Thanks to Jill Bernard at Domaine LA we headed off to Disneyland for the day on Sunday after a quick rendezvous at the Hollywood Farmers’ Market to get the tickets.
I hadn’t told the children we’d be going just in case it didn’t work out, but on the drive down to the market Minty, dressed as Alice (her latest obsession) asked to go to Disneyland so she could go on the Alice ride and the tea cups. That’s funny I replied because we are going today. She couldn’t believe her luck. I then explained that I needed her help and we were going to try to spend the day exploring the notion of eating healthy food at the park.
“Well they have a lot of candy at Disneyland – but at least it’s gourmet.”
Since when has gourmet equated to healthy? It’s a long way from the gourmand and gluttony that the word was originally associated with – haute cuisine eaten for pleasure rather than nutrition.
This was our first trip to Disneyland without a stroller – which means no where to put water bottles and snacks. I decided we were going to travel light and drink from water fountains. I was impressed with the number dotted about the park and so we didn’t have to buy Dasani water – think filtered tap water in a plastic bottle. We all ate a healthy breakfast – including freshly baked bagels from the Hollywood Farmers’ Market.
First rides Rockets and Star Tours – neither recommended after a large meal as our tummies were turned inside out and round and round.
Interesting fact: Disney uses the grease from their restaurants as fuel for their boats and trams.
I will say that there are places to buy fresh fruit within the park, for example a stall on Main Street and another one in the Tomorrowland section of the park. At Tropical Imports there was a large selection of fruit but as with everywhere else at the point of sale it’s displayed next to sodas and sugary snacks. When listing the items available at this store on the Disneyland website they list ‘assorted snacks’ and ‘fruit’ as separate items. If you offer a child cotton candy or an apple I know which one they will chose 99% of the time.
After a canal boat ride and a trip to Wonderland with Alice (boy is her accent strange on the ride – think Ealing Comedies circa 1940s) we were ready for a late lunch. I was curious to check out the Blue Bayou – the only restaurant listed as fine dining in the park. When telephoning to make a reservation I was put on hold for so long I gave up after ten minutes. It seemed it was harder to get a reservation here than at Mozza. At the reservations window I was told by the charming cast member that the first reservation was 9.15pm! Then miraculously something popped onto his screen and they could fit us in right away.
The dimly lit room – supposed to emulate a Lousiana swamp(?) at night was packed – screaming babies mixed with the sound of chirping crickets as Pirates of the Carribean boats glided off minutes before diving down into the caves below.
The kids menu – written on a paper pirate’s hat consisted of salmon filet, chicken and pasta with tomato sauce or Mickey’s Mac n’ Cheese. Minty ordered salmon. Rémy ordered the chicken and pasta. Both came with a ‘side’ of fruit – a small bunch of grapes and a strawberry – and very greasy spaghetti.
I ordered the chicken breast, which wasn’t the best thing I’ve ever eaten but it was well seasoned and not too greasy. The sides of potato gratin, white asparagus and brocolini were not farmers’ market fresh but they were welled prepared.
Compared to what Didier ordered, the Monte Cristo sandwich, it was indeed fine dining – I use the term with my tongue stuck in my cheek. The kids instantly renamed Didier’s food the Yuckiest Sandwich ever! This fried super sized sandwich was untouched “The potatoes weren’t bad though.” His mood was not improved by our lunch – it was downright miserable!
Two spins on the tea cups and a couple of circuits of Autotopia, with flash forward images of Minty ten years from now behind the wheel and not really focused on the road ahead as I laughed nervously, it was time to head home. Tucked in the back on the way to the train is a small triangle of an edible garden full of beautiful lettuces, rosemary, basil, sage and other herbs. Tempted to jump over the fence and nibble I took a few snaps instead.
At the gate we all piled in to La Brea Bakery and tucked into some much needed real food before the drive home. In future we will plan to come out of the park for sustenance here. It was delicious – or were we all just hungry for tasty simple fresh food?
With full bellies and happy memories both kids fell asleep for the ride home – sweet dreams the only sweets they had all day.