What I love: Let me tell you, I am a sucker for the Ghirardelli store. The Tortilla Factory was my FAVORITE place to go in California Adventure before they closed it, and I still miss it, but if I have to trade that in for chocolate??? I think I’ll manage. My favorite thing to order, as a known chocoholic, is the chocolate ice cream with milk chocolate hot fudge. It’s the perfect treat for a summer day (especially if you get a cup instead of a cone to prevent dripping!) because the ice cream cools the hot fudge off really quickly and you’re basically left with a chocolate shell. They’re also very generous with said hot fudge and there’s usually more than enough to scrape off the sides of the cup once you’ve finished the ice cream. The store also sells Ghirardelli chocolate squares in addition to ice cream, so if your sweet tooth is being especially vocal you can buy some extra sweets along with your sundae.
What I want to try: The last time I was in line to meet Captain America and Spiderman, I saw it. The food that will probably change my life, for better or worse. What is this food, you ask? Tater. Tot. Nachos. That’s right, folks, Disney has managed to find a new way to combine my two favorite foods, cheese and potatoes. These bad boys are available in Hollywood Land in the food truck right across from the heroes meet and greet!
What I love: BOARDWALK PIZZA & PASTA. Even though I think their flatbread pizzas were far superior to anything else, I’ve forgiven them for discontinuing them. I’m really boring and only like cheese pizza, but I’m also really picky and only like *certain* cheese on my pizza, and Boardwalk delivers. It’s honestly just the same pizza as Pizza Port over in Disneyland (I’ll get to that later), which isn’t a bad thing. Unfortunately I can’t eat most of the pasta they serve at Boardwalk due to various allergies, but I’ve heard good things about it.
What I want to try: I’m interested in trying breakfast at Flo’s V8 Cafe in Cars Land. I’ve seen their lunch/dinner menu before and I wasn’t too excited about anything in particular on it, but sources say the breakfast at Flo’s is good. I’m always down for breakfast at any given moment, though, so I might be a little biased.
Bonus: I couldn’t write an article about Disney parks food without at least mentioning the Pacific Wharf Cafe (and the bakery). Not only do they give free bread samples, their restaurant is great too! Unfortunately their tomato soup in a bread bowl is only seasonal now, but it’s fantastic if you ever get a chance to try it and I think I can safely say that it’s my favorite thing to eat in California Adventure.
What I love: Okay, confession time. The only sit-down service place I’ve been to in California Adventure is Ariel’s Grotto, and it’s been a LONG time. I don’t remember the food too well, but the atmosphere is so fun! I’ve only ever sat out on the patio at Ariel’s Grotto, which is great because I was visited by lots of Disney characters and lots of Disney ducks. (I have an obsession with the ducks of Disneyland, okay?) Also, and this is really going to show how long it’s been since I’ve eaten there, we sat out there before World of Color was a thing so Paradise Lagoon was still essentially a giant blue wave pool, which made the experience really fun because it felt like I was actually at the beach.
What I want to try: I would love to try Carthay Circle one day! I’ve walked inside briefly and I think the decor is beautiful, so I’m anxious to eat a meal there so I can take more of it in. Like I said, though, I'm a super picky eater and I'm worried that the food here will be a little too...fancy for my tastes. (There's no shame in ordering something off the kids menu though, right? ...right?)
What I love: There are two treats I love from Disneyland. The first is a chocolate Mickey cake pop, and the second is ice cream from a cart. (I know technically both of these could go on the list for California Adventure as well, but bear with me.) I don’t know what kind of Disney magic they use on the cake for their cake pops, but something keeps that cake super fresh and not dry at all. I don’t get a cake pop every time I go, so when I do get one I’m always amazed as to just how good they are. As for the ice cream, there are two that have my heart: Mickey Premium Bars (of course) and the Nestle Toll House cookie sandwiches. These are perfect on a summer’s day (or any day, really) when they’re so frozen that you can barely bite into them. They’ll last you awhile that way, which just means you have more time to enjoy them!
What I want to try: Okay, this is a bit of a bummer for me. I used to get the nachos from Troubadour Tavern back in Fantasyland (they used warm potato chips instead of tortilla chips), but they don’t have those anymore. Now they sell pretzel bites with cheese dip, which is great! I love pretzels with cheese! BUT I’m super allergic to something in the Mickey pretzels and I’m 99% sure that these pretzel bites are made with the same recipe, meaning no pretzel bites for Sydney. I’d love to try them if I could, though!
What I love: Bear with me here because I can’t choose just one! I have three favorite quick service restaurants and I want to gush about them all. I love Pizza Port, the Jolly Holiday, and the Hungry Bear. Pizza Port has been my dad’s and my favorite Disney restaurant to go to for as long as I can remember. I even put up with those weird couple years where they changed their pizza recipe and it was terrible. (I can assure you that it’s back to normal now and just as good as it used to be!) I highly recommend the cheese pizza, but you already knew that. I was there recently, though, and I found something new I’d like to try: pasta with chicken and cheese (I don’t know the exact name because I literally saw it on someone’s plate as they walked by and stared shamelessly in awe at it)! Jolly Holiday is a recent favorite for me. I actually just stopped in one night for some hot chocolate and a pastry, and I learned that they serve a tomato soup and grilled cheese combo. The next time I went back to the park, I decided to try it, and the rest, as they say, is history. It’s the perfect meal for a chilly night, especially while the parade is going by or the fireworks are going off. (Don’t let that stop you from trying it when it’s not cold out, though. It’s always good!) As for Hungry Bear, I really like their crispy chicken sandwiches. They used to serve them on a bun with whole grains on top that came with a side of sweet potatoes, but unfortunately they don’t do either of those anymore. The food is still great though, and I definitely recommend it! I’m also excited for the return of the Rivers of America so this restaurant can get some of its old atmosphere back. I love relaxing on the patio on a summer’s day, looking out at Tom Sawyer’s Island while the canoes and ships go by!
What I want to try: I’m excited to try food from the Red Rose Taverne before it switches back to Village Haus. I’m very interested in both the flatbread and the chicken sandwich that’s on the menu (especially considering the sandwich is served with pommes frites). I used to eat at Village Haus all the time as a kid, but they changed the menu awhile ago and I’ve only recently rediscovered the restaurant. I’ve walked through the Red Rose Taverne a couple times and I LOVE the decor they put up, so I can’t wait to eat a meal in there and get a chance to take more of it in! I was able to try the pommes frites and their waffle fries (highly highly HIGHLY recommend both!), but I didn't order a full meal so I'm anxious to go back and try one.
What I love: I’ve recently fallen in love with Carnation Cafe. I’ve had both breakfast and lunch/dinner there, and both were equally amazing! For breakfast, you can’t go wrong with a Mickey Waffle. I hadn’t had one in about four years and I completely forgot just how good they are. I also HIGHLY recommend the cinnamon hot chocolate! For lunch/dinner, I got the fried chicken and I can safely say that it changed my life. It’s a lot of food--it comes with a few different sides--so I recommend sharing it (that’s what my dad and I did and there was plenty of food for each of us). Also, I mentioned my allergies earlier--Carnation Cafe is very accommodating for allergies (as are the other sit-down restaurants) and will give anyone with any sort of allergy at all a special allergy menu. I've been able to order off the regular menu as well after being given an allergy menu, so I think it kind of works on a case-by-case basis (so if you're nut- and seed-free like I am, you're still good to go on that fried chicken meal).
What I want to try: I want to get breakfast at the Plaza Inn sometime soon! I haven’t done a character breakfast in a lot of years, and what better way to do it than on Main Street? Granted, it would probably be the exact meal I’d get at Carnation, but why should that make a difference? Disney is all about the atmosphere and if I can enjoy a Mickey waffle while taking pictures with my favorite characters, then that’s what I want to do.
Well, friends, there’s my guide to Disney food! I hope this helps you decide where to eat the next time you’re in the parks, or at least informs you of some foods you didn’t know about. Have fun snacking!
None of the images used are mine! All were found on Google.