As a fat person who enjoys eating, and more importantly enjoys the camaraderie of eating with friends or family at the table. I have to admit one of the main thoughts of visiting Disneyland for a day is the thought of all the snacks to be had and eaten while there enjoying the park.
I mean for me it really is a main concern. At 52, Italian, and carrying a 250 pound frame it is the only time I can really let go of whatever crazy diet I am on and just pig out in the park. Hey it's all good, it's ok to pig, I mean heck you are walking the whole time you are there right?
The secret is don't eat too much of one thing, if you do, you can't fit anything else in that over bloated thing you call a stomach. So eat some of this, some of that, an ice cream here, a pickle there, you get the picture, wow I sound like a pregnant women. So yes I let myself go in the park when it comes to eating. I have some favorite places to stuff my face at and some not so favorites. So let's dig in shall we?
I hate to say it, but for a world-class resort, I really don't think the food is all that great at Disneyland, I mean it should be as good as the park right? But I feel it falls short in many ways. Now as I said before there are exceptions, and with all our varying taste buds you my not agree with me in my findings, but that's ok, we have all been raised with a varying smacker, so I am open to debate.
One of my least favorite things at Disneyland Anaheim is the popcorn. Please know writing this fact is very hard for me because it really is one food I would want to like when there. However I am let down every time I make a purchase. I mean it looks good, smells good, comes in a cool looking box, heck it's even sold out of a really boss popcorn wagon with a little clown turning the popcorn wheel. But eating it is another story.
I'm not sure what exact popcorn brand is being used at Disneyland, but the oil in that stuff just kind of sit's in your tummy and does not go away. Think I am joking? Next time you have some popcorn in the park and you are next to the Rivers of America, throw a kernel in and watch the grease permeate from around it like the gulf oil spill. Now please understand I am no stranger to the taste of oil in food, and it does not gross me out. I am in fact, a fast food junkie, so I can say with pride my body is prepared for the oil slicks that form in my stomach.
That being said this popcorn is not right somehow, maybe it is the brand or some ingredient that does not agree with me. I know my stomach does not agree when eating it, so with a great sadness I do not purchase popcorn any longer while at the park. I look at it with sad puppy eyes as I stroll by making my way to the Ice Cream Bars instead. Hey at least the ducks love it, maybe that's why they never sink! An Ice cream Mickey and a cold diet coke! Now that is a treat! I know, I know, diet coke? Hey man it's less sugar!
I love the park ice cream, I get the good stuff off of Main street by the lockers, it's next to the coffee corner with the cool turn of the century telephones on the wall. Did you know you can pick up one of those phones and listen to people talking like they did back in the 1920's when towns shared one telephone line? It was called a party line, and the entire town shared one phone line. There is more than one phone hanging on the wall, and all the phones are very entertaining to listen to while you sip your cup of Joe. Each phone as a different story, check it out next time you are there.
So I go there to get my ice cream because the line is shorter than the ice cream shop across the street, also while in line here, you can entertained to various sound tracks that are very humorous coming out of the upstairs windows of the buildings. One is of a funny fellow taking a shower, and my favorite is a music lesson being given to a young student by a singing teacher.
Also in the path of that side street, sit's a snack cart, I love the fresh apples and banana's there. As a fellow who does not really care for the hamburgers being sold in the park, I do have a lunch favorite and that is the Corn Dog stand at the end of Main Street by the photo store. For $5.95 you can get a really, really big corn dog and some sliced apples or chips with all you want mustard. This dog is very satisfying and did I mention that it is really, really big?
I like the hot dogs at the Carnation Cafe also but they are a bit pricy for me knowing it is just a hot dog. I see many people lined up in front of the Tiki Room to get the pineapple ice cream there. I tired it once, but it was really sweet and I could not get it down the sewer pipe I call a throat. I could be wrong on this one because the line is always packed, and people are lined up around the corner and all the way down to Aladdin.
One thing that I have not tried, and amazing to watch, is people eating a Turkey leg from the Turkey leg stand in the circle by the castle. Oh my gawd, is it just me or does this site just amaze you? Someone gnawing on this bone just really cracks me up. When I see some little petite girl or a Grandma tearing meat off that thing it kind of strike's a prehistoric feeling in me. Kind of hard to swallow (no pun intended).
I always save room for one of my favorite places to eat and that is in New Orleans Square at the Cafe Orleans, they have the best Chicken Gumbo I have ever had hands down! This soup is the bomb, it has chucks of tender chicken in a tangy, spicy soup broth, with a heap of dirty rice in the middle of it. It is the best in the park, and way better than the Chicken Gumbo in the Bread Bowl kitchen next to the Nightmare before Christmas shop. I have been told it is not the same soup as Cafe Orleans and that each restaurant has it's own recipe. I also like the French fry's at Cafe' Orleans, they are smothered in Parmesan cheese and really are a treat, the iced tea is great too.
The French Market has a great setting, but the food there is average to me, it seems kind of tasteless? I think it needs more grease. The great thing this restaurant offers is amazing live music, they feature a fantastic Jazz trio. It always makes me feel a bit perplexed when I walk over there to listen to the music and no one is clapping at the amazing talents that these fellows put out.
Each one of them is a top-notch musician, they feature guitar, stand-up bass, and a horn player that doubles on clarinet, sax and trumpet. I always clap after each song as I enter the eating area and everyone looks at me like I yelled fire in a packed theatre. The guests quickly realize that the band really appreciates the acknowledgement and they succumb to applause. I love the smile and tip of the hat the band guys give me, it makes it all worth while.
The Mint Julep bar is a nice little drink that a lot of folks do not know about, you can access it from the French Cafe' eating area near the bathrooms to the back side of the restaurant. It is a little window that you order from and the drink is very refreshing. Add more mint please!
Big Thunder Ranch has BBQ and it is all you can eat! It is a bit pricy, but if you are really hungry the food is excellent, messy, and they have a little cowboy show to go with it. I miss the McDonald's French fry's that used to be located at the Harbor Gallery by the Rivers of America, it was directly across from the exit of the Haunted Mansion. They were fresh, hot, salty and oh soooo tasty! I heard that McDonald's might be making a comeback at the location, with a full Mickey D's menu! Not sure if this is good or a bad thing yet.
Of course the food at the Blue Bayou Restaurant is really great (most of the time) I have had a bad experience or two there now and again. I like the 5-Pepper Roast New York as well as the Monte Cristo lunch sandwich. I have been going there for 30 years now and have never once been seated by the lagoon where the boats pass from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. They always put me by the kitchen door? Maybe they are trying to tell me something.
The Mexican food restaurant " Rancho Del Zocalo" in Frontierland between Thunder Mountain and the shooting gallery is always amazing. The choices are good and everything is fresh, I have never been disappointed when eating there.
One of my favorite places to eat is the Carnation Cafe' on Main Street. The breakfast is good, but the lunch is better, I love the hot meatloaf sandwich, it is simply superb, however be careful because this meal will fill you up all day! Remember the idea is to survive each meal to eat again later. Did you know you can make over the phone reservations for this eatery? Do it, and you will get the next available table.
There are many places to eat at Disney's California Adventure, it has a whole slew of restaurants, however none of them really knock me out of the park. The Pacific Warf Cafe has the worst sandwiches ever! They don't even put the horrible meat on the amazing sourdough bread they sell there! I was so disappointed by my last visit to this eatery, I asked for my money back. That being said, the soup in the bread bowl is very good, as is the top-notch (best ever) fresh baked sourdough bread.
I could go on and on, but hands down, when at Disneyland my favorite place for an amazing steak is located of out of the park. That wonderful restaurant is "Steakhouse 55" located in the ground floor of the Disneyland Hotel. It is a bit pricy, but the fillet steak is so tender it melts in your mouth. The Caesar Salad with Olive Tapenade is above reproach as is the Chef's potato Stack Au Gratin. This elegant setting features all you can eat fresh sourdough bread with non-frozen butter. I believe it comes from the bakery at the Warf Cafe, and as I said before it is the best you have ever had.
I have seen many an actor from Film and Television in this restaurant with their families, and I have never, ever, had a bad meal or experience in this setting. I love it when the bus boy scrapes the crumbs off my tablecloth with the fancy metal, silver, (table-scraper) thing, man it makes me feel like I am really someone important! I just herd they just remodeled this restaurant and I have not been back to see what they have done to it. I hope and pray they left the food menu alone! The only thing I have "never" been crazy about at "Steak House 55" was the desert menu, I would love to order something but it is all a bit foo foo for me. I'm not really sure what the "Chocolate Poddle Poo Poo" is, but I am really not brave enough to try it. Ok, I am just kidding about the Poo Poo, but what is a "Bonita Velvet Chocolate Bar with Port Wine Reduction"? Hey how about some good old Apple Pie boys? Well all this writing about food and I am getting hungry, let's all go to the park and get a taste of Disney baby! "Just don't eat the popcorn"
Steven grew up in Orange County. He worked as an entertainer at Disneyland and in Los Angeles on Disney films.
Steven Orsinelli Can Be Contacted at:
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