Today, we’re visiting a newly re-vamped Disneyland classic — the Carnation Cafe. Situated on prime real estate right along Main Street U.S.A., the spot has been serving up simple and delicious eats since Disneyland opened in 1955.
And although it’s no stranger to facelifts and name changes, it’s recently undergone a renovation that has added a whole new dimension to the spot. In addition, the menu has (sadly) been updated since our last visit for breakfast.
Let’s take a tour and see what’s new!
Carnation Cafe is located in the middle of Disneyland’s most famous street. It has all the charm of a turn of the (last) century building.
At the beginning of last year, Carnation Cafe closed for a renovation. Prior to that point, the restaurant (at least in this chapter of its life) had been exclusively an outdoor spot. All of the seating was on the patio. However, when Blue Ribbon Bakery gave way for Jolly Holiday Bakery, Carnation Cafe acquired the Blue Ribbon’s space to create an indoor seating area.
While the outdoor seating is charming, it’s always nice to have options inside as well!
A close up of the patio, with its vintage red-and-white striped awnings, shows you that the restaurant’s sign has been removed from the previous entrance, which was via the gazebo.
That area has been enclosed with an ornate fence, which serves to divide the patio seating area from the sidewalk.
Once you’re inside, you can see that Carnation connects to Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor — and then the Candy Palace — through this doorway.
As you look back at the new space, you see the warmth of the interior. Dark red floral wallpaper lines the walls, and the dark wood trim and ornate light fixtures are reminiscent of the Victorian Period.
The new waiting area is flooded with natural light.
And I love this happy photo of Walt Disney hanging in a prominent place as soon as you walk in!
Tables and chairs inside are understated and there are cheerful bud vases containing carnations on every table!
The space is warm and cozy. Built-in booths line the walls, and make use of all available space.
Check out the beading on these Victorian stained-glass lamps overhead!
Back out on the patio, there have also been some subtle changes made. Previously the terrace was comprised of brick. Now, brick divides large sections of flagstone in shades of light brown and grey.
Trees have been thinned out as well, allowing more sun on the patio than before.
Of course, the most important element of Carnation Cafe is still there, brightening up everyone’s day! Chef Oscar can be found many mornings welcoming guests to the newly refurbished restaurant! While he’s no longer in the kitchen, he’s often greeting folks as they arrive.
And here’s where I have to be honest with you. I’m not completely happy with the changes to Carnation Cafe’s Breakfast menu. Because…the Cinnamon Roll French Toast is — gasp!!! — gone.
I know. I don’t understand it, either.
Oscar’s new recommendation, the All American Breakfast, tops the list of breakfast entrees.
But my group went ahead and sampled a few things we hadn’t tried before, starting with the Fruit Parfait. This was a combination of Vanilla Yogurt, Berries, Bananas, and Granola. Pretty, eh?
The Apple-Granola Pancakes made the transition from the old menu to the new one, and these were my choice that morning. Two fluffy pancakes are topped with Roasted Apples and a healthy portion of Granola.
They’re served with your choice of Bacon or Chicken-Apple Sausage Links. I went for the bacon, although the sausage sounded yum.
This dish was delicious! The combination of the soft pancakes and crunchy granola was great, and the homey taste of the spiced apples hit the spot on a cool morning. I would definitely have this one again. (Of course, I did add syrup once the apples and granola were gone.)
I love the Carnation Cafe. Even though this spot has seen major changes throughout the years, it’s still nice to see it opened as a restaurant after all of this time. But I am enormously disappointed with the changes on the breakfast menu. If the reason for the changes was a move toward healthier options, I get it. But couldn’t we leave just a little more decadence?
However, even though my favorite menu item is gone, I still found some deliciousness on this visit. And consistently good food at decent prices, along with the sense of history that Carnation Cafe evokes, will keep me coming back for more.
Is Carnation Cafe one of your favorite spots to dine in Disneyland? Leave a comment and let us know your opinion about the new menu!