Is Disneyland’s Blue Bayou Restaurant Worth the Splurge?

by | Feb 6, 2024 | Disneyland, Disneyland Parks, DLR Food

With one-of-a-kind ambiance and a menu featuring exciting Southern-inspired dishes, Blue Bayou Restaurant is a special place to dine. We’re breaking down the value for the price so you know if it’s worth splurging on.

Tucked away down one of the narrow streets of Disneyland Park’s New Orleans Square is a hidden gem: Blue Bayou Restaurant. It’s more than just your average theme park restaurant –– Blue Bayou is a whole dining experience, as it’s set inside of the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, giving guests a rare chance to watch Disney magic in action while enjoying a meal.

As a storied restaurant that’s part of Disneyland’s deep history, Blue Bayou is one of the most popular dining spots in the entire resort. Reservations are tough to get, and guests clamor to join the walk-up waitlist. But there’s no denying that a meal at Blue Bayou is expensive; outside of the exclusive Club 33 and Royal 21 dining experiences, it’s home to the priciest meals in the park.

So, is Blue Bayou Restaurant really worth its high price? As someone who’s dined at Blue Bayou in each of its iterations over the years, I’m breaking down whether or not it’s a meal worth splurging on.

Dine Inside Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland

If it’s a truly special dining experience you’re searching for, it’s hard to top Blue Bayou Restaurant. Nowhere else in Disneyland can you dine inside a working attraction –– and when you walk into the dining room at this beloved restaurant, you’re stepping right into a literal bayou. 

At Blue Bayou, diners settle in on a sprawling patio that overlooks the boat launch for Pirates of the Caribbean. While eating, you’ll sit in the dark (but don’t worry, dim table lights and light-up menus make it easy to see!) as fireflies flicker over the water and the sounds of frogs and other animals that call the bayou home make music. Every so often, one of the attraction’s boats will take off and float past, providing a little entertainment with your meal.

You’ll truly feel, thanks to the immersive dining room, like you’re sitting on the back porch of a storied Southern home. If you can tear your eyes away from the trees, water, and glowing fireflies towards the interior of the restaurant, you’ll notice the other half is decorated like a traditional Southern house, with colorful shutters, columns, and more visible.

Overall, the ambiance is absolutely worth experiencing. I suggest every Disneyland fan dine at Blue Bayou Restaurant once in their life, if they can, just to have the rare experience of eating inside an attraction. Plus, no matter where you sit inside, you’ll have a cool view (many guests will argue the waterside seats are best, but it’s a cool environment from every table!). 

The Blue Bayou Menu

Blue Bayou Restaurant at Disneyland is open for lunch and dinner. The menu is the same for both seatings, so you can expect the same offerings no matter what time you score a table. 

All of the food on the menu at Blue Bayou is Southern-inspired, meaning you’ll find staples like gumbo, seafood, and plenty of Creole flavors. Here’s a look at the current food menu:

Starters

  • Blackened Shrimp
  • Chicken Gumbo
  • Brussels Sprout and Tasso Salad
  • Rosemary & Sea Salt Brioche

Entrees

  • Prime Rib
  • Creole Roasted Chicken
  • Sustainable Market Fish
  • Monte Cristo

Plant-Based Dishes

  • Escabeche
  • Creme Brulee Tart
  • Sunchoke and Pistachio Pesto Pasta

Desserts

  • Chocolate Basque Cheesecake
  • Assorted Macarons
  • Petite Sundae

Kids’ Create-Your-Own Entrees

  • Roasted Chicken
  • Whole-Grain Pasta
  • Sauteed Shrimp
  • Prime Rib

There’s just one critically important change between lunch and dinner at Blue Bayou that you’ll want to note: The beloved Monte Cristo sandwich is only available at lunch. During dinner service, it’s replaced with Deviled Crab-Crusted Filet Mignon. 

A recent addition to the Blue Bayou menu is a whole slate of alcoholic beverages. When the restaurant reopened after the COVID-19 pandemic in May 2021, adults aged 21 and over were finally able to enjoy a cocktail, glass of wine, or beer with their meal. Today, you’ll find a selection of wines by the glass, two draft beer choices, and three signature cocktails (including a New Orleans-inspired Hurricane). Of course, if you’re sticking with mocktails –– or have kids in your party –– there’s also a sizable selection of non-alcoholic beverages, too. 

Interior of Blue Bayou Restaurant at Disneyland

Photo by Ernie Carr

High Prices, Decent Portion Sizes

The food at Blue Bayou is pretty solid. It’s not the best food you’ll find at Disneyland Park, and it’s not always the most flavorful. However, the portion sizes aren’t too bad; for the price, they may be a bit small for guests with larger appetites, but I always find that my appetite is very satisfied after enjoying an entree alone. 

If you’re hoping for plenty of flavor and spice, you’ll want to opt for one of the more Southern-inspired options on the menu, like the Chicken Gumbo or Creole Roasted Chicken. And you really can’t go wrong with the famed Monte Cristo, which is super satisfying and highly filling.

However, if you’re hoping to have starters, drinks, and an entree for everyone in your party, the costs add up fast. And over the years, I’ve noticed the quality of the food at Blue Bayou can change dramatically. Some meals are fantastic; others are lacking in flavor and even food temperature.

Additionally, it’s worth noting that like many of the restaurants at Disneyland, Blue Bayou has seen some noticeable changes since reopening post-pandemic. The portions have gotten slightly smaller, and so too has the menu. Former favorite dishes have disappeared –– which keeps the menu fresh, but may disappoint those who aren’t looking for steak or seafood. While I still think it makes for a satisfying meal, the price point doesn’t really offer the best value or the most bang for your buck.

Is Blue Bayou Restaurant Worth It?

Should you spend your hard-earned dollars on a meal at Blue Bayou Restaurant? It really depends on what kind of dining experience you’re hoping for.

In my opinion, the high price of dining at Blue Bayou isn’t really about the food –– it’s about the environment. You’re paying a premium to eat your meal inside Pirates of the Caribbean. So, if you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind dining experience, the cost is definitely worth the splurge.

If your ultimate goal is to have an amazing meal, you’ll want to dine elsewhere. I believe other Disneyland restaurants offer better bang for your buck, especially when it comes to food quality and portion sizes. For example, over at Disney California Adventure Park, you can dine at Lamplight Lounge (or even Lamplight Lounge’s outdoor Boardwalk Dining area) at a similar price point, but with a more extensive menu and larger portion sizes. 

Is Blue Bayou Restaurant a Good Choice for Families with Kids?

With its high prices and adult-leaning menu, you might wonder whether it’s worth taking kids for a meal at Blue Bayou. As the mom of a little one, I’d recommend skipping it until your kids are of an age where they can both fully enjoy the atmosphere and the food.

You won’t find staples like chicken tenders or mac and cheese on the menu at Blue Bayou, which makes it a tricky fit for picky eaters. If your kids aren’t into shrimp or roasted chicken (or prime rib, a decidedly kid-unfriendly choice!), they won’t find much on the menu to eat… and that can leave you with some hangry guests in your party.

Plus, while every restaurant at Disneyland is kid-friendly, this is one that can be challenging for little ones. It’s dark inside, there’s not much to see unless they can peer over the railings and look at the water below, and it is slightly fancier than your average theme park restaurant. Additionally, in my experience, because it’s a bit cramped in the dining area, it can be tough to contain and entertain little ones who like to stay busy. 

Is Blue Bayou Restaurant a Good Choice for Adults?

If you’re looking to splurge on a nice dinner at Disneyland that offers unique ambiance, Blue Bayou Restaurant is a fantastic choice. I love nabbing a reservation here for a Disneyland date night (or late lunch) with my husband, ordering a glass of sparkling wine, and relaxing in the air-conditioned dining room by the “shores” of Pirates of the Caribbean. It’s a spot where you can treat yourself to a good meal, especially if you’re a fan of seafood or steak.

Plus, I personally like the plant-based options on the menu here! While I long for the jambalaya that used to be on the menu, the new updates have been solid ones. 

However, if you’re looking for value above all else –– and the best food in the theme park –– you’ll want to head somewhere else. I’d recommend Blue Bayou as a “treat yourself” stop now and again, but definitely not as a splurge you’ll want to make often. 

For more Disneyland dining tips and recommendations, keep reading:

Dining at Disneyland Park: A Complete Food Guide

The Best Quick-Service Restaurants at Disneyland

Posts by Heather Adams

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Heather is a lifelong Disney fan who grew up at Disneyland and loves spending as much time as possible in the parks. As WDW Magazine’s Content Operations Manager, Heather is a content creator and strategist with experience at a wide variety of different outlets. She’s written for publications including Clean Eating Magazine, Fatherly, The Drive, Task and Purpose, Healthversed, Nation.com, and Car Bibles. Heather also authored the book Fidget!: 101 Ways to Boost Your Creativity and Decrease Stress.
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Authored by
Heather Adams

Heather is a lifelong Disney fan who grew up at Disneyland and loves spending as much time as possible in the parks. As WDW Magazine’s Content Operations Manager, Heather is a content creator and strategist with experience at a wide variety of different outlets. She’s written for publications including Clean Eating Magazine, Fatherly, The Drive, Task and Purpose, Healthversed, Nation.com, and Car Bibles. Heather also authored the book Fidget!: 101 Ways to Boost Your Creativity and Decrease Stress.
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