Breakfast options in Disneyland have never been diverse or plentiful, but there has always been one place you could count on: the Carnation Café on Main Street U.S.A. This lovely restaurant has been serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner to guests for decades, with breakfast a particularly popular meal. With a renovation in the past few years since the opening of the Market House Starbucks and the closing of the Blue Ribbon Bakery (R.I.P. Blue Ribbon Cinnamon Rolls), the restaurant has expanded it seating to include its original outdoor seating as well as some newer indoor seating.
One big thing to remember with the Carnation Café these days: you’d better have a reservation. Gone are the days of walking up to the podium and asking to put your name down. If you don’t have a reservation use the Disneyland app or call Disney Dining to make one. When we arrived and were waiting for our table two groups approached asking if they could put their names down for tables. They were told by the hosts that they were fully booked and they could either use the app or call and for a table, but their system would not accommodate walk-ups anymore. Bummer if you’ve just decided to have a meal there, but it shows how popular this place is.
The food is American comfort food and many feel like breakfast is their specialty. I know many guests who feel like a trip to Disneyland isn’t complete without breakfast at the Carnation Café. While the food will be familiar favorites that doesn’t mean it’s boring or run-of-the-mill. The famous breakfast here is Oscar’s Choice, named for Chef Oscar Martinez, one of the longtime cooks in the kitchen and the longest-tenured Disney Cast Member ever (he retired in 2017 after 54 years at Disneyland!). We’ve had this old standby before: eggs your way, choice of meat, Oscar’s famous potatoes, and your choice of toast or croissant. We know it’s good, so we thought we’d try two new dishes to spread the love.
Busy Bumble had the country-fried steak and eggs. This combo is a bit rich and certainly very big for breakfast. Luckily we had no lunch plans and this was filling. The steak was cooked perfectly and so tender. The breading was nice and crunchy, similar in taste to the beloved fried chicken from the Plaza Inn. The gravy was thick and savory, which would have been great with some biscuits. The meal comes with eggs your way, so Busy Bumble chose scrambled. There’s also a small heap of Oscar’s potatoes for you to enjoy as well. Toast of your choice is on the side (wheat this time) and the restaurant stocks Smuckers jam and Dickinson’s marmalade for your enjoyment. The plate is perfect for those with large appetites or people who need something substantial that can get them through most of the day without needing to stop for another meal or snacks.
I had to go with an old favorite that I had never had at the Carnation Café: a Mickey waffle! This beauty was just the way I wanted it: almost cracker-crisp on the outside, just spongy enough on the inside, and able to soak up all that yummy butter and syrup. Amazingly, the waffle holds up pretty well after cutting and dicing and soaking in syrup, a testament to its good form. My guess, based on recipes I know, is that they fold in whipped egg whites (so stiff they’re almost like meringues) to get the waffle to turn out this way. This plate comes with your choice of meat, so I opted to some breakfast sausage. The savory saltiness of the sausage was wonderful with the waffle and syrup, although bacon would be a great choice too.
The Carnation Cafe’s breakfast menu includes options such as the cinnamon roll French toast, oatmeal, and croissant sandwich. The kitchen is also happy to field any requests due to dietary restrictions or allergies. Just let the host know when you check in and the chef will gladly consult with you to make a meal you can enjoy. The restaurant remains one of our all-time favorites and we’ll be back whenever we can snag one of the coveted reservations.