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Review: Breakfast at Disneyland’s Carnation Cafe

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.

Exterior and Patio Seating

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!

Atmosphere

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.

Building and Door Inside

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!

View of Patio and Gazebo from the Sidewalk

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.

Gazebo and Patio Seating

Once you’re inside, you can see that Carnation connects to Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor — and then the Candy Palace — through this doorway.

Inside Adjoins to Neighboring Shops

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.

New Inside Area

The new waiting area is flooded with natural light.

Entrance and Exit

And I love this happy photo of Walt Disney hanging in a prominent place as soon as you walk in!

Photo of Walt Disney

Tables and chairs inside are understated and there are cheerful bud vases containing carnations on every table!

Seating Inside

The space is warm and cozy. Built-in booths line the walls, and make use of all available space.

Built-In Bench Seating

Check out the beading on these Victorian stained-glass lamps overhead!

Ornate Tiffany Style Lamps

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.

Patio Seating

Trees have been thinned out as well, allowing more sun on the patio than before.

Patio from Another View

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.

Carnation Cafe's Chef Oscar

Eats

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.

Also absent are the menu items that incorporated that most magical of breads — the croissant. The Croissantwich? And the Croissant Eggs Benedict? Gone and gone.

I know. I don’t understand it, either.

Menu -- Click to Enlarge

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?

Yogurt Parfait

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.

Apple-Granola Pancakes

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.)

Overall

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!

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17 Comments

  1. Caitlin says:

    My sister and I had our post-half marathon breakfast there on Sunday! We both had the huevos rancheros and they were AMAZING.

  2. Deneice says:

    Actually, Carnation lost the inside seating for the Blue Ribbon Bakery and got it back when they put in Jolly Holiday. Was there last month on my first trip back in two (gasp) years. Ate outside, but love the reinstated indoor seating. Still remains one of my favorite restaurants at DLR.

  3. Michele says:

    Though I don’t visit Carnation Cafe that often, I love it! I love the atmosphere of the outside tables and being able to people watch on Main Street. I remember eyeing those apple pancakes the last time I was there, but decided on huevos rancheros, which were delicious! But to me, one of the best things about Carnation Cafe is Oscar. He always takes time to come around to the tables and say hello and make sure everyone is enjoying their meal. The last time we ate there, he actually sat at our table with us for about 10 minutes just to chat and tell us a little about himself! He is one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met in my life, and I can’t imagine Carnation Cafe without him!

  4. Pamela says:

    I am upset with the breakfast menu changes too. And let’s be honest, though I do try to eat healthy, when I am at Disneyland all bets are off and I am looking for tasty and sometimes even unique food that I can not simply get at a local restaurant in my city. I will add the good news is the bacon and sausage quality is quite good here, and the Mickey waffle is tasty. I wish they considered adding gravy to their biscuits too. And maybe a fresh fruit/ berry plate with a fresh-made croissant or scone. Still, out of table service breakfast restaurants I think the food tastes better here than Minnie’s and is more affordable too.

  5. samantha says:

    This was the best place for eggs Benedict its been over 8 yes since I haven’t had this every year… so disappointed just like when they took the molases Brinned porkchop from blue bayou for some reason DL likes to get rid of the good stuff and keep the blah

  6. Maureen says:

    We had a reservation for breakfast on our third day at DL, but cancelled at the last minute. Two days in a rwo of 7am EMH left us too exhausted to get up a third day.

    P.S. I like the 8am EMH at DLR so much better – getting up at 6am so you can be at rope drop is no vacation!

  7. Joshua Snow Hansen says:

    My favorite is the Mickey Waffle, but my CLOSE second favorite is the Cinnamon Roll French Toast so I was bummed that it’s gone. But, it’s still one of my favorite places to eat in the park. Next to Club 33 and the Blue Bayou.

  8. Beverly says:

    There were many weekend mornings when we would get up and decide we wanted to head some place to have a nice breakfast – and we would jump in the car and drive 1.5-2 hours to Disneyland to have breakfast at the Carnation Cafe. We loved the outside seating and watching the people and – especially – the Cinnamon French Toast. When we visited right after they re-opened and saw the new menu, we were extremely disappointed. The new menu is no longer special, it is just a standard breakfast menu. And we are finding other places to go to a nice breakfast which, unfortunately, are not at Disneyland since the breakfast options are poor.

  9. Jess says:

    I had my first visit to DL earlier in the year and ate here. I loved it! I had the apple granola pancakes and they were delicious! I loved people watching as people walked along Main Street. This makes me want to go back to DL! I’m not sure when I will get back so I appreciate these updates, actually all of your updates!

  10. Angelina says:

    I never had the chance to eat here before the remodel but I don’t think that I would now. It looks good but its nothing that I can’t make at home, in fact I will definitely be making some apple granola pancakes for myself soon!

  11. Penny from Vermont says:

    The very rare times we get to go across the country to visit Disneyland, we always book an early reservation for the very first morning for breakfast at the Carnation. It is our must do before we venture into the Park. It is always Mickey Waffles too! (with the strawberries, yum!)

  12. Debbie from NJ says:

    We always had to have breakfast here at least once during our trips to DL, a tradition. Last year it was closed and we really missed it. I always had the croissantwich, my daughter always had the cinnamon roll French toast and my sister always had the eggs Benedict. What are we going to now? I guess we will have to try something healthy next time.

  13. V No Privacy says:

    Wow I’m SO grateful I got to try the old Carnation Cafe because I’m not sure I could go on knowing I’d never be able to experience the Cinnamon Roll French Toast. So sad!!

  14. April G says:

    So I originally read about the Cinnamon Roll French Toast on a previous post and thought it sounded incredible, put it on my list of must tries. Then discovered this and sadly scratched that off. Waiting in line outside the park this morning before opening, I was reading through the list of special holiday happenings and listed under holiday food offers and there it was!!!! However, it was at Clarabelle’s. Needless to say, that quickly got back onto my to-eats list and we made a stop in there after some rides! Don’t know how long it’s available, but thought some might like to know in case they’re headed to the park before the holiday festivities are done. Also should add, it was very tasty! :)

  15. East Coast Mermaid says:

    Shoot, we were just at the park last week. Our first time on Easter Sunday! We ate everywhere But at the C.Cafe. Now I wish we had after reading this. Easter Brunch at Goofys was fantastic! The Chef made me Gluten Free Mickey pancakes!! So YUM! I was a very happy camper, also was able to ride my favorite BTMR again too! What a great trip, can’t wait to do it again and again!! Wish I could contact Pammer in San Francisco, would love to meet up with her sometime. Let me just say this: whats eatin him? Nuttin, he’s at the top of the food chain. Timon / The Lion King.

    love you guys,

    ECM.

  16. samantha says:

    im so glad they mixed the new menu with the old menu …eggs benedict is back yay

  17. EricinAZ says:

    My family and I just got back from a 4-day trip to “The Happiest Place on Earth”, and had dinner reservations for the Carnation Cafe (hadn’t eaten there since I was a boy. I had the ‘Chicken Fried Chicken’, and wow! I couldn’t believe how good it was. I actually like it over the Fried Chicken at Plaza Inn (and that’s saying something).

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