Mornings at Disneyland can be hectic. Even before you enter the park itself, you’re likely to have waited in lines for parking, for boarding the trams, for buying tickets, the list goes on. If you’re a Disney hotel guest looking to make use of an Extra Magic Hour, that rush out the door is all the more chaotic.
You might be tempted to gulp down some hotel room coffee and break out the granola bars. Breakfast often gets overlooked at Disneyland and California Adventure but there are some great options for every type of budget, schedule, and group.
Whatever your needs, this is a guide to finding the best breakfast at Disneyland. Taking the time to eat a delicious, nutritious breakfast is so helpful in starting your long and busy day off right.
Character Breakfasts at Disneyland Resort
One of the best ways to add a little magic to your meal is to book a Character Breakfast. It’s not a budget meal, but you’ll leave well-fed and full of memories. Kids especially love meeting their favorite cartoon characters and this experience is great to ensure some one-on-one time with Minnie Mouse or Goofy (which means avoiding meet-and-greet lines later in the day).
There are four breakfast options for dining with characters at Disneyland, but a new addition is being added in spring of 2019. All experiences but one take place at various resort hotels, while the last is inside Disneyland park itself, at the Plaza Inn. You do not need to be staying a hotel to make a reservation (and reservations are highly recommended for character meals!).
The current character breakfasts are all pretty comparable in terms of price and characters you get to meet. Featuring a range of animal friends (Mickey, Goofy, Minnie, Pluto, the Winnie the Pooh characters, Chip and Dale), adults can expect to pay about $40-$45 for these all-you-can-eat buffets, with kids eating for $20-$25. Each meal does character meeting a little differently, with some opportunities for taking pictures right as you enter, but usually characters come by the table for hugs, chats, and photos. You can even get them to sign your autograph book.
Minnie and Friends – Breakfast in the Park
This is the only character breakfast within the actual theme parks, and you can find it at the Plaza Inn at the end of Main Street, USA. Overlooking the castle, this Victorian inn is all decorated in gorgeous pink, white, and gold, perfect for feeling like the belle of the ball.
The breakfast buffet is pretty standard, alongside the classic Mickey waffles and a made-to-order omelet station. It’s the cheapest of the character breakfasts by a few bucks per person, with the highest amount of character interactions. You’ll definitely meet the host herself, Minnie Mouse, and a big cohort of regularly changing pals.
You might even meet some movie characters like Captain Hook or the Fairy Godmother, depending on the day.
The wide selection of characters and the central location are the highlights of this experience, as you can step right out from breakfast, ready to hit the parks. If you make an early enough reservation, you can even enter the park before it officially opens, getting a head start on the rest of the guests.
Tom over at Disney Tourist Blog ranks this as his number one Disneyland character meal. This restaurant also does a dinner character meal, and is located at the Disneyland Hotel. Goofy’s Kitchen is a really fun experience, with unique and interesting food offerings like pb&j pizza, oatmeal créme brulée, and monkey bread.
Like the Minnie and Friends, the one character you will be sure to meet is the character who “hosts” the breakfast, which is Goofy in this case. The other potential meets are classic Disney personalities like Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, and Chip and Dale, who are dressed as sous chefs and waiters.
Mickey’s Tales of Adventure at the Storyteller Cafe
The Storyteller Cafe is at the Grand Californian, and true to the hotel’s rustic, National Park vibe, this breakfast experience features Mickey and friends dressed as frontier explorers complete with hiking boots and cargo vests.
The buffet food selections are more up-scale than at Goofy’s or Minnie’s, featuring smoked salmon on bagels, quiches, breakfast nachos, loaded potatoes, and decadent desserts. The drinks are a highlight here too: for an additional fee, you can order cocktails or “mimosa flights”. This might be a good lunch option as well, as they offer brunch until 2pm on the weekends.
Donald Duck’s Seaside Breakfast
Fan-favorite character Stitch often appears at this breakfast at Paradise Pier Hotel, making it a rare opportunity to meet him. The PCH Grill is less well-known than other restaurants, making it easier to get reservations, but still has great food.
Loaded chilaquiles, stuffed French toast, and a parfait bar all take this dining option to the next level. This meal features the smallest amount of character interactions, usually limited to Donald, Daisy, Minnie, and Stitch in their finest beachwear.
Disney Princess Breakfast Adventures
Disneyland has just stepped up their game. Completely different from any of the previous meals, this is truly an experience, letting little girls and boys go on an interactive adventure with their favorite fairytale heroines. It will take place at the elegant Napa Rose, the fine dining restaurant at the Grand Californian.
From what press releases have revealed, for the price of $125 per adult or child (subject to change), this will be a full three-course meal with a starter, main course, and dessert.
The food offerings, although advertised as breakfast, seem to be more suited to a lunch menu, with beef sliders for kids and braised short ribs for adults. Disney Princesses will be the featured attraction, not only meeting with their adoring crowds but engaging in activities that are themed around each different princess.
Several of these princess meals are popular at the Walt Disney World resort, but this will be a one-of-a-kind opportunity at the original California park.
In most of these meals, PhotoPass is available so you can purchase the professionally taken photos by Disney Cast Members, but plenty of opportunity will be given to take your own and there is no obligation to buy the package.
Starbucks operates four locations on Disneyland property so getting your frappuccino fix alongside a quick bit for breakfast is not a problem. Market House is located on Main Street, USA in Disneyland while the California Adventure Starbucks is called the Fiddler, Fifer, and Practical Cafe and is on Buena Vista Street.
Both cafes have a lot going for them as breakfast options because of their reliable menu and location near the main entrance of their respective parks. You’ll be able to get the range of Starbucks drinks, egg sandwiches, wraps, and pastries almost as soon as you enter, which are sure to please a wide range of guests.
It is worth noting that, similar to some airports, Starbucks locations in the park spike their prices, meaning you’ll pay 10-20% more per item than at a non-Disney location. But since you’ll be going right past Market House to get to the rest of Disneyland, the convenience might be worth the pocket change.
Other quick service restaurants for breakfast at Disneyland include:
- Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe, on Main Street, USA, has a wide selection of pastries, coffees, and sandwiches.
- Galactic Grill in Tomorrowland, features a more limited selection but has a good breakfast burrito and fun French toast sticks.
- Red Rose Taverne in the middle of Fantasyland, has Beauty and the Beast French flair and offers the most interesting breakfast of the quick service places with a garden veggie hash and gourmet brioche breakfast sandwich.
The options at California Adventure are:
- Schmoozies, Hollywoodland, for grabbing a healthy, fruity, smoothie breakfast.
- Flo’s V8 Cafe is in Carsland, so you can easily nab those FastPasses for Radiator Springs Racers before settling in to some breakfast tamales or brioche French toast.
Breakfast hours vary, but they usually serve until 10:30 or 11:00. If you’re really pushed for time, order ahead on the Disneyland App Mobile Ordering Service, and it’ll be ready when you arrive.
Slow Start Mornings
If you’re looking to take your time eating a table service breakfast, while enjoying a view, River Belle Terrace overlooking the Rivers of America and Main Street USA’s Carnation Cafe are your best bets. Both are charmingly Americana, with the Terrace having a elegant Southern grandeur and the Cafe decorated in deep Victorian reds, the sun shining on the umbrellas of its outdoor patio.
These are both good middle-range dining options as far as price goes. They’re sit-down and feel very special due to the quality of the food and the surroundings, but with large plates between $10 and $20, they’re less expensive than character breakfasts.
The River Belle Terrace, it is rumored, was the favorite breakfast spot of Walt himself and it’s easy to see why. The dining rooms are sunny and full of charm, right down to the floral wallpaper.
Everything on the menu has some of that Southern flavor. For instance, candied pecans and pecan butter smothering a skillet of monkey bread, Becky Thatcher’s fried green tomatoes, or the Southern-fried bone-in pork chop. Reservations might be recommended, but it’s still very possible to eat here if you don’t have one. Grabbing a FastPass for Indiana Jones or Haunted Mansion and then coming here to eat is a great way to make use of time.
With its castle-view location, Carnation Cafe is a great option for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, with people especially raving about the apple granola pancakes. There’s a range of hearty and lighter options with American breakfast classics like Eggs Benedict, pancakes, and waffles.
Breakfast at Downtown Disney and Resort Hotels
Of course, if you haven’t entered the park yet, you might want to eat beforehand. Downtown Disney is often overlooked but boasts a ton of breakfast options. To save time, you could grab coffee and muffins from one of the Starbucks while another member of the group waits in the ticket line. There are several other chains like Earl of Sandwich and La Brea Bakery.
Beignets are a super-popular New Orleans Square snack, but you don’t actually have to enter the park to get these pillowy fried doughnuts! The Express window at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen can give you a bag to go, complete with powdered sugar. They also offer breakfast burritos and more substantial food.
There are several restaurants at the Disneyland resort hotels that are more tailored for adults, although kids are welcome. The Disneyland Hotel has both Steakhouse 55, a luxe Hollywood-inspired affair, and kid-friendly Tangaroa Terrace, which has a casual Polynesian theme.
As you might imagine, you can indeed order steak and eggs for breakfast at Steakhouse 55, as well as pork belly chilaquiles, or a German apple pancake if you’re not feeling meaty. Tangaroa Terrace is all about the island flavors, featuring bananas, pineapple, coconut, açai, and Hawaiian pulled pork. The Grand Californian has a to-go option including Mickey Waffles at White Water Snacks.
Making It Work for You
The great thing about Disneyland is they offer tons of choices so you can customize your own schedule. You can choose an elaborate feast with Disney princesses or Mouse Ear pancakes with your child’s favorite Mickey and Friends character, but you can also do simple comfort food that you know will keep the whole gang going all day.
There’s no right way to do it. From granola bar breakfasts to a big plate of steak and eggs, you’re in charge of choosing how your day starts off.
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