Dining is a highlight for my family at the Disneyland Resort. There are so many tasty treats throughout the Disneyland Resort. We also love staying at a Disney hotel for a completely magical vacation, and that means eating at the Disneyland Resort during our entire vacation. As a family of six, we've learned how to eat our favorite treats without breaking the bank. I'd love to share a few of my tips and some of our favorite meals.
First of all, we always share meals. The Disneyland Resort does everything all out - and that includes portion sizes. In fact, the portions are so large, that most single meals allow two adults to eat comfortably. Normally, two or three entrees will feed our family of two adults and four kids ages 2-11. And speaking of kids, we also skip the kids meals, which are smaller portion sizes.
Another option, however, is to eat smaller portions more often and snack throughout the day. Not only does this help our wallet, but no one wants to ride a roller coaster or the Tea Cups after a huge meal! By eating smaller meals and snacks more often, it keeps our spirits and energy up. Also, this allows us to not miss out on any of our favorite Disney treats - and we have many!
As far as restaurants and snacks go, here are some of our favorites:
Jamba Juice - We love starting our day with oatmeal and a smoothie from Jamba Juice in Downtown Disney. It's affordable, healthy and delicious!
Churros - These crispy, sugar/cinnamon treats are found in carts throughout the parks, are under $4 a piece, and actually make a great, quick breakfast!
Jazz Kitchen Express - Most of the sit down restaurants in Downtown Disney have a cheaper, quick-service option located next door. You can get a family sized bag of 10 fresh beignets for $10. They come in a paper bag that you can shake to coat in powdered sugar - they're a hit with my kids! Whitewater Cafe - This convenient quick service location is located inside Disney's Grand Californian Hotel and allows you to purchase some groceries (at affordable prices) and is a great quick breakfast option while you're standing in line for early entry into Disney California Adventure Park.
Snacks - (We are seriously disappointed if we don't get to eat all of our favorite treats while visiting the Disneyland Resort.)
Ghiradelli's Fountain - We were thrilled when this opened in Disney California Adventure Park. This now allows us to experience our favorite San Francisco treat right after riding our favorite attraction, Radiator Springs Racers. Each person gets a free square of chocolate and then we share a sundae or two! Boudin Bakery - We also love to get a free sample of the famous sourdough bread at The Bakery Tour. Sometimes we'll share a breadbowl or sandwich at the nearby Pacific Wharf Cafe.
Dole Factory - There's nothing as refreshing as a Dole Whip. This tasty treat is found right outside of the Tiki Room at Disneyland Park. You can even bring your Dole Whip into the Tiki Room.
Cozy Cone Motel - We love all the food in Cars Land, especially the Chili "Cone" Queso and the Flavored Popcorn. Each cone offers a different treat, so be sure you're in line at the right cone!
Corn on the Cob - This can be found at numerous food carts. It is delicious and a healthier alternative to the above mentioned treats and is simply delicious.
Turkey Legs - It's hard to imagine a trip to Disneyland without a turkey leg from a food cart. The giant turkey legs are a little messy, but fun to eat and a great source of protein. Lunch/Dinner:
Redd Rocket's Pizza Port - This Tomorrowland location serves large portions of yummy Italian food. Our family will share a pasta dish and each get our own breadstick. It's a great way to share and each feel full.
Earl of Sandwich - This is our new favorite place to eat lunch and dinner. We typically eat there 2-3 times a trip. It's conveniently located outside the Disneyland Hotel in Downtown Disney and is a great lunch to bring back while you're swimming at the pool. Also, it's about the cost of eating at Subway back home and the sandwiches are unique and memorable. You can even order a Turkey Dinner (Holiday Turkey Sandwich) on a sandwich and surprisingly, it's delicious.
Tortilla Jo's Taqueria - This is another Downtown Disney express location that is super tasty and about half of the price of the sit down restaurant, Tortilla Jo's. We love their nachos, tacos and burritos.
Bengal Barbeque - Speaking of a good source of protein, Bengal Barbecue, located nearby the Indiana Jones Adventure in Adventureland, serves tasty meat skewers for about $4. They also have large breadsticks and fresh fruit - a perfect lunch. Flo's V8 Cafe - This 1950 style diner is located in the heart of Cars Land. They serve home cooked meals in large portions. Plus, it's just fun to hang out in Cars Land!
Napa Rose - This is one of the best restaurants in Southern California located inside Disney's Grand Californian Hotel. To save money here, my husband and I typically eat in the lounge off the appetizer and dessert menu. It gives you a great taste of the cuisine, but allows you to not overspend. We typically will do that at Carthay Circle Restaurant also. Their lounge downstairs is beautiful, relaxing and has a delicious menu.
On another note, of my favorite splurges is doing a Disney Character Dining Brunch! It's not cheap per se, but it's such a great value and we always make such great memories. Plus, we always reserve a between breakfast and lunch time and call it brunch, which covers two meals times.
We love getting one-on-one time with the characters and using our time inside the parks riding rides instead of waiting in line to meet the characters. We rotate between the Character Dining experiences so we hit a different one each time we go and my kids have loved all five of them - Goofy's Kitchen (at the Disneyland Hotel), Surf's Up with Mickey Breakfast (at Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel), Chip -n- Dale's Critter Breakfast (Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa), Breakfast with Minnie & Friends (Disneyland) and Ariel's Princess Celebration (Disney California Adventure Park).
We always get our tickets ahead of time through Get Away Today, so it's a discount off the regular price and already includes tax and gratuity. It's so worth it!
I hope these tips make your trip and savings a little sweeter! Remember, book your next Disneyland vacation online and get the most out of your upcoming visit. As seen on Studio 5, plan your Disneyland Resort Vacation with these Expert Travel Tips.
Did we miss something? Check out "Where and How to Eat Cheap at the Disneyland Resort Part 2."
Jennifer Dunyon is the Vice President of Communications for Get Away Today. Get Away Today is the leading travel provider to Southern California. They specialize in Disneyland Resort vacations and are true Disney Experts! Their staff visits the Disneyland Resort each year numerous times to give you the best travel tips. They also guarantee the best price on your next family vacation.