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Favorite Disneyland Resort Lunch Spots

posted on May 23rd, 2011 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer

Lunch is the perfect break in a theme park day – an important part of the whole experience, and a chance to relax and refuel for afternoon and evening.

Here are some of our go-to picks. Share your favorites!

Monte Cristo Sandwich from Blue Bayou at Disneyland Park

The splurge in Disneyland park still is the indulgent, crispy Monte Cristo sandwich at Blue Bayou. (You can behave with roasted chicken, then go for the pecan pie or crème brûlèe.)

Barbecued Ribs, Chicken, Cole Slaw, Baked Beans and Cornbread from Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue at Disneyland Park

For casual, hearty fare, it’s the Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue in Frontierland with all-you-care-to-eat barbecued ribs, chicken, cole slaw, baked beans and cornbread (for vegetarian options, just ask!). Share the giant chocolate chip cookie, baked in a skillet and served warm topped with vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of hot fudge.

A favorite sit-down sandwich is the croissant chicken club at Carnation Café on Main Street, U.S.A. – chicken, bacon, cheddar, lettuce and tomato with a side salad. Perfect on a hot afternoon.

Pizza and Salad from Redd Rockett's Pizza Port at Disneyland Park

Quicker ideas with counter services are the French Market in New Orleans Square with old-fashioned roast beef and citrus chicken, and the clam chowder and green salad duet. Or the hot pastas, pizzas and salads at Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port in Tomorrowland.

At Disney California Adventure park on a sunny Southern California day, book a table for dining al fresco at Wine Country Trattoria, where big salads are a favorite way to go, like the Tuscan Salad with grilled ship or chicken – lettuces, tomatoes, green beans, cannellini beans and roasted pepper with a creamy Italian dressing. (Really live it up with a glass of Chardonnay.)

Soft tacos, burritos and the fajitas salad fill you up at Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill and on those days when a bowl of soup seems like the right thing to do, head straight to Pacific Wharf Café for a sourdough bowl filled with clam chowder, broccoli and cheese soup, corn chowder or veggie chili – the bowl is baked right there in the Boudin Bakery.

Or slip over to Storyteller’s Café in Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, just steps from the park. A cheese flatbread, half-pound burger (you can ask for veggie) or a chicken quesadilla with guacamole are top lunch picks.

What is your favorite lunch spot?

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Filed: Disney Dining, Disneyland Resort



Eric on May 23rd, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Gumbo bread-bowl and cold “soft” mint julep in New Orleans Square? As counter lunches go, that’s the one Anaheim pilgrimage for us East coast folk.


Brenda on May 23rd, 2011 at 1:43 pm

Plaza Inn fried chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans really hit the spot! The carrot cake is my husbands favorite and since we were introduced to the apple dessert with no sugar added on our last visit it’s definitely a must-visit each trip :)


Karen from OR on May 23rd, 2011 at 1:47 pm

Hello?! Chili in a Bread Bowl at the Golden Horseshoe with Billy Hill and the Hillbillies to boot! Best ever!


Lisa on May 23rd, 2011 at 1:49 pm

During our visit over Easter to Disneyland Park we stumbled into the Cocina Mexican Grill. It was great food by park standards and best of all INEXPENSIVE. For our family of 6 we are used to paying at least or over $100 per meal. The meal here was $60 for all of us and enough food to have us all feeling well fed. Not to mention LOTS of shaded seating and a bathroom just outside the restaurant.


Steve on May 23rd, 2011 at 1:54 pm

The new menu at the Hungry Bear is excellent. Love the fried green tomato sandwich.


Stesha on May 23rd, 2011 at 1:57 pm

On our last trip, my mom and I discovered that the Mickey head shaped beignets at the walk-up window Mint Julip Bar are much better that those from the Jazz Kitchen in Downtown Disney. And for me, there’s nothing better than having hot beignets and a mocha latte on a sunny, quiet morning with the Haunted Mansion in view. Perfect!


Kristin on May 23rd, 2011 at 1:58 pm

The Carnation Cafe has the best sandwiches made on pretzel bread! Fantastic!


Lorie on May 23rd, 2011 at 2:02 pm

We love the BBQ! It’s so much food! We like to have a big breakfast on that day, then a mid afternoon lunch at the BBQ. My kids eat and eat. They love it. When dinnertime rolls around, we’re still full so dinner is usually a quick treat on the way back to hotel for the evening. We love it!


Jen on May 23rd, 2011 at 2:07 pm

i am all for the gumbo too!! the vegetarian version is amazing. been trying to find the recipe (with no luck) for some time now so we can enjoy a little piece of the park at home; even my meat-loving husband enjoys it greatly! for me, it’s so nice to have a vegetarian meal that’s tasty and doesn’t consist of having to eat pasta or salad. so often i have to modify a meal on a restaurant’s menu to not include the meat and while it suits its purpose it certainly isn’t very creative or over-the-top amazing. i hope they never take this delicious treat away!


Kohl on May 23rd, 2011 at 2:12 pm

This is a family favorite but we always get a turkey leg and enjoy that while watching the fireworks, they are some of the biggest that I have seen and at no time have I tried one that has even come close to the amazing flavor and juiciness that comes from the ones there in Disneyland!


Christina from CA on May 23rd, 2011 at 2:14 pm

The corn dog shop in California Adventure is open again….woo hoo! The spicy corn dog is my husbands favorite! Can’t miss a Disneyland Corn Dog! Yummy!


Stephanie from WI on May 23rd, 2011 at 2:16 pm

I agree about the bread bowl Gumbo!!!! It is an absolute Must-Have each time I go out to Disneyland!!!!


Chandra from WA on May 23rd, 2011 at 2:17 pm

LOVE Ariel’s Grotto. It is just too much fun to dine with the princesses. Even my boys liked it.


Ralph on May 23rd, 2011 at 2:19 pm

Since I live in Rancho Cucamonga, it’s only appropriate that I occasionally eat at cocina cucamonga. The food is god.


Sarah on May 23rd, 2011 at 2:21 pm

I love grilled ship…hahaha

Seriously, the best is the clam chowder and vegetarian gumbo bread bowls right next to Pirates. Best thing to do on a summer night is to grab a bread bowl, a drink, and find a place to sit, eat, and wait for Fantasmic to start.


Leigh on May 23rd, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Love the Chicken Fusilli at Red Rocket’s Pizza Port. Also be sure to check out the Lemon Cupcake (complete with adorable chocolate bumble bee) at the Hungry Bear. Soooooo yummy!


Ashley on May 23rd, 2011 at 2:57 pm

I also love the Countdown Chicken Fusilli at Pizza Port. It never gets old for me. I actually have a recipe for it that I often make at home, but I love it best at Disneyland!


Mylene on May 23rd, 2011 at 3:02 pm

We had the French Market yesterday! Jambalaya and Cajun chicken salad. I love getting the chicken pasta at pizza port and my boyfriend loves the wild bleu yonder burger from taste pilot’s grill along with their greens/tomato buffet!! Tons of great options!


Kathleen on May 23rd, 2011 at 3:04 pm

For our family a stop at Blue Bayou is a must in the heat of the day. It is so dark, cool and calming – the food is delicious – but the refreshing atmosphere is a big big bonus.


Lorissa on May 23rd, 2011 at 3:09 pm

i was just at disney a few weeks ago and at at the River Belle Terrace for the first time and i was blown away by how good the food was. its my new go to place for lunch. the food was amazing for a decent price but for having a roast turkey sandwich and baked beans it was filling but not heavy.


Hannette on May 23rd, 2011 at 3:17 pm

I’m with Kristin–sandwich on pretzel bread at Carnation Cafe. And MUST have half a sandwich with the DELICIOUS loaded baked potato soup. MMMM!

On hot days, a salad from Pizza Port is really good. And I’ve been meaning to try the Big Thunder BBQ (for dinner).


Shea on May 23rd, 2011 at 3:18 pm

Its ALL about the corn dogs! YUM!! And the chimi’s in the carts with the turkey legs! Mmmm Mmmm


Bradley on May 23rd, 2011 at 3:24 pm

OMG! Seriously? Living in Orlando now and visiting the WDW parks frequently, the only food I miss from DLR is at Bengal BBQ! Beef or chicken or veggies or bacon-wrapped asparagus! I’ll take one of each please!


Trisha from CA on May 23rd, 2011 at 3:26 pm

The monte cristo (not just from blue bayou, but also from cafe orleans) is definitely quite amazing. It was so good the first time I tried it that I had to blog about it!
Such great photos of the food! Makes me want to eat them all! I’ve yet to try the all you can eat BBQ, but I hear it’s really great :)


Michelle from CA on May 23rd, 2011 at 3:43 pm

I love the bacon-wrapped asparagus and the meat-on-a-stick at Bengal Barbecue – the veggie stick with cheese sauce on the side is great, too. I get my Monte Cristo at Cafe Orleans, with those incredible Mickey fritters for dessert.

I really miss the French Dip sandwich from Whitewater. Man, that was good.


Ashleigh from NV on May 23rd, 2011 at 4:06 pm

Carnation Cafe on Main St. and Pinocchio’s Village Haus in Fantasyland are my family’s favorite restaurants in Disneyland. The Character Breakfast at Plaza Inn with Minnie and friends is also a favorite =)


Kevin on May 23rd, 2011 at 4:11 pm

The Golden Horseshoe…good food and a great show. Carnation Cafe, Rancho Del Zocalo, and those walk-up eateries where you can get chimichangas and turkey legs.


Fred from CA on May 23rd, 2011 at 4:27 pm

I love getting the chicken and apple salad from the Pacific Wharf Cafe at Disney California Adventure.


Catherine from CA on May 23rd, 2011 at 4:46 pm

My son love the pizza at Pizza Port. I had the best Cheese on a Stick at the newly reopened Corndog Castle. It was crisp and gooey. The chile lime corn is very tasty too.


Jason on May 23rd, 2011 at 4:50 pm

For a nice quick lunch I stop by Award Weiners. I do miss the shoestring fries they used to have but the apples are pretty good.

Bengal BBQ in Disneyland yum, or Redd Rocket’s pizza port, or Big Thunder BBQ ranch. Ugh too many good places 😀


Robert on May 23rd, 2011 at 4:59 pm

Good choice for a hot topic, Pam! Everyone loves meals at Disneyland!

If we’re real hungry, I agree Big Thunder Ranch is a great lunch spot, with the all you can eat barbecue and fun musical entertainment to boot. But I’m also very partial to the Cobb Salad at the Plaza Inn. It’s delicious, huge, and very reasonably priced! Also, sometimes instead of lunch I’ll opt for a late breakfast at the Carnation Cafe and have Chef Oscar’s Cafe Scramble. Scrumptious!


mary on May 23rd, 2011 at 5:16 pm

I love the Clam Chowder bread bowl at Cafe Orleans but our family also loves the Golden Horeshoe and Hungry Bear Cafe. We love to sit there in the summer and watch the canoes on the River Of America! Cant wait to ty the new menu and see the renovations!


Jennifer on May 23rd, 2011 at 5:19 pm

To-go steak/chicken nachos from the California Adventure hotel will clog your arteries but it is REALLY good when you’re hungry.


Jeffrey from CA on May 23rd, 2011 at 5:37 pm

We like a lighter lunch. Bengal BBQ with a Jalepeno Cheese Pretzel and an icy bottle of Coke is our current choice, but Hungry Bear gets the nod when we are hungrier.

Occasionally the Monte Cristo calls out my name quite loudly, so we have a lighter dinner after that very fine and filling meal.

Dinner at Rancho Del Zocalo, under those beautiful lights is one of our favorite Disneyland experiences. As AP members we sometimes go there just for dinner. We are spoiled, I know.

At the end of the day? A Churro of course!


Jeffrey from CA on May 23rd, 2011 at 7:47 pm

You can get a Monte Cristo to go? No reservation?


wendy from CA on May 23rd, 2011 at 8:12 pm

Two words…..CORN DOG. Enough said!


RUTH on May 23rd, 2011 at 8:13 pm

I commented on the Star Tours topic that after previewing Star Tours tomorrow, that we’ll be chowing at Blue Bayou. However, the Big Thunder Ranch BBQ looks good. Decisions, decisions, decisions. :-)


Donna from CA on May 23rd, 2011 at 8:49 pm

A family favorite is the deck at the Hungry Bear. It’s really big so you can almost always find a table. It’s shady and cool. And, it’s fun to watch the passers-by on any number of boats and the ducks :-)


alex on May 23rd, 2011 at 8:49 pm

Brocoli Cheese Soup bowls, BOMBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBB!!!


melissa from CA on May 24th, 2011 at 12:37 am

This is making me hungry.
Obviously churros, dole wips, funnel cake, or cheese filled pretzles for snake are a must. i love the Clam Chowder bowls from Cafe Orleans. Rancho Del Zocalo, Hungry Bear are also good for lunch. My favorite place for dinner is the Blue Bayou, the desserts there are the best as well.


Laura from CA on May 24th, 2011 at 1:44 am

The best lunch I ever had at DISNEYLAND was with my DISNEY fanatic friends from Arizona – they had never eaten at the Blue Bayou, so I treated them with a table by the water and Monte Cristo Sandwiches – which they also had never eaten! It was so hard to go back to work after that lunch 8:)
BTW – you can get 2 kinds of Monte Cristos at Cafe Orleans for dinner as well – the classic with meat and the vegetarian with just cheese – YUMMY!


Laura from CA on May 24th, 2011 at 1:46 am

OMG – I almost forgot – sweet potato fries at Hungry Bear are the BEST!


Elizabeth on May 24th, 2011 at 5:13 pm

Growing up, I could never visit disneyland without enjoying a bread bowl full of clam chowder from Cafe Orleans. Mm, still the best in my opinion. However, I just returned yesterday from a weekend trip to the resort & we visited Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue..AMAZING. The food was beyond excellent & was full of flavor. The meat literaly fell off the bone and melted in your mouth. Best BBQ I’ve had in a long time!


Todd from CA on May 27th, 2011 at 7:52 pm

I’ve never been a fan of a corn dog, honestly. But the ones at Disneyland Resort have made me a changed man! YUMMO!! A corndog, a coke and a shady spot in DCA and I am a happy camper!


Tiffany on May 29th, 2011 at 12:22 pm

Bengal BBQ! Love the veggie kabobs with lots of lime juice and the bacon wrapped asparagus – decadent! Add a fruit tray from the Kiosk near Jungle Cruise and we’ve got a healthier and very affordable lunch!


TRACIE on May 30th, 2011 at 2:25 pm

I was approached by a cast member @ California Adventure and he let me and my husband in on a hidden gem. The Cove Bar above Ariels Grotto they have a FULL SERVICE BAR and LOBSTER NACHOS. This has become a must go to place every time we visit now.