There are tons of different options when you are booking your Disneyland vacation. What do you want to choose? Are you going to live by the seat of your pants, or would you rather have a set schedule? This is the first important question you may want to ask yourself when thinking about dining and Disneyland.
The next important question is budget. Character meals are more expensive than just hitting the fast food line.
Also, timing-How much time do you want to spend per meal? Many of the character meals are buffet, so they are rather quick to get food to eat but you will take time with the characters. The character meals are one of the best places to get photos taken with characters without long lines and waiting.
We ate at the Donald Duck Seaside Grill (Paradise Pier). It wasn’t seaside at all, but we will pretend. It was a wide array of kid friendly foods and they asked about allergies before we entered. For Breakfast, mickey pancakes, mickey waffles, bacon, sausage, french toast, oatmeal, bagels, muffins, omelettes made to order, potatoes, egg sandwiches, cream cheese and my favorite, smoked salmon. Even their ice cream was available. And I saw kids sneaking that. HA. Fresh fruit was also available and that changed, but usually watermelon and pineapple. Cereal was also available. Juice and coffees were available to drink. Tip was included in the cost of the meal.
We also ate at there for dinner one night because it was convenient. Dinner was chicken nuggets, pizza, pastas, salads and many other desserts. The characters were not available in the evenings.
Goofy’s Kitchen had characters available at breakfast and dinnertime, and everything was prepaid. If ordering from the adult beverage menu, you would receive an additional bill. Gratuities were an extra amount and were not up to the discretion of the guest. This was also a buffet. However, we were again asked if we had any allergies. There was a really cute set up for Goofy’s Kitchen with fake bubbling pots and pans. Goofy was happy to sign papers and I even got a hug!
There were many more tables at Goofy’s Kitchen and the menu was more extensive. However, the menu was pretty much repeated at dinner and breakfast. I’m not sure if it just happened to be the case because we went to dinner there and the following morning we went to breakfast there, but 8am there was pizza and chicken nuggets and ice cream available! But, there was salad too! The normal breakfast fare was available in the morning-(same as Donald’s) but the evening had more dinnertime options.
We ate at the Storytellers Cafe in the Grand Californian one evening. There were no characters for this meal. Getting into the Grand Californian can be like Fort Knox as they have more security at the front gates. My mother in law called a few different numbers and was told a different variety of things to get into the cafe.
One person said we needed to enter the hotel from Downtown Disney by Sephora, which would have been about a mile plus walk. I was a little bummed by that news. She called a different number, and a different person said to use the buzzer or tell the guard at the Grand Californian we had reservations and we would be let in the front gate of the Grand Californian so we wouldn’t have the real long walk. That worked and they happily let us in.
The cafe is another buffet, of the same items. So, very kid friendly.
One morning we ate at Disneyland, and had a lovely view of Main Street at Carnation Cafe. Waitresses were dressed in early 1900s attire and were very attentive. Menu was a la carte. The menu was not extensive, but it was a nice change from the buffet.
So, what do I go with?
A mickey waffle. It was on the adult menu, and I needed some sugar. It was not very large, but the price was a bit high for what it was. I ended up picking off of my kids plates, but it was ok. I got the sugar I needed to start the day. Right behind the cafe is one of the parks many bathrooms, so it was super convenient for us!
The Napa Rose restaurant in the Grand Californian is a higher end restaurant. It was an interesting mix of people dressed in their finest and people coming in with their coverups over their bathing suits. Kids mixed with adults hoping to get away with kids. Kids sleeping on tables. I cannot lie, but it was not my children asleep on tables!
The Napa Rose is one of the fine dining establishments in Disneyland and meals cost 40-50 per plate. Kids meals are available as well. Fine wines and drinks are available. We had reservations, but it seemed like the staff seemed confused how to seat a party of seven, or any parties. That seemed bizarre to me that such confusion kept happening at the front desk even though there were so many empty tables at 7pm at night. (I used to be a server and a host, so I have experience in this area). Our server was very attentive and meal taste was very good, however portions were on the smaller end. Price is based on higher food quality and ambiance.
There are kid sized sinks in the bathroom, which seemed amusing to some ladies in the bathroom who had a few too many drinks. These ladies were kind of joking about the size of the sink and then saw my daughter (7) looking at them and got very quiet and apologized. She ended up laughing and said “I’m a big kid now and use the big sink, go ahead, use the small one if it is better for you.”
If you have a MaxPass, you can use this for ordering your food and picking it up in the parks at some of the fast food dining establishments. You will have a time limit to order your food, which is kind of a nuisance. We found out the hard way when it erased our whole order. Hopefully they get rid of that problem. You also have to enter in a credit card number.
Also, if you are going to a character meal, make sure you tell the photographer you have a MaxPass to get your downloadable photo!