Our most favorite restaurant at Disney’s California Adventure is Carthay Circle. It’s designed after the original Carthay Circle in Burbank; the theatre that premiered Disney’s Snow White. Accordingly, the art touches are designed after the same movie. It’s a nice, upscale place that provides a relaxing atmosphere in an otherwise hectic theme park.
As you enter, you step back in time into the 1920. The lounge and bar await you as you feel instant relaxation and get to leave a loud, hectic park behind. Make sure you take the elevator up, where the hostess should tell you details about Carthay Circle restaurant and how it relates to the original Carthay Circle. Once on the second floor where the main dining room is, you pass a big picture of Walt Disney and little Shirley Temple. Consider ordering a Shirley Temple for the kids once you’re seated!
What to Wear
Your attire is completely up to you. Since you are inside of a Disney Park, you will not feel out of place by simply staying in your jeans and T-Shirt, but you will be just as little out of place in elegant evening attire, cocktail dresses and suits and ties. This is Disneyland – you dress in whatever makes you happy!
Carthay Circle is definitely on the pricey side as it is one of Disney’s fine dining restaurants, with starters between $11 and $16, main courses between $32 and $45, and desserts between $12 and $14. They do have a standard kids menu as well.
Wine Selection and Other Drinks
The wine selection is superb, offering, besides regular wines, wines from the Disney Family only available at Disney World and Disneyland. The average glass will cost you about $14, but there is an exquisite selection of special wines, if you don’t mind paying $36 per glass. I’m sure they taste amazing! I had a glass of the Lasseter Paysage, which is the winery of Disney Pixar’s founder, and their wines are only sold on Disney properties.
And if you don’t like wine, there’s plenty of other beverages available, from fancy lemonade over cocktails to good old beer.
Carthay Circle offers seasonal menus with dishes changing constantly. While there’s always around 8 entrees and main courses and 4 desserts, they do change. So next time you come back, you’ll have a whole different menu to select from, and it’ll never get boring.
All food items are premium meals, prepared fresh and customized just for you. You can enjoy a wide variety of mouth-watering dishes, prepared with your preferences and possible allergies in mind. A selection of the entree goodness that awaits:
- Sesame and Ginger Crusted Salmon
- Artichoke Crepes (for the vegetarians)
- Braised Short Rib with Gnocchetti Pasta
- Slowly Braised Leg of Lamb
- Crispy Duck Confit
- Wagyu Beef and Truffle Ravioli
- Carthay Shellfish Cioppino
The presentation of the food and the service are of course amazing. You really are at a classy restaurant. And the food tastes amazing. You don’t just pay Disney prices for the name’s sake. You really are served extremely well prepared food.
Many Dining Options
Open for Lunch and Dinner – You can dine at Carthay Circle for lunch and dinner, it is open starting with lunch until park closing. You can stretch your meal for as long as you like; no one is hurrying through your meal and back out of the door. We enjoy our 2-hour dinners there with wonderful food and nice conversation.
Restaurant and Lounge – You can always come early and visit the lounge and bar area, which are just as beautiful and upscale as the dining room. You can even reserve a table just there. You can order drinks and appetizers there while waiting for your table, or on purpose as you arrive early to enjoy this area as well for pre-dinner drinks.
World Of Color Dining Package – While Disney’s California Adventure offers various dining packages for World of Color showings, the Carthay Circle package is the best as it offers you, apart from a very nice dinner, premium reserved viewing for the show on the lake. World of Color is a “sold out show” every night, meaning if you don’t have a dining package reservation or you didn’t manage to snatch a fast pass, you will not see well, or you won’t see at all.
Carthay Circle diners have the most premium reserved viewing area, as the package is the most expensive at $62 per adult and $25 per child. I’ll say that even though pricey, it IS really a great deal if you want to eat at Carthay Circle. If you order a la carte outside of the package and want to eat 3 courses, you will pay more. Drinks are extra when ordering a la carte, but non-alcoholic beverages are included in the dining package. The menu for the dining package is a bit more restricted than the full menu, but as you can see in the picture above, the choices are still plenty. And you can always add on items if you like. And the dining package gives you viewing passes for World of Color in the most premium spot, with plenty of room and no crowding.
Great for Special Occasions
I love this restaurant to celebrate special occasions because it’s really such a wonderful place. We celebrated diamond days there, my birthday (you get a free dessert with a lit candle), and Valentine’s Day. If you’re on a special Disney vacations and you come from far away, I would absolutely recommend you spend the extra few dollars and have dinner at this wonderful place.
And if you’re a couple celebrating a special occasion, there is a Celebration Package you can order for dessert. For $99, you get a warm Dulce De Leche Marshmallow Turnover (which is amazing!!) to share, and 2 glasses of Ironhorse, Fairy Tale, Cuvee Brut in your very own Carthay Circle flutes, which you get to keep!
Reservations Highly Recommended
Technically, you don’t have to make reservations, but I would highly recommend it. Especially if you like dining at a specific time, call a month in advance as the restaurant is usually completely booked. Reservations can be made through your Disneyland app, on the website here or by calling (714) 781-DINE (3463).