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…]

Dining in Disneyland: Dinner at the Newly Renovated Club 33

After a 6 month full renovation, Club 33 has re-opened to members and their guests.  The expansion includes a new entrance, a modernized and much larger kitchen, and the gorgeous new Salon Nouveau.

Similar, but much more swanky, Salon Nouveau is sort of like Disneyland’s equivalent to 1901; a members only, no reservations needed lounge serving up food, drinks and jazz. We will be posting a full review about Salon Nouveau in the very near future, but for now, let’s take a look at the new Club 33!

Club 33 Entrance

Club 33 Entrance

We gave you an atmosphere look previously, but we’ll cover a few more pics of the interior for you today!


The entrance is now located just steps to the right of the old Club 33 entrance in New Orleans Square. The pretty new doorbell includes an etching of the new logo surrounded by a gold toned art nouveau design. It’s located on the side wall to the left of the door.

The New Doorbell

The New Doorbell

When you are buzzed in, there is a small reception area (formally the ornament shop) where you can check in for your meal and do some shopping from one of the two merchandise cases at the club.  Notice the bust? She is a piece from the club that was located on the old stairwell.

Check In Area & Merchandise Case

Check In Area & Merchandise Case

Once you check in, you’ll take a seat in [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…]

Aulani Food News: Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival, and Kids Eat Free!

The second annual Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival is a four-day event scheduled for September 6th – 9th, 2012. And the grand finale signature event, “Cuisines of the Stars” A Magical Journey of Food & Culture,” will be held from 6-9pm at Ko Olina Resort, featuring Aulani, on the last evening.

Participants at the many events can look forward to the expertise of 50 international master chefs, as well as renowned wine and spirit makers. Ethnic foods and beverages from around the world will be highlighted.

AmaAma View

Chef Andrew Sutton (Napa Rose, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel) and Chef Patrick Callarec (Disney’s Aulani Resort) join the [Read more…]

Construction Update: Carthay Circle Theatre in Disney California Adventure

The Carthay Circle Theatre is looking gorgeous in Disney California Adventure. Disney Imagineering has worked hard on the replica of this famed theatre in which “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” premiered in 1937. Check out these great pics that Heather got!



We first reported on this construction back in 2009, and then learned at the D23 Expo that this venue will showcase an exclusive restaurant.

Acclaimed Napa Rose Chef Andrew Sutton is creating the menu, and we anticipate exquisite cuisine. The last time we dined at Napa Rose, Chef Sutton let us know that [Read more…]

Review: Napa Rose Chef’s Counter

Napa Rose

We finally got the chance to dine at Chef Andrew Sutton’s Chef’s Counter at Napa Rose in Disney’s Grand Californian Resort (Disneyland) — and I’m pretty sure I’ve never been so excited in my life. We’ve eaten at Napa Rose once before, but we’ve never had this experience!

Eight people can dine at the Chef’s Counter at a time — four on one side of the “order up” area, an four on the other. There are two seatings per night at 5:30pm and 8:30pm; we were there for the last seating and had the chance to take up one whole side of the counter with Heather Sievers and her husband, so we already had great company taken care of.

And as far as atmosphere goes, this was definitely one of the most incredible meals I’ve ever had at a Disney restaurant — or at any restaurant…

Napa Rose Show Kitchen from the Chef's Counter


Napa Rose is a signature restaurant — i.e. “high end” — but it has a very casual feel. Guests enter through the Napa Rose lounge (a great place to eat if you don’t have reservations and want to experience fantastic food) and pass the [Read more…]

D23 Expo Foodie-centric Auction Lots

The D23 Expo Live Auction lots were announced yesterday, and there are a couple that I think you foodies will enjoy! Looking forward to hearing feedback from all of you Expo-ers!

Napa Rose Chef Andrew Sutton

Napa Rose Chef Andrew Sutton

LOT 13: Private Cooking Lesson & Dining Experience with Chef Andrew Sutton
(Bidder, plus eleven (11) guests)

“La piece de resistance! Join Executive Chef Andrew Sutton of the award-winning Napa Rose as he leads a hands-on cooking and learning experience in the show kitchen of the beautiful Napa Rose restaurant at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel® & Spa. Then enjoy a quintessential dining experience recounting your
day’s cooking accomplishments.

Also included in this auction lot will be six (6) bottles of wine provided and signed by John Lasseter, Chief Creative Officer of Pixar and Disney Animation Studios and Principal Creative Advisor for Walt Disney Imagineering. John and his wife Nancy purchased an historic Sonoma Valley winery and vineyard property back in 2002; since then they and their family have lovingly transformed the property into a state-of-the-art, ecofriendly, family-run winery.

(Experience must be completed by February 28, 2010, and must take place on a Saturday morning. Participants must be at least 18 years of age. For your safety, closed-toe shoes and long pants are required.)

House of Blues LogoLOT 28: Progressive Dinner – Hotels of the Disneyland® Resort and Downtown Disney® District
(Bidder, plus five (5) Guests)

“Start off the night with cocktails and delicious appetizers at the famous House of Blues® Restaurant. Then let Catal’s executive chef and events team create a signature soup and salad duo plate featuring the freshest ingredients to please your palette.

catal logoHungry for more? Choose from a menu of flavorful offerings at our renowned Steakhouse 55 restaurant at the Disneyland® Hotel. Their succulent menu will leave your mouth watering!

steakhouse55 LogoThen take your taste buds on vacation…Jazz on over to Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen, a savvy representation of New Orleans’ dual legacies – food and music – served up in a whimsical setting depicting the charm, ambiance and hospitality of historic and contemporary New Orleans. Enjoy the view from our Jazz Balcony as our chef prepares an assortment of petit desserts artfully displayed for your indulgence. Sip on a Jazz Kitchen coffee or enjoy from our selection of after dinner drinks as our staff roll out our signature dessert, prepared table side just for you and your guests.Jazz Kitchen Logo

(Experience must be completed by February 28, 2010. Experience is not valid on the following dates: 9/19/09, 10/1/09, 10/2/09, 10/31/09, 11/26/09, 12/4/09 – 1/3/10. Participants must be 21 years of age in order to consume alcoholic beverages. Package can only be redeemed with Disney’s package and cannot be used separately.)

About The Auction…
Event Date: Saturday, September 12, 2009
Event Time: 7:00 PM
Event Location: Anaheim Convention Center – Anaheim, CA
Event Summary: Disney enthusiasts will have the opportunity to bid on unique Walt Disney Studio and Theme Park experiences, tours, artwork, props and more.

Ticket Sale Information:
Admission to the D23 Expo Live Auction is included in all D23 Expo tickets. There will be an additional “Auctioneers Package” fee required for guests who wish to participate (i.e. bid on items) in the auction. Tickets for the D23 Auctioneers Package are $40 each. With this pacakge, you will receive preferred floor seating, ONE (1) D23 Expo Live Auction Commemorative Catalog, ONE (1) D23 Expo Live Auction Paddle, and ONE (1) D23 Expo Live Auction Limited Edition Pin.

It does not look like this auction will benefit any charitable organization.

For more information on the auction and a link to other available auction lots at the D23 Expo, visit the D23 Auction 2009 web page.