Season’s Treatings – A September Epic Disney Food Fail

I was really excited to head into Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort, not just for the decorations and other seasonal entertainment (to be discussed in a future post), but okay yes, for the seasonal – especially themed – food!

Unfortunately, in my two recent visits, I disappointingly experienced more epic misses than hits. But sometimes it’s just as important to know what to skip as what to get, so I’m sharing my opinions (personal and subjective as always) with you here today.

First off, did you know that some resort restaurants have offerings that change monthly? Sometimes even I find it hard to keep up with knowing everything that’s going on and I go there really regularly. But I just found out a few days ago that the monthly gourmet hot dog at Whitewater Snacks at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel was mini hot dog nachos and I just had to get over there to try them!

Now, I’ll preface this by saying: I have never tried a Disneyland corn dog. *Waits for the gasps to quiet.* Further blasphemy – I’ve never tried the jumbo turkey leg or a Dole Whip for that matter. Sorry, I’m a Citrus Swirl fan forever. One of these days I need to do a food crawl of just these classic items I’ve never tried though.

I think it’s because the full sized corn dogs are just intimidating looking and while I love a good hot dog, I’m not really a corn dog fan. But mini-corn dogs with select toppings? That I would try.

On the day I went over to Whitewater Snacks, it was about lunchtime and I was told by the Cast Member that it would be a 45-minute wait for this dish since it was so popular. And indeed, while I was ordering, they cut off all orders for it for the day. But I got mine in.

After waiting, my food was delivered to me. But unlike the mini-corn dog dish I’d seen pictures of and other people around me were enjoying, what I got was this:

What was supposed to be mini-corn dog nachos (aka mini-corn dog bites with toppings).

And while a corn dog fan might have found this plateful enticing, I couldn’t even look at it, it was so totally unappealing to me. Fail. I literally picked it right up and brought it back to the cashier. I pointed out that this was not the dish I’d ordered and waited for. The cashier (and my server) both apologized profusely and said they’d run out of the mini-corn dogs and had to try making this. Yeah, I wasn’t going to eat that – although honestly it was probably a great deal for what I’d paid for a smaller dish. I was quickly given a refund, however.

Problem is, I was really hungry as I’d waited so long for this dish! My friend split their lunch – a sandwich – with me, but I needed to find food fast. My friend had a craving for dessert after their meal, so we headed into Disney California Adventure as I wanted to try one of the Halloween Time desserts. Continue reading

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Mousertainment Miscellanea – I Didn’t Know That! #4 – Disney Parks Food Hacks and Secret Menu Items

Although food is certainly something I enjoy year-round in the parks, there’s something so satisfying about trying a new treat in the summer. So lately I’ve been ticking off my “want to try it” list with some off-the-menu choices. And while park regulars are often aware of these tips and tricks, not everyone is, so I thought I’d share a few!

Food hacks

Did you know at Disney Parks that you don’t have to order everything exactly as it is on the menu? Well, of course, at most places you go to eat, if you say “hold this” or “put this on the side”, they’ll try to accommodate you. Disney Parks are the same and will frequently go a step further to make sure to help you especially if you have food allergies or sensitivities.

If you’re not sure about the ingredients of a meal or if it’s appropriate for your dietary needs – ask! If the server doesn’t know, they can often bring a chef out from the kitchen to talk with you to see if there is a way to specially prepare something safe for you to eat. Many park restaurants also have specific “allergy menus” you can request to see to alert you to what is best for your specific needs.

But there’s another way to order something differently – especially at counter service/quick service locations. Did you know that you could order some food without a side (like chips or fruit) and that can save you money on your total? Want that corn dog but don’t need the bag of chips?  Ask to get it without the side! Alternately, there are some places where you can order JUST a side!

For example, I LOVE the pomme frites at Disneyland and discovered that the pomme frites at the Red Rose Taverne can be ordered separately on the side – not just with a main dish! So if I’m not up for the full Beast’s Burger meal on any given day, I can still go in and enjoy the side dish!

Pomme frites at the Red Rose Taverne.

These options are not noted on the menu, but they can be done – and it doesn’t hurt to ask!

But then there are…

Secret Menu Items Continue reading

Season’s Treatings – Main Street Electrical Parade Themed Treats at the Disneyland Resort

The bottom level of this case in Marceline’s Confectionery in Downtown Disney displays some of the Main Street Electrical Parade sweets available including marshmallow wands, cake pops and a rice crispy treat.

The bottom level of this case in Marceline’s Confectionery in Downtown Disney displays some of the Main Street Electrical Parade themed sweets available including marshmallow wands, cake pops and a rice crispy treat.

Both the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts have become wonderful places for limited-time meals, snacks and desserts. I was crazy about some of the Halloween Time food offerings last year! So I was excited to hear about some special themed treats to celebrate the limited return to Disneyland Park of the beloved Main Street Electrical Parade (a show which I will be featuring here next week)!

In general, when it comes to desserts, there had better be a lot of chocolate involved or I’m not likely to be very tempted. However, the sheer cuteness factor of some of these goodies encouraged me to step out of my normal chocolate-only taste zone and here were my impressions…

The first thing I simply had to try was the Cheshire Cat shortbread cookie! Granted, there was just a nominal amount of white chocolate involved here, but… Cheshire Cat!

Cheshire Cat cookie.

Cheshire Cat cookie.

This actually is a layered item with a round sugar-striped cookie ring atop a layer of strawberry marmalade atop another cookie with a white chocolate Cheshire Cat piece at the center of it all.

Here is a sideways view to see the levels of this:

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The whole effect reminded me of one of the Queen of Hearts’ stolen tarts and despite the lack of serious chocolate, I liked this one as a light sugary treat and thought it was a good-sized cookie snack! The cookie itself was fresh and just soft enough for me, as I don’t care for too-hard crunchy cookies. Recommended especially for berry-flavor-lovers and Wonderland fans!

Next, I had to go with a slightly more chocolate-y offering – the Peanut Butter & Jelly Éclair! Continue reading

Rock & Brews – Food, Drink and a Side of Live Music

Once again, last week I ventured off-property to a new restaurant that recently opened at the San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino because they offered an irresistible combo platter – food and live music!

KISS image on the wall of Rock & Brews.

KISS image on the wall of Rock & Brews.

This relatively new chain of restaurants was co-developed by Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons of KISS and they definitely made their mark on the place.

Inside Rock & Brews – snakes on the ceiling and music videos all around – oh hell yeah!

Inside Rock & Brews – snakes on the ceiling and music videos all around – oh hell yeah!

With multiple locations across the U.S., including several in California, my understanding is that not all of their restaurants feature the stage setup that San Manuel had, so make sure you check ahead of time for any upcoming events if you’re looking for the live music part of the experience here.

Artisan Bleu Cheese, Swiss & Applewood Bacon Burger (hold the bleu cheese).

Artisan Bleu Cheese, Swiss & Applewood Bacon Burger (hold the bleu cheese).

Not being a beer drinker, I can’t speak to the quality of the “Brews” side of the offerings here, but I certainly enjoyed the burger and fries I got and feel it was worth the $15 I paid for them. There were so many tempting items on the menu though, that I’d likely try something else next time. Continue reading

Mousertainment Miscellanea – I Didn’t Know That! #2 – Disney Parks Recipes

This is an occasional feature to spotlight some lesser-known amenities that the Disney Parks offer.

Previously for Mousertainment Miscellanea, I discussed the Disney Parks Kennels, but in honor of Thanksgiving this week, my stomach… I mean… the blog… turns to thoughts of food!

Did you know that City Hall in Disneyland Park and the Chamber of Commerce in Disney California Adventure Park are both sources of recipes for Disney Parks meals?

Sadly, they don’t have the recipe for every dish served in the parks, however, if you go to one of these Guest Relations locations, and ask about a specific park restaurant or dish, they can tell you what they do have recipes for and will print them out for you!

Continue reading

Season’s Treatings – Halloween Treats at the Disneyland Resort

I’ll admit that I rarely take the opportunity to try any of the various seasonal food and beverage options that the Disneyland Resort brings out at different times of the year. But I was determined to shake up my eating habits at the Resort and try a few new themed food offerings this Halloween Time!

I had the chance to try six items (one other I wanted to try sold out before I got to review it as some things can run out before the month is over!) and I thought I would share my responses to them while there is still time for you to go give them a taste yourself.

The first item on my must-try list was the Bacon Cheddar Ale soup in a bread bowl at the Pacific Wharf Café in Disney California Adventure. This item was sampled in a tiny size at the Food & Wine Festival held earlier this year. I didn’t try it then but I’d heard good things from those who had, so when I got the opportunity to try a full sized dish of it, I couldn’t wait!

And…

Bacon Cheddar Ale soup in a bread bowl – with the soup “on the side” rather than soaking into the bread.

Bacon Cheddar Ale soup in a bread bowl – with the soup “on the side” rather than soaking into the bread.

It lived up fully to my expectations! This gloriously filling soup was plenty cheesy with bits of bacon to add to the savory flavor. RUN, do not walk to try this soup while it’s still available for this limited Halloween Time!

The next item I tried, I had very high hopes for. The seasonal Vanilla and Orange Soft-Serve Ice Cream being served at the Paradise Pier Ice Cream Company in Disney California Adventure certainly sounded like it could be the West Coast answer to the glorious Citrus Swirl found at the Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Alas, no.

Large size orange and vanilla soft serve ice cream.

Large size orange and vanilla soft serve ice cream.

When I previously tried the chocolate soft serve ice cream there, I was seriously underwhelmed by the lack of chocolate-y flavor to it. This time, the faux-orange-y flavor completely overwhelmed the vanilla flavor it was mixed with, proving to be a disappointment in both taste and texture in comparison to the simply perfect Citrus Swirl. Guess I still have cause to return to the Magic Kingdom for one of my all-time favorite desserts! Skip this wannabe and go for the real deal instead!

My next adventure was to stop at the new table service version of the River Belle Terrace at New Orleans Square at Disneyland. There was no signage nor menu listing for the item I wanted to try – the Loaded Bites – but there was no issue with ordering it. Continue reading

Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival 2016

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After an absence of several years, the Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival has returned for the month of April 2016. Some changes from the previous iterations include more upcharge events and the introduction of individual food booths (ala EPCOT’s popular Food & Wine Festival).

Sadly, however, unlike EPCOT, the California version of the Festival does NOT include any live musical component like the Eat to the Beat Concert Series.

And in fact, Food & Wine is the nominal reason that the Pixar Play Parade (to be featured soon!) is not being run this month throughout the park as the Festival has taken up some of its performing corridor along Paradise Pier. However, a returning smaller Incredibles-themed show is running temporarily at Paradise Pier instead (to be featured once I can go check it out!).

In the meantime, weekend guests at Disney California Adventure will find the former Mad T Party backlot area stages being used for lifestyle presentations…

I prefer T to wine.

I prefer T to wine.

And culinary classes… Continue reading