If you have young daughters, no trip to a Disney park would be complete without visiting the Princesses. At the Disneyland resort in California, one great way to meet a lot of Princesses at one time is to make a dining reservation at Ariel’s Grotto – located in Disney California Adventure.
Ariel’s Grotto is a fun, beach themed restaurant that looks over Paradise Pier. There is indoor and outdoor seating (be sure to note your request if you have a preference). They do utilize a group seating method where they start seating the entire restaurant at once, so while we arrived early, we had to wait to even check in until the previous diners were completely cleared out. When you do check-in, you’ll be issued a pager until it is your time to meet your hostess, Ariel. After a lively chat with Ariel, and a few pictures, you’ll be shown to your seat.
We were lucky during our visit as we were seated at the very end of a row in front of the kitchen door. We soon found out, this is also where the Princesses made their entrance and we were the first table they visited! But don’t worry, the Princesses make it around to every table. We saw a few upset parents who didn’t realize this, but once they figured out the Princess path included their table, the smiles returned to the faces of the parents and the princesses-in-training.
The kids menu includes a fun crown with stickers for the kids to decorate. The kids’ meals include an appetizer, main entrée and a dessert. I really wanted my kids to try the popcorn soup but they both chose the veggie dippers. We also received bread service for the table. The adult meals were a soup or salad, an entrée and a dessert.
Our meals were served very quickly (thanks in part to being the first table to order and being right by the kitchen). The food was very good and was definitely one of the best tasting meals we had. My girls enjoyed their Octodog Pasta and the presentation was adorable. My tri-tip was amazing but I was not a fan of the barbeque sauce on it. My husband has had wonderful experiences with whatever the fish of the day is at Disney restaurants and this did not disappoint (this trip was crusted mahi mahi with a mango salsa, jasmine rice and bok choy).
While we were eating, a town crier came out to announce that a Princess would be joining us. He introduced Belle, and she waved to the room and then proceeded to our table to begin greeting guests. This was the same process for each other Princess we saw – Mulan, Cinderella and Snow White. My girls were very excited as we had not had a chance to meet Mulan before! My younger daughter was a bit disappointed that Sleeping Beauty wasn’t there, but they’ve been around enough to know that you never know who you’re going to see where (and we did find her the next day!) The interactions with the Princesses were very good. They took their time and didn’t rush, signing autographs and posing for pictures. As with any character meal, be sure you seat your children where they can get in and out of their seats easily and keep your camera and autograph books ready as the characters do come by quickly!
The desserts were amazing. It was a trio of desserts – For the grownups, a s’mores napoleon type dessert, a crème brulee, and a chocolate covered strawberry and for the kids ,a chocolate covered strawberry, a cookie and jello parfait for the kids. We had noted on the reservation that we were celebrating my husband’s and my daughter’s birthdays, so they were each served a chocolate cupcake as well.
During the meal, you will have an opportunity to purchase the photo that you took with Ariel when you arrived. We purchased the PhotoPass+, so we our photos were included.
Overall, this was an amazing dining opportunity. It was a very hot day when we were there, so I am thankful we were inside. The food was very good and fresh even though they were getting food out very quickly to all tables. I was pleased at the level of interaction from the characters and never felt rushed all. I wish they had done a better job of explaining that the Princesses will visit all of the tables, as we did see one family get very upset when they thought Belle passed them by. (She did visit that table, just not when they “thought” she should have). The desserts were incredible but the chocolate celebration cupcake was not as good as the one served at Blue Bayou. It was definitely a fun meal for a celebration and a nice, relaxing way to meet many of the Disney Princesses.
Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the park and dine with royalty! Contact me today to plan your Disneyland vacation! Email me at Amy@TravelWithTheMagic.com or you can find me on Facebook. You can also call me at 1-800-670-4312, ext 129. I can’t wait to plan your MAGICAL vacation!