Disneyland Park (Frontierland)
Anaheim, CA | MAP
WHAT TO EAT: Everything except the coleslaw
EATER TIP: Don't come too hungry unless you've made a reservation
When I go to Disneyland I expect to eat a handful of random snacks to fulfill my hunger throughout the day: chips, a corn dog, sips of dole whip, and maybe a churro (or two). I've been fortunate to eat at a couple of buffets that Disneyland has the offer (Goofy's Kitchen and Storytellers Café) but I never knew about Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue tucked away in Frontierland. At a price of $24 for a buffet lunch, I figured it'd be worth it considering the cost of other foods in the park.
Instead of "all-you-can-eat" the Disneyland folks call it "all-you-care-to-enjoy" — it means the same thing so tell your tummy not to worry.
The menu is very simple: BBQ ribs & chicken, ranch beans, coleslaw, and corn bread (they also offer vegetarian options). For an additional cost you can finish your meal with a nice dessert (I heard the S'mores Bake is the popular choice).
Not sure what was going on at the ranch, but after sitting down at a communal table the food took forever to show up. The neighboring party who had sat before me were showing signs of impatience and it wasn't long before I, too, started to grumble and twist in my seat. Normally I can wait like an angel, but this is a buffet so I was expecting to chow down promptly.
After about 20 minutes of twiddling with my mason jars, the grub made an appearance! I must say that I preferred the BBQ chicken over the ribs, it was some of the best I have ever had — very moist and flavorful with the right amount of crispy skin. When asking for extra helpings, you can request certain parts of the chicken (I asked for 2 more thighs). My second favorite of the few would have to be the fluffy corn bread which came with smooth honey butter, mm mm!! As for the rest: the beans were good but the coleslaw was too vinegar-y for me.
TIP: The restroom located around the corner is the BEST RESTROOM I've been to within the general areas of Disneyland, I swear! Super clean, well-stocked, quiet, dimly lit with no wait.
Next time you're at Disneyland and you find yourself feeling super duper hungry, give Big Thunder Ranch BBQ a try. For a few extra bucks, their dinner menu offers the additions of smoked sausage and corn on a cob which I would love to try someday (before ticket prices reach $500).