Among the many eateries on Main Street U.S.A. the one that holds such high prominence with Walt Disney fans is the Carnation Cafe. The Carnation Cafe is one of the original restaurants of the Disneyland Resort has been open since the opening day of the resort on July 17th 1955.
Carnation Cafe History
The appearance of our beloved Carnation Cafe was a bit different back in 1955 though as it originally opened as an ice cream parlor that also offered light lunch food along with the Carnation ice-cream that it was sponsored by. I came across this really interesting vintage menu on the Disney Food Blog:
It's always neat to look back on a piece of Disney history! This is one of the reasons that I think the Carnation Cafe still holds such popularity with park guests. It's the one place I always want to take any first time visitors to the park because of its rich history and nostalgia. And of course, where you can find Walt's favorite chili!
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Keep reading to see our dining experience at this iconic location at Disneyland in August 2019 to see how a casual lunch at this eatery looks like in our own present time.
Carnation Cafe Dining Review
This restaurant is pretty popular so like always, I recommend securing your reservation in advance. We've been lucky with spur of the moment decisions to eat here when in the park and have been able to get a reservation even just a few days out. But if the Carnation Cafe is on your top list of restaurants then I recommend making that advance reservation so you know you have your spot.
Be prepared to wait for a table even if you show up at the time of your reservation. Each time we've eaten at the Carnation Cafe on our past few visits we always had to wait at least 15 minutes until they were ready to seat us. They will give you a buzzer after you check in and you can hang out on the street or in the lobby until your table is ready.
When you check in you can give preference for indoor or outdoor seating. Keep in mind that one preference over the other may end up in a longer wait so verify with the hostess before you make your selection if that's an issue. I've eaten both outside and inside and usually I prefer the outside seating. Even on hot days the amount of shade provided is plentiful and the outside seating is really pretty.
Since we were so hungry and the restaurant was busy we decided to take the first available seating and were given indoor seating. After we were seated they brought our menus which usually remain the same for most times of the year. Sometimes for seasonal events and celebrations the Carnation Cafe will get an additional seasonal dish or dessert so it's worth looking at at their menu online at the Disneyland website.
Disneyland's Carnation Cafe Lunch Menu
Disneyland Carnation Cafe Kids Menu
Kids menuThey always let me substitute the fruit for the fries for the kids meal here which is a nice bonus. Especially if you have a kid on the older side but that still won't eat off the adult menu. They're always pretty flexible here on substitutions from my experience.
Our group stuck with plain ole water after a long day of walking in the heat so we didn't get any exciting drinks to take pictures of. The milkshakes here are to die for though, make sure you get one on your visit.
It didn't take long for them to place our orders and to get our food. The service here moves fast once you're seated!
Hands down, this is my favorite place to get a veggie burger. The vegan chipotle-mayonnaise is amazing and definitely the best part! I'm not vegan so I add cheese to mine but if you're vegan, this entire sandwich is vegan friendly.
The other members in our party loved their dishes- especially the Homemade Meatloaf which was one of Walt's favorites! Everyone enjoyed their food and felt the prices were reasonable compared to most of the other restaurants in the resort.
Overall, I highly recommend the Carnation Cafe as one of the most nostalgic places to eat in Disneyland. The atmosphere of Main Street U.S.A. is prominent while you dine which makes for a memorable vacation experience. If you decide to eat here after dark, I urge you to get a table outside so you can take in all the beautiful lights surrounding the patio.
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