People often ask me if parade dining packages are worth the additional expense. The answer is that it depends on the specific package. We had previously done the Blue Bayou dining package when Paint The Night was at Disneyland and were very happy with it. This time we tried the Carthay Circle Paint The Night Dining Package to see if it was worth the additional cost.
What is the Paint The Night?
Paint The Night is a colorful nighttime parade that winds its way through Disney California Adventure park, with themed parade floats, dazzling lights, and a variety of characters. Think of Paint The Night as an updated Main Street Electrical Parade.
Why Do A Dining Package?
Paint The Night is a popular parade that has people staking out viewing spots well ahead of scheduled parade time. We saw people lining up an hour and 45 minutes ahead of time in prime viewing spots.
A Carthay Circle Paint The Night dining package allows you to have a fabulous sit-down meal with a guaranteed premium viewing spot (without the long wait). Our experience with parade dining packages is that you are substituting money for the package reserved viewing spot. This extra expense allows you more time exploring the parks instead of waiting on a parade.
There are currently two Paint The Night dining packages: Carthay Circle or Wine Country Trattoria. Each dining package has a different viewing area and experience. There is also a Sonoma Terrace Paint The Night reception where you have preferred viewing, but you enjoy a light snack while you watch the parade. The Paint The Night dining packages at Carthay Circle and Wine Country Trattoria provide a full meal before your return arrival at a reserved viewing area.
Carthay Circle Paint The Night Dining Package Experience
Carthay Circle is a fine dining restaurant located in the Buena Vista Street area of Disney California Adventure. The restaurant is modeled after Carthay Circle Theatre where Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs premiered in 1937. The lobby has a lounge area with a bar, some small tables, and the check-in desk for reservations. We arrived right on time for our dinner and were seated after a brief wait in the lounge. As we were seated we received our special light-up lanyards with adjustable light colors.
Our table was in the main dining area of Carthay Circle. We had a view of the kitchen from our booth. There was something very special about our table, too. Our amazing server told us if we looked closely at the tabletop wood we could find the Wicked Queen! Not all of the tables have the hidden Wicked Queen, but look at your table to see if you are lucky enough to have a special tabletop.
The Carthay Circle Paint The Night dining package meal is a set four-course menu. The first, second, and dessert course will remain the same for all adults or children, but each person has a choice of main entrée.
What we ate
- First Course – Sauteed Delta Asparagus Blue Crab, Lemon-Tarragon Gribiche
- Second Course – Garden Miso Broth Accented Lemon Grass & Ginger Chicken Sausage, Fresh Mint
- Third Course – Creek Stone “Prime” New York with Green Garbanzo Bean-Tomatillo Salsa
- Dessert – Velvet Dark Chocolate Mousse, Hazelnut Crème Anglaise
- First Course – Chopped Salad with Ranch Dressing
- Second Course – Substituted the creamy tomato soup for fresh fruit
- Third Course – Salmon with Steamed Fingerling Potatoes and Green Beans
- Dessert – Substituted Chocolate Ice Cream for the Painter’s Palate because of Elizabeth’s food allergy
I was unsure how I would like the first and second course options but ended up really enjoying the way the flavors worked together. The main course steak was cooked to a perfect medium and extremely tender. The dessert was also quite good, so I managed to eat all of it (much to my surprise).
Elizabeth also loved each course of her meal; other than a bit of lettuce from her salad and a couple of fingerling potatoes her plates were all clean, too.
After paying at the end of our meal, our server provided us our Paint The Night preferred viewing tickets – one for each meal purchased. We were instructed to arrive at the preferred viewing area 15 to 30 minutes prior to the parade start time.
Carthay Circle Paint The Night Preferred Viewing Area
The preferred viewing area for the Carthay Circle Paint The Night dining package is just to the left side of the restaurant. Staff rope off a large section of sidewalk and set up two or three rows of director’s chairs each evening. When we arrived 35 minutes before the parade start time, there was already a large line of people waiting to be seated. I was initially disappointed to be in the second row, but after settling into our chairs we found our views to be virtually unobstructed. Part of the reason the second row still had a good view was because the first row chairs were shorter than those in the back.
The parade was just as great as we remembered and had a few new Pixar themed floats added. Here’s a highlight video that shows the view from our Carthay Circle Paint The Night preferred seating area.
The cost for the Carthay Circle Paint The Night dining package was $99 per adult and $45 per child age 3-9 years. Please note this pricing is correct as of publishing date.
When Should I Book The Dining Package?
The Carthay Circle Paint The Night dining package should be booked when the dining reservation window opens (60 days before your preferred date). This package has extremely limited availability and sells out very early. Wine Country Trattoria and Sonoma Terrace packages also tend to sell out in advance.
Carthay Circle is a beautiful fine dining oasis in the middle of Disney California Adventure. We really enjoyed relaxing and having a great meal. Our meal was a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of the parks. I regularly secure parade viewing spots early, so having a dedicated viewing area with chairs was a treat. Part of what made our dinner so enjoyable was knowing that we would have a great place to watch the parade without the long wait.
I would highly recommend the Carthay Circle Paint The Night dining package. This package is great for anyone wanting a delicious four-course meal and fabulous seats for Paint The Night. The dining package was barely more expensive than a meal at Carthay Circle. The parade view with our Carthay Circle Paint The Night dining package was very good without a one- to two-hour wait on the sidewalk. The only thing I would do differently next time is arrive earlier to the preferred viewing area. That way we could have front row seats! Here’s a link to book your own Carthay Circle Paint The Night dining package at Disneyland.
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