Blue Bayou is a table-service restaurant in Disneyland’s New Orleans Square. Otherwise known as the “Pirates of the Caribbean restaurant”, Blue Bayou sits right beside the iconic attraction under the dark blue (fake) New Orleans sky. The restaurant does offer a Magic Key (annual pass) and DVC discount. In this post, we’ll review Blue Bayou’s atmosphere, cuisine and value.
We hadn’t been to Blue Bayou in many years, previously coming away a bit frustrated with the prices compared to the quality of food when we went in the past. On top of that, Napa Rose and Carthay Circle have both been outstanding in each experience we’ve had there so those have become our restaurants of choice when we want to splurge. Considering the positive changes to dining at Disneyland Resort in the last few years, it was well past time to get back to Blue Bayou and try the options.
What better spot is there to give multiple chances to than this particular restaurant? Blue Bayou is a Disneyland rite of passage just based on the restaurant’s atmosphere alone. Sitting alongside one of the best theme park attractions ever created will do that!
As far as theme park restaurants go, very few match Blue Bayou. Walt Disney World has plenty of beautiful restaurants but none match the theme plus beauty of this Disneyland gem, it’s usually one or the other there. Tokyo DisneySea has the wonderful Magellan’s which is beautiful in its own right and has incredible backstory sewn into the restaurant’s walls. Even then, I’m not sure it can match the atmosphere in Blue Bayou.
Guests check in to the restaurant right outside of Pirates of the Caribbean exit and wait in a pretty, albeit somewhat cramped, lobby before getting into the restaurant. Speaking of getting in to Blue Bayou, grabbing a reservation a couple of months ahead of the date is possible and the least stressful way to go. If you aren’t able to secure one of those prized slots, then there might be walkup availability on the day of. Checking through the Disneyland app is the best way to go there.
Once inside, diners are transported to the Bayou and sitting under the dark blue sky. Boats pass by frequently, lights are hanging overhead and there’s even the smell of that ‘dirty’ Pirates water wafting in the air. I guess that last one wouldn’t be a highlight for some but if you know, you know. The one knock on the atmosphere would be that the tables are a bit cramped, making the experience less immersive if you’re not sitting near the water. Even without the water, this would still be the best themed restaurant in Disneyland but the meal is exponentially better the closer you are to the boats passing by.
That’s a lot of praise for the atmosphere but can the food, and hefty price tag, measure up? Here’s a look at the menu! The lunch and dinner menu are largely the same, just with the Monte Cristo swapped out for a Filet at dinner. If you want the cheaper option then going for lunch is a better choice. The price range is pretty drastic and the menu does change every once in a while.
We started with the Chicken Gumbo ($9) which also includes Tasso Ham, Andouille Sausage and Peppers with Steamed Rice. The roux in this was quite thick but also delicious, having a decent amount of spice but not an extreme amount. I thought the Chicken was tender and flavorful but the rest wasn’t anything to write home about. Overall, the portion size was very small for the price but it was good. The biggest problem is that I like the gumbo at the recently opened Tiana’s Palace more.
Moving to the entrees, above is the Creole Roasted Chicken ($38). This dish is made up of Andouille Sausage, Roasted Shrimp, Creole Rice and Creole Sauce to go along with the Roasted Chicken. Like the Gumbo, the Chicken was a highlight of the dish. There was a good amount of seasoning on it, adding a little heat but toeing the line between being too powerful in that department and also not being overly salty. Likewise, the Shrimp was really good – plump and juicy with a bit of the same seasoning but not as much as the Chicken.
I thought the Creole Rice was also pretty good and the dish was very reminiscent of a Jambalaya. Where it fell apart a bit with me was the Creole Sauce. I thought this came off as strictly Tomato Sauce and there was too much of it on the dish. Granted, most Creole Sauces are very close to tomato but this one just didn’t blend as well with the rest of the dish. At $38, you’re definitely paying for the dish and the atmosphere but it was a strong option.
We also tried the Sustainable Market Fish ($40), which on this day was Ahi. While the fish might change from day to day, it looks like it is served with the same accompaniments – Pigeon Peas & Wilted Greens Rice, Peanut Habanero, Herb Salad and Coconut Lime Beurre Blanc. This was the best dish of the meal as the Ahi was perfectly seared and, again, wonderfully seasoned. The Coconut Lime Beurre Blanc had a nice freshness to it, making the fish and rice pop a little bit more. Being only a couple dollars more than the Creole Roasted Chicken, I would choose this option.
As a whole, I thought the food was an improvement over previous times at Blue Bayou. The cost is still quite high and I do think there is better food throughout the resort but Blue Bayou has closed the gap on the other top restaurants. Whether you should try the restaurant is a matter of priorities. If it’s in the budget, then trying the restaurant once is well worth it for everyone just because of the iconic location. You will be able to find better food throughout the parks and hotels, but the experience is one of the best at Disneyland.
Overall Rating – 8.5/10
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Categories: Restaurant Reviews