Restaurant Hakuna Matata is a counter service restaurant at Disneyland Paris in Adventureland. This review features food photos plus several showcasing the stunning African-inspired architecture and details of the restaurant, and our take on whether this is a good dining option at Disneyland Paris.
We were pretty excited to finally have the opportunity to dine here. Along with Agrabah Cafe, Restaurant Hakuna Matata has been one of our Disneyland Paris white whales. We planned on eating here during our first trip after friends recommended it, and have subsequently heard praise of it. However, it has never once (to our knowledge) been open during our past trips. So, when we learned it would be open one (and only one) day of our recent trip, we knew should take advantage.
We also share that as a bit of caution: if our experience is any indication, Restaurant Hakuna Matata is not one of the eateries at Disneyland Paris that is always (or even regularly) open. So, don’t get too excited as you read this review; unless you’re visiting during a busier time of year, it might not be open at all. We’d advise consulting this site that contains Disneyland Paris Restaurant Hours before your trip; it proved to be completely accurate for us.
Let’s move on to theme, something Restaurant Hakuna Matata does exceptionally well. While it is not listed on our Top 10 Themed Restaurants at Disneyland Paris list, that’s only because we had never been able to go inside until this trip. Even with staunch competition among the Disneyland Paris restaurants, Hakuna Matata would probably make a revised version of that list.
Astute readers might realize that Disneyland Paris opened prior to release of The Lion King, meaning this was either an addition after the film opened, or was re-themed after the movie came out.
As with Colonel Hathi’s Pizza Outpost, this is a renaming of an opening day restaurant. In this case, Aux Epices Enchantées.
Thankfully, and also like Colonel Hathi’s, the redo was totally superficial here, with the name being changed and a couple Timon & Pumba graphics being added to the ordering area.
It’s probably best that they didn’t go all out to turn this into Timon & Pumba’s kitchen; I doubt many guests trust the culinary insights of a boorish duo who munch on insects.
From the main ordering area, there are two large seating rotundas to the left and right. Within these areas, the rooms are subdivided and sectioned off to create a greater sense of intimacy, while retaining the somewhat ‘grand’ feeling created thanks to the rotunda overhead. For us, this is a best of both worlds situation.
In addition to the seeming oxymoron of the restaurant’s expansive intimacy, it is enhanced with some African art and stylization throughout. There’s also a ton of texture, both literally and in terms of the array of patterns, tactile details, and other accents.
It reminds me somewhat of a smaller Boma at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, which is high praise considering the incredible quality of that hotel. Thankfully, there are not any overt references to The Lion King in the dining rooms.
As with most other counter service restaurants at Disneyland Paris, the menu is pretty simple at Restaurant Hakuna Matata, with only a few sets available to order. Each includes an entree, soft drink (or beer for added charge), side, and dessert. These vary in price, but are all pretty comparable in cost to similar options in the U.S. parks.
We were joined for the meal by regionally-renowned Chris Evans cosplayer, Mark Willard, who ordered the most patriotic dish on the menu: African Maafe Beef Stew. While he indicated that he enjoyed this, he also commented that the portion was a bit on the small side.
Sarah ordered the Kebab Sandwich, which was pretty good and unique by Disneyland Paris standards. Well, not totally unique, as you could get unlimited versions of the same thing over at Agrabah Cafe. Still, you won’t find this on any other counter service menu (to my knowledge).
Also, for what it’s worth, the kebab station was probably the thing about Agrabah Cafe that I enjoyed the most. Ordering this is a great way to enjoy a slice of Agrabah Cafe if you have a smaller appetite. It’s not the best kebab sandwich you’ll ever have, but you could do a lot worse.
I ordered the Mildly Spicy Chicken Tenders. First of all, that name just cracks me up. For a restaurant that used to have a name that translated to With Enchanted Spices, it’s funny how this menu item tries to (correctly) spell out that it’s not too spicy for unadventurous guests.
The mild spicing is effective here, as it makes what would otherwise be pretty ordinary chicken tenders of moderate quality a bit more interesting. I found these to be pretty good, and although I wouldn’t schedule my day around eating them during the 47 minute window that Restaurant Hakuna Matata is open on a given day, I’d get them again.
The “Hakuna Fries” (potato wedges) are fantastic. Note that these are not an option with the African Maafe Beef Stew, something that definitely should be taken into consideration before ordering that.
Finally, for dessert you can choose among yogurt, Magnum ice cream bars, or a pineapple tart. The last option is good and scores points for originality, but we love those ice cream bars. (We’re definitely biased towards anything ice cream.)
Overall, Restaurant Hakuna Matata is one of the best counter service dining options at Disneyland Paris…when it’s open. While it wouldn’t be our first choice for counter service restaurants in the park, if you’re visiting for 2 or 3 days, it is definitely worth a visit. Just be sure to plan in advance so you actually can dine here. Beyond serving unique cuisine that’s pretty tasty, the ambiance is really nice. As with so almost every opening day Disneyland Paris restaurant, Hakuna Matata showcases a meticulous level of detail, and is a great spot to relax and enjoy a meal. For other things to know when planning a visit to Disneyland Paris, check out our Disneyland Paris Trip Planning Guide. For those who have been, what do you think of Restaurant Hakuna Matata?