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White Water Snacks : A Dining Review

by Gincy Heins, PassPorter Guest Contributor
Last modified 7/20/2006

You’re at the Disneyland Resort, the children are hungry and the adults could use a break, but no one wants to take time away from the fun to eat. Is there a dining solution that will satisfy everyone’s needs? Borrow the motto of the Golden State, and shout, “Eureka!” when you find the hidden nugget at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel, White Water Snacks!

When you travel, even some place as fun and exciting as the Happiest Place on Earth, or maybe because of the fun and excitement, it can be difficult to find something young children will eat. A visit to White Water Snacks could be just the solution! White Water Snacks is a combination of a snack bar and a restaurant. They have both fountain beverages and beverages in individual containers.

My family and I have been there many times, both to pick up a quick snack and to eat a meal. We have taken guests visiting the Disneyland Resort with us, and have even gone there just to go out to dinner!

What makes White Water Snacks worth the visit? The food is good and the atmosphere is relaxing. As you enter, a sign listing the general foods offered, rather than specific items with prices, greets you. Walk around this wall and you will discover the fountain drinks and refrigerator cases on your left. In addition to more drinks including milk, you will find pre-made salads and sandwiches in the refrigerator cases. On your right you will find baked goods and packaged cereals, a freezer case with ice cream bars, and a small selection of candy bars. A variety of packages of chips are also available.

On the wall directly in front of you, there is the menu posted high on the wall with descriptions and prices of the food. The grill is on the left and the cash registers are on the right. When you reach the cash register, a cast member will take your order and ring up your other purchases. If you order food from the grill, you will be given a number to place on your table. Your food is brought to you piping hot when it is prepared.

We have two favorites at White Water Snacks, both from the grill. My husband usually orders the Foot Long “Coney Island” hot dog. This large hot dog is served in a bun and covered with chili, cheese, and onion, if desired. French fries are included. The other favorite, which our son and I order, is the Chicken Tenders off the children’s menu. It includes three generous pieces of chicken, fries or baby carrots, a fountain drink and a fun straw. You will be given the cup for the beverage once you order the children’s meal, so you’ll need to go back to the fountain drink dispenser to fill up the cup.

With both of these items, there is so much food we find it difficult to finish it all! We have discovered that if you order the items “to go”, you receive even more fries! If you get your food to eat in the restaurant, the children’s meal comes in a small plastic lunch box.

There is seating both inside and outside at White Water Snacks. There are approximately 25 tables inside and another dozen outside. The restaurant is well air conditioned and feels refreshing on a hot day! Because of the high ceiling, it can be a little noisy inside, but still relaxing. The outside seating area is very pleasant. You’ll hear people at the pool and the birds and crickets from the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail at California Adventure. In fact, there is a fence separating you from the Trail, so you are sitting next to a lovely, wooded area!

Despite the small number of tables, we have only encountered a line once at White Water Snacks, and have never had a problem getting a table. The crowd was in December when both parks had just closed at 5:00 pm, right after the fireworks at Disneyland. There were about eight groups in line ahead of us, and the wait for our food was closer to 30 minutes than the usual ten.

How do you get to this hidden gem? There are two ways to get to White Water Snacks. One is from California Adventure and one is through the Grand Californian Hotel. If you are already in California Adventure, enter the Grand Californian Hotel across from the viewing area for Grizzly Rapids. As soon as you enter the hotel area, it is like entering a serene environment. When you reach the end of the passageway, turn left. You will pass the rest rooms on your left, and the pool is on your right. Walk a little farther and the entrance to White Water Snacks will be on your left.

Reaching White Water Snacks through the hotel is less direct, but still not difficult. After walking between Sephora and Club Libby Lu in Downtown Disney, enter the Grand Californian Hotel near the conference rooms, go through the lobby and back outside past the pool. (If you have time as you stroll through the lobby, be sure to admire the beautiful fireplace with chairs sized separately for children and adults, and the way the pattern on the floor blends into the pattern on the carpet.) You’ll pass Storyteller’s Café and Napa Rose before reaching the entrance to California Adventure. The entrance to White Water Snacks is just a bit beyond.

However your reach White Water Snacks, relax and enjoy the food and atmosphere in this virtually undiscovered location.

About the Author: Gincy Heins recently contributed an article about the new Adventures by Disney trip to Wyoming. She is planning a trip to Walt Disney World for her family later this year.

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Updated 7/20/2006

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