Best Disneyland Restaurants for First Timers

Okay. So I tried to come up with the Top Three Disneyland Restaurants for First Timers. But there was no way I could limit my picks to just three. So then, I said, hey, let’s try for the Top Five.

Even still.

So in the end, I cut myself off at Eight. :-)

Disneyland's Matterhorn


There is so much good food in Disneyland. Really, it was super hard not to just give you a list of pretty much every restaurant there, and call it a day.

But if you must narrow it down, these are the restaurants that I love. These are the spots that I’d go to every single time if I could. (And mostly, I do.)

Heading to Disneyland, or just dreaming about a pilgrimage there? Check out my picks for the places you have to visit during your very first trip. Whether you’re looking for a meal or a snack, you can’t go wrong with putting these spots on your list.

Cafe Orleans

If I could only eat at one spot in Disneyland for the rest of my life, I’m fairly sure that spot would be Cafe Orleans. Located on New Orleans Square, it’s offers some of the beautiful patio seating that Disneyland is known for.

Outdoor Patio at Cafe Orleans

Outdoor Patio at Cafe Orleans

But I’m going to be honest — Cafe Orleans claims the distinction of offering not just one or two, but three of my favorite Disneyland dishes. (And that’s pretty much all I ever eat there.) First, when you visit here, I insist you order the Pommes Frites. Tossed with Garlic and Parmesan, they’re served with a Cajun Remoulade ramekin. I also insist you order TWO remoulades. At least. Per person.

Cafe Orleans Pommes Frites

Cafe Orleans Pommes Frites

While I love their gumbo here as well, it’s the Monte Cristo Sandwich that I can’t live without. Pockets of bread layered with Ham, Turkey, and Swiss Cheese are lightly battered and deep-fried. Served with Berry Puree for dipping, this is pretty much something everyone should eat at least once in life.

Disneyland's Famous Monte Cristo

Monte Cristo at Cafe Orleans

Not a meat-eater? There’s also an All-Cheese Version. No. Seriously. There is.

Behold. The Three-Cheese Monte Cristo. Did I mention the Double Creme Brie?

Three-Cheese Monte Cristo at Disneyland's Cafe New Orleans

Three-Cheese Monte Cristo at Disneyland’s Cafe New Orleans

But save room for dessert — because you can’t pass on the Mickey Beignets served with Dipping Sauces.

Mickey Beignets with Sauces

Mickey Beignets with Sauces

Have this meal just once, and you can say “I’ve been to Disneyland” properly as far as I’m concerned.

Blue Bayou

But Cafe Orleans has an older, slightly more posh sister — Blue Bayou. And while I usually skip it in favor of Cafe Orleans, if you’re visiting the ‘Land for the first time, you really need to experience this place.

Because more than anything, Blue Bayou is an experience; it’s as much an attraction as a restaurant.

Blue Bayou Atmosphere

Blue Bayou Atmosphere

Because the restaurant is fashioned to look like a verandah on a river’s edge. Look below you into the water, and you see travelers, en route to explore the mysteries of the Pirates of the Caribbean.

Honestly, the food is less important here to me than the “view.” I have enjoyed the New Orleans Signature Gumbo. And in this setting, it’s even better.

New Orleans Signature Gumbo

New Orleans Signature Gumbo

And yep, to be honest, I like to order the Monte Cristo here, too!

Le Special de  Monte Cristo Sandwich

Le Special de Monte Cristo Sandwich

It’s a little fancier (and more expensive), but just as delicious.

Napa Rose

Some of my Disneyland dining choices are obviously sentimental; either I love the restaurant, the food, or both. But it’s not like they’re the tip-top of the culinary pyramid or anything. But then, there’s Napa Rose.

I Love the Napa Rose Outdoor Lounge Area

Start Your Napa Rose Adventure With a Glass of Wine on the Outside Patio

Nestled inside Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa, Napa Rose stands as a testament to fine California fusion cuisine, inspired by fresh farm-to-market ingredients.

Chef Sutton's Chili Base

Chef Sutton’s Chili Base — Even Base Ingredients are Created in House From Scratch

Chef Andrew Sutton is in charge here, and his menus make use of the freshest items. Prepare to be [Read more…]

News: Gingerbread House at Disneyland’s Grand Californian Debuting November 27th

The sights and smells of a NEW gingerbread house will be opening at Disneyland’s Grand Californian Hotel on November 27, 2014!

A team of 25 artists, engineers, and bakers are busy creating this edible wonder. Measuring in at 7.5 feet tall and 12 feet wide, the baking process alone takes 1,400 hours!

Artistic Rendition of Gingerbread Display

Artistic Rendition of Gingerbread Display

And the recipe is enormous!

  • More than 500 pounds of gingerbread
  • 60 gallons of frosting and icing
  • 100 pounds of isomalt sugar
  • 50 pounds of granulated sugar
  • 50 pounds of powdered sugar
  • 2 gallons of egg whites
  • 1 quart of lemon juice

If the seasonal aromas make you hungry, you’ll want to purchase your own [Read more…]

DFB Reader Questions Answered: What’s a Great Spot for a Disneyland Date Night?

We’re opening our Disney Food Blog Reader Mailbag for another great question from you today!

And wouldn’t you know it? Romance is in the air. Our reader would like to know:

What’s a good idea for a great date night dinner in Disneyland?

What a fun question! And we definitely have some good ideas for this one. But as we all know, budgets vary. Let’s look at several options:

Special Occasion Date: Napa Rose

Looking for an extra special evening? Napa Rose wins our vote for the best dining experience in all of Disneyland.

I Love the Napa Rose Outdoor Lounge Area

I Love the Napa Rose Outdoor Lounge Area

The award-winning restaurant, located in Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, offers a warm, relaxed environment. But it’s the food that we absolutely love here.

Chef Andrew Sutton creates a market-inspired menu of seasonal favorites, focusing on the bounty that California offers. And you can pair your meal with their superb list of California wines to enhance each course.

For an extra special treat, reserve the Chef’s Counter, and enjoy watching the staff as they craft your dinner before your eyes.

Veal Filet with Apricot Chutney and Summer Vegetables Entree at the Chef's Counter

Veal Filet with Apricot Chutney and Summer Vegetables Entree at the Chef’s Counter

Want a gourmet experience with a more relaxed vibe? Check out Steakhouse 55 Lounge in the Disneyland Hotel for delicious pub grub, inventive cocktails, and an atmosphere that is sheer Old Hollywood Glamour.

Under the Sea Date: Ariel’s Grotto World of Color Dinner Package

Dinner and a show? What could make for a better date?

If you’re looking for more than just dinner out, we love the World of Color Dinner Package at [Read more…]

What’s Your Perfect Disneyland Dining Day?

Have you ever stopped to dream up your Perfect Disney Day? I bet I’m not the only one who’s whiled away the hours in this way. But I’m sure you won’t be surprised to find out that my daydreams about upcoming trips are frequently planned around — what else? — the FOOD!

So today, we’re going to have a little fun. I want to hear all about what your Perfect Disneyland Dining Day would look like! Where would you eat your meals? What would you have for snacks? Would it be an all fancy-meal affair? Or would treats and counter service eats make the cut too?

I’ll get the ball rolling on the food fantasy by sharing my picks!

Breakfast at Steakhouse 55

One of my favorite places for a serene breakfast is Steakhouse 55. This historic restaurant has been welcoming guests since the very earliest days of the resort. Formerly known as Granville’s, you’ll find a cool and classy atmosphere here with a retro vibe to it.

Steakhouse 55 at the Disneyland Hotel

Steakhouse 55 at the Disneyland Hotel

But the digs aren’t the only retro touch. The menu celebrates the past too, with classic dishes. That’s true for dinner as well as for breakfast.

And that combination of serene surroundings and delicious food with a touch of elegance makes Steakhouse 55 a great way to start your day on vacation.

New York Steak and Eggs

New York Steak and Eggs

Besides, how you can resist a good plate of steak and eggs? :-)

Morning Snack at Corn Dog Castle

I must admit, a plate of steak and eggs will probably keep me going for the better part of the day, so I’m likely to skip the morning snack after a meal like that in the real world. But this isn’t the real world at all — it’s the Best. Day. EVER! Right? So you guys, there’s totally gonna be a morning snack stop at Corn Dog Castle.

And making a choice here is no small feat. I mean, you’ve got the amazing classic Hand-Dipped Corn Dog, and you absolutely cannot go wrong with it. But there’s also the nearly-as-delightful Cheddar Cheese Stick if you’d like to skip the sausages altogether.

For me, on this Dream Day, I’m going all the way — and opting for the Hot Link Corn Dog!

Hot Link Corn Dog Meal

Hot Link Corn Dog Meal

In this case, that hand-dipped, made to order treat consists of crunchy Cornbread Coating that enrobes a Hot Link. And it’s definitely got a little zip to it.

Hot Link Corn Dog

Hot Link Corn Dog

Believe me when I say to you — Go there. Get this. One of the three options, anyway. A trip to Corn Dog Castle must be on your list. I insist. (You’ll thank me, I promise.)

Lunch at Cafe Orleans

OK, you guys KNOW that this place is going to be on my “list of anything awesome in Disneyland,” so if you’ve read all of my goings-on about the restaurant already, you’re allowed to skip this section. ;-D Yep. One of my very favorite Disney table service stops is Cafe Orleans.

As much as I love their Gumbo here, it’s the Pommes Frites that I never pass up. Perfectly cooked fries are tossed with Parmesan, Garlic, and Parsley and served with a side of Cajun Spice Rémoulade for dipping. So, so good!

Cafe Orleans Pommes Frites

Cafe Orleans Pommes Frites

Next, I always make space in my Disneyland eating plans for a [Read more…]

Best Table Service Restaurants in the Disneyland Resort

We’re counting down some of our all-time favorite spots to dine when we visit Disneyland!

Best Disneyland Table Service Restaurants

And while snacking abounds and counter service can be delicious, today we are turning our attention to our favorite table service spots.

While Disney’s original park may not offer the same number of dining locations as Walt Disney World, there are certainly some places that you won’t want to miss. And we love them for all different reasons. Some are sentimental favorites, while others offer fantastic food.

Head out with us as we tour our Top 6 Table Service Spots in Disneyland Resort!

Steakhouse 55

Our first stop takes us to a spot steeped in Disneyland history — Steakhouse 55 at Disneyland Hotel.

Dark, cool interiors are replete with luxury and plenty of nods to the past. Named for the year that Disneyland opened, of course, Steakhouse 55 channels a bygone era with the glamour of Old Hollywood. Close your eyes, and you can easily imagine power lunches by the entertainment elite taking place at the next table.

Inside the Cool and Serene Steakhouse 55

Inside the Cool and Serene Steakhouse 55

There’s more here than just posh surroundings, however. The food is incredible, too. For dinner, expertly prepared Steaks and classic steakhouse Sides are the draw. And don’t forget the famous 24-layer Chocolate Cake!

No time for an epic meal, but still want to experience this awesome place? Stop in for Drinks and delicious Pub Grub in the Lounge.

Bone-In Ribeye Steakhouse 55

Bone-In Ribeye Steakhouse 55

But don’t forget breakfast! If you’re after a quiet start to your morning, you can’t go wrong with specialities like Eggs Benedict or New York Steak and Eggs.

Napa Rose

When I’m up for a culinary experience with a modern, California vibe, I head to Napa Rose at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa.

The Craftsman style and open floor plan gives the restaurant a warm, welcoming feel. It never feels too intimidating or hoity-toity, even though you are dining in one of Southern California’s most celebrated eateries.

Begin your evening in [Read more…]

Review: Breakfast at White Water Snacks in Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa

We’re in Disneyland on this lovely Friday, and we’re heading to White Water Snacks for a quick tour and bite before venturing into the parks!

White Water Snacks

The counter-service and grab-and-go restaurant is located at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa, and serves as a stop for a hearty, hot breakfast on the run.

But with lots of grab and go options, you’ll find all kinds of choices to fuel up for a fun day. Let’s head in for a look around.


Enter White Water from the California sunshine, off of the hotel’s courtyard. The entrance is right off of the pool area, so watch for drippy kids and wet floors! ;-)



A menu at the entrance gives you some general information about what’s available here, and the hours during which you can order different meals. Handy!

Menu Board -- Click to Enlarge

Menu Board — Click to Enlarge

Once inside, you see the same wood and stone touches that are a familiar part of the rest of this hotel. The feeling here is slightly more rustic than Storyteller’s Cafe, however. It’s more like a posh camping outpost than a restaurant in a swanky lodge.

Seating White Water Snacks

Seating and Rustic Atmosphere

There is seating available both inside and outside. Both options are basic, but comfortable for a quick meal.

Seating and Atmosphere

More Seating

Outdoor Seating

Outdoor Seating

Be sure to keep an eye out for the famous Disneyland cats! Fun little furballs roam Disneyland’s grounds freely, and they often stop by Whitewater as it’s one of five official Disneyland feeding stations for the kitties (others can be found at Hungry Bear Restaurant in Disneyland and Taste Pilot’s Grill at DCA).

One of the famous Disneyland Cats

Back inside, you start to get a feel for your options, which range from hot, prepared entrees, to grab and go selections.

During our morning visit, we spied a small variety of [Read more…]

Review: Storytellers Cafe at Disneyland’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa

I was recently back in Disneyland for a visit, and I couldn’t resist booking lunch at one of my favorite locations, Storytellers Cafe.

storytellers cafe

We visited anticipating a delicious and relaxing experience, as we often have at Storytellers. The fact that I had a mad craving for that Charred Nebraska Corn Chowder and had been dreaming about it was just a happy coincidence. ;-)

Won’t you join us?


You’ll find Storytellers at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel, which certainly lives up to its name. It is simply a gorgeous place to spend some time.

With design that typifies the American Craftsman style, you are surrounded by larger than life, simple warm accents that make grand use of natural materials, like wood and stone. You find the same style carried through Storytellers Cafe.

Fireplace and Atmosphere

Fireplace and Atmosphere

Two major design elements tend to dominate the decor of Storytellers Cafe: you’ll find murals and large paintings covering the walls. Paintings depict…storytelling, of course — featuring classic stories with California as their setting.

One of the Many Large Paintings in Storytellers Cafe

One of the Many Large Paintings in Storytellers Cafe

But you also find ample use of silhouettes in many places throughout the dining space. And check out the beautiful post and beam construction on the ceiling while you’re looking up. (Disney World fans will get a definite Wilderness Lodge vibe from this place!)

Lighting and Ceiling Detail

Lighting and Ceiling Detail

Stained glass with warm swirls of color are a hallmark of Arts and Crafts design, and the stained glass softly filters the indirect light, which provides the perfect backdrop to these working man silhouettes.

And be sure to notice the detail on the hanging lights as well! They’re really something special.

Storytelling Lighting

Storytelling Lighting

Lanterns hung from copper stands distribute light throughout the dining room, and give the sense of bringing the outdoors inside.



And as is often the case — don’t forget to look down! Even the carpeting conveys the theme and story of this spot with letters and more silhouettes.



Throughout Storytellers Cafe, the art of storytelling shares the stage with [Read more…]

News! Disneyland Dining Reservations Available Online Starting October 3rd

Disneyland Resort has announced that dining reservations will be available online starting October 3, 2013!

This new option will make booking meals more efficient at Disneyland, Disney California Adventure park, Downtown Disney District, and Disneyland Resort hotel restaurants. (YAY!!!)

Disneyland Dining Reservation System

Once the online booking option is live, the email reservation service will end, however those reservations may also be made at 714-781-DINE.

Looking for Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, Pirates League, and Studio Disney 365 reservations? You’ll still need to call 714-781-STYLE.

Credit Card Guarantee

Beginning October 3, guests who make new dining reservation OR modify existing dining reservations will be required [Read more…]

DIY Disney Recipe: Nebraska Corn Chowder from Storytellers Cafe

This week, guest chef Carol returns with one of my FAVORITE recipes! This time she cooks up the Corn Chowder from the Storytellers Café at the Grand Californian in the Disneyland Resort!

So, I’d never been to Disneyland California until just recently! I know, I know, but please hear me out before you judge! I grew up in Central Florida…in Walt Disney World’s backyard.

But recently, I made my first trip to Disneyland! It was just like the commercials…you know with all the families making memories together! We were there with my husband’s family including our two cute, adorable li’l nieces! I couldn’t wait to wear those fun Family Reunion pins.

The first thing I did when I found out we were going was make my foodie list…of course! I also dug into my Disney cookbooks to start making fun dishes at home to get us excited about the trip.

I was excited to find several fun recipes from Disneyland California in my Cooking with Mickey and the Disney Chefs cookbook. The Storytellers Cafe Corn Chowder definitely caught my eye, since my grocery store is full of fresh, sweet corn right now. The recipe is served fresh every day in the Storytellers Café at Disneyland’s Grand Californian Resort, and it’s been on the menu since the restaurant opened.

Storyteller's Cafe Corn Chowder -- as served in the restaurant

This recipe is super easy to make and can be ready to serve the same night you make it! So, let’s get started:


This is a great one to make during the Summer when you’ve got all kinds of fresh sweet corn at the farmers’ markets and grocery stores!

Corn Chowder Ingredients.

-4 ears fresh corn, unshucked
-2 slices bacon, diced
-1 tbsp diced onion
-1 tsp chopped garlic
-1 Yukon Gold potato, peeled and diced
-4 cups chicken stock
-6 tbsp butter [Read more…]

Guest Review: Napa Rose Chef’s Counter in Disneyland Resort

Please welcome back guest author Heather Jones as she shares a review of the Chef’s Counter at Napa Rose at Disney’s Grand Californian in Disneyland Resort!

Recently my husband and I had the opportunity to take a quick trip out to California to visit friends and of course, Disneyland! Because this was a bonus trip, money was a little tight. However, I had always dreamed of dining at the famous Napa Rose Restaurant.

Napa Rose

We decided to save our pennies by snacking our way through the weekend and then have a big, splash-out meal at the end of the trip. I’m here to report that this was a great move!


Napa Rose is located in Disneyland’s flagship hotel, The Grand Californian.

We started our journey in the lounge. There were plenty of cozy areas to relax and enjoy a drink while we waited for our reservation, but I just dashed around snapping pictures.

Napa Rose Lounge

Rose themed lighting.

Comfy seating in the lounge.

Outdoor fireplace seating area.

Napa Rose Bar

Very expensive scotches and liquors behind glass.

Custom-label Pixar Wines from John Lasseter's Vineyard!

After a short wait, we were ushered into the dining room, which features floor to ceiling windows that allow beautiful views of the lush landscaping. We, however, would not be sitting at one of these tables because we decided to experience the Chef’s Counter.

Napa Rose Dining Room...and tables where we would NOT be sitting tonight!

The Napa Rose rose!

Here’s the Chef’s Counter, which offers two seatings per night and has eight seats — four on one side and four on the other. The view of the open kitchen is [Read more…]