Ah, a trip to the Magic Kingdom. With excitement in your heart and your Disney tickets in your hand, you are looking forward to a time filled with attractions, shopping, and plenty of walking. And don’t forget eating. Many people truly enjoy eating out while on their vacation and look forward to a time away from planning meals and cleaning the dishes.
If you are planning a trip to the Magic Kingdom, we suggest that you check out some of the nicer restaurants – like the Crystal Palace on Main Street USA, Cinderella’s Royal Table inside the Cinderella Castle, and the Liberty Tree Tavern on Liberty Square.
Getting Fast Food
While nicer meals are a great perk of any vacation, you will probably also want to eat some of your meals at quick service restaurants – where “quick service” is the new, nicer way to say fast food.
The Disney World Magic Kingdom restaurant web site lists about eighteen different quick service dining locations in the Magic Kingdom. Many of those are really snack locations, or have a limited menu. At least three are dedicated to ice cream, or similar cold and creamy food items: the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor on Main Street USA, Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies in Tomorrowland, and Aloha Isle in Adventureland.
These are all well and good, and we encourage you to enjoy them, but in this article we will focus on three of the larger quick service restaurants that offer both indoor seating and menu items that qualify as a full meal.
Food: Pecos Bills is primarily a burger place, but also offers a taco salad, and a chicken wrap.
Theming: It’s the Wild West come to life. There are amazing details everywhere, including a fun to read “Code of the West” (check out the picture). In fact, the entire restaurant tells an extensive story about how Pecos Bill opened his restaurant and then patrons would leave behind gifts, which you can see all around the facility.
Variety: The burgers, salads, and wraps are fairly typical and are of good quality.
Uniqueness: The real draw is the fixings bar, where in addition to the typical lettuce and tomatoes you can get freshly grilled onions and mushrooms, and you can top it all off with unlimited hot melted cheese.
Our Take: If you have a hankerin’ for a burger and love the Wild West or free melted cheese, this is the place for you.
Cosmic Ray’s in Tomorrowland
Food: This restaurant has three different bays, each with a different focus. Bay 1 is all about chicken, including rotisserie chicken, grilled chicken, chicken nuggets, and chicken and ribs. Bay 2 is all about burgers and hot dogs, plus a veggie burger. Bay 3 is all about sandwiches, including a repeat on some of the burgers plus wraps.
Theming: This restaurant screams Tomorrowland. Much of the building and signage is typical but the colors and fonts have a space age feel. The big draw is Sonny Eclipse, an animatronic space alien turned lounge singer who entertains continuously.
Variety: Since there are three different bays, the selection is bigger than at most locations. However, you might have to make several stops to get all the things your family members want.
Uniqueness: This location also has a fixings bar, although not as extensive as Pecos Bills. The big draw is the ‘live’ (recorded) entertainment by Sonny Eclipse, which is a lot of fun.
Our Take: If you are looking for a wider variety of food options but still want the typical fair, or if you can really appreciate lounge singer aliens with a wry sense of humor, this is the place for you.
Columbia Harbour House in Liberty Square
Food: The Columbia Harbor house serves tuna sandwiches, fried shrimp and fish, chicken nuggets, and a few salads. It’s all about fish, plus some chicken, here.
Theming: Made to look like a sea side New England building, this restaurant takes you back in time to the days when sailors went off to tame The Seas and bring back their catch. Rich, dark wood colors, nautical decorations, and an upstairs dining area make this a place to eat that is much bigger on the inside than you might suspect.
Variety: The selection is fairly limited but strays from typical hamburgers and focuses on fish and chicken.
Uniqueness: There is no fixings bar, aside from a place to pick up ketchup and mustard.
Our Take: The focus on fish provides a nice break from burgers. The decorations are rich and truly take you to a small seaside town. If you want a beak from hamburgers and you like seafood, this is the place for you.
Columbia Harbour House offers unique fish and chicken options.
So What Is The Best Quick Service Restaurant?
Of course, it all depends on what you are looking for:
If you have a hunger for a good old fashioned hamburger, you enjoy the Wild West, and you are a big fan of unlimited free melted cheese (and who isn’t?), then Pecos Bills is a great place to visit. There is plenty of detail in the theming if you take a little time to look around and appreciate it.
If you are looking for a wider variety than most places (and don’t mind waiting in multiple lines to get it) and you are looking for a little bit of entertainment in the form of an alien lounge singer, then Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café is for you.
And finally if you are tried of hamburgers and enjoy seafood (and the smell if seafood is everywhere), and if you enjoy the look and style of seaside New England, then be sure to check out the Columbia Harbor House.
Any of these three Disney World quick service restaurants is a good choice. You are sure to enjoy a fun, fast food meal in a unique environment.