Looking for an exceptional dining experience at Disneyland? Lamplight Lounge is certainly one that can fill this need as a popular Pixar-themed gastropub located at the heart of Disney’s California Adventure Park. This unique eatery stands out with its innovative menu, cozy ambiance, and remarkable waterfront view- but does it live up to all the hype? In this detailed review, we’ll explore every nook and cranny of this beloved destination, from its enticing food offerings to its creative cocktails. Our Lamplight Lounge Review puts everything under the microscope to give you all the inside scoop you need to plan your perfect visit.
Lamplight Lounge Details
The lounge is located right at the entrance of Pixar Pier and replaced Ariel’s Grotto some years ago. And we couldn’t be happier about that! The lounge was a great replacement for that space and, as suspected, has become a very popular place to dine. Here are some quick details about it and then we’ll jump into the menu, cocktail menu, secret menu, dining during World of Color and more.
Location – Disney California Adventure Park – Pixar Pier
Theme – Pixar Animation
Food Type – Table-service, gastropub
Hours of Operation – 11:30 AM to 8:30 PM
Reservations – Highly recommended
Discounts – Magic Key and Cast Member
Great For – Families, Couples, Parties of one and more
Guests are required to have theme park reservations to enter California Adventure Park. On top of this, we highly recommend booking your reservations for Lamplight Lounge 60 days in advance. More on reservations in just a bit.
The lounge offers seating both indoors and outdoors though both are covered from the sun and offers unique dining options including lounge tables, bars and normal dining tables. The outdoor seating is where you can get a great view of the World of Color show assuming you plan it right.
Make sure you don’t confuse the Lamplight Lounge Restaurant with the Patio Dining. They are very different and we would hate to see you make a reservation for the patio instead of the actual restaurant.
Lamplight Lounge Menu
Of all the dining locations at the Disneyland Resort, we love Lamplight’s for its ability to stay stead yet refreshed. We can always find our favorites but also try something new. And of course, your dining experience wouldn’t be complete without a drink; one of our favorite reasons to come here!
We could spend a lot of time in our Lamplight Lounge Review covering all the different types of foods and drinks they offer but instead of boring you with those we’re going to list the highlights for you. The must-gets. The reasons everyone ones coming to the lounge in the first place. And trust us, there is a lot to like.
Lobster Nachos: This is a dish made with warm lobster, black beans, aged cheddar-oaxaca cheese sauce, pico de gallo, and chipotle crema. It’s a must-try even if you don’t like lobster (just eat around it).
Chicken Sandwich: This is a crispy chicken with spicy chili glaze, vinegar slaw, pineapple butter, toasted Amish bun, and served with malted fries.
Carne Asada Roll: This dish is a twist on sushi with New York grilled strip steak, roasted Fresno chili salsa, escabeche, and crema.
Ratatouille: This dish is plated with roasted eggplant and bell pepper ragout, zucchini noodles, burrata cheese, smoked tomato sauce, and basil aïoli.
Cheddar Burger: This burger includes a grilled custom burger blend with Tillamook cheddar, roasted plum tomato, red onion, avocado ranch spread, and is served with malted fries.
Potato Skins: Crispy Yukon gold potatoes are served with brown butter-caper yogurt, smoked paprika aïoli, and Manchego cheese.
Crab and Tuna Roll: This dish features jumbo lump crab, avocado, cucumber, yellowfin tuna, and spicy mayo.
We’ve bolded the dishes that we love personally and the ones that are continually mentioned in reviews online and from the servers there. A few tips about the dishes:
The burger comes with most things on the side though you can have them eliminate something if you want
The potato skins are a must-get and can be done as an appetizer
Before continuing with our Lamplight Lounge review, we must discuss the fan-favorite Lobster Nachos. Complete with tender chunks of lobster, black beans, aged cheddar-Oaxaca cheese sauce, and pico de gallo, this dazzling medley of flavors is sure to impress. Combining the subtle sweetness of the lobster with the robust flavors of the cheese sauce and pico de gallo, the Lobster Nachos are a culinary tour de force that neatly encapsulates the innovative gastronomy of the Lamplight Lounge. This is unquestionably a must-try item that embodies the rich culinary treasures of the restaurant. Is it pricier than your average nacho dish? Absolutely! But is it worth every penny? Most definitely!
Lamplight Lounge Drinks & Cocktail Highlights
Lamplight Martini: It’s Shaken Gin and dry vermouth with a dash of olive juice, garnished with gourmet blue cheese-stuffed olives.
Open Ocean with a Splash: This is a tropical cocktail made with Bacardí Raspberry Rum, flavors of lime, pineapple and raspberry, and a splash of soda.
Over Budget: This drink is made of Grey Goose Vodka, Liquid Alchemist Passion Fruit, fresh lime juice, agave nectar, and ginger beer.
Server Room Chill: It’s a mix of Plymouth Gin, Aperol, Agave Nectar, and ruby red grapefruit juice.
Teaser: This is a highball cocktail mixed with Double Cross Vodka, agave nectar, pineapple, lemon juice, and liquid alchemist ginger.
The Sequel: It’s an uplifting mix of Absolut Citron Vodka, Bacardí Gran Reserva Maestro de Ron Rum, fresh lime juice, agave nectar, and a splash of Coca-Cola.
The cocktails at Lamplight Lounge are the second half of what makes this place so great. They’ve come up with some amazing concoctions that we love. And even if you’re not a drinker, they have a great mocktail menu as well:
Pucker Up: This non-alcoholic beverage is mixed with Sprite, Monin Pomegranate syrup, lime juice, and a grenadine float.
Goofball Island: This mocktail is blended with Odwalla Lemonade, U.S.-grown blueberries, Simply Fruit Punch, and Sprite.
Falling with Style: This non-alcoholic cocktail features Odwalla Lemonade, Granny Smith Apple, and space cap sour ice cubes.
2319: This drink is a mix of Odwalla Lemonade, Simply® Orange, grenadine, and a Coca-Cola Foam.
So whatever you’re eating, there’s a great drink to accompany it. And if you’re just not sure, ask your server and they’ll be happy to help you choose one or the other or both!
Lamplight Lounge Secret Menu
The Fun Wheel – This colorful, fruity cocktail was formerly on the official menu but now, you can still order it as a secret item. It’s a blend of rum, vodka, gin, tequila, blue curaçao, lime juice, and pineapple juice.
Lobster Nachos – Although this isn’t strictly a ‘secret’ menu item as it’s already quite popular, you can modify the dish by asking for the cheese and lobster to be served on the side, so you can add as much or as little as you like.
Black Pearl – Similar to the Fun Wheel, this drink was once on the standard menu but is now a secret item that you can still order. It’s a blend of vodka, gin, rum, sweet and sour mix, and Chambord.
Earthquake – This is a secret menu shot that’s a mix of vodka, gin, rum, sweet and sour, and blue curaçao.
All you have to do is ask and it shall be made! Don’t be afraid as the servers here get asked for these secret menu items all the time. We love the Fun Wheel mix as well as the Black Pearl. They are some of the Lamplight Lounge drinks best of the best!
“The Office” Secret Dining Experience
You’ve probably heard rumors about Lamplight Lounge having some sort of secret dining room for some guests to enjoy. Well, those rumors are true! “The Office” as it’s known, is located on the lower level of the restaurant towards the Incredicoaster. If you’re ever standing on the pier watching guests ride the attraction, you’ll see a small outdoor patio that seems to go nowhere. That nowhere goes right in The Office dining room.
In this special dining room parties can enjoy an entire room to themselves full of fun props, board games, table and lounging and of course privacy. So how do you get to experience The Office? It’s by invitation only and parties must have 6 or more in their group. Don’t waste your time asking for it as the staff “don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Lamplight Lounge Reservations
These are a must-have if you want to experience this restaurant without a direct, “no” or a long wait list. Here are the details of how to make Lamplight Lounge Reservations:
You’ll want to do it first thing in the morning when reservations open just to ensure you get one
If you just found out about this place but still want to try and go continually check the Disneyland App for cancellations
If you booked everything through a travel agent like MainStreet Travel then your agent can continually look for you
Occasionally if you’re staying at a property the hotel can help you secure last-minute Lamplight Lounge reservations
Lastly, use the Disneyland App on the day of to join their waitlist if they are offering one. If not, go ask a host and see if they are.
On the day of your visit, leveraging the Disneyland app can significantly amplify your chances to snag a seat at this popular dining spot. The app often provides an option to join the waiting list, provided the restaurant is offering one. This feature is especially advantageous during peak visiting times when waiting lists tend to be long. It allows you to enjoy other park attractions rather than wasting precious time standing in line.
However, keep in mind, that the availability of the waitlist can vary based on the day’s demand and restaurant capacity. If you do not see a waitlist option on the app, it doesn’t necessarily indicate that the restaurant is fully booked. In such instances, it’s well worth the effort to try the traditional route – simply approach a host at the lounge. Restaurant hosts possess the most accurate, up-to-date information about table availability and could possibly fit you in if there are any cancellations or no-shows.
So, whether you’re craving delicious pub classics or want to enjoy a refreshing drink while soaking in mesmerizing views of Paradise Bay, Lamplight Lounge is undoubtedly the place to be. Using the Disneyland app to join their waitlist – if available – or checking in with a host, can significantly augment your chances of securing a table at this sought-after dining spot. Always remember, that a little planning and smart use of technology can ensure a smooth, memorable dining experience at Disneyland’s Lamplight Lounge.
World of Color Viewing
Lamplight Lounge in Disney California Adventure Park just so happens to be situated on the shores of Paradise Bay, overlooking the area where the World of Color water show occurs. During the show guests at the restaurant are able to stay in their seats or join a standing area to watch the show.
Keep in mind a few things. First, the best viewing of the show would be at a table or bar out on the restaurant’s perch. Second, you don’t have a direct view of the show from the restaurant. You’ll be viewing it more from the side than straight on.
It is also important to note that the World of Color soundtracks do not play inside the restaurant during the show so it may be hard to hear everything. For the best experience, it’s suggested to secure a reservation for the World of Color Show or book a dining package that includes reserved viewing for the show.
Nevertheless, you can still enjoy glimpses of the show during your meal when seated at those previously mentioned spots. As tables on the lounge’s waterside patio can fill up fast, try to check in as early as possible and make a request for a patio table.
If you’ve never seen the show (first-timers) and you’re thinking Lamplight Lounge is the perfect way to do it, you’d be incorrect. It’s really for guests who have seen the show and are okay with catching glimpses of it or just enjoying the ambiance of it.
Discounts Available at Lamplight Lounge
We all love eating at Disney but sometimes hate the bill. For those of you who are like this, you’ll be happy to know that the lounge does offer discounts for guests including:
Magic Key Holders: Key Holders can receive their full discount here based on their key type:
Cast Members: Cast Members of the Walt Disney Company receive their normal Cast discount on dining and can also use any vouchers received for The Holidays.
Keep in mind that many of Disney’s restaurants don’t discount alcoholic beverages so be sure to ask your server this when it’s time. Also, remember that it is courteous to tip on the pre-discount amount instead of the discounted amount. Your severs will be grateful!
Lamplight Lounge vs. Carthay Circle
Both Lamplight Lounge and Carthay Circle are popular dining destinations at Disney California Adventure Park, each with its own unique appeal and offerings. And exactly why we wanted to compare the two.
This is a Pixar-themed restaurant known for its creative decor, showcasing concept art and memorabilia from your favorite Pixar films. It has a more casual, playful atmosphere with indoor and outdoor seating overlooking the Pixar Pier. The menu is elevated American gastro-pub fare, with highly praised items like the Lobster Nachos. The lounge also has a wide array of imaginative cocktails, beers, and non-alcoholic beverages. It is great for families and Pixar fans looking for a fun, laid-back dining experience.
This eatery offers a more upscale, fine dining experience, it is modeled after the iconic Carthay Circle Theatre where Walt Disney premiered ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’. The interior is elegant and the cuisine is California-inspired with a menu that changes seasonally, focusing on fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
It has an extensive wine list and serves handcrafted cocktails. It is more of a special occasion restaurant and is suitable for those looking for a sophisticated dining experience in the park.
In terms of popularity, both are favored for different reasons. Lamplight Lounge might be more popular for families and younger guests due to its fun Pixar theme and casual menu, while Carthay Circle is favored by diners looking for a refined, romantic, or premium dining experience. Either choice depends on the occasion and the guests’ preferences for theme, food, and atmosphere.
In summary, the Lamplight Lounge offers a truly unique, enjoyable dining experience, with a wide array of delicious food options and a distinctively creative atmosphere. The combination of Pixar-themed decor, beautiful views, and an impressive menu makes it a must-visit destination. Of course, every review is subjective, but it’s hard to deny the charm of this Pixar-inspired eatery. Whether you are a hardcore Pixar fan or just looking for a fun, casual dining experience at Disneyland Resort, Lamplight Lounge deserves to be on your list. Don’t forget to experiment with their innovative cocktail menu as well!