The Jolly Holiday Bakery Café is Disneyland’s newest quick-service dining establishment. It opened in January of this year when the Carnation Café and Blue Ribbon Bakery closed for refurbishment. Chef Oscar Martinez, the famed head chef of Carnation Café and the record-holder for the longest tenure as a Disneyland employee (55 years and counting!), is responsible for Jolly Holday’s delicious menu.
Danny and I love Chef Oscar’s work at the Carnation Café and were eagerly anticipating dining at Jolly Holiday. When we got to Disneyland on our most recent visit, the new bakery was one of our first stops. Both the interior and exterior of the restaurant were very crowded when we placed our order at 5:00 PM, so I didn’t get stop to take photos of the wonderful building and decor. Jolly Holiday is located near the Hub on Main Street U.S.A. in what was most recently the Annual Pass processing center. Veteran Disneyland fans probably remember this building better as the Plaza Pavilion Restaurant. As one might expect from the name, the restaurant is brilliantly themed with many decorative references to the film Mary Poppins.
Although the food at Jolly Holiday is pre-made and sits in display cases, everything that we had tasted fresh and was served at appropriate temperatures. The menu is full of yummy salads, soup, quiche and combos, but Danny and I both wanted sandwiches. He chose the Hot Angus Roast Beef sandwich, while I ordered the Caprese.
The roast beef sandwich was messy but worth the effort it took to eat it. The hot Angus roast beef was smothered with melted white cheddar cheese, horseradish aioli and caramelized onions, and served on an onion roll. Danny really enjoyed the sandwich but did begrudgingly give me a bite so that I could taste it too. I often find horseradish overwhelming and was prepared to dislike the sandwich, but I was pleasantly surprised. Danny, who does like horseradish, said that he too expected a bit more of its presence, and that a little more heat would have been a benefit to the sandwich. There was enough there to distinguish it from regular mayonnaise, but only just. On the other hand, the roast beef was tender and well-seasoned, not at all dry or chewy like sandwiches such as this can sometimes be. The cheddar was sharp enough for our tastes (we’re of the school of thought that cheddar can never be too sharp), although it would still be pleasing to people who prefer milder cheeses. The caramelized onions added some sweetness and nice texture to the mix. The onion roll was soft, warm and contained the moisture of the sandwich well, which is practically a feat of engineering for certain kinds of sandwiches.
I definitely made the right choice for me with the Caprese sandwich, which included the traditional elements of Insalata Caprese (tomato, mozzarella and basil), plus lettuce and balsamic vinaigrette, all served on fluffy, toasted foccacia. There is very little that I love more than good balsamic vinegar, but Danny, Disney and great cheese top the list. Luckily for me, this meal had all of those things! The mozzarella was fresh and creamy, the basil and lettuce crisp. I’m not sure what variety of tomatoes were used for the sandwich, but I would guess it was a type of heirloom because they were meaty and flavorful, not at all soggy or overly soft. The menu described the vinaigrette as a basil vinaigrette, but I didn’t notice any additional basil on top of the fresh basil leaves that were already abundantly present on the sandwich. The did have a deep, pungent and sweet flavor, however. I thought the taste of the vinaigrette was exceptional for a quick-service establishment. The focaccia itself was toasted and had a nice, herby flavor and a wonderfully dense texture. Both of our sandwiches came with kettle chips that were very crispy but didn’t have much flavor. Danny liked them but I left most of mine behind. I found out afterward that I could have substituted the chips for a fruit cup at no cost and will likely do that next time.
Some of my other family members also had dinner at the Jolly Holiday Bakery on our vacation. Their selections included the ham and cheese quiche and the Jolly Holiday salad. While I didn’t get to taste their meals for this review, everybody in our party did confirm that they were happy with their meals. Danny and I will definitely return, both for the full meals and for snacks.
Have you been to the Jolly Holiday Bakery Café? What did you think of the café’s offerings?