AYCE chow in Frontierland
AYCE chow in Frontierland
Anne Marie Panoringan

Eat This Now: Lunch At Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue

Purchasing a Disneyland Annual Passport was like investing in a small car, but we did it. The goal this year: Hit every ride. Unofficially, it's to also chow at every outlet. And despite summers and some seasonal employment via the Disneyland College Program (it exists!) a long, long time ago, there are still a few regions of the Magic Kingdom I have yet to conquer. One of them was Big Thunder Ranch.

Not to be confused with the recently renovated ride attraction or THE RANCH off Ball Road, this is the dead zone between Fantasyland and Frontierland. Somewhere in between is a spot where you can pet (and later feast on) farm animals. The only food I used to remember in that 'hood was the shack sponsored by McD's serving fries and Cokes.

While it doesn't advertise as being All-You-Can-Eat, it essentially is. Servers bring food and drink out to shaded picnic tables in family-style fashion. This ain't KCBS competitive level grub, but it's darn tasty for the cost ($24 at lunch, including beverages; half the cost for kids) and quantity you can consume. Barbecue chicken and porky ribs are thoroughly cooked and seasoned. The slaw reminds me of Wood Ranch BBQ, sans peanuts. Corn bread 'n beans do the job, but sneak your preferred hot sauce if you want heat. Drop in at dinner, and the extra cost rewards you with sausages and corn. Dessert options are extra. However, a bonus is that you can pre-order cakes to be served there-- perfect for the birthday we attended. With entertainment for the tots and a little country twang for big kids, you can seriously kill a couple of hours sitting, eating, relaxing . . . and did we say sitting?

Psssst: To dine at Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue, you can learn more about reservations at this link and book up to 60 days in advance. And yes, they take Annual Passholder discounts.

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