Last month we visited Disneyland Resort Paris (DLP) for two days. The park is celebrating its 15-year anniversary with new shows, new attractions and new decorations. Unfortunately they did not take the opportunity to improve the dining experience at the parks, which remains dismal.
Two years ago Arthur wrote about the bad food at DLP. We were dismayed to find not much had changed since our last visit. Most counter-service (fast food) restaurants continue to serve the same limp sandwiches and unappealing salads. During our first day in the park, we went to Cowboy Cookout in Adventureland for lunch. This is a barbecue place with chicken and ribs on the menu. Since we don’t eat meat anymore we split an omelette sandwich, fries and salad. The omelette sandwich was a bit strange, like an Egg McMuffin but on a hamburger bun. This would have been a lot better on a hard roll. The salad was nearly devoid of taste, consisting of lettuce, a few corn niblets, two rubbery slices of egg and two miniscule and surprisingly tasteless cherry tomatoes. The fries were okay. The bad food was only part of the problem at Cowboy Cookout as we discovered the service was also dismal.
Most fast food restaurants at DLP have a very strange set-up for ordering and picking up food. Cashiers sit at small kiosks a few yards in front of the counter and take orders. Each kiosk serves two lines, which usually ends up confusing customers who think they are next in line only to see the cashier turn away from them just as they reach the front. The system of having cashiers handle two lines in this way is really bizarre.
At Cowboy Cookout Arthur ordered by saying something like this: “One omelette sandwich, one salad, one fries, and one (short pause) cola light.” The cashier said the total and Arthur paid, but I noticed that the bill was a bit more than it should be. We looked at the receipt and saw we were charged for two drinks, so back to the cashier we went. The idea that customer is king was completely unknown to the cashier. We politely pointed out the error and he immediately told us that we ordered one cola light and one Coca Cola. Ahem, we most certainly did not. So we got our change back with a roll of the cashier’s eyes and proceeded to the counter, now holding two receipts (the original one and one showing the correction).
Anyway, after placing your order with the cashier you proceed to the counter where you hand over your receipt so your order can be fulfilled by the most incompetent fast food workers on the planet. We handed our receipts over to one of two cowboys helping the lunchtime crowd. Yes, it was nearly 12pm and there were two people preparing customer lunch orders. Our guy read our receipts for a good long moment and shouted to the kitchen: “Omelette!” And then he went to the drink machine and filled up a cola light and a regular Coke. Brilliant. He would have given them both to us too, if we didn’t point out what the receipts indicated. He also gave us our salad and fries, and we proceeded to wait for the omelette. Chicken and rib orders were being filled all around us as we patiently waited. Someone ordered a beer (it’s five o’clock somewhere) but the tap wasn’t delivering so our cowboy spend the next 10 minutes playing with it. Meanwhile we heard the cry of “omelette” coming from the kitchen – yay our food was ready! The other cowboy was still filling orders and when he was taking the receipt from the customers behind us, I tried to get his attention by looking him in the eye and saying loudly and clearly, “excuse me”. He ignored me. A minute later, after our guy finally got the tap to work, he proceeded to help the next customers! We managed to butt in and ask for our omelette, which had by then been sitting under the heat lamp for five minutes. Of course our fries were by now cold. Oh well, what do you expect for 25 euros?
The next day we had pizza for lunch at Pizzeria Bella Notte, themed after Lady and the Tramp. Cute restaurant. Sparrows flew in and out of the dining area, picking up pizza crust crumbs. We found this very cute but I can image health authorities might not feel the same way. Anyway I actually enjoyed my slice of four-cheese pizza here, but Arthur did not. I admit it did taste a bit ‘off’ but I figured one of the four cheeses was a bit older than I am used to so I tried not to think about it too much. We also got an order of garlic bread here, which was also of acceptable quality.
Besides the sandwich shops, chicken-and-ribs places and pizza parlors, there is also a Mexican restaurant called Fuente del Oro in Frontierland. Every time we visit DLP we think about eating there, to see how badly burritos can be prepared, but this restaurant never seems to be open. If you are reading this article and you have eaten at Fuente del Oro, can you let us know, is it any good?
On a very good note, there has been an improvement in the ice cream department at DLP. Ben & Jerry’s is now offered at a few locations, including Gibson Girl on Main Street in the Disneyland Park. In Arthur’s original article he suggested that DLP bring in outside providers for catering, so bringing in Ben & Jerry’s is definitely a step in the right direction. How about a Taco Bell in Frontierland, maybe a Long John Silver’s next to Pirates of the Caribbean, and a McDonald’s on Main Street?