Where we ate and stayed in Disneyland

Since we’ve been home for two weeks, I was wondering if I should even write this post or if this ship has already sailed, but figured it may be worth it. Many of you might be planning upcoming Disney trips, and I always love hearing about other bloggers’ experiences with dining and hotels. So even though it’s a little belated, better late than never? ๐Ÿ™‚

The girls  1 of 1

This trip to Disneyland was extra special for a few reasons: it was Liv’s first time, and my mom and nana were with us (4 generations in one spot!). The Pilot was also able to enjoy the vacation with us, which is always a special treat since he schedule varies and he travels often. This vacation was exactly how we like to do it: low-key and relaxing. If we’re going somewhere new, we’ll have a couple of must-do spots in mind, but never a specific agenda. Save for Miss Liv, we’d all been to Disneyland before, so there wasn’t anything we hadย to do. We just wanted to enjoy being there and spending time with each other.


Anabella  1 of 1

After checking out some reviews and asking for suggestions, we booked our rooms (one suite for us, and a double queen room for mom and nana) at The Anabella. It’s a cute boutique hotel walking distance from the parks -it took about 15 minutes to get there, which wasn’t bad at all!- but to be honest, we didn’t have the best experience. When we travel with Liv, we usually get a small suite so she has her own closed room to sleep. If she sleeps in the room with us, she can see us and thinks it’s party time alllll night long. Also, this way if she goes to bed early, we can still hang out, watch TV and order room service without disturbing her.

The “extra room” at the Anabella was like a large closet. No ventilation (fan or cooling system) and it was hot and stuffy when we checked in. The pack n’ play fit in the room -it also had a small daybed and TV- but we left the door open to let air circulate, which kind of defeated the purpose of getting a suite. When I asked the front desk if they had a fan or something we could borrow, they just said “no, sorry” and didn’t offer any ways to help. Mom and nana’s room also had air problems– their unit shut off every time they left the room. When someone came to check it, they said it was working properly and left. No one told us, until we checked out, that in order to keep the air unit on in their room was to put your key in a hole by the door. Our room didn’t have that capability, so it was less stuffy when we returned. While it was fairly clean and convenient, I don’t think we’d stay there again.


Our meals were the best while we were over there: bags of fresh kettle corn, quick casual stops, and more upscale dining adventures.

Some of the highlights:

Breakfast at Tangerine Grill in the hotel

Mickey pancakes  1 of 1

Not only was the service wicked fast, but the meals were fantastic. Also, maybe it’s a California thing, but my omelet had HALF AN AVOCADO on it. In Tucson, if you ask for avocado, they charge you $5 for a few sad slivers. Nope. Everything was fresh and delicious.

Omelet  1 of 1

(Crunchy spicy potatoes. I love you.)

Jamba Juice

Let me crawl out from under my rock to say that Jamba has amazing breakfast. I had never tried their oats and they are SO good- like apple pie meets oatmeal. We had breakfast there twice since it was fast and satisfying. Smoothies, oats and breakfast wraps– we were all happy kids.

Character breakfast at the Plaza Inn

Minnie bfast  1 of 1 8

Second to the singing babies on “It’s a Small World,” Liv’s favorite part about the trip was the chance to see her favorite characters, especially Minnie Mouse. (Even though once she got close to any characters she got starstruck and kind of weepy haha.) We thought it would be fun to book a character breakfast and decided on the Plaza Inn since Minnie hosts it along with at least 4 of her “friends” there at all times.

Plaza inn  1 of 1

The food was wonderful -any breakfast dish you could wish for, buffet-style- and we all loved it.

Minnie bfast  1 of 1 10

We ended up having lunch/dinner (aka “linner”) after Liv’s nap each day:

Naples in Downtown Disney (awesome salads and pizza)

Blue Bayou in Disneyland

Lunch  1 of 1

This restaurant is in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride and legendary for the ambience alone. If you want to dine here, make sure to get reservations in advance and still be prepared to wait a little. It’s pricey (entrees around $30) but WORTH IT. Everything we had was flavorful, cooked to perfection, and I loved being able to eat somewhere fancy that was also very kid-friendly. Liv went crazy for the salmon and veggies.

Lunch  1 of 1 2

Tortilla Jo’s at Downtown Disney

Usually when we travel, I hate getting Mexican food. I’m spoiled by our awesome choices here in Tucson and I feel like if I have the chance to try something different, I’d rather do that, since I have access to good Mexican food all the time. It was a late night, and this was one of the few dinner spots still open, so we decided to go for it. It was pretty amazing. Really good salsa,

pitchers of margaritas,

quick service -Disney definitely has it down to an art- and enchiladas that I inhaled like I’d never met an enchilada before.

Plus, they had someone making balloon animals, which Liv appreciated ๐Ÿ˜‰

Balloon  1 of 1 3

(Playing “hide and seek” in between salsa dips)

Catal Restaurant and Uva Bar

Two of the nights we were there, we went back to the hotel at the end of the night to give Livi her bath and put her to sleep. After she was crashed, mom and nana offered to hang out in our room while the Pilot and I went out for a drink and appetizers. It was nice to have a couple of vacation date nights! We walked to Downtown Disney and had drinks and appetizers at Catal Restaurant both nights, and while the drinks were ok -I had a lackluster Bloody Mary and the Pilot’s margarita was “meh”- the ahi tuna tacos and guacamole were fantastic.

I think the quality of the Disneyland resort foods is pretty impressive when you consider the large quantities that are produced each day!

Main st  1 of 1

My only real tip for a successful trip:

Go with people you love… and eat some kettle corn ๐Ÿ˜‰

Any favorite Disneyland restaurants or hidden tips/gems?

Where’s your favorite vacation destination?



More: Disneyland Adventures

Roadtrippin’ with a toddler

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  1. Sara @ LovingOnTheRun on July 30, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    The food looks delicious! What a wonderful trip it looks like you all had! I can’t wait to one day be able to take my future children there and see how much fun they have! You are such a great mom!

  2. Candice on July 30, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    Oh my goodness…I can’t even stand it! The pic of you three with Liv’s little mickey ears at breakfast is just too stinking cute!!!!

  3. Jennifer on July 30, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    Ack! Bummer about the Anabella! I totally commented and suggested it to you when you did a post about it We always stay there and have never had any problems before. We usually get the kid suite which has the bunkbed room and another room. Sorry you had a bad experience there ๐Ÿ™ But glad to see that everything else went pretty swell!

  4. Lisa on July 30, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    Oh, now I want to try Jamba Juice Breakfast, sounds awesome.
    That may just be the cutest balloon “animal” I’ve ever seen. It’s so adorable. But, I must say, Liv is the cutest in this post with her little ears.

  5. Miranda @ Miranda Runs on July 30, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    We stayed at the Mariott Anaheim and it was AMAZING. It was about a 20-25 minute walk (we walked by Anabella’s!) but the rooms were great, the pool was amazing (it even had a splash zone for kids) and the service was excellent. We ate at the Plaza Inn one evening and it was really good! We ate at Naples one night too

  6. Kayla on July 30, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    My best friend lives an hour away from Disneyland so we’ve spent a lot of time at the parks over the past few years. We love the Italian pasta restaurant in California adventure (they also have a special option which guarantees you a spot for world of color). We prefer eating dinner outside the park at Downtown Disney, far more options than the usual chicken tenders in the parks.

    We’ve stayed at the Disneyland Hotel because I’ve always dreamed of staying at a Disney resort hotel. It was convenient and had touches of disney magic that made it worth while. We’ve also stayed at the best western which is literally across the street from Disney so still super convenient and walking distance.

    I recently went to Disney World with my boyfriend and was super impressed with the food, especially how they handle allergies. People don’t give Disney enough credit, but there’s definitely more to disney food than greasy amusement park meals!

  7. Melissa @TryingtoHeal on July 30, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    Ah, haven’t been to disneyland in years but I know of every place that you ate! I’ve always wanted to eat at Blue Bayou in Pirates of the Caribbean but never was smart enough to make reservations! Glad you all had a great time with Liv!

  8. Amy @ www.funfoodiefamily.wordpress.com on July 30, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    Little girlies always look so cute in those ears!

  9. Karissa on July 30, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    I’m sorry you had such a… weird!… experience with your hotel. But it certainly sounds like that didn’t stop you guys from having an AMAZING time!! I have been to Disneyland at least 5 times and STILL haven’t made it to Blue Bayou… must do for next time. Ha ha I honestly don’t even know the name of it but there is a little Mexican themed restaurant in Frontierland that my brother has INSISTED we eat at every time we go. I too am spoiled by awesome Mexican food (spent 6+ years in ABQ, NM) and am still surprised that it is actually pretty good! Lol not that it’s real Mexican food but I love their taco salad with fajita chicken. Plus, almost NOBODY pays it any attention cause it’s tucked away, so it’s always quiet and a nice lunch break from the madness while still being surrounded by Disney.

  10. Michelle @ Peanut Butter and Running Shoes on July 30, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    I was in DIsney World earlier this year….the food is amazing.

  11. Jackie on July 30, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    I love Disney so much… Now I wanna go!!!

  12. CourtStar @ StarSystemz on July 30, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    I love Disneyland, I had a pass from the time I was 6 years old till the time I was 18 years old! Blue Bayou is a favorite of mine, I love the food and if you ask they have tons of dairy free ice cream, which is a total bonus for me ๐Ÿ™‚ My favorite spot is the GardenWalk which is down the street from disneyland and has more restaurants and a move theatre that has a bar, SO MUCH FUN! I also like the tortilla factory at California Adventure, they hand out bags of free tortillas which are great + a perfect snack after walking all day long! Glad you enjoyed your trip! Love + Shine CourtStar

  13. Steph @ Steph's Miles on July 30, 2013 at 11:43 pm

    Cute! I consider myself a Disney World expert, since I live in Florida, but Disneyland just sounds like a whole new world for me (excuse the pun) with all the different dining options. I just returned from a vacation in Key West and I want to go back!

  14. Julie @ Better Life with Burgers on July 30, 2013 at 11:44 pm

    This post is so fun to read! I have lived in LA for ten years and haven’t been to Disneyland in a few years. I agree that Disney has quite a few good options for such a touristy spot, and I’m so glad you guys had a wonderful time!

  15. Ksenija @ Health Ninja on July 31, 2013 at 12:23 am

    I’ve actually never been to Disneyland, though Paris is just a 4 hour drive from where I live. Liv looks so adorable with her Minnie Mouse ears!

  16. Jazial on July 31, 2013 at 1:27 am

    Thanks for the tips Gina – I’m heading there in three weeks so your advice is really timely! Can’t wait to try the tuna tacos at Catal after all the cotton candy I’m sure we’ll be snacking on ๐Ÿ˜‰

  17. Julie on July 31, 2013 at 2:14 am

    Totally a California thing. When I lived in North Carolina, they would always suggest canned pineapple slices instead.

  18. Lucie on July 31, 2013 at 3:06 am

    I LOVE the Mickey Mouse Pancakes! And Livi with her ears is just adorable.
    Sounds you had some really great food, I love places with good breakfast!

  19. Karen on July 31, 2013 at 6:24 am

    Thank you for the Jamba Juice info., there is one in Henderson,Nevada close to were we are staying and I hope to find time to give it a try before leaving.
    Your honesty on reviews is appreciated.

  20. Jess on July 31, 2013 at 6:37 am

    Sounds like such a great trip! Liv is adorable in those ears! Sorry about the hotel, I find sleeping arrangements with the little ones tough in hotels.

  21. Karen @ Runner Girl Eats on July 31, 2013 at 8:31 am

    Disney seriously has the best service! Everything is so perfect there. Love it.

  22. Goreti Tada on July 31, 2013 at 10:40 am

    You”ve got to try the vegetable gumbo at the ROYAL STREET VERANDA. It’s freaking delicious!

    • Fitnessista on July 31, 2013 at 11:08 am

      i’ve had it before! SO GOOD

  23. Lora on July 31, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    Great reviews! Always in need of more dining options at DL.

    We have two young daughters and swear by Embassy Suites/Garden Grove when we go to DL. It’s always clean, with a great free breakfast in the morning. The mini kitchen is a huge help, as is the suite set up. Our daughters love the koi and the animatronic lion in the lobby area, and I’m a fan of the fitness center. Well-ventilated with nice cardio machines.

    We typically drive to DL since we usually have free parking thanks to AAA but the shuttle stop is right outside the lobby if you don’t want to walk. I highly recommend this hotel!

  24. Tamara on July 31, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    My son calls the meal between lunch and supper…slunch ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. Sarah on August 1, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    The avocado portion is definitely a California thing! Restaurants are never stingy with it – it’s the best ever! Glad you had a great vacation with your family!

    • Fitnessista on August 1, 2013 at 8:13 pm

      that made me ridiculously happy ๐Ÿ™‚

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