Disneyland: Cafe Orleans

A few days ago, I posted my first review from my family's Disneyland trip. Then...I left you all hanging. I got lost in the mayhem of the last 5 days, which included fun times in a Bangkok Suite, volunteering in Jon's kindergarten class, and receiving a pretty awesome gift in the mail. Luckily, that just means I have some exciting things to share with you all in the near future! But, first things first, let's go back to Disneyland! Think of it as a nice little mental vacation in the middle of the work week...

Our next destination is Cafe Orleans, located in the park's New Orleans Square. I've skimmed over it in past Disneyland recaps, but I love this restaurant so much that it deserves its own dedicated post. (There will probably be another one when I visit during the holidays...) My first meal here was in 2007 with my parents. We made reservations for a table outside, with a view of the Rivers of America. Patrons can watch the Mark Twain Riverboat and Sailing Ship Columbia go by, hear the music of the pirate band, or just do some good ol' people watching. Now, whenever my family and I play tour guide/host to visiting friends and relatives, Cafe Orleans is the centerpiece of our dining experiences.

To reach New Orleans Square, you can board the train at any of the other Disneyland Railroad stations, then disembark at the New Orleans Square station. Or, if you're up for a walk (which I highly recommend), you can make the trek by way of Adventureland! Stop for an entertaining cruise through the jungle! Hippos, piranhas, and angry natives...Jon's favorite ride ever.

Adventureland is also home to the famous Tiki Juice Bar and its Dole Whip creations. Grab a giant spiral of the tropical soft serve, or the equally delicious float with pineapple juice, and enjoy the exotic bird show at The Enchanted Tiki Room. There's also a nice seating area between Jungle Cruise and Aladdin's Oasis for you to savor any refreshments. (Don't worry about spoiling your appetite before reaching Cafe Orleans. Come on, you're on vacation!)

If the little explorers in your group aren't quite satisfied yet, climb up to Tarzan's Treehouse. There are amazing views at the top, so don't forget to have your camera ready!

Finally, just past the tree house is the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. (My favorite ride ever.) You take a boat through a bayou, surrounded by crickets chirping, bullfrogs croaking, and a banjo strumming. The only light comes from the dimly lit lanterns and fireflies. Suddenly, your vessel plunges down two waterfalls into an eerie underground grotto, then scenes of pirate battles and life in Isla Tesoro lie before you.

My mom, Auntie Cathy, and nephew Kai
My brother-in-law Jeremiah and niece Jacquelyn
Once you've made your escape from those pesky pirates, stroll through the French Quarter-style buildings. The facades are reminiscent of Creole townhouses, with shops on the bottom and homes on the upper floors, and they include beautiful ironwork on all of the balconies. The Court of Angels (pictured above) is a great spot to pose for pictures.

After the walk from Main Street U.S.A. to Cafe Orleans, you'll have worked up quite the appetite. So, the first order you make should be the Pommes Frites. These crispy french fries are tossed with Parmesan cheese, fresh garlic, and parsley, and they're served with a Cajun Spiced Remoulade. (Order extra dipping sauce. Trust me, one won't be enough!) As soon as you enter the restaurant, the aroma of garlic is hard to ignore, and if you take a look around, almost every table has ordered a basket or two of these fries. When my family and I arrived for our lunch reservation, I didn't even have to look at the menu. Pommes Frites is a must, every single time we come here.

This next item isn't listed on the menu, but it comes as the side for the Salmon Sandwich. My dad loves sweet potato fries, so he asked for an order of them on their own and our server happily obliged. The crunchy waffle-cut fries are also served with its own dipping sauce, which tasted more honey mustard-based than the remoulade. 

My Uncle Romy had a bowl of the New Orleans Gumbo, a spicy stew of chicken, andouille sausage, and tasso ham topped with Cajun-style dirty rice. Royal Street Veranda's version, though still delicious, is a little different. I actually prefer this one. So, for a nice big bowl of gumbo in New Orleans Square, make sure to come to Cafe Orleans!

As for the main entrees, there's always at least one person at the table who orders the signature Monte Cristo Sandwiches. A deep-fried sandwich is pretty hard to resist, especially one that's this good. Hearty segments of ham, turkey, and Swiss cheese sandwiches arrive dusted with powdered sugar. And don't be fooled into assuming that the side of berry puree is just an attempt to add a "healthy" aspect. You need this berry puree. You will love this berry puree. It's the sweet-yet-tart counterpart to all of the more rich components, giving the dish its trademark balance of sweet and salty flavors.

This time around, I ordered my usual Crescent City Salad with blackened chicken, instead of pan-seared salmon. Spinach and baby greens are tossed with roasted corn, caramelized onions, and candied pecans to make a tasty, festive salad. The chicken has a spicy crust, which pairs well with the refreshing orange segments and sweet grapes. My favorite part of this salad though, and what convinces me to order it again and again, is the vinaigrette. The orange-cilantro vinaigrette is so bright and fresh on the palate.

Even Jon enjoyed every bite of his spaghetti with marinara sauce! Excuse the messy photo, but this 5-year-old was just so happy...with salmon and broccoli

Not only does Cafe Orleans have amazing food and amazing ambiance, this themed eatery is perfect for families to experience together. Young or old! Our entire party, from the grandparents to the babies, left happy and satisfied. Eating at Cafe Orleans is a Disney tradition that our family will keep for a long time!

Now...this is usually the part where I talk about dessert. Cafe Orleans is also especially known for their Mickey Mouse Beignets and accompanying sauces. But, on this trip, I was eyeing another place for a sweet treat that I've been waiting for a long time to try! Stay tuned for my next review! :)