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…]

LIVE News: Eats and Treats at the Rock Your Disney Side 24-Hour Events in Disney Parks

Hey all! We were up before the sun and are reporting live from the Disney 24-hour Rock Your Disney Side event on both coasts!

Eats and Treats fro the 24 Hour Disney Side Events

We’ll be updating this post throughout the day with new eats and treats, so be sure to stay tuned! We already have a LOT to share with you!

For those who haven’t heard about this event, it’s Disney’s opportunity to kick off the Summer season (and to promote their new rides and movies) by being open for 24 solid hours at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and Disneyland! Guests get the chance to indulge in one-day-only treats and goodies, have access to fun one-day-only merchandise, and fight super SUPER huge crowds (always a must when you’re at Disney, right?). ;-)

OK, let’s dive right into the list of what we’ve been noshing on this morning…

Disney World AND Disneyland Specialty Treats

So with this whole “both coasts homogenize all their food” thing (blerg), you can see similar specialty treats in Disney World and Disneyland more and more often. This is definitely happening for this big event!

Rock Your Disney Side Heroes vs. Villains Cupcakes
Of COURSE there are specialty cupcakes! How could they deny us this?

Today, they’re featuring vanilla and chocolate versions with little villains and heroes logo chocolate pieces on top. (I guess your “Disney side” is heroes vs villains?)

Disney Side Cupcake

Disney Side Cupcake

Chocolate Disney Side cupcakes

Chocolate Disney Side cupcakes

Maleficent Themed Rice Krispie Treats, Caramel Apples, and Cake Pops
These Maleficent goodies are definitely some of the most creative I’ve seen in a while! Interestingly, the cake pops were executed MUCH better in Disneyland than they were in Disney World, so I chose the prettier pic to share. ;-)

Maleficent Krispie Treat

Maleficent Krispie Treat

Maleficent Cake Pops

Maleficent Cake Pops

Maleficent Apples

Maleficent Apples at Disney World

Maleficent Apple at Disneyland

Maleficent Apple at Disneyland

Disney World Specialty Treats

There are a few goodies debuting at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom today! (We’re hoping some of them might hang around on the menus, but, sadly, most of them won’t.) We’re super excited about this one in particular:

Poisoned Apple Waffle Sundae
Found at Sleepy Hollow in Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square, this lightly sweet waffle is topped with vanilla soft serve and stewed apples (basically good apple pie filling). The whole thing is sprinkled with green and purple sugar crystals to promote the new Maleficent film.

Poisoned Apple Waffle Sundae at Sleepy Hollow

Poisoned Apple Waffle Sundae at Sleepy Hollow

Breakfast Dog
Over at the Lunching Pad, this breakfast dog features sausage, eggs, and plastic cheese!

Breakfast Dog at Lunching Pad

Breakfast Dog at Lunching Pad

Character Cupcakes
These new cupcakes featuring some of your [Read more…]

Disneyland News! Rock Your Disney Side 24-Hour Event Menu Items (Did Someone Say Red Velvet Funnel Cake?!?)

Rock YOUR Disney Side! Disneyland’s and Disney World’s 24-hour event takes places May 23-24, 2014, from 6AM to 6AM. To keep the party going, special menu items will be featured throughout the parks!

If you plan on dining at a table service restaurant, make your reservation now!

Disneyland Rock Your Disney Eats

Table-Service
Carnation Café: Fried Sampler Plate with crispy fried zucchini, crunchy onion rings, and those addictive fried pickles.

Blue Bayou Restaurant: Pan-seared New York pepper steak topped with asparagus, poached egg, lump crab meat, Cabernet and Béarnaise sauces with potato galette.

Quick-Service
Plaza Inn: Fried Chicken and Waffles

Chicken and Mickey Waffles at Disneyland’s Plaza Inn!

Jolly Holiday Bakery Café: Super Sub Sammie with salami, cappicola, prosciutto topped with kicky arugula salad, whole-grain mustard and citrus aioli on a French roll.

Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor: Black and White Ice Cream Sandwich with hand-scooped vanilla ice cream between chocolate chip cookies with a white and dark chocolate drizzle and mini chocolate chips.

Rancho del Zocalo: Street Taco Trio with beef, chicken or carnitas on corn tortillas with cilantro and onion and topped with salsa casera or salsa verde. Also lightly fried sopes (fried masa cakes) with refried beans, beef, chicken or carnitas, shredded cabbage, cotija cheese and drizzled with salsa casera or salsa verde; or pozole, a mild chile and pork stew with hominy, garnished with shredded cabbage, julienned radishes and oregano.

French Market Restaurant: Shrimp Po’ Boy with crispy popcorn shrimp, mayo, sliced tomato and shredded lettuce with oil and vinegar, served on a toasted potato roll with house-made potato chips and fresh fruit.

Village Haus Restaurant: “Pastram’boli” Flatbread: cheesy roasted garlic flatbread with beef pastrami, caramelized onions and pickles and topped with a Dijon mustard sauce. Also try the apple berry flatbread with poached apples on sweet cream cheese topped with fresh berries and mint.

Apple Berry Flatbread

Apple Berry Flatbread

Hungry Bear Restaurant: Sweet and Spicy Hot Dog on a jalapeño cheddar roll with honey mustard and sautéed onions and peppers.

Harbour Galley: Turkey Tortilla Soup with roasted corn and black beans, garnished with sour cream, pico de gallo and fried tortilla strips.

Sweet Snacks
Stage Door Café: Red velvet funnel cake with cream cheese frosting (WHAT?!??!), raspberry and mango funnel cake a la mode, and blueberry and kiwi funnel cake a la mode.

Bengal Barbecue: two sweet skewers – brownies and crispy cereal squares.

Mint Julep Bar: Super Power Punch with sprite, a shot of cotton candy and Dessert Pear gourmet syrup.

Breakfast Bites
Café Orleans: Bananas Foster French Toast made with thick-cut brioche that’s battered and grilled then topped with caramelized bananas and caramel sauce. Bacon on the side. Also a Mickey-shaped [Read more…]

Review: Wetzel’s Pretzels in Disneyland’s Downtown Disney

I can’t believe it! I have never done a review of Wetzel’s Pretzels! How is that even possible??

Actually, we all know the answer to that. I mean, there’s just so much good food to be enjoyed that it’s hard to fit it all in. Still, Wetzel’s Pretzels deserves its due. And so today, we’re visiting their location in Disneyland’s Downtown Disney District to take a closer look at some of their irresistible specialties.

Outside

Outside

Wetzel’s Pretzels in Disneyland’s Downtown Disney District

Their sign out front pretty much says it all. It’s the trifecta of snack foods — fresh pretzels, lemonade, and hot dogs — emphasis on fresh.

Because when you step into Wetzel’s, you will most likely be treated to their form of entertainment — watching fresh dough morph into pretzels right before your eyes. (Well. With a little help from their pretzel pros.)

Pretzel Dough

Pretzel Dough

We were even treated to a front row show of employees putting together those famous Wetzel Dogs! It’s really cool to witness firsthand that the items you enjoy here are prepared right on the premises.

Pretzel Dough and Hot Dogs

Pretzel Dough and Hot Dogs

Signs around the store gave us ample suggestions about what we should enjoy during our visit. I love their generous use of jalapenos here! Reminds me of one of my favorite Disney pretzel treats, the [Read more…]

Dining in Disneyland: Steakhouse 55 Lounge at The Disneyland Hotel

I can easily say that Steakhouse 55 is one of my top 3 favorite Disney Resort restaurants.

steakhouse55 Logo

We eat there several times a year, and we always wait for our table in their lounge.  Because we’re such fans of Steakhouse 55, we’ve never ordered anything but drinks in the lounge; we’re always on our way to a fabulous meal in the restaurant!

Well, we recently decided to give the lounge a try and I’m so glad that we did.  Let’s be honest though, we only ate there because it was a last minute decision.  The Earl of Sandwich line was too long and there were no walk ins being accepted for Steakhouse 55… But it was great!

Atmosphere

The atmosphere of the lounge complements the decor inside of Steakhouse 55.  Classic and dark, but also inviting, the room is located at the entrance to the restaurant.  In addition to a full bar with seating, there are options to sit at small tables, couches, and some gorgeous high back chairs as well.  The decor includes lush velvet drapery and pillows in deep purple.

Steakhouse 55 Lounge Seating

Steakhouse 55 Lounge Seating

Looking to catch a game? No need to hit ESPN Zone, there’s a TV here too!

Full Bar with Seating AND a TV

Full Bar with Seating AND a TV

More Seating

More Seating

Eats

The menu is not very big, but I did think that the choices were fabulous for a lounge.  Options include Salads, Flatbreads, Bar Bites, and three different “Between Bread” choices.

Steakhouse 55 Lounge Menu Book

Steakhouse 55 Lounge Menu Book

Steakhouse 55 Lounge Menu

Steakhouse 55 Lounge Menu

AND what would be a meal without the fabulous Steakhouse 55 hot out of the oven Sourdough Bread??? Although not on the menu, [Read more…]

Dining in Disneyland: Easter Treats from Marceline’s in Downtown Disney

Marceline’s in Downtown Disney is hopping with Easter treats!

Marceline's Sign

The adorable Easter Bunny Caramel Apples have made a comeback, along with some fun new yummies that include Mickey Easter Egg Cake Pops and Mickey Easter Grass & “Egg” themed treats.

Marceline's Easter Treats

Marceline’s Easter Treats

Mickey Easter Egg Cake Pops

Adorable as can be, these Easter Eggs are as tasty as they are cute.

The moist cake is dipped in white chocolate, then decorated with sanding sugar, and topped with chocolate Mickey ears.  They come in chocolate, vanilla & red velvet.

Mickey Easter Egg Cake Pops

Mickey Easter Egg Cake Pops

We went with chocolate, because it was the only flavor they had left in these ones.

Chocolatey Center

Chocolatey Center

And just a little FYI, I learned that [Read more…]

News and Review: Handmade Chocolate Fudge Easter Eggs Back in Disneyland!

Shazam!!! After spending a lovely (literally — the weather was gorgeous) weekend in Disneyland, I’m pleased to report that I finally got to try one of the best seasonal Disney treats ever created! The Disneyland handmade Easter egg!!!!!

Easter Egg Box

Easter Egg Box

These quietly slipped back into the Candy Palace this year, and I was so SO excited to get my hands on one. Heather got to review them year before last, lucky duck!

Check out the vintage, I-got-this-at-my-local-hometown-candy-store box!

Easter Egg Box Side

Easter Egg Box Side

Of course, I snagged the best flavor ever: Peanut Butter Fudge. They also have Vanilla Nut and Chocolate Nut, which you can see reviewed here.

Easter Egg Ingredients

Easter Egg Ingredients

Of course, you might also choose yours based on the sugar confection decoration on top. Mine was a little duck in a bonnet (nope, not Donald, but the same colors!).

Disneyland Handmade Easter Egg

Disneyland Handmade Easter Egg

So, I hope when you get your egg you’ve got a free night available where you can just [Read more…]

New! DFB Podcast Episode 20: Disney Trip Traditions

Spring has sprung, Disney foodies! We’ve got some great news today for all you hungry commuters, walkers, runners, gym-goers, spring breakers, and other assorted podcast listeners!

dfb podcast

Our latest DFB Podcast episode has been released into the wild! The 20th episode of our DFB Podcast is now up and ready for downloading.

What’s It About?

About a year ago, we wrote about first-day-at-Disney traditions at Walt Disney World. We had so much fun reading your responses about what YOU love to do on your first Disney day that we wanted to dedicate an ENTIRE podcast to the subject! So think about it: What’s your first-day Disney tradition?

In this episode, AJ and Brad cover the latest Disney food news and discuss their favorite first-day-of-vacation traditions at Disney World and Disneyland! Give it a listen and let us know YOUR first-day tradition! We also answer two listener questions, give the answer to our Episode 19 trivia question, and reveal a new trivia question!

Here’s the Podcast page for Episode 20. And don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast via RSS or on iTunes!

A Lapu Lapu at Disney's Polynesian Resort is a great First Day Tradition!

A Lapu Lapu at Disney’s Polynesian Resort is a great First Day Tradition!

Take a listen and as always, let us know what you think! The podcast has its [Read more…]

Dining in Disneyland: Dinner and Updated Menu Review at Ariel’s Grotto in Disney California Adventure

It has been just over a year since I’ve visited Ariel’s Grotto at Disney California Adventure. On past visits I’ve found the food just so-so. Not bad, not fabulous, but obviously it took me a year to head back… .

Because I chose to to stay away for quite some time, I was not aware that their menu had a major overhaul just about a year ago! So, on that last visit I must have just barely missed the changes.  Anyhow, I’m back and happy to report that the new menu items are actually quite fabulous! And I apologize up front for the photos. My camera died, it was dark, and all I had was my phone.  Next time I promise to be more prepared!

Ariel's Grotto

Ariel’s Grotto

Now, I know many people go to Ariel’s Grotto for the princesses, but please note that the princesses ARE NOT there during dinner service.  They are only there for breakfast and lunch, so if it’s princesses you’re looking for, make sure to dine early.

We made a reservation through Disney dining (714.781.DINE) to hold our spot for dinner, which I highly recommend. It gets very busy in the evening due to the fact that dinner includes preferred viewing to World of Color.  After dinner, you will be handed one ticket per diner, which will allow you to have a fabulous view of the show.

World of Color Tickets

World of Color Tickets

Atmosphere

When you enter Ariel’s, you descend a spiral staircase into the entryway and dining room area. Be sure to check out the bubbly chandeliers on your way!

View from entryway

Chandelier in entryway

The dining room has a great view of Paradise Pier, and “under the sea” touches can be found everywhere — including the walls!

Ground floor restaurant entrance

Wall mosaic mural

One of the restaurant chandeliers

Ceiling Decor

Once you’re seated, you’ll quickly launch into your meal… .

Eats

Now, on to the food! The menu was previously designed as family style appetizers, you choose an entree, then family style dessert.  You can read more about the old way  here.

Now, everyone orders everything individually. You choose an appetizer, entree, and the dessert is a fixed trio of treats, but it is served individually.  The current menu features soup or salad, 6 different entrees, and the dessert trio.  The dinner menu is a fixed price of $41.99 for adults (over 9 years old) and $19.99 for children under 10.

Ariel's Grotto Menu

Ariel’s Grotto Menu

The Kids’ Menu includes fresh fruit and veggies as an appetizer, 4 different entree options, and dessert.  Unfortunately, my growing every minute boys don’t order off of the kids menu any more…  And bummer, because I was really pushing them towards Ursula’s Octo-Dog!

Two of the four items on the Kids’ Menu are Mickey Check items, which means they are “healthier” choices.

Kids Menu

Ariel’s Grotto Kids’ Menu

Bread Service

Dinner starts with a basket of warm sourdough bread. It’s very tasty, but I do miss the trio of salted butter & dipping sauces from the old menu.

Hot Sourdough Bread

Hot Sourdough Bread

Dinner Salad & Soup

Upon ordering you choose whether you’d like soup or a dinner salad.  Soup options were Crab Chowder or Butternut Squash Bisque.  I’m a huge butternut squash lover so I didn’t think twice about my order. But since my kids didn’t want their soup or salad, we were able to sample both soups and the salad! Thanks, guys!

The bisque was lick your bowl (or at least mop it up with a piece of bread) good.  Fall flavors in Spring are A-OK with me! The bisque is thick, creamy, and topped with a swirl of sour cream & a sprinkle of pepitas.

Butternut Squash Bisque

Butternut Squash Bisque

The Crab Chowder was also a hit at the table. My husband — who normally isn’t a seafood chowder person — really enjoyed it. The Crab Chowder came topped with bacon and chives.

Crab Chowder

Crab Chowder

The Dinner Salad consisted of mixed greens, candied walnuts, pears, and blue cheese topped with a vinaigrette dressing.  Also, very good, but I’m a huge blue cheese & pear fan.  If this isn’t your thing, you can order the salad to your liking without the goodies!

Dinner Salad

Dinner Salad

Entrees

The menu at Ariel’s Grotto has six entrees to choose from.  Unfortunately everyone but me chose the same thing, so I don’t have a lot of entree photos to share.  Let’s start with my entree, the Citrus Glazed Chicken Breast.

Served in a bowl with Udon Noodles, Bok Choy, Edamame, Carrots, and Miso Broth this dish is such a great addition to the new (to me) menu.  I thought it was unique and very flavorful.

The noodles were cooked perfectly as was the chicken, very juicy.  The Miso Broth complemented the chicken very well.  After my last visit I went in with some low-ish expectations and was quite surprised by how good this dish was.

Glazed Citrus Chicken

Glazed Citrus Chicken

Everyone else at the table opted for the Red Oak Smoked Honey-Whiskey Barbecue Tri-Tip.  My boys were very happy to learn that they could substitute the mashed potatoes for french fries.

 Tri Tip & French Fries

Tri Tip & French Fries

The two grown-up boys (aka my husband and a friend of ours) at the table went for the Grilled Lobster Tail and Red Oak Smoked Honey-Whiskey Barbecue Tri-Tip which is served with mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables.  The portions were very generous and everyone cleared their plates.

Lobster Tail & Tri Tip

Lobster Tail & Tri Tip

 Dessert

The dessert trio features 3 mini desserts. Everyone receives the same dessert which includes a Chocolate Covered StrawberryS’mores Bar & Creme Brulee.

The Chocolate Covered Strawberry was sweet & juicy. They are smaller versions of the ones that are sold at Candy Palace and Marceline’s.  The S’mores Bar was the table favorite; a chocolate ganache filled crust topped with 3 dollops of chocolate mousse, a graham cracker, and toasted marshmallow.  The Creme Brulee was actually a little runny.  It tasted OK, but the other two items trumped the brulee by far!

Dessert Trio

Dessert Trio

Drinks

Because the Cove Bar is right there at Ariel’s Grotto, the restaurant serves up a full bar plus specialty drinks.

Drink Menu

Drink Menu

We sampled a few adult beverages including the Skinny Coconut Mojito and the Habanero Lime Margarita.  The mojito was SO delicious.  One of those, “Are you sure there’s alcohol in this?” types of drinks. Way too easy to drink.  Ingredients include Skinny Girl Island Coconut Vodka, coconut water, fresh lime juice, mint and agave nectar.

Skinny Coconut Lime Mojito

Skinny Coconut Lime Mojito

The Habanero Lime Margarita had some serious kick to it.  Ingredients include Patron Silver Tequila, habanero lime syrup, agave nectar, and fresh lime juice.  Interesting to taste but be prepared for a little burn!

Habanero Lime Margarita

Habanero Lime Margarita

Overall

Overall, I am 100% impressed with the change of menu at Ariel’s Grotto. I felt like the food was more flavorful and there was a more interesting variety of entrees. The soups and salad were great and the dessert was also a big improvement.

In addition to the food upgrades, I noticed a difference in service. My last visit was rather sluggish and unimpressive.  This visit started off a bit slow, but once we ordered, our server was fabulous and very attentive.

I really think that Ariel’s Grotto has brought itself up to par with the other table service restaurants in Disney California Adventure. I might even go as far to say that it’s one of the better dining options in the park (ranking just below Corn Dog Castle, 1901, and Carthay Circle, ha!).  I would definitely recommend a visit, especially if you are interested in seeing World of Color. It’s a great meal, plus you get the added bonus of preferred viewing – win win!

Have you been to Ariel’s Grotto for dinner since the menu change?  What did you think? Let us know in the comments below!

Heather Sievers is the Disney Food Blog’s Dining in Disneyland columnist. See more of her columns here!

Top 3 Restaurants for Kids in Disneyland

Visiting Disneyland can certainly make you feel like a kid again! But what about if you’re visiting with…you know…real, live, actual kids?

We talk a lot about good options for grown ups, but today, I thought we could hit up our very favorite spots in Disneyland for when you have some small fry with you (which, for many of us, is most of the time!). So let’s tick off the Top 3 Restaurants for Kids in Disneyland.

Grab your Mickey Ears, and let’s go!

Goofy’s Kitchen

If you have a small child in tow on your Disneyland trip, a character meal is practically a requirement.

After all, most kiddos love meeting larger than life characters. But kids and adults alike can agree that long lines in the hot sun don’t make for magical memories. So our first suggestion is that you book your advance dining reservation asap for Goofy’s Kitchen.

The Entrance to Goofy's Kitchen

The Entrance to Goofy’s Kitchen

Why? Because we think the food is better here than at many other character meals.

Located in Disneyland Hotel, choose from brunch or dinner character dining at this popular spot. And the characters are especially fun at Goofy’s. Because in addition to Goofy, you just never know you might drop by!

Of course, you can totally expect to see the man himself.

Chef Goofy at Goofy's Kitchen

Chef Goofy at Goofy’s Kitchen

But you might just see a prince or a princess as well! And MANY other friends!

Aladdin and Jasmine at Goofy's Kitchen

Aladdin and Jasmine at Goofy’s Kitchen

Parents will appreciate the terrific seating options here. Sure, there’s no monorail whizzing above your head like you’ll find at Chef Mickey’s. But there are tables located both inside the sunny dining room and outside on a shaded patio. Ahhhh…how I love California.

One Room of Goofy's Kitchen Restaurant

Goofy’s Kitchen Seating — Inside

Outdoor Seating at Goofy's! Love It!

Outdoor Seating at Goofy’s! Love It!

And even though the characters are fun and the atmosphere is adequate, the eats are [Read more…]