When people who aren’t familiar with Disney ask what they’ll eat while they’re there, I know that they’re really asking, “How do I survive on amusement park food for a week?”
What they don’t understand is that Disney’s food choices are truly top notch even for quick-service or counter-service dining options.
Table-service (sit-down) restaurants are great, but sometimes there just isn’t time. When you need a quick meal that will give you enough energy and sustenance to keep you going all day, the counter-service restaurants are a great option providing nutritional options that also taste delicious!
What’s more, it seems like there is a lot of planning that goes into a Walt Disney World Vacation these days. You have to decide 180 days in advance where you will eat and schedule your Advanced Dining Reservations and 60 days in advance what park you’ll visit on what day, what attractions you’ll ride, and schedule your FastPass+ reservations. T
Some people feel that there isn’t much spontaneity involved in a Disney vacation. Why not wait until you’re hungry to decide where you’ll eat? That’s what makes quick-service so great!
Without further ado, here are my top five quick-service locations at Walt Disney World.
5. Pecos Bill’s Tall Tale Inn and Café
After a recent menu change, Pecos Bill’s in Magic Kingdom is a Disney version of Chipotle. You can build your own burrito, salad, fajitas, or nachos with toppings from the toppings bar – which includes guacamole and salsa toppings you would like to add.
The atmosphere is nice too. It’s pretty big inside, and there are several rooms, so you’ll be able to find a place to sit even on busy days.
The adjoining Totuga Tavern is worth mentioning as well since they’re basically one building. My favorite meal here is the BBQ Pork Sandwich, which is also available the same way as a chicken sandwich. They also serve brisket and vegetarian options.
4. Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe
Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café, also in Magic Kingdom, harnesses the idea of Tomorrowland with an audio-animatronic alien lounge singer named Sunny Eclipse. Sunny provides all day entertainment. This large restaurant always has plenty of seating, and you can be close to Sunny or farther away depending on your affinity with alien lounge singers.
Not only is the entertainment here unique, but the ordering style is too. There are three Bays at which you can order. While some items cross over, each bay has a different menu. This keeps lines shorter, but it can be a tad bit frustrating if members of your family want entrees from different bays.
Nonetheless, the food here is very good, and the portions are generous! Although the entrees can be a little pricey, you could easily share a meal between two people. I highly recommend the ½ Rotisserie Chicken, mashed potatoes, and green beans from Bay 1! The chicken nuggets (available in all three bays) are quite delicious as well!
3. Flame Tree Barbecue
Flame Tree Barbecue in Disney’s Animal Kingdom has, arguably, the best BBQ on property and it is a personal favorite! Choose from ribs, chicken, pulled pork, Jamaican Jerk chicken salad, or a turkey leg or breast with onion rings or French fries as a side, and you’ve got yourself an tasty meal! Finish it off with a Mandarin Orange Lemonade (also available in an adult version with vodka), and lunch or dinner is complete!
The setting is amazing too. There are several open-air patios on different levels. As you go deeper into the levels, the foliage gets denser, and you feel like you’re transporting back in time. The predator/prey theming helps too, and it’s a great conversation piece. If you venture to the lowest level, you can eat your BBQ riverside with an amazing view of Expedition Everest. Just beware of the ducks; they get pretty hungry, and they apparently love BBQ too!
2. Sunshine Seasons
Sunshine Seasons in Epcot‘s The Land pavilion is some of the best counter-service in Disney World mainly for the wide variety available. This food court-style restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
While the breakfast menu includes muffins, croissants, and some of the freshest fruit around, lunch and dinner consists of Asian dishes, soups and salads, flat breads, rotisserie chicken, and slow roasted pork chops and even has some vegetarian options.
While you’re there, be sure to head up to the second level and take a look at the composition of the seating area. Each of the four sections is themed for a different season. Summer is yellow and sunny, fall includes warm colors, winter is kind of gray, and spring has bright colors. There is ample seating, and even when the restaurant is busy, it’s easy to find a seat.
This is one of my favorite areas to take a break. Grab a snack and take a look at the MyDisneyExperience app or the Times Guide to plan the rest of your day!
1. Be Our Guest
If Sunshine Seasons is number two, number one has to be incredible, right? Right!
Be Our Guest is a table-service restaurant at night but transitions to a quick-service location by day. They even serve breakfast now! This beautiful castle in Magic Kingdom’s New Fantasyland is inspired by the popular Disney movie Beauty and the Beast. Once you place your order at the self-serve kiosk, choose from one of the three rooms in which to dine: the Library, the West Wing, or the main Ballroom- where it’s always snowing! Pick your table, and an enchanted cart will magically bring you your food!
Although all three menus are different, they’re all fantastically French-inspired. The breakfast menu includes everything from a cured meats and cheese board to a vegetable quiche. Lunch consists of soups, salads, and a variety of toasted sandwiches including Croque Monsieur, Carved Turkey, Roast Beef, and Braised Pork.
Just because Be Our Guest is a quick-service by day doesn’t mean the food is any less tasty. In fact, Be Our Guest ranks at number one on our quick-service list because it’s just as good for lunch as it is for the sit-down menu at night.
What is your favorite quick service restaurant at Disney World?