Thursday, 29 May 2014

Why we're lovin' McDonald's... at Disneyland Paris

If you want to know the secret of our survival at Disneyland Paris, it's this: McDonald'sWell... partly anyway.

It's a whopper! No, sorry that's Burger King! Must be a Big Mac ;)

Why? Because it was cheap, and reliable(ish), you know what you're getting and... well, we were on holiday!!

Oops! Now I know I've probably alienated half of you already - especially you healthy eaters, but there wasn't exactly much choice! When it comes down to a choice of McDonald's or starve, I know which one I'd rather choose!

OK, OK, that's perhaps overdoing it a little, but the thing is, this:

Disneyland Paris bills itself as a land of magic and dreams come true, but when it comes to dairy and gluten free cuisine, despite being situated in a country famous for it's culinary delights (think brioche, croissants, moules marinere, creme brulee etc. etc.) it just doesn't match up for folks with allergies! 

Land of Dreams?

There are, it is true, any number of places to eat at Disneyworld Paris, and we by no means explored them all. However, we soon learned enough to put me off too much experimentation. It just became too exhausting!! You may have already read the post about breakfast. I have yet to describe our experiences of dinner... 

When The Hub suggested going to McDonald's for the first lunch of our holiday, I thought, 'Why not? It's only one day after all. I expect we'll find somewhere else to try tomorrow...'

Long before we left for Paris, The Hub had already checked out the allergy menu for Disneyland Paris McDonald's, online. 

He had been excited to discover that not only could 'Baby' have her 'usual' Fish Finger Happy Meal, that she has every time we visit McDonald's in the UK (although in France it was more like a 'Filet o' Fish' without the sauce), but also the Chicken Nuggets, which are most definitely NOT listed as dairy free in the UK! 


Funny that - how McDonald's can provide something dairy free in one country but not in another!

'Baby's' lunch.

Also, we discovered, in France, you can get a packet of fruit (apples and grapes) as an extra side for no extra cost - you'd pay for that in the UK (except, for some strange reason, on the first Friday in a month). Knowing that otherwise 'Baby' might not be getting much of her 'five-a-day,' that was quite reassuring - to know she was a getting a portion of something, somewhere along the line! Thankfully, she likes apple.

Unfortunately, there was not much sign of anything gluten free, for me - I was hoping for the gluten free burger buns that you can apparently get in Sweden (so I've heard), but no!

So I was left with my 'usual' - fries and salad - which came with a nice little pot of dressing!

Pour Moi!

It wasn't terribly exciting for me, I must admit, but 'Baby' loved her Happy Meals! As it was her holiday and she was denied treats that other kids could have (like ice cream), I'm afraid my wish to compensate for this overrode any other consideration.  

Unable to read the menu, 'Baby' was blissfully unaware that other kids were having McFlurries or donuts or Big Macs with cheese etc. 

Eating her McDonald's gave 'Baby' the chance both to feel and be 'normal'.

Priceless that!

Some practical points:

1. Check out the menu online before you go - just to make sure it hasn't changed. In the UK, you can also check online, but it's a bit unwieldy - you have to check each item individually. It's easier to go in and ask to see the allergy menu, which should be printed on the reverse of your tray liner  - yes really!!

The French online version is much easier to follow than the English - as long as you can read French!

2. It's not situated in the most obvious place - Disneyland Paris McDonald's is tucked away in a corner behind The Rainforest Cafe, towards the lake end of the Disney Village - almost as though they're slightly ashamed of it. That doesn't stop plenty of people finding it, though!

3. It gets very busy, so go as early as you can to avoid little kids having to wait too long for their food, and also to avoid running out of what you want - the salad was all gone by mid-afternoon on our last day.

4. The Hub found that the best thing was to use one of the quick self-ordering points. You have to pay by card, but it was easier to work out what was what.

Now I should perhaps add, at this point, that I have since been warned that last year there was some controversy regarding McDonald's and cross-contamination - apparently due to using the same oil for different products. I had not heard of this before and cannot say that I have ever found this to be a problem for us - either here in the UK, or abroad in Paris.

To avoid cross-contamination at the table, I wiped it carefully, with my usual pack of wipes, and then laid a couple of serviettes under our food, for extra measure. That seemed to do the trick!!

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