Cozy Cone Motel Review
This Cozy Cone Motel review is actually not a review of a motel at all, but of a cluster of outdoor “cones” that serve counter service meals in Cars Land at Disney California Adventure. So, if you opened this review hoping to learn about the latest hotel at Disneyland, you’re going to be disappointed. Sorry about that.
I suppose you could take a nap at one of the picnic tables by the Cozy Cones after indulging in a cone handwich or some soft serve ice cream, but that’s about as close to being a motel as this gets. As far as food goes at the Cozy Cone Motel, the stands specialize in cone related foods and bad puns.
It’s not all bad at Cozy Cone Motel. Actually, depending upon how you view the Cozy Cone Motel, you might be pleasantly surprised..or very disappointed. As far as general theme goes, I think it’s fair to applaud Imagineering for its ambition on the Cozy Cone Motel. They didn’t go the less authentic route of expanding the check-in/lobby/Sally’s office area to make a dedicated quick service restaurant with the individual cones serving as covered picnic table locations (or something). Instead, they decided to make things proportionately more accurate and have the lobby be smaller (and inaccessible to park guests) and have the cones more prominent.
Let’s take a look at what the various cones at Cozy Cone Motel serve, and what we enjoy and don’t enjoy here…
Despite being inaccessible to guests, the lobby is incredibly well themed, brimming with cone decor and nice little Easter Eggs that make it interesting to view from afar. The lawn of the lobby also carries out this cone motif, as does the seating area behind the lobby and in front of the cones. It would have been nice if this building were somehow more accessible to guests, but it’s great that Disney didn’t skimp on the details when creating it. Even though it’s non-functional, it seems very “alive.”
The downside to this layout, and this is a big downside, is the operational inefficiencies of Cozy Cone Motel. It’s often said that Imagineering builds without full regard for the practical realities of how its designs will function in the park. (Conversely, the rub against park ops is that they strive for efficiency at the expense of show.) To me, this seems like a prime example of that tension between Imagineering and park operations. While neat in idea and design, the Cozy Cone Motel stations are terribly inefficient when it comes to serving guests. This should have come as a surprise to approximately no one, given the number of guests who pass through Cars Land and the inability of the Cones (each of which serves different items) to handle lines. It’s one guest at a time with the pay station also being the pickup station.
Since each cone-station sells different cone-foods, line lengths vary from cone to cone. There’s no even distribution. The other downside to this arrangement is that if your party wants items from different cones, you’re going to have to wait in multiple lines. During Cars Land’s grand opening weekend, this led to 45-minute long lines at some cones, with Disney actually having roaming vendors to sell items like popcorn and soda in the area to cut down on lines. It is our understanding that the lines have since become much shorter, but Cozy Cone Motel is still far from an efficient operation.
As far as food goes, there are some interesting and unique options at the Cozy Cone Motel. Here’s what each of the cones serves: Cone #1: Churros; Cone #2: Ice Cream Cones; Cone #3: Chili Cone Queso; Cone #4: Cone-Coctions; and, Cone #5: Popcone. The food at the first two cones isn’t all that interesting (although I’m a sucker for soft serve ice cream!), but cones 3-5 all offer some rather unique options.
Cone #3 has “handwiches,” which are substantive sandwich-like things all served in edible bread cones. These include the Bacon Scramble Cone and Verde Scramble Cone for breakfast, and Chili Cone Queso and Smoked Chicken and Salsa Verde topped with Queso for lunch and dinner. These are probably the most talked-about menu items at the Cozy Cone Motel, and the foods Disney marketed most in advance of Cars Land’s opening. We tried all four of these cones (disclosure: two of these cones were comped as part of the Cars Land launch party). Unfortunately, each one of them is terrible. Not decent, okay, or even “meh,” but downright bad. The cone tastes rubbery, and the substances in the cones were bad.
The breakfast cones were definitely the low-light, with the taste of imitation eggs and rubbery cone overpowering all other flavors. At $6.50 for the breakfast cones and $7 for the lunch/dinner ones, there are far better options. In fact, just about everything is a better option. These are four of the worst foods we’ve had at Disneyland (off the top of my head, I can’t think of anything worse). These are still buzzed-about, so perhaps others like them more than us. I do applaud Disney for taking a risk on these menu items, but we consider these cones to be flops.
Also available at this cone are Fillmore’s Fuelin’ Groovy Ades, which are delicious treats for your sweet tooth. You can have booze added to these for a few bucks extra (recommended). As far as the drinks themselves go, there are two options: All natural Lemonade or Pomegranate Limeade. As mentioned, they’re both quite (naturally) sweet. I loved them, especially the Pomegranate Limeade. With or without vodka, it’s an excellent drink. It’s a great way to wash down the nastiness that is those cone handwiches! 😉
Cone #4 serves pretzel bites and Red’s Apple Freeze. While we didn’t have a chance to sample the pretzel bites, I’ve heard a lot of good things. You’ll definitely want to give Red’s Apple Freeze (another naturally sugar-y drink) try, so you might as well split an order of the pretzel bites while you’re there. Red’s Apple Freeze is the same drink as LeFou’s Brew served at Gaston’s Tavern, so if you’ve tried LeFou’s Brew, you’d tried Red’s Apple Freeze (and vice-a-versa).
Cone #5 serves a variety of novel popcorn flavors, which rotate daily. I’m not a big fan of popcorn in general, but Sarah tried a couple flavors (dill and nacho cheese) and thought they were both pretty good. I can’t recall which other flavors are available, but they were all unique. Some of them seem odd at first blush, but according to Sarah, they “work.”
I wrote at the outset of this review that your opinion of Cozy Cone Motel will likely depend upon how you view it. If you consider it a simple outdoor vending snack kiosk (as Disney does), it’s the greatest snack kiosk ever. If you view it as a counter service restaurant, it’s a colossal disappointment. Since its footprint is far, far larger than a snack kiosk and its menu far more expansive with numerous unique items, I have a hard time viewing it as a simple ODV. However, the handwiches are the only foods of substance the Cones serve, and the lack of real entrees makes it hard to deem the Cozy Cone Motel an actual counter service restaurant. It’s somewhat of a hybrid ODV/counter service restaurant. In that carved-out category, it’s not terrible, but not great.
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If you’ve been to Cozy Cone Motel, what do you think of it? Are we too harsh, or are our thoughts right on the money? Share your thoughts in the comments!
The Smoked Chicken Verde Cone is hands down one of the best items at both DL and CA currently…
The Cozy Cone Motel reminds me of a gourmet food truck gathering (sans the gourmet & trucks). The Pretzel Bites are a decent value with just enough dipping cheese. I did like the chilli in the cone. But i’d rather have it served to me in a plastic bowl instead of a rubber bread cone.
Since I haven’t actually tried any of their “meal” cones I can’t judge any of this review based on that. I can say that the churros with the melted chocolate (and I believe it is cinnamon melted chocolate, like the one they served for the Fantasmic 20th anniversary) are quite tasty. Soft serve is always great (although personally I’m still annoyed that there are 2 good locations for this in DCA and virtually none in Disneyland). These plus the drinks/popcorn (all personal preferences snackwise) make this location pretty spectacular for people wanting to snack.
I digress. I guess my main thought is, who really views this as counter service? I frequently eat at Disneyland/DCA (it’s basically why I have a pass) and I have never considered this as more than a light – heavy (“meal” cones) snack location.
We were at DCA last October and it was packed. Carsland was always super packed the whole time, and therefore so were the cozy cones. Due to the long lines and very slow service, I only lined up once for the Churro bits with dipping sauce. I think getting them too a good 20mins and then there was nowhere to sit to eat them, but they were good. I see this area as just a ‘snack shack’ type eatery and not a restaurant. I don’t think I like the sound of the breakfast cones but I’ll try anything once! Caz from Australia.
It is rather mind boggling how long it takes to get anything from these different cones, even when there is no line. Coming from a restaurant background, the seem extremely inefficient on the inside too.
The Churro bites is about 1/2 of a churro for more money and for some inexplicable reason, they don’t taste as good either. I had 1 of the pretzel bites and it was so salty, I had to spit it out and felt like I swallowed a mouth full of ocean water.
Loved the Cozy Cone this past September. The whole are is definately Disney Magic- Hubby was more excited to be in Cars land than the Kids. I did think the ConeCoctions were a bit overpriced…. but we enjoyed it all. 🙂
The only thing I’ve had here was Red’s Apple Freeze. The first taste almost knocked me on my butt with it’s sweetness, but just like breaking a horse, I jumped right back on and absolutely loved it! It tasted like a Martinelli’s Sparkling Apple Cider slushy with a hint of caramel. I’d definitely get it again.
The food here is awesome, almost all dishes are totally worth it.Loved the pictures too, nicely photographed.
I visited the DCA last September and the Cozy Cone was the only place I came back to! I really liked the Chili Con Queso. I thought it was delicious. The Red’s Apple Freeze was not better than WWoHP’s Butter Beer, but its a decent imitation. The last night of our trip, my husband and I split the pretzel bites and the churro bites. It was much easier splitting the ‘bites’ foods than the regular foods (i.e. whole soft pretzels and whole churros).
We mostly eat counter service restaurants at Disney and Cozy Cone is definitely up there for us!
People on Twitter/Facebook also really seemed to like the Chili “Cone” Queso, so perhaps reasonable minds can differ on that one!
The chili part was decent, verging on good. The bread cone was horrible. I tried it to say I did, but I wouldn’t have it again.
I also really liked the chili cone. Perhaps you just got a bad one?
That was the only item we ordered, so we didn’t have the frustration of multiple cones. So I liked the layout.
This review is un-cone-scionable!
First off, you only tried 3 of the 5 cones. Come on now!
Cone #1 (omitted from review): You say you’re a sucker for soft serve, but don’t give any points for the existence of a place other than Paradise Pier (which always has a long, slow line) where you can get it. This seems like an oversight. 1.5 stars
Cone #2 (omitted from review): The churro bites with chocolate dipping sauce are awesome! I don’t know any other place at the resort serving these. In my opinion these are the BEST churros available at Disneyland and worthy of at least tasting for the review. 2 stars
Cone #3 The breakfast cones sound disgusting, but DCA isn’t known for serving any great breakfasts. If you don’t start the day at Goofy’s Kitchen ($$$), Carnation Cafe ($$), or Earl of Sandwich ($), you’re probably going to be disappointed.
However, the Chicken Verde is outstanding! When you compare it to the abomination of mexican cuisine they serve over at Cocina Cucamonga, it’s a miracle that they developed this gem. I agree that the pomegranate limeade is outstanding. This combo is possibly the best under $10 meal at DCA. 2 stars.
Cozy Cone #4: People seem to like imitation Butter Beer and pretzels. The pomegranate limeade is better, but whatever. 1 star.
Cozy Cone #5: Personally, I couldn’t finish the bacon cheddar flavored scoop I tried, but I’m sure the regular popcorn is as good as the stuff the popcorn carts sell. 1 star.
Apparently, ODV is in charge of these cones because there’s no AP discount. -1 star.
People love those overpriced cone sipper cups. 1 star.
Nobody knows which is the “enter” side and which is the “exit” side. -1 star.
Not enough seating. -.5 star.
I wasn’t a fan back when the lines were huge, but in the last few weeks I’ve been sampling the cones every week. I’m hooked on the Chicken Verde for a cheap, quick meal.
So there you go. Cozy Cone deserves at least a 6.0 rating.
Ha, this is quite thorough! I’ll have to try those churro bites next time, as they do sound interesting.
I think giving 1.5 stars for soft serve ice cream is a bit generous, but can understand the rest of your points!
The breakfast cone looks unappealing just from that picture alone. But I’ve tried the Smoked Chicken and Salsa Verde and thought it was actually pretty decent. I wouldn’t say that it’s worth the price. I agree that there are much better options throughout the park, several of which aren’t that much more pricey (I’d probably tell someone to head down to Pacific Wharf Cafe and get a bread bowl instead).
I have yet to try Pacific Wharf Cafe. Sarah ate there once and said it was pretty good.
I can confirm that the pretzel bites are, in fact, delicious.
When we visited Cars Land last September, the only cone open was the one selling the chili. Since it was a very hot day, we did not try it. It would have been nicer to try the cooler iced options.