Colonel Hathi’s Pizza Outpost Review
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. In this DLP dining review, we’ll share food photos, a tour of the themed interior, and a look at the venue’s history.
This is one of the few restaurants at Disneyland Paris that is consistently open, and is somewhat tucked away from the crowds. Those two things alone make Colonel Hathi’s Pizza Outpost a good pick, 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.
In addition to being a gathering place for those real world adventurers, the Explorers Club was heavily inspired by Jungle Cruise and Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room. 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 original incarnation of the restaurant 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. Below is one of the few pieces of concept art that exists for the Explorers Club.
As you’ll see in this post, many thematic remnants of the original restaurant remain. As a fan of the Adventurers Club, the Explorers 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.
The good news is that even though both the Adventurers Club and Explorers Club are sadly extinct, they have several spiritual successors. There’s the Explorer’s Club Restaurant near Mystic Manor at Hong Kong Disneyland. There’s also Trader Sam’s Tiki Bar, which has outposts at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland.
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. Anway, let’s take a look at the current restaurant and its food.
The Explorer’s Club origins are evident (well, to those who know the significance of EC…perhaps most guests think this is an outpost for the European Commission) as soon as you approach the front door and see this large light.
There are plenty more artifacts and props pertaining to exploration above and around the ordering area.
Even in its diluted form, Colonel Hathi’s Pizza Outpost is still brimming with details that beg to be (pardon the pun) explored.
The center of the main dining room contains a tree that spreads throughout the ceiling and is surrounded by cool murals depicting various regions that the members of the Club would have explored.
The tree in the center almost gives the restaurant a Tiki Room kind of vibe. If this area is full (as you can see the place was packed during my visit!), there’s also seating outdoors in a nice, lush setting.
Of course, that vibe could just as easily be due to the non-operational Audio Animatronics that still are perched in limbs of the tree.
There are numerous details in the restaurant that evoke romanticized notions of exploration to the far reaches of the globe, and literally nothing at all that ties the restaurant to The Jungle Book, save for maybe some stuff from the real jungle.
It boggles my mind a bit that parts of the Explorer’s Club backstory were removed in favor of naming the restaurant after an obscure character from a movie that they did not tie into the restaurant.
It’s the equivalent of renaming the Haunted Mansion to “Barrel Mansion” to tie into The Nightmare Before Christmas, removing some elements of the current storyline of the Haunted Mansion, adding an illustration of Barrel to the sign, but not adding anything of substance from the movie to the attraction. This literally makes about as much sense as that would. That is to say, no sense at all.
Okay, enough complaining and bitterness of what I perceive as a cool restaurant concept that I did not to see. Now for the main event: a pizza “unboxing.” Above, the box is closed.
Below, the box is open. (A pretty spectacular unboxing, if I do say so myself!)
It actually wasn’t a half bad pizza. I’d describe it as halfway between the greasy full size pizzas (think Pizza Planet) and the more ambitious flatbreads (think Pinocchio Village Haus) both in terms of style and overall quality.
A pretty good compromise, and the result is a theme park pizza that’s solid, albeit nothing to write home about. However, in the questionable world of Disneyland Paris dining, this is about as good as you’re going to do.
As is the case with every restaurant at Disneyland Paris, the default here is a set with a salad (or in my case, deliciously unhealthy garlic bread), soft drink, and dessert. The default dessert here is the poorly-named Magnum ice cream bars, although you can substitute that for a handful of grapes or whatever the “fresh fruit” cup consists of.
At Disneyland Paris, if you want even one of the sides, you might as well get the set, since the dessert or salad alone usually cost as much as the difference.
Overall, Colonel Hathi’s Pizza Outpost serves okay-to-good pizza, and the sides in the meal make it sufficiently filling for one person or two, depending upon appetites. In terms of Disneyland Paris counter service, “okay” is about as good as you’re going to get, so if pizza appeals to you, go here. It scores more points for the ambiance than it does the food, which is ironic given that the original restaurant that gave birth to these thematic touches has been removed–at least in name and concept–while many of the details themselves remain.
Regardless, I do consider Colonel Hathi’s Pizza Outpost to be one of the Top Themed Restaurants at Disneyland Paris, but they are pretty much all well-themed. If you’re visiting during a less-busy time of year, your options may be extremely limited, but Colonel Hathi’s seems to be one place that’s consistently open (although I did notice that it closes earlier than the other restaurants nearer the front of the park).
For the basics of planning a visit to Disneyland Paris, check out our Disneyland Paris Trip Planning Guide. Want to see more photos or read about Disneyland Paris in agonizing detail? Check out our Disneyland Paris 20th Anniversary Trip Report or our Disneyland Paris 25th Anniversary Trip Recap!
Now, time to hear from you! Have you dined at Colonel Hathi’s Pizza Outpost? Does this remind you of Adventurers Club at Walt Disney World? Are you one of the few guests who actually experienced the Explorer’s Club? What about other Disneyland Paris restaurants? If you haven’t been to Disneyland Paris, does this restaurant look interesting to you? Your comments are half the fun, so please share any questions or feedback about dining in Disneyland Paris that you have in the comments!
Colonel pizza is great and very tasty.Thanks!
I like the outside view of pizza restaurant in this blog post.
The EC nowadays actually would stand for Elephant Club !
I thought the ambience was nice but the pizzas… Holes in the bottom which just confirmed that is was a lousy frozen pizza. If it had cost 4-5 €, fine, but I believe there’s no dish in DLP under 10€. Cozy at night though!
We have yearpasses to Disney Paris for a few years now and only the last few visits, so in the last year, the place was always open. I had never eaten there before, and now it’s our go to place if hunger hits us. So maybe they did change the opening hours.
I agree it’s ‘ok’ food, thanks to the garlic bread you actually feel full when you are done. (we always end up there when hunger is so overpowering I could eat an elephant.)
Thanks for taking the time to discuss Disney Paris aswell, reading about WDW and DL only makes me sad that I won’t be back there any time soon (because of a one year old and a second baby on the way 😉 This post makes me take my agenda and plan our next trip to Paris.
Well, there’s plenty more to come on Disneyland Paris, so hopefully you and others who are closer to Paris will appreciate these posts. Thanks for commenting!
Nice review, Tom. One thing, though. The place is almost never open. I don’t think it has been open even once in my last 7-8 visits going back almost a decade. Never had a chance to even check out the interior as it has been locked tightly the few times I have tried. I don’t know how many times you’ve now been there, but maybe they are opening it more often or maybe you were just lucky. My last visit in early 2014 saw the place closed.
Oh, and I disagree with your general assessment of DLP dining. I think it is quite good at most places (never eating in Tomorrowland/Discoveryland of any Disney park is usually a good bet).
I don’t know how to explain why it wasn’t open in 2014 when you visited, but my understanding is that this restaurant is now one that operates on a normal schedule (and that has been the case for the last couple of years). There are only 4-5 in the entire park as consistently open as it is.
I’m beginning to think you have a soft spot for Disneyland Paris. I love the place, too, but describing the food as “quite good at most places”? I think that’s a real stretch. I’ll admit that my initial assessment of it being atrocious at most places was off, but I think Disneyland Paris is far and away the worst Disney resort for dining.
I absolutely have a soft spot for DLP. It is the most beautiful and detailed MK-style park ever built — and that is even after two decades of largely neglect (I do see things getting much better now that Disney has what it has always wanted — true majority ownership and control).
I would still tell any American Disney fan who hasn’t traveled outside the USA to head to DLP first before doing the parks in Asia.
As to the food, I do think you’re harsh. I don’t know if it’s because of the places you go. For instance, I don’t see myself dining at Hathi’s (in the odd event I’d find it open) because I know that pretty much universally Disney can’t do decent pizza in the parks (flatbreads at DL are decent, but they are not pizza).
Maybe you’ve had bad luck … or maybe you just haven’t hit the right spots. I know you didn’t like Cowboy Cookout and I tried it for the first time last year and found it wonderful. Tasty burgers and sides, great Christmas decorations, real firepit burning and a live bluegrass band. A whole lot better than Pecos Bill Cafe at MK, for instance.
Overall, you may be right that DLP has the worst food of any resort, although I don’t think you’ve dined at nearly enough locations to judge yet. But you also have dined at far more places (do you have an extra stomach or two that you carry on trips?) at TDR than I have, for instance.
I even see you have a post up rating every location at TPFKaTD-MGMS and soon to be TPFKaDHS. I doubt I’ve ever been to every location there (no … wait, I have!) OK, I doubt I have been to some locations in the last 10-15 years.
Guess I’m just saying that you eat a whole lot of Disney food on your trips, and I have learned that it generally isn’t the wisest way of spending vacation dollars, especially stateside.
Even at TDR, far better food with larger portions at far lower prices can be found at Ikspiari.
But I also don’t run a blog where people might expect me to eat at every location and review them too! And I love your reviews!
We like the ambience at Colonel Haithi’s as well and normally eat there at least once during our trip (sharing a pizza meal due to cost!) This has made me excited for our trip in 2 weeks for our 3rd wedding anniversary 🙂 we will of course be spending most meal times in the ever delicious (and good value) Earl of Sandwich!
Get even more excited…Earl of Sandwich at Disneyland Paris has a bunch of new meal options–and not just sandwiches! I was shocked to see so many choices, and to my knowledge, they aren’t available at any other Earl of Sandwich location.
Have checked out the menu on dlpguide.com, it does have some great new options! That’s dinner sorted every night 😉 we were planning to eat at Blue Lagoon for our anniversary, but can’t justify the €80+ price tag. The food isn’t great (even if the ambience is). It’s a shame. When we get to visit Disneyland California for the first time, that will be on our list!
Totally agree on Blue Lagoon. Too bad, as that ambiance is awesome.
This is totally random…but what does “sorted” mean? The lady on the Disneyland Paris in-room TV says it a TON, and I get the impression the way she’s using it means like “awesome” or “cool”, but I can’t find any answers online. I’m not sure you’re using it in the same way, but figured I’d ask…
I guess I just mean that’s dinner ‘organised’ every night! I find it fascinating how the phrasing and language differs between the US and UK 🙂 Am trying to think of an example from the in-room TV at DisneyWorld, but can just see that crazy (slightly irritating) girl jumping about (Stacey?)