Portable Eats at The Disneyland Resort

by Lisa Stiglic, contributing writer

When I worked at The Disney Store in Las Vegas during the retail heydays of the 1990s, our group of Disney-heads would often jump in whichever car had gas, head south to Anaheim, and basically close down Disneyland. Part of the fun was trying to cram as much as we could into those 16 non-stop hours. Rocket Rods, Fantasmic! seats, character stalking—check.

And the food? Turkey legs, churros, and anything else fast and convenient because we were racing the clock. Disneyland then—and the Disneyland Resort now—has made it easy and delicious to grab-and-go with an assortment of portable provisions when your theme park day is filled with Fastpass tickets, entertainment, and shopping.

Nostalgic Noshes

When Walt Disney sat on a bench at an amusement park so long ago and began envisioning something bigger and better, no doubt he looked beyond the standard fare of popcorn and cotton candy as well. Sixty years later, the popcorn and cotton candy are still present but the favorites list has been updated with the additions of the aforementioned turkey legs and churros, along with Mickey Mouse pretzels, and a corn dog that has an almost cult-like following.

The Little Red Wagon on Main Street in Disneyland has been serving guests this crunchy creation for years. The corn dog comes with a side of kettle chips or apple slices. Photo by Lisa Stiglic.

Luckily, both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure have plenty of outdoor vendors who make churro-hunting and pretzel-gathering much easier while on your way to Splash Mountain or Tower of Terror.

Classic quick-pick snacks are dotted throughout both parks for easy accessibility. Photo by Lisa Stiglic.

Mobile Meals

If you're craving something a bit more filling than just a snack, swing by Bengal Barbecue in Disneyland's Adventureland. There, you'll discover a tasty selection of grilled skewers—chicken, beef, vegetables, and even bacon-wrapped asparagus. While a bit messy with the lip-smacking sauces, these savory choices are easy to take when you're on your way to save parade seats or even climb nearby Tarzan's Treehouse.

Bengal Barbecue skewers are great for sharing, just remember the extra napkins. Photo by Lisa Stiglic.

I initially planned to focus on "foods on a stick" but after visiting Cars Land in Disney California Adventure, I had to reconstruct my planning. If you haven't visited the Cozy Cone Motel quick service eatery, drive on over and make a pit stop. The concept is ingenious—five individual cone-shaped structures, straight out of Radiator Springs, that each serve a particular refreshment including churros, ice cream, pretzels, and popcorn.

Typical amusement park snacks? Oh, no. Check out cone number three, the Chili Cone. Choose chili, macaroni and cheese, or pulled pork stuffed in a cone-shaped bread vessel. I'm not a chili lover, so I went with the pulled pork. The cone was a lot of fun to eat, and I actually felt like the popular kid because I received a lot of envious looks from other guests. Although I enjoyed the tang of the barbecue, I found the bread cone a bit bland so I would recommend eating the cone along with the scrumptious stuffing of your choice.

The five cone-shaped buildings at Cozy Cone Motel offer a variety of take-along treats. Make sure to idle at the Popcorn Cone to learn the flavor of the day. It may be Dill Pickle. Note: Lines can get long here as each cone does have its own queue. Photo by Lisa Stiglic.

Cartable Confections

And what would a day at the Disneyland Resort be without the grab-and-go desserts? Unicorn pops, giant suckers, chocolate-dipped marshmallows on a stick, cake pops, crispy rice treats, ice cream cones—the list goes on and that's a good thing.

Crispy rice Mickey Mouse stick treats, along with various other sweet stick eats, are available at both Disney parks and at Marceline's Confectionary in Downtown Disney. Photo by Lisa Stiglic.

I'm going to let you in on a little secret: the best ice cream at the Disneyland Resort—well, besides Ghiradelli's—is the hand-dipped ice cream bars at Clarabelle's Hand Scooped Ice Cream in DCA (not to be confused with Clarabelle's Frozen Yogurt in Toontown at Disneyland). This frozen treasure is tucked up next to Fiddler, Fifer, and Practical Cafe (Starbucks) at the juncture of Buena Vista Street and the entrance to the Grizzly Peak area. Choose vanilla or chocolate ice cream; coat with milk or dark dipping chocolate; and then add whimsical toppings such as chocolate chips, sprinkles, or confetti candy to your creation. This ice cream is a perfect sweet for taking on the run to your next Fastpass attraction or to enjoy slowly while viewing Red Car Trolley News Boys in the area.

A girl can never have too much chocolate. Clarabelle's hand-dipped cold confections are a bargain at $5.49. Photo by Lisa Stiglic.

If the ice cream bars are too sweet for you, the frozen banana is a great alternative. Several of the outdoor ice cream vendors serve the fruit along with popsicles and the always popular Mickey Mouse ice cream novelties. If you really like bananas, Award Wieners in Hollywood Land is currently celebrating the success of Disney's Jungle Book feature film by offering Jungle Book banana corn dogs. The swinging sweet includes two mini bananas dipped in corn and honey batter and sprinkled with powdered sugar. Two dipping sauces jazz up the dessert: tart mango or deep chocolate.

Portable food choices have stretched beyond popcorn buckets and cotton candy of yesteryear. Guests can now enjoy gourmet ice cream bars, savory mac and cheese, and even barbecue skewers as they plan and play throughout their day. And as for our extended theme park adventures during our twenties? Maybe not a lot of sleep but plenty of turkey legs, churros, laughs, and Disney memories.



  1. By Megatron

    After going past Bengal Barbeque a zillion times, I finally stopped and ordered. I got one of their beef kababos, and it melted in my mouth. It was amazing for $4.00. A few weeks later I dropped by again and ordered the same thing and got the chewiest, most awful cut of meat you could imagine. It was impossible to swallow and it was overly singed, even by barbeque standards. I'm not sure which experience was the outlier. I'm not too keen to try again.

  2. By DisneyGator

    More than once has my family turned hand-held items into dinner. We'd start with a Turkey Leg and then head to Gibson Girl or Clarabelle's to fill the up the bellies. And that picture of the create-your-own ice cream bar that you showed is exactly what we're shooting for.

  3. By wwu1990

    Thanks for your reply! Yikes! I'm sorry to hear that. I usually just get the chicken and have always been pleased with it. If it happens again (which it shouldn't by Disney standards) let the server know or talk to a manager.

  4. By wwu1990

    Thanks for your reply! Clarabelle's is soooo good! There's never a line either- I think it's a hidden treat. Enjoy!

  5. By Mickey021

    Just wanted to let you know that seeing that splash image immediately made me hungry:-)

  6. By wwu1990

    Then I did my job. (:

  7. By cstephens

    I have friends who love the chimichangas that are available at a few of the carts. I haven't had a chance to try one yet. And, from the few of us who came up with the idea, I'm the only one who hasn't actually had a chance to try it yet: order the bacon mac and cheese hot dog from Coke Corner, and also order a side of chili, then pour the chili on top, and voila - bacon mac and cheese chili dog. I hear it's quite good.

    I love the cone food at Cozy Cone. I liked the breakfast one, but I hear they don't offer it anymore.

    I don't get churros very often, but I miss the flavored one that was available for a very short time when New Tomorrowland opened - it had chocolate inside, and the outside was rolled in a grape-flavored sugar. So good.

  8. By MadasaHatter

    Fun article Lisa!

    I love the Clarabelle ice cream bars. I got the blue raspberry sprinkles with the dark chocolate last time and I should have thought twice about it due to the BLUE. They re-acted like pop rocks in my mouth and were very very sweet and tasted super artificial and chemical. I cannot recommend them.

    I love the skewers too and having worked in the restaurant industry sometimes meat is tough. I was out once with friends and ALL THREE ordered filets and one of them was tough and chewy and nasty so always send it back. Disney would give you a new one for sure.

  9. By wwu1990

    Thanks for your comments! I'm not a chili fan but the mac and cheese/chili dog sounds extreme!! I didn't ask at Cozy Cone if they'd mix the mac/cheese with the pulled pork but that would be good too.

    I'm not a big fan of churros at theme parks- it's hard to pay that much when you can get a really big one at Costco for cheap. There is a kiosk in Downtown Disney that has the flavored churros, much like you described. I haven't tried those yet but they look yummy!

  10. By wwu1990

    Thanks Todd! I laughed when I read your comment. Pop Rocks were so sweet way back when, they would be overpowering on a dessert now. But the blue mouth- yes! LOL! I just stick with the chocolate, I never can go wrong.

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