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?

Atmosphere

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.

Lantern

Lantern

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.

Carpet

Carpet

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 dine@disneyland.com 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:

Ingredients

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!

Atmosphere

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…]

Limited Time Magic Dinners at Disney World and Disneyland Just in Time for Valentine’s Day!

Love is in the air — especially at Disney!

As 2013 continues to be the year for Limited Time Magic Events, Disney is hosting True Love Week at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland complete with specialty menus at several restaurants!

It's Romance Time at Disney!

Walt Disney World

As a Limited Time Magic addition during February 11-17, romantic dinners for two will be offered with prix fixe menus at select restaurants.

Specially-created menus at Artist Point at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, The Wave…of American Flavors at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, the Hollywood Brown Derby at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Yachtsman Steakhouse at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort make an ideal setting for a romantic evening.

Book online at disneyworld.com/dining, or call (407) WDW-DINE.

The Hollywood Brown Derby at Disney's Hollywood Studios is the Perfect Setting for Your Romantic Dinner

Disneyland

Also during February 11-17, choose romantic dinners with prix fixe menus at the following restaurants: Blue Bayou and Café Orleans in Disneyland, Carthay Circle Restaurant in Disney California [Read more…]

DFB Readers Choose! Best Disney Restaurants for Quiet Dining

Need a relaxing date night? Have a sleeping baby? Want to simply get away from the crowds and the bustle of the Disney parks for a while?

We asked our friends on the Disney Food Blog Facebook Page for their recommendations on quiet dining in Disney World and Disneyland, and we want to hear YOURS, too!

The locations mentioned the most in Walt Disney World were: Jiko at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Artist Point at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, and Victoria & Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.

In Disneyland, Facebook Friends gave the most shout-outs to Blue Bayou in Disneyland Park and Napa Rose at the Grand Californian Resort.

Best Disney World Restaurants For Quiet Dining

Let’s take a peek at these top Disney Food Blog reader choices for quiet dining in Disney World!

Jiko

For romance, delicious dishes, and a peaceful meal inspired by low lighting and a calming water feature view, head over to the Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Jiko.

Jiko View

Facebook Friend Adhiraj G. recommends “Jiko later in the evening! great view, great service and quiet (in a relaxed sort of way)!”

Filet and Mac and Cheese at Jiko (Mac and Cheese can be ordered by request)

A window-side table offers a beautiful view during daylight hours while savoring the gourmet cuisine. Keep an eye on the soothing “sunset wall” at the back of the restaurant, which cycles through the [Read more…]

Disneyland Dining Reservations Via Email Now Available

Great news for us Disneyland food fans! Restaurant reservations can now be booked via email! Remember, reservations in Disneyland can be booked 60 days in advance.

Say Hello to Tigger at Minnie's Breakfast at the Plaza in Disneyland!

Here’s how it works:

  • Guests may now email their dining reservation requests to dine@disneyland.com
  • Requests will be reviewed the same day, when received during the hours of 7 a.m. – 9 p.m., 7 days a week
  • Requests received after hours will be reviewed the next day
  • Guests may request Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and Studio Disney 365 reservations through this email address as well
  • Email requests should include the following information:
    1. Name of the restaurant or experience you’d like to book
    2. Requested reservation date and meal period (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)
    3. Total number of guests in your party
    4. Your name and phone number
  • Remember: Your request is not confirmed until you’ve received a confirmation number

See our list of Disneyland table-service restaurants here!

As always, you can also book your reservations by phone on the Disney Dine Line (714-781-DINE).

Thanks to the Disney Parks Blog for the details!

More Fat-Free Fun! Disneyland Food Graphic Suitcase Now Available

More and more, we’re seeing iconic Disney food depicted as graphics, shapes, and patterns in Disney merchandise. You’ll remember the Mickey Bar-shaped antenna topper and the Mickey breakfast pajama pants, of course. And who can forget the Disney food playset and the Disney food magnets!

But walking through the lobby of the Grand Californian Friday night, I spotted what I think is quite possibly the coolest “food” merchandise I’ve ever come across.  So cool that I have a strong feeling I will be back to buy it. 

I love Disney Food. I love Disney travel. SO, why not combine the two for a super awesome, totally radical new Disney food suitcase? This beauty was calling my name from its pedestal in the lobby gift shop.

Foodie Suitcase Perfection

The fun snack food designs are what caught my eye first. I noticed the Mickey Bars, popcorn, lollipops, and cotton candy. Already I’m sold. THEN I saw that it was specific to Disneyland Resort and noticed the text that read Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. So fun. 

But wait! There’s still more to notice. It took me a minute until I realized that the orange “shape” was actually the silhouette of Grizzly Peak over at DCA, and of course you can’t forget the purple Sleeping Beauty Castle. Another fun detail? The [Read more…]

Care For Some Disney With That Winery?

Many folks hear “Disney” and immediately think of Dumbo, oppressive heat, or waiting in lines all day. But one of our many goals here at the Disney Food Blog is to show another side of Disney — the side that includes yummy eats, relaxing restaurants, indulgent drinks, and even a few sophisticated wines!

For example, I knew that a few vineyards had ties to Disney, but I had no idea how many winemakers were somehow associated with the man and his mirthful creations! Here are four that we found had ties to the Disney name…would love to hear of others, or to hear your reviews of these companies!

Silverado Vineyards

2009 Miller Ranch Sauvignon Blanc

The eldest daughter of Walt and Lillian Disney, Diane Disney Miller, purchased a Napa Valley vineyard in the early 1970s with her husband, Ronald Miller.

After successfully selling the fruits of their labor to wineries, they decided to go into the wine business themselves, creating Silverado Vineyard Winery, which opened in 1981.

“It was beautiful land, and it was land that was working,” said Diane Miller of their first vineyards.

If you can’t get to Napa Valley, visit this incredible vineyard at silveradovineyards.com/.

Lasseter Family

Update: DCL now offering Lasseter Family Wine excursions at its San Francisco port-of-call!

Paysage Wine

You know John Lasseter as the director of Pixar blockbusters like Toy Story and Cars. He is now the chief creative officer of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation as well as the Principal Creative Advisor for Walt Disney Imagineering.

In 1992, John Lasseter’s family discovered the art (and fun) of wine-making, and ten years later they purchased a 27-acre vineyard in California. Today, [Read more…]

Club 33 Policy Changes…and Introducing Club 1901

Club 33 Sign

The Mouseplanet column in USA Today recently brought to my attention some proposed Club 33 policy changes, along with the mention of Club 1901, the new VIP lounge that will be built into the Carthay Circle Theater in the new Disney California Adventure revamp.

Club 33 Policy Changes

Proposed changes for Disneyland’s famously exclusive, members-only Club 33 are causing a stir. The Club offers different levels of personal and corporate membership, and most of the policy updates center around changing the levels.

According to the article, the Gold membership (estimated $3,600 annual dues) for the club will be phased out in 2012, leaving only the new Platinum membership (estimated $10,000 annual dues). The differences in the membership levels are significant not only in price, but also in what you get for your money:

Reported Platinum Membership Benefits
Premier Annual Pass (admission to all parks at both Disney World and Disneyland)
Four Additional Premier Annual Passes for family and friends
Access to Club 1901, the new VIP lounge in Carthay Circle Theater in Disney California Adventure (see more details below)
Book up to 5 VIP guided tours per year

Reported Gold Membership Benefits
Annual Pass to Disneyland Resort
(These members LOSE the past benefit of admission for a guest into the park for the day when not dining at Club 33)
(These members do NOT receive additional annual passes)
(These members do NOT have access to Club 1901)

Existing Gold level members will have the chance to upgrade to Platinum. All new Club 33 members will be required to join at the Platinum level.

In addition to the membership level changes the following policies may also change in 2012:

  • Free valet parking at the Grand Californian Hotel is now offered only when the member is dining at Club 33
  • When dining at Club 33, members may still request guest passes for those dining with them. However, regular members are now limited to 50 guest passes per year; corporate members are limited to 100 passes. Once the allocated guest passes have been used, members can purchase additional tickets at a 20 percent discount.

The official club member booklet will be released in a few days. Until then, these changes are just “proposed” and may or may not come to fulfillment.

Club 1901

Over the past two years, we’ve reported about a VIP Club/Restaurant in the Carthay Circle Theater in Disney California Adventure; and Disney execs mentioned [Read more…]