How To Eat Clean In Disneyland – Part Two CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE

How To Eat Clean and Paleo In Disneyland – Part One

It was 1980, and it was my first trip to Disney. My dad and my sister and I hopped in the family car and made the voyage down the coast to the “Happiest Place On Earth.” The memories of that trip run together like the huge “swirly lollies” Disneyland sells throughout the park. I can see the 1980’s version of “Splash Mountain,” “It’s A Small world” and “The Disney Parade.” from my ten-year-old height. It makes me smile.

Many of these flashback memories also involve copious amounts of food. Crap food, if you will. Colorful, sweet, delicious candy and crap that my sister and I mainlined by the pound. Flash forward 36 years and I no longer can go 10 miles, 23000 steps and nine hours in Disney sustained only by cotton candy, fries, and Mickey Mouse ice cream bars.

[Tweet “Colorful, sweet, delicious candy and crap that my sister and I mainlined by the pound.”]

Two decades later,  being somewhat older and wiser, I have a richer sense of the “food is fuel” concept. If you work your way through Disney eating like a troll you will pay for your choices in sputtering energy, increased immunosusceptabilty (think about all those million kid-germs stuck to that roller coaster handrail you just let go of!) and a generalized depressed sense of experience. A depressed sense of experience? What? Yes, guess what? Your brain (the vehicle that processes your environment), is THE most sensitive of all parts of your body to crap nutrition.

Then how do we eat clean at Disneyland? Is there actual food even available? After five days of research and food testing, I can safely tell you yes, yes there is.

Last week was PART ONE of “How To Eat Clean In Disney.”  I promised PART TWO would cover California Adventure. There are truly fantastic spots to “dine-down” in California Adventure. The sad news is the one restaurant I wanted to try the most was full. So let me stop and enter a small side note.



You can make restaurant reservations 60 days in advance of your intended dining date. 

Below is the link to making reservations at any restaurant within Disney or California Adventure. 



Waiting For The World Of Color!
Waiting For The World Of Color!

Now, onto where to eat clean in California Adventure! 

Carthay Circle: This s where I had hoped to dine because all the paleo online enthusiasts rave about the quality of the food and the ability to get wonderful paleo options. I called to book the day before (February 13th no less), and the Disney reservationist actually laughed at me. SOOOOO….we didn’t get to go but the chefs are supposed to be extremely amenable to modifications, and there is plenty on the menu to satisfy the most primal palate. 

Wine Country Trattoria: Not many people have written about the Trattoria menu, but I loved it. I had a beautiful salad, and our waitress could not have more accommodating. The food was excellent, and I love that you can get a glass of wine! (not paleo, but delicious!) There were plenty of healthy food options on this menu. 

Flo’s V8 Cafe: Okay, I know this is a stretch but the ribs on the top left look divine.  Sub out the potatoes for more veggies and you have a pretty awesome meal while standing for two hours in the Radiator Springs line up. 

Cocina Cucamonga: Two words. Citrus Chicken. This restaurant can modify it’s “rice and beans” go-to with grilled vegetables. Also, if you are primarily gluten free, they have corn tortillas available for substitution. 

Award Weiners: Some paleo and clean eating bloggers recommend Award Weiners. They recommend just to order your dog bunless, but my take is that is a pretty expensive piece of processed meat, and it is a little further stretch from clean, well-sourced food then I am willing to reach. There are also dogs at  Pluto’s Dog House in Disney so if weiners are your thing have at ’em! 

This one insisted on a Pluto Dog!
This one insisted on a Pluto Dog!


Arial’s Grotto: Some options here for sure, and the reputation is that they are amenable to menu modifications for food sensitivities and allergies, but if you don’t have a little princess that you are bringing with you, you are just as well to stay with some of the other options I have mentioned. The ambiance is a little overwhelming. 

The trick to eating clean, whole food in California

Adventure is to stick to the sit-down restaurants!

There are fruit stands in California Adventure just like Disney, but I would say their offerings are a little more limited. Okay, I’ll say it. No Turkey Leg… LINK

California Adventure, like Disneyland, allows you to bring snacks and water so take advantage by packing in some superb, healthy, whole food options. Here is what we had in our bag!

 Looking to purchase the snacks included in this post?








This week I want you to focus on putting some planning into your meals. Can you focus on “pre-planning” at least one meal a day (breakfast, lunch or dinner) and see what “conscious eating” feels like. The payoff is huge and the time you save in pre-prepping will shock you! 


If you liked this post, you’ll flip your mouse ears for these! 

How To Eat Clean In Disneyland – Part One

The Three Day Reset-Finally, A Food Plan That Is Doable





33 Responses

  1. I agree, there are options to eat pretty healthy at Disney however, when we used to go all I kept thinking about was that turkey leg 🙂
    When you have kids, it is important to give them healthy and nutritious meals, so yes, sit-down restaurants is the best option – at least for one meal of the day.

    1. For sure, Noemi! You have got it! Thanks for confirming what I discovered only a couple weeks ago. 🙂

    1. It’s all in the planning Shannon! 🙂 It is a lot of fun, you might want to add it to the travel list!

  2. I haven’t been to disneyland for a while. It would be so so tempting to not eat healthy there though I bet with all of the “park food” around. Thanks for the list of tips! I will have to pin this for later.

    1. Thanks, Melanie. It is totally doable and makes you feel a lot better when you do CHOOSE to have something off plan.

    1. That is awesome, Danielle. You sound like a regular, and yes lots of fruit stands on either side of Indi and BENGAL BBQ right in front of it!

    1. Thanks, Lixa. It has been a popular post. I guess lots of people are wondering what Disney can offer in that department! 🙂

    1. I think that has changed a lot over the last several years because of demand. They were all so friendly about being interviewed. I was really impressed at the level of service.

  3. Great tips! I think it’s great to eat clean while at Disney since so much of the food isn’t, but it’s also nice to indulge just a little bit too. Balance right?!

  4. What a great series! I really struggle eating out at theme parks or venues geared toward children. When we’ve gone to Disney World I always bring my own food – cut vegetables and fruits, water. I have a tough time tolerating foods with a lot of preservatives, so whole foods are always my go to. And I love the tip about eating in real restaurants. It always give you more options of real food!

    1. Thank you, Aida! It was fun to do it. I will have to go to Disney World next and blog about that!

    1. Thanks, Mama! I was determined not to let it deter me off the plan so I decided to write about it. 🙂 Thank you for stopping by.

  5. I love Disneyland! Who knew there were that many healthy options to choose from. They really do have something there for everyone.

    1. They do, Deynece. It was great to know that I wasn’t completely blowing my commitment to to eating clean. It isn’t perfect by any means. BNut we can eat better than I thought we could!

  6. We actually just went to disneyland recently and I wish I would have seen your post! This is super helpful, as I really just threw my hands in the air and called it a cheat day 🙁 Got lots of kettle korn popcorn! HA.

    It always seems like the nice places have the great salads and, bars are so key!

    Love it!

    1. You just gave me an idea. I think a cool place with a salad bar with tons of options and outside seating could actually be amazing there!

  7. I love these ideas! I definitely will have to bookmark this post to remember for spring break. I’m thrilled to know there are so many healthy options there, because the idea of fueling my body with junk food during long amusement park days sounds terrible.

    1. I know, Laurel. I actually was stressing about it a little so was so glad to see so many options.

  8. My family and I went to Disneyland last summer and we were all surprised with all of the healthy options out for us to enjoy. We loved the dole soft serve and a nice refreshment on the hot summer day. Love this!

    1. So glad you discovered what I did as well! I think they are going to continue to respond to demand and we will see more and more great options.

  9. I’ll bet it’s really hard to avoid all that tempting food at Disneyland. But this is great! Good for you sticking with it and finding the options!

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Dr. Denniston is a wellness strategist for elite leaders and their teams, bridging the connection between personal well-being and professional success. She provides custom solutions for burnout and stress and facilitates cohesive habit-training strategies that maximize vitality, productivity, and resilience.

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