One of Dinseylands most popular restaurants is the heavily themed Blue Bayou Restaurant. Situated inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride this stunning deep-south restraint offers a perpetual twilight dining experience really like no other and has become a Disneyland institution and a must-do whenever visiting the Park.
The Blue Bayou is however incredibly difficult to get reservations for and its menu prices are pretty eye-watering. So is the Restaraunt worth your time, effort, and money, especially when a lot of the menu items are available elsewhere? We took a look at the Restaurant on our recent trip to see if the old classic still holds its charm in the modern age. Take a trip to the Blue Bayou with us in our Blue Bayou Disneyland Review
What Is the Blue Bayou Restaurant?
If you have ever ridden Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland California, you will have noticed the opening section of the ride is a present boat ride through the Southern Bayou on a beautiful star-studded evening. Fireflies dance, frogs croak and the Crickets Chirp as you sail pleasantly along the river. At one point, just before the ride takes a turn for the macabre, you pass a really quaint little Southern Creole Restaurant, with patrons happily dining on the moonlit veranda.
This is the Blue Bayou restaurant and is one of the only places we can think of where you can actually dine inside a ride, on a perpetual summer’s evening in the deep south. It really is a wonderful concept and one you will remember for a long time.
The Cusine is based around the Deep South Creole Style of cooking, although pretty loosely based, and offers warming comfort food with an upmarket take. It’s not the best food in the park, but combined with the incredible ambiance, and totally unique experience is really is one of our favorite spots to eat.
Disneyland Park Ticket and Reservation Required
Before going too far, we should mention that the Restaurant is inside Disneyland Park and as such you are going to need a Ticket and A Park reservation for the day you wish to Dine. This may sound fairly obvious, but it’s worth a mention.
A Park Hopper Ticket with DCA as your first park is fine, as long as your reservation is after the earliest time you can hop. Basically, you need to be able to get into the park, so you have to make sure you can jump through all the necessary ticketing hoops to achieve that.
You are going to want a reservation as well. Getting a Reservation to Blue Bayou is notoriously difficult, which we touch on more later, and if you don’t bag a reservation then the chances of getting in on the day are fairly slim.
Blue Bayou Dining Experience
The initial experience is anything but fun. We arrived and after initial skepticism that we actually had a booking, the host eventually found are booking and welcomed us inside. However, not inside the restaurant merely to a holding pen (They would probably call it a lobby), along with all the other guests “lucky” enough to get past the enforcement.
Here despite arriving perfectly on time for our booking we were left in the Foyer, waiting for our turn. One by one, the groups were led off as we tried to remember if each group had arrived before us or not. The only entertainment provided was watching other guests arrive without reservations, and get cordially turned away. This happened a lot and showed why we had been greeted with a little skepticism!
Eventually, it was our turn and we were led down to the restaurant and the whole experience turned on its head.
We really love the ambiance of the Blue Bayou Restaurant. From the moment you walk in you are transported to a summer evening down by the Mississippi. As you step out onto the Restaurant Veranda, time spins backward as you are transported to a different Era. The White Washed French Colonial decor of the building, give backing to the scene, with the long-reaching branches of a Southern Oak tree, laden with Spanish Moss, providing the perfect location to suspend the lanterns, offering a warm low light from which to dine. As you approach the rail, the Dark-wet Swampland glows an eerie blue, as the stars twinkle overhead.
We were seated by the rail and had fantastic views out over the Bayou, and most importantly the Boats sailing by on their way to the Caribbean to see the Pirates. It’s great fun interacting with the excited riders as they float by the restaurant.
The atmosphere is calm and relaxed and it feels great to escape the Disney Madness and just relax in a wonderful setting, with a nice drink and some good food, which we will get onto next.
Blue Bayou Menu
The Menu is based on Southern Creole cuisine. A style that exudes warm homely flavors and dishes. The Blue Bayou interpretation is a little more sanitized and any real Creale aficionado would hold their heads in their hands at Disney’s attempt at southern cooking.
It’s not that the menu or the cooking is bad, it’s just not proper Creole, instead catering to a wider and more diverse audience. Disney would probably claim it’s because it’s trying to be more market, but you can be authentic and upmarket with Creole, this just isn’t it. We don’t even feel it is that upmarket in the food, just expensive.
Keeping things cheap, splitting a starter and dessert, a single drink, and choosing a moderately priced Entree each a table for two can expect a bill of $110 + Tax and Tip, and that can take an upward turn VERY easily. At least the Kid’s meals are pretty cheap.
Chicken Gumbo – $8.00
Tasso Ham, Andouille Sausage and Peppers with Steamed Rice
Winter Salad – $14.00
Blue Cheese, Grapes and crispy Quinoa with Cranberry Vinaigrette
Scallops a la Plancha – $18.00
Tasso Ham Cassoulet, crispy Corn, Pork Cracklings and Romesco Sauce
Hearts of Palm Escabèche – $14.00
Olives, Peppers, Citrus Fruit and Artichoke Hearts with Vinaigrette – Plant Based
With the high prices here, we tend to try and keep the costs down. Chicken Gumbo is basically a personification of Creole, so this is always our go-to, it’s a good portion so we happily split a portion between two. The Gumbo is a bit processed but it has great flavor and warms the palate nicely.
Entrées – Dinner
Oscar-style Rib Eye – $56.00
Crab Cake, Brown Butter Béarnaise and Asparagus
Creole Roasted Chicken (Jambalaya) – $36.00
Andouille Sausage, Roasted Shrimp, Creole Rice, and Creole Sauce
Filet Mignon – $52.00
Heirloom Carrots, Gruyère & Pepper Mashed Potatoes and Red Wine Reduction
Sustainable Market Fish – $40.00
Citrus Pigeon Peas, Bloomsdale Spinach and Garlic Fried Rice with Charred Pineapple-Serrano Vinaigrette
Roasted Mushroom Ragù – $28.00
Trofie Pasta, Spinach and Charred Tomatoes with Fave Bean-Pistachio Pesto – Plant Based
There is some Troubling News about the Blue Bayou Menu, this Iconic Restaurant has done the unthinkable and actually Changed its menu! This has upset a lot of die-hards who proclaim this is practically blasphemy.
The Iconic dish here was always the Jambalaya, which seems to have had a Re-Brand to “Creole Roasted Chicken” which has upset a few people, but it seems like it’s just the same. Chunky Sausage, Plump Shrimp, Grilled Chicken, and Spicy Creole Rice.
The more upsetting loss is the Monte Cristo, it still shows up on the Lunch Menu, but is no longer a Dinner option. To be honest it always felt like a lunch item more than a dinner, despite its voluminous size! This is still available outside at the Cafe Orleans Restaurant.
The New Item is the Oscar Style Ribeye, a Chunky Steak topped with tasty Crab cakes and Asapagas, sounds like it might finally get us away from the Fillet Mignon which is always well cooked, nice, and rare, with a so-so selection of Veggies.
There are some new Plant-Based options appearing on the menu, and we like that these sound pretty inspired rather than Token Items. The Roasted Mushroom Ragu sounds particularly tasty, and far from the traditional “Veggie Option”
Disney100 Celebration Cake – $12.00
Pecan Brownie, Chocolate Truffle Mousse, Red Berries, Milk Chocolate Mousse glazed with Chocolate Ganache, topped with a Star
Basque Cheesecake – $12.00
Citrus Fruits and Sorbet
Petite Sundae – $8.00
Chocolate Pieces and Chocolate Syrup
Assorted Sorbet – $8.00
Assorted Macarons – $16.00
Crème Brûlée – $10.00
Palmier and Macerated Berries – Plant Based
The Basque Cheesecake is pretty awesome, but in all honesty, there was only one dessert worth ordering at the Blue Bayou, not because the others were bad, but just because the star attraction was so awesome! The Chocolate Hazelnut 8-Layer Cake. This has now GONE! to be replaced by the Disney100 Celebration Cake. Which in all honesty sounds EVEN better, We are definitely trying this on our next visit!
Kids’ Create-Your-Own Entrées (choose one)
For $10-$13 Kids can choose their own Main and Two sides to make up whatever Entree they like. This is really good value and offers a lot of choices for fussy eaters. Choose from Roasted Chicken($10), Sauteed Shrimp($12), Wholewheat Pasta ($10), or a Petite Fillet Steak ($13), and then add two of the following, Market Vegetables, Steamed Rice, Seasonal Fruit, Gruyere & Pepper Mashed Potatoes (Cheesy Mash).
Blue Bayou Now Serving Alcohol!
For the first time in its history, Alcohol was served in Disneyland when Oga’s Catina Opened in 2019. With the final Taboo broken, alcoholic beverages were rolled out across the park…well, not quite, just one more outlet, the Blue Bayou.
They have also not gone over the top. There are a few Wines, a couple of beers, and a signature cocktail on offer.
Wine is at the heart of the Blue Bayou Offering. There is a large selection of wines and all of them are really good. The Selection comes from North California Wine Country and there are samplings from Napa, Sonoma, and others, with a couple of old-world selections as well.
The wines can be purchased as a 5oz serving or a 3oz sample tasting. It’s a shame they do not offer bottle service, but hey, you can actually buy wine in Disneyland! The Wine selection changes often so we won’t list them here, but you can be assured of some really excellent and well-thought-out choices, and we love the focus on NoCal Wine Country Selections.
The Beer choices are minimal, they are more of a Token offering for those who won’t drink wine. There was an Amer Larger from L.A. and a Hazy IPA from San Diego when we visited.
Bacardi Reserva Ocho Rum, Myer’s Original Dark Rum, Simply Orange Juice, Passion Fruit Puree, Grenadine and Lime Juice, Luxardo Maraschino Cherry and Orange garnish
While there is only one cocktail on the menu it’s a really good one. Straight out of New Orleans this large Fruity Cocktail is laced with two kinds of rum, and filled with zesty fruit flavors. It’s still a Pre-Mix, but it’s one of the better Disneyland Cocktail offerings.
There are a selection of Non Alcoholic drinks too, but really, at the Blue Bayou, the only drink we need is the Mint Julep. This iconic drink is refreshing and tangy and absolutely hits the spot. You can order it in a Souvineer Hammered Mug for $18.25 which is one of the better value Sounver mugs available and actually one of our favorites. Yes, we wish they would offer this with a little rum in too, but you can’t have everything apparently.
The Louisiana Lemonade is pretty good too and you can get fountain drinks, tea, coffee, and even hot chocolate, which sounds strange, but in the perpetual twilight offered here, it actually feels nice to grab a nightcap.
The Blue Bayou does not offer the best food in the world, nor even the resort, but it’s of suitable high quality that the high price is not too hard to take. If you stick to the classics, the Jambalaya and Monte Cristo (Lunch), then you can get a really good meal for a fairly acceptable check, would the food stand up to these prices in a different setting, probably not, but the setting is what makes it.
The Setting here is just so iconic, charming, and unique. It really feels incredibly special. Disney is the king of immersion, but the Blu Bayu is probably one of the most immersive locations Disney has ever come up with. It’s not as in-your-face immersive, such as Rise Of the Resistance, but it is totally convincing. You really do feel transported to a wonderous starlight evening in the deep south. This is most noticeable at lunch. As you leave the restaurant, tired, satiated, and ready for bed, you are suddenly jolted back into the real world and the harsh Los Angeles Sun, and the bustling Theme Park you really forgot you were visiting.
It really is an experience like no other and all part of Walt’s Vision of the happiest place on earth. A vision of the past, of quainter more relaxing times, where you sit out under the stars, listening to crickets as frogs, watching the stars and boatloads of tourists drift by to their doom…
If you are planning just one, big, splurge meal, then this is the one you should go for.
For Foosies however, you may be disappointed. This is a Dining experience, first and foremost, the food is definitely secondary, you can eat a lot better for less, even in the parks, and with the high price of the menu, those looking for the food to back those prices up will be disappointed. The Food is not bad, it’s just overpriced with the extra going towards the stunning setting and unique experience.
Getting Blue Bayou Disneyland Reservations
We hope you gauged from our article, despite its faults the Blue Bayou is a fantastic experience and one we recommend to everyone. Unfortunately, we are not alone in recommending t and with 50,000+ people a day heading into the park, not everyone is going to be able to enjoy the Bayou. Reservations are notoriously hard to get.
We have our full guide to getting into hard-to-book Disneyland Restaurants here, but let’s take a brief look here.
The best way to guarantee your space is to book early. And by early we mean as early as humanly possible, which is 60 days before your visit. Literally, to the SECOND!
You need to be logged into your My Disneyland account, with a payment method ready, for the very moment the Clock ticks over and the Reservations are available. This happens at 6:00 am Pacific Time 60 days before the day you want to book. Within 10-20 seconds, the reservations will be gone. You need to act fast, swiftly, and decisively. No what you want and book it straight away.
Miss this, and your options diminish drastically. And honestly, we are not exaggerating in the manicness of this brief window, blink, and they are gone!
We strongly suggest practicing a few days beforehand to find the best way of snagging a booking.
If you fail to secure a reservation in the window then all is not lost. Things are against you, but there is still hope. Disney Charges $10 per person for any missed reservations. You need to put in a credit card to secure your slot and if you miss it you will get charged. This helps ensure, people, turn up for bookings and cancel if their plans change and they can’t make it.
When someone cancels, the reservation is thrown back into the mix for people to book. However, there is no warning or alert. You need to just keep checking to see. There are several alert services you can sign up for that will send you a message when a slot becomes free. Unfortaunley this just makes more people aware of when slots become available and you once again get seconds to respond and snag that spot. More details are here.
The Day Before
As we said, Disney Charges you if you fail to cancel and do not show up and there is a cut-off date for cancellations, which is 2 hours before your reservation. This means the day before your planned time is the most frequent time for slots to pop up. The last few days before you need to really intensify your search efforts in the hope something pops up just as you were checking. It’s not a good chance, but it’s a chance.
Mobile Dine Walk-up Availability
Finally, if all else fails there is the new Mobile Dine Walk-up Availability System. This has largely replaced Walk-Ups, at least in the old-fashioned way of doing it. The new system is all digital and accessed through the My Disneyland App. Simply check the App and if there is availability a list will be accessible from the App, stating the return times available.
Simply sign up for your preferred time on the app and then head over when at the required time. It’s all a little complicated and clunky, and is far from guaranteed but this is your almost last chance of getting in.
Should there be no mention of the Walk-Up list on the restaurant’s app section, then it is not currently open, check back again later as the availability is based on immediate time slots, not availability later on.
The final throw of the dice is to go up and ask. This is not your best chance. 99.9% of the time you will be politely told there is no availability. But if there is a sudden lull then they may squeeze you in, especially late on or during a show. As we said it’s very unlikely but if you are desperate and all else has failed it’s always worth asking, and remember to be super polite, they after all hole all the cards and are unlikely to do favors to people who are rude!
If you didn’t get in there are a few alternatives, but these are largely based on similar food styles. The actual dining experience is irreplaceable.
Cafe Orleans offers a similar style Creole Menu, some might argue it’s even better as it forgoes the fanciness and just offers simple southern cooking. There is a bit of a re-theming going on in the area so this will really be the only option until the new Princess Tiana Restaurant opens up. If you want to grab a Mint Julep or Mickey Beingts, the Mint Julep Bar is currently closed but you can get the items at the Royal Street Veranda for the time being.
Have Your Say
Have you visited the Blue Bayou Restaurant before? What did you make of the experience? How was the food and what did you order? How was the ambiance? Did you try any of the wine selections? Let us know in the comments below and if you have any questions we would love to hear from you.