Welcome to this months Backstage With, our continuing series where we interview a fellow Disneyland Paris fan. This month I am joined in the Salon Mickey Lounge with Arno who writes on Twitter about vegan & vegetarian food at Disneyland Paris as .
28 years old Arno is from the north of Germany. He’s not a big character or show fan but loves Disneyland for all the details, the art, the attractions, the atmosphere and because he has so many memories from going his whole life to Disneyland Paris. Especially memories making him the nostalgic Disneyland Paris fan he is today.
When did you first visit Disneyland Paris and how often do you go?
My first visit was in 1992 some month after the opening. My Father took me to the all new Euro Disneyland. Because my Dad and his brothers really liked to visit Euro Disneyland (as they still call it today), my cousin and me accompanied them regularly. I’m not exactly sure how often I went back then, but it was up to 3 times, but at least once a year. From 1999 – 2004 I did not visit Disneyland Paris but since then, I’ve continued the old pattern and visit at least 3 times a year.
How long have you been a fan of Disneyland Paris?
Probably since my first visit when I was 4. I can’t remember many things in detail or in a chronological order from the very early years but have some great memories with my family. From 2004 on things gotten more serious. I started to read forums mostly dlp.info
and news sites and stayed informed about anything what happened in Disneyland Paris.
Are you an Annual Pass holder?
I was for several years. But at the moment I don’t own one. Most of the times I buy packages including tickets. Here you can see my very first Annual Pass:
Are you a Euro Disney Shareholder?
Yes I am! Since 2007 I am proud to eat free croissants and have cocoa on Mickey. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend a special Shareholders Club event yet. I’ll always regret not visited Endor for the very last time.
When did you decide to become a vegetarian or is it a lifestyle that you grew up with?
I have been a vegetarian for three years now. Until then I really enjoyed eating meat. Four years ago I decided to run a marathon and started to train hard for that goal. I think this made me more open minded and I started to question more and more about how we use animals today. There was a point I couldn’t stand the fact how animals are treated nowadays. I just didn’t want to be responsible for all the cruelty against animals any more. Eating meat/fish (especially in the scale we consume it today) is wrong in so many ways.
And don’t get me started on fur and leather products
How did you come up with the idea of starting @VeggieAtDLP on twitter?
I am new to the Disneyland Paris Twitter community. I started to read along a year ago. I enjoyed reading the tweets of @VegDisneyWorld
but couldn’t find any account concentrating on vegan or vegetarian food/lifestyle in Disneyland Paris. So I decided to start it on my own.
The last years I went to Disneyland Paris as a vegetarian I recognized how difficult DLP can be for vegetarians and even more for vegans. I hope can become a place for people to stay informed about vegetarian and vegan meal choices and for sharing their experiences and tips about being a veggie at Disneyland Paris.
Do you have a favourite restaurant at the resort?
I do! It’s the Blue Lagoon Restaurant in the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. I love the atmosphere, the attraction itself and I had great meals there. There is only one vegetarian main course on the menu but it changes sometimes and is fantastic!
Which do you believe is more difficult – being a vegetarian or a vegan at Disneyland Paris?
Definitely being a vegan is more difficult in Disneyland Paris! It seems the concept of vegan food hasn’t arrived at Disneyland Paris at all.
Do you find it difficult as a vegetarian to enjoy the restaurants and counter service food available at the resort?
In some restaurants it’s kind of hard to find a proper meal because there is just one vegetarian option or even nothing without meat or fish. The fact that many meals are pre-made is a problem too. This makes it nearly impossible for vegans to eat something else than salad at counter service restaurants. Sometimes you simply can’t remove cheese or mayonnaise because the cast members don’t prepare the food on site.
Another thing is that the French don’t count fish as animals. You have to double check every dish labelled as vegetarian because often it contains seafood. The choice of vegan plates in table service restaurants is very, very bad.
At the Pizzeria Bella Notte Restaurant in Fantasyland, you have the choice between the garlic bread or salad. With salad it’s vegan!
What is your favourite ride or attraction at Disneyland Paris?
That’s a hard one. I’m very nostalgic and LOVED the Visionarium and “Space Mountain De La Terre À La Lune”. Star Tours was one of my favourites as well. But as they are all gone it has to be Big Thunder Mountain or Phantom Manor.
But because of all the details and hidden things around and in Phantom Manor it wins. I love to walk around Boot Hill by night and listen to the sounds around Henry Ravenwoods old Manor.
Which is your favourite Disneyland Paris hotel?
First of all: I am a big fan of the Disneyland Paris hotels! There was a time I stayed several times at the Dreamcastle, Magic Circus and even the Etap hotel in Val d’Europe. But I realized that staying at an on-site hotel is a big part of the whole Disneyland experience for me.
To pick my favourite hotel is very hard, because all of them have their very own up- and downsides.
After the recent re-theming and refurbishment of the Disney hotels characters have made their way into the hotel rooms. I don’t like that. For me the hotels were always something very unique for Disneyland Paris. They where just great because of their theming. Not the characters they are branded with, I’m not into the whole characters thing.
Worst thing about the hotels is the bad quality compared to the very high prices!
Most visited and the most memories I definitely have with the Newport Bay Club. I really like the theme, music and atmosphere. Every time I arrive at Disneyland Paris I’m blown away by the Newport Bay Club. The size is really impressive and immediately when I see it (when going by car) I know I have arrived.
Now, after the complete refurbishment (which was really needed) it looks way better. I love the pool and the boutique that is now gone and I’m very excited to see the new one!
Second most I stayed at the New York Hotel which I prefer over the Newport Bay Club just because of the higher standards (cleaner, and better breakfast).
In the aspect of theming and atmosphere the Sequoia Lodge is the winner for me! All the wood, the gigantic fireplace, the boutique and music is fantastic. I really enjoy to have a walk along the River and through the small forest around the Hotel.
The Disneyland Hotel is of course the very best in quality and well maintained. Also the atmosphere is very special and great. For me it’s the most welcoming Hotel if not place in general in Disneyland Paris. I love to just sit in the lobby listen to the music of Disney movies and smell the Disneyland Hotel scent of course I bought the perfume and my living room is smelling exactly the same.
I just can remember one stay at the Disneyland Hotel and it was just great! I had a beautiful view of Fantasia Gardens and a little of the park as well. If money is not a thing I would pick the Disneyland Hotel . Otherwise you can find me in Hotel New York, Newport Bay Club or the Sequoia Lodge.
Do you have a favourite hotel restaurant?
Nope. I haven’t been to many Hotel restaurants besides for breakfast. I tried the all-you-can-eat buffet in Newport Bay Club’s Yacht Club the last time I stayed there and it was OK. Even for vegetarians they had some nice things.
I also ate several times at the Cheyenne all-you-can-eat which is okay too but more canteen quality. I wish I had more Hotel restaurant experiences but the last times I wanted to eat in Hotel New York , Newport Bay Club, Sequoia Lodge and Hotel Cheyenne there was only one restaurant open and they all offered just all-you-can-eat buffets, which I don’t prefer.
I really want to try the Disneyland Hotel restaurants and the Newport Bay Club & Sequoia Lodge à la carte menus on my next visits.
Do you have a blog?
Nope, but I think about starting one to collect as much information and tips about vegan and vegetarian food as possible. But I’m not a big blogger and as English is not my first language I am not sure if I can regularly post new things. Maybe a veggie blog about Disneyland Paris has to be a cooperation between some veggie Disneyland fans… So if there’s anybody out there wanting to write blog articles for let me know.
Have you visited any other Disney parks around the world and if so do you find they cater better for vegetarians?
Unfortunately I haven’t visited another Disney park than the Paris ones. But that’s something I really wanna do. I think next year I will finally go to another Park. But what I heard about other Disney Parks, especially in the USA, you can find a way greater variety of vegetarian and vegan food there.
At Earl of Sandwich in the Disney Village, you can swap the meat with avocado and have a delicious vegetarian sandwich.
How do you think Disneyland Paris could improve it’s meal choices?
I think they are already improving. In many restaurants you have at least one vegetarian option and with the rumoured Dole Whip coming from America they add a vegan snack too.
But while they are getting greener with many different projects like “Villages Nature” and promoting their efforts for being more environmental friendly they move way to slow in the matter of food. I wish they would add a vegan or at least a second vegetarian option to all menus.
A vegetarian restaurant in Disney Village would be great! More and more people become veggies or simply don’t want to eat meat/fish/dairy/eggs every day. So, after adding McDonald’s, Earl of Sandwich and Starbucks to Disney Village they should think about something like “Veggie Grill
” from the USA.
Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed Arno, is there anything else you would like to discuss?
For me being a veggie also means not supporting zoos, circuses and every kind of entertainment which includes animals. This also includes the “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show” and the “Horse Drawn Streetcars” on Main Street U.S.A.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand the fascination of those spectacles and really enjoyed Buffalo Bill’s so many times you wouldn’t believe, but nowadays this kind of entertainment isn’t appropriate any more. Disney really is the king of entertainment and don’t need to use buffaloes, horses and reindeer to entertain guests. The life of all these animals is not magical after all. They don’t live at “the happiest place on earth”.
I would love to see Disneyland Paris get rid of all animal entertainment.