Disneyland. The name needs no explanation. Just hearing it, you likely get whisked away to a sweet memory in your mind. Perhaps you recall the summers spent driving to Anaheim with your mom, dad, and siblings – packed in like sardines amongst the luggage and road trip snacks like boxes of raisins and pb&j sandwiches. You barely slept a wink the night before, and were still far too excited to doze off during the drive there. You were headed to the happiest place on Earth, after all, a place where Mickey Mouse and his friends would meet you between rides on The Jungle Cruise, Space Mountain, and Pirates of The Carribean. Over the years, perhaps you became less interested in frolicking on Tom Sawyer Island as life got in the way, as it tends to do, and you grew up. Now you’re an adult, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have adult fun at “the happiest place on earth” – on the contrary. The happiest place is even happier because California Craft Beer has infiltrated Disneyland Resort at Disney California Adventure.
Now, it is true that beer, wine, and spirits have previously been available at Disneyland, but that was only through the very exclusive “Club 33” experience. A $10,000 annual membership fee plus other monetary obligations probably make Club 33 an unattainable experience for most. I’m sure there are people who have beaten the system and used various methods to smuggle adult beverage in to the park and for that I both condemn and commend. However, there is no reason to risk getting caught, losing your park ticket, and face possible arrest and even deportation! Just visit my top picks for adult beverage consumption at Disney’s California Adventure.
CARTHAY CIRCLE: Located about one hundred yards from the park entrance, Carthay Circle is quite an experience in and of itself. It is, without a doubt, the truest fine dining restaurant experience in either park. Inspired by The Golden Age of Hollywood the stunning architecture and beautiful decor transport you to another time and place. It’s beauty and attention to detail that set this venue apart from anything in most any them park, the world over. You can enjoy craft beer with your meal, to be certain, but, for my time and money I enjoy visiting the bar just off to the right of the building’s entrance.According to the good folks at Disenyland Resort “The dimly lit, elegantly appointed Carthay Circle Lounge is found on the first floor, serving swanky signature cocktails, craft beer, California wines, seltzer sodas and a full bar… Elegant bar bites and snacks inspired by Southern California’s diversity play a strong supporting role and include the Vietnamese twice-cooked beef taco, warm Spanish pimentos with imported chorizo, Santa Monica deviled eggs with smoked salmon and lemon crème fraiche, and the ebi shrimp roll with red jalapeño and soy. Darling finger desserts, including trios of cake pops and mini mousse cones, are likely to draw a standing ovation.” My wife and I shared a Fort Bragg, CA brewed beer “Brother Thelonious” from North Coast Brewing Co. According to the good folks at NCBC they are “proud to partner with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz in support of Jazz education. The Brewery makes a donation to the Institute for every bottle of Brother Thelonious Belgian Style Abbey Ale sold.” It was served in clean and proper glassware at the proper temperature poured by the waitress from the bottle at the table. It was quite a swanky experience at a swanky place.
Karl Strauss Beer Truck (AKA Pacific Wharf Distribution Co.): Founded in 1989 this San Diego, California based craft beer brewery has been an industry pioneer for nearly over a quarter century. The ingenious design of using a delivery truck as a cold room gives it that touch of Disney Magic and shows that Karl Strauss pioneering spirit. The disguised cold room from which Karl Strauss beers are poured via a direct draw system add to the magic with the beautify graphics adorning the truck. This casual walk up beer station is a craft beer oasis nestled between Cars Land and Paradise Pier in the food court area known as “Pacific Wharf.” I enjoyed a fresh and hoppy Tower 10 IPA for $8! That’s a great deal anywhere, especially a theme park. Yes, it was poured on draft into a plastic cup, which is not ideal, the fact I could walk around the park with a beer in my hands was quite priceless.
Wine Country Trattoria: Sitting al fresco at this Napa inspired restaurant is the only way to go. Starting with the quality of the food, coupled with the service as well as its design and layout, you would not believe you were not having a meal at a northern California winery. As shared by the good folks at DCA you can “Experience the Napa Valley’s passion for wine and fresh seasonal fare in an idyllic Mediterranean garden setting. A hand-carved limestone fountain welcomes you to a rustic retreat where elegantly prepared Italian specialties await. Fresco-painted plaster walls, tiled floors and wood-beam accents reminiscent of a Tuscan villa create a tranquil setting for relaxing afternoons and romantic evenings alike.” I enjoyed a plate of Broccolini Aglio Olio which was “lightly tossed with Spinach, Arugula, Tomatoes, Garlic, Chili Flakes, and Olive Oil” which I paired with a butter bomb that was a California Chardonnay which I ordered by the glass.
There are other places that offer California Craft Beer, California Wines, as well as spirits scattered throughout the park, but you’ll have to find those hidden Mickeys on your own. Do yourself a favor. Take a day off, get some friends together, split a hotel room (you’re going to need it) and get some day drinking done in between rides on “California Screaming” at the craftiest place on earth – Disney’s California Adventure.