Eat Like Walt

The Wonderful World of Disney Food


About the Book

Two decades before the California food revolution, Walt Disney was planning a revolution of his own. Walt knew that food could be more than nourishment – it could be entertaining, too. The concept of families eating and playing at the same time was an innovation in mid-century America. Food in Disneyland wasn’t gray or humdrum. It was full of fantasy and color!

Eat Like Walt is a culinary tour of the park’s six lands. Every attraction has a story, and so do many of the menu items. Disneyland’s food transports us as much as it satiates us, or as Walt declared, “The food is as fabulous as the fun, too.”

Eat Like Walt
Amazon Best Seller

Why Buy the Book?

 John Lasseter, Chief Creative Officer, Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios & Principal Creative Advisor, Walt Disney Imagineering explains:

Eat Like Walt: The Wonderful World of Disney Food gives you a great sense of Walt Disney’s creative journey in designing Disneyland as an immersive experience, in thinking about food as an important part of creating something enjoyable and memorable. It’s a fascinating story, connecting the personal, professional and public sides of Walt Disney’s life: from his simple tastes and down-to-earth home life, to his attention to detail and good quality in everything he touched, to his incredible understanding of storytelling and entertainment as a complete experience.

Marcy paints an in-depth picture of the food at the Disney Studios and Disneyland during Walt’s lifetime. Reading it you can imagine what these places were like when they first opened – what it must have been like to see Walt standing in line at the commissary for lunch, or seated at the back table at the Carnation Café. Any Disney fan knows how exciting it is to get to hear a new part of the Disney story. This one is a special treat.”


Featured Recipes

Pineapple Polynesian Ribs

Tahitian Terrace
The vintage name for this dish is Ko’aia Haia Kahiki.
Serves 4

2 cups tomato ketchup
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup pineapple juice
¼ cup crushed pineapple (fresh or canned)
¼ cup fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
½ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon wine vinegar
3 whole cloves
4 pounds pork spareribs or baby back ribs

Combine all ingredients (except ribs) and blend well. Allow mixture to stand in refrigerator overnight.

Strain before using. Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

Place ribs on a rack in roasting pan or sheet pan.
Bake basting with sauce often, for 2 to 3 hours, or until meat separates easily from the bone.

MORE FROM MARCY: There is quite a bit of salt in the ketchup and soy sauce—you may not need any salt or rub on the ribs. The Disneyland recipe calls for the ribs to be precut before cooking, but that can dry them out. I recommend roasting the racks intact and slicing just before serving. The leftover sauce freezes nicely.


Tea Lounge Tea Cakes

These square cupcakes have achieved mythical status in southern California for nearly a century. Fans flock to Martino’s Bakery and buy them by the dozens. In 1994 the new owners inherited the secret recipe but they are keeping it, well, secret.  Enter baker Johanna Lasseter-Curtis (my pal and John Lasseter’s twin sister). She tasted and tested – with a little culinary CSI – until she could come close to the Tea Cakes of Walt’s day.

Serves 12
(or a baker’s dozen, a nod to Walt’s favorite number 13)


1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) butter or margarine at room temperature
1 cup golden brown sugar, packed
1 cup granulated white sugar
2/3 cup buttermilk at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon or 2 to 3 drops lemon extract
2 large eggs


2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons (1.5 ounces) butter or margarine
4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons golden brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-2 drops yellow food coloring
Wax or parchment paper

MORE FROM MARCY: Johanna and I made a conscious decision to use the mid-century ingredients of Walt’s era, thus the options of margarine and food coloring.  Square cupcake pans are a must! I prefer Wilton. You’ll find them easily online. Johanna created a high altitude version of this recipe. Please use the contact form and Marcy will email it  to you. 

Fill square cupcake pan with white 2’X 1 3/8-inch round cupcake liners. Tempting as the matching square liners are, do not use them; they’re too big. If you use the smaller traditional supermarket liners, yield will increase. Do not grease or spray liners.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


Sift dry ingredients together in separate bowl. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer cream oil, butter or margarine, brown and white sugar for 1 minute on medium-high speed, scrape bowl, mix 1 more minute.

Add buttermilk, vanilla, lemon extract and eggs. Mix on low to combine.

Add dry ingredients. Mix on medium-high for 1 minute, scrape bowl, mix 1 minute more.

Using an ice cream scoop or 1/3 measuring cup, fill cupcake liners ¾ full of batter.

Bake 24-28 minutes until the tea cakes are golden brown with a slight dome and spring back from touch or a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out just clean.

Let Tea Cakes rest 5 minutes in pan then remove immediately.

Cool an additional 15 minutes. Meanwhile, make the glaze.


Sift powdered sugar. Set aside.

Melt butter or margarine in medium saucepan. Add water and brown sugar, cooking  until sugar dissolves. Do not boil. Remove from heat.

Mix in vanilla and food coloring.

Immediately whisk in powdered sugar until smooth. If glaze is too thick you can gently reheat. If glaze is too thin add a little more powdered sugar.

Dip the tops of the cooled teacakes into warm glaze and place on wax or parchment paper to harden, about 5 minutes.

Butterscotch Candy Cookies

When I made these for Walt’s granddaughter Jenny, she took one look at them and exclaimed, “You made my Grampa’s cookies!”

Makes About 2 Dozen

12-ounce package butterscotch chips

2 cups chow mein noodles

1 cup roasted peanuts

It’s easy to burn butterscotch. I prefer to melt carefully over very low heat. If you use a double boiler, be sure no water splashes into pot (that will turn the butterscotch into a lumpy paste).

Remove from heat. Pour over noodles and peanuts. Mix well.

Using a teaspoon, drop mixture onto waxed paper. Cool.

“After Grampa died, Fou Fou [the family cook] was with us a lot longer. She always had these in the cookie jar with the wax paper around them.” – Jenny

Disneyland’s Mint Julep

Makes 2 Quarts

2 cups granulated sugar
6 cups water
1 1/4 ounces pure lime juice concentrate
8 1/2 ounces lemonade concentrate
2 1/4 ounces creme de menthe syrup (non-alcoholic)

Combine sugar and water in a medium-sized sauce pan. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Stir in lime juice and lemonade concentrate. Add creme de menthe syrup and stir well.

Over medium high heat, bring to 185 degrees. Do not boil.

Remove from heat and refrigerate until well chilled.

To make juleps, use 1 part syrup to 5 parts chilled water.

For the adult version, substitute parts bourbon for parts water to taste.

MORE FROM MARCY: Disney Legend Tony Baxter misses the original carbonated mint juleps served between 1966 until the mid-1980s. If you want to drink them like the Imagineer behind Star Tours, Indiana Jones Adventure, Splash Mountain and many more iconic attractions, mix 1 part syrup with 5 parts soda water. The signature garnish is a must: a maraschino cherry, a twist of lime and a sprig of mint.

Red Wagon Inn Potato Salad

Serves 8

4 cups peeled and cubed potatoes
(about 6 potatoes; recommend boiling in skins)
3 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 cup bottled French dressing

Combine cubed potatoes, chopped eggs, celery, salt, and paprika. Add French dressing. Chill 4 to 6 hours.

Before serving, add just enough mayonnaise to moisten salad.

Serve with a salad scoop.

This was a staple of the restaurant, served with sandwiches and the Paul Bunyan Cold Meat Platter.

Santa Fe Express Sundae

From the Maxwell House Coffee House.  “It’s a thriller of a sundae!” A tribute to Walt’s Santa Fe and Disneyland railroad.

Strawberry sauce (homemade or store-bought)
Vanilla ice cream
Strawberry ice cream
Chocolate ice cream
Hot fudge sauce
Marshmallows Whipped cream
Banana, cut into 1-inch pieces
Sugar wafers
Maraschino cherries

Place strawberry sauce on the bottom of a shallow banana split bowl.
Add 1 scoop each of vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate ice cream.
Top with hot fudge sauce.
Make a smokestack with stacked marshmallows.
Use whipped cream for the smoke coming out of the stack.
Banana slices make the wheels on each side.
Use sugar wafers to form a cowcatcher. (Create an inverted V at the front.)
Place a cherry in front for headlight and another in the back for the caboose.

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