Getting by between meals: A few essentials while at the Disneyland Resort
If you are looking to save a little money, it is a good idea to pack granola bars or other portable snacks before you hit the parks. It is also essential to carry plenty of water. I froze a 16 oz. bottle the night before and had cold water to drink for a good share of the morning, and there were plenty of water fountains to fill the bottle when I ran out.
Of course, there are numerous opportunities throughout Disneyland, California Adventure and Downtown Disney to purchase snacks and drinks.
You have to decide at what point to be frugal and when you would rather splurge a little. If you are anything like me, enjoying good food is an integral part of any vacation. We had our share of healthy snack bars and bottled water. But we also chose to savor some of the Disneyland Resort fare. Here are a few of my recommendations.
Churro carts at Disneyland are not hard to find. While not exactly a meal, a churro makes a good snack somewhere between meals, when you need a little boost from all the walking. Plus a churro break doesn’t have to slow you down if you are on your way to your favorite ride; you can eat it on the way. However you might have to wait for this pastry coated with cinnamon & sugar (and possibly pixie dust) to cool down slightly. For the more adventurous, Downtown Disney’s California Churros stand carries several additional flavors including red mango, salted caramel, pineapple whip, strawberry cream and apple cinnamon. At $4 each this popular treat has become a Disney tradition for many visitors.
Tiki Juice Bar – Trip Advisor ranks Dole’s Tiki Juice Bar #2 out of 724 in its list of best restaurants in Anaheim. Many people walking past the Tiki Room think the long line stretching along the entrance to Adventureland is to get into the show, but it is actually the juice bar line. The menu is small and simple: Fresh pineapple spear, pineapple whip soft-serve, Dole whip float (pineapple soft-serve in Dole pineapple juice) and pineapple juice. To avoid the long line, go to the much shorter line in the Enchanted Tiki Room waiting area, and then enjoy the show. You can take your treat into the show with you. The birds don’t mind. It is a good opportunity to get off your feet for a while, relax and be entertained. The soft-serve is unique and refreshing. If you will be in the park for more than one day, hit the tiki bar early. You might find yourself going back again. NOTE: The company that makes the Dole whip mix has announced that aside from it being trans fat free, cholesterol free and gluten free, the Dole whip soft-serve is now lactose free. Please check this out for yourself, since there has been some discussion as to the validity of these claims. Those on a soy-free diet will still have to avoid this treat.
Mint Juleps and Beignets – Though not universally adored on the review sites, a round of mint juleps (non-alcoholic) and beignets pronounced (ben-yays) gave us a nice reprieve from the 95º heat as we relaxed in the shade of the outdoor French Market seating area. The Mint Julep Bar is located behind the French Market Restaurant across from the New Orleans Square train station. Mint Juleps go for $3.25 at the walk-up window. Disney’s version of a mint julep consists of lemon, lime and Creme de Menthe syrup (non-alcoholic). Beignets are a deep fried dough covered in powdered sugar. They come in a 3-pack for $4.19 or $7.19 for 6. The beignets are supposed to be Mickey Mouse shaped, but the ones I had were more of a blob. If you visit the park around Halloween, you can also get pumpkin beignets, and at Christmas, gingerbread beignets are added to the menu. Beignets are also available at nearby Café Orleans for $8.49 and are served with fruit coulis and vanilla bean cream anglaise. Some reviewers said they preferred the beignets at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen Express in Downtown Disney which also serves mint juleps. Mint juleps are also available at the Blue Bayou and French Market in Disneyland. For those who crave a harder julep, The Jazz Kitchen (not the express) serves it up with Woodford Reserve Bourbon.
Ghirardelli Sundae – You can’t go wrong with a combination of ice cream and chocolate. The sundaes here are exceptional, the portions are more than generous and there is a wide selections of delectable choices. The prices are a little on the high side with the sundaes ranging between 9 and $10 but they were well worth it. To ease the blow, think about splitting a sundae with someone, if you can agree upon a selection. We ate here on our last day in the park. We wanted to do something crazy so we had sundaes for LUNCH!
If you have a favorite between meal Disneyland Resort food or beverage, I would love to hear about it.