Firstly, I should admit that I am unabashedly a food snob, so eating at Disneyland Paris was never going to be high on my list of ‘things I’m looking forward to’ on our trip across the Channel. Weasel, on the other hand, I assumed was likely to thoroughly enjoy a diet of processed, reheated, overpriced slop.
So, what was the food selection like? Mostly absent strangely is the answer. About half the restaurants and nearly all snack stalls were closed (this was the 3rd week of September). The main dilemma was trying to work out where was closed and trying to get through the food queues with an obviously reduced amount of already inefficient staff. As a result, meals were slightly frustrating with half of our group sat down and the other half stood in a queue waiting behind one or two people for 20 minutes. Fun!
High Points of Feeding Kids at Disney: milk cartons available everywhere (brilliant when your kid insists anything besides milk or water is clearly poisonous), high chairs everywhere (wrapped in cling film to show they’re clean I’m guessing?) and I suppose the lack of snack stations puts less pressure on parents.
Low Points: Lack of variety, not much open outside of school holidays, high price, slow queues and the ubiquitous Mickey Mouse high chair may have been cute, but was pushing it in terms of fitting Weasel into one.
Colonel Hathi’s Pizza Outpost – Adventureland: First attempt at Disney eating, we ended up here after all other choices in the vicinity turned out to be closed. Husband waited in the queue for half an hour whilst the cashier attempted to enter in 30 meal tickets, clearly from a tour group sat outside, to a system totally not fit for purpose. Sitting with a moaning, hungry Weasel was not a pleasant experience and oddly the main seating area was down some steps so inaccessible by pram or wheelchair. Weasel ate the food that came out first and did not touch her own. It was such a harrowing experience that I haven’t even managed to get a photo of it.
Pizzaria Bella Notte – Fantasyland: Completely empty after the early evening parade, we popped in and managed to get served straight away; a triumph! After many failed children’s menu attempts at 7 euros a pop, we just went for the feed Weasel bits of our food option, which went a little better. It, like most places, offered as a dessert the very appetizing sounding ‘dairy product with crunchy choco balls’. Turns out it’s yogurt. Boo. Identical menu to that in Hathi’s 2 days before.
Cafe Hyperion – Discoveryland: I only had the 20th Anniversary Delice here, desperate for some sugar. Turns out it requires good eyesight to spot it. I don’t generally care about the price of snacks, I am happy to pay for something that’s a luxury to have anyways, but even I was pissed off about the minuscule chocolaty treat that I had to queue half an hour for whilst the staff chatted away and decided to change the till roll before serving me even though I was now struggling to stand up. The only thing going for it was the giant movie screens to calm kids down for a few minutes. Some even appeared to be having naps in there, prostrate on the long benches.
Restaurant en Coulisse – Walt Disney Studios Front Lot: Same format, menu mostly consisting of burgers and chips. Weasel had some chicken nuggets, which I think she enjoyed 2 of. Not being a fan of fries, she kind of misses out on half the kids meals anyways.
The Rainforest Cafe´ – Disney Village: Yep, that same one that’s everywhere, but at much higher prices. At least Weasel could be amused by the elephants who we were sat, perhaps, slightly too close to. And we could be amused by the 2 guys at the table being accosted by animatronics at regular intervals but pretending it wasn’t happening; carrying on despite being nearly hit in the face by a baby elephant. Weasel ate none of her food brought by the incredibly inept waitress and when we tried to give her an awesome chocolate cake that came with her meal later on back at the house, she decided again that we were trying to poison her and had a meltdown. Husband enjoyed the cake instead.
And drum roll for the one we actually enjoyed…… The Blue Lagoon! Unsurprisingly, it is one of the most expensive restaurants barring those with character experiences. But what’s the difference between paying 33 euros for a set meal and it being awesome, and having table service, and having loos in the restaurant, and having wine, and going to a crappy place, queueing up for ages and paying 15 euros for a reheated pizza and salad in a box? In fact, the Blue Lagoon probably worked out cheaper if we had ordered the same amount of courses, than the Rainforest Cafe.
This one is in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride (which rocks so much more than the one in Florida and smells much less of pirate damp thankfully) and you probably should book in advance. It was just nice not to have to queue up for fast food at restaurant prices. Weasel could enjoy the Caribbean theming and see the people go by on their boats. Oddly this place closes really early out of season, and booking at 7pm, which I thought was early by French standards, meant we were practically the last ones there. Weasel’s meal came with a cherry tomato and heart of palm salad (hahahaha! Of course I ate that and it was tasty, as she refused to acknowledge it was even food.), a hot mixed veg side which included mange tout (seriously? Are French kids this sophisticated?) and cheesy pasta main. She ate bread and the ice cream at the end which seems to be a running theme.
Verdict: The Disney website is a pile of steaming excrement, try the DLRP Magic one instead. It will give you details like menus and prices in advance and is actually easy to navigate and more up to date than the official site. This should tell you how bad the site is: I went on to get the names of places we ate, and totally failed to work out anything. The Disney site asked me to take a short survey, which I gave up on after 20 pages of pure twaddle about which wording they should use including gems like ‘infos’ and ‘informations’ and the placement of the drop down menus. I despair. So definitely get your info from the DLRP site and book on the phone to Disney. Oddly your phone call will be answered in French despite hitting the English option. Oh mon dieu. Oh and be prepared for the ‘Ferme´’ sign if you are there even slightly out of high season.