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Review: The Golden Horseshoe in Disneyland

You want history, my fellow Disney-loving friends? Well, then, you’re going to love what we have in store for you today.

Sign

That’s right, we’re taking another trip to Disneyland for a rip-roarin’ good time at one of our favorite Old West saloons — The Golden Horseshoe!

This place has it all — Disney pedigree, a hilarious show, and signature menu items.

If you haven’t been there before, I have a feeling it will be on your Disney Bucket List once we’re finished talking about this time-honored spot in Disney’s original theme park.

Let’s check it out!

Atmosphere

Head up Main Street USA towards Sleeping Beauty’s Castle and hang a left at the hub. You’ll find The Golden Horseshoe centrally located in Frontierland, appropriately.

One of the most interesting bits of trivia about this spot is that it was one of the original fixtures when the park opened waaaaaayyy back in 1955.

In fact, Walt and his wife, Lillian, celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary with a private party here just days before the park opened to the public.

Awesome Golden Horseshoe Signs

(Check out Heather’s post about a cool Limited Time Magic event earlier this year, which included a dessert with a picture from that famous night!)

The boardwalk outside touts Ice Cream Sundaes and more as you anticipate heading inside… .

Entrance

Enter into the saloon-themed counter service spot and take in all the details. The restaurant was designed by Harper Goff, and if it seems familiar, then you must be an old film buff — it’s based upon a set design that Goff used in the the 1953 western comedy musical Calamity Jane, starring Doris Day. (See? Reading DFB is not only a treat for the eyes, it’s a learning experience, too! ;-D You’re SMARTER than you were when you started reading!)

Seating and Stage Under the Rotunda

Two levels of seating provide you lots of options for taking in the show. You’ll also notice some “box seats” situated closer to the stage. Walt himself kept the one on the right for viewing the show anytime time he wanted to, as this was a favorite spot of his. The boxes are open to the public now.

Upper Level Seating on the Rotunda and Longhorns

Rich details surround you, and actually, the feeling is pretty posh. Ornate capitals punctuate the top of columns, and these lamps are filled with kerosene and are ready to go!

Kerosene Lights and Pillar

Since this is a counter service spot, you will be clearing your own table. :-) Entrees are served in the customary Disneyland plastic baskets. Be sure to stack them above the trash cans, rather than discarding them. They’re reusable, of course!

Don't Throw Those Plastic Baskets Away, Partner!

There’s some good vittles (sorry…I couldn’t resist) here at The Golden Horseshoe, but the real draw is the show. And that’s another piece of interesting Disneyland history to note: The Golden Horseshoe’s stage shows have been running pretty much continuously since its opening in 1955.

The original show, The Golden Horseshoe Revue, at one time held the record for the world’s longest-running live stage show, according the Guinness Book of World Records, with almost 40,000 performances! Pretty impressive.

These days, fans are entertained by the likes of Billy Hill and the Hillbillies. That’s right — Billy, Billy, Billy, and Billy.

Billy Hill and the Hillbillies

And these guys are super talented, and not to mention hilarious.

Billy Hill and the Hillbillies

It’s well worth snagging your food and holding onto a seat to catch the show at least once.

Billy Hill and the Hillbillies

And speaking of ordering, here’s a pic of the queue — and the crowds that you can often expect to encounter at this popular spot.

Ordering Area and Crowds!

Want to see what’s on the menu in the Old West? I thought you might. Let’s check it out.

Eats

While there are some tasty treats at The Golden Horseshoe, the menu is extremely small. You will only find a handful of options. As far as legendary dishes go, the Chili in a Bread Bowl has been a fan favorite for years! But I had my eye on something else…

Menu -- Click to Enlarge

Ice Cream Treats are another big draw to the saloon. The sundaes are mammoth. But if you’re crossing off iconic snacks, look no further than the old fashioned Ice Cream Floats! Choose from Rootin’ Tootin’ Barq’s Root Beer, or Wranglin’ Fanta Orange.

Sign for Float and Souvenir Boot Mug

We love drinks-in-boots! Especially when they sport whipped cream and a cherry.

Rootin' Tootin' Barq's Root Beer Float

Make your selection and head for the condiment bar to grab your goodies. Since they serve coffee and tea here, you’ll find a full selection of creamers and sugars mixed in with the packets of salt, pepper, ketchup, and mayonnaise.

Condiment Bar

But you’ll also find lots of sauce selections for dipping! The menu says “one dipping sauce” per order…but I didn’t spy any dipping sauce police.

Sauces for Dipping

And here’s what made me fall completely in love with the Golden Horseshoe like nothing else.

BUFFALO WING SAUCE!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, I know you’re bored to tears with my love of this stuff, but come on. It’s the best condiment in the world! And I’ve never seen it out for the taking at a Disney counter-service spot, have you?! Sigh. Let’s hope this is a continuing trend!!!

Buffalo Wing Sauce!!!!!

Anyway, there were some other sauces and what-not, but I’d already stopped paying attention seeing as though my eyes were blind to anything other than that gorgeous, golden-orange goodness.

For my lunch, I decided on the Chicken Breast Nuggets with Apple Slices. Of course I did. Not only are Disney chicken nuggets one of my favorite meals of all time, but what better vehicle for buffalo wing sauce than these?? (You can also order your nuggets with French Fries on the side if you prefer.)

Chicken Breast Nuggets with Apple Slices

Of course, I went for the Buffalo Wing Sauce, thus rendering my nuggets almost-and-very-similar-to one of my favorite dishes, Buffalo boneless chicken wings.

Nuggets and Buffalo Wing Sauce!

I popped the lid off the sauce, and was happy to see that this was the real deal. It wasn’t straight hot sauce, but rather that perfect blend of melted butter and pepper sauce that has a kick, but is also rich and slightly thickened.

Nuggets with Sauce Uncovered

And that cup of sauce holds a lot! So rather than just getting a little taste of the sauce, you can really immerse the nuggets and eat them the way they’re supposed to be made. :-)

And actually, I really love the apples with this combination. It kind of lightens up the meal some, and throws something sweet and crunchy into the mix.

Dunking Nuggets!

It may look simple, but it was a really fantastic lunch in the perfect venue to celebrate being in Disneyland!

Overall

Guys, you know how much I love Disneyland. There is such a sense of history and tradition in that park, and it’s so cool to know that you’re walking in the same places where Walt Disney himself walked.

And even though you get that feeling everywhere you go, it’s especially prevalent at a place like The Golden Horseshoe — a place that we know he frequented and loved.

And even though it’s been around for more than half a century, it’s still fun, still beautiful, and still offers some really delicious quick eats. It’s truly one of those places that you must check out at least once. And if you’re fortunate enough to make it a tradition to dine there — even better.

Have you been to The Golden Horseshoe in Disneyland? Leave a comment and share your favorites with all of us!

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10 Comments

  1. Gaylin says:

    I believe that Billy Hill and the Hillbillies are finishing up their run at the Golden Horseshoe in January of 2014. So sad, I love these guys and if I could I would ‘pop’ down to Disneyland just to see them one last time!

    And yes, the root beer floats – wonderful.

  2. Christy says:

    Hi, just wanted to let you know that Billy Hill and the Hillbillies no longer play at the Golden Horseshoe. They’ve been relegated to Big Thunder Ranch for the present, and their whole show is being retired on January 6. Sad times, and a big mistake by Disney in my opinion.

  3. Chrissy O says:

    Oh I love Billy Hill and the Hillbillies! Sad they are hanging it up, but good for them! It must be quite tiring during the show over and over again all those years!

    I actually loved the salad I had here….because they put in cut up chicken breast nuggets in it!!! Add my favorite dipping sauce that sadly they seem to be phasing out everywhere, honey mustard, and I was sold!

  4. Jrriddle says:

    Love the Golden Horseshoe at Disneyland. So much history there. The one in Paris The Lucky Nugget is (was?) even more detailed. I wish WDW would make better use of the Diamond Horseshoe.

  5. Becky says:

    I absolutely LOVE The Golden Horseshoe! I still have my plastic boot mug that I got with my kids meal back in the 80s!

  6. Shayne says:

    While I do appreciate the sense of history here, I was less than enthusiastic about our visit to the Golden Horseshoe in September. When we visited, the regular show wasn’t playing. Instead, they were either testing a new concept or it was a Limited Time Magic thing where they had sheriffs and outlaws in there. Kids could sign up on either “team” and then they had to go around the restaurant doing some kind of scavenger hunt or something. My boys (then ages 11 and 9) liked the idea when they heard about it from the cast members at the door, but once inside, it was so chaotic that they decided not to participate.

    The line was long, and it was difficult to find a seat. The food was ok. I liked my fish and chips because it was a nice change of pace from chicken nuggets or burgers. But the experience as a whole was not enjoyable to me. Perhaps I would have liked it better with the more traditional show.

    I would definitely try it again on a future visit. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about Disney dining, it’s that every restaurant deserves more than one chance!

  7. Essie says:

    I would def visit this place if I ever get to DLR. Just to think that you could actually sit in the right box seat where Uncle Walt used to sit would be such an honor and thrill. When I think of all of the joy that man has brought to so many people around the world. Thanks for an interesting article.

  8. Samantha says:

    Reading the comments made me want to cry. Billy Hill and the Hillbillies was always the highlight of my trips to Disneyland and the only reason I went to the Golden Horseshoe. Do you know what they will be replaced with?

  9. Anderson Dun says:

    I am so sad that Billy Hill will be leaving Disneyland altogether in January :(. I believe that they will be replacing them with the Laughing Stock Co. or some sort of interactive show.

    That said, I do love the Cheese Sticks here – not on the menu, but you can ask for them. You get five big mozzarella fried sticks with fries. Takes a little longer but definitely delicious!

  10. Adam LaFavre says:

    When we visited, the regular show wasn’t playing.

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