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Dining Review: Good Food and Bad Service at Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante

Dining Review: Good Food and Bad Service at Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante Rancho

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and perhaps it isn’t more true than when getting ready for a day at a Disney park. Certainly the breakfast buffet is a favorite and can sustain you through a good part of the day. But what about when you don’t want something so bountiful? Perhaps you have a reservation for a big lunch? There are a few choices at Disneyland. One of the best, the River Belle Terrace, sadly stopped serving breakfast about a year ago. With its good food, quick service and fantastic views of The Rivers Of America, it was the best quick service dining option in the park for breakfast. It has largely moved its operation over to Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante. Or at least the good food.

I had two breakfasts here over the past couple of weeks. My experiences were similar: good, reasonable food but poor service. Both times it was never that crowded, and I ordered quickly. I like The Steamboat, which includes pancakes, scrambled eggs, and your choice of bacon or sausage. A larger party ordered before me and I was immediately asked what I would like before they were served. They made all the orders together but mine sat there as the other orders were delivered to the party in front of me. I took my tray to the cashier once I got my order. There were two cashiers working, and naturally I went to the shortest line. When it was my turn, the gentleman working it did not acknowledge me at all and suddenly removed his cash till from the register, put on his jacket, and left. Not a word to me and no eye contact, like I was not there. He never even smiled. There was no replacement for him and I moved to the line at the next register. While I was being rung up, the gentleman at the other register was replaced. I finally took my tray to the seating area. They do have large seating areas, both covered and uncovered. I sat down, applied syrup and ate. The food was not cold, but lukewarm from the delays. The food was just as tasty as River Belle, I just wished it was warmer.

Second visit.  Still short lines to order. Two parties ahead of me order and I order. This time it seemed as though they were having difficulty putting the pancakes on my plate which caused a delay. I carried my tray to the cashier. Only one lane open. The two parties are in front of me, with an additional party in front of them. One of the parties holds up the line as they go to grab a drink. Finally it is my turn. The Cast Member asks me how I am, and I reply, “Well, honestly the wait was too long and I’m afraid my food is going to be cold.” She then giggles (!) and says, “Well, the other guy called out so it’s just me.” I pay and go to “my table” (same as last time). Sure enough, my food is less than hot, not even quite lukewarm. Even colder than last time. But I eat it. Like last time: Tasty… I just wished it would have been hot, warm even. When I finish I step back inside and see the other cash register has been opened and manning it is the same Cast Member who silently left his post last visit. I leave. I felt, under the circumstances, a fitting coda to my dining experience.

The Steamboat was always served hot, fresh and quickly at The River Belle Terrace. It’s the same good dish here, but apparently it’s just colder and takes longer. Most unfortunate is these are issues that could be avoided. Would I return here again? Maybe. But the third time better be the charm, and not the curse.

Peter Gardner is a writer, actor and comedian living 12 miles south of Disneyland. You can follow him on Twitter @pgsle.


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