Monday, February 27, 2017

Tips for Dinner and a Show at Disneyland the Easy Way

By Carey & George Kiraly

The Disneyland Dining Dilemma. It’s something every person has to face if they want to have a nice, sit-down meal in the Parks. With all the excitement surrounding you, the last thing on your mind is food. A quick churro here or there, and you’re fine, right? Boy, could that be any more wrong! Don’t get me wrong, who doesn't love churros, but if you want the stamina to catch all the shows and use all your FastPasses, you’d better plan your meals in advance. Join us in today's new article for some helpful tips for dinner and a show at Disneyland the easy way...

Over the years, my wife and I have learned a few things that save us enormous amounts of time in the Parks, while ensuring prime locations for the nighttime spectaculars: make reservations closest to restaurant closing, and never underestimate the value of a dinner/dessert and a show package.

Before welcoming our first baby this fall, my wife and I would visit Disneyland numerous times a year as annual passholders. We’re that couple (now, that family) who either goes on Disney vacations or basically no vacations at all. That being said, let us share a few experiences with you to back up our ideas.

Disneyland's Café Orleans

On a recent trip to the happiest place on earth, we made reservations at Café Orleans, the only dine-in restaurant other than Blue Bayou in New Orleans Square. We had seats for the last dinner time, and thoroughly enjoyed our meals (Carey, my wife, had the vegetable ragout and I had the steak that was on special at the time) and service. As some of the last guests in the restaurant, our waitress invited us to stay after closing and watch Fantasmic! from their terrace. It was an amazing way to watch the show with an awesome view, especially since we thought we would miss it that night because we hadn’t gotten FastPasses, and our dinner was scheduled near the same time. It definitely beat sitting cramped in between strollers on the Rivers of America. We always recommend this tip to friends; reserve last call at Café Orleans, and kindly ask about their special viewing area for Fantasmic!, if they don’t ask you first. Take it a step further and order beignets for dessert, then sit back, relax, and watch the show on the terrace. This little tip can also come in handy if you plan your meals along the same path or with a clear view of shows and fireworks throughout the day.

The Carthay Circle Restaurant

Speaking of preferred seating, one of our favorite experiences in Disney’s California Adventure is to reserve the World of Color Dining Package. For starters, you have the option of dining at Carthay Circle Restaurant, Wine Country Trattoria, or Ariel’s Grotto. Now, my wife and I have been to all three, and since we didn’t have any children at the time, we felt largely out of place at the princess dinner at Ariel’s Grotto (we didn’t realize it was a themed dinner for the time chosen, so you could imagine the looks we got and the laughs we both shared that night). The package includes tickets to a reserved viewing section for World of Color; 3 in total, one for each restaurant. This comes in super handy because you don’t need to obtain a FastPass and you don’t need to arrive early in order to save seats for the show.

Ceiling and Décor of Carthay Circle

The Carthay Circle not only has delicious foods, but the setting is gorgeous. Set inside a replica of The Carthay Circle Theatre where Snow White premiered in 1938, the restaurant features photos and memorabilia from when Walt first arrived in California all the way through his career.  Once you are taken upstairs to be seated, look to the ceiling. The panels in the middle are inset with illustrations of the forest from Snow White. All cast members working there will graciously give a tour of the restaurant and tell a little story with each piece of historic memorabilia housed in the halls, stairwell, and elevator, all you have to do is ask (and sometimes they even ask if you’d like the tour).

Take advantage of Wine Country Trattoria's Reserved Viewing Area for World of Color

Although The Carthay Circle has a more formal setting and wider selection, Wine Country Trattoria has a large selection of fine wines (hence, the name), delicious food, and, I mean, who doesn’t love a bowl of pasta for dinner?! Wine Country Trattoria also has a closer reserved viewing area for World of Color. You can’t go wrong with either restaurant.

Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar is the perfect place to "dock your tramp steamer at the cement shores of the Disneyland Hotel pool area and enter a mystical oasis."

As an added bonus, no adults-only vacation is complete without a trip to Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar at the Disneyland Hotel. Whenever we describe this bar to anyone, we say it’s like the Tiki Room in Adventureland, but instead of the singing birds, add funny bartenders and delicious cocktails. The décor is so detailed, and the bar is known to have a storm or two come through while you are there. The drinks are super interactive, with many being lit on fire and meant to be shared with large groups, or split between two thirsty adults. Order an Uh Oa! if you dare, and watch what unfolds before your eyes. There are also a number of “no-booze brews” available if you want to enjoy, but not overdue it. We also usually see a celebrity or two here when we visit, not the most important part of the trip, but definitely adds a fun story.

You can always find a deliciously fun brew or two at Trader Sam’s

We really hope you enjoyed us sharing some of our favorite tips about dining as adults at Disneyland and we’re very excited to share more with you all soon!


Carey and George Kiraly (aka Team Georgoline) are a Disney-loving couple located just across the Bay from San Francisco. Having met while on the Disney College Program at Walt Disney World, these two love birds created a fairytale all their own. One of the first nights they watched “Wishes” together at the Magic Kingdom, they knew their love was meant to be, all while in a picturesque, firework-lit setting behind Cinderella Castle. After being married for 2 and a half years, they recently welcomed their first princess, Ellie, as the newest chapter in their fairytale. 

Carey has lived in California her whole life, and would frequent Disneyland on family road trips numerous times throughout her childhood, and now into her adulthood. She has a passion for singing, dancing, and loving life. George was born and raised in Ohio, taking family summer vacations to WDW to aide his passion for Disney. In his spare time, he likes to brew batches of homemade beer and cheer on the Warriors and Giants with Carey.

The name Team Georgoline (George + Caroline = Georgoline) started shortly after they began dating, and has stuck ever since. It may seem a bit over the top, but they do everything together, and that is how everyone knows them. With their daughter Ellie, they plan to take as many Disneyland/WDW trips as possible throughout her childhood, which will create plenty of magical memories to share with everyone.

You can find all of  Carey and George's articles here.

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