- Not only are the Disney parks known for their innovative rides and attractions, but vacationers from all over the globe also get to enjoy world-class dining options when they visit Disneyland and Walt Disney World.
- From iconic theme park snacks like Mickey bars and turkey legs to elevated global cuisines from five-star restaurants, there’s something for everyone to enjoy during a day at the parks.
- INSIDER spoke with 11 chefs and one restaurateur to see what they like to eat in between rides on Splash Mountain, and yes, several of them chow down on churros, just like you do.
No matter which coast you’re riding Splash Mountain on, you’ll find a vast array of food options to enjoy when dining at Disney, from iconic theme park snacks like Mickey bars and turkey legs to elevated cuisine from five-star restaurants.
INSIDER spoke with 10 chefs and one restaurateur to see what they like to eat in between rides on the Haunted Mansion, and yes, several of them chow down on churros, just like you do.
One chef, a huge Disney fan, simply can’t resist the Giant Turkey Leg.
Chef AJ Voytko, the executive chef at Terrane Italian Kitchen + Bar in Portland, Oregon, said that the smoked turkey leg is an “absolute must when visiting the parks,” which can be found at all six of Disney’s North American parks.
Voytko spent his early culinary career in southern California, making a point to enjoy the salty, savoury snack item anytime he’s back in Disneyland or Disney’s California Adventure.
This celebrity chef sticks to the “tried and true classics,” snacking his way throughout the parks.
“My favourite things about them are that they’re easiest to eat while getting around the park. I love sticking to tried and true classics in terms of theme park snacking. My other favourites are cotton candy, cheeseburgers, fries, churros, and anything from Candy Palace!”
Several chefs mentioned churros as their all-time favourite Disney snack.
Edward Huang, the chef, and co-founder of Zai Lai in New York City says that churros are his favourite food, hands down, and told INSIDER, “My first time eating one of them ever was at Disneyland in Anaheim. I had an annual pass in high school and made sure to get them every time. It’s still my favourite thing to eat there – they’re delicious and I love the crunchiness.”
Churros aren’t the only classic Disney snack Malarkey loves.
“I just participated in the Disneyland Food & Wine Festival, and it’s always exciting to try the bites that come to life on the Culinary Stage at the happiest place on earth,” he told INSIDER, adding that “when the festival isn’t going on,” he loves noshing on the hand-dipped corn dogs from The Red Wagon, Mickey Beignets from the Mint Julep Bar, and the fried pickles from Carnation Café, all located within the Disneyland park.
One chef loves the gluten-free churros and praises Disney’s allergy-friendly offerings.
Katie Moseman, chef and author of “Gluten-Free World Tour Cookbook,” lives less than an hour from Disney World and visits the parks nearly every weekend. She told INSIDER, “My absolute favourite food is the gluten-free churros available at Nomad Lounge inside Disney’s Animal Kingdom park.
“Disney’s food allergy program is world-class, and well-known in the food allergy community, making it a dream destination for those who (like me) suffer from food allergies and intolerances.”
A chef at the top-rated Disney World resort loves the offerings at Epcot’s Canada pavilion.
Scott Hunnel serves as executive chef at Victoria & Albert’s, a five-star restaurant located at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, and when he spends time in nearby Epcot, he beelines right for the Canada pavilion.
“Le Cellier Steakhouse at Epcot’s Canada pavilion has two of my favourite dishes: the Wild Mushroom Beef Filet with Truffle Butter and the Canadian Cheddar Cheese and Bacon Soup,” he told INSIDER.
Can’t snag a reservation at the highly coveted table service spot? Hunnel gave this pro tip: “One of my favourite times of the year is during Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival and, during the festival, the Canada Marketplace serves both items (smaller portions) so I can get my favourites as I graze throughout the festival.”
One Nashville chef heads to two deluxe resorts for her favourite treats but also loves a classic park favourite.
Maneet Chauhan, the co-owner and executive chef at Chauhan Ale & Masala House in Nashville visits two beloved restaurants at the resorts: Sanaa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and Beaches & Cream Soda Shop at Disney’s Beach Club Resort.
“I love going to Sanaa at the Animal Kingdom Lodge,” Chauhan told us. “They have a rotating menu, but their Indian-style bread service with an array of chutneys is my favourite. They are all so flavorful and fun.”
She added, “Beaches and Cream Soda Shop at Disney’s Beach Club Resort is a great spot too. If you have a group with a sweet tooth, the Kitchen Sink is a must-try, but if you’re looking for something smaller then don’t skip out on the Mickey-shaped ice cream bars,” which can be found throughout the parks and resorts.
This restaurateur also sings the praises of Sanaa’s bread service.
“The bread service at Sanaa in Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Kidani Village is a must-do for anyone looking for a memorable Disney food experience,” said It comes with five different types of naan and nine different accompaniments, making it the perfect starter for a group or dinner by itself,” said Briana Volk, who owns Portland Hunt + Alpine Club, Little Giant, and Giant in Portland, Maine and wrote Northern Hospitality, and travels to Disney World several times per year.
A chef with a restaurant at Disney Springs has another favourite spot on the property.
Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto has a restaurant, Morimoto Asia, at the new Disney Springs. But as for what he eats when he’s not in the kitchen at his own restaurant, Morimoto said he loves the Hummingbird Cake at his pal Art Smith’s restaurant Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’. It’s a pineapple-banana cake with cream cheese frosting served with seasonal fruit and vanilla ice cream.
One Disney World chef has favourites at three different parks.
No matter where you are in Walt Disney World, you’re sure to find both savoury and sweet snacks for any craving you’ve got. Ryan Schelling, an executive sous chef at the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort, has favourite snacks at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Magic Kingdom, and Epcot’s World Showcase.
He loves the candied almonds and the Golden Monkey Belgian Ale at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the salted caramel chocolate covered apples from the circus tent in Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland area, and the Bratwurst and the Oktoberfest lager at the Germany Pavilion, as well as chips and guacamole with a tequila flight at La Cava del Tequila at the Mexico Pavilion, both at Epcot.
This executive chef has several favourite treats for a day at Disneyland.
Alisa Rosa, an executive chef and blogger at The Chef Chic, told INSIDER that she loves to enjoy frozen lemonade during a day at Disneyland, calling it “so refreshing and fun,” and easy to find at various food carts and kiosks at the parks.
She also loves to enjoy a freshly baked cookie and a hot chocolate when the temperatures dip to watch the nighttime fireworks on Main Street USA.
Her go-to spot for a cocktail is Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar, with two locations, both in Disneyland and Disney World. She told us, “After a few hours in the park it’s a nice break to take the monorail over and sip on a ridiculously priced cocktail in a fun atmosphere.”
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