One of the biggest disappointments for us was Carthay Circle. Maybe “disappointment” is too strong of a word. I really hope that nothing we write here is taken too seriously. 🙂
But, as big Andrew Sutton fans, we were looking forward to tasting the menu and soaking up the atmosphere. From what we’d read about it online, we were quite enticed. We imagined the experience might be similar to Yak & Yeti at Animal Kingdom at WDW with separate floors for the lounge and restaurant. You can read about that experience here.
As others have pointed out, placing a restaurant inside the park is a big risk – a person must have a ticket to eat there. It didn’t work for Wolfgang Puck so will it work for Carthay Circle? As Rich pointed out, how would most people even know it’s a restaurant? It looks like a theater – not a restaurant and it doesn’t say restaurant anywhere.
And, as we mentioned earlier, the lounge had absolutely zero atmosphere, as it was on the ground floor just inside the door from the hub of DCA where really loud parades and shows occur. The upstairs may have better atmosphere, but, still, it’s located in a very noisy space. We would much rather eat at Napa Rose in the Grand Californian away from the hubbub, where we can relax and enjoy the food, atmosphere, and each other’s company.
We may try it on a future trip, but it didn’t work for us on this one.
So this brings us to our conclusion:
Disney’s goal seems seem to be to make Disneyland (Resort) more like Disney World and that means a loss of the local flavor throughout. The changes we saw affected all of the resort – from Downtown Disney to the hotels to ticketing for both parks. Unfortunately, DL doesn’t have the space and the resorts and the dining scale that WDW does. Therefore, the best experience for us, then, may be to embrace both DL and WDW for what they have to offer.
Even though there were some bumps along the way (who doesn’t have those?), it was a great trip overall and we’re looking forward to the Epic Birthday at the Disneyland Hotel trip.