[guestpost]Welcome to OMGiri, an artist who creates Disney characters in his bento boxes. Take a look at the top ten scariest Disney villains in these Disney bento box designs. More bento boxes on OMGiri Instagram. [/guestpost]
My interest in food art took root after a trip to Tokyo Disney Resort and Hong Kong Disneyland. I was amazed by the adorable and creative food both resorts served. It was springtime and Tokyo Disney had sandwiches shaped like Donald Duck’s feet, melon buns shaped like Mike Wazowski, and sweet mochi chicks in Mickey egg cups. At Hong Kong Disneyland we ate at the Crystal Lotus, which is home to the most amazing character-shaped dining experience. They offer dim sum shaped like characters, including the Three Little Pigs, Chicken Little, Duffy the Bear, and the Little Green Men from Toy Story.
While in Japan I bought a couple bento boxes to motivate me to take my lunch to work. I had a bad habit of eating out of the vending machine, or worse, skipping lunch all together. After seeing a few character bento in a book, I was inspired to try my hand at making them myself. Character bento are referred to generally as either kyaraben or charaben, short for “character” and “bento”. I specifically gravitated to onigiri. Onigiri are normally triangle or round “rice balls” filled with fish or pickled ginger. They sell them in convenience stores like they sell sandwiches in the US. They are cheap and can be eaten with your hands. I use my onigiri to shape into the main portion of my bento.
I’ve done animated characters both old and new, from Oswald to Olaf. Look forward to more on DisneyDose.com in the future.
Time and time again I find myself drawn to villains. Why? Well, first off they have the greatest expressions. I love the challenge. Second, they are awesome. Halloween gives me an excuse to do extra villains because everyone wants to see them come October. I dug through the villain bento I made over the past year and picked out my favorite villains for Halloween.
Take a look at the…
Top Ten Evil Disney Villains as Disney Bento Boxes
10. Madam Mim – Is she really bad? She was just protecting her cottage from a couple of home invaders.
9. King Candy – He just seemed so sweet and then turned out to be manipulating everything to take over the kingdom. (Hey Hans, I’m going to refer to you as “Prince Candy”…just saying)
8. Scar & King John – Not all lions are the king of beasts, sometimes they are the jealous throne-stealing brother of the king of beasts.
7. Shere Kahn & Kaa – It just isn’t safe in the forest for a man cub around dinner time.
6. Hook & Mr. Smee – Trapped in strange land and tormented by unruly, wild children one of which cut off his hand. Hook has every right to be angry! Mr. Smee, you are just an enabler. Lock up Hook’s rum already.
5. Jafar – I don’t know which is worse, the street rat, the fair-weather parrot friend, or getting all that great cosmic power only to be trapped in a teeny, tiny lamp.
4. Ursula – All she was trying to do was help some poor, unfortunate souls. Not her fault they failed to read the fine print.
3. The Tremaines – Cinderella was running a gang of pilfering mice. Frankly, all the Tremaines were trying to do was give Cindy some tough love.
2. Old Hag – Why is it her fault that Snow White didn’t wash the apple before taking a bite?
1. Maleficent – Had to hire a PR firm to spin her image.
Faster than you can say bibbidi-bobbidi-boo, we have a sweet fairy godmother that was only trying to help Aurora. Maleficent, your PR firm deserves some Halloween bonuses.
One of my favorite quick service Disneyland restaurants is the grand Jolly Holiday Holiday Bakery on Main Street. In this Disneyland Jolly Holiday review we will discuss every aspect of the food that is for sale and dive into my favorite part–the desserts.
“We can’t have them gallivanting up there like kangaroos, can we?” —Mary Poppins
Jolly Holiday Menu Board
Join us for our Disneyland Jolly Holiday Review, on the opposite side of Main Street U.S.A. from the Plaza Inn. Themed with light touches from the Mary Poppins film in 1964, this eatery was a grand improvement over this locations former use as a Disney Vacation Club / Disney Passholder discussion and purchase location. Opening from its extensive remodel in 2012, the Jolly Holiday Bakery Café has been cooking up your usual sweet treats as well as some fresh salads and sandwiches.
A Spoonful Of Sugar
One of the many bakery cases inside.
Every morning freshly baked treats are re-stocked, including usual favorites like the “Mickey” cookie and the sinfully decadent giant cinnamon roll (see at the bottom of the picture). You can get the same giant cinnamon roll at the Starbucks on Buena Vista Street, and when in a hurry, it makes a quick breakfast to split with a friend as you wait in line.
Mickey Fourth Of July Cupcake
Don’t forget to try their seasonal and holiday cupcakes. They are delicious and large enough to split with a friend.
Editors Note: New treats were added to the menu. During my recent trip to the parks, I tried the fantastic Raspberry Rose Mickey Macaroon. Oh boy! This is a good one.
This red Mickey-shaped macaroon is stuffed with fresh raspberries and sweet raspberry rose cream sandwiched between two macaroon cookies. Heather has photos at the Disney Food Blog.
You should always have some sort of vegetables during your day in the parks, and Jolly Holiday has the best tasting salads in Disneyland. My personal favorite is the self-named Jolly Holiday salad for $7.49.
Jolly Holiday Salad 7.49
The Jolly Holiday Salad has a fresh lettuce blend, mixed with spiced pecans, feta, tomatoes, and cranberries. It is served with a fresh parmesan breadstick and a side of raspberry vinaigrette. The lettuce was crisp, and having that crunchy texture of the pecans mix with the creamy texture of the feta was delightful. The dressing isn’t overly sweet and makes for a perfect complement to a lunch that doesn’t leave you feeling weighed down.
Angus Roast Beef Salad 8.99
The Bakery Café also makes two other salads including the Angus Roast Beef Salad that includes pickled onions and a blue cheese dressing for $8.99 as well as a Grilled Vegetable & Whole Grain Salad that includes seasonal vegetables, mixed greens, barley, spelt, with a basil vinaigrette. Like I said, you need to be healthy, but grilled vegetables and whole grains sounds a little too healthy.
During our first visit for lunch I was looking for something different beyond the turkey, pastrami, roast beef sandwich incarnations you can find throughout the resort and I decided on the Albacore Tuna Salad on brioche for $9.29.
Albacore Tuna Salad on Brioche w/side of house chips 9.29
Two things became obviously clear with the first bite, the brioche was fresh and the tuna salad was made in-house fresh. The brioche was warm and tasted like it had come right out of the oven. The tuna salad was a perfect creamy blend of albacore, celery, red onions, mayonnaise, and just a little dijon mustard. I was also impressed that the house chips were not the inedible potato chips you get as a side with so many items in Disneyland including the famous Corn Dog (I advise choosing Apple slices instead). The house chips were nicely cooked and seasoned.
On another visit I tried the Hot Angus Roast Beef on a Toasted Onion Roll. The roast beef is smothered in caramelized onions, and the inner portion of the roll is coated in a mild horseradish aioli sauce. Did I mention the white cheddar perfectly melted over roast beef? A splendid combination of flavors in a perfectly sized package.
It’s A Jolly Holiday With Mary
Probably the single most popular item on their menu is the Jolly Holiday Combo. For $9.29 you get a toasted cheese sandwich with a cup of tomato basil soup. There is something nostalgic and heart warming about dipping a grilled cheese sandwich into a freshly prepared cup of tomato soup. The sandwich was perfectly toasted, sealing the yellow cheddar inside until you take your first bite. This makes for a perfect lunch or light dinner on a cool or rainy day at the parks and will warm you right up to continue your adventures at the resort.
Four Out of Five Stars
The Jolly Holiday Bakery Café is a great addition to Main Street U.S.A, providing additional lighter fair and healthy eating options, as well as a great place with many shaded tables and great viewing spots for the parade during the day, and fireworks during the evening. Four out of five stars.
This review comes from our chief taste-tester Matt. If you are interested in writing an article for us, contact us here.
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Today I am joined by Christine Weissman, the Executive Chef for the Disneyland Resort Parks. Also, in this episode I share my favorite Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, and Downtown Disney restaurants ranging from sit down to quick service.
I talked to Christine Weissman about her experiences working as Executive Chef at Epcot, aboard the Disney Cruise Line, and now the entire Disneyland Resort.
Also, this week’s Disneyland secret reveals the hidden vents or “smellitzers” hidden below the shop windows on Main Street.
The information below is all based off of the podcast audio. Be sure to listen for the full experience.
Click The Play Button Below to Listen:
Christine Weissman Interview:
Digging for more information about the soon to be revealed Club 33
Her story on how she got into the food industry
The responsibilities of her position at Disneyland
A typical day in the life of Christine
The difficulties of designing menus for international chefs aboard the Disney Cruise Line
How Disney works to source their food products
When special events provide the need for new menu items
The difficulties of running the Epcot Food and Wine Festival
And the best part of her day…
My Experiences in Disneyland Food
My Favorite Disneyland Restaurants
Sit Down: My top choice of restaurant would actually be Club 33…but as it is a private Club I picked a different location
Counter Service Restaurant: Because I didn’t pick a real sit down restaurant for my favorite in Disneyland, I have picked two Disneyland counter service restaurants: Rancho del Zocalo and the Stage Door Cafe. I really love the Stage Door Cafe and the Disneyland Corn Dogs that are sold there.
My Favorite Disney California Adventure Restaurants:
Sit Down: My top choice sit down restaurant for Disney California Adventure is the Carthay Circle Restaurant. Read all about our experience at the restaurant here. Also, I really enjoy the Wine Country Trattoria, where you can get pasta and a table on the edge of the seating area to watch the parade go by.
Counter Service Restaurant: The best quick service in this park is of course Corn Dog Castle, where the famous Disneyland corn dogs are sold.
My Favorite Downtown Disney Restaurants:
Sit Down: My three favorite Downtown Disney restaurants are Naples (in the episode I incorrectly called the location Via Napoli), Catal, and Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen. Catal is my all time favorite Downtown Disney restaurant.
This week we talk about the Smellitzer vent system that is used throughout Disneyland to pump different smells into the areas to create various themes. Specifically, we look at the vent underneath the candy kitchen window that pumps the smell of vanilla into the street. Did you know that vanilla has been proven to make you hungry?
Special Thanks to You:
Thanks for helping us to make this podcast a success. I created this show to provide info while providing an escape into the Disney world of thought during your regular week. I do this for you.
Currently, the best way to make sure there will be more Disney Dose podcasts is to leave a review for the podcast on our page in iTunes. These are extremely helpful and so greatly appreciated.
If you can spare a second, please go to iTunes and leave us a review for the show. Include your favorite parts of the show and give us an honest review (so long as it is five stars) hahaha…just kidding…but it would be nice of you.
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I hope you enjoyed our interview with Christine Weissman the Executive Chef for the Disneyland Resort parks.
There are many other episodes waiting for you to listen to, so be sure to checkout the show on iTunes and Stitcher.
In this Disneyland Plaza Inn review we look at the various menu choices plus highlight the options that you shouldn’t miss. Before we dive into the food, take a look at the history of the Disneyland Plaza Inn.
“Johnny let’s make sure it looks as good as the model does.” — Walt Disney on the Plaza Inn
The Little Red Wagon That Could
When Disneyland opened on July 17, 1955, one of the most popular restaurants resided at the end of Main Street U.S.A., on the border of Tommorowland. Originally opening with the name Red Wagon Inn, according to rumor it was Walt’s favorite restaurant. The Red Wagon Inn was the only eatery in the park that served not only breakfast, but also lunch, and full-course dinners.
In 1965 Walt worked with imagineer John Hench to redesign the Red Wagon in, turning it into the Plaza Inn. The re-design was even featured in Walt Disney Presents, and you can click here to see clips from that episode.
Here is a picture of Walt Disney enjoying a cup of coffee at the Plaza Inn circa 1966:
In 1999, the Plaza Inn went through it’s final refurbishment turning it into the Plaza Inn that we know today. Throughout all the changes the one menu item that has stayed the same since 1955 is the Specialty Chicken.
Disneyland’s Plaza Inn Review:
Finger Lickin’ Chicken?
Since the opening of the Plaza Inn, the Specialty Chicken ($13.99) has been the king of the menu. Many have compared it to the famous Knotts Berry Farm fried chicken sold just down the road. Today I got the scoop on this fried chicken.
My plate included three pieces of chicken, seasoned with herbs and spices. Red mashed potatoes, gravy, a buttermilk biscuit and a mixture of vegetables came on the side of the plate. I started off with the chicken. It was cooked to perfection and the skin was golden and crispy.
The mashed potatoes and gravy were perfect. Sadly, the buttermilk biscuit made the meal go down hill in my book. It was inedible and was bordering on stale. My side of vegetables was undercooked and lacked any taste. Had my biscuit and vegetables been up to par with the chicken and mashed potatoes I could easily have given this dish an amazing review. In fact, the biscuit served with the meal made me crave the far superior KFC biscuit.
Plaza Inn Penne Pasta
We also ordered the Penne Pasta with Marinara sauce. The pasta is served with a breadstick. Since our last visit, the breadsticks have been upgraded from a stale brick to a new fresh, soft, and well seasoned breadstick. While the pasta was a little bland, the marinara sauce was warm and filling. This is a perfect dish a picky eater.
Plaza Inn Carrot Cake
The first dessert we tried was the carrot cake. This was a winner. The carrot cake itself had a perfect texture of nuts, berry, and cake. The frosting itself was also light and did not weigh down the cake. Two of us cleaned the plate of one of these pretty fast. This would be a good dish to enjoy while waiting for a parade on Main Street.
Plaza Inn Apple Crostata
The second dessert item we tried was the Apple Crostata. The flaky crust of the crostata was cooked perfectly and the caramel and toasted nuts added a great flavor and texture as well. Sadly, the apples in the crostata were all undercooked and after a few bites we ended up discarding the remainder. Based on the looks of the Crostata, I was expecting greatness, it was quite disappointing to find undercooked apples. This is a dessert that I would try again because I know that there is possibility for greatness.
Overall the atmosphere is enjoyable. The restaurant is great to get out of the heat and crowds. However, during our multiple visits I have only ever experienced mediocre food.
Look to the Carnation Café for an equally good atmosphere and much better food.
With that in mind though, the Plaza Inn is highly recommended for getting a bite to eat before watching the parade or fireworks, because if you get a table outside on the edge of the seating area you will be in a perfect viewing spot.
In conclusion, I rate Plaza Inn at a three out of five stars.
This article was written by our guest reviewer Matt. Interested in writing for us? Contact us here.
In this Carnation Café review we look at the food offerings for breakfast and lunch. Also, the history of the longest working Disneyland Cast Member is explained–plus how you might be able to meet him. “Carnation Condensed Milk, the milk from contented cows.”
From Parlor to Patio a Carnation Café Review
Originally opened as the Carnation Cafe Ice Cream Parlor on July 17, 1955, the Carnation Café has gone through a variety of changes over the last half century. The largest change came in 1997 when the Ice Cream Parlor closed it’s doors after being acquired by Nestlé, and the Carnation brand was phased out. During the Spring of 1997 the Carnation Cafe re-opened in the outdoor area that still exists today. The current indoor dining area, which was the Blue Ribbon Bakery a few years ago, was the site of the original Ice Cream Parlor. If you eat in any of the booths on the right-most wall, that is where the former ice cream parlor counter would have been. Today you can have some of the most sought-after breakfast items at any Disney Resort, as well as luscious lunches. Reservations are highly recommend during peak seasons, however I have never had to wait more then twenty minutes for a table when I did not have a reservation.
Breakfast of Champions
Carnation Café has a wonderful array of ways to start of your morning. First and foremost has to be Oscar’s Choice: All-American Breakfast.
Scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese, Oscar’s potatoes, a croissant and your choice of bacon or sausage with fresh fruit in 2012. $9.99
As of 2013, two eggs any style accompanied by Cafe Breakfast Potatoes and Biscuit served with your choice of Hickory-smoked Bacon or Chicken-Apple Sausage.
I have ordered this many times and it’s best when Oscar is the one cooking. The eggs are always cooked to perfection, and I have never had a broken yolk on my sunny-side up eggs. The fruit and chicken-apple sausage are always fresh and full of flavor. The potatoes with sautéd white onions are “world famous”. If your interested in the recipe, Disney Parks Blog posted the recipe three years ago here.
Start the day with a Mickey Waffle
Another popular breakfast option, especially for kids is the Mickey-Shaped Waffle.
A Mickey-Shaped waffle served with hickory-smoked bacon or chicken-apple sausage links. $10.49 You can add apple or strawberry topping for $0.99. In 2012 you got one large Mickey-shaped waffle.
In 2013 ,you get two smaller Mickey-shaped waffles.
Members of my party have ordered this multiple times and the waffles have always been cooked just crispy enough on the outside for texture with a warm and fluffy inside. You can also replace the sausage or bacon with additional fruit.
Huevos Rancheros–Off the Charts
During my last visit I wanted to try one of the Café Specialties, and decided on the Huevos Rancheros.
Corn tortillas, poached eggs, jack cheese, and fire-roasted salsa served with avocado-black bean pico de gallo. $9.99
Now, I love Oscar’s Choice for the combination of a well-made traditional breakfast and the nostalgia it brings, but the Huevos Rancheros may be the best single breakfast item I have ever eaten within a Disney Resort. The textures all play well together, and the fresh ingredients really make a difference with this entree. Unexpected delights like this that make me want to order more outside my normal trends. Seriously, if you are at Disneyland for multiple days try the Oscar’s Choice one day, and come back a second time for the Huevos Rancheros.
Don’t Get the Ham and Cheese Omelet
Lastly, there is the Ham and Cheese Omelet which is my least favorite item of those I have tried on breakfast menu.
A Ham and cheese omelet served with cafe breakfast potatoes and fruit. $9.99
Nothing to write home about here, it’s just a basic omelet with melted shredded cheddar cheese in and on top of the omelet with the great breakfast potatoes and fresh fruit. It’s just ok, not great.
Also don’t forget to wash everything down with a glass of orange juice.
Carnation Cafe Orange Juice (2013)
In my many years of visiting the park I never had visited the Carnation Café for lunch but decided it was time to change that. Being it was our first time for lunch at the Carnation Café I wanted to try a few different items. I checked my Yelp app on my phone and saw the fried pickles with dipping sauce were very popular.
Dill pickle spears dipped in parmesan and panko, fried golden brown and served with a house sauce. $5.99
Wow, just wow. I have had all sorts of deep fried artichoke hearts and zucchini but these really take the cake. We enjoyed them so much that even when our entrées arrived we ordered a second batch to be brought to the table. The inside was tangy and matched perfectly with the crispy parmesan and panko outside. I prefer the house-sauce but they are also good dipped in a side of ranch. If these were sold outside of Carnation Cafe at an outdoor stall like the Cones in California Adventure I think there would always be a long line. Up first is the Turkey Sandwich.
Smoked turkey, tomatoes, monterey jack, lettuce, and mustard aioli on a pretzel roll. $11.99
It seems the pretzel roll is a current food trend with even fast food joints hopping on-board. That said I tried it and was pleasantly surprised by the roll, which was closer to sourdough in texture. It was still a little chewy for me, but the thick cut tomato and smoked turkey worked well. The french fries are also the best I’ve had in the park.
Green Chili Cheeseburger–Yum
An angus chuck patty, manchego cheese, roasted poblano chile, tomato, lettuce, fried egg, and house sauce on a toasted brioche. $14.99
The burger was pretty good, and I mean the totality of the burger. The toppings were it’s saving grace because the angus patty was a bit dry and lacked flavor. The fried egg’s covered perfectly all of the poblano chile when I bit down. I was surprised that the chile was most more flavorful and less spicy then I originally anticipated. The manchego cheese provided a lingering sweet aftertaste with every bite.
Chocolate-Cherry Coke…You Like Tootsie Rolls? Then get this drink.
To wash everything down I decided to try one of the specialty drinks, starting with the chocolate-cherry coke ($3.79).
Chocolate Cherry Coke with Sully Duffy (2013)
All I can say is if you like tootsie-roll’s then you will love this drink. That’s even what the waiter had told me and I didn’t understand until I tried some. It literally tastes like your drinking liquified tootsie-rolls.
Lunch Round TWO
Several months later I returned to the Carnation Cafe for a second lunch to try a few more menu items. First up was the Walt’s Chili Starter.
Hearty chili topped with cheese, sour cream, and fresh tomato. $6.99
The chili was rich, hearty and filling. I recommend a lighter entrée after consuming this as your starter. Now just in case you are a disney food historian, this is not Walt’s recipe. You can find that recipe at the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco.
Regular Cheese Burger–A Little Dry
I wanted to give the Carnation Café burgers another shot and didn’t want to be distracted by extra toppings, so this time I ordered the classic Main Street Cheeseburger.
Angus chuck patty, tilamook cheese, tomato, red onion, lettuce, house sauces on toasted brioche. $11.99
The burger definitely had more flavor and was cooked closer to medium then the green chili cheeseburger I had prior. That being said it was good, not great.
USE CAUTION WITH PB&J Soda
Lastly I decided to wash everything down with the other specialty drink the Carnation Café offers, the PB&J Soda.
Peanut Butter & Jelly Soda (2013) $3.79
I had high hopes, having had the oddly amazing PB&J shake at the 50’s Primetime Café in Walt Disney World. This concoction was not palatable by any sense of the word. Also what is Disney’s new obsession with topping their drinks with flavored foams? Most of the foam’s are overly sweet, like liquified candy meant for a child. My advice, stay away, far away from this beverage. Instead try one of the excellent shakes. On a final note, one one of my trips I tried one of “Walt’s Favorites,” the Homemade Meatloaf.
Made with a special blend of Beef and Pork served with Ketchup Glaze, Mashed Potatoes, Mushroom Gravy, and Seasonal Vegetables. $12.49
The meatloaf itself was very rich and flavorful and the ketchup glaze really put it over the top. The red mashed potatoes were buttery and fluffy, but I wasn’t a big fan of the succotash.
Who is Oscar?
Earlier in the article I mentioned an entrée named Oscar’s choice that was served with Oscar’s potatoes. So you might be wondering who is Oscar. Oscar Martinez is the longest tenured cast member at Disneyland. He started working at the resort in 1956 and has been at the Carnation Café since 1967. Many times when you order the Oscar’s choice he will cook it, come and deliver it personally and visit with you. Definitely a highlight for any Disney fan.
I have never been let down at the Carnation Café and have always received warm and friendly service. The combination of classic atmosphere and delicious food keeps me coming back for two to three visits every Disneyland trip. Next time when you are in, say hi to Oscar. I confidently give the Carnation Cafe 5 out of 5.
“Ye come seekin’ adventure and salty ol’ pirates, eh?”
Blue Bayou Restaurant Review
Nestled within the corridors of New Orleans Square and built into the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, the Blue Bayou restaurant has been serving cajun creations to customers for the last forty-seven years. The restaurant opened on March 18, 1967 to meet the growing demand for a high quality restaurant in the park. The earliest menus featured the story of the Blue Bayou Terrace and such specialties as the Salade Rothschild and the classic Monte Cristo Sandwich. Over the years the menu has changed but one of the biggest draws for the restaurant is still the Monte Cristo.
Reservations are highly recommended for dinner year round, and for lunch during peak seasons. The restaurant also designs unique holiday menus for Thanksgiving and Christmas. You enter the Blue Bayou next to the exit of the Pirate’s of the Caribbean attraction and the original Club 33 Entrance. After you have checked in, you wait inside a small indoor waiting area. The waiting area only seats about 20 people so people normally end up waiting on the floor or the stairs due to lack of space. A waiter will arrive from inside the restaurant, call you by name, and lead you inside.
Dine On the Edge of the Bayou
Once you walk up the wooden steps and through the white framed doors you are transported to the 19th century Old South. You are led to a black wrought iron table in front of an antebellum mansion. The best seats are the ones along the water, where you can see the beginning of the Pirates attraction and boats of other guests gliding by. As you begin to ponder your lunch or dinner selection, you will hear swampy sound effects like crickets, owls, and a lone banjo playing. All of these aspects combine to create the restaurant with the best atmosphere at the Disneyland Resort. The number one requested menu item is the Monte Cristo Sandwich.
Classic Sandwich–Worth the Trip
The classic Monte Cristo includes layers of turkey, ham, and swiss, which melt in your mouth as you bite into the golden flaky batter that coats the sandwich. Not to mention the amazing berry purée the staff provides you to dip your sandwich in. To top the meal off, if you ate at the Blue Bayou prior to Spring 2013 the sandwich would be served with a side of Blue Bayou Potatoes. The potatoes were made with cream, garlic and melted parmesan cheese. Today the sandwich is served with a fruit skewer as a “healthier” alternative.
Le Special de Monte Cristo Sandwich – Turkey Ham and Swiss Cheese battered and fried to golden brown, served with a Fruit Skewer. $25.49
Let’s face it though, if you are eating a large meat and cheese sandwich that is deep-fried, dusted with powdered sugar, and then dipped in jam, are you really looking for a healthy meal?
When I was growing up my family would always visit the Blue Bayou for lunch because my dad and I both loved the Monte Cristo which currently costs $25.49. For comparison, the classic Monte Cristo sandwich is also served at Café Orleans, except its only $17.99. Thats over a seven dollar difference for atmosphere and a fruit skewer.
One of these is incredibly filling and and you could easily split with someone. For a small fee the Blue Bayou allows split plates. The entree is split and each person gets their own side, which is a pretty good deal.
Editors Note: If you have a gluten allergy and book your reservations for the Blue Bayou at least a month in advance you can request a gluten free version of the Monte Cristo to be made for your reservation. It requires a special batter that the kitchen does not always have in supply, so the sooner you can let them know the better. Also if your in the mood to try something a little different you can get a three-cheese, no meat version of the Monte Cristo at Café Orleans across the way.
Dinner is Good–But Come For the Atmosphere
One of the primary draws for dinner is the broiled filet mignon. Every-time I have ordered this dish it has always been cooked to perfection. The succulent flavor of the meat is in every bite and is paired perfectly with a béarnaise sauce. The sides include Blue Bayou Au Gratin potatoes which are cheesy with just the right sauce texture to sticks the slices of potato together. The asparagus are fresh and on only one occasion slightly undercooked. At $42.99 its pretty pricey these days.
Now I do have a problem with a popular menu item for dinner; the Isla-Cruces Crab Cakes. At different times the portions were changed between an appetizer and entrée. Supposedly succulent pan-seared crab cakes topped with a lobster beurre blanc and mango slaw. I remember these nearly a decade ago being a representation of a properly constructed crab cake. Like nearly everything I review I give it two to three separate attempts before I pass judgement. My party tried the crab cakes three times over the past couple years (last time with Spring 2013 before the menu change), each time they were dry, burnt, and flavorless.
Blue Bayou Isla-Cruces Crab Cakes
For those with simpler tastes, or kids, the Mickey’s Cheesy Macaroni is surprisingly good. The noodles were covered in a cheddar cheese sauce that was similar to the rich sauce used in the macaroni and cheese at Flo’s in Cars Land across the way at California Adventure. The macaroni is served with steamed broccolini and fresh fruit. For an additional fee an adult can order off the kids menu and receive a larger sized portion of the specified dish.
See this video review of every Blue Bayou Restaurant dessert menu option. The hosts ordered one of everything and present a review.
Washing it All Down With Glowing Ice Cubes
No matter how young or old you are, there is always something that makes you smile. One of those things for me is the multicolored glowing ice cubes that Disney puts in their drinks. The drinks seem to taste so much better when they light up and glow. I was first introduced to this at ElecTONica in California Adventure and it works equally well with the Tinker Bell & Friends or Buzz Lightyear Punch. From my experience they give the kids straws with a glowing tinker bell or buzz lightyear. For the adults if the Louisiana Lemonade or Mint Julep is ordered you get the glowing ice cube.
Refreshing Traditional Mint Julep. $3.49
Final Thoughts On Disneyland Blue Bayou
If you want an atmospheric dinner and want to get out of the hustle and bustle of Disneyland crowds the Blue Bayou is a great option. However with both the prices of food increasing in parallel with food quality decreasing, I will be eating my annual Monte Cristo at Café Orleans instead. I will only be coming back to the restaurant for special menus (holidays and promotions) and with friends who have never been.
So the final on tally on this Blue Bayou Restaurant Review:
5 out of 5 for atmosphere, 3 out of 5 for the quality of the food.
Overall we give it a 4/5.
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The Carthay Circle Restaurant is the most upscale in-park dining experience. Located in Disney California Adventure park, the Carthay Circle Restaurant is designed to look like the Carthay Circle Theater where Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs premiered. Inside of the restaurant you will find an upscale bar and lounge on the first floor and a wide collection of different dining spaces located on the second floor.
This Carthay Circle Restaurant review covers our experience enjoying the World of Color dinner package, viewing Disneyland fireworks from Carthay Circle, and our walking tour of the restaurant.
Carthay Circle Restaurant Review
The Carthay Circle Restaurant menu is a blend of the trending flavors of California plus a mix of the food from old Hollywood. All of the items feature fresh locally grown ingredients.
Executive Chef Andrew Sutton has worked at the Disneyland Resort for a number of years and currently runs both the Carthay Circle and Napa Rose restaurants. With the help of his teams of chef’s and the upper Disneyland Resort food management the menu is constantly changing with the seasons.
The Carthay Circle food caused us to leave saying:
When we visited the Carthay Circle Restaurant we decided to try the World of Color three course meal. The meal features an appetizer, main course, and decadent dessert. If you decide to enjoy this three course meal you are presented with three passes to the World of Color showing in a perfect viewing area that is front and center. My favorite part about choosing this option was that immediately after finishing our meal around 9:50 we walked over to World of Color and the show started just minutes after we had arrived. No waiting, no fighting for a FastPass, and lots of space to spread out and enjoy the show.
The Carthay Circle Restaurant World of Color Menu included all of the following items. I gave added asterisks to the menu items that we tried and added extra descriptions.
*Pumpkin Tortilla Broth – with Cilantro Grilled Chicken, Crisp Tortillas, Cream Fraiche. This is a very nice choice especially on a colder night at the Disneyland Resort. We were sitting on the terrace and so after the temperature dropped this was a perfect way to start the meal.
*Carthay Autumn Salad – Butternut Squash, Baby Spinach, Red Endive, Dried Cranberries and Candied Pecans. This was a classic salad well put together and seasoned.
*Sauteed Squash Raviolis – Forest Mushrooms, Savoy Cabbage and Imported Truffle Butter. The youngest member of our party really enjoyed this pasta–after trying it myself, the sauce is to die for.
Strozzapreti Pasta – with Pancetta, Dried Tomatoes, Rapini, Roasted Garlic and Aged Provolone.
Citrus Grilled Shrimp – on Chowder of Autumn Vegetables and Applewood Bacon.
Sesame Soy Glazed Skuna Bay Salmon – Forbidden Black Rice Stir-fry and Red Thai Curry.
Whole Roasted Petit Chicken – Squash Puree, Sauteed Chanterelles and Sage Essence.
Angus New York – with Baby Portobello Mushrooms, Maple Roasted Yams and Cabernet Jus.
Colorado Lamb Chop and Braised Lamb Osso Bucco – Zinfandel-Pomegranate Sauce.
*Thick Cut Pork Chop – Thyme Roasted Pears, Brussels Sprouts and Brandy Thyme Jus. My dad and I both ordered the the Pork Chop and it was the best pork chop I have ever had. To begin with it was quite large and cooked to perfection. The pairing with roasted pears was classic but somehow special.
We tried both of the desserts and thoroughly enjoyed them.
*Warm Apple Pecan Pound Cake – with Salted Carmel and Green Apple Sorbet. The description does not do justice to this great combination of flavors. Definitely try it.
*Cordillera Chocolate Decadent Layer Cake – with Raspberry Sauce.
Regular Menu Review
Based off of the opinions of various friends who have also eaten at Carthay Circle I feel that I can share some insight to the other best menu items at the restaurant. The below recommendations apply to the regular menu while the above section reviews the Carthay Circle Restaurant World of Color fixed menu.
The overall popular choice is the Carthay Signature Fried Biscuits, stuffed with white cheddar cheese, bacon, and jalepenos. This a starter off of the basic menu.
Another starter is the Fire Cracker Duck Wings. These have a little kick to them so our friends suggested that these should be ordered mainly for adults. (The link above is to a recipe and video tutorial of how to make the wings.)
The Colorado Lamb Chop served with pomegranate sauce is known to be perfectly cooked with each bite melting in your mouth.
For dessert I have two suggestions:
The Fried Banana Split Monte Cristo Sundae creates a mixture of ice cream and perfectly fried banana to create a cacophony of perfect tastes in your mouth. The sundae is made up of raspberry and fudge chocolate ice creams, warm caramel rum bananas, and topped with toffee nuts. (Doesn’t the picture above make your mouth water.)
Another highly recommended dessert is the lemon poundcake with marinated blueberries and fresh curd cream. This dish is on the lighter side compared to the Monte Cristo Sundae.
All of the Carthay Circle Restaurant dessert items are a rather small serving–but they are rich. I recommend getting different desserts and splitting them amongst your group.
Wine Pairings for Your Meal
A unique feature at the Carthay Circle is that there are more than 92 sommeliers on staff. Experts in pairing food and wine, these sommeliers are have all passed the introductory level sommelier exam–the first of four tests to become a Master Sommelier.
Our waiter was just one step away from becoming a Advanced Sommelier–that’s one step below the Master level. Over the year and a half that she had been working at the restaurant she had continued her study in the art of wine under the direction of the restaurant manager Joy Cushing.
Watching the Disneyland Fireworks from the Restaurant
There is a great view across the entrance of Disney California Adventure and down Main Street to Sleeping Beauty castle inside of Disneyland Park from the terrace on the Buena Vista Street side of the restaurant. The balcony provides fantastic viewing of the nightly Disneyland fireworks show–or so I have heard.
We reserved a table at Carthay Circle Restaurant for 7:55 pm so that we could be finishing up our meal just at the moment that the Disneyland Park fireworks were going off.
But, our plan to enjoy the Disneyland fireworks were foiled by the angry Anaheim winds. The Disneyland Fireworks were cancelled because even though it wasn’t windy on the ground there were reports of major winds up in the sky.
Missing the Disneyland fireworks show was quite a bummer–but dining on the terrace was the absolute right choice because the view was the most entertaining part of the meal.
Below we have compiled a short history and interesting facts about the Carthay Circle Restaurant. Enjoy:
History of the Carthay Circle Restaurant
The Carthay Circle Restaurant premiered during the grand reopening of Disney California Adventure as the new central icon of the re-imagined Disney theme park. The original Carthay Circle Theater located in Hollywood was where Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Gone With the Wind, and Fantasia all premiered. The Walt Disney Imagineers considered the theater is a big part of Disney’s history and decided that it would make a beautiful centerpiece for the newly refurbished Disney California Adventure theme park.
Atmosphere and Ambiance
As you walk along Buena Vista Street, the entrance area of Disney California Adventure, the dazzling white Carthay Circle Theater draws you into the fantastic world of the bygone era of Hollywood.
Inside of the theater find fantastic old photos of Walt Disney and the people who helped to create the original Disney Studios productions.
Many of the photos used in this review were taken during the free Story of the Carthay Circle Restaurant tour offered every day at 10:30am. The tour is delivered by a knowledgeable restaurant hostess and lasts just around 15 minutes. The tour is a great way to see the restaurant if you don’t plan to eat there, or even if you do plan to eat the restaurant, it is the best lighting to get pictures.
The reception area is home to many different pieces of artwork, photos, and a display case that rotates constantly with pieces from the Disney Archives located on the Disney Studio lot.
When we were visiting, the Disney Archives display case was filled with pieces from Dumbo.
One of my favorite pieces in this area was a picture of Walt Disney where we was holding a cigarette. Even though I have always been so saddened by Walt’s choice to continue to smoke, especially since it ultimately led to his death, seeing a real picture of him is amazing. Walt Disney’s picture’s have always had the cigarettes airbrushed out of them by the publicity department. It wasn’t until recently that you would ever see Walt Disney holding a cigarette in a picture endorsed by Disney. Saving Mr. Banks was created in this same vein of showing show Walt Disney truly was.
Located next to the stairs is what appears to be a huge mural, but in fact it is the design that graced the curtain in the original theater. It is touches like these that set the Carthay Circle apart from restaurants in the original Disney California Adventure.
Walking upstairs or taking the elevator, you arrive on a long hallway that leads towards the main Carthay Circle Restaurant. At the end of the hallway you will emerge on a large dining room with a beautiful ceiling featuring a mural reflecting the pan pacific auditorium and designs from classic Hollywood.
Off of the main dining room are smaller seating alcoves that accommodate party sizes from 6-12 depending on the room. Each of these rooms are home to different themed pieces. My favorite is the central room located in the central turret of the theater. Inside of the theater not only do you get views out to Buena Vista Street from multiple angles, but also the table sits on a replica of Snow White’s wishing well.
On either side of the large dining room are two smaller rooms. Off of these rooms you will find the two terraces that look down on Buena Vista Street below. When we ate here we enjoyed our meal on the main terrace that looks out at Buena Vista Street and beyond that all the way down Main Street to Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle.
Engrained in the wood of the tables in the main room is a design reflecting the evil queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
As Club 33, the private Disneyland club goes down for refurbishment, the Hollywood Room, located off of the left side of the Main Dining room will become member’s new home. From January 6th to the reopening of Club 33, members will be able to make reservations at the Hollywood room. The only true reason for members to make reservations here is to enjoy meals surrounded by other members, but from what I understand, the Club 33 food and wait staff haven’t joined the Carthay Circle Restaurant.
Carthay Circle Restaurant Dress Code
The Carthay Circle Restaurant dress code is not strict as it is located in the center of a theme park where people aren’t expected to be dressed up. We chose to come in our best jeans–wearing anything more than khakis would make you feel out of place.
In the first year since the opening of the Carthay Circle Restaurant, the biggest problems reported were based on the lack of good service from the restaurant wait staff. But, during our recent visit we experienced nothing but the best service from all or our wait staff. The bread was always hot, waters were always full, and everything we needed was attended to.
The Carthay Circle Restaurant is one of the top four restaurants on Disneyland Resort property. The exotic cuisine is carefully crafted to be a delight for both the eyes and the stomach. Whether visiting for lunch or dinner, I highly recommend the Carthay Circle.
Any true Disney fan or foodie should try the Carthay Circle Restaurant–we give it a 5/5 because of the fantastic food and wonderful ambiance.
Included in this Earl of Sandwich Disneyland review is a look at the unique atmosphere and our sandwich recommendations.
The Earl of Sandwich in Disneyland’s Downtown Disney District is the perfect place to enjoy a delicious meal–while not breaking the bank. The restaurant opened just over two years ago and continues to be a very popular Downtown Disney destination with a line constantly out the door.
The restaurant is urban and contemporary, with a communal atmosphere, stemming from the seating style. Unlike normal quick-service restaurants with many separated tables, there are long tables, with benches, which fit about 10-12 people each.
After ordering your sandwich you are handed a pager, so that you can wander the area while your sandwiches are prepared. In my opinion, this is quite a refreshing break from standard quick-service restaurants in the resort.
Earl of Sandwich Disneyland Review
The sandwiches are wrapped in shiny gold foil, which has led to the nickname “The Gold Brick.” It is ALWAYS served hot, and in my opinion, is truly the world’s greatest hot sandwich (which is their slogan).
All of their sandwiches are amazing, and there’s a sandwich for everyone. The best sandwiches include a Hawaiian Barbecue, a BLT, a Chipotle Chicken Avacado, and my favorite, the Holiday Turkey.
The Holiday Turkey is basically Thanksgiving between 2 slices of bread. There is a basic consensus online and in the Yelp reviews that this is the best sandwich. (If you disagree then speak up in the comments or on our Facebook page.)
Recently, we had the chance to preview Earl of Sandwich’s new menu. They are adding a Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich and Barbecue Chicken Sandwich. While I enjoyed the two new sandwiches, I still have to stick with my classic favorite of the Holiday Turkey.
Another new addition is the fantastic Macaroni and Cheese topped with savory bacon. I really enjoyed this dish with the crispy bacon and creamy cheese sauce.
All of the sandwiches on their menu are delicious and have never disappointed. They aren’t limited to simply sandwiches though; their menu includes wraps, salads, soups and delicious desserts.
Included on the menu is a wide variety of bakery items. My favorite dessert is the vanilla bean cupcake. The cake itself is moist, and has vanilla bean filling inside. Recently added as a limited time item is the brownie bark. The bark consists of a crunchy rich brownie piece in what is almost a biscotti shape.
Drinks are sold on a free refill basis. Cups are offered for water as well.
[guestpost]Disneyland Pro Tip: Use the drink dispenser to fill up your water bottle with ice and water on your way into the parks after you eat. It is one of the only self serve drink dispensers at Disneyland.[/guestpost]
Service With a Mickey Sized Smile
I am very excited to say that Earl of Sandwich had some of the best service that I have experience at the Disneyland Resort. Considering that Disneyland is considered by many to be the most customer service oriented work place in the US, this is saying quite a lot and the Cast Members should be commended. The staff is helpful in making meal choices, quick to deliver food, and fun to chat with.
At the recent tasting event where the new sandwiches debuted, I had the chance to meet the Earl of Sandwich CEO, General Managers, and VP of Public Relations.
Discounts for Earl of Sandwich Disneyland
Disneyland Annual Passholders get a 10% Discount while AAA members get a 15% discount when eating at Earl of Sandwich.
This restaurant truly is a lot more than just another sandwich shop, the line out the door should prove to you that Earl of Sandwich is worth stopping by. Leave a comment below if you have experience the magical Gold Brick Sandwich.
We review restaurants by a very special ranking system…with Mickey Mouse Gloves. The Earl of Sandwich earned 4 out of 4 Mickey Mouse gloves for being the best Disneyland sandwich spot.
We were guests of Earl of Sandwich when we sampled the new menu items. This didn’t sway our view of the restaurant, I have visited countless times before trying the new items.
Before my last trip to Disneyland, I had never tasted the magic that is a Disneyland Mickey Mouse Beignet. But now….they are my favorite Disneyland snack. (Well maybe second favorite, almost nothing beats a Dole Whip as I occasionally say in our newsletter.)
The beignets are sold at the Mint Julep bar which is tucked in the back of the French Market seating courtyard.
There is no better place to enjoy your beignet than in the French Market courtyard where there is often live jazz being played. Check the day’s entertainment schedule before heading over to the Mint Julep bar because throughout the day, different music groups perform.
How Many Disneyland Mickey Mouse Beignets to Purchase
Even though the bar is named after the iconic Mint Julep drink, the Mikey Mouse Beignets are front and center. The beignets are sold in 3 and 6 packs. When I went to try the drink, I was with all of my family so we decided to go for the 6 pack. What we didn’t realize is that the cast members are often really nice or very sloppy and often put extra beignets into your bag.
We ended up with eight in our 6 pack.
How to Eat the Beignets
You will receive your beignets in a large white bag. Before opening the bag, give it a good hard shake to get as much powder sugar coating the beignets as possible. Make sure that you have napkins at the ready, because the beignets come out of the bag covered in powder sugar.
Side note: The Mint Julep bar beignets don’t come with the fantastic strawberry and chocolate dipping sauces that are available at Cafe Orleans. We found that out the hard way.
Final Thought on the Beignets
The atmosphere that we enjoyed the beignets in make the experience absolutely fantastic as we chewed on powder sugar and listened to jazz.
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We may have to change our list of the best Disneyland treats…the Mickey Mouse beignets have changed the lineup.
Have you ever tried the Disneyland Mickey Mouse Beignets?
On any of my trips to Disneyland I’ve got a handful for can’t miss, sure fire treats that I absolutely gotta have and usually more than once. This post isn’t about counter service restaurants or table service restaurants – we can get to those later – but good things you should be able to pick up quickly on the fly but usually can’t because the blasted line is so long.Here are the three best Disneyland treats.
!. Let’s start with the Dole Pineapple Float from the stand in front of The Enchanted Tiki Room. Please note that I said “float” not “whip”. Whip is just soft serve pineapple ice cream. The float puts the same pineapple soft serve ice cream in cool sweet pineapple juice and gives you a little umbrella with a cherry on top to boot. It’s the best of two worlds. Let’s face it. It’s usually is pretty warm in Southern California. Is there anything better on a warm day in Disneyland than a pineapple float? The answer is “No!”. Some will till you an ice cream cone from Gibson Girl might be better but I tend to be on the lactose intolerant side – rich ice cream can give me problems, the gentler soft serve kind usually doesn’t. You want to beat the heat in Disneyland? Get a float then go in and watch the birds sing in the Tiki Room where the air conditioning is second to none. Now that’s a tropical paradise. Note: the wait for pineapple treats inside the waiting area of the Enchanted Tiki Room is usually shorter than those waiting outside the show’s holding area. Get a float. See the show.
The Safari Skewer from the Bengal Bar B Que Bacon wrapped asparagus
2. I never skip on my vegetables while within the confines of Disneyland. I’m usually good for at least one serving a day of grilled asparagus from the Bengal Barbque. Granted, the asparagus is wrapped in bacon but the vegetable is still there, isn’t it?
It’s called the Safari Skewer and is available only at the Bengal Bar B Que in Adventureland. You can get beef skewers and chicken skewers but for my money (about 4 bucks), it’s all about the bacon wrapped asparagus skewer. Like most people, I pass through the crowded Adventureland a couple of times a day in Disneyland. If I look over and see the line is short for those waiting for skewers then I’m jumping in – every chance I get. The skewers are not a food item that is made offsite somewhere then brought in (like may are in Disneyland).
The skewers are constantly being grilled up fresh. There is some good and bad in this. When all is right with the world, the asparagus pieces are perfectly cooked, tender, and fresh tasting. The bacon is equally well cooked and what you imagine that perfect piece bacon tastes like. Put a squeeze of lime on your skewer and you just might have a piece of nirvana. But there is also a chance you might find the asparagus to be tough, stringy, and woody, tasting like you are chewing on one of the branches from a shrub in your yard. Or the bacon might be under cooked, greasy and flabby with the consistency of bacon flavored chewing gum. If you get a skewer like this – don’t give up. Eat it and come back and order another one at another time. Trust me – you will get that perfect Safari Skewer and once you do, you will be back again and again.
The Legendary Corn Dog from The Little Red Wagon
3. The Little Red Wagon that has been serving up Corn Dogs at the Disneyland Hub for what seems like forever makes the best corn dog in the world. Oh, you can get corn dogs now at the Stage Door Cafe in Frontierland or the Corn Dog Castle over in DCA, and they may all look the same, but taste wise – what the wagon serves up just can’t be beat. These aren’t the corn dogs that you pull from your local grocery stores frozen food case and where every one looks the same. Disneyland’s corn dogs a sometimes hideously deformed monsters of grease and delight. The corn dogs are served with either potato chips or the healthy option of sliced apples.
Somehow I get the feeling that if you told your cardiologist that you chose the healthy option of apple slices with your calorie and fat laden corn dog, he’d still find a way to give you the lecture of your life if not flat out kick you all the way out to the parking lot. Actually, there is a huge advantage in ordering apple slices with your corn dog. Cuts down on that queasy greasy feeling you carry around with you for an hour or so after eating the corn dog.
So those are my three treats I never miss out on. Some people will tell you about the infamous Turkey Legs but except in very small quantities, I don’t particularly care for them (with each carrying enough salt and fat to last the average person about 3 days). And some will tell about the humble churro which is available from a vending cart found just about everywhere in sight. Churros are weird. If they are hot and fresh, not bad. If they go 30 seconds past their optimal shelf life time then, well, you can poke an eye out with that thing.
The pineapple float, the corn dog from the Little Red Wagon, and the bacon wrapped asparagus skewer would probably make up my perfect Disneyland meal and all 3 are served up within about 100 yards of each other. Logic dictates to grab all 3 then sit down have yourself a feast. Practicality shoots holes in that plan because of the length of time it takes to work your way through each line. Ah, the advantages of having kids comes up once again.
Everyone probably remembers the final seen from Up where Carl and Mr. Fredricson are sitting outside of an ice cream shop and eating ice cream. It seems to be the perfect happy ending to the movie. The ice cream shop that is seen it actually a cameo of one of Pixar’s favorite ice cream shops, Oakland’s own Fentons Ice Cream.
Pictured below is Fentons Creamery, located on 4226 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland. Everyone knows Pixar holds up a certain quality with their movies, that same quality, care, and devotion is present here in the service and taste of the ice cream.
How did Fentons make it into the movie?
Well because it’s a common place to celebrate Pixar birthdays; both Up director Pete Docter and producer Jonas Rivera have celebrated there. Back when the movie first came out Fentons felt the direct effect of being featured in the movie.
When the movie first came out, it created an excitement locally and we got an increase in business,” said owner Scott Whidden. “People would come in wanting to know if it was really us in the movie. We noticed the Up effect again when the DVD came out. It feels like the awards attention is just another way that people might be prodded to come down. People have been calling and e-mailing to say congratulations. It’s almost like we are winning a little something as well.
Fentons Famous Sundaes: Doesn’t it make you drool with delight?
Known for their gigantic sundaes, homemade ice cream and great sandwiches Fentons is a perfect stop for hungry Disney fan in the Bay Area.