As my friends know, I take pictures of my food. How and when did it start? A few years into owning my Disneyland Annual Pass. I'd run out of clever things to photograph in the park and one morning, I took that first photo of my plate of food.
To the left is that photo. Wow, I've really been doing this stupid thing for ten years!? It had more to do with sharing with (read, bragging to) friends how I was spending one weekend morning, chilling out on the patio at the River Belle Terrace enjoying a relaxing view of the Rivers of America.
Been taking pictures of my food ever since. Many of them have been uploaded to a gallery on Flickr. Uploading my latest batch, I scrolled through the lot of them and decided to share some of them in a new blog. I also just recently discovered something new at the park that's immediately became one of my new favorite things to order.
So here are my favorite things to eat at Disneyland. Descriptions are taken from AllEars.net's excellent Disneyland Resort Menus resource page that I recommend you bookmark on your smartphone.
Enjoy. And bon appetit!
Main Street USA
Penne Pasta with Shrimp
Pasta and Sauteed Shrimp with Broccoli and Mushrooms in a creamy Garlic Sauce. $17.99
I haven't been here much since it reopened last June, expanding into the former coffee shop next door. I used to come here for breakfast often with friends, often enjoying the friendly service of server Bob! But since its remodel, I've been here to try a delicious seasonal special and this pasta dish. At first I thought it was a special, but now it's on the menu. Good! I loved it!
Coca-Cola Refreshment Corner
Mac & Cheese Hot Dog
Featuring a Premium Hot Dog
Includes sliced apples or small bag of chips
Topped with bacon bits. $7.19
This was taken a few months before it was permanently added to their menu. I had attended an exclusive annual passholder event where we got to preview Mickey's Soundsational Parade before its debut to the general public, and this was among the unique new food items offered during event. I haven't had it since, but at least I know there's now a place I can order it if ever I get the whim.
Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe
Hot Angus Roast Beef on Toasted Onion Roll
Served with House Chips
Caramelized Onions, Horseradish Aioli and White Cheddar. $9.99
Another new place I really haven't visited often for meals. But the Jolly Holiday opened around the same time as the remodeled Carnation Cafe, offering an expanded place to get your mocha and latte plus bakery items. This was a year before Starbucks moved into the park, but it's still a busy place. And I remember really enjoying this generous roast beef sandwich and chips.
Plaza Inn Specialty Chicken
Three pieces of chicken, fried to a golden brown, seasoned with distinctive herbs and spices. Served with mashed potatoes, buttermilk biscuit and mixture of vegetables. $13.99
Tasty, delicious fried chicken! Finish this and it's guaranteed you won't leave hungry.
Little Red Wagon
Hand-Dipped Corn Dog
With sliced apples or a small bag of chips. $6.69
There's often a long line at the Little Red Wagon next door to Plaza Inn, because the corn dogs at Disneyland are huge, battered in tasty corn meal, and deelish! You can also order corn dogs at the Stage Door Cafe in Frontierland. I've never ordered them there; it just seems traditional for me to get them from here.
Tiki Juice Bar
Dole Whip Float
If you're never had a Dole whip or Dole whip float, SHAME ON YOU!
For the longest time, I only ordered the Dole whip, which is simply a generous serving of pineapple-flavored soft serve ice cream. Then I tried it as a float with pineapple juice added. It was on a hot sunny day, and that was it. Float every time!
Bacon Wrapped Asparagus $3.89
I don't come here often. The line's always a tad too long for essentially snack food. But when I do, it's bacon-wrapped asparagus all the way. There's a Chieftain Chicken Skewer (in polynesian sauce) shown here too that I got for variety's sake.
Crispy Chicken Mixed Green Salad
I've made an effort to order more salads and meatless meals at restaurants the past few years. If it weren't for that, I likely never would have tried this. What I like about this meal is it's like have a main course - the chicken tenders which I dip in BBQ sauce - with a dinner salad.
Stage Door Cafe
Fish & Chips
with tartar sauce. $9.99
They only added Fish & Chips in the last few years as I recall, but I'm glad they did. The fish fillets aren't overly greasy, and the fish inside is very flaky. So I'm glad I have a quick and tasty fish option to choose when I'm at the park.
River Belle Terrace
River Belle's Roast Beef
Served on a fresh baked roll with our signature savory salad with horseradish aioli. $11.99
Here's I place I used to come to often for dinner. When I first got my annual pass, they served fried chicken and BBQ ribs here. Then the menu was changed to offer sandwiches. I think the park was adopting a new mandate to offer more health-conscious options. Remember when you could buy McDonald's fries next to the Mark Twain loading dock or at the Harbour Galley by the Haunted Mansion? The fries disappeared when Disneyland didn't renew McDonald's contract. Anyway, early online reviews weren't flattering so I avoided it for the longest time.
Then, recently I finally dared to walk in and see what the food looked like. First off, I was surprised to see the roast beef and turkey was hand-carved for each freshly-made sandwich. Second, they also offered hot plates with mashed potatoes and other sides. So I gave the roast beef sandwich a shot...and enjoyed it! Glad I finally had an open mind to give this place a try.
Big Thunder Ranch Celebration BBQ
We're serving up fun FAMILY STYLE
at Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue
ENJOY Our Barbecue Chicken and Ribs with all of the fixings served family style at your table!
Adults: $26.99, Kids 3-9 $11.99 (not including tax and gratuity)
Each supper includes:
BBQ Chicken and Ribs with Miss Chris' special sauce
(Vegetarian Option Available)
Corn Cob Wheels
Just four words: "all you can eat". What's not to like! Just come in with a huge appetite so's you can get your money's worth. By the way, this is their dinner menu. For three bucks less, the lunch menu omits the smoked sausage and corn cob wheels.
New Orleans Square
Blue Bayou Restaurant
Buccaneer's Boneless Beef Short Ribs
Each entree served with choice of the following:
Blue Bayou House Salad or Cup of our Signature New Orleans Gumbo
Braised Short Ribs, Boursin Cheese Mashed Potatoes, Seasonal Vegetables, and Cabernet Reduction. $33.99
I usually come here for friend's special events like celebrating birthdays. And I've sampled about half of their menu offerings. Of them, these have become my favorite so far. The meat is falls apart easily and the sauce is tasty!
"Crescent City" Salad
Choose Blackened Chicken or Pan-seared Atlantic Salmon on top of fresh Spinach and Mixed Baby Greens, tossed with Carmelized Pecans, Red Grapes, Navel Orange Segments, Caramelized Onions, Chopped Green Onions, Roasted Sweet Corn, and Orange-Cilantro Vinaigrette.
-- With Blackened Chicken $15.49
During many visits here, my go-to meal here was the Monte Cristo Sandwich or Three-Cheese Monte Cristo with the Pommes Frites. I used to have a hell of an appetite! But these days, I can barely finish half the sandwich, plus I've been trying to be more health-conscious. And the fried sandwich filled with cheese isn't at the top of my list of choices any more. Instead this salad just barely beats the fresh Cafe Orleans Salmon Sandwich.
Pan Seared Chateaubriand
with Truffle Vintage Port Reduction $59.75
I've had the pleasure of getting to visit Disneyland's members only VIP restaurant, Club 33. And man, it's cool!
This is what I had on my first visit and it is one of the best steaks I've ever had.
Here are the rest of my photos from that visit and here are ones from my second trip.
in a buttered brioche roll served with Old Bay seasoned home-style chips. $13.99
I had this when it was only offered during a limited time celebrating Mardi Gras. It's since become a regular item on their menu.
Daisy's Special Pepperoni Pizza $7.99
In all the years I've owned a Disneyland Annual Passport, I'd never once had anything to eat inside Mickey's Toontown until last month when on a whim I tried this personal size pizza. Filled with tasty pizza sauce, I found it way better than the pizza offered at Pizza Port (which for some might not be saying much). I've seen been back four more times to enjoy this. Don't really know when I'll become tried of it.
Fish Sandwich with Chipotle Crema
served with fresh fruit or French fries. $10.49
A friend and I decided to eat here one day recently, a place that is not normally even on our radar when considering places to eat.
We both chose this to eat, and we were both sincerely shocked at how good it was. The Cast Member at the order window told us the fish was baked, not fried, and together on a fresh, un-toasted bun and all its fixings, it's a great, fresh-tasting meal.
Redd Rockett's Pizza Port
Count Down Chicken Fusilli
Fusilli pasta tossed with seasoned grilled chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic and Parmesan cream sauce with a touch of fresh basil $9.49
This became my regular order during the first few years I visited Disneyland. Seriously, BOTH the fusilli AND a slice of pizza. plus a drink. I can't do that anymore, but when I come here, I always get the fusilli (and now save my pizza appetite for Daisy's).
Village Haus Restaurant
BLT Flatbread Pizza
Thin flat bread crust, smoked bacon, Provolone and Mozzarella cheeses, caramelized onions, marinated tomatoes, topped with arugula and shaved fennel. $8.49
I never really visit Fantasyland much, so I don't have a long history with sampling their fare here. They currently updated their menu and while I'm not usually a big flatbread pizza fan, this has bacon!
That's it. Nothing from the Hungry Bear Restaurant or Rancho del Zocalo, which I've been to but just wasn't particularly knocked out by anything they've ever ordered.
Coming soon: My favorite foods at DCA and elsewhere at the resort. Check out the rest of my Disney food fotos on my Flickr page.
It was just over a year ago that I attended the event where Disneyland was open for 24 hours. That was on Leap Day 2012, and Disney named the event "One More Disney Day." Because of work, I wasn't able to go until that evening, but make it into the park I did - eventually - and it was a cool, novel experience.
But what a mess getting there! Disney did not anticipate the evening traffic gridlock on the I-5 and the neighborhood streets around the park of folks deciding to go after work and on into the midnight hour, gridlock I found myself in. What usually was a forty minute drive tops trip from home to the park took me three hours that evening! So while I did make it into the park and enjoyed being there to see the sunrise over Disneyland, I wasn't entirely convinced Disney would try the same "stunt" again.
But, a year later, Disney decided to go for it. This time, at the start of this past Memorial Day weekend to kick off the summer and also promote their next theatrical Pixar release. And I was there. Again. But this time, for longer than just the "graveyard shift."
This time, instead of just one park on the west coast, Disney announced they'd have both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure open for the 24-hour event. And while rumors about a second overnighter hit Disney chatboards in March, Disney didn't officially announce it until April, and just one month before the May 24-25 date. As someone who experienced One More Disney Day, I was surprised they were giving this one more Disney shot, and on Memorial Day weekend to boot. But by announcing it so late, they assumed that by the time of their announcement, many potential attendees (i.e., local annual passholders) couldn't make it now because they'd already put deposits down to travel elsewhere that weekend.
When I talked to friends who work at the park about the event, they told me the word was that cast members were planning to arrive two or more hours before their shift, to avoid getting stuck in any potential gridlock that happened to cast members last year, and just hang out or watch a movie until they had to clock in. Also, Disney planned to use Angels Anaheim stadium for cast member parking, bussing them in, to free up more local parking for guests.
Now last year, I went solo. But this time, some friends wanted to go too, my Naboombu All-Stars teammates from MouseAdventure, a scavenger hunt-like game put on by MousePlanet that we've competed in a number of times and won twice! MousePlanet announced they were going to run a non-competititve version of MouseAdventure titled UP All Night, handing quests out during the all-nighter. No prizes but we want to play too. So we all planned to hook up there when we could. Again like last year, I was too busy to go until mid-afternoon.
I picked up a friend and we took advantage of the carpool lane, not that traffic was crazy at two in the afternoon. We got there fine and made it into DCA first. And no long lines to get in - whew! Unfortunately, the next new quest wouldn't be handed out until 6pm, so we spent the next few hours meandering the park until one more friend arrived and we could play our first quest together.
Unlike the normal conditions of playing MouseAdventure, which is that all teams randomly start any of several quests received at the start of game play, this time all the teams present (there were about four or five there at six pm) were handed the same quest and started it at the same time. So completing the quest was more like a mad dash rally race than anything else. And we felt the pressure!
How did we do? We solved the first half of the quest just fine. It involved using the DCA park guide map to locate the correct words to cross out from a provided word search, leaving the unused letters to spell out a sentence explaining what we need to find and tweet a photo of to complete the quest. Unfortunately we tweeted the wrong "Storytellers" reference. Instead of the Storytellers Cafe, the correct answer was the new Storytellers statue of young Walt and Mickey on Buena Vista Street. Dang it! On the plus side, we took pride in knowing we were just seconds behind the winning team in tweeting our photo. We were just at wrong location.
Humbled, we looked forward to playing the next quest which would be handed out around 9pm at Disneyland. We tried out the Oozma Kappa Nacho Dogs for dinner before crossing the promenade to enter Disneyland for the first time today.
The lines to enter weren't crazy during the evening hours, and while Main Street USA was pretty full of guests walking into and out of it, the rest of the park wasn't too crowded. This all-nighter was shaping up to be a pretty successful event on Disney's part.
When we picked up our first quest, we also picked up three quests that were distributed earlier in the day. We worked on the Disneyland ones to bide our time until it was time to get that next quest.
My friends and I are annual passholders, and when we visit the parks together, more often than not most of our time is spent hanging out, usually at a restaurant, rather than riding every ride with a short(-ish) line. And the same went for today. After finishing the quests, we headed for the Village Haus to chill out and also to use the outlets there to charge our iPhones.
When 9pm rolled around, we headed for Main Street Station where teams were handed our next quest. But the quests themselves needed players to search for images and phrases in Tomorrowland. At 9pm, not only was Main Street USA becoming crushed with guests holding spaces to watch the evening's fireworks show, but congested even further with guests arriving at Disneyland for their first time as well as those wanting to leave. Rushing to Tomorrowland was impossible! Oh, the anxiety!
Once inside Tomorrowland, we traveled to restrooms, restaurants and food carts to find the essential words that answer several questions, and those answers would somehow dictate which parts of a lightsaber we would need to assemble inside the Star Trader. Once assembled, we'd need to tweet a photo of it with the Jedi Knight associated with this particular design.
We proved to be less than well-trained Jedi Knights this evening. Ugh!!
The next quest would be handed out at midnight. But after meeting up with a cast member friend who'd just gotten off work, we decided to take the Monorail out and head to Trader Sam's for dinner and drinks. Over a period of three hours, I'd actually dropped by here twice! The first time was with this time. The next time was when our final Naboombu All-Stars teammate arrived. While my other friends took a little break, I returned to Trader Sam's for a little pick-me-up, this Irish Coffee.
After midnight, we headed back to Disneyland. Now, remembering that this was about the same time I arrived last year for One More Disney Day, I was a tad nervous that I'd find the park gates closed with hundreds and hundreds of guests in lines all over the promenade like last year. However, I was only "a tad" nervous. Throughout the day, both parks weren't crazy crowded, and as it turned out, entering the park at one am was no problem for us at all.
Now obviously, we'd missed the hand out of the midnight quest. The next quest would be handed out at 2:45 am outside Café Orleans. So we just meandered around the park until then. I wanted to check out what was going on at Mickey's Toontown, so we headed there. It was cool what we found there. Disney characters were dressed up in their pajamas for photo ops, Disney animated shorts were projected in the dining area in the food court for families to enjoy, and karaoke was available outside Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin where we saw mainly young adults enjoying.
When it was time to head for New Orleans Square to pick up the next quest, we found Sleeping Beauty Castle flooded with lights and a portion of the front area roped off. Later that morning we saw Rachel Smith being filmed there. It was for a live feed for the east coast of Good Morning America Weekend Edition.
The next quest took some patience and extreme attention to detail. We were given the lyrics to a song. I don't have the quest with me, but I think it was to "Stay Awake." We were also given a series of numbers. What we had to do is start with the first number and count the number of letters in the supplied lyrics to reach a letter. The letter we reached was the first letter of the quest's question. Continue with each letter, using the remaining thirty-odd numbers to determine the question. Some numbers were one or two digits, but a couple were three! And counting a 143 letters to reach the next letter was a bit stressful at three in the morning. But we managed to solve it and get the question, about naming the special of the day at the Jolly Holiday Bakery. Trouble is we solved it about 30 seconds too late as someone else tweeted the correct answer before us. Stymied once again! With just one quest left to compete for before the park closed at 6 am, we decided it was time for breakfast.
As soon as I'd learned about the Bananas Foster French Toast being offered during the all-nighter, it was a goal of mine to try it, so that's where we headed. Compared to last year where it was a crowded and pretty much booked for the entire morning, Café Orleans was a walk in experience as we got seated in the patio area right away. Even getting served our French toast didn't take long at all.
Dining at four in the morning in New Orleans Square, with sea shanties performed by the Bootstrappers nearby and a peaceful calm resting over the area, was like a vacation moment. So peaceful and relaxing.
After breakfast, it was time to head for the Mad Tea Party to pick up the last quest of the UP All Night. By now, the nature of rushing through each quest as we got them was entirely different from the way the normal MouseAdventure games are played. But we couldn't not try! So we picked up the final quest.
It involved drawing a line between a list of phrases on one side of the sheet to their correct match on a list across the page. Between them were an assortment of words that the lines would intersect. Matching the columns of words correctly would intersect the correct words to form a clue telling us what to find and tweet in as our answer.
The list on one side was filled with phrases taken from the upper floor windows on Main Street USA. The list on the other side were location names and addresses on Main Street USA. As we started connecting lines, we started to figure out the first half of the clue. Then, we managed to figure out the rest of it without needing to solve the last two matches. We needed to find a window with a specific phrase, and I knew EXACTLY where that window was! We walked speedily over to the storefront above the China Closet, found the right window and texted it...texted it before we received any text saying there was a winner yet.
And in seconds, we got The Tweet.
You got it! We saved the toughest for last - great job!
Now that's the way to end the All-Nighter, right!
When our minds popped out of competitive mode, we noticed cast members were lining the street and hi-fiving guests on their way out of the park. That's when we realized it was five-thirty in the morning. Thirty more minutes before the park closed and this Monstrous Summer All-Nighter officially ended.
As six am neared, Mickey and his friends surprised all of us by appearing on Main Street Station, and the sight of them pumped us up again! Dressed in their PJs, they waved at us as the speakers started to play the Mickey Mouse Alma Mater. We all sang along. "Now it's time to say goodbye to all our company..."
Arriving just before three pm, I was here for fifteen of the twenty-four hours. And it was fun! The quests, while frustrating at the beginning, were something cool to look forward to, trying the exclusive food options were a treat, and being here with friends made it a lot easier to stay up all night. Can't wait to do again! And maybe next time, I'll go for twenty-four.
Here's a video diary of my five hours waiting in line to enter Disney California Adventure on its Grand Re-Opening Day condensed into eight minutes.
On June 15, 2012, I got in line at four in the morning to join those who had been waiting in line since 6:30 pm the night before! However, when I first saw this line filled with hundreds of people, it was nothing compared to what I encountered seven years ago in the same spot. That was 2005, the year Disneyland celebrated its 50th birthday. And on July 17 that year, I arrived here at three in the morning to be among the first to enter the park when it opened, and there were thousands already in line. Coincidentally, Disney used DCA to stage the long line before its sister park opened at 7 am.
The video above shows the size of the line in the Promenade when I first got there and how it continued to grow over the next couple of hours. At 7am, the park's Re-Dedication Ceremony was broadcast in a live feed onto a jumbotron we could see, so some excerpts from that are included too. And from my place in line right at the main entrance, I got a nice, short piece of video of Disney CEO Robert Iger and Chairman of Parks and Resorts Tom Skaggs at the front gates opening them up themselves so we could finally come in.
I had a great time. So if you want to enjoy a special Disney event vicariously through the eyes of a Disney geek, here's your chance. Enjoy!
All About Me
A fan of Star Trek, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Batman, comic books, Blu-rays, Disney, soundtracks, taking pictures, theatre and...Barry Manilow!