Disneyland’s Blue Bayou – Walk-Up Dining Review

On Sunday, June 5, I had the opportunity to return to the Blue Bayou in Disneyland’s New Orleans Square by using the walk-up list. As reported by DAPS MAGIC, Friday, June 3 was the first day the restaurant reopened to guests after being closed during a majority of the current Pirates of the Caribbean refurbishment. Because Pirates is still wrapping up its finishing touches through the end of the month (it is scheduled to reopen on July 1, 2022), the only way to experience the Blue Bayou at this time is by joining the walk-up list. Guests may do this by using the Disneyland app or by speaking with a Cast Member in person at the restaurant.

Because of its enigmatic setting within the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, as well as its popularity as a venue to mark special occasions, the Blue Bayou is generally one of the hardest dining reservations to secure across the Disneyland Resort. The chance to eat at this hallmark locale with only limited preparation is a rare one, but it does come with a key trade-off during this mid-refurbishment period. The signature view of the Bayou with its boats serenely gliding by has been replaced with a construction wall (granted, as lovely a wall as such a thing can be). While your mileage may vary on whether this is a deal-breaker for you and your party, I can say that the experience still felt special to me, and is worth your consideration.

The Menu

Since its opening in 1967, the Blue Bayou has been known for its quintessentially New Orleans fare with an elevated twist. This is still true today, although guests will notice a slightly updated and simplified menu (see the full menu here). For at least the time being, both lunch and dinner offer the same meal options for starters, entrees, and desserts, as opposed to the standard separate lunch and dinner menus. Some notable items held over from the past are the Chicken Gumbo and Blue Bayou Salad starters, the signature Monte Cristo sandwich paired with a seasonal salad, and the delectable Vanilla-Bourbon Crème Brûlée dessert. New items include the Heirloom Tomato & Watermelon Salad and the Hearts of Palm Escabèche starters, as well as the plant-based Fava Bean & Pistachio Pesto Pasta. Chicken Jambalaya, Sustainable Market Fish and Filet Mignon round out the entrée options. Prices for starters range from $7-$14, from $28-$52 for entrées, and from $9-$10 for desserts. New as of 2021, the Blue Bayou is one of the few locations in Disneyland Park to offer adult beverages. A selection of wines, beers, and a Hurricane cocktail join the traditional non-alcoholic Mint Julep, specialty lemonades, and sodas as fitting pairings for the cuisine. Magic Key discounts do apply to food and non-alcoholic beverages.

A secondary version of the same menu is also available as a prix fixe dining package for those who wish to view Fantasmic! from a prime reserved location later the same evening. For the flat rate of $89 for adults, diners may select a starter, an entrée and a package-specific dessert. The kids’ version of the dining package is $35 and includes a create-your-own meal featuring a starter, an entrée, two sides, a dessert, and either a small milk or bottled water. Guests choosing the dining package should ask their server before ordering, as the amount of show tickets available each day is limited. Diners may select either the first or second showing of Fantasmic!, contingent on availability.

My Experience

The Blue Bayou is one of my favorite dining experiences at the Disneyland Resort, although my visits there tend to be more as a special treat than a routine. I was excited to try out the walk-up system to see how challenging it would be to get a table at short notice. My test began around 4pm, just in time for the restaurant to switch over to dinner, but still early enough to miss the rush. I opened the Disneyland app as soon as I entered the park and navigated straight to the Blue Bayou restaurant page. From there, I selected the ‘Join Walk-Up List’ option. Thankfully, space was available, and the wait was estimated at just 15 minutes. This proved to be better than predicted, however, because I received the return text message even before I made it to New Orleans Square from Main Street, U.S.A.

When I arrived, there were few guests in the waiting room. I was seated promptly at what would have been a waterside table had that been a thing right now. My immediate impression was that while the construction wall did make the space feel somewhat claustrophobic at first, that sensation soon faded. Even being seated directly next to it did not dampen my experience. Instead, I found my attention being drawn to the elements of the space I often overlook when focusing on the Bayou—the details of the stately mansion setting with its wisteria-lined walls and the romantic glow of lanterns overhead. Even the music and sound effects helped to enrich the environment. On a previous visit, the DAPS MAGIC team was disappointed to hear generic jazz music that didn’t fit the theme. This time, I was pleased to notice the strains of authentic New Orleans jazz and gospel, which when combined with the low croak of bullfrogs and the hum of crickets made me nostalgic for my time in the Big Easy.

Having been away from the Blue Bayou for almost a year, I felt compelled to order the classic Monte Cristo sandwich ($29). I paired it with a Hurricane cocktail ($16) for a little extra zip. My drink came to the table quickly, and was a welcome, cooling, delightful refreshment on a warm day. The authentic passion fruit, orange, and rum flavors were all present and balanced. The sweetness of the drink made it one that could be dangerous if sipped too quickly, though. My sandwich arrived without delay as well, and it lived up to the legendary reputation the Disneyland Monte Cristo carries. This version came in three generous sections, piled high with turkey, ham, and swiss cheese and dusted lightly with powdered sugar. The fried coating was decadently crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Two dipping sauces enhanced the sandwich’s sweet/savory combination—strawberry preserves and a custard-like vanilla anglaise. My preference was to add both the strawberry and vanilla together to bring out the smoky flavor of the meat. Balancing out the meal was a modest field green salad topped with a flavorful herbed vinaigrette and halved strawberries. I appreciated the contrast of the light salad with the rather heavy, decadent sandwich. I prefer this combination to the Monte Cristo served with pommes frites that are available at neighboring Café Orleans.

Overall, I wholeheartedly recommend trying out the Blue Bayou during this transition time. I believe that the current trade-off of easier access for a modified ambiance is a fair one. The only thing I left regretting is that I couldn’t ride Pirates of the Caribbean after my meal, something that has become a post-Blue Bayou tradition. Only the calming whisper of the boats going by, the lapping of the water, and the faint glow of fireflies could have made my experience better, and at least in my mind, that’s saying a lot.

Have you ever eaten at the Blue Bayou? What looks most enticing on the updated menu? What do you think about the walk-up system? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!

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