The best restaurants at Disneyland

Aug 3, 2022

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On-the-go churros or chicken fingers work for some Disneyland guests for some meals. But when you’re spending as much as a trip to Disney costs these days, you might want to be sure you’re enjoying the best of what its theme parks have to offer — including the best restaurants and meals.

While Disney World’s restaurants are the most talked about, dining in Disneyland has undergone a transformation as well. And with the way things are currently, it’s important that you map out your eating plan in advance, at least for a few meals.

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Best Disneyland Restaurants for Families - Lamplight Lounge
(Photo by Joshua Sudock/Disneyland Resort)

At Disney, what makes a restaurant great is not necessarily just the very best foodie experience. Instead, it may also be a character experience, a fun theme or a good spot right near the rides.

Does it get better than actually eating inside an attraction at the Blue Bayou and watching the Pirates of the Caribbean boats go by? We think not.

We’ve dined at dozens of Disneyland restaurants over the years on both family and adults-only vacations, from the smallest of snack carts to the fanciest white-tablecloth eateries. Here’s what travelers need to know about dining at Disneyland, along with our picks for the best Disneyland restaurants — whether you’re at Disneyland park, Disney California Adventure park or at the Disneyland hotels.

Related: Everything you need to know about visiting Disneyland

For no-cost assistance with planning and booking your next Disney vacation, check out TPG’s Disney booking partner, Mouse Counselors.

In This Post

Best restaurants in Disneyland Park

Here are some of the best Disneyland park restaurants to enjoy:

Plaza Inn

Where it is: Main Street USA.

What’s on the menu: Mickey waffles, fried chicken.

Home to the only Disneyland character meal located within either of the two parks, Plaza Inn is a favorite for families or anyone else who wants some character face time. During morning hours, Plaza Inn hosts “Breakfast in the Park With Minnie & Friends.” Breakfast is buffet style, with kid-friendly favorites like Mickey waffles available alongside eggs, biscuits and gravy and other morning comfort foods.

While visitors are always guaranteed a photo opportunity with Minnie Mouse, other regular characters include Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Chip ‘n’ Dale, Pluto and Daisy.

Best Disneyland Restaurants - Plaza Inn
Dine with Minnie Mouse at Plaza Inn. (Photo by Leslie Harvey/The Points Guy)

Reservations go quickly for this meal, so make your plans as soon as the 60-day advance reservation window opens. Remember, though, that early morning hours are the best time for short ride lines — so don’t waste these hours sitting down for breakfast. Pick a time at the Plaza Inn a few hours after park opening (10:30 a.m. is ideal on days with an 8 a.m. park opening).

For lunch and dinner, the characters call it a day and the restaurant becomes a regular fast-casual restaurant. Even without characters, Plaza Inn is a restaurant with a lot of value. Prices are reasonable and portions are hearty. Don’t miss the restaurant’s signature dish, fried chicken.

Bengal Barbecue

Where it is: Adventureland.

What’s on the menu: Chieftain Chicken Skewer, Bengal Beef Skewer.

For a very quick bite, Bengal Barbecue in Adventureland has always been one of my family’s favorites.

The menu choices offer a lot of lean meats and a few veggies — a welcome change from all the churros and Mickey ice cream bars that otherwise make up a Disneyland diet. Many of the food items are on skewers, so you can take them to go as you race off to your next Genie+ reservation time. If you have more time, sit and take a break in the adjacent shaded and themed seating area.

Best Disneyland Restaurants for Families - Bengal Barbecue
You’ll find healthier food choices at Bengal Barbecue. (Photo by Leslie Harvey)

Red Rose Taverne

Where it is: Fantasyland.

What’s on the menu: Burgers, chopped salads.

If you have little ones, chances are good that you’ll spend a lot of time in Fantasyland. This quick-service restaurant there (rebranded a few years ago as Red Rose Taverne but still known to many guests as Village Haus) works well for families with babies, toddlers and younger children.

Best Disneyland Restaurants for Families - Red Rose Taverne
Red Rose Taverne’s Fantasyland location makes it a smart lunch stop for families with younger kids. (Photo by Leslie Harvey/The Points Guy)

You can count on Red Rose Taverne for the staples many picky children will eat, including chicken nuggets, hamburgers and cheese pizza. There’s ample indoor and outdoor seating and even enough room to maneuver a stroller up to many of the tables. The food for adults is nothing particularly memorable, but park-weary parents will be grateful for the easy logistics.

French Market

Where it is: New Orleans Square.

What’s on the menu: Louisiana-style Buttered Shrimp Po’ Boy, jambalaya.

French Market is one of the higher-end counter service restaurants in Disneyland, so it’s a smart choice for guests who want a nicer dining experience without quite as much expense or time invested as a true sit-down experience. While the menu has been pared back since the parks reopened in 2021, it still remains a solid dining option.

Best Disneyland Restaurants for Families - French Market
You will find more upscale quick-service dining at French Market in New Orleans Square. (Photo by Leslie Harvey/The Points Guy)

Menu choices are Creole- and Cajun-inspired, with choices like a shrimp po’boy and both regular and vegetarian versions of jambalaya. There are less adventurous options on the kids’ menu if you have picky eaters in the family.

Tables are outside on a mostly shaded veranda overlooking the Rivers of America and Mark Twain riverboat. Be sure to stop by the Mint Julep Bar adjacent to French Market where you can grab a (nonalcoholic) mint julep to accompany your meal or a Mickey beignet for dessert.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Blue Bayou

Where it is: New Orleans Square.

What’s on the menu: Monte Cristo sandwich, chicken jambalaya.

For the quintessential Disneyland date night, head straight for New Orleans Square.

My husband and I have made dinner at Blue Bayou our date-night tradition, starting when we first visited the park together over 20 years ago. While it’s fair to say the food quality and menu variety have both dropped a bit the last few years, Blue Bayou’s location and ambiance simply cannot be topped.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

The restaurant is entirely indoors but is lit to give the illusion of alfresco nighttime dining overlooking the bayou.

Boats from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride float by on the water while fireflies dance overhead. Lunch is less expensive than dinner but still one of the most expensive meals at Disneyland. The restaurant is best known for its famous Monte Cristo sandwich, but my personal favorite is the jambalaya. Reservations are an absolute must.

While this is a fancier restaurant and is priced accordingly, families shouldn’t necessarily rule it out. Blue Bayou can be a very special higher-end Disney dining experience with older children or teens for dinner, and it’s usually filled with quite a few families at lunch.

Image courtesy of Disneyland
(Photo courtesy of Disneyland)

Docking Bay 7 Food & Cargo

Where it is: Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

What’s on the menu: Endorian Fried Chicken Tip-Yip.

The opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland in 2019 brought several new restaurants into Disneyland Park. To be sure, the food options on Batuu were not without some controversy and mixed reviews, at least initially.

Related: Best and worst food at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland

A sampling of the dinner entrees at Docking Bay 7.(Image by Leslie Harvey.)
A sampling of the dinner entrees at Docking Bay 7. (Photo by Leslie Harvey/The Points Guy)

Disneyland tweaked a few menus to respond to customer feedback, and Docking Bay 7 emerged as one of the better counter service restaurants in the park. With ample, air-conditioned indoor seating, it’s also an easy place to take a break and (usually) find a table. There’s a small partially shaded outdoor terrace that offers fresh air and quality views for Star Wars people-watching, too.

Lunch and dinner menu items include fried chicken (“tip yip”) and mashed potatoes, pot roast and several vegetarian options. The pickiest of eaters may not find a lot of choices here, so check the menu carefully if you have young kids.

Also, don’t rule out the idea of a wrap from Ronto’s Roasters next door, as that is arguably an even tastier option. The traditional morning wrap with egg and pork sausage is our favorite but there are also plant-based garden wraps and a wrap with sausage and slaw available for lunch or dinner.

Related: Disney World vs. Disneyland — which is the better park?

Best restaurants in Disney California Adventure

Here are the best Disney California Adventure restaurants:

Image courtesy of Disneyland
(Photo courtesy of Disneyland)

Flo’s V8 Cafe

Where it is: Cars Land.

What’s on the menu: Burgers, turkey club sandwich.

Flo’s V8 Cafe is Disney’s take on the classic American diner, just like you might find along Route 66.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Its theming and setting in Cars Land is immersive and just so much fun. For a quick-service restaurant, the food is downright delicious.

Lunch and dinner include items like burgers, a Cobb salad, fried chicken and a turkey club sandwich. Naturally, shakes are available for a sweet treat as well. Kids can find plenty of variety, from macaroni and cheese to chicken strips.

Flo’s hasn’t brought back breakfast since the park closures in 2020-2021. It used to be my family’s favorite stop for a mid-morning breakfast of eggs or Mickey waffles. If and when breakfast makes a return, it will likely be worth a morning stop as well.

Lamplight Lounge

Where it is: Pixar Pier.

What’s on the menu: Lobster nachos, potato skins, doughnuts.

Lamplight Lounge is one of the hottest dining tickets at Disneyland Resort, so it’s a must to make a reservation well in advance if you want to dine here. The weekend brunch offering (Friday through Sunday) is especially popular.

Instagrammable food and cocktails abound. The decor is Pixar-themed, with tons of memorabilia and details to explore. Like Blue Bayou in Disneyland Park, Lamplight Lounge is probably better suited to families with older children and teens due to its atmosphere and price, but younger kids who love their Pixar movies will feel right at home here, too.

Best Disneyland Restaurants - Lamplight Lounge
Pixar memorabilia at the Lamplight Lounge. (Photo by Joshua Sudock/Disneyland Resort)

The sentimental favorite menu item is the lobster nachos that also were available at the predecessor restaurant in this space, Cove Bar. The menu choices are definitely more varied and interesting for foodie parents than at many Disneyland restaurants, and the drink menu (both alcoholic and nonalcoholic) is full of whimsical selections.

Carthay Circle Restaurant

Where it is: Buena Vista Street.

What’s on the menu: Grilled Angus Rib-eye, Caribbean Spiced Pork Chop.

For a special signature dining experience in California Adventure, Carthay Circle Restaurant is the top choice. It’s also priced accordingly, so save this for a special adults’ night out or just budget accordingly and enjoy the very centralized location for a more casual lunch.

Located within a replica of the Carthay Circle Theater, where Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs debuted in 1937, this restaurant is teeming with Disney and Old Hollywood history and lore.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Menu items include a pork chop, rib-eye, fish selection and beef pot roast. If you don’t have the budget or the time for a fancier meal, the Carthay Circle Lounge downstairs in the same building has lighter bites and delicious cocktails.

Also, know that eating in the outdoor seating section of the lounge has the added perk of five-star people watching — you’re likely to even spot a character or two strolling by on their way to their next appearance.

Pym Test Kitchen

Where it is: Avengers Campus.

What’s on the menu: Quantum Pretzel, Not so Little Chicken Sandwich.

The food at Pym Test Kitchen is not the best on Disney property, but it is pretty fun, so it made the cut based on sheer originality.

(Photo by Leslie Harvey/The Points Guy)

The concept of this counter service location in the new Avenger’s Campus is that Ant-Man and the Wasp’s Pym particles are being used to experiment with making food teeny-tiny or enormous.

On the menu, you’ll find an enormous pretzel, a not-so-little chicken sandwich with a tiny bun but huge chicken patty, pasta with tiny noodles and oversized Impossible plant-based “meatballs.” Kids usually get a kick out of the pretzel, which is larger than their heads.

Pym Test Kitchen is one of the few breakfast options open in California Adventure park in 2022, and its offerings are also quite solid in the morning. The “Calculated Breakfast = E x 2 + (B+P)/T” is served with two different size eggs, prepared in different ways.

Pym Test Kitchen Breakfast Disneyland California Adventure
Pym Test Kitchen’s breakfast options are some of the best in Disney California Adventure. (Photo by Leslie Harvey/The Points Guy)

Food festival marketplaces

Where it is: Grizzly Peak, Paradise Gardens.

What’s on the menu: Changes seasonally.

Disney California Adventure is home to multiple food festivals throughout the year. When these take place, food “marketplaces” pop up along the pathways of the park, usually at least from Grizzly Peak to the end of Paradise Gardens. The food options at these festivals are fun and unique, and a great place for visitors to try a lot of new flavors.

Best Disneyland Restaurants for Families - Food Festival Marketplaces
One of many marketplaces at the annual Disney California Adventure Food and Wine Festival. (Photo by Leslie Harvey/The Points Guy)

The largest of these is the Disney California Adventure Food and Wine Festival in the spring.

Look also for the Festival of Holidays during the November and December holiday season as well as the Lunar New Year marketplaces during the annual Lunar New Year Celebration. Families and groups can get a lot of value out of sharing a Sip ‘n’ Savor pass when available, which gives you tickets to redeem for a number of dishes for a single set price.

Best restaurants in the Disneyland hotels

Here are the best restaurants at Disneyland’s on-property hotels:

Related: Where to stay at Disneyland

Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar

Where it is: Disneyland Hotel.

What’s on the menu: HippopotoMai-Tai, Zombie, Pu Pu Platter, Hawaiian Platter.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Lurking near the pool at the Disneyland Hotel is one of the liveliest places to eat or drink on Disneyland property — Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar, where volcanoes explode, servers shout and it’s easy to have a good time.

The poke bowl and Hawaiian platter are fun options here, but you can’t go wrong just coming in for a snack and a drink. Order the right one and you may be a part of a shipwreck, explosion or other fun disaster.

Napa Rose

Where it is: Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa.

What’s on the menu: Steak, fish.

You won’t find any shipwrecks or screaming servers at Napa Rose within Disneyland’s Grand Californian Hotel, but you will find a sophisticated (but not stuffy) menu of scallops, steak, and sustainable fish, to name a few items.

Disneyland Grand Californian Hotel Restaurant
(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

This is a special occasion meal and one you don’t want to rush through, so don’t try to quickly cram this meal down before catching that next ride on Radiator Springs Racers.

The restaurant also serves a premium character breakfast each morning from Thursdays through Mondays, Disney Princess Breakfast Adventures. While the offering is extremely expensive at $125 per person plus tax, it is routinely one of the better-reviewed meals and experiences at the resort because of the restaurant’s meticulous service.

Guests with a serious princess fan in the family should certainly consider it if the budget allows, particularly for a special celebration like a birthday or anniversary.

Additional tips for restaurants and dining at Disneyland

As with all things at Disneyland, guests who are prepared will have a less stressful and more enjoyable experience. Here are a few final tips you need to know before you make your Disneyland dining plans and restaurant reservations.

Make use of mobile ordering

Over the past couple of years, Disneyland has rolled out mobile ordering to the vast majority of counter-service restaurants in both parks. There is no longer a need to wait in a food line just to place an order.

Best Disneyland Restaurants for Families - Mobile Ordering
Make the most of mobile ordering to save time. (Photo by Leslie Harvey/The Points Guy)

These days using mobile order is pretty much essential. Make sure you have the Disneyland app downloaded and that you place your order in advance of the mealtime rush.

It’s not a bad idea to place your order an hour or two ahead in some cases if you know when and what you would like to eat. At popular spots and on the busiest days, available time slots begin to fill up and guests are unable to order for immediate pickup on the mobile order system. Don’t wait until your stomach is growling to place an order or you may be left hungry for a while.

Once your order has been placed, wait until the time you have selected to eat, then click in the app again to indicate your arrival as you approach the restaurant. Your food is usually ready in a few minutes at a pick-up window.

Make Disneyland restaurant reservations 60 days in advance

If you plan to visit a table service restaurant or a popular character meal buffet during your Disneyland vacation, reservations are a must. We recommend booking right at Disneyland’s 60-day reservation window before your trip if you can.

If not, a service like MouseDining can be handy in alerting you when an opening becomes available. Just act quickly, as choices disappear as fast as they appear.

Don’t forget about dining packages

Disneyland has a number of popular shows and parades that many visitors want to see. Finding a good seat for them may require camping out an hour or more in advance.

One solution is to secure reserved seating or standing areas for these shows by booking an associated dining package. These packages do come at a premium price, but they save substantial time in addition to providing a meal that guests would be paying for anyway. Check the Disneyland website or app for availability, as there are often changes to the offerings.

Related: How to use points for Disney tickets

Think beyond the parks

Ralph Brennans Jazz Kitchen Disneyland Downtown Disney
Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen serves up New Orleans-themed cuisine in Downtown Disney. (Photo by Leslie Harvey/The Points Guy)

While there are so many amazing restaurants within Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure, don’t forget to look beyond park borders for other excellent restaurants.

We’ve already highlighted some of the best options at the three Disneyland on-property hotels, but there are still more worthy restaurant choices at those properties. In particular, scheduling a hotel character meal on your arrival or departure day at one of these hotel restaurants can be a smart choice, as it gives you a Disney experience without the cost of a park ticket on that day.

The Downtown Disney district adjacent to the two parks also has a lot of quality restaurants and dining experiences. These restaurants are all just very short walk or monorail ride from the parks. Options include a brewery, a restaurant specializing in over-the-top milkshakes, a bowling alley with excellent sushi (seriously!), and restaurants specializing in Cajun, Italian and Mexican dishes.

Black Tap shakes Disneyland Downtown Disney
Crazy Shakes at Black Tap Anaheim in Downtown Disney. (Photo by Leslie Harvey/The Points Guy)

Bottom line

No matter who is in your traveling party or what your budget is, Disneyland has a wide variety of restaurants to enjoy on your next vacation. Remember if you are paying by card for these meals to use a card that rewards you with extra miles for dining, like the Citi Prestige® Card (5 points per dollar), American Express® Gold Card (4 points per dollar at restaurants), Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card (7 points per dollar on eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants) or Chase Sapphire Reserve (3 points per dollar). (Learn more about the best credit cards for dining.)

The information for the Citi Prestige Card and Hilton Aspire Amex card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Alternatively, you can also pick up some discounted Disney gift cards before your trip to save on meals at the best restaurants in Disneyland.

If you’re planning a family vacation to Disneyland, be sure to check out these other articles to help you craft the perfect trip:

Leslie Harvey is a mom of two who blogs at Trips With Tykes. She is the co-host of the podcast Disney Deciphered and co-owns the Disneyland planning Facebook group, Disneyland With Kids.

Featured photo by Disneyland Resort.

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