Colonel Hathi’s Pizza Outpost is a counter service restaurant at Disneyland Paris in Adventureland in an environment that feels like a club for explorers rather than a location themed to named after the movie The Jungle Book. This is one of the few restaurants at Disneyland Paris that is consistently open, and it’s quite a popular restaurant, despite being a sort of one trick pony elephant in terms of the menu.
There’s probably a reason that it feels like a club for explorers: it once was. The restaurant originally opened as The Explorers Club, and was a table service restaurant and cocktail lounge at the time. Given that this restaurant originally opened a few years apart from the also now defunct Adventurers Club at Walt Disney World, it’s hard to overlook the parallels between the two.
The original concept of the restaurant saw it as a stopover location for famous explorers on their way back home, with it being a common haunt for the likes of Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Ernest Hemingway, Indiana Jones, and Crocodile Dundee. Obviously, the Imagineers of Disneyland Paris share in my belief that the Indiana Jones films are based on a true story. The restaurant also had a performance element, as Cast Members played the role of these explorers, regaling guests with tales of their exploits, and there were also Audio Animatronics birds perched in the rafters. Sound familiar?
Unfortunately, the Explorer’s Club didn’t last long. One of the many issues with EuroDisney/Disneyland Paris when it opened was an over-abundance of table service options, and the Explorer’s Club quickly got the axe, being converted to counter service. As you’ll see in this post, many thematic remnants of the original restaurant remain. The Explorer’s Club has long fascinated me, and if these tidbits have piqued your interest click the links scattered throughout the text above to read (and see) more about it on other sites.
I’m not sure if Colonel Hathi’s Pizza Outpost has its own backstory, but it remains a cool location thanks to these holdover elements. Let’s take a look inside and at the food… (more…)