German-owned restaurant chain Vapiano will become the fourteenth dining option at Disney Village when it opens a new location in the Disneyland Paris entertainment district this summer. Specialising in Italian-inspired dishes of pasta and pizza, the “fast casual” concept prides itself on a fresh and informal way of eating.
Using an innovative smart card payment system, diners can order and consume food and beverages as they please with each order added to the card, which is handed over to make payment before leaving. From its origins in Germany in 2002, the chain is currently expanding rapidly around the world, with several locations already in France including three in the Paris area.
Though it not the most unique nor the most thematic venue for Disney Village, it answers the longstanding desire from management and guests for an Italian dining offer and fills what is currently a particularly awkward space. That’s because one unfortunate compromise is that the restaurant will take the place of the former two-storey NEX Arcade, beneath the Gaumont IMAX building.
This means its entrance will actually be outside the security checkpoint introduced in 2012 alongside World of Disney, meaning any guests wishing to dine at the location will presumably need to go back through to security to re-enter Disney Village proper.
With this being the case, it will be interesting to see how much Vapiano courts the Disneyland Paris tourist versus the local market more likely to be passing through here. While the building itself fits well with Vapiano’s desired specifications of “high ceilings, bright rooms, large windows”, it’s also unlikely to be the most desirable spot for an outdoor terrace, being thoroughly windswept at the end of the resort’s main boulevard.
Future proposals for this area include a new entrance for both the TGV and RER railway platforms, plus a repositioned local bus terminus in front of the existing car parking structure. Eventual masterplans have always shown a “second street” for Disney Village continuing in this direction before cutting across the current Dôme site to create a loop.
Though this is some way off happening, securing a successful restaurant chain for what might currently be considered a “difficult” spot shows that more such tenants could be readily available when any expansion goes forward.
Meanwhile, just as when Earl of Sandwich freed us from the boredom of Disney’s in-house sandwiches, the limited Italian food on the menu at park locations such as Pizzeria Bella Notte is about to get some serious competition in freshness, choice and price.
The 1,000m2 restaurant is due to open “summer 2016”.