When: January 10, 2016, 1:45 PM
White Water Snacks is a counter-service restaurant in the Grand Californian Hotel. It’s basically the Grand Californian’s snack bar, offering theme park staples for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They also have a good selection of grab-and-go items in a cold case.
The nachos at White Water have been getting a bit of buzz in Disney circles, and I was curious why. Elaine and I decided to get lunch and see what the fuss is about.
One thing you need to know about White Water Snacks is that it’s not terribly easy to find. It’s located at the far, far, far end of the long indoor/outdoor hallway at the Grand Californian that also serves Napa Rose, the special entrance into California Adventure, and the Mandara Spa. You walk past those entrances, and … just keep walking. Eventually you’ll come across two not-very-well-marked glass doors, and, well, you’ve found it. (You might want to bring a compass, is what I’m saying.)
The restaurant is very unassuming, but it does have its charms. It’s not themed, per se, but it offers outdoor seating that looks into the Grizzly Peak area of California Adventure. This means you can grab an outside table and enjoy solid people watching from a secluded, shaded area.
Oh, right, the food.
The nachos come in two variants: beef and chicken. We picked the chicken. They asked if we wanted everything on it, and we said yes.
Upon delivery, my initial impression was: “wow, these are small.” And they are, relative to the size of the Lobster Nachos or the Smothered Potato Chips. The White Water Nachos won’t win any “calories per dollar” contests against those other dishes.
The presentation is basic: small scoops of sour cream and guacamole, served with chunks of grilled chicken, some cheese whiz, pico de gallo, and a few jalapeños. The whole shootin’ works sits on a bed of housemade tortilla chips.
A nacho plate is only as strong as its ingredients, and the ingredients here are fresh, good quality, and well-matched. It’s quite tasty if you’re in the mood for nachos, and, while the portion isn’t large, you can certainly share with another member of your party.
I enjoyed eating this, but I don’t get what all the fuss is about. White Water Nachos are certainly better than the Cove’s Lobster Nachos, but they’re not nearly as decadent as the Smothered Potato Chips. They’re right in the middle: solid, but not exceptional.
I do recommend these. But they’re not worth a special trip.