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Disney California Adventure Smokejumpers Grill Review

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Smokejumpers Grill opened today at Disney California Adventure. It replaced Taste Pilots’ Grill, which was one of DCA’s opening day restaurants. Personally I only ate at Taste Pilots a handful of times because I wasn’t a fun of the location’s specialty: bland theme park hamburgers. Is the food better at Smokejumpers? I’ll get to that later in the post.

Taste Pilots’ Grill was located in the land known as Condor Flats, but now the entire area is being “reimagined” and renamed to Grizzly Peak Airfield (which will open on May 14). Because of this the restaurant and its surroundings have been redone to match the new theme.

Review continues after the jump:

IMG_4245 DSC04236The old aviation theme is gone and in its place is a smokejumpers theme that includes parachutes, backpacks, oxygen masks, axes, etc. A smokejumper is a firefighter who parachutes in to wildfires in remote locations (I’m not going to lie, I had to look that up). Along with all the smokejumpers gear, vintage vacation photos and Disney True Adventure posters decorate the walls. There’s even bulletin boards with letters from children thanking the smokejumpers for their bravery. The new theme works well and it gives the restaurant more of a cozy feeling.

DSC04254 IMG_4248 A great detail that is noticeable inside Smokejumpers Grill is the quality of the decor.  Everything looks “lived in,” as if this actually could be an outpost you would find in the middle of nowhere. This is opposite of Taste Pilots, where everything looked a little too new and artificial.

DSC04237Even the cast member costumes got a nice upgrade.

IMG_4250 DSC04250 DSC04253The Bearpaw Basin Smokejumpers logo is found throughout Smokejumpers Grill.

IMG_4243The outside of the restaurant offers a sneak peek at what the rest of the new land will look like. This lamppost is one of many in the area. Obviously it looks much better than the old simple polls with lights attached to them. Also, unlike the smooth tarmac of Condor Flats, the ground is now textured almost like it’s a dirt road. It’s easy to miss the details like this, but when they’re not there you do notice it. Fixing these problems add to the overall quality of the park and brings up the level of immersion.

IMG_4252Unfortunately the food was not improved along with the cosmetic refurbishments. You’ll still find the same burgers, salads, and shakes that were on the Taste Pilots’ Menu and from what I tried they were exactly the same in terms of taste.

DSC04246 DSC04248 Seen here are the Bacon Cheddar Burger and Chicken & Feta Salad. The Bacon Cheddar Burger is the usual burger found in many other Disneyland and Disney World quick service restaurants. It’s about the same quality as a McDonald’s burger, but keep in mind that Smokejumpers’ burger is $10.99. The onion rings were good, but not worth a special trip. My wife enjoyed the salad and said it tasted fresh. I’ve noticed Disney has improved the quality of their quick service salads in the past year, so at least you know that’s a solid choice for an entree.

DSC04240The best thing about Smokejumpers Grill is the toppings bar. I made my burger more palatable by covering it in tomatoes, lettuce, mustard and about four scoops of jalapenos. It’s worth noting that this is the only quick service restaurant with a toppings bar in Disneyland Resort.

Smokejumpers Grill is worth checking out for the details but I’d go to one of the much better DCA restaurants like Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta or Pacific Wharf Cafe. That’s it for our Smokejumpers Grill review. Will you be checking out the new restaurant? Do you think I’m wrong about theme park burgers? Let me know in the comments below.

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Guy Selga Jr.

Disneyland writer for TouringPlans.com and co-author of the Unofficial Guide to Disneyland. Also a Disneyland local and appreciator of Disney theme park history. Twitter and Instagram: @guyselga

4 thoughts on “Disney California Adventure Smokejumpers Grill Review

  • Thanks for the review. When I saw the menu, it looked too similar to Taste Pilot’s, so I don’t think I will be eating here.

    Now I need you to convince DCA to fix Paradise Garden Grill. Now that Smokejumpers has burgers, Paradise Garden Grill can go back to the skewers.

  • I think the burgers here are actually really good. Can’t say I’ve tried a McDonalds burger in the US, but I can’t imagine they taste this good. Especially when you can add heaps of fresh lettuce, tomatoes and other toppings. The grilled chicken burger is my favorite at Disneyland! I was worried they would change the burgers. Glad to hear they haven’t.

  • Hate to complain, but the “hangar” decor looks like laziness disguised behind a pretext, i.e., “what theme would justify using low-end materials like exposed corrugated metal?” If the menu was a hit, I’m sure I wouldn’t notice that. I’m disappointed they didn’t pick up a smoked theme with the menu: smoked brisket, pulled pork, smoked chicken wings, or something. The menu is an absolute turn-off to me. Many better options at DCA.


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