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Kevin Yee

Holiday Foods at Disneyland

Is it just me, or has Disney enjoyed an awful lot of success lately with the holiday theme? What started out as a matter of course – Fall / Halloween theming giving way to a wreath here and there – somehow snowballed into elaborate mazes of Christmas lights in the Hub and castle area, followed by the popular Small World makeover, then the well- received Holiday Believe!, and now the smash hit Mansion Holiday.

Through it all, there has been a corresponding uptick in merchandise and food offerings, and this year is no exception. While there has been no revolutionary new approach to holiday food, Disneyland certainly seems blanketed in offerings. Anyone who doubted that Disney “owns” the Christmas season for theme parks need only glance at the list below.

Cookie decorating

These are the holiday food items that will be available at the Disneyland Resort this season, most beginning right after Halloween (the official start of the Christmas season for Disneyland). Note: prices are not yet available, but correspond fairly well with prices on the Disneyland Restaurant Review section of MousePlanet, perhaps a slight bit more for desserts and full sized meals. Locations at Disney’s California Adventure are denoted with the (DCA) tag; all others are at Disneyland.

  • Candy Apples – Fruit Carts, Golden Horseshoe, Hungry Bear
  • Caramel Popcorn Balls – Fruit Carts, Various Outdoor Vending (ODV) carts
  • Eggnog – Bengal BBQ, Blue Ribbon Bakery, Carnation Café, River Belle Terrace, Baker’s Field Bakery (DCA)
  • Funnel Cakes – Various ODV, Trubadour Treats
  • Gingerbread Centerpiece – Blue Ribbon Bakery
  • Ham Dinner – Carnation Café, ABC Soap Opera Bistro (note: only offered on holidays themselves or shortly after Christmas)
  • Haunted Mansion Desserts – Café Orleans, French Market, Mint Julep Bar, ODV, Royal St. Veranda, Trubadour Treats
  • Holiday Bread – Boudin’s Bakery (DCA)

  • Holiday Baked Goods – Blue Ribbon Bakery, River Belle Terrace, Baker’s Field Terrace (DCA), Lucky Fortune Cookery (DCA), Pacific Wharf Café (DCA)
  • Holiday Churros – ODV, Trubadour Treats
  • Holiday Collector Mugs – Blue Ribbon Bakery, ODV, Baker’s Field Bakery (DCA)
  • Holiday Desserts – (Basically Everywhere)
  • Holiday Fritters – Mint Julep Bar, Royal St. Veranda
  • Holiday Frozen Yogurt – Gibson Girl, Mickey’s Toowntown
  • Holiday Ice Cream – Gibson Girl, Bur-r-r Bank (DCA)
  • Holiday Lemonade Yards – ODV
  • Holiday Mocha – Blue Ribbon Bakery,
  • Hot Spiced Apple Cider – Blue Ribbon Bakery, Carnation Café, Mint Julep Bar, Royal St. Veranda, Baker’s Field Bakery (DCA)
  • Luminaria themed items – Baker’s Field Bakery (DCA), Lucky Fortune Cookery (DCA), Pacific Wharf Café (DCA), ODV (DCA)
  • Popcorn Balls – ODV
  • Santa Mickey Bottle Topper – Fruit Carts, ODV
  • Snowball Cotton Candy – ODV
  • Snowman Pancakes – River Belle Terrace
  • Tamales – ODV (near Corndog wagon), Rancho del Zocalo
  • Turkey Dinner – Blue Bayou, Carnation Café, Plaza Inn, ABC Soap Opera Bistro (note: only offered on holidays themselves or shortly after Christmas)
  • Turkey Entrees – Rancho del Zocalo, River Belle Terrace

Cookie decorating in New Orleans
Decorating "kookies" in New Orleans Square

As can be easily seen by perusing this list, the focus here is really on Disneyland, and not on DCA, at least as far as holiday menus are concerned. There are a few locations that seem primed to offer much in the way of seasonal items – the Blue Ribbon Bakery in particular.

One change that bears mentioning is the shift to River Belle Terrace and Rancho del Zocalo for turkey meals – in past years, the “outdoor” restaurants in New Orleans Square (Café Orleans and French Market) would service the west side of Disneyland in this regard. Don’t expect to find these locations always open, anyway, and in any event the holiday menus will not be heavily represented here this year.

Also of note: Outdoor Vending is really getting into the act – expect their high visibility to translate into high sales, further spurred by the kind of viral marketing ODV has come to enjoy at Disneyland (example: “Oh! Where did you get that glow necklace? I must have one for myself”).

Much of the holiday offerings tend to be hardly revolutionary adaptations of existing product – the holiday churros, for example, are simply dipped into yet a different kind of sugar (yes, they do have their fans, though). I’m betting that the Snowball Cotton Candy is a similar gimmick.

By the same token, however, some of these holiday treats are welcome changes to routine: the candy apples and hot spiced apple cider are particularly worth your time. The tamales have always been hit- or- miss in my opinion. While I welcome any new food in the park, the track record for these snacks is spotty. They are especially grim to eat if the cart has run out of sauce yet again, and you resolve to eat one dry. Let’s hope Disneyland has learned from prior years not to commit this mistake this time, and we’ll all be happier campers.

Last, those turkey dinners offered in selected locations only appear on Thanksgiving itself, and then typically again from December 24 through New Year’s Eve. These are expensive – usually around $14 – but they are surprisingly tasty, and are also more healthy than your typical theme park food. I recommend them. 

The holiday food items are only around until January 2, 2002, so if you want to sample anything, better make it quick.

Now, if you’re willing to eat outside of Disneyland on Thanksgiving Day itself, your choices are more palatable, though a bit more expensive. The hotels and Downtown Disney have quite a bit in store, much of it announced very recently. For all of these meals, call (714) 781-DINE to make reservations in advance:

- Grand Ballroom at Disneyland Hotel for Thanksgiving Day only. The event takes place from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. and costs a hefty $52.00 for adults ($13.50 for children 3-11). This dinner will feature an impressive line-up of food, including sushi, carving station, pasta, salads, and children’s meals. Turkey, too, of course.

- Hook’s Pointe at the Disneyland Hotel also has a Thanksgiving Day only menu, for $35 for person.

- Granville’s Steak House at the Disneyland Hotel will have its normal menu, plus a special 3-course Holiday Meal on Thanksgiving, for $40 per guest.

- Storyteller’s Café (Grand California Hotel) will have a special holiday menu for $35 in addition to their normal menu.

- Napa Rose (Grand California Hotel) will also have a special holiday afternoon/evening menu in addition to their normal menu, for $58 per person.

- Special holiday all-you-can-eat buffets will be held at PCH Grill (Paradise Pier Hotel) and Goofy’s Kitchen (Disneyland Hotel) for $39.00 and $26.95, respectively.

- In Downtown Disney, check out Naples ($25, kids $13), Catal ($25, kids $13), and Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen ($36) for special Thanksgiving Day only meals as well.

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Holiday Foods at Disneyland


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