Most of the time when I visit Disney, I indulge in a mix of meals. I may book a table service advance dining reservation for one part of the day, and leave the rest to chance — looking to discover new things at the parks’ kiosks and counter service spots.
Today, I’m counting down my favorite places in Disneyland Resort to grab a quick meal!
Disneyland is second to none (yep — even compared to Disney World) at putting together truly outstanding counter service, quick service, and fast food meals. And the one consistent theme that you’ll find in Disneyland counter service spots — a lot of the time, the food and venues feel like table service quality (right down to real plates!)
Let’s get started!
The Plaza Inn is legendary for its beautiful atmosphere. Located where Main Street and Tomorrowland intersect, this charming spot has been open forever — and it’s been pleasing guests in search of a good meal all the while.
Even Walt was a fan!
A character meal table service location for breakfast, it morphs into a counter service buffet (sans characters) for lunch and dinnertime.
The Roast Beef and Pasta dishes here are both good choices. But ask most Disneyland food fans what the must-have dish here is, and you’ll get a resounding response: the Fried Chicken! The huge — and I mean HUGE — platter comes with three pieces of Fried Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, a Vegetable, and a Biscuit. I shared this with a friend the last time I got it, and we still couldn’t finish!
Incidentally, you should try and save room for dessert, too. (I know…I know.) When strawberries are in season, I’d definitely recommend the luscious Strawberry Shortcake!
But the Carrot Cake is pretty awesome, too.
Flo’s V-8 Cafe
Dining at Flo’s V-8 Cafe within Cars Land at Disney California Adventure is an immersive experience. As with the rest of the spots in this newest Disneyland Resort section, you feel like you’ve wandered right into the animation!
But step inside the enormous restaurant, and you see all kinds of kitschy fun, inspired by the roadside diners that once peppered legendary Route 66.
The name of the game at Flo’s is the kind of comfort food that you’d expect to find in such spots, with spit-fired meats dominating the dinner menu. There’s also an inventive vegetarian option here — the Veggie Tater Bake!
But it’s Flo’s breakfast that we love love LOVE the most!
For a super sweet start to your day, you’ve gotta try the Brioche French Toast with Salted Caramel Sauce and Bananas. (Dessert for breakfast? you ask? Well, yeah; pretty much! But…bananas!!!)
Or, try the option that serves up a delicious Mexican food-inspired twist — the Chicken Tamale Breakfast with Scrambled Eggs and Salsa Verde.
And be sure to stop back by later in the day for dessert — Flo’s Signature Apple-Cheddar Pie-O-Rama is spectacular!
Rancho del Zocalo
The beautifully themed Rancho del Zocalo, located in Disneyland Park’s Frontierland, is a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach!
Gorgeous murals and lighting fixtures dominate the walls inside, while a beautiful patio covered with gauzy awnings wins our vote for best place to sit here.
Following the pattern of many Disneyland counter service spots, Rancho del Zocalo is counter service with the feel of a cafeteria. Guests order their main entree, and then visit stations to pick up extra courses, like salads and desserts.
The Mexican influenced menu is small, but the ingredients and preparation are always high quality, and a cut above what we think of as fast food. One of my favorite options here is the Soft Tacos Monterrey with Fajita Chicken. (You can also get them with beef.)
The addition of Peppers as well as Sour Cream and Guacamole on the side makes this a winner for me. I look forward to having it whenever I have a chance to visit Rancho del Zocalo!
Hungry Bear Restaurant
If you like eating in a treehouse, then I have just the Disneyland spot for you! Hungry Bear Restaurant in Disneyland’s Critter Country recently underwent some renovations and reopened with a new menu, but we still love it as much as ever!
This is a great spot when you want to relax a little. Located WAY at the back of the park, it doesn’t enjoy the constant stream of foot traffic that other spots around the park get. As a result, you’ll get a comfortable, outdoor dining experience with beautiful views of the Rivers of America that’s a little quieter than other options.
The atmosphere is rustic, and the menu is created to match it. You’ll find sandwiches and burgers, sweet potato fries and onion rings, and some cute desserts.
The Pioneer Chili Cheeseburger is guaranteed to keep you going all day!
And while there are no regular french fries, the Sweet Potato Fries (shown here with the Crispy Chicken Sandwich) were perfectly crisp and warm when we tried them. Definitely a nice alternative to regular fries.
The Honey Lemon Cupcake, with its glittery frosting, is too fun to pass up!
And the same goes for Trixie’s Pie — in this case, it was blueberry. You can’t tell by the photo, but this was pint-sized — just enough for one!
These pastries are pretty rare in Disney parks, so I snap them up whenever I get the chance!
You don’t have to go very far in Disneyland to find some delicious, Cajun-inspired fare. But I always enjoy stopping by the French Market for a bite to eat.
Once again, this spot does not epitomize your idea of fast food. After all, when was the last time you strolled into your favorite burger joint and were greeted with live music from a spiffy jazz trio?
And if you like flavors of the Big Easy, you’ll definitely find them here. The Cajun Meatloaf breathes new life into an old favorite!
And we love the four cheese pasta bake when it’s available! Of course, the cornbread steals the show, as it always does in Disneyland.
And don’t forget the Mint Juleps.
After all, they’re a tradition!
Jolly Holiday Bakery
It’s a Jolly Holiday….whenever I can stop by Jolly Holiday Bakery! (I super know that Burt agrees with this.)
I love this spot most for the delectable bakery desserts. It was certainly love at first sight the very first time I saw this beautiful little Mickey Ganache Tart. I’ve been incredibly happy to see versions of it pop up back east at Walt Disney World at places like BoardWalk Bakery and The Mara since its debut!
But we actually enjoy “real” food here, too. There are tons and tons and tons of salads and sandwiches to choose from. But we can never pass up a good Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup, which you’ll find paired together in the Jolly Holiday Combo! This one made our Best Disney Grilled Cheese list!
Protein lovers looking to lighten up their beef selection a bit will find an interesting option in the Angus Beef Salad.
And any sandwich served on Brioche, as the Waldorf Chicken Salad Sandwich is, will always get our vote!
It’s enough to make me book my ticket right now!
River Belle Terrace
River Belle Terrace is another classic stop on the food tour of famous Disneyland spots. If you want a real treat, be sure to come hungry and stop here for breakfast! You think you’ve had great pancakes; but you haven’t seen anything until you’ve had flapjacks here.
It also doubles as an excellent spot for early morning people watching!
Bengal Barbecue, with its menacing tiger sign, lets you know that you’ve landed in Adventureland to be sure! But when it comes to Disney + barbecue, this is a must-do stop. And owing to the great grab-and-stroll style of the food, as well as its central location, you can pretty much guarantee that you’ll always encounter a line here!
But it’s worth it. Join that queue, and be patient. Because some really unique Disney eats await you.
It’s a toss up! We loved them both!
And the prices are right here, which makes it all the more enticing.
You’ll want to snag a few side dishes as well. The Safari Skewers — bacon-wrapped asparagus — get high marks from Disneyland fans!
And don’t forget to add an order or two of Tiger Tails! These fluffy grilled buns are sooo much better than you think they’re going to be.
But for heaven’s sake — don’t confuse them with Tigger Tails!!
Pacific Wharf Cafe
It’s not an uncommon occurrence for me to find myself dreaming of a trip to Pacific Wharf Cafe. Owned and operated by famed San Francisco Boudin Bakery, this is a taste of classic San Fran in the heart of Disney California Adventure’s Paradise Pier.
And if you are stopping by here, I’d recommend that you embrace the carbs. Because their Soup in a Bread Bowl is worth every extra minute you have to spend on a treadmill as a result. Soup options change up with the seasons. One of our favorites is the Santa Rosa Corn Chowder. It’s not there right now. But be patient; it may come back around!
And you aren’t finished indulging just yet! You MUST save room for one of their ginormous Cinnamon Rolls as well!
No trip to Disneyland is complete without at least one of these beauties!
Cozy Cone Motel
For our last stop on the tour of Disneyland counter service favorites, we’re going to head back to Cars Land in Disney California Adventure. Because there’s no way I can resist a stop at Sally’s Cozy Cone Motel!
Seriously. I want to check in and spend the night here! But until that becomes an option, I’ll content myself with a visit for breakfast or snacks.
I mean — how could I possibly resist a breakfast entree, served in a bread cone, with bacon, and topped with plastic cheese??? (I kinda think that’s the point, don’t you? Being irresistible, I mean.)
But if you don’t make it into the park until later in the day, don’t fret; it gives you a chance to try a Disneyland specialty — Churros! And these come with a Cinnamon Chocolate Sauce, just perfect for dipping.
And anytime of day — whether you’re stopping for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or for something to fuel up in between — you’ve gotta try Ramone’s Pear of Dice Soda! Flavored with Prickly Pear Syrup, it’s so good! (And kinda pretty, too.)
And with that, our list is complete — and I have a raging case of Disneyland cravings! It is soooo time for me to book a flight to California, I’m thinking!
Now it’s time to hear from YOU! What are your favorite spots in all of Disneyland for quick bite on the run? Weigh in with your thoughts in comments!