Disneyland: Dessert at Hungry Bear Restaurant

In the last couple of years, the Disneyland Railroad has become a very important part of our Disney vacations. Ever since Jon developed a love for trains, this classic attraction shot all the way up to the Top 5 on our Must Ride List. I always hear the excited "Oh! Oh! Oooh!" when we enter the park, and the desperate "One more, pleeeeease!" before we leave the park. The numerous voyages on this "1.2-mile scenic tour aboard an authentic steam-powered train" is what finally led us to Hungry Bear Restaurant. The tour passes right through Splash Mountain, then continues behind Hungry Bear, offering extensive views of Critter Country and the Rivers of America.

Admittedly, we don't spend a lot of time in this portion of the park (which can be found on the far edges of a Disneyland map), and we were content with the passing views from the train. But, after catching glimpses of Hungry Bear's riverside tables over and over again, my curiosity just kept building. I would say, over and over again, "Hey, we should check that place out next time!" Finally, "next time" has arrived.

This is one of only three restaurants that I haven't eaten at yet, not even to pass through for a snack. When I walked up, I felt that exciting buzz that comes with trying something new and unfamiliar! Towering trees and sprawling ferns lined the entrance, and the restaurant's facade reminded me of a rustic cabin or lodge in the wilderness. So far on this trip, restaurants have checked two boxes: great food + great theming. (Yes, it's possible for Disney restaurants to fail at one or the other! Who remembers Pizza Oom Mow Mow?!) Hungry Bear seemed like it could check those boxes off easily.

The restaurant's menu went through an overhaul recently. Its signature items now include a "Pioneer Chili Cheeseburger" and a Fried Green Tomato Sandwich, which almost tempted me with its jicama-mango slaw! However, having just eaten at Cafe Orleans, I was here for one thing and one thing only: dessert. While planning this trip, almost every single review that I read raved about the mini pies and the Lemon "Bumblebee" Cupcake. So, I ordered one of each!

After ordering, we set off to find a table. Hungry Bear has plenty of seating spread out between 2 levels of shaded terraces, but the areas closest to the service counter and directly overlooking the water are usually the most crowded. A bit of a pleasant surprise is the secluded corner towards the very back, away from all of the noise.

This is where we ended up sitting, an entire section all to ourselves. While it's furthest away from the entrance/exit, the payoff is the soothing peace and quiet. The restaurant was built to feel like a relaxing retreat in the middle of a pine forest, and it can really feel like it when you're tucked away in this corner. (A fun little note, though: The steam trains actually pass through the trees on the left of this photo!)

And, if you're still not feeling "one with nature", take a peek at the adorable ducks swimming along the docks and riverbank. All sorts of woodland creatures call the Rivers of America home.

Directly across the water is Tom Sawyer Island, an unobstructed view from a shaded table. Exhausted parents and kids alike can benefit from taking a break in the shade! At Hungry Bear, space is ample and comfortable, and relaxing picturesque views are all around.

At last, it was time to dig in! I reached for the Lemon "Bumblebee" Cupcake immediately.

Honey-infused frosting is piped high atop a lemon cake, freckled with edible gold glitter and adorned with a chocolate almond-winged bumblebee. Reviews definitely left me with high expectations, so my mouth was already watering just taking pictures of it. (Almost too cute to bite into...almost.)

My sister, brother-in-law, and I actually used forks to nibble away at this cupcake. It was huge. Matching its big size, though, was its big flavor. The cake was moist, yet light and airy. The rich curd-like filling was tart, but not overpowering. The frosting itself was more like a creamy mousse! Altogether, they created a heavenly, lemony-luscious dessert! As a lover of lemony sweets, I devoured my Bumblebee Cupcake and was so glad that it lived up to the hype. (I made excessive happy-moaning noises and everything...) I even appreciated the perfect cake-to-filling-to-frosting ratio! (Science!)

Then, as if that weren't enough, we also split the chocolate extravaganza that is known as Trixie's Pie. The crust is filled with a layer of brownie, hidden underneath a chocolate-vanilla swirl. Crunchy chocolate bits and crushed cookies top the pie off.

Again, this dessert could be easily shared between two people. My favorite part, much like the cupcake, was the mousse. It was so rich and yummy that I could probably eat a whole bucket of that mousse all by itself. The chocolate spheres were also a fun, tasty garnish to munch on.

Of course, my sister and I couldn't help ourselves and absolutely had to share sneak peeks on Instagram...

...even waiting around for the Mark Twain Riverboat or Sailing Ship Columbia to pass by, so that we could include it in the background! (Awkward, hilarious, ridiculous...) Kudos to my brother-in-law for waiting patiently while dozens of photos were snapped. Another reason why the secluded corner was a great benefit...photo shoot shenanigans! Oh, the things we do for our blog...

In an even funnier twist of events, as I was taking photos with the Sailing Ship Columbia in the background, I looked up for a quick second and noticed... my mom, dad, and Jacquelyn floating by on the ship! (My mom is the woman standing in front of the mast and waving, Jacquelyn is the little girl that she's carrying, and my dad is standing behind them in the blue shirt.)

After having a good laugh, we put our sunglasses back on, put the cameras down, and just enjoyed the tranquil scenery. It was one of the most calm Summer afternoons that I've ever had in Disneyland! With the Haunted Mansion and Splash Mountain attractions nearby, Hungry Bear Restaurant is a perfect spot to unwind after standing around in long lines. Looking for a sweet, down-home bite to eat? Definitely come to Hungry Bear and try the desserts!