It took one week of living in London to realize just how close I was to Disneyland Paris. If there ever was a perfect time to go, now was it. Looking at my school schedule, I saw I had a break over Halloween weekend. I contacted my friend who is studying in Cardiff and before we knew it, we were on our way.
Halloween isn't such a big thing in France as it is in America, so their Mickey's Halloween Party was only on Halloween night. That was our first night in Disneyland Paris. We took the Eurostar train from St. Pancras International to Chessy, France- directly to Disneyland Paris. The park is located about a half an hour train trip east of Paris and it is in its own circle surrounded by hotels. No really, if you look at a map, Disneyland Paris is in a circle.
We arrived a few hours to early to check into our hotel, which was just enough time to wander the Disney Village. The Disney Village is their Downtown Disney, with many of the same shops and restaurants.
Once at our hotel, we rested a bit before changing into our costumes. Kira borrowed my Wendy Darling costume and I dawned my recently completed Colette Tatou costume (from Ratatouille). Then we were off!
After a stumble at the ticket booths that held us up a good hour, we went and got our wristbands at Disneyland then high tailed it over to the Walt Disney Studios park to head to the Ratatouille area.
Earlier this year, Disneyland Paris opened a Ratatouille area, which included a ride and a restaurant. The area looks like the square right out front of Gusteau's, with little rat touches here and there.
The ride shrinks you down to the size of a rat and it involves 3D as well as scents. I rather enjoyed the browning butter scent; after all, the top three ingredients in French cooking are butter, butter, and butter.
The restaurant is directly from the end of the Pixar film, Remy's restaurant: Chez Remy. It looks like the area where the rats ate, with large corks to sit on and large fairy lights to set the mood.
I desperately wanted to eat here. It was the number one thing I wanted to go to Disneyland Paris for. It is hard to put into words just how important I felt it was for me to dine here. I clearly love Disney, but especially Pixar. So much so, that my dream job is to work as a pastry chef at the Pixar Campus. Ratatouille is also all about loving food in many different shapes and sizes. From a rat to a top food critic to an angry French, female chef- so many people love food and this film epitomizes that. I love food. I love Ratatouille. I had to eat here.
I tried to call and make reservations, but it didn't work. I tried to have our hotel call and make reservations, that didn't work. Once in the park, we power walked to the restaurant. They were booked that night, so we made reservations for 6:30 pm the next night. The hostess printed out the reservation ticket, it glowed and there was a choir singing- or that might have been all in my head- as she placed it in my hand. I carefully put the ticket in my pocket and we went off to enjoy our night.
We were in Disneyland's Fantasyland when we declared that we needed dinner. Looking on the map, I picked Toad Hall Restaurant, as it peaked my interest. I love the Wind in the Willows, and was happy to eat here.
This restaurant is the Mr. Toad equivalent of Village Haus, except their food of choice is fish and chips rather than burgers.
I had chips, salad, and hot tea.
It was here, we quickly realized that this Disneyland still lived on the theme park food traditions. The chips were sad even for theme park standards. Bland, boring, and just bad. The salad was a pre-packaged salad from somewhere not in the park. The tea was good though.
To make up for the food disappointments, we spent the rest of the evening enjoying all of the rides and entertainment. The Disney Dreams fireworks show, despite it being half in English half in French, was amazing. All the appropriate characters sung in French such as Lumiere singing 'Be Our Guest' and Quasimodo singing 'Out There'. And they had Genie's part in English, which meant Robin William's voice (always).
So the food at Toad Hall Restaurant leaves much to be desire, especially considering it is Disneyland and France. We'll just have to wait and see what other restaurants await our taste buds the next day.
From a costumed perspective, read here!
From a Halloween perspective: coming soon!