I was a guest poster last Friday on Disney in the Desert, the fantastic new Disney-themed blog, authored by my blogging friends, Becca and Karen. The topic of my post on Disney in the Desert was Eating Our Way Through Disneyland, where I discuss some of the new (and old) dining choices in Disneyland and California Adventure. I hope you will stop by and say hi to Becca and Karen, and enjoy a re-post of my article here on A Little Bite of Life.
When Little Man and I took our most recent trip to Disneyland a few weeks ago, we were determined to try some of the many goodies the parks have to offer. Normally, we stay at one of the Disney properties, so we eat in Downtown Disney (especially dinner), but since we stayed off-property the first few days this trip, we remained in the park for all our meals, including treats! We checked out some of the new eateries in the parks, but also took the time to re-visit some of our old favorites. Join us as we eat our way through Disneyland!
First, I want to mention that Disney makes it super easy to book reservation dining. I called their Disney reservation line (1-714-781-3463), told them the restaurant(s) we wanted to make reservations at, our preferred time(s), and how many were in our party. It was that simple. They also asked if we were celebrating anything. We were not this trip, but other times they have given Little Man a birthday treat, or one of his friends a treat, just for mentioning that we were celebrating a birthday. One of the restaurants I made advance reservations for was our first stop….
After entering the park early, we were ready for a nice breakfast by 10 a.m. Both Little Man and I wanted to eat at the newly renovated Carnation Cafe. This has always been our favorite place to go for a sit-down breakfast, but now that they have expanded the seating, and re-vamped the menu, we wanted to see if it was as good as it has always been. Because The Carnation Cafe is a popular place to eat, we made our reservations in advance, so we would not have to wait in a long line. The first thing we noticed was that the Carnation Cafe now has both indoor and outdoor seating, and the inside was decorated turn-of-the-century saloon style, with Victorian lamps and big wooden booths.
I was thrilled that they still had the Cafe Mocha on the menu (it is the best coffee in the park), but there were also many new items. I had the ham and cheese omelet, served with fresh fruit and cafe breakfast potatoes.
Little Man had the Mickey Waffle breakfast, one of the items from their original menu.
Other new dishes include the Huevos Rancheros, Apple Granola Pancakes, and Steel-Cut Oatmeal cakes. Everything looked and tasted delicious! The only thing I was hoping they would change is their cafe potatoes-they are always a little too peppered for us to eat. A tall glass of fresh orange juice helped take away the spice.
After a busy afternoon of rides, we were hot and thirsty. At that moment, we were in Adventureland, so took a detour to the Tiki Room. While waiting to go inside, I hopped on line at the Tiki Juice Bar. Everyone loves the Pineapple Whips, so the line to get them is always long. If you are going to go inside the Tiki Room gate and go to the inside line, it is usually a shorter wait. Little Man got the Pineapple Whip, a refreshing soft-serve pineapple confection.
I had a Pineapple Float, a Pineapple Whip soft-serve, bathed in a sea of thirst-quenching fresh pineapple juice. (I think I drank all the juice before I took the photo!)
Yum! If you have never tried a Pineapple Whip, you are missing out! The Tiki Room is one of our favorite Walt Disney designed attractions, so eating a Pineapple Whip, while we watch the Tiki show was delightful!
Later in the afternoon, we hopped over to California Adventure, to check out the new Cars Land, as well as some of the other new rides. By 5 p.m. we were hungry, so decided to try the new Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta, located over near the Boardwalk. Little Man behaved himself and had a big Caesar Salad, but I could not resist the pasta choices.
I was torn between the Five-Cheese Ravioli and the Chicken Sun-dried Tomato pasta. In the end, the Chicken Sun Dried Tomato won out.
The sauce was flavorful, but very rich, so next time I would share pasta and a salad with someone else, so we can each have half. The Boardwalk Field Greens, with cranberries, caramelized pecans, blue cheese, golden raisins, and a basil vinaigrette sounded incredible! This restaurant is cafeteria-style, but unlike many of the other restaurants in the park, this one was almost empty, and the line to get food and pay was short and quick.
Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta is a diamond in the rough, waiting to be discovered. Delicious food, very family-friendly…how can you go wrong? (Oh no…now that I said this, it will be crazy busy next time we go back!)
After a busy day, we both knew there was one place we wanted to wind up….Ghirardelli’s new Ice Cream shop, near the Pacific Wharf area. The place was huge, and had so many sundae ideas, it was hard to chose!
After choosing our sundaes, we had time to admire the decor. One of the displays even shakes like a San Francisco earthquake!
Little Man could not resist the Mint Bliss, with mint chip ice cream, dark chocolate hot fudge, whipped cream, and a cherry.
For me, the decision was harder…do I get the Espresso Escape, with espresso ice cream and dark chocolate hot fudge, or the Strike It Rich Butterscotch Hot Fudge, with butter pecan ice cream drenched in butterscotch and hot fudge, and topped with whipped cream, chopped almonds, and a cherry. Which one do you think I choose? I picked the Strike It Rich sundae! It was swoonable (yes, swoonable is a word in my world)!
The next day, we attacked the parks with flourish…eight rides before noon, without breakfast! Just as we were about to hop on another ride, something beckoned us….the scent of cinnamon heavy in the air….we tried to resist, but the more we resisted, the stronger the smell….until we could fight it no more!
There is nothing like a Disney churro-crunchy yet light, with just the right amount of cinnamon and sugar!
That afternoon, we decided to eat a late lunch/early dinner at one of our favorite spots in California Adventure: Pacific Wharf Cafe.
They make Boudin’s sourdough fresh daily, and incorporate it into their sandwiches, soup, and salads. Little Man had a turkey and cheese sandwich (hold the mayo and tomato), and I had my favorite, the Shrimp Louie Salad, a green salad, topped with fresh boiled shrimp, olives, and a hard-boiled egg, all inside a sourdough bread bowl. If you get the Shrimp Louie, be sure to ask for the standard dressing (Thousand Island) on the side.
I have tried their Monterey Clam Chowder, as well as their Santa Rosa Corn Chowder in the past, and both are delish! The Pacific Wharf cafe is cafeteria-style, with plenty of outside seating. Because it is so close to the Mexican restaurant, Cocina Cucamonga, as well as the Chinese cafe, The Lucky Fortune Cookery, your family can get the cuisine they would like, and you can all eat together.
Although we had ice cream the day before, we could not leave California Adventure without stopping by the new Clarabelle’s!
An indoor ice cream cafe, Clarabelle’s was beautiful! Stain glass lanterns and windows twinkled with the outside sunlight, spreading color throughout the room. (Unfortunately, none of my photos of the windows came out. Curse you evil camera!)
The walls and counter are tiled in nostalgic 1930′s style, everything is sparkling and clean…Clarabelle would be proud! There were several varieties of sundaes for us to chose from, but this time Little Man had the Chocolate Chip Cookie sundae, and I had the Mocha Sundae.
There is no seating inside of Clarabelle’s, but right next door is the Fiddler’s Cafe, with plenty of seats available.
Our last snack stop of the trip, after a fun-filled night at Mickey’s Halloween party, was the Jolly Holiday Cafe, for an evening coffee with friends. The cafe is decorated Mary Poppins style, complete with penguins and merry-go-rounds.
The muffins, cookies, and pastries are eye-candy to look at, and even more delicious to taste!
The Jolly Holiday Cafe has healthy choices in sandwiches, salads, and soups, so you don’t feel guilty indulging in a dessert.
Disneyland has so many more restaurants and cafes, more than we could visit this trip. We are scheduled to go back to Disneyland in January, so Flo’s V8 Cafe, Cathay Circle Restaurant, and the Paradise Garden Grill are on the top of our list. Stay tuned!
What is your favorite food at Disneyland?
Julie blogs at the deliciously witty A Little Bite of Life. She is also part of the Disney InsidEarprogram.