Ahi crudo, seared rare A-5 Kobe beef, abalone with sea urchin foam and braised buffalo short ribs over red pumpkin puree paired with wines from around the world might sound like a tasting menu at a world-renowned restaurant. But this seven-course culinary adventure happened to be in Anaheim, Calif., at a place known for adventure—Disneyland Park—and I got to go along for the tasty ride.
21 Royal is a new group experience that gives groups up to 12 an inside peek into the life of Walt and Lillian Disney as a story told through a tailored tasting menu. Andrew Sutton, executive chef and culinary director, Signature Restaurants for Disneyland Resort, along with Justin Monson, chef de cuisine, 21 Royal and Club 33, Disneyland Resort, and Matt Ellingson, sommelier and project manager, 21 Royal, blend their personal culinary stories while creating the feel of being at a private dinner party hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Disney.
Our group met at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and were escorted through the park to New Orleans Square, once a private residence imagined by Walt Disney to be a place to entertain family and friends. Although Walt never saw his plans come to life, the 2,200-square-foot space is now home to 21 Royal.
The 21 Royal experience begins with a signature cocktail in the living room followed by hors d’ouevres and live music on the private patio. Once in the formal dining room, Sutton, Monson and Ellingson narrated each course and wine pairing. Off the dining room is a terrace that overlooks the busy street below and the Rivers of America, where we enjoyed coffee before heading back inside for dessert.
Growing up in Southern California, I have been to Disneyland Park many times and thought I had seen it all. But that’s the great thing about Disneyland Park—no matter your age, there’s always magic.