Disneyland Resort Dining: Food Glorious Food
September 11, 2018
In Australia, theme park food is up there with the worst in the country. It is poor quality, super expensive and always ends up coming back with a vengeance. In spite of this, you still end up buying it because the picture of the triple cheeseburger looked so good and you thought it would be different this time. The good news is this isn’t the case for Disneyland. While there are instances where the food here can be pretty awful (and still expensive), there are plenty of options for you to avoid theme park dining regret.
What was promised to me at every Australian Theme Park Ever. Image from Jeffrey W.
Note: Any prices listed in this post are in Australian Dollars and do not necessarily include taxes or gratuities. They are approximates based on current market trends. If anything drastic changes I will update them.
Full Service Restaurants
Yes you heard right. The Disneyland Resort actually has a number of quality full service restaurants that, while quite pricey, are very well themed . Just remember bookings are essential and can be made up to 60 days in advance. Prices for these kinds of restaurants can range from about $40-$90 Australian p/p.
Quick Service Restaurants
Disneyland also features a massive range of sit down, quick service Restaurants, with a number of different cuisines to choose from. While most of these dining options are what you might expect of theme park food, there are many that are of a high standard. A common meal at these kinds of restaurants, will most likely cost you around AUD $20.
Even Quicker Service Restaurants (Snack Shacks and Kiosks)
For lunch on the go, these super quick kiosks and carts sell anything from massive smoked turkey legs and giant pickles, to fruit, popcorn and churros. You have to give these great little food vendors a try. Most items here will be under AUD $15.
What food must I try?
Anyone for a Smoked Turkey Leg, the Size of your head? How about A proportionately large pickle?
Before we get into the nitty gritty of all your dining options there are just some foods you have to try to make your Disneyland experience complete. For me I simply can’t go home without having the following:
Cob Loaf Chowder/Gumbo (From New Orleans Square)
Giant Smoked Turkey Leg (Found all over the Park)
Mickey Mouse Beignets (Deep fried Choux Pastry, found in New Orleans Square)
Corn Dog (Various locations)
Dole Whip Float (A Pineapple Soft Serve in Pineapple Juice, found at the Tiki Juice Bar)
Mickey Mouse Ice-Creams (My Wife’s choice: she has one a day)
Funnel Cake (Deep fried cake batter with various toppings)
Lobster Roll (From Harbour Galley)
These are just the essentials for me. I could go on but then I’d be listing half the food at Disneyland. Let me know what’s on your list in the comments below.
Dining Options: Disneyland Park
Mickey Mouse Pretzel…Lady and the Tramp Style!
Below is a list of all your dining options from Disneyland. Those in italics are my recommendations.
Food aplenty in Main Street
Market House: A quick service café serving coffees and a variety of baked sweets. Price per Adult under AUD $20
Gibson Girl Ice-Cream Parlour: A typical ice-cream parlour set within a beautiful building. Ice-creams under AUD$10.
Carnation Café: A nice table service café that serves homestyle burgers, sandwiches and salads. It also features some of Walt Disney’s favourite dishes. Price range from AUD$20-$50.
Coca-Cola Refreshment Corner: A quick service café that serves hot dogs, chilli and pretzels. Dishes under AUD $20. You can also catch the brilliant Disneyland pianist here too.
Jolly Holiday Bakery Café: A Mary Poppins themed café that serves your typical bakery style foods. Dishes under AUD $20.
Plaza Inn: A Disneyland classic, this casual dining restaurant was there on opening day. It serves a variety of standard foods like fried breakfasts, pasta and salads. It is also a site for character dining. Average cost AUD $20-50.
Maurice’s Treats: Situated right next to the Royal Theatre Maurice’s Treats serves savoury and sweet breads with drinks. Under AUD $20.
One of the Most famous Deserts at Disneyland image from Lucky 6.9
Tiki Juice Bar: Situated just outside the Tiki Room attraction, this juice bar serves the world famous Disneyland Dole Whip. Nothing over AUD $10 here.
Bengal Barbecue: This quick service restaurant serves Sub-continental cuisine (Meat skewers, rice etc) with nothing costing over AUD $20.
Hungry Bear Restaurant: A restaurant with a great view of the Rivers of America. Hungry Bear serves burgers, fries and delicious funnel cakes. Nothing over AUD $20.
New Orleans Square
The Blue Bayou in the middle of the Day. If you look to your left you will see boats of people embarking on their swashbuckling adventure.
Blue Bayou Restaurant: A brilliant table service restaurant that is considered the best in the park. It is situated within the pirates of the Caribbean ride itself so has a brilliant atmosphere. and serves Cajun/Creole cuisine (Gumbo and Jambalaya) along with chicken, steaks and fish. It is quite expensive with a price range of AUD $50-80 but a must do dining experience.
Royal Street Verandah: Great little walk up café that serves delicious soups and Gumbo in Sour dough bread bowls. One of my favourite places to dine. Nothing over AUD $15.
Café Orleans: A Cajun/creole café that serves a variety of chicken, beef and seafood based dishes. It is not as expensive as Blue Bayou ranging from AUD $20-50.
French Market Restaurant: Sit back and listen to some Blues and Jazz music at this quick service restaurant, serving stews, sandwiches and chicken dishes. Prices are under AUD $20.
Mint Julep Bar: This little walk up bar features non-alcoholic Mint Juleps and little fried Mickey Mouse Beignets (Pastries). Items under AUD $10.
Harbour Galley: A quick service restaurant on the water-front that sells soups and sandwiches. I hear the lobster roll is quite nice. All items under AUD $20.
Lunch and a show at the Golden Horseshoe
Riverbelle Terrace: Here you will find a Texan BBQ style, table service restaurant, featuring Ribs, chicken and fried foods. Prices range between AUD $20-50.
The Golden Horseshoe: An opening day, old Western style, quick service restaurant, serving chicken dishes and macaroni. While you’re there sit back and relax as you watch the Golden Horseshoe Revue show. Prices under AUD $15.
Stage Door Café: Next door to the Golden Horshoes this walk up, quick service restaurant serves chicken, chips and corn dogs. Dishes under AUD $15.
Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante: A fast, casual dining restaurant serving a variety of Mexican foods including nachos, tacos and burritos. Everything under AUD $20.
Red Rose Taverne: A quick service restaurant themed to Beauty and the Beast. It predominantly serves burgers, salads and sandwiches. Prices under AUD $20.
Troubadour Tavern: A medieval themed pavilion restaurant, serving bratwurst, baked potatoes and turkey legs. Prices under AUD $20.
Clarabelle’s: This walk up quick service kiosk serves ice-creams, frozen yoghurt and a couple of savoury dishes. Everything under AUD $15.
Daisy’s Diner: A quick service pizzeria that only serves pepperoni and cheese pizzas. Under AUD $10.
Pluto’s Doghouse: A quick service kiosk that simply sells hot dogs and drinks. Items under AUD $10.
Red Rocket’s Pizza Port: Known for being outrageously expensive for what you get the Pizza Port serves a wide variety of pizza and salads. Prices for ONE slice of pizza start at AUD $10.
Galactic Grill: A quick service Burger joint that features a range of burgers, fries and drinks. Everything under AUD $20.
Dining Options: California Adventure
In this list you will find everything dining related at California Adventure. Unlike the Disneyland Park California Adventure has licensed restaurants for all you wanting a little more than a coffee or mint julep.
Buena Vista Street
The Beautiful Carthay Circle Restaurant, modelled after the theatre that premiered Snow White. Image from Harshlight
Carthay Circle Restaurant: A very pricey, beautiful and quite fancy restaurant that is highly rated in (and out) of the resort. It serves American/Italian food with prices ranging from AUD $50-80.
Clarabelle’s Hand Scooped Ice-Cream: Simply every frozen treat imaginable served here. Prices all under AUD $20.
Fiddler, Fifer and Practical Café: Coffee shop that serves an array of sandwiches and hot drinks. Everything under AUD $15.
Award Weiners: A quick service walk up restaurant that serves a massive variety of Hot-Dogs. Everything under AUD $15
Schmoozies: Simply a quick service smoothie bar. Nothing over AUD $10.
Smokejumpers Grill: Next door to the Soarin’ attraction, this quick service restaurant serves a variety of burgers, chicken and fries. Everything under AUD $20.
Pacific Wharf North (Wine Country- Licensed Venues)
Wine Country Trattoria: A nice rustic, Tuscan themed restaurant that serves a variety of pastas, seafood and salad. Everything under AUD $50.
Sonoma Terrace: A bar/lounge with more of a beer focus. It serves a variety of bready based delicacies including flatbreads and pretzels. Everything under AUD $15.
Mendocino Terrace: Small vineyard terrace with simple cheese boards and cured meats. Prices under AUD $20.
Pacific Wharf South (Marina)
Pacific Wharf exists for dining!
Ghiradelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop: A traditional milk bar style diner with a massive range of sundaes, thickshakes and hot drinks.
Pacific Wharf Café: A café on the waterfront of the marina. It serves sandwiches, soups and salads. Everything under AUD $20.
Lucky Fortune Cookery: One of the only Asian style eateries in the resort. It serves stir fries with rice and dumplings. Meals under AUD $20.
Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill: A Mexican restaurant that predominantly serves tacos and chicken dishes. Items under AUD $20.
Rita’s Baja Blenders: A little cocktail kiosk serving alcoholic and non-alcoholic frozen slushies. Under AUD $15.
A full scale replica of Flo’s from the movie can be found in Carsland.
Flo’s V8 Café: A brilliantly themed quick service restaurant dealing in Ribs burgers and fried chicken. Good for families. Nothing over AUD $25.
Cozy Cone Motel: Plenty of snack foods available at five different Cone including “popcone”, “Chilli cone Queso” and soft serve ice creams. Nothing over AUD $15.
Filmore’s Taste-in: A hippy tent inspired by the Volkswagen from Cars. It simply serves healthy snacks, like fruit. Everything under AUD $10.
Just one of the Kiosks at the Cozy Cone Motel
Lamplight Lounge: A Pixar themed, double story bar and restaurant that overlooks Paradise Bay (lake). It serves basic pub style food and while the bar takes walk ins; reservations are a must for the dining area below. Price ranges between AUD $20-50.
Adorable Snowman Frosted Treats: A little frozen snack shack devoted to the Abominable Snowman from Monster’s Inc. Everything under AUD $10.
Jack-Jack Cookie Num Nums: An Incredibles themed cookie hut. Nothing over AUD $10.
Poultry Palace: Only delicious chicken, turkey and corn on the cob served here. All items under AUD $15.
Angry Dogs: An Inside out themed food vendor serving spicy Hot Dogs. Everything Under AUD $10.
Paradise Gardens Park
Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta: A quick service restaurant serving basic pizza and pasta dishes. Nothing over AUD $15.
Paradise Garden Grill: A Mexican themed restaurant featuring taco, tortilla and rice/bean dishes.
Corn Dog Castle: A wide variety of delicious deep fried corn dogs served here along with other fried delicacies. Everything under AUD $10.
I do love me a corn dog! I feel queezy for 30 minutes after but it’s worth it.
Top Tips: General Dining
Don’t break your budget: With so many delicious and interesting options available it’s easy to spend big on food. So to avoid breaking the bank (and your belt) limit yourself to one meal a day at the resort with a couple of snacks thrown in.
Load Up: Hotel have breakfast included? Load up there and you won’t have to worry for the majority of the day. If you do get snacky you can grab something cheap from a kiosk.
Eating outside the Park: I will deal with this more in a later post but there are a whole range of other restaurants outside the parks that are a lot cheaper.
BYO Food: Local supermarkets are a great place to load up on heaps of snacks, fruits and water so you are not paying through the nose everyday. Some supermarkets also deliver right to your Hotel! A brilliant option! (More on this another time).
Take Your Time: The best thing about having multiple days at Disneyland is that you don’t have to rush to eat your food. Just take your time and discover for yourselves the wide variety of food available.
Event dining packages basically involve a three course lunch or dinner (limited set menu) at one of a select few Disney Restaurants, followed by a viewing (with a reserved spot) of one of the many shows. This is a great for shows like Fantasmic and World of Colour as it means you don’t need to rush to pick up a FastPass in the morning. Prices range from about AUD $50-80 for these experiences and again it is recommended you book in prior to your visit.
Fantasmic Dining Packages (Dinner)
Premium Viewing of Fantasmic Following lunch or Dinner!
Blue Bayou (New Orleans Square)
Lunch $80 per adult; $40 per child (ages 3 to 9)
Dinner $95 per adult; $40per child (ages 3 to 9)
River Belle Terrace (Frontierland)
Dinner $65 per adult; $35 per child (ages 3 to 9)
Hungry Bear Restaurant: Takeaway Package (Critter Country)
On-The-Go Dining Package is available for AUD $40 per adult and AUD $27 per child (ages 3 to 9).
Frozen Show Dining Package
Carthay Circle (Buena Vista Street)
The Frozen Lunch Package (Four Courses) costs AUD $123 per adult and AUD $62 per child.
Paint the Night Parade
Carthay Circle (Buena Vista Street)
Dinner AUD $140 per adult; $62 for children (ages 3 to 9)
Wine Country Trattoria (Pacific Wharf North)
Lunch/Dinner AUD $68 for adults; $35 for children (ages 3 to 9)
Sonoma Terrace (Pacific Wharf North)
Not really dinner but you get to watch the parade from the rooftop bar, while snacking on antepasto boards and drinking wine and beer. Cost is AUD $110 (Alcohol included)
World of Colour Dining Packages
Premium Viewing of World of Colour from a Dining Package. Image from Harshlight.
Carthay Circle (Buena Vista Street)
Lunch, starting at:
AUD $65.00 adults: AUD $30.00 children ages 3 to 9
Dinner, starting at:
AUD$90.00 adults: AUD$40.00 children ages 3 to 9
Wine Country Trattoria (Pacific Wharf North)
Lunch, starting at:
AUD$50.00 adults; AUD $30 children ages 3 to 9
Dinner, starting at:
AUD $70 adults; AUD $40 children ages 3 to 9
Top Tips: Event Dining
I’m not going to lie to you these experiences (like a whole lot of other things) are damn expensive so how do you get your money’s worth? Basically, I would be avoiding the Frozen Dining Package and virtually anything to do with Carthay Circle . The food is great but is it AUD $140 good? No! Plus it’s a limited menu.
Aside from Sonoma Terrace (Which provides a unique vantage point) I would be disinclined to do any of the Paint the Night Parade Packages. Parades are not terribly difficult to get a good spot. If you are desperate stake your claim an hour or so before to ensure great viewing.
That leaves us with Fantasmic and World of Colour. These are the two shows that a specially reserved spot would be great for, as you never know what you are going to get with your general FastPass reservation. I just wouldn’t be getting the Hungry Bear Takeaway package.
Disney Dining Done
There we have a comprehensive guide to dining at the Disneyland and California Adventure Parks. The food here really is an experience in itself so make sure you take the time to enjoy it. To see some more tips on how to get the most out of you Disney Dining Experience check out Lexie’s previous post.