Dining In Disneyland — Food, Glorious Food!

 Tips For Your Dining Pleasure

Here are some Disneyland tips related to the appetite you’ll build during your day in the Park. You’ll soon see that there are a plethora of dining choices within the parks, hotels and Downtown Disney entertainment center. You’ll definitely want to spend some time investigating the various choices–including some options outside the parks.

Goofy’s Kitchen at Disneyland Hotel

To begin, if you have small children we recommend a character breakfast at Goofy’s Kitchen restaurant at the Disneyland Hotel (click on this link to check out other Disneyland tips on dining options at the Resort also; a new window will open for you). That is a great way to see the characters up close, for the price of a moderately over-priced breakfast, lunch or dinner, and especially if you are not staying at a Disney hotel to take advantage of Mickey’s ToonTown Morning Madness.

They do try to offer a wide variety of menu items at the many restaurants in Disneyland, California Adventure and Downtown Disney. Some make a reasonable attempt to help you with your budget. There are a few things you can do to help trim the budget in the food department.

Taste Pilot's Grill
Taste Pilot’s Grill

You are allowed to bring small snacks and water bottles into the park, but not whole sandwiches or meat loaves. So, an option would be for you to have a good solid breakfast, and then snack on what you bring in the backpack for lunch. The savings in lunch makes the higher Disney dinner prices easier to take. You also save time by not stopping for lunch; taking numerous shorter sit-down snack breaks (Disneyland RR is a great way to rest, as is the Monorail) throughout the day is not a bad idea.

Disneyland Picnic Area

Disneyland picnic area
Disneyland picnic area

Another of our favorite Disneyland tips is to take advantage of the picnic area between the entrance to Disneyland and Downtown Disney (to the left of the souvenir stand at the left end of the D-land gates as you face the park. You can bring your own picnic lunch and eat it there; however, if you’ve entered the park in the morning and plan to picnic at lunch, hours later, you’ll need to rent a locker (lockers are available inside and outside the Disneyland entrance) and make sure the food can keep unrefrigerated on a warm summer day.

Suggestions for a Cheap Disneyland Lunch

  • Make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in your hotel room with fixin’s from home
  • Bring chips too, and buy a drink to go (either in the Park, Downtown Disney or elsewhere)
  • Buy a cool piece of fruit from a Main Street vendor on your way out the Disneyland gate to the picnic area

Restaurants Near Disneyland

But, here are a few helpful Disneyland tips for saving money on food (and another way where Anaheim beats Orlando). You can send your fast walker through the Timon Tram and Shuttle area out to Harbor Boulevard (check out the photos to the right). Within 8 minutes you can be at a McDonald’s or a Quizno’s. You buy your gut bomb, fries, drinks, apple pies, and meet up back at the picnic area. You could save quite a bit with this option.

There are also a few sit-down restaurants along this same stretch of road, including Denny’s (714/776-3300), IHOP (714/635-0933), Tony Roma’s place for ribs (714/520-0200), and Captain Kidd’s (714/491-1965; they offer a $8.69 buffet, but we saw a bad review online, so you might ask somebody leaving the restaurant how they liked the food), all of which cater to families who are willing to walk a bit (like, you haven’t been walking all day anyway?).

So these restaurants could be a nice break on a number of levels (price savings, air conditioning on a hot afternoon, familiar food). Oh, by the way, there is also a Coldstone Ice Cream shop almost across the street from this side entrance to the Resort area.

Captain Kidd's and IHOP
Captain Kidd’s & IHOP

Final Disneyland Tips on Dining

These places can get busy during the summer so scope them out before you commit. Eating meals at slightly off-hours will help.