I WENT TO DISNEYLAND!!!! - April 10-14

Discussion in 'Anything Goes' started by Addicted to Alice Pins, Jan 11, 2018.


Where should I eat my fabulous birthday dinner?

  1. Napa Rose

    4 vote(s)
  2. Carthay Circle

    9 vote(s)
  3. Blue Bayou

    8 vote(s)
  4. Somewhere else entirely (where?)

    6 vote(s)
  1. Addicted to Alice Pins

    Addicted to Alice Pins My name is Ann, and I'm here to enable you!

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    UPDATED FOR ERIN: Here is my "itinerary" (such as it is)!

    April 10: Arrive late afternoon/maybe check out Downtown Disney
    April 11: DLR/DCA
    April 12: DLR/DCA
    April 13: DLR/DCA
    April 14: Hollywood & environs (including DSSH)

    So, in April, I will be turning a multiple of 10 (sadly, not 20—oh, to be young again! I’d even repeat 30, ha), and I told my BFF that I want to go to Disneyland for my birthday. Well, he moved swiftly to secure his mother’s timeshare, so we are actually planning to go! :cheshire:

    It’s too early to do much of anything other than daydream, ha, but obviously I want to have a really amazing birthday dinner! I did some preliminary research (have I mentioned, I’ve never been to DLR?) and narrowed down to three restaurants that seem to be what I’m looking for. (Unless someone wants to get me into Club 33. :D )

    Carthay Circle

    Napa Rose

    Blue Bayou

    Now I need expert feedback from my Disney peeps! If you’ve been to all three, what’s your power ranking? If you’ve been to any of them, please tell me what you loved or loathed about it! And if you think my list is seriously misguided and have another suggestion, please share! (Note, though, that I am a foodie and I’m going to be a snob about this, since it’s a very special occasion. :) )

    When my trip gets closer, I will definitely want to get input on other aspects of visiting DLR and maybe even try to arrange a meet up with anyone who’s going to be around. But all my plans start with food, so here we go. HA.
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2018
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  2. Disneychildwithin

    Disneychildwithin No Disney Character Left Behind Proclaimer

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    Now that's the way to celebrate a birthday, congrats Ann! I haven't been to Disneyland so can't help but just wanted to join in the excitement. :)
  3. AshleyV

    AshleyV Well-Known Member

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    I can vouch for Carthay Circle! It's not as fabulously themed as Blue Bayou, but the menu is a little more varied and affordable, plus it has great cocktails (if you're into that sort of thing). The fried biscuits (little cheesy fried dough balls with honey butter), sesame and ginger salmon, and popover with popcorn and ice cream was all really and truly incredible -- as I'm sure the rest of their dishes are. Even if you opt for another restaurant for your birthday dinner, I'd highly suggest checking out their lounge at some point and grabbing a drink or appetizer there. It has kind of an understated, elegant vibe that's perfect for celebrating, well, anything!

    Have a wonderful trip! :)
  4. timeerkat

    timeerkat Your Friend Who Likes To Play

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    Oh, yay! What time in April? Do you have dates? Will you be there at least one weekend day? I'd love to meet up with you if I can!

    The only one of the three I have eaten at is Blue Bayou. I had an enjoyable time, but I really did feel like the majority of the cost is for the privilege of sitting within the ride. Most of the seating is "inland" and not right on the water; I've been twice and the closest I've gotten is three tables in. If you do decide to eat there and want to be right on the water, I would suggest maybe going early and requesting seating next to the water (maybe while wearing a birthday button with a big age number on it? ;) ) I am also vegetarian, so my meal choices were limited. Both times I had a stuffed portabello; the overall taste and texture were good and it was a large portion, but it was too spicy for me to finish so I only ate about half of it (and the one vegetarian soup option was the gumbo, which is also too spicy for me, haha! The dessert was amazing, though!). People who have eaten the meat meals and who can tolerate spicy foods seemed to really enjoy the food (though from online reports the food quality seems to fluctuate).

    So basically, I am glad that I've eaten there so I can say I've eaten there, but I personally would probably not go back unless it was just for dessert on a slow day so I have a better chance of waterfront seating.

    I can't speak to the food at Carthay Circle as I have never eaten there, but I have just sat in the lounge for awhile and the ambiance is lovely!
  5. timeerkat

    timeerkat Your Friend Who Likes To Play

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    Oh, if you are a meat eater, Steakhouse 55 in the Disneyland Hotel is also a good option if you don't mind leaving the parks for a bit. It's on the pricy side but I wouldn't say it's much more than the three other options. I didn't eat the steak, obviously, but the sides I had were amazing.

    I also wanted to add - if you plan to also do a character breakfast but don't care overwhelmingly for one particular character over another, my suggestion would be Storyteller's Cafe in the Grand Californian. Goofy's Kitchen has a larger selection of food and Plaza Inn has a larger amount of characters, but I think Storyteller's has the best quality food of the three. (And, incidentally, it has my favorite mix of characters - Chip and Dale, Koda and Kenai, Meeko, and sometimes even Rafiki!)
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018
  6. hopemax

    hopemax DPF Charter Member DPF Charter Member

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    The only one of the three I have eaten at is Blue Bayou, and not since DL's 50th. Since then, it became so very popular that the prices have skyrocketed, and the quality of food has not changed. So my friends and I have changed our New Orleans Square dining strategy to sharing a Monte Cristo and Pomme Frites at Cafe Orleans, and I highly recommend that for "quintessential Disneyland Dining" (although not birthday dining). Also, since it's your first time you must also try the bacon wrapped asparagus skewers and whatever meat skewer you choose from Bengal Barbecue. But that is quick service and also not appropriate birthday dining. Of the "cafeteria" style restaurants, I also recommend the chicken meal from the Plaza Pavilion, which is completely shareable especially if one of you likes white meat and the other dark meat, because they give you three pieces plus sides.

    So we still have not answered the question of your birthday. My parents have eaten at Carthay Circle, and I think they enjoyed it, but not so much that they or my Dad insisted we eat there on future trips. When the Grand Californian first opened, I was very into Disneyland travel forums at the time, and people raved and raved about Napa Rose. I am not sure if the reviews have held up over the years. To put things into comparison, I think Napa Rose is on par with California Grill, Jiko, Yachtsman Steakhouse, etc while Carthay Circle (being in a theme park) is a little less. I don't think you could go wrong with either, but you might want to check the menus for both and see what one fits your dining style better. I think Napa Rose is more "foodie" and some things may require a dictionary to understand for those that are not vs Cathay Circle which menu items are more familiar to common folk.
  7. pretty Omi

    pretty Omi Resident Smol Wolf

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    My first choice is Carthay Circle. It's just so elegant, and you feel really special when you eat there. The cuisine is always top notch! They usually have a deal for preferred seating of World of Color (not sure how that will play out when you visit depending on construction at the Pier however), so I'd definitely ask about that when making your reservation.

    I was one of the few who's just never been sold on Blue Bayou? I had a bad experience there years and years ago and hadn't gone back... until this year. I had my own birthday dinner of sorts, and the food this time around was amazing. I had the filet Mignon, with scalloped potatoes, a delicious little side salad and creme brulee for dessert. I ate here with a friend from out of state, and we did it for the Electrical Parade viewing. They are likely offering Fantasmic viewing now, but I'm not personally as impressed with the newest version of that show...
    I also agree for the price you pay, it's strictly for the location, which I still find the price to be a little high. I did it to say I did it, but I would personally go for Carthay Circle for your dinner, and maybe try Cafe Orleans for lunch? They offer the delicious Monte Cristo sandwich and gumbo for lunch!

    Steakhouse 55 as mentioned is another fabulous option, but it's not in the park. The restaurant itself is lovely, and I've never had a bad meal here. This was my go-to for bday dinners since I could spend all day in park, and meet friends and relatives here for my dinner without them having to go inside the park!
  8. Purplemandms

    Purplemandms Like the candy!

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  9. Purplemandms

    Purplemandms Like the candy!

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    WAIT YOU CAN MEET KODA AND KENAI IN DISNEYLAND?!?!!!! They're two of my top characters!!!
  10. Ajk

    Ajk Not so new anymore.

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    It's been a few years since I was last at DL so my info may be dated, but I am a fellow foodie for what that's worth. I can't speak about CC as I have not eaten there but I have been to both BB and NR and between those two, I would say definitely NR. As others have said, BB is more about the "atmosphere", but it's not milestone BDay-worthy atmosphere IMO. It's fun with the river and all, and good theming, but not what you want in a high-end celebratory meal. And I found the food humdrum to be frank. Plus the place was dimly lit, noisy, crowded, etc. Not what I think you are looking for. (Sorry BB lovers!!)

    NR on the other hand is a beautiful and elegant space with food that matches. Both the past two times we went to DL we made a point to eat there (and last time we were celebrating my sister-in-law's bday). Delicious food profesionally served by attentive staff. I'll put it this way - go to NR if you want a bottle of wine with the meal, go to BB if you want a frozen drink with a glowing icecube.

    But wherever you go, I hope you have a wonderful trip!!
  11. timeerkat

    timeerkat Your Friend Who Likes To Play

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    YES YOU CAN! I've done Storytellers six or seven times, and I think there was only one time that neither was there (it was a REALLY light crowd day in the off season). A few times only Koda came out, but a few times both came out. They don't do signatures (they can't hold the pen in their claws) but thy do awesome photos! :)
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  12. Addicted to Alice Pins

    Addicted to Alice Pins My name is Ann, and I'm here to enable you!

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    We haven't booked our flights, but we plan to arrive on April 10 (Tuesday) and leave on the 15th (Sunday). I want to be *in* the parks on my actual birthday, which is Friday the 13th (ha).

    I was assuming the weekend was a bad time to be in the parks (crowd-wise), so we were thinking Wednesday-Friday for that and maybe on Saturday head up to LA so I can actually visit DSF/DSSH and maybe see a movie at El Cap (to say I have). But I know nada about DLR, so I'm open to input. We could do LA on Wednesday and do the parks Thursday-Saturday if (a) that's not a terrible idea and (b) it makes it easier to meet people who are not on vacation, haha.

    I pretty much welcome allll the info on what to munch, what to avoid, small details not to miss, etc!!! I just started with birthday dinner ideas cuz as soon as the reservation block opens, I wanna nab what I want. :)
  13. watzshakinbacon

    watzshakinbacon B for Belle or B for bacon?

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    I've only been to Carthay Circle once, but I really liked it! As AshleyV mentioned, it's not super crazy expensive, pretty good quality/ delicious food, and the patio is nice! Napa was ok, too, but really is just Italian food. I did like the wine flights that they paired with the food though.
  14. timeerkat

    timeerkat Your Friend Who Likes To Play

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    Actually, that's probably going to be on the lighter side, crowd-wise. It'll be after Easter and Spring Break (end of March through early April), and before the summer crowds ramp up and Pixar Pier area opens. I know Cove Bar is reopening very briefly in April, but I don't think that that alone would increase crowds too much if it happens to be during that week (and if it does the crowd will be centered around Cove Bar, which can be easily avoided).

    I believe I'm free that weekend, so unless I'm forgetting something I should be free to hang out on that Saturday, whether it's at DLR/DCA or in Hollywood. (If you wind up doing Hollywood on Wednesday I could join you in the evening if you last that long. ;) )

    ETA: Ooh! Maybe a DSF monthly release will happen that weekend! :D
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018
  15. Jabberwocky

    Jabberwocky Cheshirefied DPF Charter Member

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    First - I wanna see you when you're here, too, my fellow Alice collector! :)

    Second - go to the park during the week and go to Hollywood on Saturday. The drive is hell during the week.

    Third - Foodies will recommend NR or CC. Eaters will recommend Steakhouse 55. Disney fans will recommend Blue Bayou.

    I went to NR once and found it ridiculously overpriced for miniscule portions. Wouldn't have any interest in going back.
    Haven't been to Carthay - out of my regular budget and not worth my 'splurge' budget.
    I went to Steakhouse 55 under the prior chef and was extremely underwhelmed by my prime rib. But it's supposedly better now.
    I LOVE the atmosphere in Blue Bayou and will wait the extra hour or more past my reservation time to get a waterside table for a special occasion. Not worth going unless you're waterside TBH. Completely worth the money for the experience and atmosphere. But I've found the food is meh.
    If I'm going to spend a lot of money on a celebration meal at the resort, I'd pick brunch at Goofy's Kitchen at Disneyland Hotel over anything else. If you've been to Chef Mickey's at WDW - they're pretty much clones - but Goofy's has awesome food selection for breakfast and fills you up for the whole day!

    Personally, I'd suggest not necessarily spending your money on any of those. Eat at the real Disneyland restaurants like Carnation Cafe (great food, reasonable prices though not cheap) or Plaza Inn (everyone on earth except me raves about the food there but it does nothing for me and I don't have any interest in going back) or Cafe Orleans (Monte Cristo - huge and can be shared by two people - and pommes frites are not to be missed). Or even hit up some of the fun quick service places like Red Rose Taverne at DL (the Beast Burger with pommes frites is the best burger in the parks IMO though granted there's not much competition) or Flo's in DCA. Have a huge ice cream dessert at Ghirardelli's or Clarabelle's in DCA. Have a sourdough bread bowl with yummy soup one night at the Pacific Wharf Cafe. There are plenty of good places to eat that aren't super high priced and I think have better food.

    If you really want a special Disney-related meal - combine your Saturday visit to Hollywood with dinner at the Tam O'Shanter in Los Feliz (assuming you have a car or Uber) - where Walt used to dine with his 9 Old Men and my favorite steak place on this coast (my other fave being Le Cellier at Epcot for comparison in taste). Feel free to message me if you have more questions. :)
  16. Addicted to Alice Pins

    Addicted to Alice Pins My name is Ann, and I'm here to enable you!

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    First - Yaaayyyyyy! I would definitely love to meet you in person!

    Second - Oh, yeah, wise. Ha. Despite spending a chunk of every day sitting in traffic, I tend to forget that it exists elsewhere in the galaxy (aka Vacation-land). I'd just be bopping along and then get stuck in typical LA traffic and be thinking, Wait, what? This is not in my plan!!!!

    Third - You definitely raise some valid points. I like to munch, and BFF is usually good for sharing stuff (except seafood, which is a no-go with him)--so you've definitely given me a lot of items for my To Eat list! (As has Hope.) I think you're now the third person to recommend the Monte Cristo, so that is clearly a must-have. I'm still tempted to do some sort of "extra special" meal for mah birfday (and it looks like we're narrowing the field, overall, although I will definitely check out your suggestion, which technically expands the field, ha ha) ... but while I would like something "fancy" or "special," the bottom line with me is usually quality. I don't care if a place is "cheap" or "only" has street food--if it's delicious, I'm in! I know that "expensive" doesn't equate to good. This is why I'm consulting the experts!!!!!

    Yeah, I want this. Ha ha. I like bacon and I like asparagus, and I will eat bacon wrapped around asparagus. Plus, for whatever reason, the Flame Tree BBQ in Animal Kingdom is always the food option that attracts me with its delicious smell, so I'm assuming this experience will be somewhat similar. YUM.

    Point 1: Yaaaayyyyy! We'll definitely work something out!

    Point 2: My first reaction was, "I ain't campin' out there at the crack o' dawn for that chaos!!!" Then I realized that for me it will feel like 8 am, which is perfectly normal. I don't know if I can get BFF to move in a timely fashion, but if there is a release that Saturday, maybe we can come in time to spectate and get the IRL feel of it. Ha ha ha.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
  17. pincrazy

    pincrazy Well-Known Member

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    Congrats on a wonderful Disneyland Birthday Trip!

    How COOL you'll be celebrating
    April 13th, and down for the opening of PIXAR FEST!!!

    Just a heads up if you know where you plan to eat, and out of the 3 you've mentioned, I would recommend making reservations ahead of time. They start taking reservations 60 days in advance, so you have time still to decide.

    As mentioned they're all special places, but find them each different, but prices can be somewhere in the same ballpark depending on what you order. Napa is seasonal and has a good wine list, Carthay has an art deco environment limited offerings and seasonal as well, both of the above has great service, Blue Bayou is more of landmark restaurant. If you plan on viewing Fantasmic or World of Color, just for the heck of it and It's your Birthday, I would highly recommend the viewing package that would include either Blue Bayou for Fantasmic, or Carthay Circle for World of Color. It's a selected menu and a little pricey, but the convenience of viewing is so rewarding. It's a preferred area in the center of each so it's less hectic and hassling with the crowd.
    I'm with the others in terms of Steakhouse 55, although it's farthest from the parks, it's such a nice, peaceful, smaller restaurant with an elegant touch.

    Sorry if I'm repeating anyone's info.
    It's going to be a Great Trip! Hope to meet you too. : )
  18. Addicted to Alice Pins

    Addicted to Alice Pins My name is Ann, and I'm here to enable you!

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    Flights are booked, yaaaayyyyyyyyyyy! Arrive on April 10 (Tuesday), leave on April 15 (Sunday).

    Working plan is to get checked in and hit Downtown Disney (or nearby vicinity) for food and shopping on Tuesday evening. In the parks Wednesday, Thursday, Friday (April 11-13). On Saturday, we'll Uber (or equivalent) into LA, with a plan of: DSSH, El Cap (hopefully something good is playing!), and--thanks to JJ for easily convincing me--either brunch or dinner at Tam O'Shanter. (Both meals look good, so it's a debate as to brunch-movie-ice cream for dinner or ice cream for lunch-movie-dinner!)

    Soooo, my beautiful people ... tell me EVERYTHING! Ha. Any words of wisdom for navigating the parks, any additional "snacks" that I should not miss, literally any tips you can offer. Even, "Hey, Downtown Disney is fine, but if you want something good to eat, you should go _____ instead!" Disneyland is totally foreign to me; BFF has been there, but I'm usually The Organizer for WDW. There's plenty of room for education here, ha. We have plenty of time to nail down details, but I definitely want the advice of experts!!!! And as it gets closer, anyone who will be around should definitely LMK so hopefully we can cross paths! :D
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  19. timeerkat

    timeerkat Your Friend Who Likes To Play

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    Sounds like a good plan! Let's see...the last movie release prior to your visit will be Wrinkle in Time, so unless they do a throwback week of something, that'll probably be what's at El Cap when you visit.

    Sooo....thanks to Darice's post I realized that April 13th is the opening date for Pixar Fest, which I was planning on taking off work to go to. So, I'll be able to hang with you at the parks that day! :D (As long as you don't mind either doing all the Pixar Fest stuff with me or having me come and go so I can go off and do it. ;) ) And unless some plans get added between now and then, I should also be free to pop over to DSF while you're there on Saturday! :) (I'm still hoping for a monthly release on that Saturday of something you collect! :) )

    My absolute favorite thing to eat in either of the parks is the mashed potatoes at Plaza Inn. Other people rave about the fried chicken, so I'd definitely suggest Plaza Inn for one of your meals. (They also have fish, pasta, salads, and baked chicken, if you'd prefer those.) As far as snacky foods go, I love the apple pie twist at Maurice's Treats snack cart in Princess Fantasy Faire (they have an amazing pumpkin pie one too, but they only serve that around Halloween) and the cream cheese-filled pretzels from the pretzel carts in Tomorrowland and near Small World. A lot of people love the Dole Whip, but I could take it or leave it. I actually prefer to get a root beer float from the ice cream parlor and have that while watching Tiki Room.

    Compared to Disney World, Disneyland is SMALL. I believe that both Disneyland and California Adventure could fit in the footprint of Magic Kingdom. So it will probably take less time to get between attractions and through the park than you're used to. DLR and DCA are also right across from each other (around 500 feet or so), so unlike Disney World where cross-park plans take some time, you could be in the far corner of Disneyland to the far corner of DCA in about twenty to thirty minutes depending on how fast you walk. Unless you plan to just stick to one park per day, hopping between parks is pretty easy.

    Ride the train around the park at least once, but if you decide not to, at least do the little stretch between Tomorrowland and Main Street. There's an awesome animatronic display in there!

    Are you staying at one of the official Disney hotels, or another hotel in the area?
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2018
  20. MerlinEmrys

    MerlinEmrys Hicitus Pinicus!

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    Sigh, yet ANOTHER example of how Disneyland gets all the good stuff... They even get birthday Ann!!

    Sent from my SM-G950U1 using Tapatalk
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  21. FoolishMortal71

    FoolishMortal71 Active Member

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    The food at Carthay Circle is MUCH MUCH better than Blue Bayou. The best way I can describe it is Carthay Circle is high end dining and Blue Bayou is hotel convention food.
  22. Jabberwocky

    Jabberwocky Cheshirefied DPF Charter Member

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    I've had both lunch and dinner there. I think lunch may be a little cheaper if price is an issue but a meal may come with one less extra side to make up that cost difference. But PRIME RIB I really PRIME RIB hope you're PRIME RIB going to have PRIME RIB. Because that's what the place is known for. :D Oh and DEFINITELY have the creamed corn side too - heavenly. (Unless you prefer creamed spinach. I think that's another option.)

    Ask the greeter or your server about the Walt history with the place and look for related artwork at the entrance. :)

    Snacks at the park - beyond the obvious recommendations common to both DL and WDW (like Dole Whips - which I skip as I prefer WDW's Citrus Swirl! or Mickey premium ice cream bars or Mickey pretzels) - try some Disneyland-specific snacks. I like the garlic cheddar twist at Maurice's cart in FanFaire as mentioned above as a good snack spot. Also, go to Jolly Holiday Bakery on Main Street as they have seasonal sweets unique to the location. Oh, if you like sweets, DL has been hit by donut fever. There's a coffee cart in front of Fantasy Faire on Main Street just before you get to the castle that serves specialty donuts in the morning and early evenings. They're different flavors each week. They're expensive ($6 each) but huge and terrific. You can also usually find seasonal and specialty treats at Schmoozie's in Hollywoodland in DCA. And usually Marvel-themed treats at Award Weiners right nearby. If you're into fun fried savory treats, try the fried mozarella sticks at StageDoor Cafe in Frontierland or fried pickles as an app at Carnation Cafe (where I recommend having a meal too as the food is good and it's classic DL).

    Don't forgot to get your free chocolate sample at Ghirardelli's and your free bread sample at the bakery tour at Pacific Wharf (assuming that comes back - the bakery is under refurb this week).

    I think I mentioned the pommes frites before at Cafe Orleans, but if you don't get them there (which I suggest you do as they are best there and come with a great remoulade sauce), you can get a side of them at Red Rose Taverne (but they're really just tossed garlic cheese fries there and no sauce).

    If I think of anything else offhand, I'll update. :) Hope to be able to see you when you're in town!

    EDIT: oh, duh, get the Mickey shaped beignets at the Mint Julip Bar in New Orleans Square. You can either get an order of three for yourself or six to share. :)
  23. pincrazy

    pincrazy Well-Known Member

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    Forgot to mention, you'll be arriving at the close of Food and Wine Festival at Ca Adv, right before opening of PixarFest, some fun eats.

    Also just a heads up for eating at Tam on the weekends, it's a place for locals celebrating birthdays or small get togethers. It can get busy, reservations would help unless you don't mind eating in the bar area. There's 4 small dining areas, and are preferable to the bar, although there's nothing wrong sitting there, it's like a pub. The specialty is prime rib, but have way more selections over the years. It's still family owned and part of the Lawrys chain. I recommend a soufflé for dessert, usually chocolate, needs to be ordered in the beginning, due to the time frame of 40 min. I think if there's a lunch menu the price difference would be serving size, but haven't lunched there on weekends in years, mostly dinners every year. Last year the reg cut of prime rib was just under 50, comes with yorkshire pudding, mashed potatoes, and creamed spinach or creamed corn. They have 3 sizes of prime rib, other than that it's a la carte ordering. It's a cozy place for us locals. Another thing if you travel from Hollywood to Tam, if you travel on Hyperion you'll see names associated with Ca Adv entrance, and where Gelsons market is the historical landmark for Disney Studios. The bridge that replaced the.monorail Golden Gate Bridge facade, is yhe bridge going over the freeway to Atwater. The Tam is on Los Feliz which runs parallel and is the main path, so it maynot be the way travelled unless requested.
    Sounds like a great time planned! :)
  24. timeerkat

    timeerkat Your Friend Who Likes To Play

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    One of the best things I have ever eaten at DCA was Banana Corn Dogs. It was a promo item for Zootopia - basically battered and fried bananas with chocolate and raspberry dipping sauces. HOLY MOLEY they were good! Not too heavy or oily, and not too much batter.
  25. Addicted to Alice Pins

    Addicted to Alice Pins My name is Ann, and I'm here to enable you!

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    OK, I'm way behind, ha ha ha.

    First: We are staying at Dolphin's Cove.

    Second: Yes, it is really fantastic of Disney to have an entire festival in honor of my birthday. :p But ha ha, it's awesome that you will be around on Friday, Tessa!!!! And totally no problem if you come and go and/or we join you for some things and not others. (Or maybe it'll work out that we do all the same stuff! Who knows?)

    To be honest, I have zero idea what this trip is going to look like "on the ground" because it already boggles my mind that I can't book FastPasses ahead of time. HOW DO I PLAN???? While I definitely want to be a big cheeseball and do the Alice rides ON my actual birthday (even if we've already done them another day), I'm planning to "be flexible" about what we do when. And which park and what order and blah blah blah.

    That said ... y'all really need to give me some tips on navigating the parks and if there are better ways/times to do certain things. I'm not a person who's going to micromanage every second of my time, but I also don't want to spend 4 hours on line for something.

    Third: Thanks for the input about Tam! I definitely plan to make a reservation (for my own sanity) as soon as I get BFF to weigh in on brunch vs dinner. I think it will be a nice antidote to the tourist bustle of the parks. Plus, a chocolate souffle sounds like a nice belated birthday treat. (Now that I think about it, this makes me lean dinner. So that we can have ice cream for lunch and have a nice gap before we stuff ourselves with meat and souffle. ;) )

    Fourth, I am laughing at the fact that the Poll shows Carthay and Blue Bayou neck-in-neck for votes, yet all the descriptions of Blue Bayou have left me ... not dazzled. The dining block for my trip opened up, so I booked Carthay for my birthday dinner. But I'm still considering scrapping all the "fancy" stuff and just munching my way around, as JJ and Hope kind of suggested. I intend to munch my way around regardless, but if I skip a formal birthday dinner at the parks, I can certainly do MORE MUNCHING.

    Keep those suggestions coming!!!! :D

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