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

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…]

Best Breakfasts in Disneyland

You’re in the Happiest Place on Earth — Disneyland!! And you’re ready to kick off a fun-filled day of park touring, thrills, and lots of character interaction. These are the streets that Walt himself walked, the Park that started them all!

Teacups

But how do you ensure that your day gets off to a great start? By kicking it off with the most important meal of the day!

There are tons of iconic snacks and delicious meals that we love to enjoy every time we visit Disneyland. But there are also some terrific breakfast options, too. Today, we’ll take a closer look at some of our favorites.

Steakhouse 55

If it’s a leisurely, sit-down breakfast you’re looking forward to, you can’t go wrong with Steakhouse 55. Located in Disneyland Hotel, this restaurant has been around nearly as long as the Park itself. It offers a quiet and elegant way to start off a day of Disney fun.

Tables

Steakhouse 55 in Disneyland Hotel — A Quiet Way to Start Your Day

Sometimes, I really love the option to fill up on a big breakfast, and then snack or eat lightly through the rest of the day. And there’s a no more luxurious morning splurge than a beautifully cooked plate of New York Steak and Eggs!

New York Steak and Eggs

New York Steak and Eggs

You can also customize your breakfast a bit and Build Your Own Omelette. Choose three from a list of fillings to make your breakfast totally unique.

Build Your Own Omelet

Choose to Build Your Own Omelette

Add some of those delicious Roasted Potatoes, and you’ll be fueled up for hours of Disney fun.

River Belle Terrace

Other times, my first priority is to get into the Parks super early, and then find a bite to eat. After all, there’s something truly magical about being one the of the first people in!

When I’m more interested in touring than spending precious time waiting for my order to arrive, I head to River Belle Terrace. And actually, there are two reasons that this is one of my favorite Disneyland breakfast spots. First off, the patio area offers gorgeous views of the Rivers of America. For me, this is such a serene way to start my day.

View from River Belle Terrace

View from River Belle Terrace

Although it’s a counter service spot, this isn’t food that you eat on the go. Comforting options like Biscuits and Gravy demand that you stop long enough to enjoy your meal.

Of course, you can’t enjoy breakfast here without at least one Mickey Pancake! Enjoying one while watching for the Mark Twain Riverboat to paddle by is Disney Bucket List stuff!

Mickey Pancake

Mickey Pancake

But don’t pass up the chance to try the [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…]

Disney Food Pics of the Week: Mickey Snacks!

Who’s the leader of the Club that’s made for you and me?

M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E!

Yep, we’re going a little old school on today’s edition of Disney Food Pics of the Week — our regular series where we feature reader pics posted on Disney Food Blog Photo Extravaganza, our Flickr group!

And nothing says Disney Food! like having the Mouse himself on your eats.

Mickey Waffle with Bacon!

Mickey Waffle with Bacon!

If you’d like to get in on the fun, head over to Disney Food Blog Photo Extravaganza on Flickr and join the group. We’d love to see even more of your great food shots! Let’s see what you’ve found!

Mickey Cake Pop

Photographer: Tricki Woo

Cake Pops have taken the world by storm over the last couple of years, it seems. So, of course, it didn’t take too long for a Disney version to pop up! Ha! Get it? These normally come with marshmallow ears, and the colors are gorg!

Mickey Cake Pop

Mickey Cake Pop

Mickey Beignets at Cafe Orleans

Photographer: Riniel Calaelen

Cafe Orleans in Disneyland is one of my favorite stops for a delicious, Cajun-inspired meal. And I always leave room for Mickey Shaped Beignets, which come with amazing Raspberry and Vanilla Dipping Sauces here.

Mickey Beignet

Mickey Beignet

Mickey Ice Cream Bar

Photographer: Planning WDW

But there’s no way we could write about Mickey Snacks without mentioning the [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…]

Review: Mickey Mouse Beignets at Disneyland’s Mint Julep Bar

Guess where WE’RE going today!!!! Yep — you and I are headed to Disneyland’s Mint Julep Bar in beautiful New Orleans Square! But we’re not having Mint Juleps…

Mint Julep Bar in Disneyland's New Orleans Square

Nope! We’re having BEIGNETS!!

Disneyland Resort offers beignets at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen Express, and I’m head over heels for the Mickey-shaped beignets that they serve as a dessert offering at Cafe Orleans.

But on a recent trip to Disneyland, I decided to finally try these classic eats as they come quick-serve!

Atmosphere

You’ll find the Mint Julep Bar tucked into one end of the courtyard that serves as seating space for the French Market, the neighboring counter service spout. It’s a handy stop if you’re just after a snack or drink, versus a full meal.

Seating Shared by French Market and the Mint Julep Bar

Since it shares seating with the French Market, you can also take advantage of that restaurant’s live musical entertainment if you time your visit just right. But let’s take a look at the eats first!

Eats

While it’s called the Mint Julep Bar for the iconic bright green non-alcoholic drink they serve, the Mickey-shaped Beignets take center stage [Read more…]

Dining in Disneyland: Fall Treats and Halloween Eats — Mickey Pumpkin Beignets and Skellington Popcorn

Although it still feels like Summer here in California, Fall has arrived and Disneyland is ready with some fun Fall and Halloween Treats!

The Jack Skellington Popcorn Container has returned to Disneyland just in time for Haunted Mansion Holiday; and Pumpkin Beignets are back at the Mint Julep Bar!

Let’s take a look!

Jack Skellington Popcorn Container in Disneyland

A super fun Halloween item has returned to Disneyland this season; the Jack Skellington Popcorn Coffin!

Available at the popcorn cart outside of the French Market near the Haunted Mansion Holiday, the coffin is served up overflowing with popcorn for just $12.

The reason I say “just” is the fact that you get to take home an awesome Halloween decoration to keep forever and ever!

Overflowing Popcorn Coffin

The coffin comes with a handle and snap closure making it [Read more…]

Ode to Mickey Beignets

We made it to Disneyland! We arrived Wednesday morning, and what’s the first thing we did? Eat beignets. A lot of beignets!

As you may know, one of our favorite restaurants in Disneyland, Cafe Orleans, offers Mickey-shaped beignets as a dessert menu item. Beignets are a New Orleans staple (which is why you’ll find them at Cafe Orleans and at the Mint Julep Bar in Disneyland’s New Orleans Square) — rich, buttery pastry fried in hot oil until it turns into a golden brown pillow of deliciousness.

Mickey Beignets with Raspberry Coulis and Vanilla Bean Creme Anglaise

The beignets are doused in powdered sugar and artfully stacked upon one another to form a towering pile of dessert. And, at Cafe Orleans, the beignets are served with [Read more…]

Disney Food Pics of the Week: Hidden Mickeys!

Thanks to all who have contributed their photos to the Disney Food Blog Photo Extravaganza! Keep sending them along! This week, the Disney Food Pics of the Week feature some hidden and not-so-hidden — Mickeys! Do you see Hidden Mickeys everywhere you go too?

This photo of Escargots served during Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival distinctly shows a Mickey shape! Photographer: Kelly Tressler

Escargot at Epcot's 2010 Food and Wine Festival

The condiments are an important part of our Disney meals and you’ll be seeing Mickey when yours are served at the Plaza Restaurant in the [Read more…]

Review: Disneyland’s Cafe Orleans

All right, all. I have to come clean. After trying many of the Disneyland restaurants — including some of the hoity-toity ‘spensive ones — I have come to the conclusion that Cafe Orleans is my favorite restaurant in the Disneyland Resort.

Atmosphere
Cafe Orleans (known as Creole Cafe until 1972) started out as a counter-service restaurant, but was refurbished into a table-service restaurant in 2006. The decor of the restaurant includes its famous stained-glass, which accents rich color choices and dark-wood walls and tables.

Indoor Seating Area

Famous Stained Glass Details

Indoor Seating Area

Currently, the Princess and the Frog overlay (hopefully temporary) gives the place [Read more…]