Sadly, I’ve never been to Disneyland. I grew up in the Northeast and Walt Disney World was always our home park. I’m dying to visit, not just for the unique attractions or to walk in Walt’s footsteps, but for the food! Shocking I know…me making food a priority, who would’ve thought?
Because of the Disneyland Half Marathon last weekend, I was doing a lot of research on the Disneyland Resort for my fantasy trip and of course found myself looking at menus from the various restaurants. Yes, my top priorities on my visit (whenever that may be) will be to eat at Napa Rose and Carthay Circle, but I was excited to see all of the amazing counter service options available. I tend to stay away from counter service in Walt Disney World because of all the generic and uninteresting food. Sure you can find a few good choices at places like Tangerine Cafe in Morocco and the new Landscape of Flavors at the Art of Animation Resort, but for the most part you will find unhealthy options like burgers and hot dogs. This is why I was surprised (and a little jealous) of the variety available in the parks at Disneyland. Let’s look at some of my favorites.
Given my love of all things Mexican food, I’m going to start off at Rancho del Zocalo in Fronierland. The first thing that stood out to me about this restaurant even before I looked at the menu was the beautifully themed restaurant itself. El Zocalo means “town square” in Spanish, so the decor is made to look like a an open air market in a rural Mexican village. The tile work, fountains and glass lighting fixtures are quite charming. Seems like the perfect place to grab a margarita…oh wait, no alcohol in Disneyland Park. Boo. Anyway, the menu is quite impressive for theme park fare featuring Citrus Fire-Grilled Chicken, a Burrito Sonara with “fajita-style” beef or chicken, and various enchilada platters. Of course, I would go for the Grilled Fish Tacos, one of my favorite all time dishes. YUM!
Keeping with the Mexican theme, let’s move over to Disney California Adventure. The obvious choice would be to go to Cucina Cucamonga, but their menu is very similar to Rancho del Zocalo without the ambiance. I’m actually more interested in Flo’s V-8 Cafe in the new Cars Land. Did you know that they have a Chicken Tamale Breakfast on the menu?!? That sounds amazing…I LOVE Mexican breakfasts. This is a chicken tamale topped with scrambled eggs, salsa verde and pico de gallo. I need one of these stat.
Staying in DCA, let’s visit the Paradise Garden Grill in Paradise Pier. This is a fairly new addition to the restaurants in the area and the menu offers a variety of fun Mediterranean skewers, including grilled steak, lemon-oregano chicken, ground beef (Kefta), and vegetables with tofu for vegetarians (finally!). You can then choose your sauce to go with the skewer like Tzatziki or Chimichurri. All skewers come with rice, cucumber salad and a pita. I love that it is healthy and that you can customize your meal!
Lastly, I want to head back to Disneyland Park for more meat on a stick at Bengal Barbecue. Here they have chicken and beef skewers on the menu, but the most interesting one of all is the the Safari Skewer. This is grilled asparagus wrapped in bacon. Yes please!! That looks and sounds so good, but really how is anything bad once it’s wrapped in bacon. Everything is is great to just grab as a snack to walk around the park with, and with all the skewers under $4 you can’t go wrong!
So this leads me to wonder why Walt Disney World can’t offer the same unique counter service cuisine as Disneyland. Is it because Disneyland is more of a “locals park” and they want more variety than the average WDW guest? Is California really that far ahead of the curve when it comes to good food? Is WDW just producing for the masses? I can’t figure it out! All I know is that it makes me sad to see all of these wonderful dishes available in Disneyland and not at Walt Disney World because I am CRAVING good, quick food. I guess this is even more incentive for me to go out west!
Why do you think Walt Disney World doesn’t offer these kind of options in their quick service restaurants?
There was a HUGE response for the case of Cheribundi tart cherry juice in last week’s Friday Feast! I loved all of your comments and the Ginger Cherry and the Whey Cherry were the clear leaders for flavors that you all wanted to try. I can’t argue with you there since those are my 2 favorites. And now the anticipation is over…the winner is:
Andi S. from Indiana
Congratulations Andi!! I know you are going to enjoy all of that delicious tart cherry juice from Cheribundi. Make sure to come back after you tried them and let us know what you thought.
Thank you again for everyone who participated in the giveaway. I hope to have many more coming your way soon, so stay tuned!