Welcome Marc and Amy Stumbo (this is one of my favorite pics of Amy, FYI) as they take us to Disneyland Paris! Their first review includes a yummy snack as well as the daily continental breakfast offered complimentary to guests of the Sequoia Lodge. Bonjour, Marc and Amy!
Amy and I both grew up with annual passes to Walt Disney World. Having grown up in the shadow of the mouse, we had many dates in the parks and we even got engaged after an amazing dinner at the California Grill (perhaps an article at a later date… very romantic if I say so myself).
Well, let it suffice to say that after we determined Paris to be the site of our honeymoon it didn’t take long for us to make reservations at nearby Disneyland Paris. Finally, as an avid Disney Food Blog reader, it only seemed fair that we use this vacation opportunity to share our dining experiences with the readers.
Amy and I left central Paris via train and arrived at Disneyland Paris around 8 o’clock in the morning, emerging from the Marne-la-Vallee train station, bags in tow, eager to begin our Euro Disney experience.
While Paris itself is an amazing city to visit, as true Disney nerds, we were secretly looking forward to our stay at Disneyland Paris. The train station practically exits guests into the bag-check line for the parks (the train system really is convenient), and we followed the signs to our hotel to drop off our bags.
Luckily for us, the Sequoia Lodge was just past their version of a Downtown Disney and around a small Disney-created lake. We checked in at the front desk and dropped off our bags at the load area to be picked up later in the afternoon when our room was available.
More importantly, we got to pick up our park tickets, Extra Magic Hours hotel guest card, and our voucher for the daily free breakfast buffet for guests. Now, I’ll pause for a moment while you reread the previous sentence… go ahead and double-check that you really did just see the words “Disney”, “free”, and “breakfast” in the same statement. Unfortunately, our free hotel breakfast vouchers didn’t kick in until morning after our first night stay (more on the breakfast later), so we headed over to the Magic Kingdom to take advantage of their 8am – 10am extra magic hours.
First, we should note that their version of extra magic hours refers to hotel guests being allowed access to Magic Kingdom each morning between 8am and 10am (the parks both opened at 10am each day). During extra magic hours only a handful of attractions, rides or food, in Discoveryland & Fantasyland were made available. That being said, either it was the slow season or Disneyland Paris guests really like to sleep in because the park was relatively deserted each morning.
We immediately rode Space Mountain a couple of times (similar to WDW’s version except with a Rock N’ Roller Coaster type start) and Buzz Lightyear before making our way to Fantasyland. At this point the growling in our stomachs (why did the cast member at the hotel have to mention breakfast buffet?) was slowly overriding our desire to take in the Fantasyland surroundings and attractions.
Stromboli’s Snack Cart
Finding ourselves in the queue for The Voyages of Pinocchio, we noticed cast members in the process of opening a snack booth themed as Stromboli’s Cart. Since they weren’t open yet, we decided to take in the ride and investigate later. Personally, I’m glad we came back to this cart as their breakfast snack was awesome.
The Cart was typical in size for a theme park snack kiosk, but themed quite well. The cart seemed to be very specialized in their wares, but we were certainly intrigued enough in their main breakfast item: the bacon-cheese pretzel. Soak that in… and as you can see it wasn’t merely bacon & cheese flavored pretzel, it was a pretzel drowning in melted cheese sprinkled with bacon. Clearly, some genius in the food division noticed that:
a. Everyone loves soft pretzels (though not usually for breakfast)
b. Pretzels are very portable
c. Everything tastes better smothered in bacon and cheese
d. The holes in pretzels are wasting valuable food real estate
e. Covering the pretzel in bacon and cheese blurs the line between snack and breakfast enough to sell it before 9am
However they figured it out, this breakfast item had me sold at the word “bacon” so we purchased a couple. I do regret to inform you though that due to a combination of my stomach attempting to digest itself and being new to the whole ‘taking pictures of food we eat’ concept, we did not capture any shots of the actual bacon cheese pretzels we ate that morning, but rest assured that they looked as advertised.
Getting to the cart as it opened really paid off in the form of fresh-from-the-oven hot pretzels and warm gooey cheese, which tasted as good as what you’d imagine anything with the name “Bacon Cheese Pretzel” should taste.
The pretzel itself was soft, tender, and chewy. The cheese appeared as though they shredded real sharp cheddar cheese over the top of a par-baked pretzel before finishing it off in the oven. The bacon was a deliciously salty note to finish the experience despite being the European styled cubed cured pork rather than the traditionally American concept of bacon.
Also, considering our breakfasts in Paris the prior week consisted mostly of croissants, breads, assorted pastries and Nutella spread on anything else remotely edible, this departure towards a more American feeling breakfast item was very welcome.
For a couple Euro each, these breakfast snacks really hit the spot our first morning in the parks and part of me wishes they were made available to Disney guests in American parks.
I would definitely eat one again given the opportunity as the pretzel bread really filled you up while the cheese and bacon provided your taste buds with a delicious punch to start the day. On a side note, the cast member serving us from this particular cart had some difficulty in translating our request since Amy’s high school French class had the unfortunate oversight in not teaching its students the fine art of ordering pretzels covered in bacon and cheese.
He was very patient (it was his first day working there) and we worked our way through the transaction; honestly, this was the only instance over several days in which we encountered even the slightest of language barriers.
Free Sequoia Lodge Hotel Breakfast
For starters, we either forgot or didn’t realize that staying on property in Disneyland Paris included a free breakfast each morning from 7am to 11am.
Upon discovering this hidden gem we both immediately had visions of scrambled eggs, bacon, Mickey waffles, toast, hash browns, etc swimming through our minds. Looking back, I’m positive the front desk cast member noticed the smiles and glazed over looks we both got and snapped us out of it, but that whole moment is still a blurred memory.
Getting back to logistics, when you check into the hotel, your party is assigned a breakfast time slot (similar to the FastPass system in the parks) when your free breakfast buffet vouchers are valid. This is clearly designed to prevent the entire hotel’s worth of guests from arriving to breakfast at the same time.
It either worked magnificently, or demand wasn’t particularly high while we were visiting, as the restaurants never got packed while we ate. Thankfully, since this was our honeymoon, the nice cast member at check-in gave us a VIP breakfast pass allowing us to show up to breakfast anytime in the operating hours and still be seated.
The breakfast buffet took place in one of the hotel’s on-site restaurants, Beaver Creek and Hunter’s Grill, which had mirrored setups for breakfast so it didn’t particularly matter which location you were seated in as far as food selection went. During lunch and dinner, Beaver Creek Tavern is a buffet style restaurant while the Hunter’s Grill is a table service location. Guests arriving for breakfast were simply placed at the restaurant with available seating.
Remember earlier when I mentioned that we had envisioned a glorious buffet station mounded high with Mickey waffles, scrambled eggs, hash browns, bacon, and other tasty treats? (You’re daydreaming about those Mickey waffles now, aren’t you? Understandable… I’ll give you a second to return to reality.) Well, let’s just say we were sadly mistaken. Mind you, the disappointment was not in a “the food wasn’t good” sort of way, just in a “we should have realized we were in France and the words Disney & free were involved” sort of way.
After one gets over the fact that the only hot items in the breakfast buffet were coffee and tea, the food provided for what I loosely refer to as breakfast was interesting to say the least. Many of the items such as coffee, tea, juice, croissants, mixed fruit, cereal & milk, jellies, and toast were easy enough for us to sort out.
It was the rest of the spread that might seem a little out of place for stateside tourists. The bread table had what was essentially hard dinner bread rolls, which we discovered should be paired with the assortment of deli meats (chicken and ham) and cheese (spreadable and cubed) to make little breakfast sandwiches. To be fair, we could still easily sort out these items despite feeling they belonged more at a lunch buffet than breakfast, and they did all taste quite good together. I consumed many ham and creamy cheese sandwiches with my coffee and Amy seemed quite fond of the self-service Nutella packages paired with any of the bread items.
It was the last section of each buffet that gave us the most pause, as it held containers of olive oil, minced garlic, and stewed tomatoes where I’m assuming one would make a form of cold French bread Bruschetta for breakfast. Perhaps this was delicious, but we stuck to the rest of the buffet items for our breakfast needs.
Overall, it is hard to complain about any amenity provided for free by a hotel (especially a Disney hotel) — and doubly so, considering much of the disappointment of the first meal was due to our own misguided assumptions on what they would consider breakfast.
That being said, the breakfast items found at the buffet were tasty and provided much needed energy early in the morning for marathon tours of both theme parks. Additionally, we noticed late in our stay that many of the guests were making deli meat or Nutella sandwiches at breakfast to stash away in their bags for lunch or snacks later in the day inside the parks. This seemed like a great way to stretch that breakfast food and reduce the number of impulse snack buys in the parks for anyone vacationing on a budget.
Until next time, happy eating and feel free to follow us on twitter via @PlazaAndMainSt for more Disney fun.