When organising your holiday to Disneyland Paris you are given the option of selecting a Disney Dining Plan or going it alone...
There are numerous dining plan options available - you can choose from half board or full board, and then have the options of the standard plans or upgrading to the premium plan for a greater choice of restaurants - for our first visit I found this all a bit too confusing and decided that I would rather get the lay of the land first, and just fend for ourselves when it came to mealtimes.
However I made sure that I did plenty of research first of all on exactly what dining options were available to us, what sort of prices we would be looking at and what the opening hours were.
Why Planning Is Important
My planning worked out pretty well, and we ate well every day and all well within our budget - which I have to say, was not that large! (This was a very last minute trip that we only decided to take about a month before travelling, meaning all our money was spent on the trip itself with no time to save up tons of spending money!)
I found this website to be absolutely invaluable when it came to planning our dining options, as it contains full menus and prices for all of the Disney park and village restaurants...I made a list of our top choices, worked out our budgets and made a rough plan of where would be our best choices to eat each day.
This may seem a bit OTT on the planning front, but I do think it's necessary to do as I found that many restaurants offered foods that my 3 year old simply would not eat - for example some of the restaurants in the park had a seafood focus (which would not appeal to me either!) and some were surprisingly "fancy" in their offerings - with main courses including things such as veal and foie gras which I would rather starve than eat, and options for children including things like salmon and cherry tomatoes which I know my son would refuse.
And given that the prices for food are not cheap, I didn't want to end up paying a fortune for food that would end up going straight in the bin...I wanted to know exactly what we would be getting, at what price and when it was available!
The other thing to bare in mind is that restaurants in the Disney parks are only open and serving while the park is open - the park closed at 8pm while we were there which meant that you needed to be finishing your meal around this time. As a family who prefers to dine later on this didn't really suit us, and I was also worried about wasting precious park hours on eating...so I decided it would be better to eat a later lunch each day, and save our main meal for the restaurants in the Disney Village which are open until late every evening - meaning we could eat when we left the park for the night.
The issue with this is that hundreds of people are leaving the park all at once at closing time and many will also be heading to the Disney village for food, and unfortunately the restaurants in the village do not take reservations - but we found that if we left the park around 15 minutes before the end of the Dreams show, we could get a table in any of the restaurants with no problem!
We had the option of breakfast in our hotel, Santa Fe, each morning included in our stay but this is apparently something that Disney hotels are going to start charging extra for in the coming months.
We went to breakfast on the first morning and had coffees and croissants, but I didn't personally feel that the continental breakfast on offer was worth paying for...we only used it once during our stay and that was only because it was included. It isn't something that I'll miss in future, it would be just as easy to take a travel kettle, some coffee and a packet of brioche or pain au chocolat and have your own continental breakfast in your hotel room!
For people wanting a more substantial breakfast, Earl Of Sandwich and Starbucks in the Disney Village would be ideal options - there is also a McDonalds in the Disney Village if you fancy it.
Lunch, Drinks & Snacks
We took lots of snacks with us into the parks each day to keep Tyne entertained in the queues, and we found that with doing so much grazing on things like mini cheddars, crisps, cereal bars and so on - we weren't that hungry throughout the day.
We chose to get light lunches such as fries from the numerous fast food outlets dotted around, with cakes and coffees from places such as Cable Car Bake on Main Street USA - this was a particularly pleasant place to sit and unwind after a busy day.
The hot dogs from Caseys Corner are a big hit with Disney regulars, and at just under 8 Euro each they don't break the bank either.
I was surprised at the lack of "Disney" themed snacks available during our stay, I assumed that the bakerys would offer lots of Mickey shaped cakes and cookies but everything looked very standard - nothing very "Disney" about it at all! (The Nutella Muffins are delicious though, and well worth buying!)
I did manage to hunt down something Mickey shaped eventually (see photo above!) - this was called the "Mickey Double Cake" (it was part of a pack of two!) and was from Restaurant En Coulisse in Walt Disney Studios - It wasn't very nice if I'm honest, but it looked cute at least!
If you're buying a drink, it usually works out better to buy the "Pause Gormande" treat offer which is a hot or cold drink and a cake, and is only around 1 Euro more expensive than buying a drink on its own!
Also be sure to check your receipts from the snack outlets, as they often have a voucher on the back for a free drink later in the day.
There are various snack stalls dotted around the park which offer things such as candy apples, popcorn and nutella crepes - we bought some popcorn in a special edition Halloween mug which was 9 Euro including the popcorn and made a lovely keepsake!
The drinks in the park are very expensive, at around 4 Euro for a bottle of coke so if you can take your own then do or take a water bottle to fill up at the fountains dotted around the park. We took lots of fruit shoots for my son throughout the days which was a lifesaver!
For us Mummies who deserve a treat too (and the Dads of course, but my partner wasn't so interested in these...) - don't miss out on a Glowtini!!! These Disney delights are available in most of the hotel bars, I got mine in the bar at the Santa Fe hotel and it was worth every penny of the 11 Euro it cost - I only wish I'd known that you can pay extra for a clip on light up Tink for the side of the glass too!
You get to keep your light up ice cube as a souvenir, too!
Restaurant En Coulisse
This was a counter service restaurant in Walt Disney Studios and to be honest, we hadn't intended to eat here but we found ourselves spending longer at the Studios park than we thought we would and we were all pretty hungry - dining venues seemed quite scarce in studios and we didn't like anything on the menu in the other restaurant we found, so we went for this one.
We all got the chicken sandwich and fries, which isn't something I would usually choose - however it was actually really yummy! This was 10.99 each for adults, and the kids meals were 7.99.
We also got the BB8 Cup for Tyne here which was around 11 Euro including a drink, and he LOVED it.
Our meal here in total was around 40 Euro including the souvenier BB8 cup.
Our meal at Planet Hollywood was one that all of us enjoyed, we were booked in to eat at 9pm and we arrived on the dot - there was a long queue but we were seated immediately in a lovely large corner booth which gave us plenty of space and privacy but still allowed us to soak up the fantastic atmosphere of the place.
The menu was extensive and really had us spoiled for choice - there were four full pages of gluten free options alone and as someone who has previously had to eat gluten free for medical reasons, I can tell you that is very rare!
The kids menu was fantastic value for money, particularly when compared to other restaurants in the area - for under 15 Euro they get a main course, dessert, drink in a keepsake cup and a kinder surprise too!
Tyne chose a hot dog and fries for his main course, and a chocolate ice cream for dessert but after a full days excitement in the park he wasn't too interested in eating so mostly just picked at the fries and eagerly awaited his promised kinder surprise - typical! The food was faultless though, and his Dad happily polished off his leftovers!
Jon & I chose a starter each - I had the Chicken tenders which I had heard a lot about and they did not disappoint, they were very tasty and moreish! Jon had the potato skins which, of course, I had to sample and they were delicious too.
For his main course, Jon chose the Pepperoni pizza with garlic pizza bread on the side - these were both pretty huge and he struggled to finish them, but the quality was great - the garlic pizza bread in particular was yummy!
I chose the Sizzling Chicken Fajitas and, true to their name, they arrived sizzling on a hot plate and I could smell them coming before I could see them - they were delicious! Served with fresh salsa verde, guacamole and sour cream and warmed tortillas - the chicken breast was beautiful and melted in the mouth...I could have eaten them all night long!
For dessert, Jon had the strawberry cheesecake which was creamy and delicious and I chose the "Cafe Gourmande" dessert sampler which consisted of a chocolate milkshake shot, a mini brownie and a chocolate bread and butter slice - all served with an espresso!
Every single bit of my dessert was faultless and delicious!
We all thoroughly enjoyed our meals, but I have to say - the real selling point to Planet Hollywood was the service.
Our waitress Ileana was attentive, friendly and fun throughout - and another of the servers, Paul, was so very attentive with Tyne - he kept coming back over to chat to him some more about the movie memorabilia on display, and even kept coming back to give him kinder treats when he'd finished his dinner - the menu had promised him one kinder egg but he ended up leaving with 3 plus a handful of kinder minis!
A photographer came around to take photos during our meal which we then had the option of purchasing, this was a lovely souvenir and ideal for people like us who were travelling as a family with nobody to take a group photo for us during our trip.
Our meal at Planet Hollywood came to around 110 Euro.
Cafe Mickey in the Disney village offers character dining experiences, one of only three restaurants which do so and the only one outside of the Disney Parks themselves. The other character dining options are ADC which is Princess themed, and Inventions which features classic Disney characters but is a buffet restaurant.
Opinion on the restaurant seems to vary from person to person and I had read some pretty terrible reviews before our visit - but my son isn't into Princesses and I'm not a fun of buffet restaurants, so we stuck with our choice and decided to make up our own minds...I'm so glad we did as we thoroughly enjoyed it!
It certainly wasn't cheap at 115 Euros for 2 adults and 1 child, but when the prices are compared to other dining options in the park I don't really think it's too bad - the price includes a starter, main course and dessert each and a soft drink too.
For starters Jon opted for the chicken caesar salad which looked lovely and like a welcome change from all of the junk food in Disney, I went for the fantasia mushrooms which were tasty enough but the bread they were served with was almost too chewy to actually eat.,.I would go for the salad next time. The childrens starters were quite limited with a choice between Quails Eggs and Cherry Tomatoes (which Tyne would never eat!) or vegetable soup - we went for the soup but it was a messy choice and not really ideal!
For the main course Jon & I chose the Italian burger which was served with mini potato waffles - these were delicious and the burger was very large and tasty too! Tyne chose the cheeseburger and mini potato waffles for his main course, and really enjoyed it.
The highlights were the desserts - Jon chose the Giant Profiterole which was a HUGE choux bun filled with ice cream instead of cream with chocolate sauce to pour over. I chose the Cafe Mickey Cupcake which was really yummy and very Disney-styled, and Tyne chose the chocolate mousse which was delicious and served with a Mickey printed wafer.
The food was all really enjoyable, and we were very full up - but the real selling point of dining at Cafe Mickey is the experience! The character interaction was fantastic - we had Eeyore, Tigger, Goofy, Pluto and Mickey Mouse himself when we visited but the characters vary at every seating - each of them visited our table at least 2 or 3 times each and spent a good few minutes with us, posing for photographs and playing with Tyne - Mickey even spoon fed Tyne some of his dessert and Tigger tried to pinch it - Tyne was delighted with this!
We ate here on our first evening, but next time I think I'd save it for an end of trip treat as Tyne asked every single day if we could go to Cafe Mickey again which made me feel a bit bad as we couldn't...it was just too expensive to dine in more than once, and it's booked up weeks in advance most of the time anyway! (So do book a table before your trip if you're keen to dine here to avoid disappointment!)
Our meal at Cafe Mickey cost around 115 Euro.
This was where we chose to eat on our last evening - we were torn between eating here or Rainforest Cafe, but we chose Annette's because it was closest to the shuttle bus station and we were tired after 3 days on our feet. Unfortunately it turned out to be a bad choice and I wish we'd gone to Rainforest Cafe instead!
Annette's is a 50s themed American diner and the restaurant itself is impressive when you walk in - the theming is very authentic with juke boxes on the tables and neon lighting everywhere, and the waiters are even on roller skates!
The menu was as you'd expect from a diner - all burgers or hot dogs and fries, onion rings, etc - but obviously it's quite expensive, this is Disneyland after all!
We chose the onion rings for starters, which were nice enough - but then onion rings are just onion rings really aren't they?!
For our main courses I chose a classic burger and Jon chose a chilli dog - I took one bite from my burger and couldn't stomach a second one. It was greasy and tasted cheap, and whatever "Annette's special sauce" is I am not a fan!! Jon kindly offered to swap meals with me, but I didn't find the chilli dog much of an improvement...again it was greasy, sloppy and poor quality.
I managed about half of the chilli dog before giving in and filling up on the fries again...which were lukewarm and a mix of potato and sweet potato...this was quite annoying as Tyne won't touch sweet potato fries.
Tyne had opted for the kids fish and chips, and the fish was very nice...but as I say, the chips were an issue.
Jon & I didn't bother with desserts as we were sure they'd be disappointing too but Tyne was determined he wanted a brownie - these were not on the childrens menu, only ice cream was offered, so I asked the Waitress if we could swap it for him as brownies were available on the adult menu but he didn't want any ice cream or anything with it.
She agreed, and brought out the brownie which was the tiniest thing I have ever seen - literally a square smaller than Tyne's hand - I almost died when I saw on our bill that it cost us 10 euro!!! Seriously Annettes?! 10 euro for a TINY piece of brownie with no accompaniments?! Rip Off!!!
Unfortunately both Jon and I felt very unwell all night long and for most of the next morning after our meal at Annette's, and I think I'd much prefer a visit to Mcdonalds for a fraction of the cost next time we're in Disneyland!
This meal cost us just over 70 Euro.
Rating - 1/5
Earl Of Sandwich
We visited Earl Of Sandwich for lunch on our last full day at Disney, and after a busy morning making use of extra magic hours - we were starving when we arrived!
We got to the restaurant at around 11.30 and there was hardly anybody there - it did start to fill up from noon onwards though so getting there early would be your best bet!
Earl Of Sandwich sells a wide variety of hot sandwiches as well as soups, potato wedges, cakes and other snacks - and from dinner time onwards they also sell pasta and pizza dishes which is great if you want to return for your evening meal as there is plenty of variety on offer!
You choose your sandwich from their menu, place your order and are then given a beeper which you can take back to your table...it will alert you when your sandwich is ready to be collected.
The restaurant itself is very spacious and clean, not at all like a fast food restaurant..it feels luxurious and their upstairs dining area offers fantastic views over the lake. There is even an outside dining area to make use of during the warmer months, the only outdoor seating area in the Disney village in fact!
Earl Of Sandwich prides itself on using only the finest and freshest ingredients, their bread and even their muffins are all made fresh on site and your sandwich will be made fresh to order everytime.
We tried out the original beef and dijon mustard sandwich which was so tasty with meat that just melted in the mouth, and the Meatball sandwich which was literally oozing with cheese....SO delicious!
The childrens menu is great too, Tyne had the ham & cheese sandwich with a drink and a chocolate pudding - he wolfed down every last bit and it set him up for the long afternoon ahead of us nicely!
I would highly recommend Earl Of Sandwich for a tasty lunch or dinner, it's nice to find something fresh that feels a little healthier than all of the fast food on offer in the parks - I never thought I'd say it but I really did get sick and tired of burgers and fries in Disneyland, so this was a welcome break!
Our meal here came to just over 20 Euro.
So those were our Disney dining experiences - what have been your favourite and least favourite places to eat in Disneyland Paris? I'd love to hear your thoughts for when I start planning our next visit!
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