I’m a WDW girl, only recently making my fourth visit to Disneyland, and I tend to prefer some attractions at the World because it’s what I remember as a child. However, the World has a lot to catch up in terms of quick service dining.
Disneyland has WDW beat here.
When you’re eating quick service at WDW, you usually have a few food options throughout all four parks that vary little. Pizza, burgers, chicken fingers, various sandwiches and salads. The only spot offering more variety in quick service dining is World Showcase at Epcot.
Now I’m not saying that quick service dining hasn’t improved at Walt Disney World, now with healthier options and vegetarian choices. But, as I’ve said, they’re lightyears behind in comparison to their pals on the West Coast.
So, why is Disneyland quick service dining SO much better?
- Fresher Ingredients
I mean, just look at this salad at the Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe on Main Street, U.S.A. in Disneyland. The basil vinaigrette was the perfect addition to this sweet salad. I felt that whenever I ordered any kind of fruits or vegetables at quick service restaurants at the Disneyland Resort, they tasted way fresher than those at WDW. This salad was filled with mixed greens, tomatoes, dried cranberries, spiced pecans and feta.
- Better themes
First of all, Cars Land at Disney California Adventure is one of the best-themed areas of any theme park I’ve ever visited. The Imagineers really brought their A game with this expansion.
The Cozy Cone Motel, based on Sally’s Cozy Cone Motel in Cars, feels like you actually stepped into the movie. The office. The lawn decorations. The occasional pal from Radiator Springs (the cars drive up and park here at various times). And, most importantly, the cones. Pop Cones (popcorn), Chili Cone Carne (chili served in a cone), ice cream cones, cones filled with pretzel bites, and, my personal favorite, the churro bites cone (pictured above). Plus, these souvenir Dinoco cups are too cute to even be real.
3. More healthy options
Though I have never eaten particularly healthy (why can’t I have fried chicken and cupcakes at every meal), I’ve been trying to recently. I felt like there were more options for healthy eating at DLR, especially beyond a salad. I love a salad as much as the next twently-something white girl, but they can get old. Fast.
The Paradise Garden Grill at Disney California Adventure, for example, serves kabobs, a great low-carb and low calorie meal.
Of course, Disneyland is in California, so they tend to make better decisions about preparing food than those of us in the South. But…
4. Plenty of not-so-healthy treats, too
When you’re on vacation, dessert is mandatory. Though I enjoy the quick service desserts at WDW, there aren’t a ton of options. Sure, there are macaroons in France at Epcot and Dole Whips (my forever favorite) at Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom, but quick service restaurants tend to offer cookies, carrot cake, and chocolate cake. There is some variance, but not a ton. This macaroon, however, was one of the best I’ve had. It was huge (I wrapped some up and saved it for later) and represented one of my favorite Disneyland attractions, the Matterhorn Bobsleds.
5. Better creativity and quality
A fried green tomato sandwich with mango slaw, remoulade, heirloom tomatoes and havarti cheese on multigrain bread — are you kidding me? These ingredients are more along the lines of an episode of Top Chef rather than a counter service restaurant in a theme park. This dish is original, and the ingredients were high-quality.
Who knew I had to go to all the way to California to get this Southern-inspired sammy? The FGT sandwich is available at the Hungry Bear Restaurant in the Critter Country area of Disneyland.
6. More options overall
These chicken tacos were fresh, yummy, and incredibly filling. Also, they were served on a real plate with guac at no extra charge!
Something I especially enjoyed is that I could get these tacos with a side of rice and beans, just rice, just beans, just roasted vegetables (pictured), roasted veggies with rice, and roasted vegetables with beans. WDW will usually let you sub out fries for carrot sticks or apple slices, but that’s about it. I enjoyed having more options. P.S. The roasted veggies were great!
Note: I think WDW and Disneyland are evenly matched as far as table service. Both are outstanding.
In summary: Disneyland quick service is like eating at Epcot throughout your entire trip, but somehow, with more options. Now, get your tail to Disneyland and eat every thing.