Disney World Dining – Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue

Have you heard of the Hoop-Dee-Doo? This two-hour long dinner show is long standing (over 40 years running!) and takes place nightly at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground. I recently had the opportunity to attend the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue. Keep reading for more details and my honest thoughts about the production and food. Namely is the Hoop-Dee-Doo worth the cost?

Read my honest review of the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner show at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Is this longstanding show worth the cost?

Please note that I use affiliate links in this post. Clicking through will help me in a small financial way, thank you!

Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue

High quality song and dance routines you’ve come to expect from Disney? Check. Buckets of hearty and delicious food? You’ve got it. Silly jokes that are family appropriate. Yep!

That’s the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue in a nutshell. It’s a 2-hour dinner show so be prepared for a slower dining experience than you might be used to at Disney World. You’ll also need to allow plenty of travel time to and from Fort Wilderness. If planning to see Hoop-Dee-Doo schedule it for a non-park day when you don’t have tickets.


Advance Dining Reservations Required

Despite over 40 years running, the Hoop-Dee-Doo is still a hot ticket. You’ll need an ADR (Advance Dining Reservation) to dine here. I visited Walt Disney World during a slower season (in mid-April) and our show was still fully booked.

There are three shows nightly, seven days a week. Show times are 4 pm, 6:15 pm and 8:30 pm (we dined at 6:15).

Read my honest review of the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner show at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Is this longstanding show worth the cost?

The Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue dinner show is a longstanding tradition (over 40 years!)

Since this meal and a show have a set price, you’ll be charged up front once you make the reservation. The price you pay includes tax and gratuity. I was attending with my preschooler and just-turned-one year old baby. Any child 2 and under do not require a ticket but I did put her on the reservation so they could make room at the table for the highchair.

There are three category levels. I wanted to be close to the stage, so I chose Category 1 on the main floor. I have read online that some of the chairs and tables upstairs face the wall. Guests need to turn around each time they want to see the stage.

Read my honest review of the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner show at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Is this longstanding show worth the cost?

The set menu for the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue at Disney World (leave room for dessert!)

Getting to the Hoop-Dee-Doo

Since there is no direct bus route from your Resort Hotel to Fort Wilderness, you’ll need to transfer at one of the Parks. Be sure to allow plenty of time because the bus rides can be lengthy.

Read my honest review of the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner show at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Is this longstanding show worth the cost?

Ready to explore Fort Wilderness

I chose to take the ferry from Magic Kingdom to get to Fort Wilderness. We arrived plenty early (about 3 hours before the show started) and there was no wait for the ferry. The Disney World website recommends you allow up to 90 minutes for this process.

Arrive Early to Play and Explore Fort Wilderness

It’s recommended that you arrive at least 30 minutes before the Hoop-Dee-Doo show begins but I think you should arrive even earlier.

We choose to take the ferry from Magic Kingdom Park, leaving just after 3 pm for the 6:15 pm show. It was our first visit to Fort Wilderness and we were in awe of the tall, shady trees and country vibe. Taking the ferry was a delightful and relaxing way to get there.

Read my honest review of the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner show at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Is this longstanding show worth the cost?

Horsedrawn carriages at Fort Wilderness

Once we arrived, we wandered the grounds for a bit, getting a feel of the woodsy location. The Hoop-Dee-Doo takes place inside Pioneer Hall. Inside this same large building is the Trails End Restaurant, Davy Crockett’s Wilderness Arcade and Crockett’s Tavern. The restrooms are just to the left of the Pioneer Hall front entrance.

Read my honest review of the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner show at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Is this longstanding show worth the cost?

Settlement Trading Post at Walt Disney World Fort Wilderness

A short walk away is the Settlement Trading Post, perfect if you’re looking for a souvenir. My preschooler spent a good amount of time on the playground while the baby slept in her stroller.

Wander down the path past Pioneer Hall to see the Tri-Circle-D Ranch. By the time we walked back there, the Ranch was already closed. Guests can visit with the horses and even take a pony ride (for a fee). Horse-drawn carriage rides are available for groups. Mickey’s Backyard BBQ takes place at Fort Wilderness as well.

When leaving for the night, you can choose to take the ferry back to the Magic Kingdom or there are buses available to the Park. Keep walking past the Ranch to catch a bus. Note that you’ll have to go back to Magic Kingdom and from there, get the bus back to your resort (FYI: it’s a LONG trip!)

PhotoPass Photographers

There were several PhotoPass photographers on the Fort Wilderness grounds available for special photo ops. We had our picture taken in front of the Settlement Trading Port.

Read my honest review of the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner show at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Is this longstanding show worth the cost?

Take advantage of PhotoPass photographers before entering Pioneer Hall

Before admittance to the Hoop-Dee-Doo show, photographers were stationed on the grass in front of the Ranch. Thank goodness for the shade because it was mighty hot in the sunshine! They had some cute props for us to use.

There are several other fun photo spots around the front of Pioneer Hall so be sure to take your camera!

All-You-Care-to-Eat

When we walked into the Hall, our tables were already set with salad and corn bread. We dug in right away but I held off on eating too much salad because I wanted to save room for the main course.

Read my honest review of the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner show at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Is this longstanding show worth the cost?

Starting with salad & cornbread at Disney World’s Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue (don’t get too filled up!)

Soon enough our waiter arrived with heavy metal buckets stuffed with fried chicken, smoked BBQ pork ribs, mashed potatoes, corn and baked beans. It was a lot of food!

I’d love to say that we ate everything and ordered more but we hardly made a dent in the plentiful food! Everything was delicious and I wished I had a bottomless stomach to eat it all. If my teens had been with me, I know that they would have been able to eat everything and we’d order more. But as the only adult traveling with a preschooler and a baby, we just couldn’t eat a lot!

Read my honest review of the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner show at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Is this longstanding show worth the cost?

Chicken, ribs and all the fixin’s for dinner at the Hoop-Dee-Doo (Photo Credit: Disney)

Also, I knew that I wanted to at least make an attempt at dessert! The strawberry shortcake dessert is presented in a grand way and it doesn’t disappoint. Sadly we couldn’t finish it either, though we tried!

All-You-Care-to-Drink?

Included in the meal are unlimited drinks. This includes soft drinks as well as draft beer, wine and sangria for those 21 and up.

I question the true “unlimited” nature of the alcoholic drinks however. My waiter made only 3 stops at the table so I’m not sure how often one could reorder drinks. I ordered a white sangria when he first came and asked for drink requests. I reordered when he returned with the food and asked if I wanted another drink. By the time he came back with dessert, alcoholic drink orders were closed.

Read my honest review of the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner show at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Is this longstanding show worth the cost?

Chowing down (the foods a’plenty) at the Hoop-Dee-Doo

Truthfully the white sangria was absolutely delicious and very refreshing. It was also very strong for me (perhaps I’m a lightweight!) It didn’t bother me that I couldn’t reorder. I know that having “unlimited” draft beer would be a draw for my husband to attend this dinner and it’s a definite perk.

The Hoop-Dee-Doo Show

I went into the Hoop-Dee-Doo not knowing anything about the show so I’m not here to give any spoilers! Here’s a brief baseline: 6 countrified friends entertain guests with singing, dancing, crowd participation and silly fun.

Costumes are colorful and bright. We were able to see everything very well (seated in the center of the room on the floor). The singers moved around the room during some parts of the show and it was easy enough to follow the action by turning in my seat.

Read my honest review of the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner show at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Is this longstanding show worth the cost?

Upstairs seating inside Fort Wilderness’ Pioneer Hall

I enjoy musical theater but admit that some shows really drag on with too much boring singing. But not the Hoop-Dee-Doo! The songs are lively and fun and the audience participation is a highlight.  Everyone in the crowd was really getting involved with clapping and singing along.

The entertainers were top-notch, just as you’d expect from a high-quality Disney show. Singing was excellent. Dancing and choreography was fun and energetic. There is live music, which adds a fun element.

Read my honest review of the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner show at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Is this longstanding show worth the cost?

It’s truly a show for all ages. One look around at the audience and that was plain to see. My 13 month old baby daughter enjoyed it as well as anyone there (even though I didn’t let her eat any of the messy BBQ ribs!)

There are breaks in the show to allow you to enjoy your dinner or to make a stop at the bathroom.

Read my honest review of the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner show at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Is this longstanding show worth the cost?

So full we could barely eat any of the strawberry shortcake!

Bottom Line: Hoop-Dee-Doo Review

The big question is, is Hoop-Dee-Doo worth the cost? True, it’s not cheap (the cost of an adult ticket hovers around $60). When given the cost of other Disney World meals, I do think that this cost is in line.

If I were to go to any other buffet at Disney World with unlimited food, the cost for dinner would be about $50 for Chef Mickey’s. Chef Mickey’s is a character meal and no alcohol is included. Keep in mind that these type of buffet dinners are usually rushed and you might be done within 45-60 minutes.

Read my honest review of the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner show at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Is this longstanding show worth the cost?

Ready for fun at the Hoop-Dee-Doo in Walt Disney World.

Given that the Hoop-Dee-Doo has unlimited alcohol as well as a 2-hour dinner show, I’d say that the value is well worth the cost. I highly recommend booking a dinner at Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue on one of your non-park days.


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check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!



Getting Disney World Advanced Dining Reservations for the Meals You Want

Want to eat at all the best Walt Disney World restaurants on your vacation? Here’s how to get the Disney World Advanced Dining Reservations (ADR) for the meals you want! Follow these 8 practical tips and you’ll soon be dining alongside Mickey, Cinderella and the Beast!

Getting the Best Disney World Advanced Dining Reservations

Disneyland regulars very rarely book ADR because most of the full-service restaurants are easy to dine in as a walk-up.  There are a few exceptions, like character meals, Blue Bayou restaurant and certainly during busier seasons and the Holidays.

Getting Disney World Advanced Dining Reservations doesn't have to be impossible; here are 8 tips for getting the ADR for the meals you really want to eat!

Walt Disney World is completely different however, and ADR are needed for most (if not all) full-service restaurants. Many of these restaurants are experiences in and of themselves. Guests can dine inside of a castle like at Be Our Guest or Cinderella’s Royal Table. Or step back in time at 50’s Prime Time Cafe or Beaches & Cream Soda Shoppe. Watch fireworks from a rooftop vantage at California Grill or giddy-up at Hoop-dee-doo Musical Revue. And of course if you want to dine with Mickey, you’re going to need a reservation!

Check out my Top 10 Tips for Surviving a Disneyland Rainy Day!

So how can you get that Advanced Dining Reservation for the meal you really want? These are basic tips for newbies looking to grab a few ADR for their trip. Keep in mind that these “dining experiences” often take up a good amount of time so build them in to your trip. I only book 1 ADR per day, usually for dinner. This allows us to eat a light breakfast in our hotel room, grab a quick service lunch whenever hunger strikes and then enjoy our fancy ADR meal at dinner time.

1. Plan Out Your Itinerary

Before you start picking out ADR willy-nilly, you’ll need to plot out your basic itinerary. You don’t want to be booking The Crystal Palace for breakfast at Magic Kingdom on a day you’d planned on being at Typhoon Lagoon.

Likewise be sure to check the times of the attractions you wish to watch before booking an ADR. I almost booked a coveted Be Our Guest dinner reservation but stopped short after checking my itinerary and realized it fell right during the fireworks show we’d planned on watching.

Dozens of ways how to save money on food at Disney!

2.Book at 180 Days

Your best bet for getting the reservation you want it is to book the very day that you can, at the very first moment they open the reservations (either by phone or online). This would be 180 days out. That is how you’ll get the most coveted slots like Cinderella’s Table, by being the early bird!

3. Check the Website Frequently

Missed the 180 day window? You may still be able to grab the reservation you want by frequently scoping out the ADR website for openings. I was able to grab a reservation for 50s Prime Time Cafe five days before my trip just by checking the site several times a day.

Walt Disney World Restaurant Review - 50's Prime Time Cafe

Dennis the Menace

4. Search by Meals, Not by Exact Times

When checking for availability, search by meals instead of exact times. You’ll have a greater chance at finding a reservation if you use the more broad “meal times” instead of exact times.

Inside the “Check Availability” box there is a drop-down menu that will say Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (if the restaurant isn’t open for a particular meal, that meal won’t show up in the menu). If there is a time available there will be a button with the time available that you can click to reserve your spot.

5. Use a Travel Agent

Many agents will include booking dining as part of your vacation package. So instead of having to get up before sunrise to make those calls to Disney dining, your agent will do the work for you!

Getting Disney World Advanced Dining Reservations doesn't have to be impossible; here are 8 tips for getting the ADR for the meals you really want to eat!

6. Use Touring Plans

If you don’t have time to be constantly checking for open ADR, there’s a site that will help you with that! Touring Plans offers a Disney World Dining Reservation Finder. You just plug in the details of the restaurant meal you want booked and Touring Plans sends you an email when a reservation opens up.

Naturally you have to be the first person to grab it before it’s taken by someone else, but it definitely saves time not having to stalk the website yourself! I used it last month to get a reservation for Beaches & Cream Soda Shoppe. The email came through letting me know there was a reservation available and I was able to immediately go online and scoop up the reservation for the meal time I wanted!

7. Be Open to Different Times

How many of you would be willing to eat at Be Our Guest if the only reservation is for 9:30 pm on a Wednesday night? What if you had your baby and preschooler with you? I actually have this reservation set for my next visit and for us, it will work out great! Since we’re coming from the West Coast, I’m planning on keeping my little ones on Pacific Time so 9:30 pm (6:30 PST) won’t be that late of a dinner for them.

Getting Disney World Advanced Dining Reservations doesn't have to be impossible; here are 8 tips for getting the ADR for the meals you really want to eat!

Certainly, some reservation times just aren’t ideal for many families. But if you can be open to dining at a different time you’ll more likely be able to find a reservation. Consider pushing back lunch so you can have a later dinner. Then stay to play in the parks and sleep in the next day. Or if you find an early dinner reservation, eat a big breakfast, skip lunch, have your early dinner and then enjoy dessert later in the evening.

8. Last Minute Find

Even while on vacation, an ADR may open up for something you want on the trip. Many guests overbook and then cancel at the last minute (to avoid any no-show charges). This opens up an ADR for you! I was able to book a last minute Be Our Guest lunch the day we arrived. Keep checking the website on your mobile phone to see if an ADR opens up for the time you want.

What ADR tips do you have? Share in the comments!

 

Lovely Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day at Disneyland

If you love Disney what better place to spend Valentine’s Day than at the Happiest Place on Earth! What can you do to celebrate Valentine’s Day at Disneyland? Whether it’s just the two sweethearts or you’ve got the whole family with you, there are some very lovable ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day at Disneyland. Keep reading for sweet ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day at Disneyland from morning to night!

Please note that I use affiliate links in this post. Clicking through and purchasing via the links helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day at Disneyland

Love is in the Air – Photo Credit: Disney Store

1. Breakfast

Start off the day on either a sweet or a savory note. Since you may indulge in some sweet treats through the day, might be best to have some protein in your tummy first! We like to grab breakfast inside Downtown Disney District and eat while we wait for rope drop. There are hearty (and low-priced) breakfast sandwiches at either Earl of Sandwich or La Brea Bakery. Or sip and go with a fruit smoothie from Jamba Juice.

Sweet Ways to Celebrate Valentine's Day at Disneyland

Inside the parks if you’re prefer a leisurely breakfast with your sweetie-pie, you can dine on Mickey waffles, eggs, bacon and fruit at Carnation Cafe and watch the crowds rushing by. And if you want to start the day with something sweet, swing into Jolly Holly Bakery and Cafe for a cinnamon roll or muffin.

2. A Fresh Bouquet

If you’re staying at a Disneyland Resort Hotel, consider a call to Disney Floral & Gift for the delivery of a magical floral arrangement. They can also go all out with romantic in-room decor like rose petals on the bed, spa robes and chocolate covered strawberries! If you’re celebrating the love with the whole family, they even have collections that include something for everyone, like red roses for Mom and sweet treats for the kids.

3. A Sweet Souvenir

Keep your eyes open for adorable love-inspired souvenirs in the Disneyland shops, including this Mickey & Minnie boutique lace-trimmed bag!

Image Credit: Disney Store

If you like to purchase your souvenirs online and have them arrive to you at home, shop the Disney Store online. They have dozens of precious Valentine’s Day themed items that will delight everyone.

4. Sweet Sips and Snacks

Enjoy a classic afternoon tea at Steakhouse 55 inside the Disneyland Hotel. As a special treat for Valentine’s (available Feb. 3-5, 10-12 and Feb. 14), the Classic Afternoon Tea will feature Shanghai Rose black tea, specialty tea sandwiches, a chocolate raspberry scone with vanilla glaze, chocolate cupcakes with ganache, pink velvet cupcakes with champagne mousse, a chocolate ganache cupcake, chocolate-dipped strawberries and a heart-shaped macaron.

Lovely Ways to Celebrate Valentine's Day at Disneyland

Image Credit: Disney Parks

5. Very Sweet Treat

Only available on Feb 14th, both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure park will offer Valentine’s Day cherry-vanilla flavored cotton candy for sale at their street vendor carts.

6. A Valentine’s Day Gift

Pop into the Pandora shop in New Orleans Square for a Valentine’s Day gift she’ll never forget (or buy it early online via Disney Store and have it ready for gifting at the parks!)

Image Credit: Disney Store

7. Dinner for Two

Perhaps your Valentine’s Day at Disney will be spent with just the two of you? A romantic dinner is in order then and Disneyland has some special meals planned.

On Valentine’s Day The Blue Bayou will feature a special menu item: Lobster A L’Americaine, a rich blend of lobster sauce, roasted lobster tail, snow crab, sautéed mahi and potatoes in a creamy lobster-cognac sauce with onions, celery and peas.

If you’re looking for an amazing splurge the ultra upscale Napa Rose inside Disney’s Grand Californian has a 4-course meal that includes a wine flight. Be sure to book your Advance Dining Reservations early for these meals!

8. Watch the Sunset

Finding a lovely spot to watch the setting sun at the Disney resort is a perfect way to close out the day. The sun will set behind Mickey’s Fun Wheel so catch a ride on this Ferris wheel for a panoramic view. Or grab a drink at Wine Country Trattoria and take a seat on the steps in Paradise Park (located in front of the Little Mermaid ride, where World of Color is shown). Or dine on the patio at Carthay Circle for a view over the crowds.

Planning a Disneyland Vacation? These are the Dates to Avoid!

Sun setting over Cars Land

9. Dinner for the Family

Several other Disney restaurant locations will be offering Valentine’s Day dinners that are inclusive of the entire family. Carnation Cafe will be serving up Surf & Turf featuring sirloin steak, shrimp skewer, mashed potatoes, sautéed broccoli, sun-dried tomato butter and herb beurre blanc sauce.

The Disneyland Resort hotels will also be offering special dinners. On February 14th, Storytellers Cafe a prix-fixe, three-course meal will be available, featuring farmer’s market field greens, New York strip loin and lobster tail with sun-dried tomato risotto and asparagus, vanilla crème brûlée with berry compote. At Goofy’s Kitchen, Valentine’s Day-themed desserts will be available on the buffet.

Lovely Ways to Celebrate Valentine's Day at Disneyland

For an elegant meal, Steakhouse 55 will have a three-course dinner that wine pairings, featuring chipotle-spiced Ahi tartare, bacon-wrapped filet of beef with Mascarpone whipped potatoes, vegetables and a cognac cream sauce and white chocolate crunch cake with dark chocolate ganache and raspberry ice cream (hello!)

10. Special Desserts

The Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe in Disneyland Park will have a heart-shaped strawberry macaron, how delightful! Over at Disney California Adventure life is sweet with three special Valentine’s desserts. At Clarabelle’s pick the Valentine Sundae, featuring strawberry and vanilla ice cream in a waffle bowl topped with strawberry sauce, graham cracker, pink whipped cream, Valentine’s Day sprinkles and chocolate-covered strawberries.

Lovely Ways to Celebrate Valentine's Day at Disneyland

Image Credit: Disney Parks

If you’re a simple gal, perhaps you’d enjoy the chocolate-strawberry swirl soft-serve ice cream at Paradise Pier Ice Cream Company. Or sip your way to bliss at Schmoozies with a decadent chocolate-strawberry smoothie with frozen fresh strawberries, strawberry juice, chocolate syrup, ice cream and milk blended with ice and topped with whipped cream and chocolate syrup.

Save money at DISNEYLAND!

Purchase discount Disneyland tickets and vacation packages from my affiliate Get Away Today.

Use the Promo Code REWRITTEN and receive an extra $10 off any 2-night or longer Southern California package. (Hotel and 2 ticket minimum purchase to qualify for the discount). 

Lovely Ways to Celebrate Valentine's Day at Disneyland

 

 

MORE Ways to Save Money on Food at Disney Parks

If you know me via this blog, you know that one of the BIG ways my family saves money at Disney Parks is at meal time. I’ve written about saving money on food at Disney on my popular post, 7 Tips to Save Money on Food at Disney Parks. I’m back with MORE ways to save money on food at Disney parks…keep reading for my tips!

Dozens of ways how to save money on food at Disney! Save money on dining at Disneyland and Walt Disney World with these dining tips.

Save Money on Food at Disney

Please note that I use affiliate links in my post. Clicking through and making a purchase through my link helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

1. Customize Your Order

Even if the menu only shows “meal deals” that include a main dish, side dish and a beverage, you can (in most cases) request only the main dish at a reduced cost. So if you only want the burger but the deal comes with fries and a soda, request only the burger and ask about the cost (it should be lower).

Dozens of ways how to save money on food at Disney! Save money on dining at Disneyland and Walt Disney World with these dining tips.

2. Be Choosy at Special Events

Special dishes can be found in the kiosks at Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, Festival of the Arts and Flower & Garden Festival and Disney California Adventure Parks Festival of Holidays. These plates of food are of high-quality and can’t be found outside of the event. And for that, you’ll pay a premium price!

Dozens of ways how to save money on food at Disney! Save money on dining at Disneyland and Walt Disney World with these dining tips.

At the kiosks for these events you’ll be able to order fancy appetizers, small servings of a top-notch dish and alcoholic sips. And each one of these mini-delights could be almost the same cost as a full-sized quick service meal!  If you’re wanting to indulge in a few of these kiosk treats, stick to a set amount and choose wisely or else your meal budget could be eaten up very quickly.

Dozens of ways how to save money on food at Disney! Save money on dining at Disneyland and Walt Disney World with these dining tips.

Very expensive little dishes bought in Italy at the Flower & Garden Festival

3 & 4. Two Tips About Kids Meals

Kids meals sizes and prices are smaller than full-sized meals. And that can be a both a positive and a negative, depending upon your needs!

When I last went to Walt Disney World, I arrived to my hotel late. I was hungry but didn’t want to eat an enormous meal. I opted to order a kids meal burger that came with a smaller amount of fries and chocolate milk. It was the perfect size meal for me and came at a much smaller cost than the full-sized adult meal ($6.50 versus $14). I was traveling solo, so ordering this made sense (both portion and price wise).

Dozens of ways how to save money on food at Disney! Save money on dining at Disneyland and Walt Disney World with these dining tips.

A kids meal burger ordered by an adult to save on cost and portion

However on the flip side of this, when it comes to ordering meals for my kids I very rarely order them kids meals. I have two kids who are almost the same age so we’ve always purchased them one full-size meal to split between them. Now that we have more kids, we tend to just order several plates of food and then share between us. This offers us a good portion for each person and a greater variety of food as well, as the menu for kids is often limited.

Dozens of ways how to save money on food at Disney! Save money on dining at Disneyland and Walt Disney World with these dining tips.

A full sized burger meal to be shared (avocado on the side!)

5. This is Where You Should Eat Dessert

If you’re dining at a full-service restaurant, skip ordering dessert off the menu. The dessert prices are going to be considerably higher in the sit-down restaurants. Consider picking up dessert at a walk-up location that only serves sweets. There you’ll have a wider variety to choose from. Also the portions are often more generous as well, so you can share between two or more (but only if you want to share!)

Dozens of ways how to save money on food at Disney! Save money on dining at Disneyland and Walt Disney World with these dining tips.

These Lemon Meringue and The Master’s Cupcakes served inside Be Our Guest Restaurant are an astonishing $5.00 each! I can’t believe I spent $10 on these two (quite small) cupcakes! Especially when you can head over to the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor and get two huge chocolate chip cookies with generous scoops of ice cream for only a little over $5.

Dozens of ways how to save money on food at Disney! Save money on dining at Disneyland and Walt Disney World with these dining tips.

6. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner…in That Order

If you’d like to eat one meal full-service but are still trying to be budget conscious, consider sit-down dining for breakfast. The prices of the dishes will increase at lunch and raise even higher for dinner.

Dozens of ways how to save money on food at Disney! Save money on dining at Disneyland and Walt Disney World with these dining tips.

The cost difference between breakfast and dinner is significant

7. Beware the Souvenir Cup, Straw or Ice Cube

Just about every dining location offers some sort of upgrade to your beverage in the form of souvenir cups, twisty straws shaped like Mickey’s silhouette or flashy glowing colored ice cubes. Naturally these add-on’s come at a steep price! Disney seems to hit pretty hard on the kids menu in this category.

Dozens of ways how to save money on food at Disney! Save money on dining at Disneyland and Walt Disney World with these dining tips.

While a standard pineapple Dole Whip in a cup is priced at just over $4.00, the same soft serve in a souvenir tiki sipper will cost you over $10. I bought the sipper in this case for my brother, who collects tiki items. Make sure you work these add-on items into your souvenir budget!

8. Leave the Park

No reason to feel trapped with your park-only choices! You can leave the parks and head over a Disney Resort hotel for dozens of more options. Rather than eat inside Magic Kingdom, I hopped the Monorail and had dinner at Capt. Cooks in the Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. The Pulled Pork Nachos plate was huge and just over $9. I couldn’t eat it by myself it was a very generous portion. There is also a Dole Whip location here, so that was a plus!

Dozens of ways how to save money on food at Disney! Save money on dining at Disneyland and Walt Disney World with these dining tips.

Downtown Disney and Disney Springs also have loads of dining options with budgets that fit everyone. There’s an Earl of Sandwich at each location and you can pick up a sandwich for a great price (they have delicious breakfast sandwiches as well).

Dozens of ways how to save money on food at Disney!

9. Eat with Discounted Gift Cards

Purchase Disney gift cards at Target to use when purchasing your meals. When you use your Target Red Card to purchase the cards, you’ll receive 5% off! That may seem like small savings but if you’re eating a lot of meals in the parks and paying for them solely with these Disney gift cards, you’ll be saving good money! Sounds pretty sweet to me!

Image Credit: Target


More Ways to Save at Disney!

Be sure to check out my other posts about how to save money on food at Disney!  7 Tips to Save Money on Food at Disney Parks and What are the Best Meals for Sharing at Disneyland?

Purchase discount Disneyland tickets and vacation packages from my affiliate Get Away Today.

Use the Promo Code REWRITTEN and receive an extra $10 off any 2-night or longer Southern California package. (Hotel and 2 ticket minimum purchase to qualify for the discount). 


For more ways to save money at Disney,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Red | Saving Money at Disney Loop:

How do you save money on food at Disney? Share your tips with me in the comments!

 


7 Top Tips to Save Money on Food at Disney Parks

Dining is an important part of a Disney vacation. You can certainly include all the fun restaurants and character dining experiences into part of your entertainment for the day, at a cost of course. But if you’d rather spend your money on something else, keep reading. Eating inside the Disney parks can be expensive! So how can you save money on food at Disney parks? Check out my expert tips how budgeting food, packing your own and even what to order that will help you save a lot!

Save Money on Food at Disney

These are my 7 top tips for how to save money on food at Disney. Try one or try them all, you will be shocked to know you could save hundreds off the cost of your vacation implementing just a few of these ideas.

Top Tips on Saving Money on Food at Disney Parks

1. Stay Off the Dining Plan

Contrary to what Disney will have you believe, the Dining Plan isn’t the best bargain. True, it’s convenient to pay for meals upfront and not have to worry about paying the bill each time you eat. But unless you are eating at the most expensive locations and ordering the most expensive dishes every time, you won’t be getting the best value.

You’ll also be receiving a lot of food, including dessert so depending upon your appetite it might be too much food. Also, everyone in your group has to be included in the Plan so there’s not opportunity to share. There’s more about why to skip on the Disney Dining Plan on TravelingMom.

Top Tips on Saving Money on Food at Disney Parks

Flatbread at Pinocchio’s Village Haus in Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World

2. Skip a Meal

I know, sounds odd that I would suggest that you DON’T EAT as a way to save money! But hear me out…here are several ways you can opt out of purchasing another meal and save yourself a chunk of money.

Instead of buying a restaurant breakfast, have your family eat a meal to go that you prepare in your hotel room. Run hot water through the coffee maker to make oatmeal with store-bought packs. Nibble fresh fruit while waiting for the bus. Tote crunchy granola bars or trail mix to munch on while you walk to the parks. Provide just enough breakfast to fill tummies before you purchase an early lunch in the parks.

Or consider this second way of meal skipping; Eat a large breakfast (perhaps indulging in a buffet at a character experience) that will stave you off until late afternoon. Enjoy a snack or two mid-day (something that you pack in), skip lunch completely and then eat dinner early.

We’ve also done this: Early breakfast that we packed in, eaten while waiting for rope drop. Several decent snacks throughout the day that you brought with you. Big lunch purchased in the park, something hearty that will fill you up, eaten past your usual lunch time (this is a great way to avoid the usual crowds during the lunch rush too). Then when you get hungry late in the evening for your usual dinner meal, enjoy a special treat instead like ice cream! Ice cream for dinner is one of our favorite ways to celebrate at Disney.

#Dinner is served! Gibson Girl #IceCream sundae #Disneyland #dessert #TMOM

A photo posted by Julie Bigboy (@juliebutterfly2000) on

3. Dine for Breakfast

If you really want to enjoy a Character Dining Experience, consider booking one for breakfast instead of lunch or dinner. The breakfasts are considerable less pricey and no less enjoyable. Sure you won’t get freshly carved meats but you’ll still get a hearty breakfast buffet and the same fun character interactions you’d find at dinner.

We’ve enjoyed the Surf’s Up! Breakfast with Mickey and Friends at the Paradise Pier Hotel and Minnie and Friends – Breakfast in the Park at the Plaza Inn. At Walt Disney World you can even find a character breakfast at a non-Disney resort hotel (the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista) near Disney Springs for half the price of Disney parks character meals – Check out this review on Traveling Mom, Save Half the Cost on Disney Character Meal.

Top Tips on Saving Money on Food at Disney Parks

Mickey waffles at the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista for half the price of usual Disney character dining

4. Make Water Your Beverage of Choice

Skip the soda and ditch the juice. Water is your budget-friendly beverage option! Feel free to bring in your own bottled water or an empty bottle that you can refill at the fountains. Ask for complimentary ice water at any quick service restaurant. That’s a savings of at least $2 per person, per meal to just drink water.

5. Share a Plate

If each person in your group orders their own dish, you’ll not only be stuck with a large bill you also may be stuck with leftovers! Since leftover food is unpractical (and depending upon the food, it could require refrigeration to keep it safe to eat), so it’s better to order just enough to enjoy fresh. Many of the platters in the Disney parks are large enough to share between two or more people.

Top Tips on Saving Money on Food at Disney Parks

We shared these generous platters of food in Epcot’s Morocco pavillion

You can find large platters at full-service and quick-service dining locations. Full-service restaurants may charge a plate-splitting fee. If you’re eating quick-service, request extra plates to divvy up the meal. One place you will be unable to share is at the buffet (unless you have a child 2 and under).

Be sure to read this post for exact recommendations on what to order at the Disneyland resort:

What are the Best Meals for Sharing at the Disneyland Resort?

Sharing Meals-PIN

Sharing is a great idea when it comes to park purchased snacks and treats as well. Did you know that if you buy one of those enormous candied apples, they will slice it up for you to make it easier to share? And buying the Kitchen Sink dessert sundae is less expensive than purchasing individual ice creams. You can even buy cones separately if you want to take some of the sundae and put it in a cone (which is what I did for my kid!)

Top Tips on Saving Money on Food at Disney Parks

6. Get Groceries

Getting groceries is a practical way of stretching the food budget while at the Disney parks. This will allow you to keep food in the hotel fridge. Things like milk with cereal for breakfast, fresh fruits and veggies for snacking or even frozen dinners that can be microwaved (if you hotel room has one) are all great ways to save on the cost of restaurant dining.

If you’re visiting Disneyland, a grocery store or Target is just a few miles away so you can easily drive your rental car or take Uber to the store to supply whatever you need.

At Walt Disney World, there are many grocers that can deliver foods directly to your resort hotel. Local places like Garden Grocer and WeGoShop will deliver for a relatively low fee. You could also use Amazon or Amazon Prime Pantry for your grocery needs and have them delivered to your resort. I used Garden Grocer on my last trip. I ordered mini boxes of cereal, a bottle of milk, fresh cut melon and a case of bottled water. The cost of buying groceries was significantly less than if I’d purchased meals in the Park.

7. Pack Snacks (or a Full Meal)

Yes, you can take in your own food to the Disney parks, just use common sense when packing in snacks or meals. Certain foods will require they be kept cool, like lunch meat so pack them in a soft sided cooler with a chill pack. We packed in a full tray of sandwiches from Costco on our last trip; we kept it in a cool bag underneath the stroller and it was good until lunchtime!

Bag up precut veggies or fruit. Pack items that won’t get crushed or broken in your bag (nobody wants that mushy banana, do they?) Crunchy granola bars, sturdy crackers, nuts and dried fruit are also good choices that will keep in your bag all day. That’s my kid, eating the Costco sandwiches and carrots we toted in!


Save money on Your Disney Vacation!

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Top Tips on Saving Money on Food at Disney Parks

 

9 Expert Tips for Dining with a Baby at Disney

Dining with a Baby at Disney? Follow these 9 expert tips!

Dining with a Baby at Disney

Babies have to eat just like the rest of us, vacation or not! And dining with a baby at Disney doesn’t have to be complicated, it just takes a bit of advanced planning. Here are all the tips on which restaurants are best for babies, what dishes are appropriate for sharing, highchairs, what you need to bring and where you can feed them.

What to Bring

You can pack your own baby food and snacks to bring with you into the parks. Plastic baby food tubs or pouches are ideal since they are lightweight. Normally glass containers are not allowed into the parks, with the exception of glass baby food jars. But for the sake of break-ability, you might want to just go with baby food in plastic instead.

Consider repackaging baby snacks (like crackers or yogurt melts) into smaller zip-close bags as they will take up less space than the original containers. If baby can’t use a full sized spoon yet, pack your own baby spoons and wash them in the sink. Or bring in disposable baby spoons to make it easier, like the Munchkin Infant Spoon Set. I’ve included a few more details on other items you might be considering bringing with you, from the highchair cover, place mats, bibs and wipes. Keep reading for my meal recommendations for little ones too!

Highchair Cover?

On a recent Walt Disney World visit, I considered bringing a highchair cover for my 6-month old daughter but the cover is so bulky and I had such a small amount of space to store it in the stroller basket. I decided to leave the cover behind and just place my daughter directly in the highchair. First I made sure that the buckle was working properly on the highchair. Then I took a baby wipe and cleaned off all surfaces that she could reach. One less thing I had to tote around!

Dining with a Baby at Disney? Follow these 9 expert tips!

Disposable Place Mats

Because we all know that babies don’t always keep their food on the plate (more often the not the plate ends up flipped over or on the floor!), these disposable place mats allow you to serve baby finger foods directly from a clean surface. Just peel off the strips in the back to reveal the adhesive and stick the mat directly onto the tabletop. The place mat stays put and baby can pick up her food from the clean mat. When meal time is done, just peel off the mat and discard. And these mats feature Mickey and Minnie!

Amazon Affiliate link: Neat Solutions Table Topper, Disney Mickey Mouse and Neat Solutions Table Topper, Disney Minnie Mouse

Disposable Bibs

Nobody wants to tote yucky food-covered bibs all day through the parks which is why these disposable paper bibs are wonderful. As you can see, they came in handy when our little boy was eating baked beans at the (now gone) Big Thunder Ranch BBQ.

What do you mean the beans are all gone?

What do you mean the beans are all gone?

The tabs fasten around baby’s neck and are made of a material that catches the food and drips but won’t soak through to baby’s clothes. We always have these in the diaper bag to keep the baby’s shirt clean while dining.

Amazon Affiliate link: Mickey Mouse Disposable Bibs by Disney Baby and Disney Minnie Mouse Disposable Bibs

   

Drink Up!

Long days at Disney can dehydrate anyone so make sure your baby has a cup with water. You can request ice water from any quick service dining location and pour it into their cup. My little one is just learning how to use a sipper cup with handles like these. If cups tend to disappear, consider bringing these inexpensive “take and toss” cups that won’t bother you too much if they are lost.

Amazon Affiliate link: NUK Disney Learner Cup with Silicone Spout,, The First Years Disney Take & Toss Sipp Princess Pack and Sassy Disney Mickey Character Cup

A “dropper stopper” leash that you attach to baby’s cup will keep it from being tossed on the floor or thrown out of the stroller.

Amazon Affiliate Link: Sister Chic Dropper Stopper Sippy Cup and Tether Toy

Clean Up Quick

Baby wipes are so versatile and I always have a bunch of them to use throughout the day for cleaning off surfaces that my baby will touch. They also make quick work of food messes so you can wipe off baby’s hands and face after meal time. Buy a big refill box and a portable case. Reload the case each morning with fresh wipes and store it in the diaper bag.

Dining with a Baby at Disney? Follow these 9 expert tips!

I actually used up all my wipes with a few hours left to go in the park. Fortunately they had a refill packet for sale of Huggies wipes in the Baby Care Center so I could get through the rest of the day!

Amazon Affiliate Link: HUGGIES One & Done Refreshing Baby Wipes and Disney Mickey & Minnie Mouse Wipes Case

 

Where to Eat

Naturally, any restaurant inside the Disney parks will be appropriate and welcoming for your baby. You can also feed your baby inside any of the Baby Care Centers. There are highchairs, microwaves for heating food, sinks for cleaning up and even supplies (like extra food and snacks) available for purchase.

Dining with a Baby at Disney

Step inside the air conditioned Baby Care Centers for baby dining areas including high chairs.

If your baby loves the characters, consider one of the Character Dining Experiences. Baby will be able to meet n’ greet with their favorites as they eat. The characters will come directly to their highchair and you’ll be able to snap pictures and request autographs.

Dining with a Baby at Disney? Follow these 9 expert tips!

What to Order

No need to place a separate order for baby if he is able to eat table food. If you are ordering a plate of food in a full-service or quick-service restaurant, you can share with babies (2 and under) from your plate for free. If you’re dining at a buffet, you may fill a plate of food for baby without any charge. Good meals to share with baby includes the rotisserie chicken with mashed potatoes at Flo’s V8 Cafe, Garden Vegetable Burger at Village Haus and Penne Pasta from Plaza Inn.

Dining with a Baby at Disney? Follow these 9 expert tips!

Nibbling on a sourdough bread bowl at Pacific Wharf

You can certainly bring in your own baby food but if you need additional pureed baby food or snacks, you can also purchase them at the Baby Care Centers inside each of the parks.

Dining with a Baby at Disney? Follow these 9 expert tips!

A classic: Fries and hamburger!

If your older baby can eat their own meal, many locations offer a Toddler Meal that’s a smaller size with flavors that little ones may enjoy. Cheesy macaroni seems to be the main dish offered at most of the locations but you can also get rice and beans at Rancho del Zocalo or Arroz con Pollo at Cocina Cucamonga. These meals also come with applesauce and lo-fat milk.

Snacks to Pack

Avoid anything that will get easily broken or melted in your diaper bag all day. Dry Cheerio-type cereal is always a hit. My little boy loved the yogurt melts and I can’t wait until his little sister can enjoy them too. And since it’s a vacation and baby should have a treat too, bring some cookies for baby to enjoy as well!

Amazon Affiliate Link: Gerber Graduates Yogurt Melts Snack Variety Pack, Ella’s Kitchen Organic Snack Bundle

  


What’s your favorite dining with a baby at Disney tip? Share with me in the comments!

Julie-signature

Storyteller’s Cafe at Disney Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

Review of lunch at the Storyteller's Cafe at Disney Grand Californian Hotel & Spa - Disneyland Resort

Storyteller’s Cafe Lunch Review

Do you enjoy a quiet respite mid-day while at the Disneyland Resort? It can be a great break, to seek lunch options outside of the Parks. When crowd levels are at their highest, we like to escape the Parks and take the family out for lunch and swimming. The Storyteller’s Cafe located at the Disney Grand Californian Hotel & Spa offered the perfect lunch break for us on our recent visit to Disneyland.

Storyteller's Cafe at Disney Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

I’ll be totally honest with you. It’s next to impossible to please my husband when it comes to eating out. He’s extremely particular about how his food is prepared, the ingredients and how the meal makes him feel afterwards. And because we are so frugal, eating out isn’t something we do very often, so he hates feeling like he “wasted” good money on a meal that didn’t satisfy.

We’ve eaten at Storyteller’s Cafe twice. The first time was several years ago and we dined at the dinner buffet. It was during the Christmas holidays and there was an amazing gingerbread creation in the lobby, delicious foods and fun Christmas treats for dessert. My husband raved about that meal several times after our trip so I know that the restaurant had made a positive impression on him.

Storyteller's Cafe at Disney Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

On our last visit he suggested that we dine at Storyteller’s Cafe for lunch. It was a very busy Saturday in the Parks and we’d not made any dining reservations so we weren’t sure what to expect when we showed up at the Cafe for lunch. Fortunately the restaurant was quite empty and they were able to accommodate us right away.

Storyteller's Cafe at Disney Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

Within minutes we had glasses of ice water and a basket of freshly baked bread. There was a small loaf of tear-apart buttermilk bread and little corn bread muffins, served with butter. Naturally between the five of us, we polished off that bread basket quickly but the waiter was happy to bring more.

Storyteller’s Cafe has a beautiful rustic decor that is both cozy and elegant.  The high ceilings, stained glass details, mix of woods and black wrought iron silhouettes and hand-painted murals really make this a warm atmosphere.

Storyteller's Cafe at Disney Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

What We Ate

My 12-yr old son is all about the soup so he ordered the Charred Nebraska Corn Chowder which had bits of rotisserie chicken, bacon bits and a sprinkle of cilantro. I’ve had this soup before and it’s thick, hearty and filling. It’s absolutely delicious so naturally, the boy didn’t share! The soup bowl is $8 which is a little steep but it’s a good serving size and it did fill him up.

Storyteller's Cafe at Disney Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

My 12-yr daughter and I decided to order a burger to split between us and we were very happy with the Half-Pound Char-broiled Avocado-Bacon Burger. She doesn’t care for avocado so I requested it on the side. The avocado was more like guacamole, mashed with chunks of onion and tomato.

I ordered the beef patty but we could have also had ground turkey or a veggie-burger. The burger was large and juicy with cheddar cheese and toppings served on a Harvest bun. We opted for the fries which were perfectly crisp (we could have requested fresh fruit as a side option). The burger was big and there were plenty of fries so sharing this dish was a great choice. This burger platter is $15, which was reasonable for the portion size (and that we were able to split the dish between two).

Storyteller's Cafe at Disney Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

My husband (aka: Mr. Picky) chose the Grilled Albacore Tuna Sandwich and he was very pleased with his choice. He wanted something that wasn’t overly heavy and the lightly cooked tuna served on toasted ciabatta bread was just what he was craving. The sandwich came with a zesty lemon-caper mayo and was topped with fresh arugula, tomato, and pickled ginger. He requested extra lemons to squeeze on top. Being the health-conscious guy he is, he chose fruit instead of fries. At $17, this was a unique option that my husband really enjoyed.

Storyteller's Cafe at Disney Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

My 4-yr old, excited for the rare dining-out moment, chose the chicken breast nuggets and fries (something he doesn’t really get to eat at home). It came served with veggies (carrots & celery) and a large serving of fresh fruit. He ate all but one nugget (that his sister happily finished for him!)

Our lunch at Storyteller’s Cafe was absolutely delicious and filling enough that we actually didn’t even eat dinner that night (we had ice cream sundaes instead!) The service was quick and top-notch on the day of our visit. Though we were able to pop in without reservations on the day of our visit, it’s generally recommended that you try to book ADR for this restaurant. I would not attempt to show up for breakfast or dinner at Storyteller’s Cafe without Advance Dining Reservations.

Storyteller's Cafe at Disney Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

What You Need to Know about Dining at Storyteller’s Cafe

You do not need to be a guest of the Disney Grand Californian Hotel and Spa to dine at Storyteller’s Cafe and it’s very easy to access the restaurant. You can enter the hotel through the Downtown Disney District and the restaurant is located just next to the pool. Likewise you can exit Disney’s California Adventure Park’s special entrance/exit that is connected to the hotel. Though anyone can exit through this method you have to be a Disneyland Resort hotel guest (with a valid room key) to enter back through this way.

Breakfast at Storyteller’s Cafe is buffet-style only and features character dining with Chip & Dale. Dinner offers both a buffet and the ability to order off the menu. Lunch is menu-only, no buffet is offered.

Next time (and there will be a next time) I’m going to have to try dessert…strawberry cheesecake? Yes, please!

What would you order from Storyteller’s Cafe? 

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What Are the Best Meals for Sharing at Disneyland Resort?

What Are the Best Meals for Sharing at Disneyland Resort?

Photo Credit: Jeff Holz

On top of lodging and Park tickets, food can be a very big cost factor when planning a Disney vacation. Everyone has to eat and when you’re away from home you need to eat what’s available. Yes, you can pack snacks in to the Parks but when it comes to long-term sustenance nothing beats a good hearty meal. Fortunately Disneyland has plenty of options that will fill you up and if you share, they can also be very economical. What are the best meals for sharing at Disneyland? Read on (hope you’re hungry!)

Why Should You Share?

Disneyland meal platters are often very large and might be difficult to finish on your own. Unlikely that you’ll want to walk around the Park with a “to-go” box of your leftovers either. Kids meals are cute (Mickey shaped plates!) but for the price, you don’t always get the largest portions. And often the offerings for kids are nuggets and fries, which you can get anywhere. Why not try something new?

What Are the Best Meals for Sharing at Disneyland Resort?

Not only is sharing a more budget-friendly idea, it’s also great to try more than one dish. As a family of five, we often purchase two platters and a side (like a salad or appetizer) to share between us when we’re at Disneyland. This way we can all try a little bit of everything and it’s more cost-effective.

Go for the Big Platter

A big platter shared between two or more is usually your best bet when it comes to price and portion-size. If there are more than two in your group, you might want to order more than one platter or an additional side dish to share between you. The Carnation Cafe serves big breakfasts like Country-Fried Steak and Eggs and a Ham and Cheese Omelet that are perfect for two to share in the morning. Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill is a family favorite for us, with heaping portions of grilled meats, tortillas, tamales, rice and beans. You can also opt in for Mexican at Rancho Del Zocalo Restaurant where you can order enchiladas and tacos. Flo’s V8 Cafe is known for their homey cooking and large platters like BBQ Pork Ribs and Rotisserie Chicken.

What Are the Best Meals for Sharing at Disneyland Resort?

– Photo Credit: Jeff Holz

French Market Restaurant is another family favorite. We love to order the Cajun-Style Meatloaf and French Market Chicken and share it between us all. Choose a few skewer platters from Paradise Garden Grill to split. Each plate also comes with rice pilaf, cucumber salad and pita bread. The River Belle Terrace now serves platters large enough for splitting, including a Sausage Link Combo and Pulled Pork Sandwich. The beautiful and bountiful platters of pasta from Wine Country Trattoria are easy to divide and you could always round out the meal with an Italian Insalata appetizer. Plaza Inn is a perfect dinner spot with their enormous platters of fried chicken, potatoes, buttermilk biscuit and veggies.

What Are the Best Meals for Sharing at Disneyland Resort?

This is one third of a portion at Plaza Inn.

Share a Sandwich (or a Salad)

The Monte Cristo at Cafe Orleans in New Orleans Square can be on the heavy side for one person to consume (turkey, ham, Swiss that’s been lightly battered, fried, drizzled with powdered sugar and topped with berry preserve). Don’t forget the pomme frites! My husband and I split a Roasted Turkey Sandwich from the Carnation Cafe for dinner last year. Along with fresh fruit (option instead of fries), it was a filling and delicious meal.

The salad at Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill is big enough for two to enjoy.

What Are the Best Meals for Sharing at Disneyland Resort?

Step outside the Parks into the Downtown Disney District at Earl of Sandwich for large sized sandwiches that are hearty enough to share. We’ve purchased several breakfast sandwiches here as well and cut them into quarters so that everyone have a few bites from each different variety. Breakfast sandwiches are under $3.50 and hot lunch sandwiches are around $6.99, so the prices are really right.

The prices at Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Cafe are a little higher but they also come with fresh fruit. Plates are a few dollars more at Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe but the sandwiches come with popular house chips. And it’s all about the seafood at the Harbour Galley. Stop by for a Lobster Roll sandwich that’s sure to float your boat.

What Are the Best Meals for Sharing at Disneyland Resort?

– Photo Credit: Jeff Holz

Just a Snack

Sometimes you just need a nibble and these snacks are great for sharing. Everyone gets a few bites and you’re good until the next big meal. Grab a few skewers from Bengal Barbecue in Adventureland. Each skewer is under $4.50 so the price is right to order a few and share between you.

What Are the Best Meals for Sharing at Disneyland Resort?

The corn dogs from either Corn Dog Castle or the Little Red Wagon Corn Dog Cart are over sized and nice for sharing between two (they come with either sliced apples or a bag of chips).

Chili Cone Queso from the Cozy Cone Motel is also a good size for two to share. Of course there is always the behemoth turkey leg sold at Edelweiss Snacks that is large enough for an army!

What Are the Best Meals for Sharing at Disneyland Resort?

Share a Cozy Cone – – Photo Credit: Disney Parks

Pass a Slice of Pizza

Order a whole pizza from Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta or Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port. You can get pepperoni, veggie or plain cheese amd round out the meal with a salad to split.

Desserts and Sweets

I’m usually way too full after my meal to indulge in dessert so I wait and get a sweet treat later when I can more fully enjoy it! The Golden Horseshoe is a favorite sweet spot because you can share one of the big sundaes and watch a comedy show. The Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe has a large variety of desserts that you can divide between your group including cupcakes. We usually indulge in homemade fudge or toffee from Main Street U.S.A. to share between us!

What Are the Best Meals for Sharing at Disneyland Resort?

A giant bucket of popcorn is ideal for sharing while parade watching- Photo Credit: Jeff Holz

Sharing Tips

  • If ordering at a quick-service counter restaurant, request a second or third plate up front. Grab yourself plenty of flatware and divvy the plates up at your seat.
  • If ordering at a full-service restaurant, note to the wait staff that you’ll be sharing the dish. They may even be able to divide the dish in the kitchen and serve it to you on two plates so you don’t have to do that yourself.
  • Some establishments have sharing restrictions. Buffet restaurants, Prix fix meals and Character meals are no-sharing allowed zones. Each person in your group will be charged up front for entry.
  • Certain restaurants (like Blue Bayou) charge a “plate splitting” fee if you order a platter to be shared. Keep that in mind when working out your food budget and determine if the fee is worth it or if you should just purchase an additional meal.
  • The exception for sharing is with children 2 and under. You are welcome to share your food with them from your plate or fix them their own plate from a buffet.

What are your favorite dishes to share at Disney? Let us know in the comments!

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I recommend Park Savers for discount Disney tickets! (affiliate link)

Park Savers affiliate link

Disneyland Restaurant Review – French Market Restaurant

Disneyland Restaurant Review - French Market Restaurant

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Green Loop. Today we are telling you all about some of the best quick service restaurants at Disneyland.


FRENCH MARKET RESTAURANT

Located in New Orleans Square, the French Market Restaurant fast quick service dining location is one stop we make on nearly every visit to the Disneyland Resort. New Orleans Square is always a happening hot-spot. With Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean and a dozen of small shops to peruse (including Pandora!), New Orleans Square is always bustling. You also have to pass through this area to reach Critter Country (and the The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Splash Mountain).

Disneyland Restaurant Review - French Market Restaurant

Elegantly appointed New Orleans Square at Disneyland

Why is the French Market Restaurant one of our favorite Disneyland dining spots? I think it’s a combination of location, atmosphere and food that brings us back each time!

Disneyland Restaurant Review - French Market Restaurant

Photo Credit: Disney Parks

LOCATION

Set in the heart of New Orleans Square, this outdoor dining location is a charming respite. I’ve never been to New Orleans but sitting in this spot in the middle of Disneyland makes me think I am! Wrought iron, draped canopies over the seating area and a small stage add to the appeal.

Disneyland Restaurant Review - French Market Restaurant

Photo Credit: Leslie Harvey

On a hot day, it’s a nice alternative to indoor dining because of the shady patio. Jazz bands are often here to play, sometimes accompanied by a singer. During one of our visits, there was an impromptu parade through the patio and the kids danced around the tables and chairs, rewarded with beaded necklaces at the end of the song.

Disneyland Restaurant Review - French Market Restaurant

Photo Credit: Leslie Harvey

Depending upon which side of the patio you choose to sit, there is also a view of either the Rivers of America, the Haunted Mansion or the New Orleans Train Station.

Disneyland Restaurant Review - French Market Restaurant

Photo Credit: Leslie Harvey

DINING TIPS

Guests enter and place their order at the buffet counter, where they are served their platters and pay at the register. Though this is “quick dining”, dishes are served on real dishes with flatware instead of paper plates and plastic forks. I think that alone give this location a bit more of an upscale feeling.

Disneyland Restaurant Review - French Market Restaurant

Photo Credit: Leslie Harvey

There is a self-serve condiment area outside where you can grab more flatware and napkins. Tables are bussed after your meal. Because of it’s location in the middle of New Orleans Square, the French Market Restaurant is frequently busy. Tables are tightly squeezed into this space. There are high chairs available but you’ll need to leave your stroller outside the gate.

Though I’ve never had a very long wait in line for food, getting a table can be a challenge. If you have more than one adult in your party, I’d recommend that one person get the table and another grab the food to save time wandering around with your loaded trays.

 Photo Credits: Disney Parks

Disneyland Restaurant Review - French Market Restaurant Disneyland Restaurant Review - French Market Restaurant

NEW ORLEANS-INSPIRED DINING

The menu offers a variety of Cajun-inspired dishes, including Po’ Boy sandwiches, Cajun Meatloaf (which is always my choice), Jambalaya and Louisiana Beef Stew. With three children we often just order several platters and share between us. However my son is a huge soup eater and we usually just order him his own bowl of the Creamy Corn Chowder in a bread bowl because it’s his absolute favorite (and he’s not willing to share it!)

My husband generally opts for the healthier choice with the French Quarter Chicken. Both the chicken and the meatloaf are generous portions that are served with smashed potatoes and veggies so they are easy to share with the kids. I think the prices are very reasonable, given the sizes of the dishes that are offered.

Disneyland Restaurant Review - French Market Restaurant

MINT JULEPS ALL AROUND

If you still have room after your meal or perhaps just craving a light snack, you can’t miss the Mint Julep Bar. This walk-up window is located on the opposite side of the entrance to the French Market Restaurant (facing the New Orleans Train Station). The Mint Julep Bar and the French Market Restaurant share the same sitting area.

Disneyland Restaurant Review - French Market Restaurant

Grab a non-alchoholic New Orleans Mint Julep and a bag of sugar-coated beignets that are shaped like Mickey (naturally!) Kick back and relax in the shade for a bit.

Disneyland Restaurant Review - French Market Restaurant

There is a restroom conveniently located just behind the Mint Julep Bar and next to the New Orleans Train Station so it’s a busy area and great for people watching. We love the French Market Restaurant for it’s location, ambiance and hearty food!

Disneyland Restaurant Review - French Market Restaurant  Disneyland Restaurant Review - French Market Restaurant

For more great quick service restaurants at Disneyland,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!
Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Green | Best Quick Service Restaurants at Disneyland Loop:


What dish would you order at the French Market Restaurant? Share with us in the comments!

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Disneyland 60th Anniversary Sugar Cookie Bars

Disneyland 60th Anniversary Sugar Cookie Bars

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Teal loop. Today we are sharing some of our favorite holiday cookie recipes.


I love sugar cookies. But I don’t love having to bake the dough, chill the dough, roll the dough, cut them out and make fancy royal icing to decorate them. For me, that’s a 2 day process. You know what’s a lot easier? Sugar cookie bars that you bake in a pan, thickly frost and cut out! And you know what’s totally the best? Making sugar cookies that remind you of your favorite place, like these cookie bars that I decorated for Disneyland’s 60th Anniversary! Using just a few store bought items and a few minutes of time and you have cute sugar cookie bars that don’t take two days to make and 5 seconds to eat.

Disneyland 60th Anniversary Sugar Cookie Bars

Bake the cookies in a pan until just done

I found this delicious recipe online at Mel’s Kitchen Cafe for the sugar cookie bars.

Disneyland 60th Anniversary Sugar Cookie Bars

I wanted variety so I iced half in blue and the other half in white with blue sprinkles

To decorate, I wanted these bar cookies to reflect the beautiful blue and white decor that is all over the Disneyland Resort this year for the Diamond Anniversary. I used half of the frosting as it was and then colored the second half blue so I’d have a variety.

Disneyland 60th Anniversary Sugar Cookie Bars

After chilling in the fridge a bit, I cut the pieces and then decorated each square a little differently. Some received a pearlescent candy ball. Others received hard-shell candy Mickey silhouettes because my little one loves a “hidden Mickey”, especially one made of candy!


Here is the map of Magical Blogorail Teal | Holiday Cookie Recipes Loop: