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Monday, May 13, 2013

Disneyland's Riverbelle Terrace - A Chair, A View, A Sandwich

It was our last night in Disneyland and we were going to see Fantasmic. We had given up sitting on that concrete walkway that they try to pass off for a viewing area years ago. What goes down must come back up. Not an easy thing to do at my age after sitting on the ground for hours on end squatting a prime spot. Nope....every Fantasmic viewing since 2005 has been from a table and chairs found at the outside dining area of the Riverbelle Terrace Restaurant. Facing the front of the restaurant, it's usually the table by the railing on the far right. Is it a perfect view? No...not quite, but it is pretty good and I have just what I need....a chair.

Now that table is a prime viewing area. You have to get there early. How early you ask? Kind of depends on how busy the park is. On a Friday night a few weeks ago, Mrs. DisneylandTraveler and I plopped our rear ends down about 5pm for the 9 o'clock showing of Fantasmic. We have been known to go up as early as 2:30 on a busy day in July. If you think it's crazy, as the day and night wear on, many people will have the same idea. And some think it is perfectly OK for them to show up 15 minutes before showtime and ask if they can join you at the table. Luckily, we usually have enough people in our group to make this rather questionable piece of Disneyland etiquette difficult.

So what exactly do you do when you show up for a show hours before it actually begins? It's called tag-team squatting and the more people you have in your party, the better. On this Friday night, after being in Disneyland since the previous Sunday, I was perfectly willing to sit, and sit, and sit some more. Mrs. DLT, still with a bit more energy than me, decided to use the time for some last minute shopping. While I sat, she shopped. When she came back, she asked if I wanted to go do something. No... I was good. But that's the routine for the table squatting. As long as one person stays behind, others are free to do whatever. My sister and her husband joined us off and on throughout the evening and we all eventually settled in for good about 8 o'clock, an hour before the show started. By that time, the Riverbelle Terrace patio is pretty packed and you find yourself giving yourself a pat on the back for getting there as early as you did.

Not Bad - but $12.99 (plus tax) sandwiches???
The Riverbelle Terrace is a counter service restaurant (cafeteria style) so the seating surrounding the place is open. The bus staff cleaning and wiping down the tables couldn't care less if you actually ordered something from the restaurant. I am not a fan of the food (lunch/dinner) served at the Riverbelle Terrace. Usually we go off in the surrounding areas and bring food back to our viewing table. The Jolly Holiday Bakery or Bengal Bar B Que are good choices for food to bring back to the viewing table. But every once in awhile I feel just guilty enough to actually order something from the Riverbelle Terrace. They mostly have sandwiches and salads. What gives RBT a different twist is that with the roast beef and turkey sandwich offerings, the meat is actually carved rather the usual pressed deli style meat. So the sandwiches are good.....but it's going to cost you...to the tune of about thirteen bucks plus tax, plus drink. I expect to pay high prices in Disneyland for food. It's a given. Of all the food that is offered in the park, I have the hardest time paying for what the Riverbelle Terrace serves up. The sandwiches are good but the accompanying baked beans taste like the kind that are massed produce and come out of a can. Baked beans comes with all sandwiches and you also get a choice of a small cold side dish like fruit, pasta salad, or potato salad. You can't go wrong with fruit I suppose but the prepared salads usually aren't very good. I would probably enjoy the meal if it was about 3 or 4 dollars less. The Jolly Holiday Bakery serves up roast beef and turkey sandwiches at less than 10 bucks and are far better.

For the price of this turkey sandwich plus drink, you could buy a whole turkey.
So that's what I think about The Riverbelle Terrace. Get there early, enjoy the view for Fantasmic, and skip the food. You could do better and cheaper. Note: when we used to take the Boy to Disneyland when he was younger, we would often go to the Riverbelle Terrace for breakfast because they served the classic Mickey Mouse pancakes that kids love.  This goes back to the time when the place was called Aunt Jemima's Pancake House and it was a favorite of Walt Disney. Haven't been there for breakfast for years though.

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