The Prince and the Pauper: two meals – two atmospheres at Disneyland Paris

In the enchanted kingdom of Disneyland, the gap between social classes is more glaring than ever, even within its own establishments. The case that’s been bothering me is the disparity in treatment between the Chuck Wagon at the Cheyenne Hotel and the Royal Banquet at the Disneyland Hotel. This difference in treatment is simply unacceptable, especially when you consider that it’s often modest families who bleed the most to afford a memorable stay at Disney. The transition from our evening at the CW on a Saturday night to our lunch at the RB the next day was like going from scum to gentry, Maléfique be damned.

The call of nobility

Our gastronomic quest began with the aspiration to dine at the sumptuous Royal Banquet at the Disneyland Hotel. Full of hope, we came with our reservation and proof of it via the app. Surprise, surprise, the doors to opulence remained closed to us. Our status as non-residents of the Disneyland Hotel is an insurmountable barrier, at least for dinner. Denied access to the Royal Banquet, but still wanting to eat, no less, we were redirected by the concierge to the Cheyenne Hotel’s Chuck Wagon. All this is explained in detail HERE.

The Chuck Wagon’s setbacks

No reception at all

A buffet flavored with the end of premature service

We make our entrance at around 10.15pm on Saturday evening, hungry and ready to devour everything in sight, even a horse. Alas, no horse in sight, just their saddles as stools around the bar. As soon as we arrive, it’s chaos. We start by paying before entering the room. Once we’ve paid, there’s no one to seat us at the table, and we find ourselves wandering the room like souls in the River Styx, but finding neither Hades nor satisfaction. Desperately looking for a place to sit, we try to settle down at a table under a horse-drawn carriage tent to play western. Our plan was foiled, as a member of staff ejected us to a lambda table, barely two steps away from our initial choice. This one must be easier to clear, no doubt. The kids are disappointed. So are we.

The buffet doesn’t inspire much enthusiasm. When we arrive, it’s almost empty, with cold, unappealing dishes. As we help ourselves, the staff are already starting to put the dishes away and clean up. They clearly indicate the imminent end of the service. Once seated at our table, the drinks are served to us without enthusiasm. The waiter carelessly places the glasses at the end of the table, accompanied by a barely audible hello. Several times, we are asked if we intend to return to the buffet, even though other customers are present in the room. The staff seem to be waiting, arms folded near the payment counter, watching us impatiently.

Thibaut, the fallen savior

Fortunately, in the midst of these mixed interactions, Thibaut, like a lone cowboy in a saloon, strives to create a warm atmosphere by sharing a few anecdotes worthy of the best Western legends. Unfortunately, his superior quickly thwarts his efforts by calling him to order with a gesture harsher than a lash on the barren ground. The sheriff’s reminder to our cowboy of the law cut short our privileged interactions.

Despite the Chuck Wagon’s initially welcoming atmosphere, shortcomings in service and a deteriorating ambience disappointed our expectations. From pretenders to the royal court, we found ourselves relegated to the barnyard in less than two hours. Bravo Disney!

The return to nobility

In a recent article, we shared our experience at the Royal Banquet, where staff welcome guests like kings and queens, surrounding them with luxury and pomp. The staff, dressed in princely costumes, offer attentive, personalized service, while interactions with the characters enchant young and old alike. But this grandiose experience comes at a price. A price that only the wealthiest families can afford. It’s important to note that we had also reserved our time slot for the end of the service.

Scum versus nobility, tramps versus Ladies

Disparate budgets, unequal treatment

Ah, here’s the gap that makes all the difference! I was afraid I’d run into Maleficent and get stuck with a spindle, but in the end it was only Scrooge who wanted to steal the contents of my wallet. Although the Chuck Wagon may seem more modest in terms of budget, at 40 euros per adult and 22 euros per child, it remains a significant investment for many families who make sacrifices for their stay at Disneyland Paris. On the pretext that it’s one of the cheapest buffets on DLP, we’re talking about a low-cost experience, but if we consider the average buffet offer in tourist areas, we’re already in the upper range, far from first-price buffets. That’s the magic of Disneyland: to sell at a premium what has no value.

As for the Royal Banquet, that’s another story altogether: 100 euros per adult and 50 euros per child. That’s practically the price of a menu in a Michelin-starred restaurant! The contrast is striking, but what’s even more striking is the difference in treatment between those who pay more and those who pay less. What’s more, even those who pay less still pay too much for what they get.

Every visitor should receive the same dose of magic and respect, regardless of the amount on the bill. Yet have you noticed the following subtlety? At the Royal Banquet, lunch offers langoustines while dinner offers lobsters, for the same price. However, this luxury is reserved exclusively for DLH residents in the evening, while lunch is open to all Disney hotel residents. Lobster is therefore the exclusive privilege of those who can afford an overnight stay at the DLH.

Inclusion or illusion

It’s simply absurd that Disneyland Paris relegates modest visitors to the rank of poor “tramps”, forced to savor their spaghetti and meatballs served with disdain. Meanwhile, their more affluent counterparts can strut like kings and queens, seated around lobsters. Seriously, who decreed that Mickey should wear Gucci sunglasses to greet some and plug his nose at others? Everyone who sets foot in Disneyland Paris should be greeted with the same enthusiasm, whether they arrive by limousine or magic carpet.

It’s high time Disneyland Paris revised its policy on the treatment of visitors and put an end to this underhand discrimination disguised as a luxury experience. Modest families deserve as much respect and attention as wealthier ones. After all, the spirit of Disney is supposed to embody inclusion and magic for all, without wallet content being a discriminatory criterion. But that was before.