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…]

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 Unique Disneyland Snacks

There was a time when snacks found at Disneyland and Walt Disney World were somewhat distinct.

Sure, you had your overlaps with good reason (Hello, Dole Whip deliciousness and sponsorship), but things were still unique to some extent on each coast.

These days, homogeneity of Disney snacks seems to be hitting a new high, as we see foods and beverages pop up in both locales. (Cones in WDW and DL spring to mind, as do LeFou’s Brew and Red’s Apple Freeze.) Still, there is reason to rejoice and know that not all of the character of your favorite spots is lost.

Today, we’re recalling some Disneyland snacks that are unique to those parks. These are the treats that we haven’t seen surface quite the same way Back East. And though we feel for our friends who only have the pleasure of visiting Disney World, I think it’s neat that some things remain hallmarks of the original Disney park. Let’s take a look at some of our favorites.

Corn Dogs. REAL Ones.

There are times when nothing — and I mean nothing — but a Hand-Dipped Corn Dog from Corn Dog Castle or the Corn Dog Wagon will do.

These are not your garden variety, find-‘em-in-the-frozen-section corn dogs. Nope. These babies are hand dipped in this amazing sweet cornbread batter before they’re fried to a crispy, dark golden brown. And if you get crispies in your little plastic basket — score!!

Disneyland Hand-Dipped Corn Dog

And they’re huge! Definitely big enough to make a meal, they come with your choice of apple slices or potato chips on the side.

Mickey Beignets

Another quintessential snack that I must have whenever I’m in Disneyland are Mickey Beignets.

The fried pillows of dough are one of my favorite treats anyway. Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen does a great job too — but c’mon. Beignets shaped like Mickey? Even. Better.

And it’s not just about the cuteness factor! They’re really delicious, too!

Another great thing about Mickey Beignets is that you can get them at both counter service and table service locations! If you’d just like to snack and stroll, check them out at the Mint Julep Bar, where you can enjoy them with a classic Disneyland Mint Julep. :-)

Mickey Beignets at Disneyland's Mint Julep Bar

If you prefer a sit-down version, you can order them at [Read more…]

Disney Food Pics of the Week: Corn Dogs

I can’t get enough of the incredible photos that you are submitting over at Disney Food Blog Photo Extravaganza! This week, we’re taking a look at a fan favorite on both coasts — the humble Disney Corn Dog! After our Hot Dog Pics of the Week feature, we knew we needed a separate corn dog post. The day has come!

First Disneyland Corn Dog

I adore this picture, and its original caption says it all: “Firsts…There’s nothing like experiencing things for the first time. Your first trip to Disneyland, your first pair of Mickey Ears and the first time you burn your mouth on a Disneyland Corn Dog.” We couldn’t agree more!
Photographer: Michael Greening

First Corn Dog at Disneyland!

Disneyland Cheese Stick

Who says hot dog lovers have to have all the fun? Corn Dog Castle at Disney’s California Adventure serves up hand-dipped cheese sticks, too!
Photographer: Kirsten Marie Hutton

Cheese Stick -- Inside

Disney World Corn Dog Nuggets

No trip to Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World is complete for me without a stop at Casey’s Corner. And every visit must include Corn Dog Nuggets! (With lots and lots of ketchup and plastic cheese. [Read more…]

Disney’s Best Grilled Cheese

It’s been grilled cheese weather for us out there, and I’m pretty sure it has been for many of you as well! So it’s time to put together our list of the Best Grilled Cheese in Disney Restaurants…and I can’t wait to hear your additions!

Best Grilled Cheese at Disney

Grilled Cheese — perfect for dipping!

You know we love cheese around here, and Disney has found lots of different ways to be creative with this particular recipe for success.

Let’s take a look at our favorites in Disney World and Disneyland!

Walt Disney World Grilled Cheese

Before we catch a flight to California, let’s see what’s happening, grilled-cheese-wise, at Walt Disney World!

Tomato Bisque and Grilled Cheese at Beaches and Cream

OK, I’ll admit that this sammich is currently my #1 at Walt Disney World! I tried it (belatedly) in October and couldn’t get enough!

When you’re down for the count and need some sustenance to get through your park touring, trust me and head over to Beaches and Cream at Disney’s Beach Club Resort for their take on a familiar favorite: Tomato Bisque and Grilled Cheese.

Six flavorful cheeses make up the blend on this amazing entry. And buddied up with sourdough bread and super creamy tomato bisque, this is comfort food perfection.

Tomato Bisque and Grilled Cheese Sandwich at Beaches and Cream

Grown-Up Grilled Cheese at Captain Cook’s

A cult favorite among Disney fans, Captain Cook’s at Disney’s Polynesian Resort has a must-try entry into the Grilled Cheese category: the Grown-Up Grilled Cheese.

What’s so adult about this one? Three cheeses — cheddar, Swiss, and Boursin (Boursin!) — melted together on a hearty sunflower bread give this one the perfect marriage of creamy and nutty. It’s lovely.

Grown-Up Grilled Cheese Sandwich at Captain Cook’s

Croque Monsieur at Be Our Guest Restaurant

Let’s head over to Disney World’s newest restaurant — Be Our Guest Restaurant in Magic Kingdom’s New Fantasyland — for our third contender!

Be Our Guest features a table service format for dinner, but during lunch hours you’ll find a more casual line up, including this delicious Croque Monsieur. I’ll have my own [Read more…]

What Are Your Favorite Disneyland Snacks?

Disneyland is a treasure trove of amazing snacks and goodies, and I think it would take us list after list to mention all of my favorites. But I received a reader request for my top 5, so I knew I had to take a shot at choosing! :-)


SO, let me add a disclaimer…I have SO MANY MORE than 5 favorite snacks at Disneyland. But if you want to get a good overview of some incredible classics, head for these. (I’m sensing a “Next Top 5 Snacks” post coming soon. ;-D)

And I want to hear YOUR favorites, too! What Disneyland goodies are your must-have eats? Share with us in the comments below so others going to Disneyland can benefit from your experience! :-)

Favorite Disneyland Snacks

Corn Dog

Along Paradise Pier sits the unassuming, Corn Dog Castle. Behind this modest kiosk awaits a snack that Disneyland guests know is a true gem — the Corn Dog!

Hand-dipped and made fresh to order, these corn dogs are an indulgence, but a worthy one! Get them in Disneyland at the Little Red Wagon, too.

Disneyland Hand-Dipped Corn Dog

Of course, if you want to go vegetarian, the Cheese Stick is [Read more…]

Dining in Disneyland: Grilled Cheese on a Stick, Sort Of…

Today I had quite possibly one of the best ideas I think I’ve ever had in my life.  I am a huge grilled cheese and tomato soup fan, and on this cold and rainy Southern California day, I found myself with a craving for it.

However, I had planned to take my boys to Disneyland after school for a fun rainy day trip.  SO… I came up with this amazing solution: Why not heat up some soup, stick it in a Thermos, bring it to Disney California Adventure, and combine it with a Cheddar Cheese Stick from the Corn Dog Castle?

Tomato Soup from Home!

I picked my boys up from school, and (knowing they’d say yes) I asked them if they wanted to go to Corn Dog Castle for lunch (early dismissal today!). So off we headed, me with my warm soup Thermos in my bag!  (I had no problem getting it through security, by the way.)

Cheddar Cheese Stick "Meal" with Apples from Corn Dog Castle

I ordered the cheese stick corn dog meal, which is basically just a stick of cheese, breaded with corn dog batter, and fried just like a regular corn dog. (Check out my review from the Corn Dog Castle here!)

Melty Cheddar Cheese, Prepare to be Dipped!

…and started dipping! [Read more…]

Dining in Disneyland: The Return of the Corn Dog Castle!

Heather Sievers has some great Dining in Disneyland news this week — the Corn Dog Castle is back in action!

Nestled between Seaside Souvenirs and what will soon be the new Goofy’s Sky School ride is a little gem that’s been closed for quite some time.  When I heard last week that Corn Dog Castle had reopened, it was almost too good to be true.  So, of course I had to go and see it to believe it.

The Corn Dog Castle is Back!

Although corn dogs have been available at California Adventure during the closure (first at Farmer’s Market, which eventually closed for the construction of Cars Land, and then at Award Wieners in the Hollywood Pictures Backlot), it was not the same as getting one from the original corn dog king.

Seeing it open again was almost as exciting as [Read more…]

New Disney California Adventure Paradise Pier Dining Concept Art

The OC Register is reporting on the up coming changes to Disney California Adventure’s Paradise Pier. Here’s a bit of concept art for what the Pier will look like come next year…

Gone are Pizza Oom Mow Mow and the Burger Invasion restaurant, which will soon be replaced by an 800-seat dining area — part of the $1-billion renovation project at Disney California Adventure.

When it opens next year, the area will include:

* Paradise Garden Grill, in the former space of Burger Invasion.
* Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta, where Pizza Oom Mow Mow used to be.
* Corn Dog Castle, which closed last year, will re-open in the same spot.

A Beer Garden is not part of the plans at this time.

Update! Thanks to Carolyn Hoagland on facebook, here’s the map from the Blue Sky Cellar of the new dining area! Pizza and Pasta and Garden Grill are located on the left.

Disney Food Post Round-Up: February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wow! What a week! Two days at Disney World can be exhausting! Here are a few links to some news and info reports from the World this week:

Stay tuned for more stories this week from my trip to Disney World! Now, on to the round-up!

Disney Geek reports that corn dogs are on the menu at Disneyland’s Stage Door Cafe while the Corn Dog Castle is closed for refurb through 2011.

@Marcomboy, via twitter, shared some Valentine’s Day Desserts at Disneyland’s Storytellers Cafe. In the photo: Red Velvet Mini cupcake, Snickers cheesecake, and flourless chocolate cake. Also available are a heart-shaped chocolate raspberry tart and a heart shaped strawberry mousse.

cheshireDisney has some great Alice in Wonderland ideas! Check out these edible teacups, this smiling Cheshire Cat cupcake, and this cool make-it-yourself Alice cupcake topper!

The Red Carpet takes us along with her as she dines at Disneyland’s Club 33!

Main Street Gazette shares a memory of an extinct restaurant, the Polynesian’s Papeete Bay Verandah, along with one of its lost recipes: Chicken Toa Nue.

DisneyShawn shows us the detail of Pinocchio’s Village Haus.

A World View shares a review of Cat Cora’s Kouzzina.

Disney Parks Blog shares their top WDW Romantic Restaurants. (You can also check out the DisneyFoodBlog top three romantic restaurants in Disney World, based on our reader survey!)

Chip and Co shows us how to do a DIY breakfast from the Kona Cafe!