Dining in Disneyland Review: Summer Menu Items at Downtown Disney’s ESPN Zone

Located near the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim’s Downtown Disney, the ESPN Zone is a great place to take a pit stop in the middle of a long Disneyland day.  Just a hop, skip and a jump away from the Monorail Station the ESPN Zone has something for everyone in your party.

ESPN Zone in Downtown Disney

ESPN Zone in Downtown Disney

We recently headed over for an afternoon of food and fun.  Upon entering we were greeted by a fabulous team of hostesses who immediately took us to a table.  We visited mid week in the early afternoon and there was no wait.  However, if the World Cup had been playing, we probably couldn’t get near the place!

ESPN Zone Check In

ESPN Zone Check In

The menu at ESPN Zone is full of your traditional American type favorites.  Items include Ribs, Chicken, Burgers, Sandwiches, Salads, & Wraps.

ESPN Zone Menu

ESPN Zone Menu

In addition to their regular menu, ESPN Zone currently has some very tasty Summer menu offerings. AND on this special menu, you can find [Read more…]

Dining in Disneyland First Look: Starbucks Opens in Downtown Disney!

The walls are down and the doors are open! Disneyland’s Downtown Disney has just welcomed one of the most unique Starbucks stores in the nation.

Downtown Disney Welcomes Starbucks

Downtown Disney Welcomes Starbucks!

This LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certified store is beyond gorgeous.  First off, you may be wondering what LEED is; I myself had to look it up to get some more information.

LEED certification encourages “green” building, using sustainable products in the construction of the building.  It also requires Energy Star performance ratings on appliances, lighting, machinery, etc.

Welcome to Starbucks Anaheim

Hand Painted “Welcome to Starbucks Anaheim, California” Mural

This Starbucks has all that and more. Let’s take a look inside!

Atmosphere

Both the interior and exterior of the store are lined with upcycled box car wood.  It has been sanded and stained to a beautiful golden brown color. You can actually see the holes where the bolts originally held the box cars together.

Starbucks Panoramic View

Other design elements include hand painted murals and a tree stump that was cut into a bench for seating.  Starbucks wanted to bring in hand crafted elements that compliment their hand crafted beverages.

Up-cycled Box Car Wood with Hand Painted Murals

Up-cycled Box Car Wood with Hand Painted Murals

More Box Car Wood

More Box Car Wood with Mural

The focal centerpiece of the store is a 9 panel LCD screen that features original content from the areas of the world that Starbucks sources their coffee.

9 Panel LCD Screen Featuring "Water Color" Images of Coffee Resources

9 Panel LCD Screen Featuring “Water Color” Images of Coffee Resources Used by Starbucks

The images have been modified to look as though they are watercolors, and change every minute or so.  The only other Starbucks in the nation to features this same screen is in New York’s Times Square location.

All Content on the LCD Screen is Original to Starbucks.

All Content on the LCD Screen is Original to Starbucks

All Content on the LCD Screen is Original to Starbucks

When designing the store, Starbucks knew that its visitors would be in the area expecting some Disney magic.  Looking to impress guests and spread some of their own pixie dust,  elements were added to this new store that have yet to be introduced to any other Starbucks location.

The main feature is the interactive digital chalkboard.  I immediately noticed this when I walked in the doors.  It does two different things. First, it acts as a drawing board allowing guests to use their fingers to write messages, draw pictures or play a fun game of tic tac toe.

about a game of Tic Tac Toe?

How about a game of Tic Tac Toe?

Of course I couldn’t resist trying it out for myself…

Disney Food Blog Was Here!

Disney Food Blog Was Here!

Second, it creates its own pictures using images it “sees” in front of it.

Sure enough, I watched for a few minutes and I noticed that the man sitting near it was all of a sudden featured in a chalk type drawing right there on the board.  Very cool!

Hey Guy! Look, you're on the screen!

Hey Guy! Look, you’re on the screen!

By the way — it has a disclosure right there on the wall stating that they are using scenes and people in that area of the store to create the unique chalkboard drawings, so you’ve been warned that you might be part of the artwork.

Video Disclosure

Video Disclosure

Above the barista work space, Starbucks has added a light up map featuring locations where they source their coffee.

Light Up Coffee Sourcing Map

Light Up Coffee Sourcing Map

Seating

This particular Starbucks has very little indoor seating.  In fact the only seating is really a few small benches and the round stools that can be seen in front of the interactive screen.

Indoor Seating

Indoor Seating

Instead, the seating was designed to be a patio experience; “alfresco” is what I was told specifically. The patio was built around a large pre-existing tree.  Not wanting to uproot this long time resident, Starbucks made it the focal point of the patio.

The seating around it is very inviting.  In fact, if it weren’t for the World of Disney being right next door, you might easily forget that you were just steps away from the Main Gates.  I can definitely see this area being at full capacity most, if not all of the time.  It’s a great spot to take a break.

"Alfresco" Seating

“Alfresco” Seating

Another element unique to this store is the living wall towards the back of the patio.  The wall features 1000 native plants and acts as a backdrop to more patio seating.

Living Wall with Patio Seating

Living Wall with Patio Seating

 Menu

In addition to their regular beverage menu, this particular Starbucks location has a “Starbucks Reserve”  menu.  They have a special reserve coffee bar that serves up some rare and exotic coffee blends that can not be found at most Starbucks locations.  The Reserve menu changes on a regular basis.

The Starbucks Reserve Coffee Bar: Serving Up Unique & Exotic Blends

The Starbucks Reserve Coffee Bar: Serving Up Unique & Exotic Blends

You can also find the familiar refrigerated cases that serve up prepackaged foods, snacks, bottled water, juice, milk and more.

Starbucks Refrigerator Case

Starbucks Refrigerator Case

Pastries and and treats can be found as well.

Starbucks Pastries

Starbucks Pastries

 Merchandise

This location has the typical Starbucks branded gear available for purchase. You can buy coffee, water bottles, cups, mugs, etc.

Starbucks Branded Merchandise

Starbucks Branded Merchandise

They also have a location-specific Orange County mug.

Starbucks Orange County Mug

Starbucks Orange County Mug

I was hoping to see some Starbucks/Disney colab merchandise, but alas it was no where in sight.  I did ask if it was in the works and the answer was, “We aren’t ruling out the possibility.”  So, basically, don’t hold your breath!

Grinds to Go
Reserve coffees can be purchased to take home.

Starbucks Reserve Coffees Available to Take Home

Starbucks Reserve Coffees Available to Take Home

And…. If you need some additional energy to go, you can grab boxes of VIA, tea or coffee to take with you.

VIA, Teas & Coffee for Purchase

VIA, Teas & Coffee for Purchase

Overall

Overall, I think that Starbucks did a great job designing a location that fits right in at the Happiest Place on Earth. The design elements are modern and playful, a perfect Disney fit.  I also love that it provides a great little spot for fueling up before a long day in the parks.  It’s also the perfect retreat if you need a break…

Just a few hours in and already a super long line.

Customers Gladly Welcoming Starbucks to Downtown Disney Anaheim

Customers Gladly Welcoming Starbucks to Downtown Disney, Anaheim

Welcome to Downtown Disney, Starbucks!

Have you had a chance to visit the new Starbucks in Downtown Disney?  If so, did you have a favorite design element? Did you try the Reserve coffees or play with the digital chalkboard? 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!

Review: New Limited Time Menu Items at Earl of Sandwich

I have to say, I LOVE my Earl of Sandwich email updates.  And when I got this one, my family and I headed over for dinner that very night!

New Earl ItemsFor a limited time (I’m not sure how limited) Earl of Sandwich is offering 4 new menu items: The BBQ Chicken Sandwich, a Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich, Bacon Mac n’ Cheese, and Brownie Bark.

These items are currently available in Disney World AND Disneyland, and I’m happy to say that I was able to try out all 4 items and I’m here to report back!

Eats

I ordered the BBQ Chicken Sandwich on white bread and thought it was delicious. I almost never ever stray from my favorite, the Holiday Turkey.  While this is on the menu though, I might just have to switch back and forth on alternating visits.

Earl of Sandwich BBQ Chicken

BBQ Chicken Sandwich

The sandwich is full of chicken smothered in sweet BBQ sauce.  It also has red onions, which were not at all overpowering. I normally ask for no or “easy” onions, but I totally forgot when I ordered, and the amount on the sandwich didn’t bother me at all.

Topped with cheddar cheese and a sprinkle of cilantro, I’d love it if this sandwich made its way permanently to the menu.

BBQ Chicken Sandwich Close Up

BBQ Chicken Sandwich Close Up

My husband went with the Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich.  After trying mine, we both realized that the BBQ Chicken was [Read more…]

News and Review! Holiday Menu Items at Earl of Sandwich

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… I love being on the Earl of Sandwich email list. Not only do you get a free sandwich for your birthday month (which I just redeemed!) but you also get emails letting you know about seasonal specials.

When this one recently arrived, I got pretty excited!

Holiday eats have descended upon Earl of Sandwiches across the country, and I headed into our local Disneyland store to check ‘em out! Note that these are also available at the Walt Disney World Earl of Sandwich!

Holiday Turkey Sandwich

We all know that the Holiday Turkey Sandwich is here to stay as it became a permanent menu item last year. And even though it’s always there, I still get super excited whenever I get a chance to have one.

Piled high with turkey, stuffing, gravy & cranberry sauce, this sandwich is comfort food at its best.  A hand held Thanksgiving meal, the Holiday Turkey Sandwich is toasted to perfection and really can not be beat.

Holiday Turkey Sandwich

Holiday Ham Sandwich

New to the holiday sandwich family this year is the Holiday Ham Sandwich.

With heaps of ham, fresh pineapple rings & a holiday apple glaze type sauce, this sandwich is sure to be a huge hit.  Served warm and toasted just like all of its Earl relatives, the flavors in this new sandwich really pop.

In my opinion, you can’t really go wrong with a pineapple/ham partnership.

Holiday Ham Sandwich

Peppermint Brownies

Peppermint Brownies have also made a comeback.  They taste just as great as they did when they made their debut last year. Chocolate goodness sprinkled with [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: August 18, 2013

New technology continues to be unveiled at Walt Disney World restaurants. This week, we have an exclusive report on the Rapid Fill beverage program at Disney resorts, as well as the Touch to Pay system that comes along with the MyMagic+ rollout.

Choose your Rapid Fill mug!

Choose your Rapid Fill mug!

Let’s not forget that we’re still gearing up for the 2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival. We’re excited about the new Chase VIP Lounge location in the American Adventure pavilion!

It’s time to catch up on the news. Read on…

Disney Food News

Lots of news from Disney this week!

Of course, there’s more! Check out all the latest Disney Food News — even the stuff we don’t mention in posts on the blog! — on our Disney Food News Pin Board, including An Artful Open House at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen in Disneyland’s Downtown Disney district, Animal Kingdom Menu Changes, New Entertainment at Scat Cat’s Club in the Port Orleans French Quarter resort, and more.

DFB Reader Finds

If you find a fun new food — or other edible awesomeness — in or from Disney, share a photo with us on facebook or twitter so we can add it to our DFB Reader Finds each Sunday!

We love this tweet received from Reader Nicole: “Thanks @DisneyFoodBlog for all the yummy suggestions and it’s only Day 1!” You are welcome!! ;-)

Day 1 of Disney Food!

Reader Becky tweeted the new menu from Epcot’s Sommerfest restaurant. The side item — German Potato Salad — is a new addition!

Sommerfest Menu — click image for larger version.

The DFB Guide to the 2013 Epcot Food & Wine Festival e-Book

We’re thrilled to announce the grand launch of the DFB Guide to the 2013 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival e-Book! With over 190 pages and multiple bonus items, it’s pretty substantial!

In honor of our grand launch, we have a discount option for DFB readers (as always!). You can get the new mini-guide for $3 off the regular purchase price for a limited time — just use code CHEFS at the check-out!

As always, we’ve made this mini-guide instantly downloadable for your convenience, and easily installed on your mobile devices. It’s a PDF guide with over 190 pages of detailed information about the Festival as well as photographs and customized bonus items to help you get the best experience possible.

Bonus Items

The DFB Mini-Guide to the 2013 Epcot Food & Wine Festival includes customized bonus items that go above and beyond any other Food & Wine Festival coverage currently available. These include:

  • A full, daily schedule of events for every day of the festival
  • A printable World Showcase Booth Menu Checklist that you can use to plan, and easily bring with you to the festival
  • Themed World Showcase booth crawls (there’s even one for the kids!)
  • Food and Wine Festival customized Touring Strategies for One Day visits, Budget-Conscious visits, visits with kids, and more
  • A chapter dedicated to all “New for 2013″ events, menu items, booths, and more
  • Full food, wine, beer, winery, and chef indexes, including dates and locations of where you can find your favorites
  • Epcot Food and Wine Festival recipes
  • And more!

Once again, celebrate the grand launch with us by getting $3 off the purchase price for the e-Book! Order your copy now for only $11.95 (regularly $14.95). To secure the discount, use code CHEFS at the check-out.

Want an Even Better Deal?

We’ve got it! For an even bigger discount, [Read more…]

Dining in Disneyland: Old West Cinnamon Rolls in Downtown Disney

Cruising Downtown Disney, heading back to our car to go home, a cart that I had never seen before caught my eye.  Old West Cinnamon Rolls? Hello!

Old West Cinnamon Rolls Downtown Disney

According to my 12 year old son, I stopped in my tracks “to get the breaking news.” Yes, he was making fun of me; and he did a whole running commentary while I stopped to get the scoop on this new-ish spot in Downtown Disney. After that nonsense, which was actually quite hilarious, he’s lucky that I still shared my cinnamon roll with him!

Atmosphere

Located right next to the Pin Traders store, Old West Cinnamon Rolls has apparently been there for about 6 or so weeks. I obviously don’t cruise Downtown Disney enough to let this place exist for so long without knowing about it. Going to have to change that I guess, because the cinnamon rolls here are amazing.

Inspiration...

The plastic cinnamon roll display (which reminded me of the gelato stand nearby) gives you inspiration to choose the cinnamon roll that’s right for you!

After quizzing the poor guy working at the stand I learned that the cinnamon rolls are a “design your own” situation. The menu consists of a base price of $4.75 for a plain cinnamon roll (and by plain they mean NO frosting). Additional toppings are $1.00, so you can build the designer cinnamon roll of your dreams. Toppings include [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: April 7, 2013

Hey all! I’m writing to you from 30,000 feet as I’m on my way to Walt Disney World! Stay tuned this week for tons of live updates and photos from me via twitter and facebook!

Looks Like Spice Road Table Guests Will Have a Great View of Illuminations!

In the meantime, the big Disney food news this week is the confirmation of a new restaurant opening in Epcot’s Morocco. We broke the news back in 2012, but we’re excited to see that it’s now official!

Later this year, you’ll be able to enjoy Mediterranean cuisine via small plates and tapas at the Spice Road Table on the World Showcase Lagoon waterfront! Read more about the new Epcot Morocco restaurant here!

Disney Food News

Short and savory!

  • Tables in Wonderland members can enjoy a discount at La Nouba at Downtown Disney on select dates April through June. Plus, a beer dinner has been announced for The Wave restaurant.
  • A new restaurant will be opening this year in Epcot’s Morocco called Spice Road Table. Construction has already begun, and guests will find merchandise that was sold in the shops on the waterfront now being sold at Tangierine Cafe!

And there’s more where that came from! Check out all the latest Disney Food News — even the stuff we don’t mention in posts on the blog! — on our Disney Food News Pin Board. This week, we featured spring events at Ralph Brennan’s, custom food vinylmations at the 50th Anniversary of Disneyland’s Tiki Room, and an honor for Victoria & Albert’s Restaurant!

Reader Finds

If you find a fun new food — or other edible awesomeness — in or from Disney, share a photo with us on facebook or twitter so we can add it to our DFB Reader Finds each Sunday!

Thanks to Stephanie Miller for sending over this awesome Hoop Dee Doo Revue ticket from the 80s! She says “80’s Hoop De Doo. Price was right! Same Strawberry Shortcake.” Love it!

Hoop Dee Doo Revue Ticket from the 1980s

Reader Laura tweeted a picture from Sleepy Hollow Refreshments in the Magic Kingdom. She shares “Finally tried this huge and yummy waffle with chicken, loved it! Thanks @DisneyFoodBlog for the recommendation!” Hooray!! See our review here!

Chicken Waffle Sandwich at Sleepy Hollow!

Grand Launch and Discount: The DFB Mini-Guide to Magic Kingdom Snacks e-Book, 2013 Edition

We’re thrilled to announce that 2013 Edition of The DFB Mini-Guide to Magic Kingdom Snacks e-Book is now available! And in honor of our grand launch, you can get the new mini-guide for $2 off the regular purchase price for a limited time — just use code MAGIC13 at the check-out!

We’ve updated our best-selling DFB Mini-Guide to Magic Kingdom Snacks e-Book to include even more snacks! It carries 114 pages of information and advice on well over 100 delicious Magic Kingdom snacks (over 30 more than in our previous edition!). With a 100% money-back guarantee, you have nothing to lose! :-)

The DFB Mini-Guide to Magic Kingdom Snacks e-Book includes:

  • Full-color photos of over 100 of our favorite snacks
  • Current prices and Disney Dining Plan snack credit status
  • Snack locations
  • Disney Food Blog reviews of all snacks
  • Special Bonus items you’re going to love! (Of course…how could we not include these?)

Want even more savings? Bundle two or more of our time-tested guides into one purchase to get even more great Disney Dining information and photos.

DFB Guide + Snacks Bundle:

With our popular DFB Guide + Snacks Bundle, you’ll get our

Three Great e-Books: Over 30% Off!

  • DFB Guide 2013 Edition, our
  • DFB Guide to Magic Kingdom Snacks, AND our
  • DFB Guide to Epcot Snacks

All for a significant discount! Learn more about the DFB Guide + Snacks Bundle here!

DFB Snack Bundle:

Already have the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining? You can still bundle for savings! Pick up our bundle of two DFB Snack Guides — Magic Kingdom and Epcot — for less.

With the DFB Snack Bundle, you’ll receive the DFB Mini-Guide to Magic Kingdom Snacks e-Book and the DFB Mini-Guide to Epcot Snacks e-Book for one super-discounted price. Purchase the DFB Snack Bundle here!

Did You Purchase a Previous Edition of the DFB Mini-Guide to Magic Kingdom Snacks?

Read more about our extra discounts for previous purchasers here!

For more detailed information and sample pages from The DFB Mini-Guide to Magic Kingdom Snacks, head over to DFBMiniGuides.com!

On to the Round-Up!

First of all, a BIG thanks to Jen Yates at Epbot.com and Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing for sharing our post about the Disneyland Haunted Mansion dinner with their readers. These are two of my fav-o-rite websites, and I urge you to go check them out if you haven’t already! Seriously. Go now. We’ll wait…

Tonga Toast for Sunday Brunch? Yes, please!

WFTV shares great Sunday brunch restaurants at the Walt Disney World resort.

Zagat named Victoria & Albert’s as one of the top 15 iconic restaurants in the United States.

Seattle Times announces that Starbucks hired Walt Disney executive Matthew Ryan for the new position of global chief strategy officer.

Just Jenn Recipes features some really fun Star Wars recipes here!

Yesterland visits the 2013 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival’s new food kiosks!

Main Street Gazette reviews the Starring Rolls Fruit Tart in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

The Atomic Grog recaps the news and rumors regarding the restaurants at Disney Springs!

Dining in Disneyland Review: The Earl has Finally Arrived!

With an original opening date scheduled early last Summer, Southern California sandwich lovers have been abuzz about the new Earl of Sandwich restaurant not opening their doors on time. 

I am ecstatic to announce that the doors have been opened and those lovely golden bricks have been flying through that little toasty oven faster than you can say “Holiday Turkey Sandwich, please!”

Earl of Sandwich Downtown Disney

Atmosphere

Located directly next to the AMC Theater Complex across from The Rainforest Cafe, the Earl of Sandwich has replaced the Compass Cafe and Bookstore. 

And although the bookstore was fun to browse and the cafe sold Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, I’d much prefer a sandwich from Earl any day. Last week the doors soft opened with a 25% discount on all menu items, and then “officially” opened this past Friday. I snuck over Thursday to get my fix.

Main Entrance

The soft opening was no secret, and with the entire menu being 25% off I expected there to be a pretty substantial line. And I was correct.

When my boys saw the line they about had a panic attack because A: It was already 1:00 and they were beyond ready to eat lunch and B: They had never been to an Earl of Sandwich, so they had no idea how quickly the line moves. After visiting the Orlando and Vegas locations, I was fully aware of how well-oiled this sandwich making machine was

I assured them that we’d move quickly and that it would be well worth the wait. I also bribed them and told them they could pick whichever dessert they wanted…

Hallelujah!

Menus While You Wait
My guess is that there were approximately 100 people in front of us in line, but we managed to order and have our food on the table in about 25 minutes. The line was outside the building and wrapped back to the temporary ice skating rink, but there were friendly Earl helpers [Read more…]

Review: Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen in Disneyland’s Downtown Disney

Come with me as we head to the Big Easy – by way of the Downtown Disney District in Disneyland – and experience the party at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen!

View from our Window

Set in the heart of Disneyland’s shopping and entertainment district, the restaurant offers the perfect marriage of “N’awlins” jazz and flavorful Cajun cuisine – the two sensual experiences that put this famous Louisiana city on the map in the first place.

Atmosphere

With a refined decor that is both understated and yet fun at the same time, you will swear that you have been somehow magically transported directly from Anaheim to the heart of the French Quarter. Several dining rooms on two levels of the restaurant surround a vibrant [Read more…]

News! Downtown Disney Anaheim Celebrates Avocado Week

The second annual California Avocado Week is being held July 1-7 at Downtown Disney Anaheim at the Disneyland Resort. Guests can take part in cooking demos, munch on featured menu selections, and more!

Throughout the week, Downtown Disney restaurants will feature special California avocado menu items, and Sephora will offer refreshing avocado facials. Celebrate the Avocado season in Disneyland!

Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen in Downtown Disney

Main Stage Schedule

4 p.m.: Cooking demonstrations will feature dishes made with California avocados by a chef from one of the premiere restaurants at Downtown Disney. Seating on a first-come, first-served basis will be available for 100 guests and each seated guest will have the chance to taste the menu item. Unlimited standing room will be available as well.

6 p.m.: A Guacamole contest will feature three participants (selected by the California Avocado Commission) with the challenge to make guacamole out of ingredients provided. The winning dish will be awarded a $100 gift card to a participating restaurant in Anaheim’s Downtown Disney District.

Nightly until 10 p.m.: DJ Wendy will entertain.

Food Demo Calendar

Sunday, July 1
Chef Meyer, House of Blues, California Avocado and Blue Cheese Crusted Rib Eye

Monday, July 2
Chef Thomas Keaveny, ESPN Zone, Mini California Avocado Shrimp [Read more…]