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…]

Dining NEAR Disneyland: Disney-Themed Donuts at Orange County’s Donut Bar

Once in a while we find a place that’s “near” Disneyland and worth a mention. Orange County’s Donut Bar is one of those places.  Why you ask?

Because donuts. Disney donuts.

Free. Disney. Donuts.

Disney Themed Donuts!

Disney Themed Donuts!

Orange County’s Donut Bar is located in Fountain Valley.  Right off the 405 freeway between Euclid and Newhope, it’s only about a 15-20 minute drive to or from Disneyland.

This donut hot spot has been open since March, and they continue to sell out of their specialty donuts every single day.

Mickey and Minnie Donuts

Mickey and Minnie Donuts

They have some very unique and amazing flavors, but they do something especially unique and amazing on the weekends! Free donuts for kids. And guess what?  More often than not, they’re Disney themed. Really a fun treat.

Perry the Platypus Donuts

Perry the Platypus Donuts

I thought you’d enjoy seeing some of their fabulous creations here on the Disney Food Blog, especially since the closest thing to a donut the Disneyland Resort has is [Read more…]

Best Disneyland Meals With a View

Good food is tops. But having a delicious meal with a lovely view makes everything taste even better, I think. And I’m pretty sure you agree with me, since we both love Disney!

Disneyland Dole Whip Float

Disneyland Dole Whip Float

I’m feeling a little homesick for the Park that Started It All today, so I thought I’d take a virtual trip to Disneyland and check out a few of my favorite spots that offer not just great food, but also cool stuff to look at. I’ll be honest — sometimes, it’s the view that draws me to a couple of these spots, even more than the eats!

Let’s take a look at some of our favorite Disneyland Meals with a View!

Blue Bayou

When thinking of a restaurant with a view, your mind may immediately jump to something outside — say, a river or a mountain. We’ll get to those, for sure — but we’re going to start with the Bayou.

That’s right. Our first meal with a view takes place at that Disney landmark, Blue Bayou. It may be Southern Cali sunny when you enter, but inside, the sky is inky blue, and the mood is foreboding.

Blue Bayou Atmosphere

Night Falls on the Bayou

Something mysterious and slightly sinister is in the air. Could it be…Pirates?

Should We Warn Them They're About to Encounter Scallywags?

Should We Warn Them They’re About to Encounter Scallywags?

Yes, indeedy! Because Blue Bayou overlooks the entrance to Pirates of the Caribbean. So you’ll have a chance to see folks off at the beginning of their perilous journey.

Fortunately, you’re safe on the terrace of this gracious Southern mansion, about to tuck into some delicious, Cajun-inspired food.

Atmosphere

The Beautiful Terrace Seating Area

Blue Bayou is open for lunch and dinner, but we prefer the former. That’s the only time you can get the famous and incredibly delicious Monte Cristo Sandwich.

Le Special de  Monte Cristo Sandwich

Le Special de Monte Cristo Sandwich

Classic food with a classic view. It’s a pretty special way to pass the time.

Cove Bar

When I’m in the mood for a little grown-up libation, I love to head over to Cove Bar in Disney California Adventure.

You’ll find this somewhat hidden gem situated above Ariel’s Grotto overlooking Paradise Pier. And it’s the location that makes this stop so special (though the food ain’t half bad).

View from Cove Bar

View from Cove Bar

That covered area with the beautiful seaside touches is a great place to relax and unwind. With the shady patio seating and close proximity to the water, you’ll often enjoy cool breezes that make you feel like you’re inside and outside at the same time!

And while most of the drinks here are part of the Standard Disney Bar Menu, you will find a couple specialty drinks as well. Personally, I think it’s a fantastic opportunity to indulge in that Disney classic cocktail, the [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…]

Review: Blue Bayou in Disneyland

Today, we are headed back to one of the most interesting dining experiences in all of Disneyland — Blue Bayou!

Entrance Sign

This historic spot has been wooing Disneyland guests with its odd mixture of mysterious New Orleans charm and marauding pirate adventure ever since it first opened in 1967. Where does the fusion come from? Well, it’s a little strange. The restaurant is in New Orleans Square, but it’s situated at the beginning of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride path…so it’s kind of a mash-up. ;-)

We took in dinner at the Bayou a while back, and I was much more interested in the atmosphere than the food. In fact, the meals sort of reminded me of conference food (if you’ve ever been to a catered conference for hundreds of people, you know what I mean).

But, as we all know, one of Blue Bayou’s biggest claims to fame is that outrageous Monte Cristo Sandwich, which is only available for lunch. And so, that’s the meal that we made our advance dining reservation for this time.

Let’s head in!

Atmosphere

As I mentioned, you’ll enter Blue Bayou from New Orleans Square. You’ll be glad for the break from the busy activity of the narrow streets you’ve left behind.

Blue Bayou Sign

If you’ve done any research at all before your trip to Disneyland, then you already know that, among other must haves, the Monte Cristo Sandwich here rates high on the food requirement list when you visit the Park That Started It All.

Outside Menu -- Click to Enlarge

After checking in at the window in the front of the restaurant, you’ll wait for your buzzer to buzz in a tiny lobby. Once your name is called, you’re headed…right back outside it seems! But this time, you’ve been transported to a Louisiana bayou, and night has fallen. Give your eyes a little time to adjust from that bright California sunshine, and then have a look around.

Behind you, you’ll see a two-story building built in the finest tradition of The Big Easy.

Looking Across the Patio

You’ll be seated on the patio of this building, beneath paper lanterns and a thick canopy of live oaks dripping with Spanish moss.

Seating Under the Live Oaks and Lanterns

And while there are wonderful details all around that immerse you in the bayou theme, here’s where I make my seating TIP: [Read more…]

Dining in Disneyland: The Jingle Jangle Jamboree, Featuring MONTE CRISTO BITES

The Disneyland Resort has officially kicked off their Holiday Time season, and this year they’ve added a super fun place to get your Christmas on: The Jingle Jangle Jamboree.

Located in the back of Big Thunder Ranch, the Jingle Jangle Jamboree is filled with all sorts of fun activities, entertainment, and most importantly — food!

Follow the Signs for Holiday Fun!

Atmosphere

When you visit the Jingle Jangle Jamboree, you’ll immediately notice the festive atmosphere.

Welcome to the Jingle Jangle Jamboree

With lots of fun things to do, the Jingle Jangle Jamboree is sure to get you into the holiday spirit.  Activities include free games, special character visits, entertainment by Billy Hill and the Holiday Hillbillies, Santa & Mrs. Claus, Cookie Decorating (which we will post about soon), and some very special menu items.

Special Menu Items

Monte Cristo Bites and Other Eats

I now give you, my friends, perhaps my most favorite discovery ever: Monte Cristo Bites! Actually, they are called “Merry Monte Cristo Bites” and I think I know why… I’ve never been merrier eating a snack!

Why so merry?  Here’s the deal. I LOVE me a Monte Cristo sandwich. The problem, though? They are giant, a bit on the pricey side, AND you have to take the time to sit down, order, and eat them. Monte Cristo Bites, though? Nope. They come in a bag with mini sides of powdered sugar and blackberry jam.

Monte Cristo Bites with Sides of Powdered Sugar and Blackberry Jam

For just $6.25, you can order yourself a bag of toasty goodness. Monte Cristo Bites are not [Read more…]