Top Five Historic Disneyland Restaurants You Can’t Miss
There are plenty of dining options to consider at Disneyland when it comes to your meals such as historic locations, high end dining in the Disneyland Resort hotels, quick-service dining, and more. Our top five list of Disneyland historic restaurants is here to help you decide which restaurants are rooted in the most Disney history. After all, Disneyland does hold the honor of being the first official Disney park and with that comes years of tradition and history.
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1. Blue Bayou
The Blue Bayou was once (and still is high on the list) the fanciest restaurant in Disneyland. When it first opened in 1967, it was common to see patrons dressed in their finest before dining in this establishment. No need to worry about a dress code today- it is common for people to come wearing their regular ‘park clothes' and feel right at home. I always, personally, think it's more fun to dress up a bit more for this experience but it's not required at all.
This iconic restaurant is located inside the famous Pirates of the Caribbean attraction in New Orleans Square. As guests dine on New Orleans inspired cuisine, you can enjoy watching the boats drift pass on their way to the attraction. The setting in the restaurant is that of a Louisiana inspired bayou with dim lighting and Southern charm. I recommend you give this restaurant a try at least one on your trip to enjoy the beautiful ambiance. Arrive early before your dining reservation and request a waterside table to get the best view of the boats drifting past.
Better yet, splurge on the Fantasmic! dining package to enjoy a meal at one of the most historic Disneyland restaurants and then enjoy front row reserved viewing for Fantasmic!
2. Carnation Cafe
Another famous eatery 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.
The Carnation Cafe was a bit different back in 1955 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.
Now the Carnation Cafe offers heartier dining options in addition to light lunch food including Walt Disney's favorite chili! Read our full dining review to Carnation Cafe to see the charm of one of the most historic Disneyland restaurants!
3. Coca Cola Refreshment Corner
Our next historic restaurant spot in Disneyland is another one that has been there since opening day in 1955 and that is the Coca Cola Refreshment Corner on Main Street USA. This is also the only restaurant building to retain its same name since opening day!
Today the Refreshment Corner serves a wider variety of lunch options like specialty hot dogs, chili, Mickey shaped pretzels, and Coca-Cola! Take the time to enjoy a break in this quaint area on Main Street USA.
4. Plaza Inn
Before the Plaza Inn was known for its Minnie & Friends character dining and fried chicken, it was known as The Red Wagon Inn on opening day in 1955. The restaurant served comfort foods then too all centered around the sponsorship of Swift and Company.
The restaurant was redesigned and named the Plaza Inn in 1965 where we have Walt's wife, Lillian, to thank for the beauty and intricate design of the restaurant.
The Plaza Inn is a great place to have a hearty dinner of their famous fried chicken or to enjoy brunch for their Minnie & Friends- Breakfast in the Park character dining option. The history and charm of the Plaza Inn makes it one of most historic Disneyland restaurants you cannot miss out on!
5. Carthay Circle
Now hear me out before you come to tell me this restaurant isn't historic like the others we've mentioned above! What makes Carthay Circle a contender for this list is the way it acts as a tribute to Disney history and I think that easily qualifies it as one of the historic Disneyland restaurants you cannot miss!
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.
Carthay Circle pays a lovely tribute to Walt Disney's legacy and history. Take the time to stroll around the restaurant to take in all the historic photographs and tributes to the film that started it all: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
Ready to Enjoy the Historic Disneyland Restaurants?
There is always a lot of information to consider before planning an Disneyland vacation. Make sure to spend time planning your days in the theme parks and become familiar with everything Disneyland has to offer. Don’t forget to subscribe to our FREE Deals Newsletter to stay on top of the current planning tips, strategies, and deals.
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
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Love the Blue Bayou, we ate there on our last visit in Sept. 2019. Next visit we will try Carthey Circle in California Adventure. My grandkids love Disneyland so much, as do we, and on our first night we always hit a restaurant in the Downtown Disney. We cannot wait to go back as soon as all this Covid 19 is over.