Editor’s note: This is Part 2 of a two-part series about the many food adventures of Disneyland. Click here to read Part 1.
We did our best to hit the top spots at Disneyland during our recent foray into favorite places.
Apologies if we slighted the churro, your Matterhorn macaroon, and a beignet, but we really did give it a valiant effort.
The aroma of freshly popping corn wafts through Disneyland. In each Land, you’ll find a popcorn vendor. Popcorn was also at the top of the many a lists of favorite foods I heard about from readers.
I’m wondering if these popcorn lovers realize there is a little secret contained within each vendor’s cart. Each cart hosts a small mechanical figure, known as a “Roastie Toastie.” These scene stealers appear to be turning the roaster that looks to be powered by a mini steam engine. In Tomorrowland, we spied a female astronaut in a space suit, on Main Street the Roastie Toastie was dressed like a member of the strolling Barber Shop Quartet. In New Orleans, it was a ghost from the Haunted Mansion. Roastie Toasties are often changed with the season.
Appearing on many lists of Disneyland food favorites was a peanut butter and jelly soda from Carnation Café. I just had to try this off-the-beaten path creation. Sadly, or maybe not, there was none to be had. When I inquired about this drink, the hostess said that this beverage was removed from the menu a couple of years ago. It was so bad, she whispered, that people kept sending them back.
Another peanut butter disappointment came when we sought out the hugely popular peanut butter and chocolate sandwich at Pooh’s Corner in Critter Country. They were out of the simple graham cracker, peanut butter and chocolate confection. They’d been out for two weeks. The peanut butter chocolate sandwich is actually made exclusively for Disneyland by a confection company called Asher, and the company had run out of stock for this popular item.
Since Pooh Corner and Critter Country will be eliminated to make way for the new 14-acre Star Wars Land, we’ll have to seek out the new location for the peanut butter chocolate sandwiches on our next visit.
If your favorite food is barbecue at Big Thunder Ranch near Critter Country, you will want to partake of one last meal before Jan. 11 as this restaurant will close permanently as part of the Star Wars project.
One of my biggest surprises was learning that there was lobster at Disneyland. Who knew?
On the menu at Harbour Galley, near where the river rafts to Tom Sawyer’s Island depart, is the popular lobster roll. Fresh chives, parsley, tarragon and chervil are added to a lobster salad, which is laid upon warm, buttery fresh buns. This was happy eating.
Not far, into New Orleans Square, is Café Orleans and home to Pommes Frites with Cajun Remoulade — hot, fresh fries with garlic, Parmesan, Cajun seasoning and a zesty dipping sauce. Also on the menu is that Monte Cristo sandwich made famous at the Blue Bayou.
The Plaza Inn, corner of Main Street and Tomorrowland, still offers one of the park’s most popular meals. I remember dining here the first time we visited Disneyland. Crispy, salty and juicy fried chicken is served from the counter, and they were happy to accommodate our request for all white meat at no extra cost. The platter includes a biscuit, mashed potatoes with gravy and perfectly prepared fresh green beans.
The Plaza Inn was originally called the Red Wagon Inn. Opened in 1955, they have been feeding hungry families since opening day. This was one of Walt’s favorite dining spots. The restaurant has a Victorian feel and boasts some authentic 19th-century furnishings, including Victorian stained glass and ornate woodwork salvaged from a grand old home in Los Angeles back in the ‘50s.
What’s missing in Disneyland? Some good Italian food somewhere within the Lands. Seems a no-brainer to me: think “Lady and The Tramp.” Name it Tony’s, lay down red-checked table cloths and serve up a big plate of spaghetti and meatballs. Background music of Bella Notte and I am there.
Here is why I think certain foods at Disneyland call to us. We are caretaking childhood memories. Our senses of taste and smell are our strongest and these senses tap into those memories. By having that taste again, and smelling those smells, we not only remember our 8-year -old selves, we once again feel like our 8-year-old selves. We get to be kids again. The innocence, the wonder, the magic. It’s all back and we hold onto it.
Memories last longer than materials, so we look forward to feeding the memory to keep it strong and alive.