Free Dining at Disneyland Paris – Review

We recently took advantage of the free dining promotion at Disneyland Paris, the first time the Resort has offered this.

Each person on the dining plan receives 1 lunch voucher and 1 dinner voucher per night’s stay. As kids are included we made the mistake of assuming we’d get vouchers for our two-year old. But upon checking in at our Disney hotel we discovered that the free dining vouchers are only issued to three-years old & over.  According to Disney’s T&Cs, children under 3 years old will receive baby food. Hmm, how many two-year olds do you know that still eat baby food? Ours certainly doesn’t, and we were never actually offered it in any of the restaurants we dined in.

We had several “discussions” about the matter with various CMs. If we’d have lied on the booking and said our daughter was 3, we’d have been issued vouchers for her. The CM I put this to argued that we’d then have had to pay for her lodging and ticket. Ah, but no, we wouldn’t, as we were also on the “Kids under 7 play and stay free” deal.  She reckoned not. According to her the free dining deal wasn’t combinable with any other offer. According to Disney’s website “Offer only combinable with Kids Stay & Play Free,”and also shown on our reservation letter which had been left in the room. It was late, we were tired after a long day and admitted defeat.

The lunch vouchers can be used at the following locations:
Colonel Hathi’s Pizza Outpost – Restaurant Hakuna Matata – Café Hyperion – Au Chalet de la Marionnette – Pizzeria Bella Notte – Toad Hall Restaurant – Fuente del Oro Restaurant – Casey’s Corner – Restaurant en Coulisse – Disney Blockbuster Café.

The lunch voucher can be exchanged for an adult menu 10.95 euros, which includes-
1 main course,
1 side order,
1 dessert & 1 soft drink (40cl) 

The Kid’s voucher can be used for a kid’s meal at 4.95 euros, which includes-
1 main course,
1 side order,
1 dessert & 1 soft drink (25cl)

Or, it can be used in part payment towards a meal in other quick service, table service or buffet restaurants, except Planet Hollywood, Rainforest Café, King Ludwig’s, Starbucks and McDonald’s.

The dinner vouchers can be used at different locations, depending on which hotel you stay at:

If you stay at Disney’s Hotel Santa Fe or Disney’s Davy Crockett Ranch or Disney’s Hotel Cheyenne, your “meal voucher Standard” is valid in the restaurants listed below:
Silver Spur Steakhouse – Restaurant Agrabah Café – Plaza Gardens Restaurants – Restaurant des Stars – Chuckwagon Café – La Cantina – Crockett’s Tavern – Annette’s Diner (no bookings, and although listed on Disney’s website, it wasn’t listed on actual voucher)

If you stay at Disney’s Sequoia Lodge or Disney’s Newport Bay Club or Disney’s Hotel New York, your “meal voucher Plus” is valid in the restaurants listed above plus:
Hunter’s Grill – Beaver Creek – Cape Cod – Parkside Diner – The Lucky Nugget Saloon – The Steakhouse – La Grange à Billy Bob’s Country Western Saloon – Walt’s, An American Restaurant – Blue Lagoon Restaurant.

If you stay at Disneyland Hotel, your “meal voucher Premium” is valid in the restaurants listed above plus:
California Grill – Inventions – Manhattan Restaurant – Yacht Club – Walt’s, An American Restaurant – Blue Lagoon Restaurant – Auberge de Cendrillon (photo not included) – Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show with Mickey and Friends (category 2) – Café Mickey.

The voucher is valid for 1 adult menu (1 starter, 1 main course, 1 dessert) or buffet (depending on the restaurant) + 1 soft drink (33 cl / water 50cl) or 1 child menu (1 main course, 1 dessert) or buffet (depending on the restaurant) + 1 soft drink (25cl).

Or, it can be used in part payment towards a meal in other table service or buffet restaurants, except Planet Hollywood, Rainforest Café, King Ludwig’s, Starbucks and McDonald’s. The value of the voucher in that instance is 26.60 euros.

The choices on the fixed menus are quite limited and we usually found ourselves paying one or two euros extra with our lunch voucher to get one of the different meals/menus.

It was mid-November when we visited and because the Parks closed at 6 or 7pm, the table service restaurants in the Parks closed around 4 or 5pm each day, meaning we couldn’t eat dinner in the parks. On a couple of days we ended up using our dinner voucher in a sit-down restaurant at lunchtime, and just grabbing a quick bite using our lunch voucher at dinnertime. Even then we were restricted as many of the quick service places in the parks close at 5pm.

Disney recommend that you book table service restaurants in advance, which we did for three of the restaurants that we visited. However we needn’t have done so as the places were all virtually empty due to the quiet time of year. If you’re visiting at one of the busier times it would be advisable to book in advance by calling 08448 008 898 or through concierge at your Disney hotel as soon as you arrive.

We ate lunch (using our dinner vouchers) at Lucky Nugget Saloon and Walt’s. Dinner one evening was at Beaver Creek, and for our final evening we decided to try our luck at Cafe Mickey using our voucher in part-payment. This turned out to be the best meal we had.

At Walt’s we were presented with a set menu for the meal “plus” voucher which was very limited and had nothing that appealed to my taste, unlike the teenager’s menu. Our server had to check with his manager but agreed to let me have something off the teenager’s menu, which was only right as it was 10 euros less than our voucher value!Our daughter had something off the kid’s menu, which we expected to be charged for having no voucher for her. When we came to pay there was no charge, although the cost of my meal and hers came to less than my voucher value which could explain why.

I was under the impression that kids under 3 eat free at buffets, but apparently not. If they eat of your plate you won’t be charged, but if they have their own plate you will be charged for them. Our server at Beaver Creek wasn’t very pleasant and said we’d have to pay for our daughter, until I argued, and after speaking to the manager he agreed not to charge her. She hardly ate anything anyway the food was that poor. The CMs at Lucky Nugget were much nicer and didn’t try to charge us for her.

As breakfast is already included in your Disney hotel stay, the free dining promotion means that, theoretically, you needn’t pay for any meals during your stay. That is unless you have an under 3-year old with you, or wish to use your vouchers as part payment. With the Euro being very weak against the Pound, and food in DLP being very expensive to begin with, this offer really is excellent value and should save you more money than the 30% offer that is also running at present.

If you wish to book the Free Dining offer, you only have until 15th December, and some hotels are already sold out on certain dates.

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2 thoughts on “Free Dining at Disneyland Paris – Review

  1. Pingback: Disney Food Post Round-Up: January 10, 2010 | the disney food blog

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