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Ruminations - A Dining Update -- Around the Disneyland Resort

Ruminations - A Dining Update -- Around the Disneyland Resort

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So? What's for supper here?
It's the galley below decks aboard the mighty Columbia!

One of the challenges we set for ourselves on this recent visit was to try something a b it different when it came to dining. Not that we haven't enjoyed many tasty meals around the Resort on previous visits, but a change seemed in order. So... definitely no Club 33 meal this time. (You have no idea how hard it is to stand downstairs on the streets of New Orleans Square and know what awaits above.)

One goal was to try things we hadn't done before. Surprisingly, there still are a fair number of those for us. Another goal was to eat healthier, and yes, it can be done. And finally, the idea of being budget-conscious is always a good one, no matter how big (or small) the size of your group.

Lately, we have enjoyed staying at the Carousel Inn and Suites on Harbor Blvd, directly across from the former Main Gate, now the local transportation boarding area. Something about a close walk. But this visit, we had to do things a bit differently. It seems that this particular week was Spring Break in Arizona, so rooms were somewhat full directly across from the Park on Harbor Blvd. We stayed one night at another property (that I won't name or likely stay at again, either). That led to a leisurely breakfast at one of the chain restaurants nearby (again that I won't name). The food was okay, nothing special, the service was fine, but the price? Well, more than it should have been for what we got.

But the last two nights of our visit, we stayed at the Anabella Hotel. Located on Katella Avenue across from the Paradise Pier portion of Disney's California Adventure, this was a very nice find. With it's location away from Harbor Blvd (and right next to the Anaheim Convention Center), it wasn't all that busy, much to our surprise. And the hotel does feature a nice restaurant, the  Tangerine Grill and Patio. The breakfast we enjoyed here was much nicer than that at the chain location. It was quieter, the menu offered a greater and healthier variety, and finally, the price was every bit reasonable. I think when the two were compared, I spent almost ten dollars less there than I did at the chain. And I'll definitely be back again for both the restaurant and hotel.

Ummm, Pineapple...

Meanwhile, across the street at the Disneyland Resort... Well, I've already mentioned the Tiki Room is once again serving Dole Pineapple Whip! (If you can't enjoy it in person, this Dole recipe is close. I wonder if Jim will manage to stop by the Dole Plantation on Oahu. It's the only other place beside Disneyland and Walt Disney World where you can enjoy it in person!) I saw lots of folks going the full pineapple with the Dole Whip Float. That's Juice, Whip and Fruit all in the same cup. Yumola!

Now another favorite Disneyland treat over the years we have enjoyed are the fritters and the non-alcoholic Disneyland Mint Juleps from the Mint Julep Bar, adjacent to the French Market, in New Orleans Square. And we enjoyed them at home over the years as well, with both Beignet mix and the Disneyland Mint Julep mix (when it was still being sold). But with the addition of Downtown Disney and Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen, this is now another location where we have enjoyed Beignet's - at the Jazz Kitchen Express. As hard as you try, you just can't keep yourself from being covered in powdered sugar from a bag of these hot and fresh! And they also offer a tasty walk away breakfast if you're looking for something other than the usual pancakes. Now to come back again sometime for the Brunch!


A great mural and new menu!

Inside Disneyland, we had heard about the changes to the menu at Frontierland's Rancho Del Zocalo. In response to comments from guests, the offerings here appeal more to traditional Latino tastes than they may have in the past. And while the hearty BBQ isn't as much of a focus as it was, you can still enjoy a good grilled entrée. My favorite was the Chicken and Shrimp combination with a great black bean and corn salsa!


You don't expect us to drink all that one in one afternoon?

Now back across the Esplanade, we spent an enjoyable afternoon in Disney's California Adventure with two interesting dining opportunities. Well, perhaps one dining and one drinking would be a better way to describe this. As you may recall from my Disneyland: Ten Things You Should Not Miss! Story, I really like the Golden Vine Winery and the Seasons of the Vine attraction. Definitely a hidden treasure, that one. Just to the left of this, is the Terrace Wine Tasting. For an extremely reasonable fee - only $10 per person -- you can taste some great California wines and other treats. On our visit, you could choose from three of the vintages shown above, sample a trio of Petite Syrah's from different vineyards or enjoy a very tasty sample of three different Bleu Cheeses and three different Sandeman's Ports.

The tastings offered on our visit.

Finishing with the Petite Syrah and ready for the Bleu Cheese and Port!

Earlier in the day, we made a reservation for lunch with Captain Mickey and friends over at Ariel's Grotto. And we had time to wait for that, so a short walk led us to the wine tasting. Honest! It wasn't planned.

Diner's Ahoy!


Our Entrée's for Lunch were only $16.99 per person! Michele enjoyed a great pasta dish while my mother had the Cobb Salad, and I dined on a nice Chicken Cesar Salad. Sitting out on the patio in the lagoon was a great way to pass the afternoon.


Our very tasty meals...

Now this is character dining, so you must expect character visits, right? There's no disappointment to be had as Captain Mickey and his crew make a special effort to be sure they visit with everyone. Why, there is even a limbo contest for those so inclined. Not me after this filling meal!

Captain Mickey visits!

And First Mate Minnie, too! Just love those shoes...

I think Pluto's been out at sea a bit too long...


Well, that's wasn't every meal we enjoyed, but a nice overview. Here's hoping that you can enjoy some of these on your next visit to the Disneyland Resort!

In the next Ruminations? To quote a famous rabbit: "What season is it? Why it's Baseball season, my boy!" Roger will be back with look at a few favorite baseball movies now out on DVD you might want to enjoy as Opening Day approaches!

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