Winner, Winner, Don't Eat Dinner: The Worst Restaurant in the Anaheim Resort

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Last November, we celebrated the closure of the Baker's Square restaurant in Garden Grove's International West district, the very worst example of a chain that struggles to achieve mediocrity. It was, in retrospect, pretty bad--limp produce, low-quality meat, and service that met every criterion for a tourist trap. We looked at five restaurants to which we could pass the crown for the Worst Restaurant in the Anaheim Resort.

The commentary was telling--of the seven comments that weren't me, three mentioned Captain Kidd's. Looking it up on Yelp revealed that at the time of publication, of the 56 reviews, 41 were one-star, 10 were two-star and 5 were three-star. If it's not the lowest-rated restaurant in Orange County, it's got to be in the bottom 10 percent. Clearly it was time to take one for the team and see whether the hype was true.

Captain Kidd's is located directly across the street from the pedestrian entrance to Disneyland on Harbor Blvd. Families who've stayed in one of the hotels on the strip exit the park and are immediately confronted with the sign, and more often than not a guy waving coupons to entice people in.

The first thing diners will notice is the paid parking; it shares its parking lot with the adjacent hotel, so diners have to take a ticket. The parking is not cheap--$12 for the first half hour, but you can spend two hours at Captain Kidd's with a validation from the front desk.

I ordered the buffet, as nearly all people do, and was asked if I wanted a beverage. There was a huge, colorful display of all the beverages available--soft drinks, beer, wine, and a special blue pirate drink. Conspicuously missing was the price--$2.89 for a glass of iced tea, as I found out, added to a bill of $8.99 for lunch plus tax and a "buffet tip".

The item on the left, next to the nacho cheese, is a bucket of refried beans.
I was led through a theoretically pirate-themed room and, upon arrival at the plastic booth my nearly $15 had rented for the duration of my stay, the server was quick to point out the tableside location of the ketchup, yellow French's mustard and off-brand hot sauce, presumably to head off the inevitable questions later and avoid having to stop at my table.

The buffet was at the front end of the restaurant, I assume to entice diners from outside on Harbor Blvd. to stop in. A cold salad bar was on the left, with only a few things actually resembling the makings of a salad (it seemed to be cold storage for things like ranch dressing and packets of butter); a mixed hot and cold bar with child-friendly options like woefully dried-out spaghetti, macaroni and cheese and penne with marinara next to ice cream toppings. Along the right was an extensive bar of hot foods.


Location Info

Captain Kidd's

1550 S. Harbor Blvd., Anaheim, CA

Category: Restaurant

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22 comments
Rayann Castro
Rayann Castro

I always get the heebie-jeebies walking by this place when we go to Disneyland...

Bill T.
Bill T.

Is this place owned and "operated" by a corporation? I suspect that if so they would have no idea about the number of repeat visitors there are at Dizzyland. Also almost certainly controlled by the accountants, it only has to be good enough that the suckers don't turn around and leave as soon as entering the door. They probably treat their people like Shiite in such case you probably only have to be able to stick it out for about 6 months, starting on the dish crew, to make it to shift supervisor so good luck on anything like actual training on how to run a restaurant. When I worked restaurants I had a supervisor tell me everyday to do a task that I had taught myself to do before getting hired at that store and routinely performed everyday. He never got a clue, it was just a summer job so I didn't care, I was mostly amused.

Buggle B
Buggle B

I get the feeling Dave wasn't too happy when he drew the short straw to review this place! 

Reading this article is a great way to lose weight. I completely lost my appetite after I read what you had to endure. The pictures were even more disturbing because brought realization that you actually put that in your mouth and attempted to eat it. You deserve an award...or at least some antacids and a course of antibiotics. 

fluffatu
fluffatu

You are a brave soul, Dave. This place always catches my eye while leaving the resort area....but not in a good eye-catching way. My hunch said it was awful- not in boring or bland, but in the tempting food poising way of awful. 

Brian Westmeyer
Brian Westmeyer

Im sorry but that sounds like a typical buffett. 90% of "American" buffetts aren't good. The other 10% are in Vegas...

Jeff Overley
Jeff Overley

Easily the most horrifying restaurant review I can remember reading. And the photo of the beans - just way too graphic.

QueerInMySoup.com
QueerInMySoup.com

BTW, thanks for risking your life ... so we don't have to. 

QueerInMySoup.com
QueerInMySoup.com

 This just proves the old real estate adage: "Location, Location, Location"  I think the owners know perfectly well that they wouldn't get away with such dredge if they even moved one block down, away from the Disneyland entrance.

Dee Breakofdawn
Dee Breakofdawn

My gut was churning after the second paragraph. I couldn't continue... so did you call the health department.

Guy next door
Guy next door

Lol... Wow taking the temperature of the food is ballsy, but good job!!

Nathan
Nathan

I have always wanted to try this place since I am visiting Disneyland often and thought it would save me money. Walk out of the park and across the street, stuff my face and walk back to the park. After reading this I am glad I never did. Thank you Dave for taking one for the team and braving this place for the review.

Christian Z.
Christian Z.

Have never been. Isn't it a glorified Chuck E. Cheese? It's where the tourist parents take their kids when they (the parents) don't want to pay $18-25 a person for lunch or dinner at Disneyland but know that the kids are still going to want to eat at a place that has some kind of theming to it. I'm of the belief that anything can be done well and it sounds like they could make a few changes that would easily improve several things there. Also kind of sounds like they don't want to.

Michelle Lau Reynoso
Michelle Lau Reynoso

Umm, its across from Disneyland.  Why should this place offer decent food to tourists, if they're assuming you're not going to come back anyway?  

Wilhelmina
Wilhelmina

"allowing for a very relaxed standard of review given its situation, it is frankly a revolting place to eat."  this is one hilarious review. Thanks for the warning (though I don't do buffetts). 

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

Of course they're not good. No one in his right mind expects a buffet, even in Vegas, to be good—but even compared to the dizzying heights of cuisine attained by Hometown Buffet, this was poor quality.

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

Christian, this meal cost nearly $15. Had I gone at dinner, it would have been nearly $17, because their website says dinner is $9.99 (plus a drink, plus tax, plus tip). I can certainly eat a great deal better inside the park for that price.

And no, it isn't a glorified anything. John's Incredible Pizza Co. is a glorified Chuck E. Cheese. I'd sooner eat at Chuck E. Cheese, screaming, wayward children hopped up on grease and sugar and all.

MayhemInTheHood
MayhemInTheHood

 I was thinking the same thing, but check out the Yelp page. A good amount of the reviews are from locals, or people from surrounding areas. Maybe I'm giving too much credit to these folks, but you'd think they'd know better and see it as a tourist trap from a mile away. Alas, they don't...but that speaks more to the fact that this restaurant has both tourist and local traffic, and still doesn't give a shit about offering anything decent.

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

Human decency, perhaps. And while great food is an unlikely scenario, perhaps they could try to at least operate within the confines of the food-safety laws.

There will always be tourist traps on Harbor, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be outed as tourist traps and shamed when they deserve it.

Christian Z.
Christian Z.

I guess it depends on where in the park you eat and what you get. It gets expensive in there too and I increasingly choose to NOT eat in there. Either way Captain Kidd has some serious issues to work out.

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

I wonder... because honestly, before this all went down, I always passed it and thought, "Hm... how bad could it be?"

Sam
Sam

Laughing at the cleanliness and temp comment. I'm sure you have been to far, far worse and loved the food. 

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