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Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, editor

Mother's Day at Disneyland

Dining Options I

May 7, 2001
by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, staff writer


Disneyland has always been a popular place to take mom to celebrate her special day. It's really a win-win situation. Mom gets to enjoy a day without having to work, cook or clean. The kids get to spend the day at Disneyland. I think I sense an ulterior motive here.... For other families, Mother's Day means taking mom to the Mother's Day Brunch at the Disneyland Hotel. It's a big, fancy event, and mom gets treated like royalty. But, maybe you've done that before. Maybe you're ready for a new Mother's Day tradition for your family? We've got just the thing!

The expansion of the Disneyland Resort has brought an explosion in your Mother's Day Brunch choices. In fact, there are so many different options, it's going to be hard to decide. We're going to make it a little easier, by giving you a taste of what's available at the Disneyland Resort this year. You'll find enough tempting ideas here to keep surprising Mom for years. Today, I'll tell you about the events offered at the Resort Hotels, and inside the parks. Tomorrow, you'll hear about the special plans the Downtown Disney restaurants have in store for you.

Disneyland Hotel

Disney's Royal Buffet - Mother's Day 2001. For the traditionalists, or for the first timer. This is classic annual event, and by far the largest. The Grand Ballroom is transformed into a lavishly decorated theme buffet. The food is always quite good, with a wide selection to choose from. You'll find a variety of carving stations; made to order waffles; salad bars and custom omelets; hot pasta stations and a variety of baked goods.

Children will enjoy their own buffest tables, sized just for them and filled with kiddy favorites. The dessert tables are always the highlight of the event. Disney food artists are on display, ready to amaze you with their skills. I could spend hours watching them turn the most basic vegetables into amazing works of art. The Disney Characters will be on hand for photo opportunities - bring your own camera! 

Reservations are suggested, although walk-in guests will be accommodated as space allows. If you think you might pop in without a reservation, avoid the busiest hours of 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. 

Disney's Royal Buffet
Disneyland Hotel, Grand Ballroom
9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. 
Adults: $46.00
Children 3-11: $13.50
Children under 3: Free
Seniors: $42.00
10% Annual Pass discount applies (Premium and Deluxe only) 
Call: 714-956-6413

Disneyland Paradise Pier Hotel

PCH Grill Magical Buffet. In recent years, a number of our friends have chosen the PCH buffets over the events at the Disneyland hotel. For starters, the Brunch is $10.00 less expensive for adults. They have reported that the food is just as good, with only a slightly smaller selection. The PCH Grill is much smaller, which makes for a quieter, more intimate meal. Fewer people also means more interaction with the Characters. The brunch also runs later in the day, which gives you more flexibility to plan other events.

We attended the Easter Brunch at PCH last year, and found it to be a very pleasant experience. It's a much more "adult" environment, with far fewer children running around chasing the Characters. This year's event will feature appearances by Minnie, Merlin, and the Fairy Godmother. 

PCH Grill Magical Buffet
Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel, PCH Grill
9:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Adults: $35.00
Children 3-11: $11.50
Children under 3: $3.95
10% Annual Pass discount applies (Premium and Deluxe only) 
Call: (714) 956-6755

You might also want to consider taking Mom to a Practically Perfect Tea, with your Hostess, Mary Poppins. Kevin Yee details this event in his Disneyland Restaurant Reviews section. Here are his notes: 

Practically Perfect Tea

Only offered during peak (holiday) periods, the Practically Perfect Tea at the Disneyland Pacific Hotel naturally stars Mary Poppins. A different take on the concept of Character Breakfast, the Practically Perfect Tea features Victorian place settings, a wide selection of tea, and singing visits by that nanny Mary Poppins. 

Morning Tea occurs at 10:00 a.m., and there is also an afternoon tea. Note: these operating hours are for holiday periods - check with the hotel to see if this is true on the day of your visit. This is an extremely popular attraction. You will likely be unable to secure reservations if you try to do it for the "next day." Call ahead early at (714) 956-6755. Hotel Parking can be validated if you eat at the Tea Room.

Located on the second floor of the Disneyland Pacific, you can find the Tea Room by entering the main (Harbor Blvd) entrance, going straight past the glass elevator. A few steps later, take the stairs to your right side, and the Tea Room is at the top of the steps.

Adults cost $18.50, Children (12 and Under) cost 12.20

Reservations: (714) 956-6755

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel

The Grand Californian is offering two different events this year. Napa Rose is offering a 4-course Mother's Day Brunch, featuring items like Tempura Fried Squash Blossom with Goat Cheese and Grilled Veggies, Grilled Angus Skewers with Pilaf, and Orange Brioche French Toast with Grand Marnier Cream. Valet Parking is included in the meal. At $35.00 per person ($45.00 with Champagne), this may be the best deal among the hotels. 

Napa Rose Mother's Day Brunch
Disney's Grand Californian Hotel, Napa Rose
11:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Adults: $35.00 ($45.00 with Champagne)
Childrens Menus available
10% Annual Pass discount applies (Premium and Deluxe only) 
Call: (714) 956-6755

Storyteller's Cafe is looking to boost their evening traffic by offering a special 3 course dinner menu. The details of this menu were not available at press time, but I will update them when I learn more. Your mom may also enjoy the Cafe's new Dinner Buffet.. A variety of items from the regular menu are offered in an all-you-care-to-eat buffet setting. Included are carving stations, pasta bars, and the fabulous corn chowder. Kids have their own selections, like Mac and Cheese and Mickey Nuggets. 

Storyteller's Cafe Mother's Day Dinner
Disney's Grand Californian Hotel, Storyteller's Cafe
5:00 p.m.. - 10:00 p.m.
Adults (3-course meal): $25.00
Adults (Buffet): $24.95
Children (Buffet) 3-11: $9.95
Children under 3 (Buffet): $3.95
Full Children's Menu available, in addition to the buffet
10% Annual Pass discount applies (Premium and Deluxe only) 
Call: (714) 956-6755


While none of the Disneyland restaurants are offering a special meal for Mother's Day, you may not want to take several hours out of your day to experience one of the hotel events. If your mother loves Pooh and Friends, consider the Breakfast Buffet at Plaza Inn. Again, quoting Kevin Yee's review:

Plaza Inn

This is the place to be! Though the buffet is expensive ($18 adults, $9 children), it's got tons of food, and Winnie the Pooh walk- around characters. It's open for Early Entry until 10:30. 

Since it's rehab the Plaza Inn has done one thing right after another; they've been batting a thousand.

I know one mom who can't stand the Pooh Characters. If your mom agrees, you can also take her to nice breakfast at Carnation Gardens, one of the few table service restaurants in the park. Another suggestion - get to the park early, and head for New Orleans Square to make lunch or dinner reservations for the Blue Bayou. Your mom will enjoy a table served meal in the unique Blue Bayou atmosphere. 

Disney's California Adventure

Like Disneyland, none of the DCA restaurants have planned a special Mother's Day meal. Unlike Disneyland, however, DCA is home to two restaurants presented by non-Disney hosts. If your mother enjoys seafood, Avalon Cove, the Wolfgang Puck eatery, offers a selection of wonderfully prepared dishes. The view of Paradise Pier is gorgeous all day, but best at night. Again borrowing shamelessly from Kevin Yee, here's what you can expect to find at Avalon Cove: 

Wolfgang Puck's Avalon Cove

The crown jewel of DCA's eateries, this Wolfgang Puck restaurant aims to be four stars, with classy (and pricey) menu offerings accentuated by a nice view of the Lagoon at the center of DCA.

The Cove Bar can serve as a waiting area for the restaurant and features a limited menu of its own.

The restaurant seats 250, with an additional 100 in the cocktail lounge. It offers seafood-based "California Cuisine" and promises to be quite an experience if you can afford it!


Near the entrance to the coaster - between Paradise Pier and the Wharf areas. Avalon Cove is lit by white exterior lights in the evening, which can make for breathtaking vistas on the lagoon at night.

Menu Highlights (You can read the whole review here)

Half Dozen Seasonal Oysters – Market
Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail - $15.00
Seafood Sampler for Two - $19.00 (Clams, Oysters, Shrimp, Crabmeat)
Clam Chowder - $8.00
Oysters Rockerfeller - $13.00
Cobb Salad - $16.00 (with Shrimp) or $18.00 (with Crab Meat)
Linguini with Clams - $13.00
Four Cheese Ravioli - $14.00
Fettuccine with Mushrooms - $18.00
Roasted Salmon - $19.00 (with Ginger and Tomato Fondu)
Sauteed Scallops - $24.00 (Provencal)
Steamed Lobster – Market Price
Grilled Pork Chop - $19.00 (with Pomegranate and Sweet Potato)
Sides - $4.00-$5.00 (Garlic Potato Puree, Coconut Jasmine Rice, Steamed Vegetables, Fries)

Child's Meals (12 and under): $7.00-$12.00 (Fish Sticks, Spaghetti, Macaroni and Cheese, Chicken Fingers, or Mini-Steak).

My favorite Disneyland Resort restaurant has to be the Vineyard Room at Robert Mondavi's Golden Vine Winery. While nothing is planned specially for Mother's Day, the restaurant offers a number of special menus and events all year. If your mom is interested in wine and winemaking, there is something here that she's sure to enjoy. Kevin Yee details the daily offerings of the Winery:

Golden Vine Winery

Robert Mondavi 

Of interest here is the small vineyard adjacent to the location. Naturally, the wines sold here do not all come from this small vineyard - if indeed the grapes here will be harvested for anything other than trash. The Mondavi section of the Park contains three different locations, all listed here together.


The Mondavi compound is near the actual center of Disney's California Adventure, along the parade route and in the area between the Entry Plaza and Paradise Pier.

Menu Items

The Vineyard Room (Mondavi)
Four Course Fixed Price Menu with Wine- $42.00 (Lunch) or $50.00 (Dinner).
Four Course Fixed Price Menu without Wine - $28.00 (Lunch) or $36.00 (Dinner).
Children's Fixed Price Menu - $14.00
Menus include Appetizer Platters to Share, Hand-Made Pastas, House Entrees, Individual Desserts

Golden Vine Terrace (Mondavi)
Wines by the Glass - $8.00 - $24.00
Wine Flights - $16.00 - $27.00
Menu includes Soup, Pastas, Cheese, Fruit, Antipasto Platters, Meats and Seafood, Ice Cream

Wine Country Market (Mondavi)
Wines by the Bottle
Deli Sandwiches
Prepackaged Snacks

In addition to the regular menus, which are changed seasonally, the Winery hosts special Wine and Food Events. Currently, the Byron Winery is offering a Wine Enthusiasts Table and Tour - Wine and Food Tasting at the Golden Vine Winery. A maximum of 8 guests per day will be treated to a tour and discussion about wine making, led by a representative of the Byron Winery. Guests will then experience a 4 course meal, accompanied by perfectly paired wines. The $40.00 fee is redeemable towards the purchase of the Byron tasting set. The event begins at 12:30, and reservations are suggested.

Wine Enthusiasts Table and Tour - Wine and Food Tasting
Disney's California Adventure, Golden Wine Vinery
12:30 - ???
$40.00 per person
Reservations suggested
Call:  714-327-8053

The Golden Vine Winery will also be announcing a series of special events this week. Be sure to ask about them when you call for reservations!

With this many options, choosing just one place to take Mom is going to be hard work. But wait, there's more! THIS NEXT PAGE will tell you what the Downtown Disney restaurants have planned!


Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix is the super-shopper behind MouseShoppe, your personal and unofficial shopping service for the Disneyland Resort, and the owner of CharmingShoppe, a Disney collectibles store located in Anaheim.

In addition to scouring the park to find you the latest and greatest merchandise, she keeps you updated on all of the merchandise events happening in the parks.

If you want to talk to her about this column, merchandise, or events, contact her here.


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