Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe Review
Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe is a counter service cafe and bakery at the end of Main Street in Disneyland, near Sleeping Beauty Castle. The bakery has sweets and other baked goods (of course), but also has a number of sandwiches, salads, and soups on its menu, making it a full meal option (hence the “Cafe” in the name, although most people just refer to it as “Jolly Holiday Bakery”).
Jolly Holiday Bakery opened in 2012, replacing the Plaza Pavilion Annual Passport Center, which replaced the Plaza Pavilion restaurant. The original Plaza Pavilion restaurant dated back to the opening of Disneyland (here’s a pre-opening day photo) and closed in 1997. The Annual Passport Center opened thereafter and was around until 2011 before someone came to their senses and realized this prize real estate at the end of Main Street was much better suited for a restaurant than an AP center.
Jolly Holiday Bakery has a Victorian theme, with a strong Mary Poppins motif in terms of design and decor. From the Mary Poppins weather vane to stained glass penguins in the windows to the black paper cut silhouettes portraits of the children, there are numerous details that either directly reference or allude to Mary Poppins. My favorite of the decor is a Mary Poppins tree, which is a nod to the old Stouffer’s tree in the Plaza Pavilion restaurant. I’ve shared the sad story of that tree as told by Kevin Kidney in the past, but it’s worth reading if you already haven’t. There’s no seating inside Jolly Holiday Bakery, which is no issue as the nice, outdoor seating offers great views of Main Street and Sleeping Beauty Castle.
The decor of Jolly Holiday Bakery has been somewhat controversial, with some Disney fans grumbling that Poppins doesn’t fit the theme of Main Street, and others shrugging it off, pointing out that there are plenty of inconsistencies throughout Disneyland. We fall squarely into the latter camp, and don’t believe Disneyland was ever intended to have such literal analysis. Things like a Skyway through the Matterhorn wouldn’t pass muster under this literal scrutiny either, but it just worked. Likewise, we think Jolly Holiday Bakery just works.
Here’s Sarah with Disneyland’s famous Chef Oscar (he worked at Jolly Holiday Bakery when it first opened while Carnation Cafe was being remodeled):
Here are a few of the details found inside Jolly Holiday Bakery:
As for the food at Jolly Holiday Bakery? It’s pretty good, albeit the portions can be on the small side. (No, we won’t go for “practically perfect in every way” or any other Poppins-isms to describe anything about the restaurant. We aren’t that clever.) I was a bit surprised by this when we first ate here, since none of the food at Jolly Holiday Bakery is made to order. Despite the hot foods being reheated, everything we’ve tried has been fairly good. (The only thing I won’t try is the quiche–it looks good, but the idea of reheated quiche doesn’t sit well with me.)
One of my favorite sandwiches has been the Angus Roast Beef Sandwich. Served on an onion roll with melted cheese, it tastes great. It reminded me a bit of the Cafe Steak Melt they used to serve at Carnation Cafe (but not nearly as good). Still, the roast beef was tender and tasted good, and the roll was fresh. Definitely a sandwich I’d have again, but not really “memorable” in the sense that it was anything unique.
I was slightly more impressed with the Tomato & Mozzarella Sandwich, which is my top pick at Jolly Holiday Bakery. I’m not one to normally order sandwiches that don’t have meat on them, but I love tomatoes and mozzarella, and I was very pleasantly surprised by this.
The focaccia bread was light and airy, and the tomato and mozzarella tasted really fresh, with the perfect amount of basil, lettuce, and basil vinaigrette. It all combined for a great flavor, and thanks to the generous amount of mozzarella and overall large size of the sandwich, it was more substantive than I expected. This one actually reminded me of something you might get at Sunshine Seasons in Epcot (thanks to the ingredients and that great bread!).
We’ve also had the Jolly Holiday Salad and Chicken Salad Sandwich, both of which were pretty good. I had the Jolly Holiday Salad after a long day of not eating at the D23 Expo so I pretty much devoured it without much regard for taste, but I thought it was a good mix, with the fruit adding a nice twist. (Although at that point, just about anything probably would’ve tasted great to me.) All of these entrees come with housemade chips, except the salads, which come with a breadstick. I really like the housemade chips, which are thick cut, greasy, and salty.
Since most of the baked goods rotate fairly regularly, I won’t linger on reviews of any of them. Below are some sweets we’ve purchased at Jolly Holiday Bakery, along with brief thoughts. Please keep in mind that these may not be available when you visit.
Here’s the eclair. It’s pretty good and unlike many options, it fairly sized and appropriately priced. I recommend it.
This is the Pecan Bar. It’s okay. Nothing special.
This is the Chocolate Cream Cheese Bar. This is currently on the regular menu. We like it a lot. The flavor is rich, but not so rich that it’s too much for one person.
Jolly Holiday Bakery has a variety of great seasonal snacks for Christmas and Halloween. We tried 3 of their Halloween options and loved them all. More about them in our Guide to Halloween Snacks at Disneyland.
Sarah gets at least one Matterhorn Macaroon everyday we visit Disneyland, yet we still don’t have a decent “non-case” photo of the things. (She does have this cool shot on Instagram.) She raves about them, I think they’re pretty good. For $2, you can’t really go wrong.
Above on the left is the Strawberry Lemon Cupcake and on the right is the Chocolate Mousse Cupcake. Both cupcakes were great and are highly recommended. Strawberry Lemon Cupcake was a bit on the sweet side, but it was moist and flavors worked really well together. The Chocolate Mousse cupcake was moist yet rich, and is probably best split unless you really like chocolate.
These cupcakes were sold during “Bayou Bash.” Both were delicious, but haven’t returned since. They were delicious, for what it’s worth. There’s more about the cupcakes and Bayou Bash in this trip report installment. Recently, it seems as if Jolly Holiday Bakery has primarily switched over to “fancier” cupcakes that are smaller and more expensive.
Overall, Jolly Holiday Bakery is an excellent option, especially if you are looking for baked goods. We have noticed that since it opened, prices have gone up and portion sizes seem to have gone down. When you add the best selections of baked goods of any restaurant in Disneyland, Jolly Holiday becomes one of the best overall dining options in Disneyland. The great view of Sleeping Beauty Castle is just icing on the cake, and we highly recommend a breakfast Matterhorn Macaroon or cupcake with a table that views the Castle. It’s the perfect way to start a day at Disneyland!
Overall Score: 8.5/10
For Disneyland trip planning tips and comprehensive advice, make sure to read our Disneyland Resort Trip Planning Guide and related articles.
Read our other Disneyland Resort restaurant reviews.
What do you think of Jolly Holiday Bakery? Any favorite snacks? Any questions about the items served? Hearing from you is half the fun, so please share your thoughts in the comments!
We had two different macarons last time (Christmas 2016) and they were both delicious! A raspberry one and a salted Carmel. I’ve thought about them for over a year and can not wait to get one next month when I return
Were can you buy the Holiday Demitasse Dessert please?
Thanks for your review. I was disappointed when there in 2011 to see it not a cafe anymore. We are looking forward to our trip this Easter. We are traveling over from Australia as my daughter and her dance team will be performing at WDW where will have 7days and then we have 4 days in Disneyland Resort. Can’t wait to check it out and try some delicious treats.
I’ve enjoyed reading your blog and planning our trip.
I second the grilled cheese and tomato soup, it was wonderful. We also enjoyed watching the parade after finishing our meal and that was a great places to catch it, good view without all the crowds.
Great tip on viewing the parade from the Jolly Holiday seating area!
Love this place! And I think I mentioned before how much I love the caprese sandwich (though they always look at me weirdly when I order it with a northeast NJ pronunciation). The Mickey Tart, btw, is a really solid dessert choice that seems to be there all the time.
Thanks for the heads up on the Mickey Tart!
I adore this place- I’d take it over the crystal palace at MK any day and twice on Sunday.
I love it too, but I totally disagree on Crystal Palace. I’d prefer if Winnie the Pooh and co. weren’t there, but I love the Victorian design of the Crystal Palace. Definitely beats the look of Crystal Palace for me!
You have a point about the architecture, but I appreciate the jolly holiday because I can go in and grab a cupcake whenever, as opposed to Crystal Palace where I may only book a meal once every several years at most.
one of our favorite stops – the cinnamon rolls are a great mid-morning treat. The tomato soup and grilled cheese is good, as long as you dip the sandwich in the soup. Have to try the macaroon next time!
I really want to try the grilled cheese sandwich. I’ve heard good things, but I always forget about it.
Great post! We really enjoyed the JHBC. We liked it so much it inspired our little girl’s nursery!
Very cool! Are those silhouettes just decorative, or do they have some meaning to your family?
They are just decorative. They are the silhouettes of Mary, Jane, and Michael.
I suspect you married Sarah large in part because she’s photogenic. 😉
…and she tolerates me! 😉
I need a Matterhorn Macaroon in my life. (I have to wait 2 years for one… Boo)