During the recent Disneyland Resort annual passholder preview of the new Cars Land at Disney California Adventure theme park, my husband and I had the opportunity to test drive the menu over at Flo’s V8 Cafe.
As with most Disney fans, we’ve been counting down the days until we could actually step inside the land. Admittedly, Cars may not be our favorite Disney/Pixar film, but the idea of being so completely immersed in the experience has piqued our interest, to say the least. Especially since we’ve followed the progress from concept to realization over the last 4.5 years. Now that we’ve finally been able to walk behind the ever-present construction walls, I’m thrilled to report that every inch of space is just as immersive as the Imagineers promised it would be.
The restaurant is a fabulous sight during the day, but at night is when she truly shines. Flo’s transforms into one of the most dazzling spaces in all of Cars Land, second only to the majestic mountain range of Radiator Springs Racers. You just can’t help but be drawn to it.
According to Disney, Flo’s is one of the largest counter service options on property. After seeing it in person, that’s easy to believe. As you walk in, there are dozens of tables tucked in between the gas pumps that align the entrance (seen above). There is also seating that offers panoramic views of Radiator Springs Racers, both indoors and outdoors, as well as seating on the opposite side of the building that goes into the Ornament Valley Medical Clinic. There is something fun to see, no matter where you sit.
As you go inside the cafe, you’re immediately swept into the experience by not only the fabulous decor, but also by the sounds. Tunes from girl bands of the 1950’s & 60’s are playing full blast in homage to the “Motorama Girls.” This is part of the back story Walt Disney Imagineering has incorporated into the theme of the restaurant where Flo used to be the headliner of one of those all-girl bands herself.
When you walk through the door, you’re immediately greeted by a sea of switchbacks, which actually moves surprisingly quick. There is a giant mod chandelier overhead and hidden lighting illuminates the room in different pop-colored hues. This is a fun effect, but it can actually be a little harsh on the eyes, especially when it’s dark outside.
There are cast members stationed at the door, handing out menus for guests to peruse through as you wait in line. There is also a menu above the ordering station if for some reason you’re not handed a copy in line.
As we made our way to the front of the line, there was another cast member directing guests to the next available line. Like many counter service options at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World, you order at the register, then take your receipt up to the counter to pick up your food. We ordered 2 entrees and 1 dessert to share along with the house specialty drink, Tulsa Tea. Our regular AP discount was applied, which was something that wasn’t done at the Cozy Cone Motel.
Although neither one of us are vegetarians, the Veggie Tater Bake sounded pretty good to me so I wanted to give it a try. What could be wrong with veggies, potatoes and cheese? Well, it actually ended up being completely flavorless and the texture was just as mushy as you’d expect from the menu description. On the flip side, the “Radiator” pasta salad that we picked for the side was flavorful and delicious. The pasta was just the right density and the salad wasn’t too creamy, or overly peppered. It had a great balance of flavor. The dinner roll that comes with the meal was pretty good, it wasn’t too dry as you might expect, but it wasn’t anything to write home about. However, when paired with the turkey, that’s where it truly shined.
The turkey platter was great all around. The meat was juicy, delicious, and plentiful! The turkey gravy also complimented the meat perfectly, without being too salty. The mashed potatoes seemed to be the REAL deal, no instant flakes here, and the vegetarian baked beans were surprisingly good. So much so that my husband all but licked the bowl when we were done. We actually ended up mixing them in with the Veggie Tater Bake to help give it some type of flavor so that we could finish it. We also used our dinner rolls to make mini turkey sandwiches and loaded them with the yummy mashed potatoes & gravy. I’m sure we’re not the only ones that do this, am I right? 😉
We also tried the specialty beverage on the menu, Mater’s Tulsa Tea.
The tropical foam was fruity and tasty, but once you mixed it into the tea, most of the flavor disappeared. It was advertised as sweet green tea, but there really wasn’t any taste to it at all. I think it would be better if it had something to zip it up, maybe a dash of Sprite or even club soda just to give it a little pizzaz. For a smaller portion at a higher price, I’d rather just opt for a regular iced tea in the future.
For dessert we chose the apple pie, but this is no ordinary apple pie.
Dessert was a huge hit! I would never imagine that cheddar cheese on apple pie would be something I’d want to try, but the combination of flavors complimented each other so well. The apples were cut into small chunks and cooked to perfection – not too soggy or too chewy. The crust had a great buttery flavor, albeit slightly harder than I would normally like, but it wasn’t overly dry. The cheddar that topped the pie wasn’t too sharp or too pungent, and the brown sugar crumbles were just the right amount of sweet. I’ll admit, I had a hard time sharing this one, and I’m not even a big fan of apple pie! I can’t wait to go back to try it again.
Overall, we both really enjoyed our experience dining at Flo’s V8 Cafe. The staff was friendly and helpful from the time we walked through the front door, until we left. The atmosphere is great fun, the food was (mostly) tasty, and there isn’t a bad seat in (or out of) the house. I would highly recommend making a pit stop here on your visit to Cars Land!
Editor’s Note: “Adventures by Daddy” is pleased to welcome Chrysty Summers to the site. Chrysty is a Disneyland local and an enthusiast of most things Disney; the music, movies, theme parks (both coasts), the resorts, the food, and learning about the history of it all. Follow Chrysty as she tastes & photographs her way around the parks! Find her on Twitter: @PenelopePeach. For more family travel news, reviews, and trip reports, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on twitter and “like” our facebook page too.