I would argue that Disneyland meals are one of the most important decisions that visitors will make. For those looking for a non-character meal experience, I’m sharing a few of what I think are the best non-character restaurants at Disneyland Resort!
Carnation Cafe is classic Disney food with great service and a good view of Main street! Hands down, our favorite thing to order is the fried pickles. Paired with the house sauce, this appetizer is delicious! The pickles are always piping hot and super crispy and the house sauce for dipping is a perfect compliment. Carnation Cafe is a very popular place to get breakfast so be sure to make your reservations early. Mickey waffles with strawberry and whipped cream and bacon are a good choice.
Lunch and dinner options include Walt’s chili, baked potato soup, fried chicken with mushroom gravy, and shakes and malts.
Napa Rose is a beautiful restaurant located at the Grand Californian. The menu changed often but the lamb and fish dishes are usually delicious. The drinks and strong and the mac and cheese are delicious at the Napa Rose. For a special treat try the Chef’s Counter meal. The Chef’s Counter is $100 for 5 courses + a delicious bread basket + an amuse bouche and a palate cleanser menu. You also get a bird’s eye view of how the kitchen works!
Like most other restaurants at the Disneyland Resort, you will need to make an online reservation for Napa Rose on the Disney website. You must cancel at least one day prior to reservation or else they will charge you $10 per person if you fail to show up. Credit cards are required to guarantee your reservation! I would also recommend parking at the Grand Californian and getting your ticket validated there. You get 5 hours of free parking however if you park at the Downtown Disney parking you have to pay full price!
Tangaroa terrace TROPICAL BAR & GRILL
Recently renovated, the Tangaroa Terrace Tropical Bar & Grill is located near the Disneyland Hotel and Trader Sam’s. Sure it’s a trek through Downtown Disney but I would recommend taking the monorail directly from Tomorrowland to the last stop which is a quick walk to the restaurant. Tangaroa Terrace is a quick service but it has a large seating area, and a full bar (try the Mai Tai’s!) plus in the evenings Hawaiian singers provide live entertainment. Not only is it a great place to get a cocktail but the food is pretty tasty too! My kids love the salmon bowls with a piece of salmon, white rice, and fresh veggies. We like to order appetizers like poke and fried green beans from the servers outside of Trader Sam’s. Tangaroa Terrace is also one of the few places where you can order a Dole Whip with rum!
One thing that I love about this space is all of the details. Even the bar stools have interesting carvings and details plus the seating is comfortable with large outdoor sofas and plenty of chairs. The problem with this restaurant is that it’s super popular during busy times at the Park. You may have to politely hover around a table to land one, and double up two people to a sofa chair but the ambiance and cocktails are worth it!
Flo’s V8 Cafe
Flo’s V8 Cafe is a great choice for a consistent menu and tasty seasonal treats. Located in Cars Land we usually go to Flo’s for breakfast but they also offer lunch and dinner. I would not recommend skipping Flo’s at night. With the neon signs lit up it’s gorgeous and feels like a movie set!
It’s one of the few places you can get mickey waffles and sangria in the Parks. While their breakfast is decent, it’s their lunch and dinner options that steal the show. The fried chicken is great as are the pot pie options. I’d recommend the Fillmore’s Pot Pie which has corn, jalapeño, potatoes, and cheese in a golden crispy crust! They also have several varieties of milkshakes!
Craftsman Grill is one of the lesser-known eateries so that makes it a candidate for the best non-character restaurants at Disneyland! Tucked away near the Spa between California Adventure Park and the Grand Californian, Craftsman Grill is a favorite option for lunch. I’ve always been a fan of their carne asada and jalapeño nachos, but a recent visit revealed a refreshed menu, with even more options, including chicken and waffles, chicken kabobs, and fun Mickey floats.
The great thing about this place is that they have a soda machine that offers about 50 different syrup options, they have grab-and-go sandwiches and snacks plus they now serve breakfast! Breakfast options include smoked salmon bagel and fruit, French toast, and breakfast burritos!
Would you add any other restaurants to this list? Sound off in the comments!