Today, DFB welcomes guest author Jennifer Storelli with a table-service restaurant review from Walt’s in Disneyland Paris.
As an experienced Walt Disney World Resort fan but first-timer at Disneyland Paris, I had a difficult time selecting a table-service restaurant for dinner. The options ranged from character buffets, to a Wild West dinner show, to movie-themed restaurants, to upscale steakhouses, and more. Fortunately for me, I had until my arrival at my resort to make a decision, because I was not willing to pay for an international call to Disneyland Paris dining to make a reservation.
As my husband and I enjoyed the sites of Paris and made our way to the more familiar setting of Disneyland Paris, we decided we wanted an upscale venue to celebrate our last night of vacation and a taste of American food. Plus, when we read reviews that said Walt’s is an open-to-the-public version of the coveted Club 33 in Disneyland, we were sold.
When I arrived at my hotel, I nervously asked concierge to make me a dinner reservation for two days later. I’ve tried making plans for Disney World restaurants as far as 90 days in advance and still could not get reservations for my first-choice spots. However, when I requested a reservation for a Friday night reservation in late April, the concierge cast member smiled and said, “Certainly, what time would you like?” It was that easy—but maybe that was because we visited at an off-peak time.
Naturally, Disney placed Walt’s right where it should be: right in the middle of Main Street, U.S.A. True to Disney style, the building’s architecture blends right in with the rest of area’s turn-of-the-century, Marceline, Missouri-inspired charm—to the point that, if you didn’t know the restaurant was there, you would walk right past it.
Inside the restaurant lobby, guests are greeted with elegant charm, including Victorian-style couches for seating, a grandfather clock, and matching furniture. I was immediately drawn to the gorgeous grand piano as well as a bust of the main man himself.
We did not have much time to explore the lobby, though, because we were called to our table within minutes of arrival. As we climbed the stairs to the dining area, I lingered to look at the pictures of famous moments from Walt’s history. Photos of Walt planning and opening Disneyland, animating, and receiving his Academy Award from Shirley Temple for “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” took us back in time and deeper into Disney history.
At the top of the stairs, a hostess greeted us and ushered us to the Disneyland Hotel room, which featured sketches and photographs that inspired the design of the Disneyland Hotel.
This particular parlor was small and cozy, which left my husband and I feeling a bit cramped at a corner table for two. We noticed a couple of empty tables near windows overlooking Main Street, U.S.A., and kindly requested to be moved to one of those, but a cast member informed us that it was not possible to be reseated, which was a bummer.
However, the background music, which featured classical versions of Disney songs—including “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah,” “Bella Notte,” “Once Upon a Dream,” and “it’s a small world”—put me right back in a good mood.
The menu at Walt’s offers a la carte options as well as prix-fixe menus, which include a starter and entrée (Flower Street Menu) or a starter, entrée, and dessert (Market Street and Main Street menus). Because it was our last night in Paris, we decided to go big and each ordered from the Market Street Menu, which cost 37.99 Euros (or about $43 at the time) per person, to indulge in some dessert.
Although I felt a little bad for spending so much on dinner, my husband and I were really excited about the wine prices. We split a 750-milliliter bottle of Bordeaux AOC Dourthe No. 1, a red Bordeaux blend, which cost 24.99 Euros. That means for about $28 we each got about three glasses of wine. When I compared that with the approximately $10 a drink we pay at Disney World, we felt that we got a pretty good deal. We were also pretty happy with the taste of the wine. I’m not really a big red-wine person, but this wine offered me the perfect balance of sweet and dry.
Prior to receiving our food, we were served hot, fresh French rolls. Most French restaurants do not serve butter with bread, and Walt’s followed this custom instead of the American custom. However, these rolls were so warm and delicious that they did not need butter to be enjoyable.
For our starters, we both selected the cream of butternut squash soup with goat’s cheese emulsion and maple syrup. The dish first arrived as a bowl with a few small greens in the middle. But before I could ask if I was given the wrong starter, my waiter returned with a tea kettle full of piping hot soup, which he poured into the bowl. A+ for presentation!
The soup at first reminded me of baby food, but as soon as I tasted it, I decided that it was delicious enough for my adult palate, too. It was creamy, slightly sweet, and warm, which hit the spot on a cold spring day.
For our entrées, my husband and I both selected the grilled prime cut beef with confit potatoes, mixed salad, and spiced butter. In my effort to be a good adult, I started with my salad, which had a mustard-tasting dressing. The potatoes were soft and tasted delicious once I added a dash of salt. The pièce de résistance—the beef—was a bit chewy at medium-well but juicy nonetheless. I appreciated the touch of pepper in the rub, which added a bit of flavor to beef.
The dessert list had too many enticing options, so my husband and I chose different ones and shared. My husband selected the Bailey’s crème brûlée, which tasted like a Baileys Original Irish Cream–flavored pudding. After I tasted it, I slightly regretted my dessert choice.
However, in my book, chocolate is always a good choice, so my warm chocolate fondant with pistachio emulsion and fruit did not disappoint. As promised in the name, the chocolate fondant was served warm with oozing chocolate sauce in the middle. I had never had a pistachio emulsion before, but it was basically a pistachio-flavored whipped cream. The chocolate chips mixed into the emulsion were like chocolate Pop Rocks and had a bit more bang than the relatively tame fireworks displayed at Disneyland Paris.
If you’re looking for a fancier dining option with rich Disney history, Walt’s is the place. The setting and service were formal, with the server pouring our wine for us and preparing our soup right at the table. With that amount of class, we did feel a little out of place in our play clothes, and we partially wondered if that had anything to do with the reason we could not be reseated to a window table.
Although we were not traveling with children, families at the tables around us had well-behaved children, and we saw the hosts carrying around high chairs, so clearly children are welcome.
The service also felt a little slow, considering that we waited 20 minutes before our server came to offer us drinks, but guests should keep in mind that dining experiences tend to be a bit more relaxed (read: slower) in Europe.
However, we enjoyed the opportunity to delve into some Disney history while enjoying some American-style food. Plus, after our 2-hour dining experience was over, we could walk right down Main Street, U.S.A., into the park for more Disney fun.
Jennifer Storelli is magazine editor during the workday and a Disney fan all of the time. She has journeyed from her (and Walt’s) hometown of Chicago to the Walt Disney World Resort 31 times, Disneyland 3 times, and Disneyland Paris once. Her husband even proposed to her at the Cinderella Wishing Well at Disney World, and the couple honeymooned at Aulani. As a cast member once told her, she has Disney in her heart, and she works to spread happiness to those around her.
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