A gumbo with a side of cornbread, a chicken flauta or a bowl of ramen are not the usual theme park fare, but Disneyland has upped its food offerings as it presents rethemed areas of the park this fall.

Most notable is the opening this week of Tiana’s Palace, formerly the French Market, in New Orleans Square. The restaurant is the first newest in years at Disneyland and clearly much attention has been paid to the menu and decor of the Big Easy.

The restaurant is inspired by the 2009 animated film “The Princess and the Frog,” which follows Tiana’s dreams of opening her own restaurant. Tiana’s Palace will be followed next summer by the opening of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, formerly Splash Mountain, in 2024.

A Muffuletta sandwich served with a side of red beans and rice at Tiana’s Palace.

During a media preview, Chef John State explained that many of the ingredients were sourced from Louisiana, including the gulf shrimp for the shrimp and grits, bread used in the Po Boy, a slow-cooked beef sandwich, and Muffelata sandwiches.

Of note are the two types of gumbo. In the film, Tiana’s gumbo is inspired by her father. The restaurant offers two versions, a vegetarian Seven Greens Gumbo and a traditional with chicken and andouille sausage.

Luckily, we were able to try many of the dishes available. The Cajun Spiced Half Chicken served with macaroni and cheese and coleslaw was flavorful but not overpowering. The chicken was not overcooked and moist and very filling.

Graciela Gomez, pastry sous chef at Disneyland, presents some of the seasonal offerings at the park for fall.

The Muffuletta sandwich was a nice meat-and-cheese-filled sandwich with an olive tapenade spread served with a side of red beans and rice and house-made pickles.

The Beef Po’boy Sandwich is stewed beef on a roll from Lousiana. I felt it needed a little more seasoning after eating the Cajun Spiced Half Chicken and House Gumbo.

Hands down, my favorite was the House Gumbo with Chicken and Andouille Sausage. The gumbo had a dark roux with large chunks of chicken, lots of sausage and just the right amount of spice to feel the heat at the back of your throat. The density of the cornbread sops up the soup without falling apart and the sweetness of the cornbread cancels the spiciness of the gumbo. It tasted like the perfect pairing.

Although I did not get to try it, the 7 Greens Gumbo with Chicken and Andouille Sausage was the talk of the event from those that ordered it.

A beignet filled with an icebox lemon curd and hand-dipped in lemon glaze is the dessert offering. It is a little messy and probably won’t replace the popular Mickey beignets served at the Mint Julep Bar in Disneyland and Jazz Kitchen in Downtown Disney anytime soon. The red beans and rice is also excellent.

Mariachi Divas perform as part of the celebration at Plaza de la Familia.

Disney’s California Adventure has changed the Pacific Wharf to San Fransokyo Square, named after the fictional city in the movie and animated television series “Big Hero 6.” Red and white lanterns and signage seem straight out of Little Tokyo. J-pop music and signage in Japanese is keeping with the “Big Hero 6” theme. A bridge connecting the food area to the main park has been redone, inspired by “Big Hero 6” and the iconic Golden Gate Bridge.

The food in the restaurants in the area, particularly the Lucky Fortune Cookery, is not so much authentically Japanese as more a hybrid of tastes. Some dishes include the karaage-inspired Crispy Chicken Sandwich, Yakiudon, Beef Birria Ramen, Pork Wonton Nachos and a Beef Bulgogi Burrito.

An example an elote corn at Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill is the SanFransokyo-style Street Corn, which is corn on the cob with togarashi mayonanaise and queso fresco, dusted with furikake and katsuo flakes.

The Pacific Wharf Cafe has changed its name to Aunt Cass Cafe, with some of the menu items changed to have a more Asian theme, such as Shrimp Katsu Sandwich or Curry Beef in a bread bowl.

More traditional is the Plaza de la Familia in Paradise Gardens at California Adventure. The food at Paradise Garden Grill is now offering Chile Verde Chicken Flautas, which had many guests and the Disney chefs and cast members saying they are delicious.

Mariachi music and an ofrenda pay homage to the traditional Mexican holiday Dia de Los Muertos. Characters and imagery from the Pixar film “Coco” are the inspiration for food and crafts. There is a Dia de Los Muertos Sipper and Coco’s Dante Straw Clip.

Disneyland is also offering special items for Halloween, including popcorn buckets, Glow-in-the-Dark Donald Candy Corn Sipper, Halloween-themed spirit jerseys, ears, bags and more.

There are several Halloween-themed food items available throughout the park, including Pastry Sous Chef Gracie Gomez’s favorite, three-layer vanilla cake with a cinnamon mousse and cream cheese frosting.

There is a horchata cheesecake of which Chef Gracie said she “did not expect to eat it all, but did.”

Other offerings include a “Snow White”-inspired Poison Apple Macaron flavored with a salted caramel and apple compote, and the Pumpkin Chai Cream Puff. “The pumpkin and chai spices are not overpowering,” according to Chef Gracie.

There are also vegetarian options available. The seasonal menu will be available until Nov. 2.


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