by Kristin Casagrand
In honor of being in California this week and having recently visited the Disneyland parks, this week’s post features Ariel’s Grotto restaurant. Ariel’s Grotto is found in the Paradise Pier section of Disney’s California Adventure park. During the day, it apparently serves as a character dining experience. However, when I went, it was for dinner so it was a normal sit down dinner without characters.
Walking into the restaurant, you are escorted down a spiral staircase to the dining area. The dining room is painted as though you are under the sea with jellyfish and seaweed decorations on the ceiling. Another major perk of dining at Ariel’s Grotto is that they offer a “World of Color” dinner package, which is exactly what my family did. You have a specific menu and at the end of the dinner, you are given World of Color fast passes for an allotted time to allow you to sit in a preferred seating area right on the water for the show.
With the World of Color dinner menu, you are given drinks, a starter, an entree, and a dessert. The starter is a antipasto tower for the table, complete with a layer of salad, a layer of fresh fruit, and a layer of cheeses and meats. I can’t forget to mention that they also bring the table a sourdough floret basket, which was tasty. Entrees include things such as tri-tip steak, chicken breast, and fish. I ordered the herb crusted chicken breast with wild rice and I will have to say that it was delicious. For dessert, they bring the table a tray of goodies such as M&M cookies, mini cupcakes, a chocolate fudge cake, and berries. The dessert wasn’t especially great in my eyes, but it was colorful and fit the whimsical feel of the restaurant.
Overall, I was pretty impressed with Ariel’s Grotto. I have to admit that I wasn’t expecting much before eating there. I shouldn’t have judged it prematurely because it pleasantly surprised me! This place is definitely worth it if you want a decent meal with front row tickets for World of Color.
Sadly, I couldn’t find any Ariel’s Grotto recipes to share with yall. But, I did also dine at Blue Bayou restaurant this week in Disneyland (which is fabulous) and would love to share a gumbo recipe from my dinner there. To find out more about the Blue Bayou experience, check out Peyton’s piece on it from a few weeks ago!
Recipe courtesy of http://www.m.magicalrecipes.net/recipes/blue-bayou/blue-bayou-gumbo-recipe.aspx
2 oz. Butter 1 1/2 Gallon of Chicken Stock 1 Cup Onions, Diced 12 oz. Chicken, Steak or Seafood, Diced 2 Cup Okra, cut 1 1/2 tsp. White Pepper 2 Tbsp. Gumbo File 2 oz. Flour 1 Cup Celery, Diced 8 Cups Rice, Cooked 2 Cups Tomatoes, Diced To Taste Salt 2 tsp. Cayenne Pepper 4 oz. Roux (2 oz. Flour & 2 oz. Butter)
Melt butter in a saucepan; add flour to make a roux (mix butter and flour). Cook for about 15 minutes, stir constantly, add the onion and celery. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the stock and make sure the roux is dissolved completely. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and return to a simmer. Adjust salt to taste at the end. If you are adding seafood, add it at the very end and make sure it is completely cooked. Mix well and serve.
Kristin Casagrand is a student currently studying physical therapy at Bellarmine University. Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Kristin has taken many a family vacations as a child driving 24 hrs, cramped in the back of the car and fighting with her sister to get to Disney (definitely worth it though). She looks forward to sharing “A taste of Disney” with everyone each week.