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Lobster rolls are coming to Disneyland

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Published: August 28, 2013 at 11:17 AM

Disney announced yesterday that it has added lobster rolls to menu at the Harbour Galley in Disneyland Park. Disney's been serving lobster rolls in the Columbia Harbor House at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom for some time now, but this marks the first time lobster has appeared on a counter-service menu at Disneyland. (If anyone remembers counter-service lobster at Disneyland before now, please let us know in the comments.)

The reason for lobster's appearance in Anaheim, ultimately, is the current low price of lobster, as low as $2.50 a pound wholesale. The New Yorker's James Surowiecki recently dove into the world of lobster pricing, if you'd like way more detail about what's happening in that market. Even if low wholesale lobster prices don't lead to bargains on lobster dinners at seafood restaurants, they do allow more restaurants to add lobster to their menus profitably.

So now Disney's taking advantage. We reviewed the lobster roll at the Columbia Harbor House last spring. At $9.99, Disney's lobster roll lacks the buttered-and-grilled buns usually found surrounding New England-style lobster rolls. And Disney extended the lobster with a overly generous amount of lettuce and mayonnaise.

Lobster roll at Walt Disney World

But there's plenty of sweet lobster to be found on this roll, too, and I would expect to see something very similar from Disney in Anaheim. For my money, the gold standard in lobster rolls is Red's Eats in Wiscasset, Maine, a roadside stand where you get more than a pound of chopped, buttered lobster meat on a freshly grilled roll for $17.99. No mayo. No lettuce. No celery. Nothing cutting the taste of the sweet, sweet lobster.

Lobster roll in Maine

Obviously, Disney's not going to be able to compete with lobster shacks on the Maine coast for freshness, quality and price, given that Disney needs to get its lobster shipped to Orlando, and now to Anaheim. But the west coast has its own lobsters, too. They're not the big-clawed Maine lobsters, but the coast of Baja California is littered with lobster shacks serving the spiny Baja lobster.

A New England-style lobster roll's a good thematic fit for Disneyland's Harbour Galley, located next to the Sailing Ship Columbia's harbor in the park. But what about a Baja lobster-themed counter-service seafood restaurant in Disney California Adventure? Maybe one that served fish tacos, too?

Seafood's long been a part of Southern California's culinary culture. Of course, the relative high cost of seafood's kept it off theme park menus in the past. But if low lobster prices are helping Disney bring New England-style lobster rolls to Disneyland, maybe there's hope for California-style lobster across the esplanade some day?

Let's take it from there. What other speciality food items would you like to see Disney add it to its theme parks, in Anaheim or in Orlando? Let us know in the comments.

Readers' Opinions

From Robert Niles on August 28, 2013 at 11:35 AM
Got a quick response via Twitter: Disneyland needs to add the sweet-n-sour chicken waffle sandwich from Sleepy Hollow at the MK. Agreed!
From Tyler Stover on August 28, 2013 at 12:17 PM
Agreed with the chicken and waffle sandwiches. I had a pretty decent fish sandwich at Disneyland's Tomorrowland Terrace, not sure if it is still there. Apparently Harbor Galley is also adding a shrimp cobb salad and shrimp baked potato (ah, takes me back to my days at Oxford where one of my favorite lunches was a prawn potato jacket at a local cafe) which is great because I love the location, just didn't like the previously limited menu. I think I'll be making a trip to Harbor Galley. Cocina Cucamonga in DCA definitely needs fish tacos. Recently at a nice little pizzaria in Sausalito I had an amazing thin crust pizza with Italian sausage and fresh in shell mussels. Disney's used mussels before in the bouillabaisse they offered for a limited time at the Blue Bayou, so Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta could pull that one off. Maybe DCA could add a sushi place too. It could replace the Lucky Fortune Cookery.
From Mike Gallagher on August 28, 2013 at 12:22 PM
As much as I love lobster, I've never had a lobster roll. Whenever I read about them, the mayonnaise and other stuff turns me off. I haven't realized until recent years, and you mentioned this, Robert...that some places serve it with nothing but lobster, lobster, and more lobster. Although I'm not heading to Disney anytime soon, I'll try one....
From 172.251.28.200 on August 28, 2013 at 2:24 PM
Growing up in New England, my family always considered lobster a sort of delicacy, even though it was easy to get and relatively inexpensive. But you take it for granted, and now that I'm in SoCal, I long for a lobster often. I'm glad Disneyland is bringing the lobster roll to the menu, and I will definitely try it out. Here's a silly question - do you know if it will be served warm or cold? Also, great shout out to Reds! :)
From Robert Niles on August 28, 2013 at 4:00 PM
The MK lobster roll was cold, and I expect the Disneyland version to be the same. Haven't been down to try it though. Anyone have it yet?
From Russell Meyer on August 29, 2013 at 8:52 AM
I would prefer them to be more like the EPCOT F&W Lobster rolls served at the Hops and Barley Market. While those rolls are a little smaller (no side at $7.50), they are composed of giant chunks of lobster with just a tiny bit of herbed mayo. Also, the small dinner-roll-sized buns are toasted.
From Eric G on August 29, 2013 at 3:08 PM
This sounds like a nice addition to the many food choices at the Disneyland Resort.
From Dennis O'Brien on August 30, 2013 at 5:51 AM
Just for fun, let me share my thoughts on lobster rolls!!! Living in Boston and Spend summers in maine, let me give the unofficial lobstah roll summary....
Cape cod style: toasted and buttered hotdog bun, fillled with "lobster salad". Bun is warm but the salad is served cold. There's variations on the salad but typically mayo and lettuce.
Maine style: again the toasted buttery hot dog but, , but no salad. Just amazing lobster meat served warm and drizzled with some melted butter.
There are variations so amazing in NH/northern MA that there's so much lobster you can't even see a bun under the pile!

Note: a new England hot dog bun is different than the rest of the country! It has the white bread exposed on either side making for a better toast. (trust me Cali folks, look up hot dog bun types ;-)

My favorite style? Gotta go Maine style to appreciate the meat and not cover it up with mayo!

Final tip: if you get one and it needs a bit of tlc to spice it up, which is often the case with theme park food, try stuffing some cape cod potatoe chips into the bun with the lobster salad for contrasting flavors, salt and a crunch!

From Eric G on August 31, 2013 at 8:18 AM
I really prefer the Lobster Salad style- cold with mayo and celery.

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