On our weekend trip to Disneyland, we decided to spend all day Saturday exploring Disney California Adventure . California Adventure recently underwent a huge overhaul; it’s been reported that Disney spent over 1 billion dollars redoing the park! Some areas of the park were completely replaced, some were given a facelift, some things were removed and lots of stuff was added. I have to say, though, the park looks great!
One of the biggest additions was Cars Land, an area themed like Radiator Springs from Pixar’s movie “Cars”. The main attraction in Cars Land is the Radiator Springs Racers and we had heard that it gets very busy, very fast. So, we pried ourselves out of bed at an un-godly hour in order to be at the park before it opened. It was worth it though, because we only waited about 20 minutes to get on the ride and it was a lot of fun. Just after we got off the ride I heard someone mention that the wait time had jumped to an hour and a half, yikes! So it ended up working out really well for us.
After that, we toured around the rest of the park enjoying all sorts of awesome attractions and soaking in the beautiful California sun. At about 2:30 we headed back to our hotel to rest and relax for a bit before heading back to the park for our dinner reservation at 7:30 at the Carthay Circle Restaurant.
We arrived at the restaurant about 15 minutes early. After we checked in, we were told that it would just be a little bit of a wait and that we could make ourselves comfortable in the lounge. We barely had time to pick up the drink menu before someone came to lead us to our table upstairs. The restaurant is beautiful; the outside is a replica of the Carthay Circle Theatre, one of the most famous movie theaters from Hollywood’s golden age (and where Snow White premiered in 1937) and the inside is a gorgeous restaurant that recreates the glamour of old Hollywood.
One of the things that attracted us to eating at the Carthay Circle, was that if you order both an entrée and either an appetizer or dessert, you receive special reserved seating for the new World of Colour show. After looking at the menu a bit, we all decided to order an appetizer, rather than dessert, as we thought maybe we would want dessert elsewhere later in the evening.
For our appetizers, we chose the Fire Cracker Duck Wings, Halibut Ceviche and the Honey Crisp Apple Salad to share. Before the appetizers came out though, we were brought out some freshly baked sourdough bread (made at the Boudin Bakery in the park). The bread was absolutely delicious, as is usually the case with fresh-baked, warm bread. The one thing I did note about the bread, though, was that it was quite a sour sourdough, which I really liked. I find recently the sourdoughs I have tried in Edmonton don’t have that same wonderful, “sourness” that I have found elsewhere.
The crispy duck wings were coated with a soy, lime and siracha chili sauce. I found that the wings weren’t maybe quite as crispy as I would have liked, however they were quite large and very meaty and had an excellent flavour. While the siracha certainly gave the wings a nice kick, it didn’t make them overly spicy.
Although the halibut ceviche had the same slightly disconcerting green colour as the Mint Julep, the similarities ended there. The halibut was served with an avocado and tomatillo-cillantro essence and crisp plantain chips. The halibut tasted so fresh and had a wonderful soft, light and buttery texture. The “essence” had an unbelievable flavour and complimented the natural, light, flavour of the fish. This appetizer seemed to be everyone’s favourite.
The Honey Crisp Apple Salad was served with winter endive, candied pecans, apple wood smoked bacon and cider vinaigrette. Although I couldn’t enjoy any of the apple in the salad, due to my stupid allergies, I really liked what I was able to eat. The best way I can describe the salad is to say that it tasted really fresh. To me, it seemed like it would be a perfect summer salad. I’m always still disappointed that I can’t enjoy raw apples anymore and I think the apple would be the key ingredient in this salad to really tie everything together.
For my entree I had the Santa Maria Braised Pork Pot Roast with sour cream smashed potatoes and a dried cherry zinfandel sauce. The pork was fall-off-the bone tender and very flavourful. I really enjoyed the smashed potatoes, the sour cream gave the potatoes a nice tanginess. The only “problem” was just that the entrée was so big. After eating the bread and appetizers I just couldn’t finish the pork, even though it was great.
Nick ordered the Spanish Grilled Quail, Barbacoa Style with roasted cauliflower, soria chorizo, hazelnut and mint. Nick said that he really enjoyed the quail, although, yes, it did taste “just like chicken.”
Lauren ordered the Cavatelli Pasta with Tuscan-style braised lamb, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach and cheese, in a rich lamb jus. Lauren seemed to really enjoy her pasta and that although there wasn’t a lot of lamb in the dish, it was very tender.
Overall, our dinner at the Carthay Circle was great. The meal was on the pricier side, but we knew that when we made the reservation. It was really nice to have a delicious meal in a beautiful, relaxing setting, even though we were in a theme park! I would definitely recommend this restaurant as a great splurge if you are heading to Disneyland.
After dinner we wandered around the park for a bit and then headed over to the Starbuck to grab a warm drink as it was really cooling off outside. If you think your local Starbucks was busy, you should have seen this one— the place was nuts!
After warming ourselves up, we headed over to the lagoon where the World of Color show is. We found the area where we had reserved seats (well, really, reserved standing room) and waited for about 15 minutes for the show to start.
The 30 minute show was beautiful! World of Color, as described by Disney, is an “enthralling nighttime spectacular weaving water, color, fire and light into a kaleidoscope of fantasy and imagination. Disney characters come to life on a shimmering veil of mist as more than 1,000 jets of water form fanciful shapes in time to the music.” It’s like the Bellagio fountains, but WAY better! If you click on this link, there is a video that gives a little taste of what the show is like.
Overall, we had a wonderful day in California Adventure. The rides were awesome, the weather was perfect and the day was finished off with a delicious dinner and beautiful show. I don’t think we could have asked for a better day!