Award Wieners is a counter service restaurant in Disney California Adventure that serves variations of hot dogs with fancy toppings. In this Disneyland Resort dining review, we’ll take a look at the menu, share food photos, and ordering recommendations for Award Wieners.
Although it might sound like a straightforward hot dog stand, there’s more to Award Wieners than meets the eye. For starters, these are street-style all-beef hot dogs on toasted potato buns. Very high quality. To make its entrees even more appealing, there are a variety of toppings that can enhance the dogs.
Finally, specialty “filmstrip fries” are the standard side, and these too can be enhanced with the same premium toppings available for the hot dogs. Without question, this is the best hot dog at Disneyland Resort, and one of the best options at Disney California Adventure (perhaps the best for under $10).
In fairness, it wasn’t always this way. For years, Award Wieners was perpetually busy despite serving very ordinary hot dogs. I never could understand why, but it had one of the longest lines for any restaurant at Disney California Adventure, especially in the evenings when it would snake around switchbacks and spill out into the curb.
Here’s a look at how the hot dogs used to be served at Award Wieners, and keep in mind that this is a specialty hot dog:
Ordinary hot dog, ordinary bun, ordinary chili and (not even melted) cheese as a topping. Oh, and served with an ordinary bag of Lay’s potato chips. Yet, Award Wieners always had a line.
Perhaps there was some confusion over its status in the awards department? Perhaps it’s the crowd-pleasing nature of hot dogs? It’s not because it has a cult following among Annual Passholders or locals–no one I know is winning any Award Wiener-eating awards.
Regardless of the explanation, thankfully this is no longer what’s served at Award Wieners. The menu is now much more ambitious.
Some additions that we won’t be covering here include the Bacon Street Dog, Uptown Chili Dog, and BBQ Crunch Dog.
Here’s my favorite, the Spicy City Dog: “Cheddar-JalapeÃ±o Sausage topped with Chipotle Crema, Queso Fresco and Pico de Gallo with Filmstrip Fries.”
This has a bit of kick to it, although not too much. The pico de gallo is a nice enhancement, and gives what I assume is a highly processed sausage a refreshing quality, and a sense of healthiness to it. I realize it’s not actually, but it at least makes me feel better about eating a theme park hot dog.
Here’s the Portobello Mushroom Philly: “Marinated and Grilled Portobello Mushrooms, Onions and Bell Peppers topped with Pepper Jack Cheese with Filmstrip Fries.”
This is fine, but I can’t say I’m a huge fan, and I love mushrooms. It just doesn’t deliver in terms of flavor, and the texture certainly isn’t what I want from a hot dog-like offering. With the advancements in plant-based sausage, hopefully we’ll see something from Impossible or Beyond here in the near future.
Here’s the regular ‘ole All-Beef Hot Dog, but with the Film Strip Fries enhanced via the Spicy City Fry Topper (Chipotle Crèma, Queso Fresco, and Pico de Gallo).
This is a clever idea, as the total cost here comes out to being roughly the same as doing one of the specialty hot dogs, and the Film Strip Fries hold up really well under the toppings. Next time, I plan on doing both a specialty dog and one of the fry toppers.
In addition to the regular menu, Award Wieners almost always has a seasonal special or assortment of them. Sometimes, this means a limited edition hot dog to celebrate the latest film release. Other times it’s something for Halloween or Christmas.
My favorite of these, by far, is the Banana Corn Dogs. The name might not sound the most appealing, but it’s basically a battered and fried banana. Between the fruit dipping sauce and the honey batter, it’s fantastic. These Banana Corn Dogs have been on the menu several different times the last few years, and we’re hoping they make another return.
Currently, the special menu option is the Lava Fries or Lava Dog: “All-Beef Hot Dog topped with Pulled Pork, Teriyaki Sauce and Pineapple Salsa.”
It’s an interesting combination, but it just doesn’t come together very well. The toppings would be fine by themselves, but paired with a hot dog (or the Filmstrip Fries) makes for a jarring combo.
For me, a visit to Award Wieners followed by grabbing a smoothie at Schmoozies is like stepping into a time machine, back to the “glory days” of 2001. Award Wieners is one of the few restaurant holdovers from the Disney’s California Adventure 1.0 days.
There’s certainly something to be said for outlasting Pizza Oom Mow Mow, Burger Invasion, Malibu-Ritos, Sam Andreas Shakes, Bur-r-r Bank Ice Cream, ABC Soap Opera Bistro. I’m not sure what that something is, though.
There are credible rumors that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is currently considering Award Wieners and Schmoozies for its next joint World Heritage Site. Perhaps that’s the something? (I wish I weren’t kidding about this.)
Overall, Award Wieners has gone from being one of the worst counter service restaurants in all of Disneyland Resort to an unheralded gem. The hot dogs and buns are high quality, the toppings give them a nice flair, and the Film Strip Fries are unique. All of this makes for a filling and memorable meal at a relatively affordable price point, especially as compared to other restaurants around Disney California Adventure. Award Wieners shouldn’t be the first stop of your vacation, but you also shouldn’t feel guilty about choosing to eat here out of convenience, as this counter service restaurant is truly better than it has any right being.
If you’ve tried the specialty dogs or toppings on the Film Strip Fries, which was your favorite? Any menu options you recommend–or recommend avoiding? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment of Award Wieners? Any questions? Hearing feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts or questions below in the comments!