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Dining Guide for Families in Orange County

Ariel’s Grotto “Under The Sea” Character Dining


I had been waiting for a special occasion to take my girls to Ariel’s Grotto, the character dining experience inside Disney’s California Adventure Park.  It just so happened that their fifth and second birthdays (both falling in May) was the perfect occasion!

Like many Southern California residents, we are Disneyland annual pass holders and visit the park quite regularly.  This was a wonderful way to make their birthday visit unique  from our other visits and something they won’t soon forget.

Upon entering Ariel’s Grotto, you are ushered down a winding staircase to meet, who else but, Ariel!


With the character dining experience, each girl gets a special time with each (of five) princesses. They can have their picture taken, autograph book signed, and chat a bit with the Disney characters so beloved by their little princess hearts.





While the princesses clearly steal the show as far as the kids are concerned, the dining experience is really quite impressive as well! Excellent food, superb service and sweeping views of the park all lend to a lovely meal.


As soon as you are seated, drinks are served and warm bread and butter is dropped at the table. In addition, celery and carrot sticks with ranch are placed in front of the kids along with a crown craft they can work on at leisure.


Menu selections concentrate on sustainable seafood, to which the theme of the restaurant lends, although non-seafood items are available. My macadamia crusted mahi-mahi was delicious and heads above regular theme park food.


Kids entrees include a few healthier choices, along with the typical kids menu selections, and are presented in a kid-friendly manner – fruit and veggie skewers make kids and mom happy!

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The menu is flat price per person and includes drink, choice of soup or salad, and dessert.   View the full menu for more details.


In addition to the standard dessert, if you’re celebrating a birthday, they come out with a sprinkled Mickey Mouse cupcake – Hooray!



With a child just barely turning two, eating out is not very often relaxing (read: I don’t sit much). But I can honestly say with the quick service, kid friendly atmosphere, and constant entertainment, my little toddler did hardly any toddling at all and sat happily all meal. If that’s not worth the flat rate per person, I honestly don’t know what is!


Ariel’s Grotto is located inside California Adventure near the warf area. Breakfast, lunch and dinner reservations are available (note, princesses do not appear during the World of Color dinner celebration.)


Reservaitons are recommended and can be made online or by calling (714) 781-DINE or (714) 781-3463 up to 60 days prior to your visit.  Full restaurant details can be found here.


No matter if you are planning a regular visit to Disneyland or wanting to make a special occasion unforgettable, dining at Ariel’s Grotto is sure to be a memory your little princess will treasure for years and years to come!


Mollie is a wife to a wonderful man and stay at home Mama to two beautiful and energetic little girls. She has lived in South Orange County for most of her life and enjoys crafting, running, clean and natural living, party planning, and being involved in her community and church. She believes that being a Mom was and is her highest calling and attempts to give her girls a wide array of different experiences. From soccer cleats to tutus, running races to finding the perfect hair bow, she wants them to grow up knowing that they can be both girly and strong.

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