Written by Tink’s Vacation Planner, Megan
For me, the Disneyland® Resort isn’t just about picking up the latest mugs available (I collect mugs) or getting to California Adventure’s gates before opening to ensure a Radiator Spings Racers FastPass. It’s also about eating! Here are a few of my favorite places to eat at the Disneyland® Resort.
If the park opens early (8am), I will go to the parks first and eat breakfast around 10am when attraction lines start to get long. A great choice for this option is Breakfast in the Park with Minnie and Friends at The Plaza Inn, located inside Disneyland® Park. This restaurant offers what I consider to be the best all-around character dining location in Disneyland®. Not only do they have a great buffet and a convenient location in the midst of the park – you can also meet more characters in an hour than anywhere else! During my last visit, I saw: Minnie Mouse, Chip and Dale, Captain Hook, Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore, Tigger, Rafiki, Max, Perla, and Fairy Godmother. This is twice the amount of characters I’ve seen at the other character dining locations. They try to visit every table, but be sure to mention which character(s) you’d like to meet and a cast member will guide them to your table.
Beyond a quick bite, my two favorites for lunch are Blue Bayou and Carthay Circle. Blue Bayou is located within the Pirates of the Caribbean ride in Disneyland® Park, with its entrance just around the corner in New Orleans Square. The food is definitely above average, but I eat here for the atmosphere. If you allow yourself to forget reality for a moment, the humidity in the air and the sounds of insects will fool you into believing you’re at the edge of the bayou. Children will find delight in watching the boats full of Pirates riders floating by, fascinated that they’re eating inside the attraction itself.
Carthay Circle is the fine dining fare in California Adventure Park. The restaurant itself is modeled after the Carthay Circle Theatre where Walt Disney’s first animated length film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, premiered. The attention to detail makes this experience feel more like an attraction than a restaurant… that is, until you get to the food!
Finally, after more fun, it is time for dinner. My favorite spots for dinner are Napa Rose and Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen. The Jazz Kitchen is located in Downtown Disney, where Ralph Brennan has brought the flavors of his famous New Orleans restaurants to Disneyland®. Unlike Blue Bayou, which is a quiet and serene bayou atmosphere, Ralph Brennan’s features the lively atmosphere of the French Quarter. There’s great food and great music, with live jazz played every night. It’s fun for the whole family! If that type of ambiance isn’t for you, just ask to eat outside and you’ll be sat amongst the Downtown Disney night life
Reservations are highly recommended at all table service locations. There’s no need to book 180 days out like at Walt Disney World®, but at least 3-4 weeks is a good idea. More advanced planning is recommended for holidays and other peak times. Bon apetite!