A Downtown Disney Breakfastby Megan Walker, contributing writer
It's time for another installment of breakfast options at the Disneyland Resort, and this time I'll be focusing on the many different options throughout the Downtown Disney District. Downtown Disney is probably one of the most popular places (outside of the hotels, of course) for breakfast as people make their way through it or head there before the parks open. (Now that the security lines have moved, it makes it much easier to come into the parks with any food you pick up in Downtown Disney.) Luckily, there are many different places that offer breakfast throughout Downtown Disney, so your choices (which here are alphabetical) are plentiful, plus many of these locations are open before the parks themselves.
Located near the middle of Downtown Disney is Catal, a self-described "modern Mediterranean" restaurant. They have a fairly good-sized breakfast menu that should have something for everyone in your party, from traditional breakfast options, to breakfast burritos, to Greek bowls and pastries. One unique thing about this breakfast menu is actually on their drink menu. In addition to offering some tasty refreshing alcoholic breakfast drinks, they also have a wide-range of coffee-related drinks from lattes to mochas, to cold brew coffee. Also, if you're lucky you may get a great view of Downtown Disney while you dine!
Earl of Sandwich
One of my favorite places to eat resort-wide is Earl of Sandwich; granted, I normally go here for lunch or dinner, but they also have a breakfast menu full of delicious sandwiches, including ham, egg, cheese, bacon, and a breakfast BLT. There are also fruit cups, muffins, yogurt, and oatmeal if that's more your style. Make sure to grab your coffee or Earl Gray Lemonade while here, too.
No, I'm not suggesting you have ice cream for breakfast—though, you are on vacation, so it's up to you—but the Haagen Dazs location in Downtown Disney also serves as a Peet's Coffee provider. Therefore, you can pick up your morning cup of Joe, or other favorite Peet's coffee drink here on your way in to the park.
Jamba Juice is a quick stop for someone looking to grab and go for breakfast in the morning. There's nothing special about this Jamba Juice, it has the same menu (smoothies, bowls, some minor baked good options) as all franchise locations that you probably have in your hometown as well, but offers a fast option for someone in a hurry.
La Brea Bakery & La Brea Bakery Express
Located closest to the Esplanade is La Brea Bakery and La Brea Bakery Express to fit all your breakfast needs. Whether you're looking to sit down and enjoy a nice breakfast, or grab something quick to head into the park with, La Brea has it. On the restaurant side, the breakfast menu serves as a "brunch" menu, which gives you some access to non-breakfast foods also. For breakfast, the menu has a lot to offer, from French toast, to breakfast sandwiches; while on the lunch side of the menu, there are soups, salads, and sandwiches. La Brea Bakery Express is also a great option, offering the standard fare of sandwiches, toast, bagels, pastries, and oatmeal. The coffee and tea are also great, so it's a good place to stop, even if you're just looking for a drink. One fun thing here is that they offer Nitro Cold Brew coffee!
Napolini's breakfast offerings are rather new, but seem to be picking up in popularity. Napolini basically offers two different items for breakfast, either an Italian frittata or a breakfast sandwich, each with a few different flavor combinations. Both the frittatas and the sandwiches are more than your typical eggs and bacon breakfast offerings, with ingredient like olives, zucchini, and mozzarella for your perfectly Italian breakfast.
One place that I find a lot of people don't realize offers breakfast is the Rainforest Café; located at the end of Downtown Disney, the Rainforest Café is a highly popular spot for lunch and dinner, but people seem to forget that they also offer breakfast. Rainforest Café is a fun place to eat for kids and adults, and breakfast is no different. Much like their lunch and dinner menu, the breakfast menu is pretty big for a breakfast menu and has a lot of different options. Make sure at least someone in your party tries the Tonga Toast (thick-sliced cinnamon French toast), and strongly consider the Pie of the Viper, a yummy Mexican-inspired breakfast pizza. Rainforest Café also has a pretty great kids menu offerings, including French toast, oatmeal, waffles, and cereal. Parents can find something special here, too, as Rainforest Café does indeed open the bar in the morning, and have refreshing alcoholic drinks like the Jungle Fever (Bloody Mary) or the mimosa.
Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen & Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen Express
Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen and Express definitely win for coolest atmosphere of a restaurant in Downtown Disney. Whether it's outside under the awnings watching the hustle and bustle of Downtown Disney on inside the open-air atrium of this self-described "jazz palace," Ralph Brennan's is a fun place to eat, and their breakfast menus don't disappoint. On the restaurant side, Ralph Brennan's offers a brunch that, even though it's just offered on Sundays, it's totally worth it.
The menu is pretty expansive here. There's your typical breakfast options (with a Cajun twist), including steak and eggs, crab cakes and eggs, French toast, and chicken and waffles; if it's the "-unch" part of the meal you're looking for, there's plenty here, too, with garlic cheese bread, coconut shrimp, gumbo, jambalaya, salads, sandwiches, burgers, and more. Be sure not to forget the beignets when you're done.
Next door to the restaurant is the Express option, which also has a great breakfast menu for when you're on the go. The menu includes items like: beignets (who says you can't eat them for breakfast?), breakfast sandwiches, breakfast burritos, French toast dippers, and a traditional breakfast platter.
Probably by this point everyone knows what Starbucks has to offer. Any kind of coffee drink you could possibly dream of, many different options for tea, along with some blended coffee drinks and smoothies, if it has anything to do with a coffee shop, Starbucks has it. Starbucks also offers quite a few different choices of breakfast foods, whether you're looking for pastries, or warm breakfast sandwiches, they have it. Another great option here is pre-packaged snacks or drinks and fruit that you can take with you for later. Plus, they do take the Starbucks card/app—so you can keep earning those stars, even while on vacation.
Taqueria at Tortilla Jo's
The Taqueria at Tortilla Jo's is hands-down, my all-time favorite breakfast stop in Downtown Disney. I dream about their breakfast burritos when I'm away from the park. Offering a selection of breakfast burritos with your choice of fillings, huevos rancheros, chilaquiles, breakfast bowls, fruit and yogurt, and Mexican oatmeal, the Taqueria is a delicious stop for breakfast when visiting the resort. Two other things that always bring me back here however are the Mexican Cinnamon Coffee and the Agua Frescas (with flavors rotating out all the time).
Also more recently new, and only offered on weekends, is the brunch at Tortilla Jo's. The menu here is exactly what you'd expect for a Mexican-inspired breakfast menu, with items such as huevos rancheros, chilaquiles, and breakfast burritos, but also some fun items like cinnamon French toast and pozole rojo as well. The best part of this brunch, however, comes on the cocktail menu with bottomless mimosas (for one hour of service) for just $12.
Located smack-dab in the middle of Downtown Disney in a can't-miss, completely open-air location is Uva Bar. Although typically visited for a trip to the bar and some appetizers, Uva Bar has a pretty good menu throughout the day; and they also have a nice breakfast menu, as well. The menu includes: chilaquiles, breakfast sandwiches, Greek bowls, eggs benedict, omelets, and some other more traditional items. They also have an incredibly simple kids menu of pancakes, eggs, and cereal for anyone with picky eaters out there. Like its partner restaurant, Catal, Uva Bar also has cold-brew coffee, which is a nice touch, especially for a chilly pick-me-up in the sunny SoCal summers!
Side Note No. 1: ESPN Zone used to offer a breakfast menu throughout the NFL regular season for Sunday morning games; however this is since ended and it is unknown whether they will bring it back, or when.
Side Note No. 2: I'm going to throw in Sprinkles Cupcakes here because a) it's new, and b) it's vacation. So go ahead and have a cupcake for breakfast!
As you can see, there are so many different options throughout Downtown Disney, with all different types of menus, that there is absolutely something for everyone. Also, because there are so many choices, you can try something different each time you visit, the resort. I love stopping for breakfast before getting started in the park each day, and I find myself heading toward Downtown Disney quite often to do so. Hopefully you will, too.