What to Eat When You’re at the Happiest Place on Earth

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September 20, 2012 by jooshanoosh

I’m a bit of a Disney lover. I went to the park a few times as a youngster when my parents would load all 8 (EIGHT!!) children in my family into 1 (ONE!!) van and drive to California for a week. We would hit Disney once while we were there, and true to form, it was magical and fantastical.

When I was in high school my best friend was, well let’s call a spade a spade, a Disney nut. Her family went every year and because her dad did some work for the park, they would go for weeks at a time. And because they were a lovely and generous family, they started taking me along. Once, we went for 9 (NINE!!) days in a row to the Land. And this was in the pre-California Adventure days. And we loved it.

Since then I have gone a lot. I was a season pass holder when I lived in southern California, I worked at Disneyworld for a semester in college and we now go annually with my children and in-laws. So let’s just say I know my way around the park. And let’s just say I know how to eat my way around the park (because really, I could skip every ride and just walk around and eat and I would be happy.) And a lot of friends have asked me lately what to eat when they are in the Land. And if you live in Utah, you are probably planning a trip to Disneyland for UEA which is in a few weeks (spoiler alert: so is half the state, so it is going to be crowded.) and so I thought you might find this post helpful. So here is my list of the top 10 things to eat in the park.

  1. Corn Dog – This is the thing I want the most when I get to Disneyland. You can buy them from a cart on Main Street, or better yet, from the Corn Dog Castle in California Adventure. (The Corn Dog Castle also sells Cheese Dogs and spicy Corn Dogs.) They are big, obscene looking, and delicious. 
  2. Bengal BBQ, Adventure Land, Disneyland. I think this is one of the most overlooked places in the park. It is a little stand that sells beef and chicken kebabs and BACON-WRAPPED ASPARAGUS! It’s perfect for when you don’t need a full mean but just want something quick and filling.
  3. Just down the way from the Bengal BBQ is the Mint Julep Bar. I don’t get this treat as often, because we usually visit the park in the winter when it is a bit cool. But on a hot summer day, nothing refreshes more than a Mint Julep and a cream filled beignet. 
  4. BLT Flatbread Pizza from the Village Haus in Fantasy Land. This is an actual sit down restaurant where you can go and get burgers and other things for a full meal. While your kids are eating hamburgers, eat this “Thin flat bread crust, wood smoked bacon, creamy provolone and mozzarella cheeses, caramelized onions, marinated tomatoes, topped with arugula and shaved fennel. Hold me.
  5. Speaking of actual restaurants to eat at, hands down our family’s favorite is Pizza Port in Tomorrow Land. It’s your basic pizza and pasta and salad fair, but here are my two tips: the restaurant is set up cafeteria style, so you get all your food and then go pay. The drink stations are before the cashiers. As soon as you walk in, fill up your diet coke. Sip and enjoy while you get your kids and your food. Refill before you pay. You are a happy person. You can also get those good chocolate dipped rice-crispy treats here. 
  6. Diet Coke Float at Paradise Pier Ice Cream Company on Paradise Pier in California Adventure. I think this is the only place in the park that serves soft-serve ice cream. And they’ll put it in some diet coke for you. What’s not to love: Diet Coke and Soft-Serve.
  7. This one is going to sound weird, but you know those Turkey Leg carts you see all over the park? Don’t eat those because they are stringy and disgusting and I would cook and sell them by the ton when I worked at Disneyworld and have PTSD about them. But at those same carts they sell Chimichangas. And they are delicious. And about $5 and really filling. Another great thing to eat on the go when you don’t need a full meal but are still hungry. And I have it on good authority that these carts also sell Chili-Lime Corn on the Cob. I haven’t tried it, but definitely will on my next trip.
  8. Speaking of Carts and Stands, you can get great Caramel Corn in both parks. Really, you are saying, caramel corn? But it rules. And it just feels right to be walking around a theme park eating caramel corn. So trust me. Do it. Do it.
  9. I have blogged about my love of deep fried sandwiches here before. And that love was born in Disneyland. The first (and best) Monte Cristo I’ve ever had comes from the Blue Bayou restaurant. It’s that one that you sail past inside Pirates of the Caribbean. It’s pricey, and you may not want to take your kids (go with your spouse when they are doing something else.) and you usually have to make reservations. But the food is worth it. And they Monte that Cristo like a boss.
And finally…my latest discovery of deliciousness on my last trip to the park is seen above. Inside a restaurant (that I don’t really care for) called Rancho del’ Zoccalo you can buy these little bags of cinnamon crisps. This is the also the only place (that I know of) in the parks where you can get Diet Coke with Lime. And somehow, the combination is heaven. I want some right now. Right now. Really, right now. 
So that’s it. My faves. I could go on and on, but I want to hear from you all. Weigh in in the comments. What do you love to eat at Disneyland?
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