TPC's Ultimate Disneyland Snack and Savor Guide
As any Annual Passport-holder will tell you, so much of the Disney Parks appeal is in the food. Epcot has its international offerings, DCA has curated California cuisine, Disneyland has a masterclass of classic park food as well as some unique favorites… it can be overwhelming to decide what to sample and what to feast on. Thankfully, we’ve put together a list of our favorite treats for every mood or need… whether you’re on a big, tiny, or snack-sized budget.
When You Want a Cold Treat: Dole Whip, full stop. Dole Whip Float, if you’re feeling fruity. Dole Whip with Raspberry Swirl and Pocky Sticks at Tropical Hideaway if you’re feeling fruity but indulgent. Mickey’s Premium Ice Cream Bar if you’re feeling classic but portable (it’s a great line snack). Gibson Girl/Clarabelle’s Ice Cream Parlour when you’re feeling a richer experience or want the perfect parade treat. The only cold treat our team did not enjoy was the frozen banana, which consistently tasted freezer-burned.
When You Want a Savory Treat: the hierarchy is much clearer here: churro > popcorn > pretzel. As entertainment fanatics, we have tried many a theatre popcorn and somehow still marvel at the fresh factor and butter Disney’s Pop-Secret formula hits. Churros are perfect classic or with special sprinkles/dips for themed offerings. Honorary Mention: unbranded (from a Disney dessert cart—not Starbucks) hot chocolate—it’s surprisingly rich, and our favorite thing to sip on waiting for Fantasmic on cold nights.
Best Prepackaged Snack: most of Disneyland’s packaged treats (read: souvenier food) are Disney-packaged generic-tasting classics. One of the most notable exceptions are Goofy’s Gummy Sours, which consistently surpassed our beloved Sour Patch Kids in both sourness, juiciness and mouthfeel at a not-unreasonable price.
Best Bang-for-Your-Buck Dining: breadbowls, breadbowls, breadbowls. Whether it’s the outdoor gumbo or clam chowder found in New Orleans Square, or a packed salad or special soup at Boudin in DCA, these rank #1 as the best ‘fullness to $’ ratio for Disney parks. If you ask for your filling separate you can often snack on half of your bowl later throughout the parks. Not feeling that much bread? The Cosmic Chicken Fusilli in Tomorrowland’s Pizza Parlour is a shockingly good fill and will easily feed two moderately-hungry adults.
Best Luxury-Feel-at-a-Discount-Price Dining: many of us aspire for the exclusive experiences found at Carthay Circle, Steakhouse 55, or Lamplight Lounge. Thankfully almost every premium dining option at Disneyland Resort offers some sort of lounge or cocktail menu, that allows you to get a drink or appetizer at a fraction of the cost of a sit-down meal. Many of these will also honor AP discounts, and give you the same ambiance/view without hurting your wallet.
What If I Want Drinks Throughout the Day? California Adventure is your friend. There is currently no alcohol in Disneyland outside of the ultra-exclusive Club 33, though that may be changing with the opening of Star Wars Land—until then, DCA is your bet for drink-crawls and cocktails in-park. If you want a flight paired with fine-dining, every server at Napa Rose in the Grand Californian is a certified sommelier. And f you want a better value for experience, Trader Sam’s at the Disneyland Hotel frequently is subject to strange happenings with the order of special drinks.