My Top 10 Quick Service Restaurants at Walt Disney World!

There are so many great counter service restaurants at Walt Disney World. Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Epcot all have a plethora of great restaurants to choose from! As crazy as it sounds, I’m going to pick my top ten quick service restaurants at Walt Disney World. As with every top 10 list I’ve ever created, my list varies from day to day, so let’s see what we get and how long it lasts! Here goes nothing!

10) The Pinocchio Village Haus

Magic Kingdom's Pinocchio Village Haus Quick Service

This quick service restaurant serves up standard fare — pizza, chicken nuggets, sandwiches, etc., but what makes this place good to me is the location.  Situated behind Cinderella’s Castle, right next to it’s a small world, this location even has windows that look down into the launch area for the popular attraction.  Couple that with it’s Old World charm, and it becomes a place for us to eat at least once per trip.

9) The Liberty Inn

Located over at the American Adventure pavilion on the World Showcase at Epcot, this quick service restaurant, like Pinocchio Village Haus before, serves standard American food such as hot dogs and hamburgers.  However, what makes this place a really great place to eat is the large, open courtyard seating — which holds probably 200 people (although I don’t have exact numbers).  Additionally, there is an old style military band that plays periodically in the courtyard, and they are well worth the wait if you decide to stay and listen to them.

8) Flame Tree Barbeque

Flame Tree Barbeque, located over at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, is one of the best quick service restaurants in all of Disney in my opinion.  This restaurant serves up a lot of great food at a good price.  We don’t eat here every year because some trips we only make one trip over to Animal Kingdom, and often we have a big dinner planned somewhere else that day, so we don’t want to overeat.  However, if you ever have the chance, check out the Flame Tree!

7) Columbia Harbour House

Columbia Harbour House, Magic Kingdom

The Columbia Harbour House is a great quick service restaurant for many reasons.  For starters, it is rarely busy because it is kind of forgotten over between Liberty Square and Fantasyland.  In addition, as the picture shows, they offer Chicken, Seafood, and Sandwiches, so there is a large variety of food to choose from.  Lastly, there is plenty of seating available, so you can spread out, relax, and even look down at the people walking below. Try the Fish and Chips, they are good!

6) Main Street Bakery

Chip and Company, Main Street Bakery, Magic Kingdom, Main Street USA

Special thanks to Chip & Company for sharing their photo!

If you want a quick place to grab some good food, this is the place.  Serving everything from yummy breakfast items like cinnamon rolls, sandwiches, and even peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for picky eaters like Sophie, this is the place to be.  One step inside the shop and you are inundated with all sorts of sweet smelling treats, just begging you to try one out.  It was here where one of our Disney memories was created when Sophie was presented with her huge chocolate chip cookie, courtesy of Cinderella.

{Editor’s Note: You may have heard that the Main Street Bakery is closing and reopening as a Starbucks.  You may have even read about it on this site.  Fortunately, Disney has heard the cries from those of us that love the MSB, and they have modified their original news report to indicate that the Bakery will still be there, but that it will offer Starbucks Coffee in the restaurant.  I can live with that!}

5) Casey’s Corner

Casey's Corner, Magic Kingdom, Main Street USA

Casey’s Corner is a good hot dog shop located at the corner of Main Street USA and the Hub.  Because of the location, the restaurant is often quite busy, and seating is almost non-existant.  More often then not, you will find yourself eating while sitting on the ground, or being lucky enough to get one of the bar tables where you can stand and eat. Despite all of that, though, the food is quite good, and as you can see from the picture above, there is entertainment there periodically throughout the day, so relax and enjoy your food and the music!

4) Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe

Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe, Magic Kingdom, Tomorrowland

Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe is a large quick service restaurant located in Tomorrowland.  They have three different bays available; one for burgers, one for chicken, and one for sandwiches.  At each of the bays you can also get the standard Disney kids meals.  The selection at the restaurant is enough that there is something for everyone, and there is a lot of seating, both indoor and outdoor, so this is one place that should be on everyone’s list.  As an aside, Cosmic Ray’s is also a great place to bring your child if they are afraid of the fireworks — you will be inside, and the rest of your party can enjoy seeing them outside.

3) Backlot Express

The Backlot Express quick service restaurant is located near the “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” playground — so it is a good choice to both get a bite to eat and let your kids run off some energy afterwards!  For an open air type feel, it serves good food in my opinion, and is an easy way to recharge yourself for the afternoon ahead at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

2) La Cantina De San Angel

La Cantina De San Angel, Mexico, World Showcase, Epcot

Located just outside the Pyramid that symbolizes the Mexico Pavilion, La Cantina De San Angel is the quick service counterpart to the San Angel Inn (which is located inside the Pavilion.)  I have never eaten at the SAI, but the Cantina is a great substitute for me as they serve up many Mexican favorites of mine (especially since my family doesn’t like Mexican as much as I do!)

1) Sunshine Seasons

Sunshine Seasons, The Land, Epcot

My number one quick service dining location is Sunshine Seasons.  This restaurant is really good because it combines incredible food — with hot and cold options available — with a prime location inside of the Land Pavilion — so you can get in out of the heat, and a convenient location to wait while others in your party enjoy other attractions.  As I said, you can enjoy everything from hot and cold dishes, sandwiches, and other things, all the way to sushi if you so desire.  The food is incredibly fresh, and you will enjoy it, no matter what you try.

That, my friends, is my list of my top ten quick service restaurants to eat at Disney World.  Thank you for reading, and feel free to post any comments, or even your own top ten list!

Pass or Fail? Main Street Bakery Closing for Starbucks!

Chip and Company, Main Street Bakery, Magic Kingdom, Main Street USA

Special thanks to Chip & Company for sharing their photo!

Yesterday I heard something that just really bothered me.  The Main Street Bakery will be closing it’s doors in January, 2013 for refurbishment, at which point it will open up as a Starbucks!

According to Wikipedia, there are 19,972 Starbucks locations in 60 countries, including 12,937 in the United States.  In the Raleigh/Durham, NC area that I live in, there are no less then  50 Starbucks throughout the area.  So why do they need to close one more great Magic Kingdom establishment like the Main Street Bakery just to open one more Starbucks?

I know that the Walt Disney Company has made many changes over the years, and that, in Walt’s eyes, the parks would never be completed because as soon as they were, they would become stagnant and lose some of the charm that they hold.  I also know that the history of Walt Disney World (and also of Disneyland I believe) is one of a corporate sponsorship of various attractions, gift shops, and other landmarks.  However, I feel like Disney has gone too far this time.

I am not a coffee drinker, and I don’t think I will ever be one, but this isn’t about that.  The purpose of a vacation to Walt Disney World is to take yourself out of the here and now, out of the world, out of the daily grind, and to enter into a world of magic, of yesteryear, of a time gone by.  To stroll down a Main Street, catching all the sites and sounds, of imagining yourself at the turn of the century, with horse drawn carriages, Mayors that aren’t afraid to be seen in the street, and of street vendors selling popcorn before the movie at the local Cinema.

By bringing in such a corporate symbol, a Starbucks, a sign of the 21st century, of grabbing a cup of joe before you head into the office, you have effectively changed the whole atmosphere of Main Street, USA, and set it in fast forward to today’s date and time.  I know that the Cast Members will still wear period clothing, that the store will still be decorated to fit the theme that Main Street USA portrays, and that’s all well and good.  But what will change will be the feeling I always have when I walk down Main Street USA — that feeling I had the first time I visited the Magic Kingdom, as an 11 year old in 1979:

As you pass under the railroad tracks, somehow, Walt Disney has magically taken you out of the here and now, and transported you back to a different time, a different place, where small town Americana is alive and well; where Main Street isn’t just the name of a street, but it is a place to hang out with your friends, where you can eat, shop, and even catch a movie.  As you gaze at all of the incredible buildings, you are taken aback at how long Main Street, U.S.A. is.  It seems like it goes on forever!  But you peer at the end of the street, and what do you see?  This magical castle waiting for you, beckoning you to take a look at it, daring you to even go inside of it!  You have heard about that castle, how it is Cinderella Castle, and belongs to her.  You have read about how you can walk all the way through the castle, and come out in Fantasyland.  You have even heard that you can even have a meal at Cinderella’s Royal Table — but that memory is for another trip.

Now, part of Main Street will be missing.  Gone will be the Bakery, and in it’s place, Starbucks.  Suddenly, I express the concern that I am afraid many people will have — that going to Walt Disney World is just something to do, but not much more special then a trip to Carowinds, or to Six Flags, or Universal.  Suddenly, you can find and do things at Walt Disney World that you can do half a mile from your home — you can order a double latte with whipped cream, or something like that.

In my opinion, putting a Starbucks in to replace the Main Street Bakery is a big FAIL.  What do you think?  I read about this at the Disney Parks Blog, feel free to check out their article.