So it is no secret that we absolutely love Disneyland. Or at least it shouldn’t be. My family has been going for years and when Alex and I first met six years ago, I knew it would not be long before he got suckered into all of our Disneyland obsessed mania. So it’s high time we wrote a guide to eating (local?) at Disneyland. Because what a better way to combine our love of eating and an excuse to go to Disneyland?
Eat Local in Disneyland
Beignets at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen
We usually opt for grabbing breakfast outside the park because we love to hit the ground running as soon as we get into the park. Have to hit Indiana Jones first, you know? For a sweet start to your morning pop into Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen Express for beignets and a café au lait. The express line is usually short and it is a quick easy breakfast that will certainly start off your morning with a smile as powdered sugar goes everywhere.
There is so much to eat at Disneyland so we normally snack our way through the park. This is not a healthy day guys… But think of all the walking you will be doing to offset it.
I mean what can we say about a pickle, really? Except that I only crave them at Disneyland. We have been to Disneyland enough that I even have a favorite stand for them, the one by Splash Mountain right at that curve of the bend. It also offers a great opportunity for catching some great Splash Mountain photo ops!
New Orleans Square
My sister would probably fly down here and yell at me if I neglected to include churros in my list of snacks. Alex probably would be upset too and honestly there is no other delicious nostalgic snack I would rather eat except for….
Dole Pineapple Whip
A day at Disneyland is wasted without a Dole Pineapple Whip in my opinion. Apparently there are rumors (which are totally true) that you can get these delectable frozen, perfectly fruity and refreshing whips other places but I will always associate Dole Whips with Disneyland and the Tiki Room. While the secret has been long out of the bag about the “secret inside line” while you wait for the Tiki Room, this is one line that is always worth the wait. I can’t go home without a Dole Pineapple Whip or watching the fireworks. Those are the two must do’s for me.
Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlour
Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and by sometimes I mean 90% of the time. But at least if I am feeling nostalgic I can pop into Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlour and help myself to an ice cream and some 1950s vibes. I mean, ice cream and Disneyland do kinda go hand in hand after all. So feel like a kid, step back in time and head to the ice cream parlour!
Little Red Wagon Corn Dog Cart
This one may be a third must at Disneyland but I’m going to include it with the fireworks. While waiting for the fireworks be sure to pick up a classic corn dog at the Little Red Wagon. Yes, you can get corn dogs other places including over in California Adventure at the Corn Dog Castle but I am a sucker for the classic Little Red Wagon plus while you wait in line you can catch the end of the parade too. So get in line early, watch the parade, and then eat your corn dog while you stake out your spot for the fireworks!
At the end of the night there really is nothing more satisfying than a bucket of popcorn. The popcorn is always hot and perfectly buttered and salted. It is just what you need at midnight after a full day of exploring the park. Just don’t be the people that end up getting followed by the guys sweeping up because they are such messy popcorn eaters….
Cosy Cone Motel
Oh the cone of shame! You are so delicious and yet so fattening and shameful but that still doesn’t stop us from ordering it. The cone of shame is clearly our nickname for this delicious sourdough bread cone filled with chili con carne and nacho cheese. The official name of our delicious cone of shame is the “chili cone queso” and it is a must when visiting Cars Land at California Adventure if you want to indulge. The Cosy Cone Motel also has other cone food options as well including pretzel cone, popcorn cone and soft serve cone if you feel that the cone of shame is not enough for you!
Lunch is usually our main meal when we visit Disneyland. It is also the time we finally take a break and relax a bit. If you are doing a few full days at the parks then you are definitely going to need some time to relax and unwind!
Uva Bar is located smack dab in the middle of downtown Disney. It is a little oasis of calm in the midst of all the craziness. So relax with a cocktail or wine and enjoy their California tapas. I am particularly fond of tuna tartar tacos and the arepas. They also have a range of mains including a fantastic burger but we usually try to stick to lighter options so we can snack more.
Rancho del Zocola
If we only have one day at Disneyland (and California Adventure) we usually stay inside the park. And if we are craving Mexican there is only one stop for us, Rancho del Zocola. They have your typical burritos and tacos but they also have a citrus fired grilled chicken, chili verde and enchiladas. Grab your tray and head outside to enjoy your meal accompanied by the screams of Big Thunder Mountain.
After waiting in line for Indiana Jones I usually get a craving for Bengal Barbecue, probably because it is right across from Indy but also because it is delicious. While the servings are on the smaller size this is a great stop for a quick lunch. I’m a sucker for the chicken skewers and the bacon wrapped asparagus.
So we generally don’t eat dinner at Disneyland due to all the aforementioned snacking and Uva Bar going but if we are staying a few nights and I’ve already seen the fireworks or if we just happen to be in Anaheim with some extra money we will always head to…
Napa Rose in the Grand Californian is an experience. This restaurant brings Napa sophistication and cuisine to Disney and it is a treat. It is an expensive treat but if you enjoy fine dining then you have to stop here. I had the best octopus of my life here and the wine list is spectacular. The sommelier has put together an impressive collection of wines from across the globe although there is a heavy California focus. Next time we head there we definitely want to try their Vintner’s Menu which is a four course tasting menu that highlights the best of the menu. The best thing about Napa Rose is that it is still Disney. It may be a high end dining experience but you can always leave on your ears.
Drink Local in Disneyland
Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar
I don’t know how we have never discovered this place until this LAST VISIT?!?! I know you guys are thinking “And these are the people we trust to share amazing cocktail bars with us?” And you are totally right. It was totally remiss of us not to realize that there was a tiki bar at Disneyland. But, now we know better and are sharing it with you. Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar doesn’t just have phenomenal tiki cocktails but it’s basically the Enchanted Tiki Room but with rum! Order a Krakatoa and lightning will go off and the volcano will erupt. It may start raining and you will be sprayed with water and the bartenders may scream that their ship has been wrecked. It is an immersive experience and yes, it is a tiki bar, but with Disney magic!
The Pacific Wharf
I have to say, serving alcohol at California Adventure may not be for everyone but for us it is awesome. If you are at Disneyland and just need to take a break, why not do it with a glass of wine? Mendocino Terrace is lovely and also holds my favorite hidden attraction, the Blue Sky Cellar, which shares new attractions and developments for Disneyland and California Adventure. The wine list showcases some really amazing California wines and you can pick up a small cheese plate to accompany it. It is a perfect place to sit back and just take it all in.
Bonus: California Adventure Food and Wine Festival
If you happen to be visiting in April you may be lucky enough to catch the California Adventure Food and Wine Festival. Alex and I struck gold when we planned our trip and caught the tail end of the festival when we last visited. We tried almost everything and most of the wines and some of the beers. It was great to discover some amazing pinots from Santa Barbara and we loved the ahi poke paired with the Tangent Grenache Blanc. All the offers were delicious and relatively affordable. It was fun to do some higher end snacking and we literally ate our way through California Adventure. And then we drank a beer and went on Radiator Springs…
So now you know how to eat local in Disneyland and California Adventure. Did we miss any of your favorite spots? We are always open to recommendations so we can eat our way through again!
We hope you guys appreciate the work that went into creating this guide 😉
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