This is another Disney Blog by a Disney fan who wants to talk about whatever he wants. Disney related, of course.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Stop at this Dining Intersection

Often when friends are planning trips to Disneyland Resort they will ask me for recommendations on everything from hotels to tickets to restaurants. The restaurants are always my favorite to discuss. Disneyland and the resort as a whole offer a great variety and while the prices are higher than you would pay at a local eatery you are at Disney and that is worth a premium to me. Many of my favorite restaurants are located at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World.

When at Disneyland there is a concentration of great food right where New Orleans Square, Frontierland, and Adventureland meet. River Belle Terrace, Bengal BBQ, Royal Street Veranda, Cafe Orleans, and Blue Bayou make up the fab 5 of west side Disneyland dining. With the exception of Cafe Orleans and Blue Bayou they all have pretty distinct menus and all of them are special for different reasons.

When I think of breakfast at Disneyland I think of Mickey Mouse pancakes at the River Belle Terrace. I grew up eating on the patio overlooking the Rivers of America whenever the park opened early enough for us to eat breakfast there. Due to the great location right between Adventureland and the Rivers of America, dining there had a great soundtrack of Mark Twain's whistle and the Swiskapolka coming from the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse. The soundtrack has changed a little over the years but the food is still some of my favorite and breakfast is still a must. I have graduated from the Mickey Mouse pancakes but it still gives me a smile every time I see one on the griddle.

Bengal Barbeque is a restaurant that has not been among my favorites for long. It was only a year ago that I finally ate there. Now I can't get enough. There is often a line and the service isn't that quick but they are well worth the wait. The skewers are excellent and I love a tiger tail. This is a very unique eatery for a theme park.

Tucked away, under the balcony of the former Disney Gallery, is a small counter serving Gumbo and Clam Chowder. At the Royal Street Veranda you can usually walk up and grab a bite to eat unless you wait until Fantasmic is about to start. Both the Gumbo and the Chowder are served in bread bowls and the service is very quick. I find myself eating here more during the cooler months but every time I walk past I think about the Steak Gumbo.

I have always enjoyed Cafe Orleans. Since their makeover into a full service restaurant a little over a year ago I enjoy it all the more. This is the location of my favorite appetizer and dessert in the resort. The Pommes Frites are are french fries with parmasean cheese and garlic. Every time we sit down here we order them. The Mickey Beignets make this restaurant worthy of a visit every trip. On top of all this they are now the second home of the Monte Cristo sandwich. How do you improve a ham and cheese sandwich? You batter it and deep fry it of course. The Cafe Orleans, like the River Belle Terrace, has a great patio looking out to the Rivers of America.

The Blue Bayou is probably the most unique dining experience in a Disney park. How many restaurants are located inside an attraction? This was the original Disneyland home of the Monte Cristo and you can get them to this day. During the Pirates of the Caribbean rehab last year they made several changes to the menu. They are trying to go a little more upscale while still offering a menu that your average person will love. After you enter the restaurant and are seated you may be indoors but it sure feels like you are sitting on the back patio of a southern plantation house. Every few seconds a boat will slip into the darkness. It has been copied in Tokyo and Paris and the Mexican pavilion at Epcot tries to imitate but there can be only one Blue Bayou.

While the original intention when writing this was not a restaurant review I can't help but run on about some of my favorites in the Disney universe. If this was expanded to cover all of Frontierland, New Orleans Square, and Adventureland I could probably go on even longer. When you find yourself hungry on the west side of Disneyland you know that good food can't be far away.

1 comment:

James said...

who are you? Were we separated at birth? Because four out of the five you mentioned are my favorites inside Disneyland too. And the only reason it's not five out of five is that I've never actually eaten anything from the street veranda. I'll have to cross that one off my list. Thanks for the recommendation.