Top Disneyland Restaurants for Food & Savings
By Shannon M. Medisky
Fortunately the fun needn’t end when it’s time to stop for a meal at Disneyland. From open-air dining to quieter, full-service restaurants, there’s a wide variety of great places to get good grub and great entertainment, too. And, frankly, with a bit of creativity there’s lots of ways to feed your family while watching your wallet too!
Blue Bayou Restaurant (located inside New Orleans Square)
Tired of walking around in the hot, unforgiving California sun? How does a quiet meal under a cool, twilight sky sound? In Disneyland’s Blue Bayou restaurant you can enjoy just that. Located directly inside the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, diners feast on Cajun- and Creole-style food in perpetual twilight while boats meander by on the water. Especially lucky guests may even have the pleasure of dining to live jazz music. Due to this restaurant’s popularity, advance reservations are recommended. (Just call (714) 781-DINE or (714) 781-3463 to reserve your preferred day and time.) Cost-Cutting Tip: Opt to dine at the Blue Bayou for lunch instead of dinner. Also, consider order 1 entrée for every two people and splitting it as the portions are more than ample and who wants to be carrying leftovers around the park anyway? (Inexpensive “Toddler meals” are usually available here as well.)
French Market (located near the New Orleans Square train station)
Very casual, this dining location features cafeteria-style food selection at reasonable prices. From fried chicken to wonderful salads to scrumptious desserts fitting of the Disney name, the French Market is equally liked by adults and children alike. But what makes this an especially wonderful restaurant the open-air dining that features Mardi Gras theming and often boasts live jazz performances. Cost-Cutting Tip: Don’t feel obligated to purchase an entire entrée. Instead, just order sides. You’ll save money and get exactly what you want. (Inexpensive “Toddler meals” are usually available here as well.)
Hungry Bear (located in Critter Country across from the Splash Mountain attraction)
While it’s food menu may only feature the standard fast food fare, this restaurant does offer what most restaurants in Disneyland do not—space and quiet! If you’re looking for a place to sit a spell and watch as ducks float lazily by in the water, the lower deck of the Hungry Bear Restaurant is just the place. Want more eye candy? Watch for one of the many voyages of the Mark Twain Riverboat or the Sailing Ship Columbia. Cost-Cutting Tip: As a counter-service restaurant it’s already among the most inexpensive dining options in the park, but it boasts the most tranquil and usually less crowded dining areas in the park by far. (Inexpensive “Toddler meals” are usually available here as well.)
Tiki Juice Bar (located inside the Enchanted Tiki Room attraction)
While not entirely a restaurant, the Tiki Juice Bar does offer great, reasonably priced tropical refreshments such as fresh pineapple juice and the famous frozen, non-dairy Dole pineapple whip. Park goers can have their food and eat it, too, even while inside the attraction. For those who looking for a cool treat, an air-conditioned place to rest and great entertainment, look no further because at the Tiki Juice Bar you really can have it all. Cost-Cutting Tip: Skip the free-standing snack carts located throughout the park. Instead, head to this location for a scrumptious snack for roughly the same amount of money.
Refreshment Corner (located at the end of Main Street)
This little dining gem has endured in its location since opening day back on July 17, 1955. Also known as the Coke Corner or the Coca-Cola Refreshment Corner, this fast food bar features items such as hot dogs, pretzels and ice cream treats. If you’re looking for a lively place to sit and enjoy a snack, grab a seat under one of the colorful patio umbrellas and people watch as the park goers bustle by or simply enjoy the live ragtime piano music. (Psst! This dining spot becomes especially beautiful at night when all of the shops on Main Street and all of the park’s trees become aglow with sparkling lights.) Cost-Cutting Tip: If you or your kiddos are craving a sweet treat, just head inside via the entrance on the right and go purchase candy by the piece instead of opting for an entire package. You’ll more than satisfy a nagging sweet tooth, avoid having to lug around a container of candy in your backpack all day and save cash all at the same time.
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