"To all who come to this happy place: welcome..."

"...Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past, and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future." - Walt Disney

Die-hard Disneyland fans never fail to get a little misty-eyed when they hear this dedication from the 1955 Opening Ceremony. The quote has even been worked into fireworks and a parade. Ultimately, it doesn't matter if you're a grandparent in your 60's, a teenager, or a tiny tot. The Disney theme parks are a place for all to have fun. Family or friends, young or old...

But, not only do the parks have a variety of rides and entertainment that cater to all ages, Disneyland and Disney California Adventure also have a ton of food options. Here, you can get things like New Orleans classics, All-American BBQ, or even tropical refreshments! As I got older, I found that checking out the different eateries became just as fun as getting on rides. Here are a few from my trip last weekend :)

Whenever I arrive at Disneyland, the first thing I do is EAT. (Duh.) And, for some reason, I always happen to arrive around lunchtime, so a quick lunch at Royal Street Veranda has become a favorite for my family. This place is located in New Orleans Square, right next to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride...which, not-so-coincidentally, is always the first ride of the day.

Here, they serve gumbo and clam chowder in a bread bowl. The clam chowder is thick and creamy. The gumbo has a spicy kick to it. Both have plenty of meat and vegetables to fill you up, and the bread is perfect for dipping. I like to scrape away at the sides of the bread bowl to mix the bread right into my chowder or gumbo. It's just enough food to keep you satisfied, but not too much...because... 

You gotta save room for dinner! Another family favorite is the Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue! Located in Frontierland, behind Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, this restaurant makes you feel like you're having a picnic on a farm. Disneyland dubs this eatery's all-you-can-eat style as "Western hospitality", and it's great for big groups (...especially if you have young, super hungry boys in that group). For dinner, you get buckets of smoked sausage, barbecue chicken, sauce-slathered ribs, and baked beans. You also get bowls of warm cornbread, buttered corn on the cob, and tangy slaw. I love how drinks are served in mason jars! Iced tea and lemonade, please! :)

When you find that your bowls, buckets, and mason jars have run empty, your country-dressed server simply replenishes your supply. All you have to do is sit at your rustic, checker-clothed picnic table and eat until the cows come home...metaphorically speaking, that is...While you eat, a cowboy plays his guitar and piano, and he sings you classic Disney tunes with a country twist. It's one of the best casual dining spots in the entire park!

On Day 2 of our trip, we had lunch after riding the Hollywood Tower of Terror. My first time! Ever. That would be me in the green top, third from the left in the back row...next to the girl ready to faint, my cousin Sam (who you might remember from my Philippines posts)...

When in California Adventure, we love to hit up the Pacific Wharf. This food court includes a Boudin Bakery and Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop, and the buildings are meant to mirror the look and feel of San Francisco. 

I like to pick up a strawberry margarita from Rita's Baja Blenders (*one of the few places that serves alcohol in California Adventure; none at Disneyland), and I get my lunch from The Lucky Fortune Cookery. (Filipinos, it's hard for us to go a day without rice...My mom loves it here.) Each bowl has steamed rice and stir-fried vegetables. Then it's all topped with your choice of chicken, beef or tofu. You can pick from several sauces, including teriyaki, spicy Korean, mandarin orange, and Thai coconut curry. The portions are a perfect size for lunch, but I usually get some sliced mangoes on the side as well. ;)

So far, I've told you about my family's regular spots. The Cozy Cone Motel in the recently opened Carsland section of California Adventure, however, is a new one. Everything, from popcorn to chili, is served in a cone-shaped vessel. I love churros, and I always end up buying several whenever I come to the Disney parks (...the only place where I will gladly overpay for a churro). So when I saw the churro bites with cinnamon-spiked chocolate sauce on the menu, I had to get them! You swirl each doughy nugget in the chocolate sauce, letting it drip into the ridges and completely cover the bite, and then you just pop the whole thing in your mouth. First, you get the gooey, rich chocolate...then the crisp and crunchy outside with the cinnamon-sugar...and, finally, the warm, soft, and fluffy inside.

I've always been obsessed with apple juice since childhood. I already loved the frozen apple juice served throughout Disneyland. Naturally, Red's Apple Freeze was next on my must-try list. Not just an ordinary apple juice slushie, Red's Apple Freeze has a hint of toasted marshmallow syrup and is topped with a passion-fruit mango foam. I compared the combination of the apple and the marshmallow syrup to the Filipino beverage Sago at Gulaman (Lol, yes, I went there), very sweet and brown sugar-y. The tart foam was a little odd to me, as well. (My dad thought it was a beer.) However, the apple juice flavor is still there, so I thought it was tasty and refreshing.

We also bought a chocolate-dipped ice cream cone for my niece, Jacquelyn...Yup...She got ice cream wasted...

My younger cousins Allan (left) and Sam (bottom-right)
Before we leave Carsland...I'd like to mention how ridiculously long the line was for new ride Radiator Springs Racers. Standby wait time: 180 minutes. 180 minutes. 3 hours. Lucky for us, we got to the park early and got a FastPass...which we still waited half an hour for...so we were able to get on in less than 15 minutes. Amazing. Moral of the story? Use FastPass.

Dinner #2 was at Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta. After a nice-sized lunch and plenty of snacks, the group decided to wait until after World of Color to eat dinner. By 9:30, we were starving. Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta was perfect because it's open as late as the park and the portions are big. This was also a first-time visit, so I shared a few things with Sam.

The BBQ Chicken Flatbread Pizza was my favorite, with chicken, smoky bacon, a combination of mozzarella and gouda cheeses, red onions, and fresh cilantro. The creaminess of the cheese balanced the tang and kick of the red onion and bbq sauce, and the cilantro added a refreshing bite. Bacon is bacon, and bacon makes everything better. (Did that make sense?...) The Portobello and Spinach Flatbread was delicious, as well! I love pesto, and that fresh basil taste was perfect with the velvety mozzarella. The thick slices of mushroom and artichokes made the pizza nice and hearty, for being a vegetarian option.

Alongside all that pizza, Sam and I also shared the Chicken & Sun-Dried Tomato Campanelle and the Five-Cheese Ravioli. Tender slices of chicken are tossed into a sauce of sun-dried tomato pesto and cream, then poured over little bell-shaped pasta. The ravioli is mixed with basil pesto and topped with fresh tomatoes, toasted pine nuts, and grated parmesan. While both were tasty and satisfying, the Campanelle was definitely my favorite of the two. The sauce is thick yet silky, and you just want to keep digging into the bowl for more...I'm pretty sure I ate most of it and maybe let Sam have maybe a 1/3 of it...

Back in Disneyland, there's not a lot of places that I haven't tried. Troubadour Tavern is one of those rare cases. Tucked away in a corner next to the Princess Fantasy Faire, this medieval-themed eatery can be easy for older groups to miss. Since we had my niece and nephew with us on this trip, it was a convenient lunch stop on our way to Mickey's Toontown after a morning of Peter Pan's Flight and Mad Tea Party teacups...

They serve 3 kinds of loaded baked potatoes at this tavern: broccoli & cheese, bbq chicken, and bacon & sour cream. By the time we got here, which was at only 1 in the afternoon, they were already out of bbq chicken. We all decided to get the bacon & sour cream with buttered corn on the side (I'm not a big fan of the chili-lime corn). Apparently, when they say "bacon & sour cream", they actually mean "bacon and sour cream and butter and cheese and chives". Also, that is a lot of bacon. You might think that a baked potato is just a side, but this portion was giant and very filling. My dad also ordered the bratwurst with sauerkraut on a pretzel roll. According to him, the bread wasn't too dry because the bratwurst was big and juicy. The sauerkraut and spicy brown mustard that he smothered it in probably helped as well. :P

Any theme park...in the middle of summer...in Southern California...can be a little intimidating. It's hot, sunny, and crowded. Luckily, Disneyland has the perfect solution: the Tiki Juice Bar. This little refuge is located in Adventureland, right outside the Enchanted Tiki Room and just before the Jungle Cruise boats. I could argue that the Adventureland-New Orleans Square stretch is the best area in the park for food. Here in Adventureland, they have Tropical Imports (a healthy selection of fresh fruits, treats, and beverages), Bengal Barbecue (items like Polynesian chicken and spicy Banyan beef skewers), and the paradise gem that is Tiki Juice Bar.

Anyone that ever goes to Disneyland has to get the Dole pineapple whip. This soft serve is extremely well-known amongst Disney-goers. This frozen dessert has the bright, refreshing flavor of pineapple with a super smooth texture. The whip soft-serve is also rich and creamy. Part of the fun is working your way down this gigantic spiral of pineapple-y goodness. Sam also ordered the float, which is Dole whip over pineapple juice. Both treats are ideal for sitting on a bench in the Central Plaza and relaxing in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle!

There's also a popcorn cart in the Central Plaza, just steps away from the juice bar, and I couldn't resist buying the R2D2 souvenir bucket. (Huge, HUGE Star Wars fan!) Right behind churros, popcorn is on my list of must-buy snacks that I will happily hand over my cash for. The antique-looking cart just calls out to you, with its old-fashioned decor. You smell the toasty and buttery popcorn wafting all the way down Main Street. Like I said, find yourself a bench in the Central Plaza and relax!

Our last dinner of the trip is always at Cafe Orleans. (I told you, we really love it here in New Orleans Square.) Serving up Cajun-Creole concoctions--like gumbo and a Mardi Gras blackened chicken sandwich--Cafe Orleans is a perfect way to end the night. Ride Pirates of the Caribbean, walk on over to the restaurant, and stay to watch Fantasmic right on the waterfront.

First, we like to enjoy a basket of Pommes Frites, tossed with parmesan, garlic, and parsley, served with a spicy remoulade. We love to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the jazz music.

One of our regular orders here is the famous Monte Cristo Sandwich. This huge plate consists of a turkey, ham, & swiss sandwich, fried in a light batter and dusted with powdered sugar, served with a berry puree for dipping and fresh fruit. The Monte Cristo is crisp and golden-brown on the outside, then it's tender and gooey when you bite into it. The sweetness of the powdered sugar and the sweet/sour from the berry puree helps to cut through the heaviness of all the bread and cheese, while it also balances the salt of the meat and Swiss. 

We also had two salmon dishes: the Cresent City Salad and Cafe Orleans Salmon Sandwich. The salad is a fun mix of spring greens, pecans, red grapes, orange segments, caramelized onions, and roasted corn. It's topped with an orange-cilantro vinaigrette and your choice of blackened chicken or pan-seared salmon. The sandwich includes a hefty portion of salmon and a cucumber-tomato relish inside a multi-grain roll. On the side, waffle-cut sweet potato fries with remoulade and a variety of pickles were the perfect accents.

Both dishes made plays on sweet and sour flavors, highlighting the salmon. Also, the pop in your mouth from the grapes, corn, cucumber, and tomato offers a contrast to the firm, meaty salmon. Again, you don't have to worry about portion size here. There is plenty of food!


But, if you're going to eat at Cafe Orleans, you must save room for dessert! My dad and I are obsessed with their beignets. Beignets are a New Orleans classic, and they're done here with a little Disney twist. These Mickey-shaped, powdered-sugared confections are served with a raspberry coulis (puree of fresh raspberries) and a vanilla bean creme anglaise (a very luscious custard sauce). When the warm pillows of dough are put in front of you, you just want to dunk them in the sauces and shove them all in your mouth...then lick the powdered sugar off your fingers as you sink into your chair in satisfaction...

Then, there's the Bananas Foster Crepe. It's a very thin, light pancake filled with caramelized bananas and topped with caramel sauce and bruleed banana slices. A full disclosure, though, this is a very sweet dessert. I mean, it's caramelized sugar on caramelized sugar on caramelized sugar. But it's sooo goood. It's definitely one of those wow-that's-super-indulgent-but-hey-it's-our-last-night-here-so-let's-just-do-it kind of desserts ;)

When the time comes to finally pack up and head home, there's always that lingering "but whyyyyy?!" feeling. But, it's ok! You can take some of Disneyland home with you in the form of snacks and sweet treats. (For those late night stress-eating sessions when you're having Disneyland withdrawals...maybe?) There are a number of places where you can find these, such as Dulce Aventura in California Adventure, Candy Palace on Disneyland's Main Street, and Pooh's Corner Bakery in Disneyland's Critter Country. (Disney-themed candies, hand-crafted chocolates, and caramel apples galore!) 

However, especially when it's the morning of a long drive or flight home, we don't always have time to go into the parks to pick something up. That's what makes Marceline's Confectionery so great. It's conveniently located in Downtown Disney, so no park admission required. I always grab a bag (or 2...or 4...don't judge) of "ChocolatEARS" Milk Chocolate covered pretzels, which are also available in dark and white chocolate. I also make sure to grab a bag (or 2...or 3...ok, judge me) of Caramel Corn. There's also bags of chocolate caramel, cheese, and cookies 'n' cream popcorn. Inside Marceline's, there's a glass display counter that showcases a number of handmade chocolate treats. On this particular day, I decided to try the pineapple skewer..a fresh pineapple spear covered in dark chocolate and drizzled with white chocolate. The dark chocolate paired well with the super sweet and super juicy pineapple, a fun and surprising bite.

I hope my latest food adventure in Disneyland gives you ideas on where to dine next for your upcoming trip! Have any tips or comments about your favorite spots? Feel free to leave them in the comment box :)