Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Carthay Circle Restaurant and World of Color

On my third night, I had reservations for dinner at the Carthay Circle restaurant in California Adventure.  This new upscale restaurant is actually in the theme park, housed in replica of the Carthay Circle Theater in Los Angeles, the site of the December 21, 1937 premiere of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. (I neglected to get a good exterior shot of the building, but there is a lovely one at the link above.) The restaurant appears at the end of Buena Vista Street, and caps off the themed entryway.  I figured I'd better go check it out, while it's still a serious restaurant and before Disney decides to convert it to a Princess dining opportunity, where you can meet characters and eat hot dogs with french fries.  (When California Adventure first opened, there was a lovely restaurant run by Wolfgang Puck.  It's now a chance for kids to eat with Ariel the mermaid instead. Also, one of my favorite restaurants in EPCOT, the Akershus in Norway, converted to princess dining a number of years ago.  As you can tell, this doesn't bother me a bit.)

Just behind my table:  There is a mural commemorating the movie
Snow White in the central cap on the second floor.
I headed in at six, waited a bit in a beautifully finished lounge, then was brought upstairs to my table. I got started in earnest, with a Hemingway Daiquiri and firecracker duck wings.  (The duck wings were really magnificent: hot, dark, sticky, and wonderful.  The chef had chosen to highlight various California ethnic influences, and these were inspired by Chinese cuisine, featuring soy and sriracha sauce.)  Then lamb for the main dish with a glass of wine (selected with the waiter's help), and of course dessert, which ended up being another wonderful chocolate and peanut butter creation.  (I do have a tendency here...)
Waiting for World of Color to begin from a prime viewing location.  Although Paradise Pier has never
been a favorite part of the park for me for rides, I do love the lights and colors at night.
Dinner at Carthay Circle also includes reserved prime viewing for the nightly World of Color light and water show at California Adventure (if you order at least two courses), so I headed down to the lagoon to watch the show after dinner.  It's a pretty cool show (I'd seen video online before, but it's pretty impressive in person).  It features a mixture of timed lights, music, fountains, fire, and animated scenes projected in high quality on huge water screens.  Very impressive. This show also added some holiday elements to the regular show, including an initial appearance of the Prep and Landing elves.  It made a beautiful end to the evening.  (Or at least it would have, if I didn't have plans to head across to Disneyland and see a few more things before I turned in for the night.)

As I headed out in the crowds, I looked out over the lagoon towards Paradise Pier on the right, Pacific Wharf on the left segueing into Cars Land (beautifully lit up at night), and thought that DCA really does finally feel like a full theme park now, a worthy mate to the park it sits next to.

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