The Carthay Circle restaurant in Disney's California Adventure is known as being one of the most upscale and fine dining options offered in the Disneyland theme parks. Carthay Circle now easily rivals Blue Bayou when it comes to fine dining locations in Disneyland. Outside of the Disneyland hotels, of course!
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Carthay Circle is meant to transport you back to Hollywood in the 1930's at the height of the cinematic Golden Age. The restaurant is inspired by the Carthay Circle Theatre, the Los Angeles theater that premiered Walt Disney's first feature-length animated movie “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” in 1937. The design of the two-story dining space is inspired by the original Carthay Circle Theatre and many of the interior spaces are designed after the few pictures of the original Carthay Circle Theatre that still exist. Many of the designs of the lights and fixtures are authentic and were manufactured by the same companies that produced the originals back in 1926.
This a restaurant that is a must see for any Walt Disney fan! Keep reading to see our most recent review of Carthay Circle at Disney's California Adventure Park from our visit from August 2019.
Carthay Circle Dining Review
Our recent visit to the Carthay Circle in Disney's California Adventure Park was a magical experience and a celebration with a group of friends visiting Disneyland for the first time. We had a group of four adults and two children. I definitely felt that children were easily welcomed at this restaurant, it is Disneyland after all! I did give my son a nice little refresh on his table manners though when we sat at the table and both the kids in our group did remarkably well with the upscale experience. You can tell the servers are used to children dining there and there were plenty of kids seated in our immediately vicinity.
Our service was top notch from the moment we entered to the moment we left. We checked in first downstairs in the lounge and waited about 10 minutes for our table. Once our table was ready, we were led upstairs to the dining areas. I could have easily spent an hour walking around the restaurant taking in all the details and pictures.
You will find pictures of Walt Disney all over the walls from the downstairs to the hallways leading up and the adjoining dining rooms. I advise taking some time after your meal to just wander around to take it all in- don't rush this experience.
There are three private dining areas: the five-seat Hyperion and Buena Vista rooms, named for the streets on which two of Walt Disney’s studios have been located, and the 12-seat Premiere Room where Snow White is also paid tribute to. The chandelier above the table has crown fixtures to represent the evil queen and a poison apple hangs from the bottom to represent the story.
We were led to one of the dining rooms off the main room, notably one that had more children in it than the center room, but it was still a great seating area.
Once we were seated our waitress brought us our menus and went over any questions we had. On our visit they were currently serving their summer dinner menu. Before your visit you may want to look at the Disneyland Dining website to see their most recent menu as it will change seasonally.
As always, traveling with a picky eater in my cohort can be a challenge for some restaurants such as these. This is the main reason we've never tried Carthay Circle until this point! I was realistic after viewing the menu, knowing my son wouldn't eat hardly anything on it, and fed him before we arrived. Pick your battles, right? And the place (at least, for me) to have a battle is not in the Carthay Circle restaurant.
One of my friends in our group ordered champagne for the table and the presentation for this was pretty stellar. It was everything you'd expect from an upscale restaurant from the bottle opening, the tasting, and the provided ice bucket.
We were given plenty of time at our table to enjoy some of the champagne before the food arrived. In fact, I felt that the entire dinner was timed perfectly and we did not feel rushed at all despite how busy they looked when we walked past the other dining areas. I appreciated this as it was my first experience inside.
They will bring your table bread and butter to start. I was not a fan of this bread and neither was my son- it's a wholegrain bread and pretty tough to chew. We liked it better dipping it in our soup. I notice it was largely untouched by most of our group so it was not too popular with us.
The kids menu portions were decently sized- I had to help my son finish off his soup. It was a fairly large bowl and was enough to fill him up.
I had the Roasted Peach Salad and I absolutely loved it! I'm not a big salad person but this was not an average salad. The combination of the peach vinaigrette and the goat cheese was heavenly. I'd highly recommend it. When I mentioned I was a vegetarian, our sever was ready with a plethora of options for me to try from off the menu which I appreciated. But I was happy with my salad!
One of the members of our group ordered these and they tasted just like regular mashed potatoes. My picky eater of a son loved them! If you have picky eaters that like mashed potatoes, you can't go wrong with these.
All the carnivores in our group loved their meals and we found all the food very filling. Which is perfect when you're splurging on your dining experience!
The only dessert we ordered was one of the options from the kids menu.
Overall, I found the cost of the kids menu options to be extremely reasonable and on par with other kids meal options in the park. I appreciated this since I was unsure what my son was going to eat and it was nice to know there's not a large financial commitment when it comes to the kids menu.
As for the adult menu, we all found the portions to be reasonably sized and priced for the quality of the service and food we received. This is a higher end dining experience so that is reflected in the price. But it is also reflected in the quality of the service and the food which is important to remember.
I've often heard people question how kid friendly this restaurant is and we found it to be extremely kid friendly. We saw kids in every dining area we passed and in the lounge. The waitress we had was pleasant and extremely chatty with our group and the kids we had with us. I wouldn't hesitate to dine here with your kids- they are very welcome. It might be nice to treat yourself to a nice dining experience if you don't get to do much of that anymore now that you have kids. I know for me it's the first time I've dined somewhere this nice in quite awhile.
I'd highly recommend the Carthay Circle to all groups whether you're traveling solo, with adults, or with children. The atmosphere of this restaurant and the history it showcases is a must see for every Walt Disney fan.
Ready to Enjoy the Carthay Circle?
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You can discover more about planning your trip to Disneyland from these links:
- California Adventure Touring Strategy: Guide to Maximize Your Mornings
- Disneyland Morning Touring Strategy: Guide to Maximize Your Mornings
- How to Plan Your Disneyland Trip
- Lamplight Lounge Dining Review
- 40+ Places to Find Cheap Food in Disneyland