When it comes to character or table service dining, visitors to Walt Disney World are usually well up to speed with what’s on offer. Families carefully peruse the menus, go on the hunt for their favorite character meals and wake up early 180 days out pumped to make those Advance Dining Reservations. However, Quick Service dining is a slightly different story. If you’re anything like me you probably don’t even give Quick Service Meals a second thought until you’re actually at the parks. This inevitably means that come crunch time when appetites are high we can be found stressed-out and walking through the parks on a desperate mission to find an okay place to eat.
With Quick Service dining, there are an abundance of options ranging from the so-so to the amazing. And when it comes to having a Quick Service Meal, at least to this weary traveler, I find that ambiance is just as important as the food in returning my daughter to her pre-hunger Disney-loving state. Here at Disney Addicts, we’ve had our fair share of Quick Service Meals. So to help you do a bit of forward planning, here are our 5 picks for best places to get a quick bite.
5. Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe and Tortuga Tavern– Bridging the gap between Frontierland and Adventureland, these two restaurants share a space thus providing a large central seating area to rest your weary feet after a day of traversing the park. Historically Pecos Bill’s was a fan favorite for its juicy burgers with vocal fans now begrudging recent changes to its menu. However, this restaurant still has a lot going for it with its updated cuisine. On offer, you’ll find Tex-Mex favorites including nachos, fajita platters and to placate the original fans, Taco Burgers. Those with a sweet tooth will also love the churros.
Next door at Tortuga Tavern, hungry visitors will find smokehouse favorites including short ribs, hot dogs and the famous Walt Disney World Turkey Legs. Historically, Tortuga is a seasonal restaurant slowing down when the parks do but when it is open, visitors can move easily between Tortuga and Pecos Bill making it a bit easier to find a seat on a busy day.
4. Pinocchio Village House – Its pretty easy to miss this restaurant in all of the Fantasyland excitement. That is until you see the people dining cozily in the big picture windows facing “it’s a small world” making many a guest think to themselves “I wish I’d know about that restaurant- that looks like a cool place to eat.” And when it comes to Quick Service options at Magic Kingdom, it really is a great place to get some grub. Let’s start with the cuisine, its standard Disney Quick Service food, however, one of our favorite dishes has to be the flatbread of the month, which changes each month and has always been a tasty surprise. Here you’ll also find pasta dishes like Chicken or Shrimp Alfredo. They also do slushies which are a huge hit with kids in the Orlando heat and we highly recommend the new Italian Cream Cake dessert. There are also lots of different choices when it comes to seating. Those lucky enough to get a table in the window overlooking “its a small world” can enjoy watching the Disney visitors line up. While those looking for a bit of private space can find an upstairs balcony that almost always has seats as well as a novel outside balcony where you can pass the time watching the hustle and bustle in Fantasyland.
3. Cosmic Rays’s Starlight Cafe – I’m sure I read somewhere once (perhaps it’s just a myth) that Cosmic Ray’s is the busiest restaurant in the World. However, don’t let that put you off. With ample seating and a nice variety of food, it is actually a great spot to take a timeout while in the Tomorrowland section of the park. There are three bays with counter service options for visitors to choose from. The menu is standard (but reliable) quick service cuisine including salads, a BBQ Pork Platter, chicken nuggets, and burgers. We recommend you wash it down with a Strawberry Lemonade Slushy and save room for the Sunny Ecplise dessert. Disney is currently renovating the outside seating sections looking out onto Tomorrowland Speedway so you main want to aim for a seat in the main dining area next to Sonny Eclipse. This lovely wee animatronic fella has gained a bit of a cult following for his 20 minute stage show which provides a combination of catchy tunes and one-liners. Sonny provides a bit of comic relief in the noon-day sun and is a great diversion to help your family recharge their batteries before heading back out to the park.
2. Columbia Harbour House – Disney insiders may get a bit angry with me for sharing just how much of a hidden gem Columbia Harbour House is. Nestled in Liberty Square near Haunted Mansion, guests can expect a pretty solid seafood line-up including dishes like fried shrimp, battered fish and clam chowder all making for a nice little lunch. My daughter loves the tuna sandwich here that is shaped like a tuna. But what really makes this a coveted dining spot for those in the Disney-know, is the spacious, cool, dimly lit and often empty upstairs dining room. This place is an oasis of calm in an otherwise chaotic park. After a 30-minute meal at Columbia Harbour House, I guarantee you’ll hit the parks as a kinder-gentler Mouse-lover. The restrooms upstairs are also usually remarkably clean with no lines, making it my go-to spot for a mid-afternoon rest stop.
1. Be Our Guest – This restaurant had to top the list really. After all, it is essentially a Quick Service dining location with all of the trappings of a Table Service Meal. Guests entering Beast’s Castle for either breakfast or lunch are able to choose their seats in one of the fantastically themed dining rooms. And though it is Quick Service, there is nothing counter service about it. Guests can actually use their My Disney Experience App to make your dining selections weeks before your holiday. Visitors can choose from an amazing range of French-inspired dishes. For lunch, this includes classics like French Onion Soup, Roast Beef and Croque Monsieur. Those lucky enough to nab a breakfast reservation will get to indulge in full cooked breakfasts like bacon and eggs, and my favorite a Croissant Doughnut topped with banana, caramel and chocolate ganache. But if you aren’t able to order online don’t worry, there are kiosks when you enter where you can place your orders on the day.
What sets this restaurant apart from the rest of the pack is that your meals are brought to your table by a server. It is also the only Quick Service Restaurant at Walt Disney World that allows you to make advanced dining reservations at the 180-day mark (something that is highly recommended). And the icing on the cake for early risers is that Be Our Guest does open an hour before the Magic Kingdom. Those lucky enough to nab an 8am dining reservation will get to walk down a less crowded Main Street, snap some fantastic photos, have breakfast and be in line for your favorite attraction before most of the park opens to the general public. For all these reasons Be Our Guest is the clear Quick Service front-runner. And for those on the dining plan, it feels good to have such a fantastic dining experience but still have a Table Service credit that you can use later in the day!
Hopefully, there are enough delectable treats listed above to give you a flavor of the Quick Service options across Magic Kingdom. Any of the 5 restaurants on our list will serve as a worthy addition to your Disney itineraries. Quick Service dining prices will vary depending on the menu items you’ve ordered but those guests paying out of pocket should expect to budget around $14.00 per adult for Quick Service entrees.
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