On our recent visit to Disneyland, we had breakfast at the River Belle Terrace in Frontierland. This “fast casual” dining spot currently serves breakfast and lunch, but will soon be transitioning into a table service restaurant and dropping breakfast in favor of dinner. I thought I should post about our breakfast there while it’s still relevant. If you don’t get to experience breakfast at the River Belle Terrace, though, fret not. You’re not missing anything, and the new table-service conversion will likely be for the best.
We walked into the restaurant only minutes after the park opened, and the place was mostly empty. The first thing I noticed is that the floor was so sticky it threatened to pull my shoes off my feet. Since the restaurant is currently only open for breakfast and lunch and breakfast had barely started, I have no idea how the floor got to that state. My best guess is that the floors are mopped with maple syrup and Coca-Cola for added ambiance.
Disneyland describes River Belle Terrace’s dining experience as “fast casual”, but it’s more like “buffet where you don’t have to touch the serving spoons and can’t go back for seconds.” When you walk in, you’re warned to grab a tray because you’ll be needing it. When you order breakfast, it’s scooped from prepared chafing dishes sitting under heat lamps. You then take your tray to the cashier and are given a total that feels roughly 2.5 times higher than it should be, even for Disneyland. The entire process took the two of us about 90 seconds.
The bright spot in our visit to River Belle Terrace was that we had our pick of tables. We chose one right on the edge of the terrace, and had fairly unobstructed views of the Rivers of America. I was more interested in watching the Mark Twain riverboat prepare to sail for the first time that morning than I was in my meal.
I had the Cinnamon Roll French Toast, which I can only guess was added to the menu when the Carnation Café removed their vastly superior version. Chef Oscar, you done me wrong. You know what’s gross? The scrambled egg substitute Disney uses, doused with “icing” that seems to consist of powdered sugar, water and corn starch. I left the vaguely eggy substance on the plate and focused on the French toast and sausage. You know what’s not gross? Sausage dipped in the same icing slurry. Who knew? The French toast itself was passable. It’s a little on the dry side, but I suspect people who like airy, flaky pastries will like it more than I did. I prefer my French toast to be denser. The closer it is to bread pudding, the happier I am.
Danny had trouble deciding which of the signature breakfast platters to choose. He ultimately decided on the Mark Twain. While he liked the potatoes, I don’t think he was exceptionally pleased with the rest of the plate. He barely touched the sausage and eggs, and declared that the biscuit was “sad.” Luckily, the potatoes were enough to satisfy. His final assessment of the meal was that it “could be worse.” A ringing endorsement, right?
The good news in all of this is that we’ll definitely be returning to River Belle Terrace. It’s obviously not because we were wowed by breakfast, but because breakfast will soon be eliminated. Disneyland announced that beginning February 10th, 2016, River Belle Terrace will become a table service restaurant serving “Southern barbecue staples” for lunch and dinner. I sincerely hope for a new and improved dining experience on our next visit. As for breakfast in Frontierland, Rancho del Zocalo will be picking up the slack. That’s fine. I’d rather have huevos rancheros anyway.