Back during my trip to D23 Expo and the Disneyland Resort, my friend Adam and I had the opportunity to dine at the beautiful Carthay Circle Restaurant in Disney California Adventure (DCA) park. Designed after the famous Carthay Circle Theatre (where Snow White and the Seven Dwarves premiered), this signature dining restaurant is located on Buena Vista Street at the entrance to the park. In addition to having some of the best cuisine in the Disneyland Resort area, diners can book a special package which includes a specially-priced three-course meal and access to an exclusive viewing section for World of Color, DCA’s nighttime show. It is this dining package that Adam and I took part in, and I wanted to share our experience with you all.
First off, reservations are a must, especially with the special package. I made the reservation when the window opened up two months prior. A couple of weeks later, there was a question about possibly changing days around at the parks. However, there was no way to reschedule this reservation to any other day during the trip… So we ended up keeping plans the way they were.
As for the ambiance of Carthay Circle… it is beautiful. We didn’t get to spend a lot of time in the lounge as they seated us almost immediately upon our arrival for our reservation. Walking up the stairs to the restaurant and passing a giant photo of Walt Disney and Shirley Temple, you knew it was going to be special. We were seated in the main dining room, but there are also smaller, more private room scattered about. The only downside? The men’s room was smaller than I would have thought would be needed for that size restaurant. The couple of times I was using the facilities, there was always a line for it.
For the dining part of this package, each diner could choose from the provided menu an appetizer, an entree, and a dessert. Bread service and non-alcoholic drinks were also included in the price, which was $62 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Our total was a little less with the use of an Annual Passholder discount, but after all was said and done, each of us spent roughly $70 each for the meal.
Now, some may think that is a lot for a meal… and I would agree with you, except that this meal ranks as one of the best that I have ever had at a Disney Park. For the appetizer, I enjoyed a nice salad which included a delicious dressing and anchovies. Adam had a tomato broth based soup, which he enjoyed. For the entree, my rib eye melted in my mouth and was the best piece of steak I have had out in a long long time. Adam’s lamb was cooked beautifully and very tasty. For dessert we got one of each of the offerings (him chocolate and myself cheesecake) and shared. Both top notch desserts, expectant of Disney. Great food all around, and nothing that was even remotely lackluster.
In addition, that $70 gave us more time to enjoy DCA before the late showing of World of Color. Instead of having to wait in long lines and fight crowds to see the show, we walked up 1/2 hour before showtime and gained entrance to a private viewing area. This area was not crowded at all, and gave up mobility to walk around and enjoy the sights of Paradise Pier as it got ready for the show. When the show started, our elevated viewing platform gave us a (mainly) unobstructed view of the show, which we both enjoyed. It was the first time Adam saw World of Color, and the first time I saw this version (the only other version I saw was the special edition for the 60th Anniversary), so it was great that we didn’t have to fight crowds to see it.
That night, I also ran into some friends who, unbeknownst to any of us, we’re also dining at Carthay Circle and doing the World of Color Dining Package. While they chose to see the earlier showing that evening, they agreed that the meal and the package as a whole was well worth it.
Would I do it again? In a heartbeat. Both the foodie and the Disney-fanatic in me agree that the value is there, no question.
During this vacation, I also took part in two other dining packages: Blue Bayou Restaurant with the Main Street Electrical Parade, and Hungry Bear Restaurant with Fantasmic!, both located in Disneyland. How did those experiences go? Tune in later this week to find out.
Did you ever dine at Carthay Circle Restaurant? What were your thoughts on the experience? Let me know in the comments below