Best Quick Service in Disneyland (That Don’t Serve Pizza or Burgers)

I love Disney park food. In fact, one of my favourite parts of planning a Disney trip is deciding where I’m going to want to eat in each park, whether its going back to my favourite restaurants or trying somewhere I’ve never been to before, and my trip to Disneyland back in May was definitely about trying out new places.

As there’s no such thing as dining plans in Disneyland, and being trying to do the trip as cheap as possible, this trip was going to be all about the quick service restaurants, and while I’m never one to complain about any kind of Disney food, when it comes to quick service its very easy to fall into the rotation of burger to pizza to chicken nuggets and back again. Sure, I’ll probably end up doing each of these at least once on a trip, but if you fancy something a little different, Disneyland has a bunch of gems serving incredible options when you’re in need of an energy boost.

Disneyland

Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe

The cutest little yellow cafe at the bottom of Main Street USA, options here range from sandwiches and salads, to tomato soup with grilled cheese, and also has a great selection of cute dessert options!

Bengal Barbecue

The ultimate place for jungle-cruisers to refuel, Bengal Barbecue is pretty famous among Disneyland fans for its incredible meat skewers.

Royal Street Veranda

I always forget that this restaurant exists (mainly because I’m rushing to get to Pirates of the Caribbean or staring wistfully up at the Dream Suite), but say hello to the place where you can get New Orleans classic dish, gumbo, served in a sourdough bread bowl!

French Market Restaurant

Just a little way along from Royal Street Veranda, and serving more New Orleans classics is French Market Restaurant; jambalaya, corn chowder, beans and rice and more!

Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port

Yes, I know I said places that don’t serve pizza, but Redd Rockett’s also has a great selection of pasta dishes on the menu if you’re looking to carb up for a long park day!

California Adventure

Flo’s V8 Cafe

Whether you want to skip the traditional Mickey waffle breakfast or cheeseburger lunch, Flo’s is the place to go! Breakfast ranges from brioche french toast to breakfast burritos, and lunch and dinner features ribs, rotisserie chicken and turkey dip sandwiches.

Cozy Cone Motel

For an on-the-go meal, why not grab a convenient bread cone filled with either bacon mac and cheese, beef chilli or chicken verde? Sally really knows how to feed her guests, and you’ll probably meet a famous car on the way in!

Pacific Wharf Cafe

Did you know there’s an actual sourdough bread factory in DCA? Pacific Wharf Cafe is attached to the bakery and serves a bunch of amazing options including sandwiches, and soup or salads served in their famous sourdough bread bowls.

Lucky Fortune Cookery

Just across the way from the bakery, you can grab an asian inspired rice bowl packed with veggies and a choice of either beef, chicken or tofu and your choice sauce. It even comes in a cute takeaway style box so you can carry your leftovers home!

Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill

Completing the trio of amazing food options in one place, Cocina shares the same seating area as PWC and LFC and serves flavoursome favourites from tacos and tamales to burritos.

What are your favourite places to eat in Disneyland?

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10 Things You Need to Know about Cove Bar

If you’re planning a trip to Disneyland and looking for the most Instagrammable places to eat or drink, then Cove Bar should probably be at the top of your list. Located on Paradise Pier in Disney’s California Adventure park, it boasts a menu of stunning cocktails as well as some pretty delicious looking food, and the most amazing views over Paradise Bay.

If I’ve just sold you, or it was already on your to-do list, here are a few things to know before you go!

There can be a really long wait, and someone has to stay in line

Depending on when you go, there can be a longer wait time than for some rides! When you get to the queue, a cast member will take a name and give you an idea on wait time, but at least one person from your party needs to stay in the queue the whole time, because if your group is called and you’re not there, then you’ve missed your chance!

You can choose where to sit

When you join the queue and give your name, the CM will ask you if you have a table preference, so if you want those Instagram worthy photos over the pier, be sure to ask for a waterside table. Other options include the bar and tables closer to the pierside.

The prettiest drinks aren’t on the menu

While you’ll be handed a menu by your server, be sure to check out the secret menuThis is where you’ll find Mickey’s Fun Wheel, Neverland Tea and more!

And the cutest drink isn’t even alcoholic

Don’t be put of visiting if you’re not that into cocktails, the cotton candy lemonade is so delicious and refreshing, plus who doesn’t want a lump of cotton candy in their drink?!

You can take drinks to go

If you want to sample the cocktails but don’t fancy the wait, you can order drinks to go. They come in plastic cups so aren’t quite so cute but I’ll bet they don’t taste any different!

Water is free-flowing

For obvious reasons, the servers are keen to keep all guest hydrated, so you’ll find your water glass topped up constantly.

There’s more than just cocktails on the menu

Although its famous for its cocktails and speciality drinks, there are some great lounge food options, including buffalo wings, sliders, nachos and more! I didn’t actually eat here, but I saw some of the food and it looked amazing and smelled SO GOOD.

Be sure to bring your passport

In the event of being ID’d, a UK driving licence isn’t acceptable in Disney. Your server may let you off, but I’ve had experiences where they have refused to accept anything but a passport, so I wouldn’t chance it.

Don’t be shy about taking photos

Literally everyone in the bar is trying to take those oh-so-Instagrammable photos, so don’t feel shy about holding your drink over the railing to get that perfect shot with the fun wheel in the background. Also if you’re not sat at a waterside table but want those photos, just get up and go over there – no one minds!

Please drink responsibly!

Servers have the right to refuse you at any time, and during my visit I saw a few guests that were probably about to get cut off.. Be sure to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated, especially in the summer months when its super warm!

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How to do Disneyland on a Budget

Pretty much the only thing that bothers me about Disneyland is that generally its a more expensive to visit than Walt Disney World, especially as it doesn’t have regular package offers like the annual free dining deal, and being on the west coast, flights tend to be pricier. Despite this, I would still 110% recommend any Disney fans visit Walt’s original park; while I don’t do favourites, this park holds a special place in my heart and I’ll never stop loving it.

Over the years, I’ve discovered a few different things you can do to cut down the cost of a trip to this magical place, and I thought I’d share them for anyone who’s thinking about a trip!

Consider non-direct flights

Depending on when you book, sometimes you can get direct flights to LAX for around £350-450, but other times they can be well over the £500 mark, but you can save a lot of money flying indirect. Also, a stopover can break up the 10-11 hour flight!

Buy your tickets at home

Yes, you can get your park tickets when you arrive, but Disneyland tickets from UK sellers like Attraction Tickets Direct generally work out a bit cheaper (plus you can use cashback websites to get something back!) and it means you’ve got your tickets ready to go and don’t have to waste valuable park time queuing at ticket booths!

Stay offsite

Unlike WDW, Disneyland has a tonne of offsite hotels that are all within walking distance of the park – some of them are literally just across the road! The price difference can be pretty amazing; I paid the same amount for a week offsite as a room for a night in the Disneyland Hotel. There’s also so many to choose from, from budget motels to well known chains, so you’re bound to find something you’re happy with.

Bring your own food

If you’re really looking to save the pennies, take a trip to a supermarket and stock up on snacks to take into the parks with you. That being said, on my last trip I spent less than £20 a day on food in the parks!

Consider transport options

If you’re going to be a larger group, and the drivers are over 25, it may be cheaper for you to rent a car to get from the airport to the parks, rather than using the Disneyland Express.

If you do have a car, don’t drive to the parks

Parking is $20 a day, but plenty of hotels have free/cheap shuttle buses that drop you off right by the park entrance.

If you’re ever looking to book a Disneyland trip and need any advice, feel free to ask, or check out all of my Disneyland posts here!

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Characters on the Course – RunDisney Tinkerbell Weekend


I might be back from Disneyland, but you’ll all know by now that that never means the Disney posts are over! And of course, yet again, the primary purpose of my trip was another RunDisney race weekend, this time, the Tinkerbell Half Marathon Weekend.

Again, I ran the 10K and the half marathon – the Pixie Dust Challenge – so there were 19.3 miles of running magic for me to share with you! Some of you may be aware of the somewhat dramatic twist that during the 5K there were no characters available on the course, and this is something that I have a very different opinion to most, but I won’t get into that now, instead I’m going to share the characters that were out for us at the 10K and half marathon!


The 10K:

  • Lost Boys – the Lost Boys were hanging out in Toontown as we entered the park just after mile 1
  • Pirates – there were a bunch of face character pirates scattered throughout the course, and they were lots of fun!
  • Captain Hook and Mr Smee – this pair met by the Storybook Canal Boats at about mile 3
  • Pirate Donald – I couldn’t resist stopping for my favourite duck on Main Street
  • Pirate Chip and Dale – the chipmunks were up to trouble in California Adventure
  • Peter and Wendy – this was really just a photo op as they stood a few steps above the pavement, but it was nice to see them out!
  • And pirate Minnie was at the finish line!




The Half Marathon:

  • Iridessa, Silvermist and Rosetta – I can never resist the fairies, and having never met Silvermist before this was one for the character list
  • Pirate chipmunks – Chip and Dale made another mischievous appearance, this time on Main Street
  • Peter and Wendy – during the half, Peter and Wendy were on the railway bridge, so not even a photo op
  • Lost Boys – the most boys were having a ball on King Triton’s Carousel on Paradise Pier
  • Pirates – the pirates were out in force again!
  • Pirate Pluto – this lovable pup was also kitted out for pillaging and plundering on Paradise Pier
  • Tinkerbell and Fawn – well it would be rude if Tink missed her own race, right?
  • Captain Hook and Mr Smee – this dynamic duo made a second appearance, this time in California Adventure

If you caught the Princess Weekend edition of Characters on the Course, you may be noticing there’s considerably less this weekend. This is primarily due to the fact that in WDW, Disney own all the land between the parks, so even when you’re not in the park, they can still put the characters out on the roadsides along the course. However in Disneyland, the majority of the half marathon course is on the streets of Anaheim, so there can’t be any characters along those 8 miles of the course. There were, however, some bands, DJs, and also a whole tonne of super supportive locals making that length of the course magical for us!

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Disneyland Day 5 and Tinkerbell Half Marathon

And another challenge weekend is over! The Tinkerbell half this morning was probably one of the most comfortable ones I’ve run, which is incredible considering how much my feet ached yesterday!I stopped for a few photos with various fairies, and also pirate Pluto, but aside from those few stops I kept a really consistent pace and completed the race in just over 3 hours, with about 25 mins being waiting for characters. I also walked away with not one but FOUR medals: one for the half, the Pixie Dust Challenge medal for doing the 10K yesterday as well, a regular blue 10th anniversary Coast to Coast medal, and also a pink Coast to Coast for having run the Princess and Tinkerbell races in the same calendar year!

After dragging myself back to the hotel, I soaked my legs in the pool then showered and had a nap, while Sarah headed into the parks, and I met up with her at about 1:45 at Fantasyland Theater for another Mickey and the Magical Map performance, before I got my long awaited burger from Galactic Grill. We then swung by the castle for me to take some medal photos, then went across to Frontierland and met Dr Facilier on the Mark Twain Riverboat.

On the hunt for more characters, we headed back to Town Square to no avail, so instead went to take some photos by the Small World wall (Disney basic) and went into Toontown for a bit. Being passed 4pm, Tinkerbell’s meeting spot in Pixie Hollow was now empty, meaning I could go in and take some more medal photos, then we hid out at my favourite sneaky parade watching spot for Soundsational.

After the parade, we went into one of the stores on Main Street so I could buy a jumper, having forgotten to bring my jacket in with me, and knowing it would cool down before the fireworks tonight, then took a few final photos by the castle before going into Fantasyland and doing the Storybook Canal Boats, only to realise while we were in the line that the last Mickey and the Magical Map show was due to start soon, so we ended up cutting out early to go see that one more time instead!

After drying our eyes and practically being forcibly removed from the theatre, the strangest thing happened: Sarah actually wanted to go to the Enchanted Tiki Room! I took her for her first time in WDW back in February and now she clearly loves it.. From there, we wandered around New Orleans Square for a little while, then decided to go to Troubadour Tavern for dinner, only to find it had already closed, so instead ended up at Refreshment Corner, although I ended up getting my food from Jolly Holiday, and we sat on the tables outside while Main Street Electrical went by. 

Once the parade was over, we headed into the centre of Main Street USA to watch the fireworks for my first and last time of the trip. They actually started with the same music as Wishes from WDW, but the majority of the show was a cute little dedication to each of the iconic Disneyland attractions – Enchanted Tiki Room, Haunted Mansion, Splash Mountain etc – which I thought was different and actually really cool! Once they were done, it was then time to say goodbye to Disneyland and drag ourselves back to the hotel. Once again this has been the most magical and I’m so sad to be leaving my happy place, but I guess it’s not goodbye, it’s see ya real soon..

Disneyland Day 4 and Tinkerbell 10K

The wondrous thing about races in California is that I only have to wake up at 4am, not 3:30 like in Florida, yay!

This morning I ran the Tinkerbell 10K, and I was pretty excited because having run a 10K here before, I know it’s a great course to run. After the drama yesterday about no characters at the 5K, I’m pleased to say there were quite a few out this morning, including Peter, Wendy, Hook and Smee, and also some Disney favourites dressed in their finest pirate wear. I ran it in a comfortable time of an hour and a half, which included a fair few photo stops so I was pretty happy.

After a quick shower and rest break, we headed back into the parks, and straight to Fantasy Faire to meet Rapunzel and Flynn, then dashed over to Tomorrowland to grab fastpasses for Hyperspace Mountain, which in itself was a bit of a queue, and then went across to the first showing of Mickey and the Magical Map.

Another trip with Mickey done, we walked over to Frontierland to grab some chicken nuggets from Stage Door Cafe, then battled our way through the crazy Saturday crowds to meet the Winnie the Pooh characters over in Critter Country: Pooh, Tigger and Eeyore. With the sun beating down on us, the only logical next step was so get ice-cream, and then take shelter in the Royal Theater for the Tangled show. From there, we decided to go into Fantasyland to do a few of the smaller rides we hadn’t done yet, starting with Casey Jr, but it broke down while we were in the line so that went out the window.. Instead, we opted for the cool air-con of Star Wars Launch Bay, where we met Darth Vader, before using our Hyperspace Mountain fastpasses.

As the Disneyland park was so packed, and I had planned another carb-load dinner in California Adventure, we hopped parks just after Soundsational, and explored Animation Academy for a bit before grabbing a spot for the Pixar Play parade. I’d felt pretty smug saying that we were at the start of the parade route so we wouldn’t have to wait too long, but it turns out I was wrong and we ended up sitting for a little longer than we’d bargained for, but hey!

After the parade we ended up back in Animation Academy, and learned how to draw Chip from Beauty and the Beast, before going to Pacific Wharf Cafe for me to carb load on bread and soup. Sarah and I then parted ways as I headed back to the hotel for another pre-race early night, and she stayed in the park a little while longer – or until at least it became too cold to be out without a jacket on!

Tomorrow I’ll be up at 4am again, this time taking on the Tinkerbell half marathon, completing the Pixie Dust Challenge and also earning my second Coast to Coast challenge medal, eek!

Disneyland Day 3

Another day in the California sun! Today we were up and into California Adventure for opening at 9am, and after joining the crash of people getting fastpasses for Radiator Springs Racers, stopped at Flo’s V8 Cafe for the sweetest breakfast of brioche French toast and a milkshake, then went back to get in line for Soarin’, which we only waited about 25 mins for.

Once we’d landed, our fastpass time had already come round, so we had another race around Ornament Valley, then went on a bit of a character hunt and met Nick Wilde before leaving the park to hit the RunDisney expo, via Sephora at Downtown Disney.

After all the classic expo moments – bib pickup, tshirt pickup, expo browsing – we went back to the hotel to dump my bits before going back into Disneyland, where we were greeted by Belle in the entrance area. We then headed towards Fantasyland, via Snow White’s wishing well and the teacups to take some photos, then grabbed some snacks and sat in front of the castle for a bit to eat and enjoy the sunshine.

Next up, we headed to Fantasy Faire, where we met Aladdin and then waited for Rapunzel, before picking a spot to watch Soundsational, but as the start seemed delayed, and because we wanted good seats for Mickey and the Magical Map, we abandoned the parade and instead hung out at Fantasyland Theater until they let us in, which was worth it for the seats we got. If you know me well, you’ll know this is my all time favourite Disney park show, and I’ve missed it so much so of course I cried through the whole thing. It was also Sarah’s first ever time seeing it and she did the same..

After recovering from the show, we had fastpasses for the Matterhorn, then went into Tomorrowland and did Star Tours then grabbed dinner at Red Rocket’s Pizza Port – hello pasta load – and then called it a night as I’ll be up at 4am tomorrow for the Tinkerbell 10K! Stay tuned folks!