We’re back at Disneyland for today’s Land Exit Survey talking about New Orleans Square. Opening in 1966, this land has become an iconic section of Disneyland and one we’ve talked about quite a bit on this blog. Theme parks are made up of sub-sections, generally called lands which is what New Orleans Square is. Since you’re reading a theme parks blog then I’m guessing you probably know that. Many of these lands are spectacular, some are far from it. In this series, we cover individual lands one post at a time and answer some questions about them.
While we won’t be diving incredibly deep into these lands, I’ll provide the basic information about the area and we’ll add in our overall opinions. We’ll also use these posts to talk about theme both throughout the land and within the park. All of the posts will use the same questions. Let us know in the comments if there are questions that we should add!
So far in this series we’ve covered a few lands throughout Disney Parks:
- Disney California Adventure: Grizzly Peak and Buena Vista Street
- Disneyland: Mickey’s Toontown
- Magic Kingdom: Fantasyland
- Epcot: Future World West
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Sunset Boulevard and Toy Story Land
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Asia
- Tokyo DisneySea: Mysterious Island
Now we move on to New Orleans Square, which has two of the most famous Disney attractions as well as a strong array of restaurants and shops. Let’s get to it!
What is your short(ish) review of New Orleans Square?
Andrew: New Orleans Square is so important to theme park history that it still seems like modern land making is following its lead. The land is home to some of the best attractions ever made, a few excellent restaurants and is the perfect place to sit and relax. It doesn’t get better than this.
Michaela: New Orleans Square is one of the most detailed and well created lands in the American parks. Travel instantly to a bustling Louisiana city and get lost in the marketplace before going on two incredible dark rides that heighten the journey. I would argue that basing this land off of a real life city allowed Imagineers to create something even more impressive than a land from fiction, because it’s so realistic.
What’s in the land?
- The Haunted Mansion – An all-time classic omnimover dark ride that takes guests through a spooky mansion where they’re looking for one more ghost.
- Pirates of the Caribbean – Another classic, this slow boat ride takes guests on a journey through pirate adventures.
- French Market Restaurant – A counter-service restaurant that offers jambalaya, gumbo and other New Orleans classics.
- Mint Julep Bar – A little stand in New Orleans Square that offers a non-alcoholic Mint Julep and beignets.
- Café Orleans – One of our favorite table-service restaurants in Disneyland, most of the seating is out by the river and the restaurant offers the famed Pommes Frites, Monte Cristo and Mickey Beignets.
- Royal Street Veranda – Home to a variety of soups including Gumbo and Chowder.
- Blue Bayou Restaurant – This iconic restaurant resides in Pirates of the Caribbean and has one of the best atmospheres around.
- Club 33 – Disney’s most exclusive club, the entrance fee is more than I can dream of but maybe if I win the lottery!
- The Harbour Galley – Another counter-service option near the Sailing Ship Columbia with soups and sandwiches.
- 21 Royal – An exclusive suite above Pirates of the Caribbean that is rented out at an astronomical fee.
- La Mascarade D’Orleans – A jewelry shop in the middle of New Orleans Square.
- Port Royal – A shop that is in the front of New Orleans Square and, weirdly, focuses on Nightmare Before Christmas merch.
- Le Bat en Rouge – A shop that offers unique women’s clothing.
- Mlle. Antoinette’s Parfumerie – Perfume and colognes are sold here!
- Royal Street Sweets – A kiosk offering sweet treats.
- Pieces of Eight – The Pirates of the Caribbean gift shop.
- Cristal d’Orleans – A shop where they make and sell crystal items.
- The Bootstrappers – A group of singing pirates who sing around the land.
- Jambalaya Jazz – A jazz band that plays just outside of the French Market in the evening hours.
What is New Orleans Square’s backstory and theme?
New Orleans Square is a land of weaving streets that makes guests feel like they’re in the alleys of New Orleans. It was Disney’s first take on idealized realism, where they took a real world place and then brought it to life. Much has been made of Walt’s love of New Orleans and how the city captured his attention. Making a romanticized version of that city, where guests could experience some of the culture was the goal.
New Orleans Square is brought together by those tight alleys that contrast to the wide open paths just outside of the land. There’s also plenty of music and vendors going throughout the land, making it feel more alive. We’ve talked about how jazz has played an integral role in Disneyland’s history and that is clear throughout the land. Overall, New Orleans Square is a taste of the city it’s named after all while being idealized in that classic Disneyland fashion.
What is your favorite part of the land? What’s the most memorable aspect of it?
Andrew: Oh no, I don’t know what to pick. I think the most memorable aspect of the land are the two attractions with Pirates holding the narrowest of leads. Everyone remembers the smell of the Pirates of the Caribbean water and some of the attraction’s characters have become cult classics. The same could be said for Haunted Mansion, where a number of people could recite the opening spiel in the stretching room. Like most theme parks, I think attractions are generally the most memorable part. Especially when they are as good as these two.
As for my favorite part, it’s also probably Pirates of the Caribbean. This has been my favorite attraction for many years and continues to be. Walking through those alleyways is so gorgeous though. I also love looking out over the river with a plate full of Pommes Frites from Cafe Orleans. In a park that is so packed with things to do, New Orleans Square makes that cramped area feel comfortable and relaxing.
Michaela: The entirety of this land is a masterpiece, which makes it difficult to pinpoint one portion of it as “best”. I also haven’t been fortunate enough yet to eat at Blue Bayou, which I could see becoming my favorite Disneyland restaurant after eating there. But, there has always been one part of New Orleans Square that I love more than the rest.
The Haunted Mansion is my favorite Disneyland attraction next to the Matterhorn. The ride twists the overdone “haunted house” trope into a character filled jaunt filled with spooky comedy. The elevator pre-show is so incredibly original, and to me elevates (pun intended) this dark ride over Pirates. The score is the perfect amount of repetitive and catchy, and I listen to it more than most normal people would or should. Also you should know that the Hatbox Ghost is my favorite of the 999 that inhabit the mansion.
Are there parts of New Orleans Square you don’t like?
Andrew: I don’t like those bathrooms by the New Orleans Square Train Station. They are some of the worst bathrooms in the park. That’s it, I don’t have anything to add.
Michaela: I have never used those restrooms! There’s nothing bad about this place.. I wish it was bigger?
How does the land coincide and transition with the rest of the park? Does New Orleans Square make the park better or worse?
Andrew: New Orleans Square connects to Frontierland, Adventureland and Critter Country all in some form or fashion. Somehow, all of the transitions feel organic. New Orleans Square is so small when you reach it from Frontierland and Adventureland that it doesn’t feel intrusive at all. The facade of Pirates of the Caribbean eases the transition. The same can be said for Haunted Mansion and the river heading into Critter Country, as there’s enough space that the transition just flows right into it. New Orleans Square makes Disneyland better indefinitely.
Michaela: Pirates of the Caribbean marks the transition from both Adventureland and Frontierland, which I think was an excellent choice. Pirates is located in Adventureland in Magic Kingdom, so the ride correlates so much to that land that the transition is seamless. River Belle Terrace, the restaurant before Frontierland ends and the queue to Pirates begins, has a lot of rod iron detailing that screams upscale southern as opposed to dusty cowboy, which strengthens that transition.
With the two best dark rides in the park, (in our humble opinion) there’s no way New Orleans Square doesn’t make the park better. It also sports some of the best food, with Café Orleans and other eateries that serve up unique fare.
Where would you rank the land in relation to the others in the park?
Andrew: I absolutely love Disneyland and there’s not really a land I dislike. Even the lowly Toontown is better than lands you’ll find in other parks. That said, New Orleans Square is my favorite land in the park and one of the very best theme park lands ever.
Michaela: I heartily agree with Andrew, it’s the best land in the park! Now get yourself a gumbo bread bowl and go watch Fantasmic!
What do you think of New Orleans Square? Do you like our Land Exit Surveys? Would you add anything? Let us know, along with any questions you might have, in the comments below. Interested in a trip to Disneyland Resort? Check out our Planning Guide to help you along the way! If you enjoy what you are reading here on Wandering in Disney please share this post with your friends, as well as like our social media pages. You can also subscribe to the blog via WordPress or email. All of those links are on the right side of this page. Thank you for reading, we really appreciate it!
Categories: Land Exit Survey