Tiana’s Palace is a counter-service restaurant in Disneyland’s New Orleans Square. Tasked with replacing French Market, the restaurant debuted in September of 2023 serving Cajun and Creole dishes. Tiana’s Palace does offer a Magic Key and DVC discount. In this post, we’ll review the restaurant’s atmosphere, cuisine and value.
Replacing a legend isn’t easy and that’s the status French Market had in some Disneyland fans heads. Considering the history of the restaurant and it being a staple in New Orleans Square, one of the park’s most beloved lands, I understand the sentiment. I spent many nights outside at the French Market, lapping up jambalaya and listening to live jazz. When the anticipation for Fantasmic started growing each night, the atmosphere at the counter-service eatery was unmatched. The area was exciting and romantic.
But in the final years of French Market the restaurant was also romanticized. The food had dropped in quality while the price had gone up. Many other counter-service stops at Disneyland Resort had seen an overhaul to their menus that brought intriguing new options and French Market, the ol’ staple, staggered on while not improving.
When news came that the restaurant would be replaced by Tiana’s Palace, I was disappointed but curious about how much would actually change. We know that Disney execs can’t pass up a chance at company synergy so would the Princess & the Frog fueled name change mostly be ceremonial with a menu overhaul or would there be substantial changes to the design of the restaurant.
I’m happy to say that it’s the former. Yes, there is a good amount of sprucing up done to Tiana’s Palace but if you removed the signage, which is quite prominent on the top of the building but not elsewhere, and told someone that French Market got a makeover then they’d believe you. There are nods to Princess & the Frog here and there but the restaurant doesn’t hit you over the head with it. I appreciate that. Is there maybe a bone to pick in that they should have just kept the name the same and given the classic it’s own remodel? Sure, but that fight is over and in a few years we likely won’t think twice about this. That’s particularly true if Tiana’s Palace maintains the same high quality, both atmospheric and cuisine, that it opened with.
The entrance to the restaurant is the same, as guests will walk through the small rotunda into the buffeteria style kitchen. Mobile ordering is to the left of the entrance and has it’s own window now, a much needed change from French Market’s operating style. I would recommend going with a mobile order here for the foreseeable future, although that will result in takeout dishes instead of the actual plates and silverware. Sorry, it makes the pictures uglier in this review! There are a few different colors in this area but I still find it very pretty.
Once inside, guests are met with this updated view. The colors are more contrasting, which is a welcome change to my eyes. I still love the light fixtures throughout and the ceiling is beautiful. Guests who did not mobile order will most likely order from the right side of the line, picking out what they want as they go. On opening day they were keeping the number of people in the actual restaurant very low, with a long queue outside. It made for a nice experience when actually inside!
There were a few little details throughout but they paid homage to jazz more than they did to the restaurant’s namesake or the movie she’s in. With Disneyland having a rich history in jazz, I thought these little touches were really nicely done and, again, not over the top.
Upon exiting, guests will find the seating area which is basically all shaded thanks to the covers overhead. Honestly, this is the best touch that the restaurant has made just from a practical standpoint. Knowing that you won’t have to fight the sun while eating hot comfort food makes the experience much more enjoyable. I don’t think everyone agrees but I don’t find them intrusive to the views in New Orleans Square. I think this area is even prettier at night, invoking that romantic atmosphere that French Market did so well.
Tiana’s Palace has the best atmosphere of any Disneyland counter-service restaurant. The competition isn’t especially stiff in that regard but there’s a lot to be charmed by here!
Moving on to the food, here’s a look at the menu. Prices are somewhat steep, with entrees ranging from $15-$20. That isn’t far off the norm for most Disney Parks (or real world) restaurants now. There is a pretty strong allergy and gluten free menu including one of the restaurant’s signature dishes, the 7 Greens Gumbo, which doesn’t use the top 9 allergens.
I’ll start with the safest, but possibly best(!), entrée we tried. We have a new best sandwich at Disneyland Resort, folks! This is the Beef Po’boy Sandwich which consists of Slow-cooked Beef in Gravy dressed with Shredded Lettuce, Tomato, Pickle and Mayonnaise on a Toasted New Orleans French Bread, served with Red Beans & Rice and House-made Pickles.
The beef in this dish was rich in flavor and melted in your mouth, not drying out at all. Mix that in with mayo, the other fixins’ and bread that’s actually sourced from New Orleans and you have a winner. The French Bread really makes the sandwich, being noticeably better than any other sandwich roll I’ve had at the resort. There’s a hefty portion of meat on here, paired with filling sides making this a decent value at $15.99. I thought the Red Beans & Rice were good but not any better than the run of the mill Creole/Cajun spot. That Po’boy though!
We’ll keep the good news going with the House Gumbo. There was Okra, Braised Chicken, Andouille Sausage and Heirloom Rice inside of a dark roux that contained a fair amount of hot sauce. This is far more risky than Disney usually is with spices and I loved it. I don’t like spice just for the sake of eating hot things but I do enjoy it when the spice is a byproduct of the flavor. In this case, the spice from the roux and sausage augmented the dish to a next level. Personally, this was my favorite item we tried at Tiana’s Palace. Melissa doesn’t have much of a spice tolerance and this was way too hot for her. If you are okay with a moderate amount of spice, I’d say this is worth trying. $16.99 felt like a fair price and I’m already dreaming about getting this on a cool November night.
We also tried the Gulf Shrimp and Grits, simmered in a Creole Sauce. This also had a little bit of a kick to it, although less than the House Gumbo. The grits were very creamy and rich, making the dish the most filling of all the ones we tried. I really enjoyed the bites that contained all of the ingredients, as the sauce played really well with the grits. Disneyland (weirdly) does shrimp well for the most part and this was no exception, I really enjoyed them. My one complaint is that I wish there was a little more sauce and shrimp to go with the grits, as I liked the mix of all of them much more than just the creaminess on its own. Overall, it’s an interesting dish but not quite as delicious as the previous ones. At $17.49, this is the second most expensive entrée on the menu.
We’ll get the other entrees here soon but I was struck by the quality of the three I mentioned. All of them belong on a table-service menu and they are far more ambitious than anything that French Market was doing.
Melissa loves cornbread so we had to try the cornbread. Good news, it’s great cornbread that’s only $3.99. This could become a nice go-to snack in the future! I’m not going to wax poetic about cornbread any longer. Truth be told, I was just trying to see how many times I could type cornbread in one paragraph without it being super obvious that I was doing that. Five times.
Finally, here’s the House-filled Beignet at $4.49. These have a Lemon Ice Box Pie Filling topped with Lemon Glaze and… Well, they’re going to be divisive. I like trying something new, especially since you can get the classic Disneyland Beignets right next door. I found this little treat to be delicious for a bite and then overly sweet. It’s also not a great value.
All of these dishes are some form of good or great. I do wonder how the consistency will be once the restaurant isn’t in the spotlight. Will they continue to source bread from New Orleans after shine has worn off Tiana’s Palace? Will the House Gumbo still be ambitious with spice instead of pulling back on that and the flavor in the process. We won’t know for a few months but as for now, Tiana’s Palace is the best counter-service restaurant in Disneyland and one of the best in the whole resort.
Overall Rating – 9.5/10
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Categories: Restaurant Reviews