Fav 5 Travel Guides are a short list of the best things I've found to do, see, eat, or drink in a particular location. This guide is for Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure Park, both located in Anaheim, California.
For more on these two parks see the Fav 5 Disneyland and Fav 5 Disney's California Adventure. If you just can't get enough we've got a whole Disney section here at Figs and Flights.
My husband and I met in Honolulu, Hawaii, where we both used to live. I couldn't have wished for a better hometown for a spouse than one that's within an hour's drive to Disneyland. The first time I traveled home with him he obliged me with a trip to Disneyland.
That was 9 years ago and he and I will both tell you that the addition of my Disney-loving sister-in-law, Renee, to the family has made the Disney situation better for both my husband and I. I visit the parks with Renee at least once, often times twice, every time we come to town while my husband and his brother get quality time with their immediate family and away from the parks. It's a win-win situation for us all.
During our Thanksgiving visit this year we managed two trips to the parks: on the Monday before the holiday and on Thanksgiving Day! Most people thought we were crazy for going on Thanksgiving and those doubters even had me worrying that the parks were going to be similar to an overcrowded zoo. Luckily the Thursday crowd was just slightly more noticeable than that Monday. It was actually more fun to be surrounded by other kids-disguised-as-adults who threw tradition to the wind and prioritized MAGIC over turkey and football. Disney decorates for Christmas just after Halloween so the parks were decked out in their holiday best for our November visits.
We spent two days hopping back and forth from Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure (DCA). Both days we arrived around 9 am and stayed until 6 or 7 pm. My sister-in-law Renee, an 8 year old "princess," and I visited both days. Our 2 year old "pirate" joined us for just one of the two days.
These relatives are all annual pass holders to the parks, so they're true professionals. I had some very specific requests to eat and ride at places I've not yet experienced so this list covers all new things from my previous lists!
Without further adieu here are my Fav 5 from this year's visit to the Disney parks in California. Each one notes in which park it's located: Disneyland or DCA.
1. Cars Land is forever my favorite part of DCA. It looks exactly like Radiator Springs from the Cars movies and it's jam packed with rides, stores, restaurants, and characters that are all perfectly themed to match. Cars Land was decorated the most elaborately for Halloween last year so I wasn't surprised when it was the most spectacularly decorated land in the park for the Christmas season.
This trip I finally got to ride the BIG RIDE tucked away at the end of the road in Cars Land, the Radiator Springs Racers. We used a FASTPASS and waited in line for just a few minutes. The experience while you're in line is just as detailed and Cars-themed as the rest of Cars Land. When your time comes you hop into a car (along with up to 5 other people) for a magical journey spent cruising through the town of Radiator Springs, enjoying the town's surrounding landscape, and visiting with all of the Cars friends: Ramon, Luigi, Mater, and more. The grand finale of the ride is a an exhilarating race with the car next to you, which we won! The ride was perfectly themed, fun, fast, and not scary or nauseating at all.
2. Also in Cars Land (DCA) is the Cozy Cone Motel. Each of the 5 giant orange traffic cones offer a different menu. They've got popcorn, pretzel bites, churros, chili, drinks, and even alcohol. We were excited to see, but didn't try, the boozy drinks of lemonade or pomegranate lemonade with vodka.
We tried many cones and treats during our visits. Cozy Cone #4 gave us pretzel bites with cheesy sauce to snack on while walking through the park. Cozy Cone #3 serves everything in bread cones and we couldn't get enough. My sister-in-law tried the seasonal "Luigi's chicken pesto cone", which she liked but didn't love. I had the mac and cheese (without bacon) and it was clearly under seasoned without the meat.
There's a clear winner in the race of best Cozy Cone food and it's the vegetarian Chili Cone Queso from Cozy Cone #3. The bread cone is filled with delicious chili and so much cheddar cheese, then topped with crunchy corn chips. The flavor of the chili was amazing, I loved the generous amount of cheese, and the corn chip topping and bread cone vehicle take this comfort food to another level. I scooped out the cheesy chili and chips before eating that bread cone like it was an ice cream cone.
I know it's hard to trust a vegetarian when they tell you about meat-less foods, but let me tell you something. I gave Renee a taste of my Veggie Chili Cone Queso, before eating every last bite of it, on our first park day. She IS a meat eater and, on our second day, ordered the same thing without hesitation! Of all the things we tried at the Cozy Cones, and in the park, we agree that the Veggie Chili Cone Queso was the best!
3. Disney Festival of Holidays takes over DCA for the holiday season. Included in the festival are 12 unique food marketplaces, which we tried as many snacks and treats from as we could, even when we were hardly hungry. Of all of the many seasonal offerings we tried, my favorite was easily the Mickey shaped gingerbread cookie.
I'm not really sure what made me get a gingerbread cookie, except for that adorable mouse shape. Gingerbread is something I've decorated but not regularly eaten. This cookie was scrumptious and soft with just enough ginger flavor. We gobbled up every last bite of the cute and Christmas-y cookie.
4. River Belle Terrace is a charming restaurant in Frontierland at Disneyland. We don't often make a reservation and have a sit down meal but I'm so glad we did. Breakfast on the outdoor patio at the River Belle Terrace was relaxing and delicious.
Across the table my sister-in-law and niece had traditional breakfast fare: bacon, eggs, a biscuit, and pancakes. I ordered and devoured Becky Thatcher's fried green tomatoes with deviled eggs, roasted corn and avocado relish, chimichurri, and blistered tomatoes.(Also red pepper coulis, which I didn't try.) I couldn't believe the amount of food on my plate and how good everything was. These were the best fried green tomatoes I've ever had and I couldn't help but laugh that they came with a side of tomatoes. I think the River Belle Terrace will become a regular part of our Disneyland routine! The setting, food, and service were all superb.
5. Finally I bring you something from another world: the Green Alien Holiday Macaron. It's green and cute and has three eyes and is only sold at Alien Pizza Planet in Tomorrowland at Disneyland, where Mission to Mars once stood. Everything inside Alien Pizza Planet looks like the Toy Story movies and I wish I'd had more time to spend inside!
I'm typically weary of the taste of brightly colored foods so I was delighted when the Green Alien Macaron was a) delicious without a food-coloring flavor and b) filled with blackberry lemon filling. The filling was SO GOOD, I guessed that it was blueberry lemon curd before I read the sign. The berry flavor was so nice and the bright, summery lemon brought the whole thing to life.
I'd tried many macarons: Mickey shaped and raspberry rose flavored, Santa hat shaped and chocolate peppermint flavored, and topped with marshmallows and hot cocoa flavored. The alien was bigger and better than them all, TO INFINITY AND BEYOND!
Thanks for joining me for a day or two at Disneyland. I hope your next visit is great and that this guide is helpful!
If. you enjoyed this post, please let me know and share it with someone who loves Disney!
Hello, I'm Angela.
Figs and Flights is all about traveling near and far & eating great food both at home and away.
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