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Adrienne Krock, editor
Kid's Meals at Downtown Disney, Anaheim

Downtown Disney

One recent Saturday, my family joined a group of our good friends and visited the restaurants at Downtown Disney (DD) to check out their menus. My mission, of course, was to find out what they offered for children. Every restaurant at DD offers a children's menu. The following are my observations. I'll start at the Disneyland Hotel side, which is the west end of DD.


ESPN Zone

ESPN Zone

The ESPN Zone has a restaurant downstairs as well as a bar area where patrons can eat and watch, guess what? Sports! Patrons under 18 years of age must be accompanied by an adult over 21 years old. The restaurant is broken up into two rooms: Studio Grill, and the Screening Room. Unless you have older children who are serious sports fans, I recommend the more relaxed, diner-style Studio Grill. There is a bar and an arcade upstairs.

The children's menu seems to offer a limited selection, although I do know that the portions on the regular menu are huge. This menu comes on a placemat with games, and pictures to color. The placemats are updated daily with information such as today's date, ESPN's schedule for the day, adult entree specials, and sports news.


ESPN Zone Kid's Menu
$5.99
(all served with French fries)
Hot Dog
Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Chicken Fingers
Sliders (2 little burgers)


Rainforest Cafe

Rainforest Cafe

This seems to be the one of the most child-friendly restaurant at DD, although I was surprised to find that they did not offer a menu with activities and crayons to help occupy children while they wait to be served. Like other Rainforest Cafes, the highly themed environment enhances the dining experience.

The wait here at peak dining times can be pretty long, so if you come, bring lots of patience!


The Rainforest Cafe Menu
(12 and under)

Beverages $0.49
Soda, Milk, Apple Juice

Castaway Kid's Pizza $5.99
Cheese or Pepperoni

Rainforest Rascal $5.99
Three burgers with Safari Fries

Jurassic Chicken Tidbits $5.99
Dinosaur Nuggets with Safari Fries

Mini Hot Dogs with Safari Fries $5.99

Macaroni and Cheese $4.99

Dessert $1.49

Milky Way - vanilla ice cream with chocolate coating and caramel swirl
Snickers- vanilla ice cream in a sugar cone
M&Ms- ice cream sandwich with two M&M cookies


Y Arriba Y Arriba

Y Arriba Y Arriba is a tapas restaurant and "theater." We had the opportunity to watch part of the "show" when we stopped by. While Matthew was lured in by the music, I was lured right out again by the costumes. What we saw was a dance number featuring about four men and four women. The men wore loose pants and loose shirts. The women's costumes made me think of a Latin-style Vegas show, with lots of Lycra and lots of skin. The music was also very loud. This is just not my image of family entertainment.

The adult menu looked very intriguing because I love international and ethnic food. The children's menu was more than the traditional "hot dog, grilled cheese, chicken nuggets" fare, so keep that in mind if your family has less adventurous tastebuds.


Y Arriba Y Arriba Children's Menu
$5.95

Served with your choice of: French fries, Arepas ("Sweet Corn Cakes"), Sweet Plantains, Rice and Beans

Quesadillas: Mexican flour tortilas filled with chicken and cheese

Hamburgers "Hamburguesa": Burger with or without cheese

Hot Dog "Perro Caliente": Traditional Hot Dog

Taco: Build your own taco. Chicken & beef with all the fixings.

Pizza Turnover "Empanada de Pizza": Turnover filled with mozzerella and tomato sauce.

Fried Fish Fingers "Deditos de Pescado"

Flying Saucer "Platillos Voladores": Grilled cheese flying saucer sandwich


Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen

Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen

I love this restaurant. My husband and I dined here in January and the food was not only divine, but the experience took us right back to our vacation in the New Orleans French Quarter. Dining here is not light on the wallet. This is a restaurant we would prefer to visit for a romantic dinner for two while someone else watches our children. Don't expect crayons to color on a menu here!

The Creole Cafe, part of this restaurant, offers counter service with traditional New Orleans favorites such as muffaletta sandwiches, po-boy sandwiches, gumbo, and best of all, beignets (fried donuts swimming in powdered sugar.) There are no child-sized portions here although a sandwich is generally big enough to share.


Brennan's Jazz Kitchen Little Gator Menu

Shrimp Plate: Tender Gulf shrimp, fried crisp, served with French fries $8.00

Chicken Strips: Tender boneless chicken strips breaded and fried crisp served with French fries $8.00

Grilled Cheese Sandwich: Traditional grilled cheese sandwich made with American cheese and white bread, served golden brown with French fries $6.00

Pasta & Tomato Sauce: Penne pasta tossed with a light tomato sauce and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese $6.00


House of Blues

I don't think of children when I hear "House of Blues" but the House of Blues is more than a nightclub; the restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, regardless of special event schedules. The child's menu is an activity placemat with crayons. Patrons under 16 years must be accompanied by an adult, and some events are restricted to patrons 21 years and older.


House of Blues 4 the Kids
Kid Entr'es: $6.25

Kids Hamburger
Kids Cheese Pizza
Kids Grilled Cheese
Kids Chicken Tenders

Desserts: $2.95

Ice Cream of the Day
Rootbeer Float

Drinks: $1.95

Coke, Sprite, Cranberry Juice, Root beer, & Milk


Catal

Catal

It was a rare treat for us to visit Catal just weeks after our dinner at Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen, but through a string of serendipitous events, the two of us found ourselves enjoying another marvelous dinner! Like Jazz Kitchen, Catal lends itself to a more adult evening than a family occasion.

We saw no young children in the restaurant, and very few older children," (about ten to 12 years old.) There is, however, a (limited) children's menu with an activity placemat and crayons! The young ladies at a table near ours ordered the chicken strips, which looked very good. They were much larger and meatier than typical children's menu chicken strips.


Catal Kid's Menu

Macaroni and Cheese $6.00

Crispy Chicken Fingers with Dipping Sauce $6.00

Cheeseburger or Hamburger with French Fries $6.00

Ice Cream Sundae $3.50

Banana Split $3.50


Storyteller's Cafe

Storyteller's Cafe

This restaurant, located inside the Grand Californian Hotel, serves breakfast lunch and dinner, as well as Breakfast With Chip and Dale a character breakfast offered from 6:30 to 11:00 every morning. This restaurant offers a large selection for children including "Make Your Own Pizza." Along with Rainforest Cafe, Storyteller's Cafe is one of the two most child-friendly restaurants at Downtown Disney.

The menu has an activity on one side called "Find the hidden object," but the restaurant does not provide crayons to help children circle the objects when they are found.


Storyteller's Cafe Kids' Menu
(Children 11 and under)

Breakfast (Served from 6:30 - 11:30 a.m.)

Mickey Waffles with Strawberries and Whipped Cream $6.50

Country Stuffed French Toast with Peanut Butter and Bananas $6.50

Fluffy Cheese Omlette with Choice of Toast $6.50

Toad in the Hole: Grilled White Bread with a Fried Egg in the Center $6.50

Assorted Cold Cereals $4.25

Fresh Harvest Fruit Plate with Fruit Yogurt $6.50

Farmer's Market Feast: All-You-Can-Eat Buffet $9.95

Lunch & Dinner (Served from 11:30 a.m. - Close)
All items include Fresh Fruit or French Fries

Mini Double-Decker Hamburger or Cheeseburger $6.50

Mickey Chicken Nuggets $6.50

Cheesy Macaroni $6.50

Make-Your-Own Pizza: Cheese or Pepperoni $6.50

Fresh Harvest Fruit Plate with Fruit Yogurt $6.50

Cheese Quesadilla $6.50

Beverages: Souvenir Keepsake Cup that includes refills $2.50 - Coke, Diet Coke, Root Beer, Orange Soda, or Sprite - Orange, Apple, or Cranberry Juice - Milk or Chocolate Milk

Desserts $2.25

Chocolate or Vanilla Ice Cream Scoop

Two Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies

Mellow Jell-O With Tutti Fruitti


Whitewater Snacks

Tucked into a little corner in the back of the Grand Californian Hotel is a lovely little self-serve snack bar. Selections include beverages, a frozen yogurt station, pre-made sandwiches, salads, desserts (including a large fresh fruit tart), and more. You can also get hot dishes to order from the grill, which includes a children's menu. I found the prices here to be reasonable. This would be an excellent place to stop for a quick lunch or even to fill a backpack with selections to build your own picnic lunch or snacks for a day at Disneyland or DCA.


The Whitewater Cafe Menu Board
Children's portions listed below (each selection comes with French fries and a juice box):

Chicken Tenders $4.95
Hot Dog $3.50
Cheeseburger $5.25


Naples Ristorante e Pizzeria

Naples Ristorante e Pizzeria

Owned by the Patina Group (which also owns neighboring Catal), restaurant is another one of the better choices for families. When we dined here with Matthew, his pizza was a very generous portion and we brought more than half of it home.

This restaurant has one very curious feature that I can only assume was a result of poor planning: children's beverages are served in old fashion or rocks glasses from the bar. Now, I recognize that not all restaurants have special cups for children's beverages, but most at least have some sort of disposable cup with a lid. These bar glasses are not only glass without lids but they are very heavy. We had to help Matthew hold it to drink.


Naples Ristorante e Pizzeria Kid's Menu

Little Italy Cheese Pizza: Every kid wants lots of cheese and this one has Mozzarella piled high and deep! $6.95

Penne Pasta: Fun short little pasta tubes with your choice of butter and herb sauce or traditional tomato sauce $5.95

Cappellini: Very, very thin spaghetti, with your choice of butter or traditional tomato sauce $5.95

Chicken Penne: Small pasta tubes served with delicious fresh chicken and your choice of butter or traditional white sauce $6.50


La Brea Bakery Cafe

La Brea Bakery Cafe

This restaurant is the furthest location to the east, closest to the main gates of Disneyland and DCA. In addition to the cafe, there is a counter service bakery here.


La Brea Bakery Cafe Children's Menu

Macaroni and cheese $5.00
Grilled Cheese $5.00 With ham $5.50
Pan e Nutella $5.00
Chicken Tenders and French fries $5.00


If you're looking for family dining at Downtown Disney, I hope this gives you some information to help make your decision. For more information about dining options inside the Disneyland Anaheim parks, visit Kevin Yee's Disneyland Restaurant Review.

Walt Disney World dining options are detailed at Brian Bennett's WDW Restaurant Resource. We also offer reader reviews of restaurants at the resorts in Anaheim, Orlando, and even Paris!


Wanted: Your questions and feedback! They will help me plan future columns! Write me at: AdrienneK@mouseplanet.com

Kid's Meals at Downtown Disney, Anaheim

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Adrienne gathered experience taking kids to amusement parks when she worked as a day camp counselor and director. She was an elementary school teacher before she started her favorite job, being Matthew's Mom.

Adrienne and Matthew visit Disneyland several times a month, usually with Daddy, too.

Besides Matthew, Adrienne and her husband Kevin created and maintain The Happiest Potties on Earth website.

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