghost Relations key is pretty fun.

As far as the “scary” factors go, if your children can handle riding all of the above rides, they will love the tour. If they are timid, don’t waste your money! All in all, though, a fantastic time and my guess is that we will be back again next year.

A fun evening

Tickets for this tour are sold through Ticketing and Reservations and can be bought just 30 days in advance. The tours do sell out, so make sure you make your reservation early. For more information or to purchase your tickets, call (714) 781-4565 to book your tour up to one month in advance.

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8 Comments

  1. Heather says:

    Dinner at Storytellers looks like it was pretty good–that salad looks like it is right up my alley! I love the idea of a Halloween tour–I didn’t realize that was offered at DL!

  2. marcellina says:

    what a fun tour and I love the build your own pizza idea! I will definitely be looking into both of those things when I get a chance to return to DLR! Thanks!

  3. Erin Foster says:

    Great review. My kids would love the make-your-own pizza kit.

    On an unrelated note, does anyone else think that the tour guide has a freaky Harry Potter resemblance. The cloak? The glasses?

  4. Christian says:

    Storyteller’s Cafe has a great quesadilla.

  5. Heather Sievers says:

    @Heather – I’ve found that Storytellers is pretty solid for all meals. It’s not over the top amazing, but it never disappoints. Good food, not crowded, and great service. AND the Happiest Haunts tour is a blast!

    @Marecllina – You won’t regret either!

    @Erin – My kids get the make your own pizza every time! It’s really fun and keeps them busy pre meal! Also, the tour guide was hilarious. His name is “Master Gracie” and his whole character is based on him being a haunted mansion ghost that has escaped for the evening. We’ve had two different guides on this tour and both were hysterical.

  6. Heather Sievers says:

    @Christian – I’m going there for dinner tonight! Maybe I’ll try the quesadilla!

  7. JoAnn says:

    Can adults order the make your own pizza? That would be so much fun.

    The Happiest Haunts tour sounds like fun.

    Erin – my thought when I saw the tour guide was “he looks Harry Potterish”.

  8. Stephanie says:

    The corn chowder looks really good! I went there last time I was at Disney and my oldest daughter (4 years old) loved making her own pizza. But unfortunately, they had run out of those little “chef hats”! It’s a pretty good family place.

    Erin – The tour guide really does look like Harry Potter!

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