One of the best things about attending Chapman University is that you get to live so close to Disneyland. You can usually Uber there from campus for less than $10 (cheaper than the cost of parking). Although the sound of the nightly fireworks annoy some, they give me a sense of happy nostalgia. If you are a passhole (pass holder + asshole) like me, then you know how important the Disney dining experience is. If you are new or old to the Disney scene, these 10 restaurants/ food items will transform your next Disney trip. 

1. The Cove Bar 

pork, chicken
Elise Swift

The Cove Bar recently opened in the California Adventure park. It takes the number one spot on this list, not only because it's the only place in the park with a full bar, but also because of its simple yet satisfying menu. There are only six items on the food menu, but if you are always indecisive about what to order (like me) this actually makes it easier. Regardless, once you try the lobster nachos, you won't ever order anything else anyway.  

#SpoonTip: Check out the secret menu drink options.

2. Bread Bowl Soup

macaroni, cream, cheese
Drew Petersen

There are two main spots in the parks to get bread bowl soup: Royal Street Veranda in Disneyland and Pacific Wharf Café in Disney California Adventure. I prefer the one in California Adventure because they have more soup options and always have a seasonal special. Also, enter through the back and you can grab a free bread sample while touring the bread making process. These bread bowls are great for a cold day at Disney. My motto: bread bowl gives you wings. 

#SpoonTip: Order the mac n' cheese bread bowl (pictured above) on the secret menu at Pacific Wharf Café for extra carbs. 

3. Blue Bayou

Blue Bayou is a great spot if you're going on a Disney date or just feeling fancy and treating yourself. The restaurant is placed inside, right next to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, so you can watch all the boats float by and enjoy the cool atmosphere next to the water. The Monte Cristo is the showstopper of this menu (pictured above). It is a fried turkey, ham, and Swiss cheese sandwich dusted with powdered sugar and served with three options of dipping jams. The first course gumbo is also a must try. FYI: The Monte Cristo is only served at lunch time. 

4. Corn Dog Stands

I'm not a fan of corn dogs, but these are an exception. They are ginormous and one of the more affordable meal options in the parks. At the California Adventure location, Corn Dog Castle, you can even order "Cheese on a Stick" if you want a vegetarian option. In the Disneyland Park, The Little Red Wagon is the best spot for a Disney dog. It is located right next to the Plaza Inn restaurant. 

#SpoonTip: Download the app MouseWait to see in advance how long the wait is.

5. Gibson Girl 

This ice cream is one of my favorites. They have elaborate sundaes, hand-scooped cups and cones, and root-beer floats. The hot fudge is the best part but I recommend getting it on the side, so the ice cream doesn't melt and get all over you. My personal fave ice cream flavors served here are Cookies and Cream and Mint Chocolate Chip. 

6. Pooh Corner  

Pooh Corner is a little shop on the edge of Critter Country. It is largely a merchandise store but it also has a candy kitchen, where you can see desserts being made. These candy treats are always on theme, from tigger marshmallow sticks and decorated caramel apples, to changing seasonal specials. My favorite though, is the peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. They looked skeptical to me at first because they look hard to bite into, but are actually soft and chewy. I like this place because it is away from the chaos of Main Street, and usually has a shorter line than other dessert places. 

7. Jolly Holiday's Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup 

Jolly Holiday is a Mary Poppins- themed quick service restaurant that largely sells coffee, tea, and baked goods, but they also offer café lunch and dinner items. Their grilled cheese and tomato soup is one of my favorite Disney meals for a cold or rainy Disney day. It's the perfect lunch or dinner if you are spending all day in the park and craving something more comforting than the typical,  fried theme park food.

8. Mickey Waffles 

peanut butter, butter, ice cream, toast, french toast
Drew Petersen

What’s a Disney trip without food shaped like Mickey Mouse? In order to get a complete Disney trip experience, you need to start early. Since breakfast at most restaurants in the park only goes until 11, these Mickey-shaped waffles are great incentive to get you to the park early. You can get them at a couple of different locations, but I like going to Plaza Inn because it is buffet style and their Mickey waffles are mini, which is just adorable. They are the perfect meal to fuel up for a day of adventure at the happiest place on Earth.

9. Red Rose Taverne 

This "Beauty and the Beast" themed restaurant is one of Disney's most recent contributions to their dining selection. It replaced the Village Haus restaurant in Fantasyland and opened a little over a month ago for a limited time only, in coordination with the movie re-make release. It presents an all new, on theme decor and menu. This includes the popular Grey Stuff, which is a red velvet cake with white chocolate mousse. Plan your next Disney trip soon, so you don't miss out on this celebration of a tale as old as time. 

10. Churro Carts

pizza, cake, beer
Elise Swift

I wanted to take a deeper dive into what food choices Disneyland has to offer beyond the beloved churro, but the Disney churros are a classic staple and are nostalgic for those of us who grew up going to Disneyland. Even if it’s your first visit, this dessert is the “churro” on top of a perfect day.

Dining at Disney is not just about the food, but the eating experience. At the Cove Bar, you enjoy the best view of the landmark Ferris wheel in the California Adventure park. When dining at Blue Bayou, you experience the Pirates of the Caribbean ride from a new perspective, from the smell of the water to watching passengers float by. At Red Rose Taverne, you find yourself being transported into a classic Disney film. The Disney experience can be transformed through your dining choices, until you are truly calling it the yummiest place on Earth.