This is an easy post to write as I love both eating, and Disneyland!
There are tons of good options for eating at Disneyland Paris. Obviously I haven’t tried all of the restaurants, but we did sample a fair number on our recent trip. Due to some unforeseen medical circumstances we stayed longer than expected, but looking on the bright side, it means I can share more information with you all.
So, for my first top tip: If you’ve already booked a trip to Disneyland Paris, the first thing I recommend you do next is to book restaurants in advance if you plan to dine out at any buffet or sit-down restaurants. It might seem like over-the-top organisation to have everything mapped out in advance, but trust me. It’s much easier to book and cancel later than to try and organise a last-minute reservation, especially at some of the more popular restaurants. There are a handful of restaurants that you can’t book beforehand eg Rainforest Cafe or Annette’s Diner in the Disney Village, which is probably fine if you don’t mind chancing it and waiting in a queue sometimes, but if your group consists of mostly small hungry people like ours then it makes sense to book!
My second tip: Plan dinner around the Disney parade times. When we visited, the parade was daily at 5.30pm (this may vary so check the programme, which you can obtain at the entrance to the park). You may wish to eat before or after this if you’d like to see the parade. Though on days you aren’t planning to watch the parade you might find 5.30pm is a quieter time at restaurants and therefore a good choice!
There are 3 main types of places to eat at Disneyland Paris. The first is a sit-down restaurant, where you order and your meal is served to you. The second is a buffet style restaurant. The third is counter service, where you order at the till and receive the food there, and carry it over to a table yourself. I’ll mainly talk about the first 2 types as we visited those the most, and they’re the ones you’ll want to book in advance. But there are plenty of counter service places where you can get yourself something to eat, eg fast food like hot dogs, chips or chicken nuggets, but the quality was a little variable and not necessarily cheap, either (though admittedly it is cheaper than eating at buffet or sit-down restaurants).
So without further ado, here is a list of restaurants that we dined at just a few weeks ago at Disneyland Paris.
Inventions – This is probably the most popular restaurant at Disneyland Paris, as it is THE place to meet the likes of Mickey and Minnie Mouse, et al, at the comfort of your dinner table, without queuing for eons. It is located in the Disneyland Hotel, at the entrance to the Disneyland Park. If you’d like to eat here, you absolutely must book in advance! I booked a table a month in advance, for 8 persons, and the only time slots they had left during our 4 night stay were 2pm and 10pm, on one of the days. Admittedly this was during May half-term, which is a busy period. You can also book a character breakfast here, which I am sure would be a brilliant start to the day.
What we loved: The food is amazing at Inventions. It’s a buffet style restaurant, but it feels high end and special. Of course the main draw is that this is the only restaurant where you get to meet Disney characters during your meal (with the exception of Auberge, where you can meet the princesses). They will come over to your table and pose with you for photos, and sign your autograph book if you like! It really is lots of fun.
Would we go again: Given the opportunity, of course!
Just to be aware: All this fun and celebrity experience comes at a price.
Auberge De Cendrillon – This was my second visit to the Auberge Restaurant, located in Fantasyland in the Disneyland park. The last time we visited was 6 years ago, and my then 2.5 year old daughter met Disney princesses as well as some of the princes. These days for some reason the princes no longer do the rounds at Auberge, but it was still a lovely experience, albeit with a hefty price tag! The Disney princesses Ariel (Little Mermaid), Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), Rapunzel, Cinderella and the two mice all visited us at our table. There is a friendly chaperone with the princesses, who helps make sure each princess visits every table so in theory there is no need to worry that you will get missed. We had this book with us, the Disney Junior Encyclopedia of Animated Characters, which we used as an autograph book (it also helped to keep the kids occupied in the queues!)
What we loved: Besides the thrilling moments of meeting the princesses (though this was lost on our toddler, who just wasn’t interested at all, haha!) we loved the interesting desserts at the restaurant.
Just to be aware: Very expensive. All this Disney magic comes at a price! You may like us feel a little anxious waiting for the princesses to come to your table. The chicken that I had as a main course was a little overdone.
Would we go again: As we have now been twice I think it will depend if the children are still interested to meet the princesses when we go next time. But something tells me we will return to Auberge!
Cafe Hyperion – This counter service cafe is located in Discoveryland (not far from the Buzz Lightyear ride) in the Disneyland Park. We only had breakfasts here, as it is one of the locations where you can get breakfast if you have a “Plus” breakfast voucher (more info on this, later in the post). The breakfast consisted of a hot drink, bottle of water or orange juice, a croissant or pain au chocolat, and a bacon and egg muffin. I found this amount of food to be more than adequate, considering we had plans for a big lunch. It was also good not to be TOO FULL before marching around the park with small children, trying to fit in all the attractions! While you are eating you can sit and watch Star Wars clips and sometimes there are amateur music performances. There was a visiting choir there when we went, singing Disney tunes.
Plaza Gardens – A buffet restaurant in the Disneyland Park. Really great food! Rather busy atmosphere.
What we loved: Great selection of delicious food, lots of variety.
Would we go back: Yes.
Restaurant Chez Remy – this sit-down restaurant in the Walt Disney Studios is very popular, particularly as it is new and Ratatouille-themed. We were a little alarmed when we arrived for our 11.30am reservation as we were ushered into a waiting room which was chock full of families waiting for their table, but it was only a matter of minutes before we were shown to our table, and I think there was only a wait because the restaurant hadn’t quite opened yet.
What we loved: The “giant” furnishings. Our chairs were champagne corks, and the tables look like giant jam jars. From some of the tables you can see people getting off the Ratatouille ride. Excellent food and a really helpful and nice waiter.
Would we go back: Absolutely. And next time I’m determined to go on the Ratatouille ride as well!
Restaurant Des Stars – This buffet restaurant located in Walt Disney Studios has a relaxed atmosphere, and lots of old photos from classic films and famous actors from back-in-the-day. The food here was truly delicious and there was a great variety.
What we loved: The ice cream and dessert bar. You can help yourself to soft-serve ice cream (think Mr. Whippy) and decorate it to your heart’s content with sweets and sprinkles. There were so many desserts and I was so stuffed from the delicious buffet…I need to go back again and this time save room for pudding!
Would we go back: In a heartbeat.
Steakhouse – We booked this place quite last minute and I wasn’t sure what to expect. It’s a sit down restaurant in the Disney Village. It was actually very good, and the portions were large! It has an airy feel inside, not too crowded and we all agreed it had a spacious feel to it with dark wood and quite high ceilings.
What we loved: Generous portions
Would we go back: Not my top choice, as I’m not a huge meat-eater, but still a very good restaurant so yes we would go again.
Parkside Diner – This 1930’s style diner is in the New York Hotel, which is just on the opposite side of the Disney Village to the parks. We really enjoyed our meal here, and as the weather was so beautiful we actually sat outside and I enjoyed a lovely cool glass of cider with my starters.
Our little one was asleep at the time so it was an extra-peaceful moment! Not much quiet time during that week in Paris so I really soaked it up. The picture below just shows the starters I ate!
What we loved: Lovely location for sitting outdoors, wonderful food (though possibly not quite as much selection as Cape Cod)
Would we go back: Without a doubt
Cape Cod – This buffet-style restaurant is in the Newport Bay Hotel, about a 15 minute walk from the parks. We booked this place quite last minute as well (just a couple days before), and didn’t get a table near the windows facing the lake, which we would have liked. But on the other hand it did mean we were closer to the buffet which was quite a seafood feast. My 4-year old even enjoyed fish soup, which is definitely a first!
What we loved: Mini pecan pie desserts. Delicious food. Lovely walk along the lake from our hotel (New York) to the Newport Bay Hotel.
Would we go back: Absolutely. Though the location is not as convenient, it’s definitely worth going if you’re staying at one of the nearby hotels.
Should I purchase a meal plan for Disneyland Paris? And how does it work?
Before going to Disneyland Paris this year, I did quite a lot of online research to work out whether we should organise a pre-paid Disney meal plan or not. This has to be booked prior to your stay, and if you book a Disney hotel you will be asked or sometimes offered a meal plan as part of a package deal or offer at the time of making your Disneyland booking.
There are 4 plans that you can choose, if you decide to go for it: Hotel, Standard, Plus and Premier. Hotel is the least expensive plan, Standard and Plus are mid-range, and Premier is the priciest option.
The Hotel plan is just that, it allows you to dine at your hotel. Which may be a perfectly good option.
The Standard plan includes all of the buffet restaurants, for example Restaurant Des Stars and Plaza Gardens.
The Plus plan includes all of the buffet restaurants and some extra ones, for example Restaurant Chez Remy.
With the Premier plan you can dine at any of the restaurants, including Inventions and Auberge de Cendrillon (assuming you can get a reservation! Did I mention yet about booking in advance?!)
When you arrive at your hotel and check in, you will be given lots of meal vouchers which state which plan you are on. If you are on half board you will get a breakfast voucher and another voucher which can be used for lunch or dinner. The vouchers are flexible so it is absolutely fine to not use a lunch/dinner voucher one day, and then use two lunch/dinner vouchers the following day. For full board you will get vouchers for all 3 meals. Then when you go to a restaurant, you produce these vouchers instead of payment. However, in practice you may need to pay a little extra if you have more drinks and so on. The vouchers do not include alcoholic drinks.
As touched upon above, each restaurant at Disneyland is in one of the 3 categories. If you have standard vouchers but wish to eat in a Plus or Premium restaurant, the voucher will have a value which will be put towards your meal at that restaurant. Unfortunately I didn’t have any luck finding out what the value would be, before going to Disney, even though I did call up and ask! But while at one of the restaurants we did enquire, as we had a Plus voucher and were interested in a Premium menu item. To our amusement our waiter checked for us in a large complicated-looking spreadsheet he had in a folder, and I’m pleased to report the amount was reasonable. But it might vary from one restaurant to another, I really can’t say.
You can find a list of all the available restaurants and use the filter to determine which category they are in, on the Disneyland Paris website:
If you’d like to check out the prices of the meal plans you can find that here:
Overall I think the Meal Plan is a great idea if you are planning to eat at many restaurants in the same category, however it may not work so well if you have a mix of restaurants in different categories as we did! However, if you can get a good offer on a hotel which includes a meal plan, it is really great to feel that food is already included and you don’t have to pay as you go.
I am not sure much money is saved as you may end up spending more than you would have on food, but you’ll be more inclined to have some dining experiences, and it does take some of the stress out of the trip! Though one thing to note is that on some meal plans, the breakfast vouchers actually have to be redeemed at a cafe in the Disneyland Park, before it stops serving at 11am. This could be a little inconvenient if you fancy a slow start to the day, or you like to eat breakfast the minute you wake up…and is just something you might want to factor in.
Another thing to mention is that a kettle is not provided in a lot of hotel rooms! There was one in our room at the Disneyland Hotel but not at Hotel New York. This was not great news for me as I really like to have a tea or coffee as soon as I am up.
And finally, they used to include an afternoon snack and drink called the “pause gourmand” with the meal plan, but this is no longer included.
Enjoy your dining experiences at Disneyland Paris! It really is a major part of the fun, for us anyway, and it’s a great way to take the weight off your feet for a little while and soak up the great atmosphere at Disneyland.
My final tip for a Disney visit, as touched upon above – it’s great to have an autograph book, the kids love collecting the signatures of characters they meet! However these can be quite expensive. We bought this book instead from amazon, before we travelled, called the Junior Encyclopedia of Animated Characters, as recommended by another blogger (whose name I’ve unfortunately forgotten, apologies!), and each character we met was able to sign it on their “own page”! My daughter really enjoyed looking up the correct page for each character to sign and it makes a lovely souvenir as it isn’t just signatures that you might never look at again, it is a proper book full of Disney character pictures and trivia. I recommend it!
We also brought along gold and silver pens for the characters to use to sign the book. I think this really adds a nice touch! Our kids loved getting their favourite characters to sign.
It was also useful to bring our own Disney dress up outfits (for the kids that is! Though adults might like to dress up too, no judgements here!) Buying a Disney princess outfit at Disneyland is eyewateringly expensive!
Here are some links to just a few of our favourite character outfits, which we have accumulated over time. My daughter brought her Belle and Rapunzel outfits. An Elsa or Anna costume and Moana seem like a must as well these days! Buzz Lightyear is a good one to have too. It looks so cute on! And a stormtrooper is a must for any little Star Wars fans. Remember though, some of these long sleeve outfits can get quite hot, so do remember to bring a light change of clothes for the day if it is warm weather!
This is the exact Elsa costume my daughter has and it is absolutely stunning!
Finally, Mickey and Minnie Mouse ears (headbands) are everywhere, so if you think you might want these, it is a good idea to get them in advance to save money.
If you haven’t seen it yet, please check out my previous post, for info on trip planning, accommodation and attractions at Disneyland Paris