If you’re like me, one of the key elements to a successful Disneyland trip is trying as many new food and drink offerings as I can. This Halloween season, it’s almost necessary to visit more than once to try all the spellbinding sweet and savory treats. We talked to Toby Hollis, area chef at Tomorrowland and Mauro Ramirez, sous chef at New Orleans Square about which menu items are to die for.
Tell me a little bit about your background at the Disneyland Resort.
Toby: I’ve been here for over almost 30 years. I worked at Pizza Port, Pacific Wharf, and Galactic Grill. I opened Tangaroa Terrace and Trader Sam’s at The Disneyland Hotel. Now, I’m at Galactic Grill and the new Alien Pizza Planet.
Mauro: I started my career at Steakhouse 55. I worked with Chef Toby in bringing Tangaroa Terrace at Disneyland. I worked at Goofy’s Kitchen, Central Bakery, and Big Thunder Ranch. Now, I’m overseeing New Orleans Square’s main kitchen.
How long has the team been working on the special menu items for Halloween Time?
Toby: It’s been in development since March. We’ve been working on little things here and there to make sure all the puzzle pieces fit together properly. We had to make sure that what we offer matches the story and theme of each area. For example, you can’t throw something space-themed over at Pacific Wharf Cafe. This year, we have a beer cheddar ale soup with bacon at Pacific Wharf. We make it with the Karl Strauss Oktoberfest beer. It’s rich and inviting with a little bit of smokiness from the bacon.
Any items you would recommend at the table service restaurants?
Mauro: There’s the Spider Bundt cake (chocolate bundt cake) which is part of a dessert trio at French Market. It’s the only place where you can get pumpkin pie right now.
Toby: My personal favorite has been the croissant doughnut at Schmoozies! It has a cream cheese and peanut butter and jelly filling inside. It’s croissant dough that’s deep-fried. It has all the layers inside and we decorate it to look like a mummy.
How did the culinary teams make sure there was something for everyone?
Toby: The teams developed everything so each area has its own focus. We wanted to make sure that there was something a little sweet, a little spicy… We have a lot of pastries, but we do also have entrees. For example, at Carnation Cafe, we have the Haunted Firehouse Chicken Sandwich, which has red pepper coulis and white cheddar sauce. That one’s amazing. You have the peppers and the arugula in there; it’s just awesome. We also have the Cosmic Chili Pasta at Alien Pizza Planet, which is mac and cheese with chili on top. It’s a little bit different from what you would normally expect.
Favorite attraction during Halloween Time?
Toby: Hands-down Haunted Mansion Holiday.
Mauro: It’s my favorite as well.
Toby: I know how much work was put into the gingerbread house when they were putting it together at The Central Bakery. Seeing them actually put it up was awe-inspiring.
If you brought your family into the parks, what’s one dish or treat that you’d want them to taste?
Mauro: For me and my daughter, it would probably have to be the Mickey Mummy Macaron. You can’t go wrong with cookies and cream stuffing in the middle.
Most Instagram-worthy snack?
Toby: That’s a hard one, because there’s quite a few. I love that all the candy was handmade. Every face and every stitch is done by hand. The Mickey Mummy Macarons can be a little tedious in their preparation. You have to pipe it out perfectly smooth, otherwise you’ll see sharp points. I love seeing the handmade candy get such a highlight.
Mark Your Calendar
Experience Halloween Time at The Disneyland Resort from now through Oct. 31. On top of food and drink inspired by the spooky season, enjoy Halloween attractions, decor, and entertainment. Plan your visit here!