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Carthay Circle at Disney California Adventure is a stunning sit-down restaurant that is literally, above it all. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped into another place and time when you dine at this celebrated eatery. Keep reading for a full review on both Carthay Circle Lounge on the lower level and the fine dining up above at Carthay Circle Restaurant.
Carthay Circle is the focal point of Buena Vista Street in Disney California Adventure. When you first walk into the park, you’ll see Carthay in the distance. The outside resembles the iconic Carthay Circle Theatre which was built in 1926. The original theatre hosted the premiere of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937 as well as Disney’s Fantasia. Sadly, the building was demolished with little fanfare in 1969.
Carthay Circle Restaurant Atmosphere
The original Carthay Circle Theatre represented such a classic piece in Hollywood’s Golden Age, it’s no surprise Disney decided to add a replica to Disneyland Resort. Inside Carthay Circle Restaurant you will see nods to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Walt Disney himself and iconic Hollywood figures like Shirley Temple. Scenes from Snow White are even painted on the ceiling of the main dining room.
Speaking of dining rooms and seating, you will love the intimate dining locations, including private rooms for larger parties, indoor and outdoor seating. Carthay Circle Lounge, located on the first floor also has a stunning dark wood and old Hollywood feel to its interior. Advance reservation are recommended for Carthay Circle Restaurant (full menu), but Carthay Circle Lounge (appetizers, small plates and drinks) is available for walk-ins.
Carthay Circle Restaurant Menu
Carthay Circle’s menu changes seasonally, so there’s always something delicious to try—even if you’ve been there before. One thing that’s a staple, and you won’t want to miss, is the fried biscuits with white cheddar, bacon and jalapeño. I did not find them spicy at all and could barely taste the jalapeño. A basket split between 2 is plenty, split between 3 people is probably perfect. Don’t forget to dip them in the apricot-honey butter, that stuff is golden!
In the picture above, you might notice the delicious tomato soup in the background. It’s a step or two above the tomato soup served at Jolly Holiday Bakery and so delicious and refreshing if you happen to catch this on the seasonal menu. It’s offered as a starter but I paired it with biscuits for a complete meal. I’ve also tried salmon (I swear I order salmon from Disneyland Resort all the time!) and various salads (strawberry chicken salad pictured below) at Carthay. I’ve truly never been disappointed.
You can explore the current menu online or via the Disneyland app. The saddest part about the menu at Carthay is I have yet to make it to the desserts. Maybe next time I just order my dessert to go so I can work off some of the meal before I indulge a little more?
Wines, beer, cocktails and mocktails are all served upstairs and downstairs at Carthay Circle Lounge.
Carthay Circle Lounge located on the main floor is where Josh Gad and I had a moment. Kristin Bell was there too, as were other famous people I didn’t recognize because I was smitten by seeing Olaf himself inside Disneyland Resort. I was dining at the lounge with some friends over D23 Expo weekend in 2017, eating Vietnamese tacos, cheeses and other delicious food, when in walks the entourage. My dad and sister always taught me to keep it chill with celebs (at least on the outside) because that’s how we native Angeleno’s roll. So when I saw Josh Gad I left my phone on the table and just smiled as he walked by and said hi to me. Yup, I didn’t say a word and he said hi to me. He probably recognized me from my website, I’m sure ;).
Carthay Circle Restaurant Extras
Want a great view for fireworks or a Disneyland Resort parade? Ask to be seating outdoors during the event and you’ll have a fantastic view from up above. Here’s a little peek outside from one of the indoor dining areas, but you’ll get a much better view from outside. Plus, it’s way cool to see California Adventure from above it all.
Want to check out the amazing features of Carthay Circle and get some Disney history at the same time? The Story of Carthay Circle Restaurant is a free tour offered on select mornings before the restaurant opens. No reservations for the tour are needed, just arrive at the designated time (a sign will be placed outside the morning of the tour). I highly recommend taking the time out of your schedule to do this tour. The guides have so much Disney history and knowledge to share, and it’s totally free with your paid admission. You’ll learn interesting tidbits from Disney history like rumors on how Disney came to use their famous 2-finger point . . .
. . . and where to spot something evil on your table and so much more. It’s so worth it! You can also take other free and paid tours at Disneyland Resort, including Walk in Walt’s Disneyland footsteps.
Have you been to Carthay Circle or are you looking for tips for your visit? Join more of our Carthay Circle Restaurant discussion on Facebook and in the comments below.
Disneyland expert who also loves the beach, flip flops and pink nail polish.