For the first time since March, guests are once again able to explore Disney California Adventure! Well…kind of. If you ask Disney, Buena Vista Street (and its immediate surrounding area) has reopened as an extension of Downtown Disney. California Adventure as a theme park remains “closed” at this time.
However, you can’t deny that getting to eat an Original Corndog, as well as dining at Carthay Circle Lounge, doesn’t remind you of what it’s like to eat at a Disneyland park! There’s another dining option available to guests we haven’t shown you yet — Smokejumpers Grill!
To add to our dining experience today, we stopped by Smokejumpers Grill to see what the new protocol was like, and, of course, try one of their burgers!
Let’s take a look at what dining at this location is like these days!
Arriving and Ordering
Smokejumpers Grill is nestled in Grizzly Peak, one of the “corners” of Buena Vista Street’s reach at this time. The area doesn’t get a lot of foot traffic, so this is the perfect spot for a quiet break away from the main thoroughfare of Buena Vista Street. Currently, Disney is encouraging its guests to use Mobile Order on the Disneyland App using your smart device to order your food.
You can also order in person to the lefthand side as you enter Smokejumpers.
If you’re picking up a Mobile Order, you’ll head to the windows on the righthand side instead. Currently, indoor dining is not permitted in Orange County, so you must head outside to Smokejumpers’ plentiful outdoor seating to eat your food.
Smokejumpers’ menu is limited at this time. Like…VERY limited. We’re talking a few burgers and chicken nuggs type of limited. Unfortunately, their Chili Cheese Fries and their Signature Mac & Cheese are unavailable, so we’ll have to wait a bit longer for those items to return. You can currently choose between a Bacon Cheddar Burger, Cheeseburger, Chicken Tenders, or an Impossible Burger.
To go with arguably the most “elaborate” item on their menu currently, we went with their Bacon Cheddar Burger along with a side of Waffle Fries for $13.49. Guests can choose between Waffle Fries or Onion Rings.
While we wish we could tell you that Smokejumpers seriously upped their burger game during the closure…sadly we would be lying. Every theme park has to have a generic, run-of-the-mill burger option, right? This was not…very…good. But you know what? It’s been so long since we had an overcooked hockey puck of a quick-service burger in Disneyland that we almost reveled in eating it!
The burger was, well…a very well-done burger. It might bounce off the floor if we threw it. The Signature Sauce, which had that typical Thousand Island, “trying to be In-N-Out Burger but SO not succeeding” vibe to it, added a nice bit of flavor, and the shredded lettuce was nice enough. At least the bacon was crispy, but that poor slice of half-melted American Cheese has seen better days. Overall this burger left us feeling full, and that was about it. But hey, it’s been eight months since we’ve had a counter-service burger from Disneyland, so we’ll take it.
Unless you’re spending all day at Buena Vista Street, we wouldn’t prioritize dining here until more options are added back to their menu. You can get equally good if not better burgers at Black Tap Craft Burgers and Shakes in Downtown Disney and those Award Wieners/Corn Dog Castle Corndog options? Chef’s kiss. If you’re just looking for a snack, however, their Waffle Fries are an excellent option. ?
Well seasoned and crispy, we would absolutely order them again if we were looking for a quick snack on our next visit to Buena Vista Street. Smokejumpers is also serving beer, but keep in mind that at this time you are required to purchase a food item along with any alcoholic beverage. The Waffle Fries are a solid choice. Totally get the Waffle Fries. If you want a full meal, it’s hard to screw up chicken tenders (but not impossible!). Do it for that sad burger. Think of the burger, guys.
Ultimately, Disney is taking a slow and steady approach to reopening Buena Vista Street. Since Orange County is far from being able to open theme parks, Disneyland can only operate their shopping and dining locations at this time, and it may be a while before even those locations are operating at their regular capacity. Smokejumpers Grill is a good example of this, with a limited menu of items that largely share the same ingredients and is fast and easy to prepare with a small crew.
Their menu may be lacking, but they somewhat make up for it with atmosphere. The happy “accident” here is that because there is no through traffic in the Grizzly Peak area due to the area currently being a dead end, the result is a quiet, almost tranquil dining experience in the great outdoors (kinda!). In the days of a bustling California Adventure, you could sit outside and people watch as guests rushed on Soarin’, or ran by en route to Pixar Pier. Not at this time! For now, a quiet corner of an otherwise slowly reanimating theme park with sad, overcooked burgers will have to do. And we’re oddly ok with that right now.
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Are you planning on visiting Buena Vista Street in the near future? Let us know in the comments!