Please give a warm MiceChat welcome to our newest columnist, Steven Johnson, who is a proud value traveler. He has to be, he’s a starving student! There’s a lot we all can learn from Steven, and we welcome your tips as well in the comments below. Let’s help our fellow readers get the most value out of their Disney vacations. Today, the French Market!

It’s no question the Disneyland Resort is the Happiest Place on Earth. You wouldn’t be going there and you wouldn’t be on MiceChat if you didn’t know that to be true. One gamble, however, is deciding how to spend your money once you’re inside the main gates. The expenses don’t stop with the cost of your ticket; once you add in food, merchandise, PhotoPass, and other pieces of the magic, a day at the parks can be very expensive, which can put you in a crunch without knowing the quality of your purchase.


That’s where I come in. As a Disneyland Resort addict on a tight budget, I know firsthand how important it is to stretch a dollar and make the most of the magic, without overdrafting your debit account. I present to you Broke in Disneyland: my tips for the best values at the Disneyland Resort.

My Disneyland French Market Review highlights some of the great dishes you can enjoy, for a good price, right here in New Orleans Square.


For around $15 a head, you can choose from a wide selection of delicious southern cooking, including soups & sandwiches as well as heartier entrees like chicken with mashed potatoes. In the past few months I’ve gone several times, ordering the French Quarter Chicken, Muffuletta Sandwich, and Market French Dip, as well as sampled my friends’ Jambalaya and Red Beans & Rice when they weren’t looking.


The French Market is such a great value because the portions of food are all huge, guaranteed to fill your stomach and make you re-think that Space Mountain FastPass in an hour. More importantly, too, is how the French Market contributes to the overall story and immersive atmosphere of Disneyland and New Orleans Square. When you’re stepping back in time to an exciting world, you want the experience to reflect that. Enjoying a meal here makes you forget that you are in southern California less than a mile from the Santa Ana Freeway. The excellence of the ambience and food make the French Market worth the investment for a magical dining experience like this.


If the price tag still seems like a little much, here are some more tips on how to stretch your dining budget while enjoying the French Market experience:

For the low-maintenance guests, a great strategy is to skip lunch then head over to the French Market for a midday meal – it’s big enough to keep you full for the rest of the night!

Another good money-saving tip is to split a meal between two; the sandwiches are already cut in halves so it’s no hassle to share. Of course you can also share the soups and salads, but do so at your own health risk! 😛

The kids’ meals are also great options if you’re looking for a snack or lighter meal, and each one comes with seasonal fruit & vegetables. Even these are pretty unique for the Disneyland Resort, with offerings like Campanelle Pasta and Chicken Bread with Rice.

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The French Market does not offer free soft-drink refills, so if you’re cheap (like me) my advice is to bring your own can or bottle of soda with you, and to just ask for a cup of ice. May not be much, but if you eat out at the Resort a lot or are coming with a family, that money saved goes a long way!

Have you ever been to the French Market? What are your favorite shareable dishes or money-saving tips when dining here?

  • Larry Parker

    Is the French Market cafeteria style? Or are tables waited on?

    • Marko50

      It’s cafet…um, buffeteria style. One thing not mentioned is the desserts. If you don’t have an, well, uncontrollable sweet tooth like *some* of us ;-), the desserts are certainly also sharable.

    • Steven Johnson

      Thanks, Marko50! Yes, the French Market is a quick-service restaurant, so you pick up your selections at the counter then check out at a cash register.

      The desserts ARE awesome! They are definitely big enough to share, though I’d accept the challenge of tackling the Oreo Mousse Coffin alone. 😉

  • disneydempster

    Steven – very nice opening article. French market is not one of my normal go to places for budget friendly food. I’ll consider it next visit. What’s nice is you can sit and relax a bit in a beautiful corner or the park. I also enjoy Bengal BBQ or a corn dog as a low cost yet tasty eats.

  • michael darling

    I’d love to know your secret for being able to visit Disneyland so often! Heck with the food.
    (nice article)

  • Big D

    I love the French Market. I definitely eat there more often then any other restaurant. A big part of that is the atmosphere. New Orleans Square is my favorite part of Disneyland and the music there is just awesome. The food at the French Market is also good, although I thought it declined a little bit after Stouffer’s stopped sponsering them. I think the corn chowder in a bread bowl is probably my favorite dish, but I do like the jambalaya and the chicken. Really all the dishes there are pretty good. The line usually moves fast and even at night with the Fantasmic crowds I rarely have to wait longer then 15 minutes. Finding a table can sometimes be a challange but that can be true at any Disney restaurant. I’m not a dessert person but they certainly look really good!

    • Steven Johnson

      Big D, it can sometimes be tricky to find seating, especially during regular lunch / dinner hours. On my most recent visit my party was actually seated by a cast member, which was a nice touch and very helpful, since it was a crowded day at Disneyland!

  • Great job Steven. We are looking forward to many more tips and tricks from you for saving money at Disneyland. Great column!

  • indiginerd

    I love the beef stew, it’s very filling if you eat the bread bowl and it’s less than $10. I just hate it when they interrupt your meal with awesome live music. 😉

  • amyuilani

    Welcome! Another place I have come to realize works on a budget is Plaza Inn. They have the best fried chicken outside of Knott’s, and at 3 large pieces plus sides, its a massive meal under $20. 3 people can split this meal. If it’s just you, take baggies, sub the potatoes for an extra biscuit (or two), and bag the extra chicken and biscuit. Later in the day, you can eat the fruit and veggies from a stand (or if you brought your own, even better), get mustard and mayo packets from any stand, and have the remaining chicken and biscuits as chicken sandwiches. This may sound weird, but you’re paying for the food, and if you don’t stretch it, you’re throwing 2/3 of your money away because the portions are enormous.

    • Steven Johnson

      Great suggestion, I completely agree – I often end up splitting the Plaza Inn chicken plate with someone else, and I’m still full!

  • Wendygirl

    This is my go to place to eat. Back in the day when the french dip sandwich was a bit different (and somewhat better in my opinion), my daughter and I would split it and the fries and it was perfect for us both.

    Now she no longer has an AP and I’m on my own. I’m also, due to health reasons, very concerned about what I eat and portions. I have found the kids meal chicken and rice to be perfect. Besides the healthy pieces of chicken breast and the rice there are carrot and celery sticks and grapes. Comes with a small drink and I always selected the small bottle of water. It’s perfect for the size of meal to fill me up and it’s relatively healthy compared to a lot of other selections. I’ve been pleased to be able to find healthy choices at both Disneyland and DCA. The price is right too, especially with my premium pass discount.

  • twainrider

    The French Market does not have tables that are waiting on, but the restaurant next to it does. Truth be told, the food at Disneyland isn’t as “cheap” as food in other places that people go, but there are ways to spend less and still have an enjoyable day.

  • Rick Wright

    Just how big the portion sizes are was brought home to me on a recent Sunday. We went over to French Market after the MiceChat hub meet. After waiting in a rather long line, we were just sitting down when a MiceChat friend called and said he had just entered the park and was on his way over. I suggested that he share my muffaletta sandwich rather than standing in line, and he agreed. The kicker, though, was when another late MiceChatter joined us and my friend split the muffaletta AGAIN with her. Three MiceChatters dined on a single sandwich!

  • riclipse73

    Eating here is not really being broke at Disneyland. everyone knows you get a corn dog if your broke 😉

  • Twgdmj7

    Steven, great tips. Really looking forward to your future articles, especially secrets on soda refill spots for the hot days in the parks.

  • SpectroMan

    Thanks for the nice intro article! French Market is actually one of my least favorite menus in the Park, however I like the direction this column is going in..