Where Is the Best Quick Service Food at Walt Disney World Resort and Theme Parks?
If you're on a budget or on the Disney Quick-Service dining plan, you don't have to spend your whole vacation eating chicken nuggets, burgers, hot dogs or other typical fast food fare. There are some much better options available, if you know where to look - and we're here to help you with that. Disney has moved away from trans fats and there are side dish options like apple wedges, carrot sticks, and grapes - giving you some healthier options. Kids can usually get milk, water, or juice instead of sodas too.
All photos are my own. (c)Stephen Johnson.
Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park Counter-Service Restaurant Meal Recommendations
Menu items subject to change.
Flame Tree Barbeque - This is one of our favorite counter-service locations in all of Walt Disney World. St. Louis style ribs, smoked chicken, beef, pork, or smoked turkey breast sandwiches are served with sides like baked beans, fries, and cole slaw. On a budget, we've shared the smoked half chicken plate and just added an extra side dish. Outdoor seating only at this restaurant. Kids meals: Baked chicken drumstick or Hotdog. Trivia: Take a look at all the little details in the signs and other areas - there is a distinctly predatory, carnivorous theme going on here. It starts with the sign with an alligator chomping on a fish, a snake catching a mouse, anteater tongues reaching for mice. It's delightfully macabre.
Pizzafari - Honestly, the food here is only okay. Disney can build the world's most amazing theme park empire but they cannot make pizza - of course, you can also get a Italian style sandwich or Caesar salad with chicken. The thing that makes this restaurant worth a stop is the setting. For one thing, it's indoors and air-conditioned - always a plus in Orlando. But the fun part is the themed rooms: Nocturnal room, upside down room, camouflage room, four seasons room, and bug room. They're bright and colorful, making this a great stop to enjoy a meal and a little down time. Breakfast available here. Kids meals: Cheese Pizza or Mac & Cheese.
Tamu Tamu -The selection here is very limited but the Slow Roasted Pulled Beef Sandwich is quite good.
Yak & Yeti - Counter Service (Anandapur Local Food Cafe) - This is another location that only offers outdoor seating but really, if it isn't too hot, the views can be lovely. Although this isn't the world's greatest Chinese food, it is a location that gives you a bit of variety. You can get things like Honey Chicken (my favorite), Sweet & Sour Pork, Shrimp Lo Mein, Kung Pao Beef, Asian Chicken Salad, and Mandarin Chicken Salad. I like the little seating area by the water, across from the restaurant - I enjoy looking at all the Coca Cola signs, bottles, etc. Kids meals: Cheeseburger, Chicken bites, Pork Egg Roll.
Disney's Hollywood Studios Theme Park Quick Service Dining Tips
Menu items subject to change.
ABC Commissary - This used to be one of my favorites but the food has gone down in quality recently. They also used to offer breakfast but that has been discontinued. For breakfast, try "Fairfax Fare" or you can get muffins at "Writer's Stop".
Backlot Express - This is typical burger, nugget, hot dog, fare but it's decent quality and you have a few more choices than most locations. Kids meals: Chicken nuggets or meaty macaroni.
Starring Rolls Cafe - This is one of the best spots for adults with possibly the worst kids meal ever. This is a small restaurant with about three fresh sandwich options offered daily. The desserts are good too. The downside is that they only offer one option for the Kids Meal: A Smuckers Uncrustable Peanut Butter & Jelly thing. You're not too far from Catalina Eddie's (Kids meal: Cheese Pizza) or Rosie's All-American Cafe (Chicken nuggets or Mac & Cheese); if the lines aren't too terrible, you could get a kids meal there and then get your food at Starring Rolls.
Studio Catering Company - Decent variety and good flavor make this one of the better choices at Disney's Hollywood Studios.
Disney's Epcot Theme Park Counter Service Meal Recommendations
Menu items subject to change.
Sunshine Seasons (Land Pavilion) - This is my absolute favorite Disney quick-service location. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a lot of variety and this is one of the few places where you get free refills on your soft drinks. The food is fresh and flavorful - would you believe I got a "Roasted beets and goat cheese salad" at a Disney counter-service location? This restaurant has several stations: Asian, Soup & Salads, The Grill, Grab'N'Go and they also have breakfast selections in the morning. This location also has a lot of choices for kids.
Kringla Bakeri og Cafe (Norway Pavilion) - Here's another location with nice sandwiches for adults but those dreadful Smuckers Crustable PB&J kits for kids.
Tangierine Cafe (Morocco Pavilion) - Another departure from usual fare. You can get Shawarma platters, specialty wraps, Picta pockets, and a vegetable platter. Kids Meals: Hamburger & Chicken Tenders.
Katsura Grill (Japan Pavilion) - Enjoy Sushi, udon, Teriyaki, Japanese Curry, Okonomi Yaki (Japanese vegetable pancake), and Tsukemen. and combo meals: Teriyaki Chicken with mixed vegetables, steamed rice and a beverage. (no nuggets in sight - yea!!!)
La Cantina de San Angel (Mexico Pavilion) - Tacos, empanadas, and really good nachos are making this a very popular choice. You can get Jarritos Mexicans sodas as the beverage, instead of regular American sodas - even when on a Disney Dining Plan.
The Best Quick Service Meals at Disney's Magic Kingdom Theme Park
Menu items subject to change
Be Our Guest (Fantasyland - Breakfast & Lunch Only) -This new restaurant has been incredibly popular since it opened and, although it is a table-service location at dinner, it is a quick-service location at breakfast and lunch. They have wonderful choices like Tuna Nicoise Salad, Carked Turkey Sandwich, Grilled Steak Sandwich, Quinoa-Shallot-&-chive salad, Vegetable Quiche, and Braised Pork. The dessert selections look better than most quick-service locations too. For kids: Carved Turkey Sandwich, Roasted Pulled Pork, Mickey Meatloaf, Seared Mahi Mahi, or Macaroni. The location is themed after Beast's castle, from Beauty and the Beast. This is also the only quick-service venue that accepts advance reservations.
Columbia Harbour House (Liberty Square) - Tuna sandwiches, fried fish & shrimp baskets, Garden Harvest salad, vegetarian chili. This counter-service location has a good variety. Kids Meals: Kids get more choices than usual too: salad with chicken, chicken nuggets, macaroni & cheese, peanut butter & jelly sandwich.
Cosmic Rays (Tomorrowland) - This location has good variety with a chicken station, burger station, and sandwich station. The weird thing is that you have to order and pay at each station -meaning that a family with different tastes may have to go through several lines. We thought the food was good here but the desserts were rather dreadful. Kids meals: Chicken nuggets, Peanut butter & Jelly, Turkey Sandwich.
Pecos Bills (Frontierland) - I've avoided burgers for the most part on this list but this restaurant has good burgers and a wonderful "Fixings" bar (tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, etc.). You can also get a taco salad, veggie burger, or Caesar salad with chicken. Children's Meal: Hamburger or Mixed greens salad with chicken.
Sleepy Hollow Refreshments (Liberty Square) - They make a Nutella & Fresh Fruit Waffle Sandwich that is really yummy. You can also get a Sweet & Spricy Waffle Sandwich or a Ham, Prosciutto & Swiss Waffle sandwich. Waffle Sandwiches available from 11:00AM - 5:00PM.
Tomorrowland Terrace Noodle Station (Tomorrowland) - Another location that's only open seasonally and only later in the day. Some people really dislike this place but I enjoy the noodle bowls, Orange chicken, beef & broccoli, etc. Kids Meals: chicken nuggets, Beef & Macaroni, PB&J, Mac & Cheese.
Tortuga Tavern (Formerly El Pirata y el Perico / Adventureland) - Only open during peak times but you can get taco salad, burritos, tacos, etc. Children's Meals: Quesadillas or Peanut Butter & Jelly.
Downtown Disney Restaurants that Accept Disney World Meal Plan Quick-Service Meal Credits
Cookes of Dublin - Fish & chips, Dublin style pies, and more with good variety for the kids. Seating is limited.
Earl of Sandwich - This restaurant has a well-deserved reputation for being one of the lower cost places to dine while at Disney World but that doesn't mean that it isn't good. Actually, the sandwiches here are very good with a lot of variety. Kids Meals: PB&J, Pizza sandwich, grilled cheese, or Turkey & Swiss.
Wolfgang Puck Express - Breakfast served here. Soups , sandwiches, salads, focaccia melts, chicken, quesadillas, pizzas, pasta and more offered at lunch and dinner. The food here is tasty and is some of the best available, if you're on the Disney quick-service dining plan. Kids Meals: Chicken fingers, linguini with tomato sauce, pizza, cheese quesadilla.
Good information leads to a better Disney vacation...
The Best Walt Disney World Resort Hotel Food Courts
Breakfast served at all of these locations.
Anyone is welcome to dine at these food courts - they are not limited to resort guests.
Disney All-Star Sports, All-Star Music, All-Star Movies, Pop Century and Art of Animation Resorts (value resorts) - These hotels do not have sit-down restaurant so the food courts menus have more choices than most Disney resort food courts. While the food isn't an amazing dining experience, it does get the job done with a decent amount of variety. These food courts actually tend to be better than many of the moderate and deluxe resort food courts.
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge - Mara: I go out of my way to eat at this food court - mostly because I find this resort a wonderful place to spend part of an afternoon or evening. The resort has its own animal viewing savannahs and a nightly storyteller by the firepit. The Mara Food court has tasty food and a decent selection with some non-standard choices like African stew or a Falafel pita. You can also get more typical items like chicken nuggets, sandwiches, and burgers. If you love the zebra domes (dessert) at Boma, you'll be glad to know that they're also available here at Mara. Menus are subject to change but it's worth noting that they often have a half-chicken dinner that can be shared by two people, if you add an extra side dish to your order. Kids Meals: Burger, roasted chicken with apple sauce, Macaroni & cheese, cheese pizza, or chicken nuggets.
Disney's Contemporary Resort - Contempo Cafe: The food here is good with some great salads, sandwiches, flatbread pizzas and more. The monorail drives by and little bird bounce around the restaurant snatching a crumb here and there when they can - making this a little more fun than most food courts. They don't have a lot of tables though. For kids: Pizza, cheeseburger, hamburger, turkey sandwich, chicken nuggets.
Disney's Coronado Springs Resort - Pepper Market - If you're sick of the typical counter-service fare and you're on a Disney dining plan, you're probably going to love the variety found here. There a several stations where you can get sandwiches, salads, mild Mexican food, pizza & pasta, and other tasty "real food" items. I recently had some delicious grilled vegetables here. This location is a bit spendy if you're paying out of pocket but a great value if you're on a Disney dining plan. Kids Picks: chicken nuggets, pizza, hot dog, baked pasta.
Disney's Polynesian Resort - Captain Cook's Snack Company: Truthfully, a lot of the food here is just okay - not amazing but you won't starve to death either. They have sandwiches & flatbread pizzas. There are a couple of reasons people make the journey here though: Breakfast - tonga toast: banana-stuffed sourdough bread, battered, deep-fried, and dusted with cinnamon & sugar. It's a bit too much for one person so my husband and I usually split one order and each have a protein item like a side of bacon each to go with it. The other reason we come here: Dole Whips - this is a pineapple soft-serve dessert that is refreshing on a hot day. We love to get a Dole Whip and take it out on the Polynesian Resort beach to watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks and the Electric Water Pageant (floating parade). For children: cheeseburger, grilled cheese, chicken nuggets, or turkey & cheese sandwich.
Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter Resort - Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory: I ate here recently and was pleasantly surprised by the variety, quality, and service. It was all a step up from many counter-service locations and they let gave me a small sample of a side dish that I wasn't sure I'd like (I did like it). The beignets (small squares of fried dough, dusted with powdered sugar) are made fresh and are a nice treat for fans of The Princess and the Frog who might not be familiar with beignets.
Disney's Wilderness Lodge - Roaring Forks: The food here is better than average for a food court and the resort itself is impressive. This can be a fun adventure - take the boat from the Magic Kingdom to the Wilderness Lodge, see the artificial geyser (blows on the Â½ hour during daylight hours), and enjoy a meal at Roaring Forks. Just keep in mind that the seating area is a little too small for the size of the resort so try to eat at non-peak times, if possible. You also might want to eat here prior to heading over to the Campfire Sing-Along with Chip & Dale (free) and outdoor movie (free) and the Fort Wilderness Campground. You can usually take a boat but allow plenty of transportation time. Kids meals: Peanut butter & jelly sandwich or Turkey sandwich.