Dining in Disneyland: Quick Service Beyond Burgers

Dining in Disneyland: Quick Service Beyond Burgers

Dining in Disneyland: Quick service beyond burgers

Could be just me, but when I head to Disneyland or Disney World, I’m hoping for something a bit healthier and more interesting than burgers and fries for every meal.  In Disney World, many people realize up front that Epcot offers some more unique dining options.  But what about Disneyland?  Because Disneyland caters more to locals, percentage wise, than tourists, it’s overall dining options are less.  But fear not – if you don’t feel like downing burgers and pizza for your whole vacation, you’ll have some great alternative options.  And you don’t have to do a sit down restaurant every time to achieve this either!  In fact, Disneyland has some very interesting quick service options, if you know where to look.

It just so happens that my favorites are in California Adventure, so we’ll start there.  I’ll post again another time about options on the Disneyland side.

Here are my favorites and some examples of the food I had on my last trip.

Pacific Wharf Café

First up, something fresh and tasty from the Pacific Wharf Café in California Adventure.  You can get all kinds of delicious bread bowls here (and the bowls are fresh baked all day long).  I chose the chicken salad, which was super fresh, cold and delicious on a really hot day.

 Pacific Wharf Cafe Disneyland


My husband had the classic clam chowder in a bread bowl.  Too hot for me in that weather, but he loved it!

Pacific Wharf Cafe Disneyland

If you like sourdough, this is the ideal lunch for you.  The bread was amazingly fresh with that perfect amount of chewiness in the crust.  The only downside of this quick service location is that all of the seating is outside.  While this isn’t always an issue, on a 95 degree day like this day was, it would have been nice to get into some air conditioning for a little while.

Flo’s V8 Cafe

Another great option is Flo’s V8 Cafe.  Not only is the theming adorable (come on, who doesn’t want to eat inside of the world of Cars?), but the food was quite good and a nice alternative to all the fried stuff out there.  I had the Citrus Turkey Breast meal:

Flo's V8 Cafe

You get to pick your sides, and I had coleslaw and baked beans – both were good.  My mom ordered the Porkloin with a Cola BBQ Sauce:

Flo's V8 Cafe

The amount of food for the money makes this a very good deal.  Plus, the theme inside is fantastic, and there is plenty of seating.  On a hot day when you’d like to have a good meal but enjoy it in cool air, this is an excellent choice.

Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta

And my third favorite option was a bit of a surprise.  We ended up at Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta, because the kids wanted pizza.  When I first walked in, I wasn’t impressed.  But then I saw they make the pasta dish right in front of you, to order, and a little hope returned.  Turns out the pasta was delicious!

Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta California Adventure

Look at that tasty dish!  I opted for pine nuts and tomatoes and cheese on top, but you can customize it the way you’d like.  Added bonus – this location was the least crowded of any of the dining options on our last trip.

I’ll be returning to Disneyland shortly, so stay tuned for some more dining updates in the near future.  And to keep up on the latest tips and info, subscribe to the monthly newsletter by clicking below!

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It’s Only a Hotel…

It’s Only a Hotel…

It’s Only a Hotel…

Disneyland Hotel Pool


This is what I hear people say sometimes.  It’s only a hotel.


“We don’t need anything fancy, it’s just a place to sleep at night.  It’s only a hotel.”


“We’re there to be in the parks, we don’t really care where we sleep.  It’s only a hotel.”


You probably shouldn’t tell my kids that.  They’d look at you like you have three heads.  They love hotels.  Absolutely adore them.  They always ask about what hotel we’ll be staying in.  See, to them, a hotel is not “only” a hotel; it’s a super cool place to stay.  It might have cool elevators and it might have a balcony to see things from.  It might be really tall or it might have all these little separate buildings with winding paths.  It will certainly, if it’s for our family, have a super cool pool, if they have any say in it.

My kids love to arrive at a hotel, to guess where in the hotel we’ll be staying.  They love to put the key in the door, open it and see which bed will be theirs.  They check out the bathroom, they check out the TV.  They, of course, immediately want to see the pool.

A hotel is only “just a hotel,” if you plan it that way.  But if you want the hotel to be part of your adventure, it can be.  It absolutely can a big part of what makes your family’s vacation magical.

What got me thinking about this is that the other day, I asked my children whether they liked Disneyland or Disney World better.  You may have seen me post their replies on my facebook page.  My 4 year old daughter immediately replied that her favorite is Disneyland because of the super cool monorail slides and doors that open and close by themselves.  If you are racking your brain trying to figure out what ride that is in the park, don’t bother – she’s talking about the Disneyland Hotel.

This hotel was pretty fabulous.  The rooms were modern and done up in dark woods and blues.  There were hidden Mickey’s everywhere, much to my children’s delight.  There is even a magical headboard: when you press a button, it lights up with twinkling stars over a castle and plays “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes.”  At night, we could see the fireworks from our window.  And the pool is absolutely fabulous, with a monorail themed waterslide section with three different levels of slides.  Oh, and it has automatic doors in the lobby, something that apparently thrilled my four year old.

This does not disappoint me in anyway way.  I didn’t sit there and think, “Really??!?  I took you all the way to Disneyland and what you liked best is the hotel?”  I actually think it’s pretty great – not only did my kids have an amazing time in the parks, but the magic just kept on going… in the afternoon for swimming, in the evenings with twinkling headboards at bed time, and in the mornings as we saw characters greeting children in the lobby.

The next time you are thinking of going on vacation, maybe take a second and think about the hotel.  You can make it “only a hotel” – or you can make it one of the main magical components of the memories your family makes together.



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