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Disneyland Article
Disneyland Cats Are Real Here Is How To See Them

Westward Ho Conestoga Wagon Fries
Julie Tremaine
August 14, 2022
August 23, 2022
You might think the Disneyland cats are a myth. After all, a theme park encouraging stray cats to live inside its gates to keep the vermin population down does seem a little wild — especially when you consider the theme park famously “all started with a mouse,” according to Walt Disney.

But Disneyland’s “community cats,” as it calls them, are very real. So real, in fact, that they have a fan club. Several, actually, like the Cats of Disneyland Instagram account that has more than 109,000 followers, and fan groups on Facebook.

The cats have names like Evelyn, Elinor and Francisco, who even has a #FranciscoFriday hashtag among fans. Cared for and fed by cast members, they roam the entire resort, everywhere from the patio of Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar in the courtyard of the Disneyland Hotel to the wooded areas around Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in Disneyland Park.

But the one place most famous for its Disneyland cat population, where the biggest cat celebrity of them all lives, is Grizzly Peak in Disney California Adventure. That’s where Nutmeg — queen of the Disneyland cats — lives, and that’s where you’re most likely to see her or some of her friends.

All you need is a seat at the most exclusive restaurant in the park.

DCA’s Magic Key Terrace is a lounge for annual passholders that used to be the Alfresco Tasting Terrace above Wine Country Trattoria. The lounge serves cocktails and snacks on a menu designed specifically for people with an insider’s love of Disney. Cocktails are named after defunct attractions, like the Millionaire’s Manhattan, named after the old Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? — Play It! attraction, and Conestoga Cocktail, after the old Conestoga Wagons ride where Big Thunder Mountain is now, and its second incarnation as the McDonald’s fry wagon, Conestoga Fries.

It’s also where Nutmeg likes to spend her evenings — though just by getting pets from cast members, not by sipping on the secret menu cocktail named after her. That drink, the Nutmeg, is made with dark rum, Irish cream, hazelnut liqueur and apricot liqueur.

“We have lots of friends that like to visit us and some of them are four-legged friends,” Disney California Adventure culinary director Jeremiah Balogh told the OC Register. “We have a resident cat that will come and visit guests and cast members whenever he or she feels lonely.”

Inside the lounge, there are Easter eggs about the Disneyland cats everywhere you look. There’s a portrait of Nutmeg hanging on the wall, and on the smaller terrace, feline stained glass details all over the space, with little cat faces in the mosaics. That’s the spot where you’re most likely to see her. The terrace is built into the side of Grizzly Peak, and the cats have easy access to that area, if they’re so inclined.

Magic Key Lounge reservations are hard to get, but I snagged a cancellation and went on a hot summer afternoon in search of Nutmeg and her friends. After a Conestoga Cocktail (mezcal, Topo Chico, lime and prickly pear syrup) and a plate of Three Little Sliders (pork in three preparations), I still hadn’t spotted her. I headed over to the edge of the terrace where I know cats are most likely to pop up. I leaned over and scanned the shady, empty patch of Grizzly Peak.

“Are you looking for Nutmeg?” a cast member asked me from behind the bar as she was polishing glasses. I said I was.

“It’s too early,” she said. It was about 2:30 p.m. at that point. “She always comes out around five, right at the end of service.”

So there you have it: your key to spotting the most famous of the Disneyland cats. If you have a Magic Key, make an evening reservation. If you don’t, find a friend who has one and will include you in their dinner reservation. (This is easier than it sounds — the Facebook Disneyland groups often have people posting about open spots in their reservations, or looking to make new park friends.)

Then sit, order one of those libations that’s a nod to the Disneyland of old and watch the Pixar Pal-A-Round wheel spin, all while you wait to spot the park’s favorite cat.

Attractions Referenced

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Conestoga Wagons

Restaurants Referenced

Westward Ho Conestoga Wagon Fries

Lands Referenced

Star Wars Galaxys Edge

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