*This gluten free dining experience took place in October 2017.
Dinner at Blue Bayou
Blue Bayou, located in New Orleans Square at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, has been a restaurant I’ve always wanted to go to — just for the theming alone. How often can you say you’ve dined inside an attraction like Pirates of the Caribbean?! On a recent trip to Disneyland, we made sure that Blue Bayou was added to our dining reservations during our short stay there. We also decided to book using the Fantasmic Dining Package, since we knew we wanted to see Fantasmic during our trip too and had heard good things about the package for reserved seating.
We dined at Blue Bayou on our first day at Disneyland. After our amazing breakfast at Carnation Cafe, we opted to just snack here and there, so when it came time for our dining reservation, we were hungry!
Being located in New Orleans Square means that Blue Bayou has that N’awlins vibe. We loved wandering the streets of New Orleans Square before our dinner reservation and checking it all out. Blue Bayou is slightly tucked away, but you’ll see a brightly colored sign that will light your way to this wonderfully themed restaurant.
With the Fantasmic Dining Package being very popular and this being such a popular restaurant, we weren’t able to check in for dinner early. But, one thing that was really important to us was getting a water view table in the restaurant. Like San Angel Inn in the Mexico Pavilion at Epcot, you’ll be seating near the beginning of the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction and see the boats pass by on the water.
Water tables can’t be marked on your reservation. But, we were told that if you stop by early, you can get on the list for a water table (though, of course, it’s never a guarantee). We stopped by about 45 minutes early and made sure to ask about this before coming back during our designated time.
When we arrived back, we mentioned the water table location again. The hostess mentioned it could be up to a 45 minute extra wait. We were OK with this, as we wanted to make sure on our first visit we got to fully experience the restaurant. Luckily for us, our wait in the parlour area was only about 10 minutes beyond our reservation time. And we were able to get a water table.
As you can see from the photos, this is not a large restaurant. And, it fills up pretty quickly. Our table wasn’t too close to any others. And we had a nice corner table with a water view.
To fit with the theming, the restaurant is pretty darkly lit. You can see it’s twilight on the bayou. And, you’ll even catch a glimpse of fireflies and hear crickets in the background. With such incredible theming, we could have leisurely dined here for hours!
As a part of the Fantasmic Dining Package, our meal included 3 courses: appetizer, entree, and dessert. I was given both the Fantasmic Dining Package menu and the regular allergy-friendly dinner menu. I was also told that I could speak with a chef, if I had questions.
I did end up talking to a chef. But, I’ll be honest that he didn’t seem overly helpful. I had also decided to have dairy in this meal, since I’ve reintroduced it back into my diet in limited amounts.
Up first, I was served Ener-G rolls, which were heated OK, but weren’t amazing. Disneyland does not carry any non-dairy / vegan butter options. So, you’ll either want to ask for extra virgin olive oil or go without if you’re dairy free. They do, of course, have regular butter on hand.
I didn’t find the appetizer list for plentiful. And, the chef basically told me my only option was the Blue Bayou House Salad with Romaine and Frisee, Bell Peppers, Cherry Tomatoes, Red Onion, Caramelized Pecans, Blue Cheese, and Cranberries served in a Sherry Vinaigrette. It is listed as being safe for Gluten/Wheat, Egg, Fish/Shellfish, and Soy Allergies and can be modified to be dairy free by omitting the cheese.
I really liked this salad a lot. It was bright, crisp, and super flavorful. I think the forgot to add the caramelized pecans to my salad. But, it was still great without it. I’d definitely order this one again.
For my entree, I ordered the Surf & Turf with Lobster Tail, Filet Mignon, Au Gratin Potatoes, Seasonal Vegetables, and Bernaise Sauce. This dish is made to be safe for Gluten/Wheat, Peanut/Tree Nut, and Soy Allergies. I omitted the Bernaise Sauce, as I knew the dairy in the potatoes would already be enough for me. I was also served a dish of clarified butter. But, honestly, lobster tail is still amazing without it!
I thought this dish was just OK. The steak was good, but nothing to write home about. The lobster tail was also good, but again nothing special. The seasonal vegetables were also just OK. The potatoes were actually my least favorite part of the entree, as they were entirely too spicy/peppery. I ended up not eating very much of them because they the spice in them was so unbalanced.
Overall, I thought the dish felt a bit like a catered meal at a banquet. It just didn’t feel super fresh or super special — just adequate. There wasn’t anything overly wrong with it, but I had expected a bit more from such a popular restaurant.
For dessert, I checked to see what the sorbet flavors were. They had mango, raspberry, and pear flavors as options, which was great. I decided to try the pear sorbet since it’s one you don’t see very often. This was definitely a really nice sorbet. And, it was a perfect palate cleanser after such a rich meal.
We absolutely adored the theming and atmosphere in Blue Bayou. It’s definitely one of the best themed restaurants in Disneyland and even Disney World. We weren’t super wowed by the food. But, we were still really glad that we dined here. It also made our Fantasmic experience amazing too, since it gave us priority reserved seating with a great view (and we got a seat cushion as a part of our dining package too). For the price, doing the dining package was a no-brainer if you already have your heart set on dining at Blue Bayou, because the regular menu is pretty pricey for what you get. We’d definitely do it again, but would go in with expectations that our food will be good, but not amazing. Still, it’s a must-do, especially if you don’t go to Disneyland very often!
If you’re interested in learning more about Blue Bayou gluten free offerings, check out Alexis’s Gluten Free Adventures for her review of this restaurant.
Have you been to Blue Bayou? What did you think of this Pirates of the Caribbean themed restaurant?