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Dining in Disneyland Review: The Earl has Finally Arrived!

With an original opening date scheduled early last Summer, Southern California sandwich lovers have been abuzz about the new Earl of Sandwich restaurant not opening their doors on time. 

I am ecstatic to announce that the doors have been opened and those lovely golden bricks have been flying through that little toasty oven faster than you can say “Holiday Turkey Sandwich, please!”

Earl of Sandwich Downtown Disney

Atmosphere

Located directly next to the AMC Theater Complex across from The Rainforest Cafe, the Earl of Sandwich has replaced the Compass Cafe and Bookstore. 

And although the bookstore was fun to browse and the cafe sold Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, I’d much prefer a sandwich from Earl any day. Last week the doors soft opened with a 25% discount on all menu items, and then “officially” opened this past Friday. I snuck over Thursday to get my fix.

Main Entrance

The soft opening was no secret, and with the entire menu being 25% off I expected there to be a pretty substantial line. And I was correct.

When my boys saw the line they about had a panic attack because A: It was already 1:00 and they were beyond ready to eat lunch and B: They had never been to an Earl of Sandwich, so they had no idea how quickly the line moves. After visiting the Orlando and Vegas locations, I was fully aware of how well-oiled this sandwich making machine was

I assured them that we’d move quickly and that it would be well worth the wait. I also bribed them and told them they could pick whichever dessert they wanted…

Hallelujah!

Menus While You Wait
My guess is that there were approximately 100 people in front of us in line, but we managed to order and have our food on the table in about 25 minutes. The line was outside the building and wrapped back to the temporary ice skating rink, but there were friendly Earl helpers passing out menus to peruse while waiting.

Menu Side One

Menu Side Two

I had just been to Orlando so I knew what I was in line for: the Holiday Turkey Sandwich. But then I saw this little billboard and realized that for “work” purposes I must also order the Turkey Chili AND the Peppermint Brownie.

Holiday Specials Available Through 1/6/13

Ordering
So, when I got up to the counter, that’s just what I did. When you get to the first stop, you place your sandwich, salad & soup orders, and are handed a buzzer. You then make your way down the line while picking up sides and treats until you hit the cashier.

Friendly Order Taker

Going down the line you will be tempted with many fabulous side options. Get everything you want, because once you hit the cashier it’s not easy to go back without getting many dirty looks from people waiting for their turn to pay. I found this out the hard way when I wanted to add my Turkey Chili after the fact.

The Sides Line!

Available sides include Earl’s Potato Chips, Fruit Cups, Coleslaw, Potato Salad, Pasta Salad, and lots of baked treats such as Cookies, Brownies, Brownie Creme Sandwiches (!!!!!), Bread Pudding, and more. Make sure to pick yourself up a treat.

Earl of Sandwich Potato Chips

Fruit Cups, Yogurt Parfaits, and Bottled Beverages

Pasta Salad, Potato Salad, Cole Slaw & Bottled Beverages

While you’re deciding on which sides to choose, you can watch the talented sandwich makers in action. Ingredients are placed on freshly baked bread, which is then sent slowly through the toaster ovens.

Sandwich Making at Its Best

Check out these rows and rows of fresh bread waiting to be toasted to perfection!

Fabulous Fresh Bread Wall

After the salads and bottled drinks (fountain drinks can also be ordered), you hit the good stuff. Here’s where you’ll find cookies, brownies, bread pudding, etc.

Fresh Baked Chocolate Chip Cookies

Triple Chocolate Brownies Made with Ghirardelli Chocolate

Bread Pudding and the LAST (aka mine!) Peppermint Brownie of the Day

Oh yeah. And if just before paying you decide you should add something healthy to your meal, they have fresh fruit too.

Fresh Fruit & Cashier

Seating
While waiting for our buzzer to buzz, we found a table outside in the communal table area. I do NOT recommend having someone save a table for you when you first get in line, because honestly it’s a waste. Let someone use it who already has their food. The turn-around time is so fast that you’re sure to find a place to sit.

Plenty of Seating at the Communal Tables Outdoors

There’s also a small dining room in the rotunda part of the building. This is where the “Cafe” part of the Compass Book Store used to be. It has been converted into a small dining room with tables and chairs — and coffee, tea, and fountain drink dispensers can also be found here.

Rotunda Dining Room from the Outside

Rotunda Dining Room Inside

Eats

After our buzzer buzzed, I nearly ran to grab our golden “bricks.” Bricks, you ask? Well each toasty sandwich from Earl of Sandwich comes perfectly wrapped in a piece of gold foil labeled with a sticker that marks the type of sandwich you ordered.

Here's My "Today's Special" aka Holiday Turkey Sandwich

I love me a good sandwich and this is — no joke — one of my top two favorite sandwiches in the world (the other is non-Disney, shhhh!). A sucker for anything Thanksgiving-ish, the Holiday Turkey Sandwich is basically Thanksgiving dinner on a roll. Hot turkey, stuffing, cranberry, and a little mayo served toasted on a freshly baked roll. Seriously heaven.

Holiday Turkey Sandwich

My oldest son couldn’t resist trying one of the sandwiches from the “Just 4 Kids” menu; The Pizza Sandwich. Of course I had to try a bite, and let me tell you, YUM.

Wrapped Child Sized Sandwich

The bread was toasted to perfection and the mozzarella perfectly melted. The marinara was flavorful yet kid friendly. The portion is quite small for an 11 year old, but he was sold by the word pizza, so I think next time I will see if they can make it “adult” sized for him.

"Just 4 Kids" Pizza Sandwich

My other sandwich eater went with a plain turkey and mustard. But even for something so simple, it was actually quite delicious. 

I accidentally ordered him the adult sized sandwich and he had no problem eating the whole thing. Only complaint? No pickles at Earl…

Turkey n' Mustard

In order to save some room for the rest of the goodies, I ate half of my sandwich and wrapped up the other half for the next day’s lunch. I then dug into my delicious Turkey Chili, which also happens to be a “Holiday” special. 

Even though it was 85 degrees out and not really “Chili” weather, it still hit the spot. Very flavorful with large chunks of turkey, beans, tomatoes, and onions, & peppers. I would not consider this spicy at all. Very mild in fact. I would definitely order it again and it would make a great dip for a sandwich. Maybe not the Holiday Turkey Sandwich, but for sure something a little more plain.

Holiday Turkey Chili

As for the desserts, my oldest went for the good ol’ Triple Chocolate Brownie made with Ghirardelli Chocolate. 

He snatched that up as soon as he saw it when we were going through the line. He also devoured it, barely letting me have a taste. Extra large in size, the round brownie is crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.

Triple Chocolate Brownie

My 8 year old managed to find the only Brownie Creme Sandwich left in the joint. Flavor options include vanilla, chocolate and peanut butter; the lone sandwich was chocolate.

Triple Chocolate Brownie Creme Sandwich

 

The Brownie Creme Sandwich consists of two triple chocolate brownies with a generous layer of creamy frosting between them. Take two amazing brownies and add frosting? Yes. Please.

Again, I was barely able to get a taste in, and I had to FORCE him to let his brother try it.

Triple Chocolate Brownie Creme Sandwich Close Up

I had to grab the last peppermint brownie. I’m a sucker for anything peppermint and the fact that it was topped with candy cane crumbles sealed the deal.

The brownie was basically a Triple Chocolate Brownie, but it did have a peppermint taste to it that was more than just the crumbles on top. There are no visible peppermint pieces inside the actual brownie, but there is definitely a hint of peppermint in the mix. 

Peppermint Brownie

After a bite, I passed it on to my “helpers” who again had no problem finishing it up.

AND because I was “working” I decided I’d better try the Bread Pudding. This one was mine all mine though, because my helpers were not only on chocolate overload at this point, but because it was called “bread” pudding, they had no interest. Fine by me!

Packaged Bread Pudding

The Bread Pudding was actually quite good. A few bites were a little dry but other than that, the combination of cinnamon, sugar, and raisins with their chunks of fresh bread was delish.

Bread Pudding

Overall

Overall, I know we will be frequenting The Earl of Sandwich. Not only is it a delicious crowd pleaser, but it’s also affordable and quick. 

By the looks of the photo below, I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say that we will be back to Earl of Sandwich sooner than later. Welcome to the neighborhood Earl, we’re already in love.

Heaven.

In addition to sandwiches and baked goods, The Earl of Sandwich also serves Breakfast Sandwiches (served till 11:00am) as well as wraps, salads, and soups.

Have you been to the new Earl of Sandwich in Downtown Disney, Anaheim yet? Or have you visited another location? Favorite Sandwich? Favorite treat? Tell us in the comments below.

Heather Sievers is the Disney Food Blog’s Dining in Disneyland columnist. See more of her columns here!

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23 Comments

  1. marcellina says:

    do you know if the holiday turkey sandwich is available through Christmas or is it just a Thanksgiving thing? I think I’m going to email my local mall (they are going through a major expansion) and suggest they get an Earl in there ASAP!

  2. Victoria says:

    I love the All-American and the tuna melt and my husband usually gets the Hawaiian one. We love Earl and we always make sure to eat there when we’re at WDW. So happy we can add it to our to do list when we go to Disneyland! :)

  3. Tracy says:

    I love Earl, which is strange because I really don’t care for sandwiches. There’s something about their bread and the sandwich served warm that makes them so good. Their soups are really good too, and a bargain at $2.99 for a large serving. My favorite is the Full Montegue but the ham and swiss and Original are also great. You’re holiday looks so much better than the one I had. Mine was overloaded with stuffing and barely any turkey. All the components were great but all that stuffing and bread made it too heavy to eat for me.

    A tip that proved very useful for us, Earl gives a 15% discount for AAA members. In DTD so does Wolfgang Puck Express. It makes really affordable places to eat in Disney even more affordable.

  4. Alan says:

    I’m surprised it took the Disney folks took so long to get this place into DL. It’s been a hit at WDW for quite awhile, as it makes a great lunch stop and is just the thing for that more than a snack hunger after a long day at the parks.

  5. Heather Sievers says:

    @Marcellina – It’s available through January 6, 2013. Good luck on your quest with the mall, I think it’s a great idea!

    @Victoria – I’m happy to add it to my “to do” list as well!

    @Tracy – Thanks for the AAA tip, that’s great!

    @Alan – I know! We’ve been missing out here in California!

  6. Mia says:

    Do you know if they can serve their standard menu during the breakfast hours? Going on Friday at that time but not interested in breakfast. Thanks!

  7. Eric says:

    Nice review Heather!

  8. Juanita says:

    Nice review, and your son is so adorable :) I love the chocolate chip cookie bites from Earl, and that peppermint brownie looks delicious. I’ll definitely have to stop by the DTD location next time I’m down there (maybe this weekend!).

  9. Carrie says:

    Hallelujah! Now that I can get a brownie creme sandwich in Anaheim’s Downtown Disney AND a Ghirardelli sundae in DCA, I may never need to return to Walt Disney World again!

  10. Heather Sievers says:

    @Mia – Breakfast hours are 8:30-11:00am, but yes you CAN order regular sandwiches at that time as well.

    @Eric – Thanks!

    @Juanita – Thank you, he’s a keeper! Hope you get your sandwich & brownie this weekend!

    @Carrie – Agreed 100%!

  11. Mike says:

    I visit the one at WDW every visit, usually twice. This year we also went to Disneyland Paris, and ate at.. you guessed it, the Earl of Sandwich. I have not had a bad experience with any meal there. It can be very crowded during peak times so its best to plan ahead. The DDP for the Earl covers sandwich, drink, and a side Under I think $3.99, but always ask when you go to order if you use the DDP. I’m glad our friends in California can now enjoy it too!

  12. Safari Mike says:

    It looks nicer than the one at WDW to be honest. That chili looks real good too

  13. Sandy B says:

    Although I am not usually a sandwich person I had the Holiday one last year and it was the best sandwich I ever had. Seriously. Although we have many ADR’s that I am happy about, I am most looking forward to going to Earl’s, and glad the Holiday one is already available. Now that you’ve shown me that creme brownie 2 more days seems too long to wait! Ooo if they could only do the creme brownie in peppermint I would love them even more :)

  14. Heather Sievers says:

    @Mike – We went to DLP about a year and a half ago and didn’t make it into DTD, but if we had, we’d have eaten there too! Wasn’t all that impressed with the food inside the parks.

    @Safari Mike – The chili is fab!

    @Sandy B – I’m not gonna lie, my meal at Earl makes me just as happy as a fine dining sit down experience!

  15. Marlene says:

    The “Original”, which is the best Roast Beef sandwich you will find around WDW (in our experience) has nice fresh, thinly sliced, lean Roast Beef. We only ordered one to try…the server we ordered it from said, “you’ll be back”…and we went back and ordered 3 more “Original” sandwiches.

    The brownie with Ghirardelli Chocolate is better than any of the other brownies we’ve found around WDW; and since it is sealed, you can buy one for the next day when you have filled up on the sandwiches!

  16. Catherine says:

    Super bummer! I wish I knew they opened. We were just at Disney this past weekend but bypassed Downtown Disney all together!!!! Well…I’ll just have to sit tight until January when we’ll be back!

    Awesome blog and I love love love the podcasts!

  17. Jennie says:

    We went on Sat, Nov 3rd aka National Sandwich Day. Printed out my coupon for free chips & drink. Hubby took his free birthday sandwich coupon and we ordered 2 other sandwiches. Our line was 40ish mins long, but we love EoS so much it didn’t matter. Biggest disappointment was them being out of coleslaw when I got to the register. :( So happy the Earl has finally arrived. *insert observation* the Earl looks a lot like Geo Washington to me in that big portrait.

    I may have to copy their brownie sandwich idea. Yum.

  18. Essie says:

    I never miss a trip to the Earl when I go to WDW and I love the All American Sandwich! There food is wonderful and the service is so efficient. It’s always a place I look forward to. I wish we had one at home.

  19. Essie says:

    PS: I’m soooo looking forward to your Christmas articles! I’m doing my first Christmas trip this year and we’re so excited!

  20. Greg says:

    I don’t like bread pudding, but I bought one for my significant other during the soft opening week because he does and the bite I had of it was SO GOOD! Haven’t had any luck getting any of the brownies though. They must sell out FAST!! Oh, well. All the more reason to go again. And again. And AGAIN!!

  21. Heather Sievers says:

    @Marlene – Those brownies are amazing!

    @Catherine – Maybe the lines will be a little shorter in January (wishful thinking!) and so glad you enjoy the blog and podcast!

    @Jennie – I thought the same thing about that portrait!

    @Essie – We’ll start posting Christmas goodies very soon! They’re already popping up in the parks!

    @Greg – Don’t give up on the brownies! And I’m proud of you for trying the bread pudding! ; )

  22. Jamie says:

    I just ate there yesterday, which was my first time eating at any Earl of Sandwich. I had the “Cannonballs” meatball sandwich, which was basically like that pizza sandwich only with meatballs and more marinara sauce. Let me say they do not skimp on the meatballs! My only nitpick was that too much sauce made it a bit messy to eat at times. (Although I’m not sure if the sandwich was really good because it was really good or because a food mishap led to my sandwich being free. ^_^) But I ate the whole thing, which I didn’t believe I was going to do since I tend to have a small appetite. It was that good!

    I wanted to try the brownie sandwiches but knew I wouldn’t have had room to eat it nor did I feel like carrying it around that day. Need to next time!

  23. Mary says:

    I was recently at WDW but when my party went to Earl, I was sick that day so I got my regular sandwich (my mom brought it back to the hotel for me). I really regret not trying the Holiday Turkey sandwich because it looks really good.

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