Dinner and Fireworks at Disneyland Paris

Dinner that night was at Captain Jack’s Restaurant des Pirates, formerly The Blue Lagoon. I’d read enough reviews of the food that I wasn’t expecting much—we just really wanted to see the inside!


Here’s an official photo, since ours didn’t turn out so great in the dark:

© Disney

Unlike the Blue Bayou, Captain Jack’s is built on multiple levels, with many more seating areas. It probably covers more square footage, but, strangely, it feels much more cramped than the Blue Bayou, and much less connected with the ride. The Blue Bayou feels cavernous and open, with an expansive view of the river and its boats. When you’re on Pirates of the Caribbean in Disneyland, you spend a fair amount of time drifting past the entire width of the Blue Bayou at the beginning of the ride. But in Disneyland Paris’ Pirates of the Caribbean, you only float past a slice of Captain Jack’s restaurant, and I can barely remember noticing it despite our numerous rides.

Of course, the concept art made it look like the restaurant would be HUGE!

© Disney

Disney’s contractor pulled out a pair of scissors, cut a square out of the middle of the art and said, “I geeve you ZIS!”

According to the caption on this photo of the restaurant model in Disneyland Paris: From Sketch to Reality, the Story™ of The Blue Lagoon is that pirates built three huts: One from pieces of their boat, one from the remaining wood after the boat wore out, and one from palm trees. I’m not really getting that from the model or the restaurant…


But, whatever—cool idea, right?

The lobby was empty at 5:30 pm on a snowy Thursday.


I wish I’d spent more time taking in all the little vignettes, like this gorgeous little waterfall.


A lot of seating is crammed along the balcony at the top/back of the restaurant, and in a few rooms.

The seating area down by the water is also very cramped and feels quite separate from the water due to the high fences and landscaping. The Blue Bayou’s railing feels much lower.



(The boats don’t really move this fast!)




This seating section is wrapped around the back of the destroyed ship through which the ride boats pass at the very beginning of Pirates.



Our meal turned out not to be as terrible as the Internet had led us to expect. Nor was it anything to write home about. It was… acceptable, but at an unacceptable price! Again, we should have split something to save money.

Here are all 85 pages of the Cheesecake Factory-length menu…


They started us off with some bread. Like the Blue Bayou’s, this bread is not worth stuffing in your purse for later.


The worst thing we had was this 17 € appetizer of Cod Fritters with Cassava Fries, Tamarind Sauce and a Creole Cabbage Salad, which tasted like burned dirt balls.


Patrick had the Slow-Roasted Smoked Suckling Pig with Roasted Eggplant and Squash (37 €). He declared it “OK.”


I had the Prime Beef Rib with a Tamarind Glaze, Jalapeño Salsa and Sweet Potato (37 €). Also OK!


Because I am a big dummy, I paid 15 € for dessert. This is the Tonka Bean Flavored Chocolate Tart with Vanilla Ice Cream (hold the Spice-Infused Syrup). It was sort of like a cut-up chocolate Mickey tart from Jolly Holiday Bakery with ice cream. But, like, $20….


So, as it was with Walt’s – An American Restaurant, my capsule review is:  Go once to check out the ambience, but just order whatever’s cheapest.

Oh, and just like our two previous table-service meals, the pace at Captain Jack’s was verrrrrrrrry leisurely. At an American Disney restaurant they practically bring you your water, entree and check simultaneously, and then they stand there holding your hat and coat as you scarf down your meal. At Captain Jack’s, we had to flag down a waiter any time we wanted the next course. I’m a huge fan of table service dining at Disney, but if we ever get back to Disneyland Paris, I may become a quick-service convert.

After dinner we rode the deserted Pirates of the Caribbean a few more times.


In lieu of on-ride photos, here’s some more trivia gleaned from Disneyland Paris: From Sketch to Reality:

  • Many of the figures’ costumes came from an old costume shop in London and predate 1900.
  • The dueling AudioAnimatronic pirates were among the most difficult to program and actually took chunks out of each others’ clothes and hair before the programming was perfected.
  • The Disneyland Railroad passes through Pirates the same way it passes through Splash Mountain at Disneyland*

*Technically not trivia, just another regular-day thing we missed thanks to the @$%&@! snow!

When we got out of Pirates, Skull Rock was partially open, but just the skull part. I know we went up there and looked out the eye sockets, but I have no photos for some reason. We then walked all the way back to Big Thunder to use our FASTPASSes before the park closed and the fireworks started, only to be told that they were no longer accepting FASTPASSes??? When I later asked at City Hall, the cast members there said they’d never heard of such a thing, and that we should’ve been allowed on the ride. They did give us anytime passes to use for another ride, at least.

So then we trudged out to the Hub and staked our claim on a spot for the Disney Illuminations fireworks show. The guests in front of us immediately made us feel like we were in our home Disney park by hoisting kids up on their shoulders and blocking our view with their cameras and cell phones.

Disney Illuminations is pretty much a just an “intellectual property greatest hits” projection show with some lasers and a few fireworks at the end.  Behold….




There’s a nice little after-show with just projections and some music that is a lot easier to photograph. As we watched I thought to myself, “You know what my readers would like? A shaky video of the last 22 seconds of this show!”







The park closed with the fireworks show that night, but of course we had Disney’s hour-long shopportunity to explore Main Street, U.S.A. some more before they finally booted us.

It was the perfect chance to take a really terrible photo of Patrick in front of some snow-covered 25th anniversary decorations near Casey’s Corner.



We poked our heads into the Emporium, but by this time we’d started to realize that all the shops sell the same stuff. So the most interesting things to us were these vintage-looking murals depicting Disneyland’s and Magic Kingdom’s… emporia?



This was also a good chance to check out the inside of the Storybook Store, which I think might have been Patrick’s favorite store in the whole place. To refresh your memory, here’s the “yesterday” shot I posted, like, two months ago… It’s the book shop attached to City Hall.


Patrick loved all the figures and had to shoot every single one. I mean, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Clarabelle Cow or Ludwig Von Drake figures in a U.S. Disney gift shop.


Like every other bookstore in this post-Amazon world, The Storybook Store has been forced to stock so much more to stay afloat. Photo frames, movies, stuffed toys, action play sets and cheap, glittering point-of-sale junk have crowded out the books, which Donald and his nephews are squirreling away in the upper reaches of the room, just out of reach of Amazon’s tentacles.


Louie: “Amazon’ll never find ’em up here, Unca Donald!”

Donald: “[unintelligible]!!!”

Dear, naive Minnie extends a book to the slavering masses below in hopes that just one soul will look up from his cell phone long enough to engage with the ancient art of storytelling.


Chip: [loosely translated] “I’m gonna poke your eye out with this, Dale!”

“GAWRSH! I nevur larned ta READ!”


“As we say in the psychiatry, my head isn’t screwed on straight!”


“Do you recog-a-nize these suspi-cer-ous characters? I think they took Eeyore’s tail!”


“What am I doin’ in here? Ain’t I from Cinderelly?!”


Our next stop was City Hall, where we asked about the whole “no longer accepting FASTPASSES” thing at Big Thunder Mountain and learned that it was not, in fact, a thing. The cast members there were super-friendly, something this guest felt compelled to document on virtual film….


Patrick discovered that City Hall has a display of Walt Disney’s French Legion of Honor medal from 1936. Pretty cool that they have a real artifact just hanging out for all to enjoy in a theme park!


Legionnaire: “Did I jab you?” Walt [in Mickey voice]: “I’m… OK!”




We still had a little time left, so we made our way over to the Christmas shop next door to the Main Street Transportation Co.







I feel like Disneyland Paris has some of the best Main Street window displays of any park.



The Christmas shop’s windows were especially appealing. It had only been a few weeks since Christmas and these made me wish for it all over again!













I mean, they even had Bernard from The Rescuers in the window!


We found a new addition to our collection of Disney park castle ornaments that, amazingly, made it back to the States in one piece!


When we got back to the Disneyland Hotel, we weren’t quite ready for bed yet, so we got some hot chocolate to go from the Castle Club Lounge and explored the hotel a bit. A very little bit. Like, six pictures’ worth.

First, we got a look at more of the hotel’s Fantasia theming, in the form of these great sculptures near the pool and health club.



We peeked through the window at the shuttered kids’ club to check out this dancing hippo.


This preliminary concept art for the Disneyland Hotel, Fantasia Gardens and Disneyland depicts a snowy scene not unlike the one we’d experienced upon arrival.


Ice skates! That’s where we went wrong… Instead of wearing regular shoes inside the park, we should have brought ice skates!


For the Star Wars fan who has everything… Disco Darth!


We got back to the room and I was just settling in for a nice survey of my domain….


…. when they turned off the castle lights! At only 10pm! I mean, isn’t seeing the park and its greatest icon sort of the point of paying for one of these rooms? Harrumph…


Up Next: Behold… The Worst Disney Park in the Whole Wide World!

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