A How To Disney Dining at the Disneyland Resort
I am headed to SoCal for the The Disneyland Half Marathon in September and to celebrate wanted to share some tips and tricks for planning a Disneyland or RunDisney weekend at the Disneyland Resort. So let's spend some time talking about my favorite part of Disneyland, FOOD!
Disneyland is sort of like Las Vegas but instead of a bunch of adults running around intoxicated you have kids of all ages. And let’s face it, kids are pretty much just tiny drunk adults. Both Vegas and Disneyland are money pits and it's hard to stop while you're ahead. Disneyland is your wallet's #1 enemy and if you don’t know what you are doing you can EASILY spend an unreal sum of money on food, snacks and drinks. SO, let’s talk about where to spend your money. (To make reservations to the restaurants call Disney Dining (714) 781-3463 or CLICK HERE to explore/book online)
BRING YOUR OWN WATER BOTTLES. I have probably spent more money buying water bottles than I did on my college education and that is sadly not even a joke. A bottle of Dasani at the Land of Disney is going to run you around $3.00. IT COSTS MORE TO BUY A WATER BOTTLE THAN IT DOES TO BUY A CHURRO! Do yourself a favor and invest in canteens or re-usable water bottles before you go to the resort. There are water fountains EVERYWHERE or if you are in the know, there are cold filtered fountains designed for filling up water bottles throughout Disneyland. Where are they located you ask? Well there are 4 and they are located at Rancho Del Zocalo (the Mexican restaurant next to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad), Club Buzz (Ok it’s actually called Tomorrowland Terrace but it will always be Club Buzz to me. It is the restaurant in Tomorrowland where they do the Jedi Training Academy), another is on the back side of the French Market (in New Orleans Square by the Mint Julep bar and across from the Disneyland Railroad) and lastly in Plaza Inn (on the Tomorrowland side of “The Hub” right at the end of Main Street). The only one I can think of in DCA is inside the baby center next to Guest Relations located directly on your left as you enter the park. ***(TIP: Didn’t bring a reusable water bottle? No problem! Any and every restaurant in the resort will give you a free cup of ice water in a small to go cup if you ask. I like to get a cup of ice for my water bottle during the summer.)
****Beating the Heat Tip: Their squirt gun/fans are an AMAZING investment if it's hot. Bite the bullet and buy one OR think ahead and bring one. Adding ice to the water makes a HUGE difference. And if your batteries die, ask a vendor and they will replace them if you bought your fan during that trip.
Disneyland has a BILLION food options. You can eat at the hotels, in downtown Disney, offsite or at the parks. There’s a ton of options and I could review every restaurant in the resort but instead here is a list of the places I tend to eat when I am at the resort.
1. La Brea Bakery (Restaurant): This restaurant is quick, easy and delicious. It’s easy to get an actual meal that will hold you over until lunch for under $15.00. They have omelets, French toast, pancakes, scrambled eggs, home fries etc. We pretty much always eat breakfast here.
2. Storytellers or Goofy’s Kitchen:
If we are springing for a buffet or a character breakfast, we go to either of these restaurants. Goofy’s Kitchen is better for a vast array of characters but I think Storyteller’s food is better. Storyteller’s is inside the Grand Californian Hotel and Goofy’s Kitchen is in the Disneyland Hotel. Both will cost you about $40.00 for an adult. Making memories people.
3. Jamba Juice: If I am running late, in a hurry or if I am not super hungry, I bring some sort of protein bar & grab a smoothie in Downtown Disney.
1. Naples: Naples is located on the very edge of Downtown Disney right next to the trams. We go here for either lunch or dinner but their pizza is RIDICULOUSLY delicious. Naples is definitely in my top 3 favorite restaurants to eat at. (They also have a convenient to go shop next door. The quality is a little less because the pizza sits out but it’s quick and its cheap.) We normally spend about $20-$30 here. (Without alcohol.)
2. Rancho Del Zocalo: I do not like eating in the parks because I think the food isn’t as good as the hotels (you end up spending almost the exact same amount of money why not go for the better food and sit down in air conditioning) but if we do we go to Rancha Del Zocalo in Disneyland. It’s Mexican food and mostly everything on the menu is delicious and the portions are HUGE. Probably will cost you about $13-$15.
4. BREAD BOWLS: Our favorite fast on the go food in the parks are bread bowls from Boudin’s. It’s the only “fast food” I will eat in DCA (Their broccoli cheddar, clam chowder or CHINESE CHICKEN SALAD IN A BREAD BOWL**#FAVORITE are delicious. (You can also buy delicious bread bowls in Disneyland right next to Pirates of the Caribbean at a window called “Royal Street Veranda” or across from the Haunted Mansion exit/next to the dock for the Columbia or the Mark Twain at the little hole in the wall called "Harbour Galley.") Bread bowls are about $10-$12.
THE COVE BAR
If you enjoy alcohol or if Disneyland is packed and you need a minute to relax and unwind, here’s your best kept secret. When we go to Disneyland we end up spending at least an hour (sometimes more…) at the Cove Bar. DON’T STICK TO THEIR MENU! They have some yummy cocktails on that menu, yes that is true, but the options are endless. Talk to your bartender, tell them what you’re interested in, and let them make you something ridiculous. (And take care of them if they make you something special.)
My favorite off the menu drinks:
1. Watermelon Mojito
2. Jalapeno Margarita (I think this was added to the menu though…)
3. Gummy Bear Shots (#Danger, and remember you’re at the happiest place on earth. Reel it in.)
4. Zombie (BEWARE. GET ONE AND YOU’RE DONE.)
5. Melrose Place
6. Beverly Hills
***DRINKING IN DISNEYLAND IS GOING TO COST YOU AN ARM AND A LEG. JUST FYI. NOT CHEAP. About $12.00 a drink. (I think $8 for beer.)
Favorite Food at the Cove Bar
1. SEBASTIAN NACHOS (Actually called “lobster nachos” these will change your life. You can also ask for chicken) I would murder for some right now. I die for them. I live for them. I love them.
2. Chicken Quesadilla (I don’t know if this is on the menu or if my friends make it special but yum.)
3. The Flounder Tacos (Also actually called “Fish Tacos” but these are delicious.)
4. PIZZA: Yum. Enough Said.
Carb Loading at Storytellers
The only place I carb load before a RunDisney race at the resort is Storytellers restaurant in the Grand Californian Hotel. This is our pre-race dinner go to place. It’s also my absolute favorite place to eat dinner in the entire resort. They have cornbread which fills my heart with joy. Their spaghetti with meat sauce is effing delicious. It’s the best. They have a buffet or you can order from the menu. (Almost anything on their lunch menu they can make you for dinner. Don’t be afraid to ask for a burger or a chicken quesadilla.) Dinner from the menu is about $15.00 while the buffet will cost a kidney and $40-$50.
The only other place I really eat dinner in the resort (besides Naples and Storytellers) is World of Color Dining at Ariel’s Grotto. The food is good but we never get to the park early enough to get a fastpass for World of Color (the night time show at California Adventure that I have to see every trip because it’s unbelievable.) It’s a set price and you get a salad, main entrée and dessert. I think you get the most bang for your buck here but it’s not cheap. Dinner will run you around $40.
Napa Rose and Steakhouse 55
If you’re looking to spend some money on a really unbelievable meal these are your places. (Actually it’s probably the same price as character dining and the food at both of these restaurants is award winning.) Both are upscale and feature steak and crème Brule which really is all I look for in a fancy restaurant. (High standards, am I right?) But for you wine snobs and food connoisseurs here are your restaurants. I’m not even going to list how much you’ll spend because sides are involved and it’s a splurge. Ok fine we are talking from $50-$100+...
BRING YOUR OWN SNACKS! Disneyland smells delicious 24/7 and if you’re not prepared you will spend $40-$75 alone on popcorn, ice cream and dole whips just because you are being tricked into thinking you’re hungry. So bring protein bars, popcorn, chips, sugar and treats you can keep in a purse, backpack or in a stroller. The air always smells like popcorn and churros so bring something to keep your mouth busy. (If you want something small and sweet, swing over to Ghirardelli’s in California Adventure, they give out free squares of chocolate. You’re welcome. Their Sundaes are also really yummy.)
OK, if you want to do something EXTRA special at nighttime there is an INCREDIBLE show called “Fantasmic” at Disneyland. It’s pretty much the best thing you can do at the parks, in my opinion. It’s got fireworks, characters, fire, dancing, Mickey Mouse being a badass, glittery costumes, big boats and an incredible score. It’s not to be missed. If you’re not in the mood to wait hours for a good seat you can buy special tickets through Disney Dining for Fantasmic. You get an actual chair and a desert box with cheese, crackers, THE MOST DELICOIUS SUGAR COOKIE FILLED WITH RASBERRY IN THE WORLD, a chocolate covered strawberry and some other stuff. You also get unlimited soda, water, coffee or hot chocolate. It’s really fun and you should definitely do it once. (TIP: Do the 9:00 show so you can stay in your cushioned seat for perfect viewing of the fireworks right after Fantastmic. And arrive early to check in to get really, really good seats. Front row is best.)
WHAT I WOULD DO FOR SOME SEBASTIAN NACHOS RIGHT NOW! There's nothing I love more than eating my way through the Disneyland Resort. Now this isn't everything, these are just my favorites. But if you have any questions shoot them my way by commenting below or emailing me at RunSelfieRepeat@gmail.com. Alright friends, until tomorrow #RunSelfieRepeat.