We recently had the opportunity to sample the new Carthay Circle restaurant at Disney’s California Adventure park, and wow! It was fantastic. Beautiful and new, this restaurant makes you feel like you are dining with 1940s Hollywood elite in a swank martini bar. It’s a welcome respite from the craziness of the parks. The menu options – both food and drink – are plentiful, and the kids will be happy with their own menu. Order the fried biscuits – they are heaven and like nothing I’ve ever had before. Since Carthay Circle is new, it seems to be booking up quickly, so make reservations in advance through Disney Dining. Also, they offer a World of Color priority seating package, which means that when you dine there, so long as you order an appetizer and entree (or dessert and entree, I think) they will give you priority seating tickets for that evening’s World of Color, even if you’re there for lunch. Just ask!
If you’re looking for something a bit different, the Blue Bayou restaurant in Disneyland park is pretty neat. Located right inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, it’s dark and cool and the food is pretty good. Nice on a hot day.
We always enjoy brunch at Storyteller’s Cafe, located at the Grand Californian hotel. There are characters there, but they are less known than most – Chip and Dale, along with other ‘woodland’ characters from Mulan and Brother Bear. The food is good, and the kids love the Mickey-shaped waffles. If you do want a character dining experience with Mickey and his friends, go to Goofy’s Kitchen. If your daughter is a princess fan, lunch and dinner at Ariel’s Grotto is nice. The food is average to good, but if you sit on the patio you’re on the water, with some nice views.
Probably my favorite place for an evening, after-parks relaxing experience is Trader Sam’s at the Disneyland Hotel. If you go inside and order a certain drink (I can’t remember which one, but it will become obvious when you get in there) it will ‘storm’. It’s a little Hawaiian themed pub-like place, with good appetizers and drinks. I always enjoy the PuPu Platter! Or, go next door to Tangaroa Terrace to order some quick-service dinner and have it on the deck that adjoins Tangaroa and Trader Sam’s. There are some great performers who sing and play ukelele on the patio, and the whole experience is relaxing and fun. If you are staying at the Disneyland Hotel, both these restaurants are near the pool, so the kids can enjoy a splash at the same time.
Let me know your favorite dining places at Disneyland – we’re always looking for ideas!