Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Red Loop. Today we are sharing where you can have a date night and find romance at Disney.
Sometimes the grownups just need a night to themselves, even at Disney. My husband and I have created a tradition of having a couples night out at the Blue Bayou Restaurant every time we visit Disneyland. Our tradition dates back to many years before we had kids, but we appreciate it all the more now that we regularly visit Disneyland with little ones in tow.
What makes Blue Bayou a worthy dining experience? Its ambiance and food make it one of the very best spots for a date night in Disneyland. Here’s what you need to know about Blue Bayou before you go and why it should be on the top of your date night list (just in time for Valentine’s Day!).
Blue Bayou Location
Blue Bayou Restaurant is located in Disneyland park in New Orleans Square. There is no Orlando equivalent, so don’t go looking for it at Walt Disney World. (There are versions of the Blue Bayou in Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Paris if you happen to find yourself in a foreign Disney park though!).
The Blue Bayou’s location is in an alley just beyond the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. In fact, the ride itself is integrated into the Blue Bayou dining experience which is what makes the restaurant so special in my opinion. The Blue Bayou is entirely inside, but it is made to look like you are dining outside at night by candlelight on a Southern veranda overlooking the water. As you dine at Blue Bayou, you’ll notice boats cruising by on the waterway – those are the boats just leaving the Pirates loading area dock and setting sail for the first drop of the ride. The ambiance of al fresco dining (that is also climate-controlled even on the hottest of Southern California days!) makes the dining experience memorable.
The Food at Blue Bayou
Being located in New Orleans Square, the Blue Bayou’s food is – of course – classic Cajun. You can find jambalaya and lobster on the menu and lots of Cajun spices in many choices. I usually opt for the jambalaya or the blackened salmon as my entree and have always found the food quite delicious over years and years of dining there. Is the food going to rival what you can find at the hottest restaurants in the New Orleans scene? Of course not. It is, however, authentic and delicious enough to make this Southern girl nostalgic for home every time I dine.
Is the value good? Definitely. The portions are huge and I can never even begin to finish my entire meal even if I’ve eaten little all day! That said, the Blue Bayou is definitely not a budget dining location – it’s meant to be a date night splurge. Dinner entrees range from $30-$48 (lunch entrees are a bit cheaper at $27-$41). The meal price includes an appetizer at no additional charge (a salad or cup of gumbo, or you can upgrade to shrimp cocktail for an additional charge).
The only downside to Blue Bayou is that there are no date night cocktails to be had. Disneyland doesn’t serve alcohol in the park (you can only get it over in California Adventure or if you are lucky enough to go to the private Club 33 in Disneyland). The Blue Bayou has a few “mocktails” to set the date night scene at least, including a mint julep. Spring for the version with the glowing ice cube for a little extra fun.
How to Make Blue Bayou Reservations
At Disneyland, dining reservations may be made up to 60 days in advance, so it isn’t quite the level of pre-planning craziness at Walt Disney World (which takes reservations 180 days out). Unlike Walt Disney World, reservations for the very best restaurants aren’t all gone within minutes either. That said, if you want to dine at Blue Bayou during a holiday or very busy period, you absolutely need to plan ahead. It isn’t the toughest reservation at Disneyland to get, but it is one of the toughest few.
Just for illustration’s sake, I ran a few searches to try to find availability during the next 60 days. I searched nearly 2 months out for options on a Saturday night during Easter and spring break week and there were still tables galore during peak 6:00-7:00 pm dinner hour. For Saturday night over President’s Day weekend just over a week from now, however, the restaurant is already booked solid. For a Saturday night three weeks from now, there are still a few tables if you can dine later in the evening (post-8pm).
If you can’t get a Blue Bayou reservation, all hope is not lost. Be sure to check the website about 24 hours in advance, as Disney assesses a $10 cancellation penalty at the 24 hour mark and many reservation holders will cancel just before that window begins. If that doesn’t yield any choices, head over to the Blue Bayou as the restaurant opens (usually 11:30 am) to see if there are any extra tables that have opened up. Being willing to dine very early or very late will serve you well – I’ve often had no issue getting a last-minute table on a Friday or Saturday night if I come later than 9 pm. Of course, that doesn’t work with kids, but it works just fine for a couple’s night out!
Tips & Fun Facts for the Best Blue Bayou Experience
- If you are looking for a quieter dining experience with fewer kids, go later. Very few families take babies or toddlers to Blue Bayou at dinner time just because of the expense, so you’ll usually only find older and well-behaved kids here anyway. But if you want to really get a break from (all) the kids, 8 pm or later is your best bet.
- Even with reservations, you will likely have to wait 10-15 minutes for a table. Disney books reservations tightly together at Blue Bayou, so tables are never empty but that means you have to wait if guests before you linger over dinner.
- For the ultimate romantic dining experience, ask for a seat on the rail overlooking the Pirates boats cruising by. The wait will definitely be longer for these premium seats, so plan accordingly!
- Blue Bayou is right next to the famously secretive private Club 33 – another spot that is an amazing date night experience (if you know a member who can get you a reservation). In fact, the doors used to be right next to each other before Club 33 underwent an extensive renovation a few years ago.
Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Red | Romance at Disney Loop:
- 1st Stop – Home is Where the Mouse Is |Date Night at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
- 2nd Stop – Trips with Tykes | Disneyland Date Night at Blue Bayou – YOU ARE HERE
- 3rd Stop – Magical Memories with the Mouse | Illuminations Cruises
- 4th Stop – Rolling with the Magic | Romance on the High Seas