February 20, 2014

Have you ever had the smell of something delicious bring back a memory? Maybe it reminded you of Sunday dinners at grandma's or the perfect meal on special vacation? There is no doubt about it, food creates memories. Theme parks aren't always known as foodie destinations, but Disneyland isn't your typical theme park; it is an institution, and the food served inside the Happiest Place on Earth is an integral part of the visitor experience. If you are heading to Disneyland and want to start creating some fabulous memories of your own, start with these classics.

Churros: Growing up in Southern California, I didn't realize that there were actually people in this country who had never been exposed to the warm, crispy, cinnamon-sugary taste of heaven that is the churro. If you happen to belong to the "never had a churro club,'€ Disneyland is the perfect place to rescind your membership. These sweet treats can be found at food carts all over the park.

Photo credit: Flickr Punctuated

Corn Dogs: The corn dog cart (a.k.a.: The Little Red Wagon) at the end of Main Street seems to have an ever-present line of hungry patrons trailing behind it, and for good reason '€“ the corn dogs at Disneyland are the best you will find anywhere. There is just something about the flavor of their cornmeal batter and the juicy snap of the hot dog that keeps folks coming back for more, generation after generation. Luckily, The Little Red Wagon is not the only place you can find that iconic corn dog inside Disneyland Resort; Stage Door Cafe in Frontierland and Corn Dog Castle in Disney California Adventure both serve them.

Photo credit: Disney Parks Blog

Dole Whip: My most favorite frozen treat on the planet is the Dole Whip. To date, I have only been able to find this pineapple ice cream treat in three locations: at the Dole Plantation on Oahu, at the Magic Kingdom in Orlando and at the little shack outside the Enchanted Tiki Room near the entrance to Disneyland's Adventureland. " I must not be alone in my undying love for this bit of splendid soft serve serendipity because there is always a line hugging the path alongside the shack. On hot summer days, the wait can often be 30 minutes long. Is it worth it? Ask anyone who has a coveted dole whip in their possession. My guess is that the answer is almost always a resounding '€œYes!'€

Photo credit: Flickr ZakVTA

Monte Cristo Sandwich: Yeah, yeah, we all know that a deep-fried ham and cheese sandwich with berry dipping sauce is not exactly healthy, but you are vacation at the Happiest Place on Earth '€“ so why not live it up! Disney's version of the Monte Cristo is sinfully good. Two restaurants inside Disneyland serve it: Blue Bayou (lunch only) and Cafe Orleans, both located inside New Orleans Square. The sandwich is more expensive inside Blue Bayou but it comes with a fruit kabob, soup or salad and plenty of ambiance. If you opt to dine at Cafe Orleans, split your plate with a friend and order a side of pomme frites to go with your sandwich. These garlic and Cajun-spiced fries are splurge-worthy.

Photo credit: Disney Parks Blog

Beignets: Those who have had the pleasure of visiting Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans already know the powdered sugar joy of the beignet, but did you know that Disneyland has its own mouse-shaped version? You can find these decadent treats at Cafe Orleans or the Mint Julep Bar, both inside of New Orleans Square. Enhance the experience even more by dipping your Mickey beignet inside a cup of hot chocolate or a cafe mocha." 

Photo credit: Disney Parks Blog

Turkey legs: Embrace your inner caveman and fulfill your carnivorous desires. Disneyland's giant (we are talking as big as the head of a small child) smoked turkey legs are juicy (grab plenty of napkins), flavorful, portable and great for sharing. They can be found at three carts in the park: Edelweiss Snacks by the Matterhorn, Ship to Shore by the Mark Twain Riverboat and near the entrance to Frontierland.

Plaza Inn Specialty Chicken: It comes served with mashed potatoes, veggies and a buttermilk biscuit but the dedicated fans of this dish keep coming back for more because of the super star of the meal '€“ " the three crispy, cooked-to-perfection pieces of fried chicken. The colonel has nothing on Disney's winning combination of herbs and spices, which have made Plaza Inn Chicken addicts out of the thousands who bite into this dish year after year. Plaza Inn Specialty Chicken can be found at '€“ you guessed it '€“ the Plaza Inn.

Photo credit: Michelle McCoy

Mickey's Premium Ice Cream Bar: If you ask my kids, there is nothing more essential to a Disney day than ice cream. When the sun warms up the pavement and the mercury is rising, the Mickey Bar is their favorite treat to beat the heat. Who wouldn't love something with a chocolate shell, rich vanilla ice cream center, fun Mickey shape and the easy portability of this treat on a stick? You can find Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bars at ice cream stands all over the park. Oh, and rumor has it that passengers on Disney Cruises can enjoy all the Mickey Bars they can eat. Just don't tell my kids.

Cream Cheese-Filled Pretzel: What is better than a soft pretzel? A soft pretzel filled with sweetened cream cheese, of course! Sweet but not too sweet, it is a great snack to hold you over between meals. Those with a love of all things spicy will be happy to know there is a jalapeno cheese-filled pretzel as well. Both can be found at the Refreshment Corner on Main Street.

Matterhorn Macaroon: The largest landmark in all of Disneyland is the mighty, snow-capped Matterhorn. Besides serving as the backdrop for the popular bobsled roller coaster, it is also the inspiration for a very special macaroon served inside the Jolly Holiday Bakery on the edge of Main Street. This giant coconut macaroon is topped with a pointed peak of white chocolate snow. It's almost too pretty to eat but much too tasty to ignore." 
Photo credit: Disney Parks Blog

What's your favorite food in Disneyland Park? Share with us in the comments section below!"