Chili Cheese Dog @ Award Wieners

Price: $7.49

When: November 6, 2015, 3:15 PM

Reservations: n/a

Verdict? Recommended

Award Wieners is a quick-service hot-dog restaurant in California Adventure’s Hollywood Land. It’s located right on Hollywood Boulevard, directly across from the Animation Academy. If you’re strolling Hollywood Land, it’s basically impossible to miss.

Award Wieners serves five primary dog options – chili cheese, barbecue hot link, Sicilian sausage, vegetarian mushroom, and a “combo” (which is a basic dog with apples or chips). From time to time, they will also do promotional or seasonal dogs (they recently concluded a “Inside Out” series of dogs – “Angry” Dog, Jubilant “Joy” Dog, and so on).

I thought it might be fun to start at the top of the list, and went with the Chili Cheese Dog.

Your money buys you a basic, fairly-plump theme park hot dog, smothered in chili and sprinkled with a cheddar cheese mixture. You also have a choice of apples or chips, and I went with the chips. (They’re your garden-variety Lay’s potato chips.)

Overall, this is a pretty good offering. The bun is lightly toasted, which adds a nice element of texture. The dog itself was just OK – it’s reasonably sized (it’s not one of those pencil-thin hot dogs many theme parks traffic in), but not very juicy. The chili, on the other hand, was good (not too watery, not too spicy) and the cheese was generous. You could doctor this up with ketchup, mustard, and relish, but there’s no need to. It’s filling, and the chips provide a good, salty complementary flavor. (Certainly, the chips are a better side than Disney’s generic french fries.)

In many ways, the Chili Cheese Dog is a spiritual cousin to the Chicken Breast Nuggets at the Stage Door Cafe: they’re exactly what they appear to be, and don’t pretend to be anything more than that. If you’re in the mood for a dog, this will scratch the itch – but it’s not over-designed, or trying to be more than it is (unlike, say, the Angus 1/3 lb Pastrami Cheeseburger).

One final note about Award Wieners: the seating area is not awesome. Award Wieners has been around since DCA opened its doors in 2001, and is a bit of a throwback to that era. Back then, the park’s Hollywood section was intended to be a fictional studio backlot (rather than an immersive, 1930s street in Los Angeles), and it was built on the cheap. Award Wieners’ seating is therefore a series of standard tables and chairs, tucked behind a wall, where you stare at a bunch of out-of-place movie props and detritus, and watch people going in to the Frozen Sing-A-Long theater next door. Great ambience, it ain’t.

For now, plan to enjoy your dog and then move on to your next attraction. Disney will, hopefully, come through here with the bulldozers and flamethrowers sooner instead of later, and get this corner of the park up to the much-higher standards of modern California Adventure.

The dog is recommended. The seating … not so much.

UPDATE: As of March 2017, this dish is no longer available.