OK, I’ll admit it – I’m a bit obsessed with Disneyland. I’ve been countless times, found all the Hidden Mickeys, and regularly spout Disney factoids. For example, when designing the park, Walt himself originally chose the distance between all garbage cans based on how long it took him to walk and eat a hot dog.

One of the greatest things about USC is that it is only a short drive from the happiest place on Earth. Thanks to my annual pass, I can head down whenever I want, ride the Indiana Jones Adventure six times in a row and, of course, enjoy the fine delicacies that the Mr. Mouse’s personal chefs cook up on a daily basis. When hitting up Disneyland or California Adventure, these are the must haves…

1. Dole Whip

Found only in Adventureland, the pineapple Dole Whip is more than worth the usually outrageous line. Whether you get it as a float or, like me, go for the straight whip, Dole Whip is the greatest soft serve in our, or any other, galaxy. Sweet and tangy, it’s the perfect snack for a sweltering summer day in the magic kingdom.

Dole Whip ItPhoto by Andrew Prayogo

2. The Monte Cristo

A deep-fried turkey, ham and swiss sandwich, sprinkled with powdered sugar and served with a sweet berry purée. I have nothing else to say. You can find this, the king (or count) of all sandwiches at either Café Orleans or the Blue Bayou in Disneyland Park. Personally, I prefer the cool ambience of the Blue Bayou, which sits on the banks of Pirates of the Caribbean.

Pro tip: If you want to eat at the Blue Bayou, make a reservation in advance by calling Disney Dining – (714) 781-3463 – otherwise, you might be out of luck.

Monte Cristo Sandwich

Photo by Jocelyn & Cathy at FoodishFetish

3. Red’s Apple Freeze

Jet on over to the recently-opened Cars Land in California Adventure Park to find this disturbingly-addictive drink at the Cozy Cone Motel. If you’ve ever wondered what a liquified candy apple would taste like, then your days of tormented dreaming are over – get one now.

4. Candy Canes

If you’re a masochist, then these handmade candy canes are for you. Only available around the holidays, be prepared to show up to the park at least an hour early to try and land one at Candy Palace on Main Street in Disneyland Park. They usually only make around 120 per day, so this one takes some dedication. That said, you have never had a candy cane like this, and the fresh peppermint flavor is unrivaled.

Pro tip: they limit one per person, so make sure to bring friends.

Candy Canes being made at the Candy Palace

Photo by Loren Javier

5. Hot-Link Corn Dog

For the most part, I hate corn dogs. However, Disneyland corn dogs are truly something special. Hot link sausages are hand-dipped in sweet cornbread batter and fried to order. Biting down into one of these babies will wipe any horrid memories of bad school lunches away in a flash. They’re available all over both parks, but I always stop at the aptly-named corn dog cart at the end of Main Street in Disneyland.

6. PB & J Soda

I can tell, you’re drooling at this point. Please, stop it, you look like a fool and your keyboard is getting gross. This unique concoction from the Carnation Café is salty, sweet and tart. Imagine your childhood in a glass, and let the cool fizz send you surfing on waves of nostalgia.

Disneyland's Carnation Cafe

Photo by Tom Bricker

7. Pickles

That’s right, pickles made the list. When you’re surrounded by so much rich, sweet and overwhelming food, a crisp and ice-cold pickle is the best mid-day snack to grab on-the-go from the many food and drink carts all over both parks. Forget the jarred, store-bought nonsense you know and embrace the true deli pickle – it will change your life.

Honorable Mentions:

1. Selma’s Cookies

I didn’t feel that I could put these in the official list because they do not actually make them on site. That said, I always make sure to pick up a few from either the main street shops on Main street in Disneyland or from Marceline’s Confectionary in Downtown Disney. Personal favorites are raspberry white chocolate chip and the peanut butter cookies. Although they may not be Disney-made, I guarantee they’re the greatest you’ll ever have.

2. Napa Rose

Headed by award-winning executive chef Andrew Sutton, Napa Rose is easily the best, and most civilized, end to any day at Disneyland. Napa Rose offers a unique, refined twist on California cuisine. Standouts are the beef short ribs and, only available in winter, the hot chocolate dessert. Keep in mind – this is quality dining, so be prepared to pay for it.

3. Booze

While Disneyland does not serve alcohol, California Adventure does. Not exactly sure why you would want to load up on beer or wine before you got on California Screamin’ though…

4. Club 33

If you know, you know. That’s all I can say. Good luck getting a membership – I’ve been at it for years. For more info, check out the non-official Club 33 page at – www.disneylandclub33.com

PianoPhoto by Sam Howzit