Best of all, Disney is paying more attention than ever to the trend of adults loving the park, and the food is both continuing with tradition (see Dole Whip), and innovative with their new restaurants that even feature wine.
That goes without mentioning the elusive Club 33, which is literally our goal in life to visit or become members of. Either way. It's the forbidden fruit that we just can't stop thinking about. But I digress.
The Disney food classic must-haves are not a short list for me.
Dole Whip, a mint julep in New Orleans Square, a Mickey Mouse shaped Dove ice cream bar at the food carts, a giant pickle, a bread bowl of either gumbo or clam chowder in the to-go restaurant just above Pirates, and a chicken skewer at the Bengal Barbecue in Adventure Land. It never fails that when I take these bad boys into a ride line (the best way to pass your time in line other than with Disney trivia games and planning your next ride), I always get asked where I got it. The bright orange tropical sauce is tangy and sweet without being overly so of either, and the green onion really makes the flavors come together. Get two.
An unusual one is actually a part of a tour. The aforementioned Club 33 is accessible to anyone, ANYONE, on the Walk in Walt's Footsteps tour. It may only be for a minute or two as you enter the lobby, but it's sacred ground for any Disney lover. Formerly Walt's apartment during construction and a private club designed to entertain celebrities and dignitaries, it's been remodeled into an even more opulent glory. It comes with a lunch that is better than you'd think with a few options of sandwiches and fruit.
Dole Whip Float - the perfect vacation in a not-too-fussy plastic cup with little umbrella. This little gem is available at the Disneyland Hotel coffee shop with coconut rum if you're so inclined.
Our whole family at the park enjoying a surprise Mickey sighting on Main Street, USA.
The Walk in Walt's Footsteps tour - where you can enter (but not dine at) the storied Club 33. It was a perfect end to a long walking tour that helped us walk off some of our calories for venturing out of the park for our favorite In-N-Out burgers.
Nothing beats these.
A wonderful dining spot that few people know about - just past the Mark Twain Riverboat landing is a quiet, secluded spot by the water to enjoy your food that is protected by a wooden fence and up a small flight of stairs. It's quite the respite on a crowded park day.
A classic that requires some planning ahead is dining at the Blue Bayou.
Everyone who goes to the park sees this restaurant when they ride the Pirates of the Carribean as you launch your boat and as you arrive back at the docks, and it's just stunning. It's indoors, but Disney Magic makes you think you're outdoors in the Lousiana Bayou at night. Having lived there for several years, it really does capture the details of bayou living well - right down to the insect/animal sounds. The lighting is festive and romantic, and the food is delicious. Admittedly, you're there more for the ambiance more than the food, but what Disney trip could be complete without some more kitschy dining options?