Wrote a travel article for the SM Observer on the food of Disneyland! Enjoy!
Summer Days: An Edible Passport of Disneyland
Is any Southern California summer complete without at trip to Disney? (The answer is no, and if you have to ask then you really need to head towards Sleeping Beauty’s castle…). Naturally everyone always talks about the rides at Disneyland, but an unsung memory of any child’s (or adult’s) day is the food consumed at the House of Mouse. This is not a time to be snooty, none of these options are looking for (or are expected to have) a Michelin Star, but what they are is fun! (You remember fun right?) So don a set of Mickey ears enjoy a passport into the world of edible Disney.
Eating on the Run
Corn dogs (more than one person on Chowhound swore that Disneyland’s Corn Dogs were the best Corn Dogs on Earth), Pickles, Turkey Legs, Mickey Ice Cream Popsicles, there’s something so classic about walking around Disneyland and eating at the same time. Call us uncivilized, and normally I would, but when there’s rides to be ridden sitting down to eat isn’t always the smartest strategy. If they’ve already given out all the Fast Passes (placeholders so you can ride the rides later on) for the day then there’s a chance that you’re going to stand in an hour long line (my case for Space Mountain) so a Pickle or Corn dog can be the perfect hunger solution. Plus they make great photo opportunities!
It’s a down low secret, but you can bring a limited amount of food into the park. (This is one of many areas that Disneyland has the airport way beat...) There are lockers on Main Street ($6-$10 depending on the size) where you can stash a small cooler with picnic tables and chairs conveniently located nearby. If you are going to both Disneyland and California Adventure with Park Hopper Passes (which we did) there are also lockers in between the two parks near Guest Relations. You can also bring in non-alcoholic beverages like soda pop (I don’t normally call it soda pop, but it seems so appropriate for Disneyland.). It’s also a great idea to bring in a reusable water bottle (like a SIGG) since there are a good number of water fountains and Anaheim can get quite toasty.
Fine Dining a la Pirate Style
If you’re looking for a place to just sit down and relax Blue Bayou is your best bet. The restaurant, that has been open in 1967, offers Cajun and Creole style food in a unique setting offering nighttime dining inside (even though the SoCal sun is shining outside). Like any good waterfront property restaurant you’re paying for the ambiance (that being the view of the boats setting sail on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride) with the adult lunch entrees running thirty bucks, including their infamous Monte Cristo sandwich. The Kids menu is more decently priced (about nine dollars each) and more than just the standard greasy Kids fare (they offer grilled Salmon). Reservations are a must for this one.
Let’s Learn about Food… at Disneyland
In case you still haven’t made it to this one, California Adventure opened in 2001 as a park to celebrate and pay tribute to California. From the Golden Gate Bridge to the Hollywood Back Lot to the classic wooden Amusement Pier California Adventure California Adventure is best explained as “stepping inside a California postcard.” This includes tours of California’s classic foods such as the Mission Tortillas and Boudin Breads. At the Mission Tortilla Factory you get to watch dough transformed into hot, tasty tortillas (Plus you get a free tortilla at the end, and if it’s your birthday you get a whole bag!). At the Boudin Bakery tour, of the famous 150-year-old artisanal bakery in San Francisco, you watch the bakers create fresh sourdough bread through a glass walled tour hosted by Rosie O’Donnell. No free bread here, but you can buy Mickey shaped Sourdough bread baguettes at the end of this tour.
Dinner Downtown Disney Style
Sure it’s full of chain restaurants (Wetzel’s Pretzels, Rainforest Café, Haagen-Dazs) but sometimes that’s what you need when you have children who just need to be feed (which was the case for the two kids ten and under I was with who had just spent 12 hours riding rides). We opted for take out from La Bread Bakery (originated by foodie darling Nancy Silverton) going for chili bread bowls for the kids. The café offers more “adult fare” such as Flatbreads, Salads, and Panini’s.