Planning any trip to Disney World can be overwhelming. There is just so much to do! Of all the things you plan for your trip, nothing is as stressful as those dining reservations. First, you have to figure out where you want to eat, which means you have to know if you’re going to be in a certain theme park. You have to know all of this 60 days before you’re actually going to be there, too. Then, you have to wake up before the sun to get online or on the phone and actually make the reservations at that 60-day mark.
What happens if you change your mind, or if you decide to go to Disney World at the last minute? This, shockingly, does happen! What happens when all that’s left to eat is quick service? Is the food any good? Will your trip still be magical? The answers to both of those last two questions is: YES.
To the second question: just because you don’t have the character dining doesn’t mean you won’t meet characters! You may have to adjust your plans to try and meet certain characters in meet and greets instead, but the opportunity is certainly there, especially to meet the classics like Mickey and Minnie and crew. Several quick service restaurants are still heavily themed and include experiences you won’t get anywhere else in WDW!
To the first question: my family actually eats quick service the vast majority of the time. We enjoy the restaurants, but we love the attractions more and prefer to spend our time on those! What follows is a run-down of our favorite quick service restaurants in each of the four major parks, with a bonus recommendation for Disney Springs. So go forth, and enjoy your vacation without feeling like it’s a failure if you miss out on table dining. I assure you, it’s not!
- Pinocchio Village Haus – This location specializes in flatbreads (pizzas), and is conveniently located in the middle of Fantasyland so all the kiddos can get a quick fix. One of their seating areas also overlooks “it’s a small world,” so that you can wave to guests as they board their boats, which is always entertaining.
- Columbia Harbour House – Do you like seafood? This is the place for you! Lobster, shrimp, salmon, crab cake burger, clam chowder, and for those who just happen to be dining with seafood lovers but don’t necessarily enjoy it themselves, the ever-steady chicken tenders and fries. As a coastal Georgia native, this is my favorite quick service in Magic Kingdom, and it feels like you’re eating healthier, so it’s a win-win! Located across from the Haunted Mansion.
- Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café – This Tomorrowland location has your burgers and chicken covered, and it’s all super tasty. If you’re really lucky, the alien DJ will throw a dance party while you’re eating so you can have dinner and a show!
This park is the only one that is a little different. The Connections Eatery has your burgers and chicken, and Regal Eagle specializes in barbecue, but EPCOT has something the other parks don’t: EPCOT is quite literally a *world* of food options. The World Showcase has 11 different countries represented, and several of them have shops and eateries where you can grab a bite. EPCOT is also home to year-round festivals that all include different food booths for you to try new things. The park is a foodie’s paradise! I don’t think you can really go wrong here following your nose and being adventurous. I would be remiss not to mention that our favorite time of year for this park is the Food & Wine Festival in the Fall My daughter has demanded I include the Brazil booth as her “Best of the Fest” for their delicious cheese bread. My only real advice with this park, especially regarding the food booths, is to download the WDW Food & Wine app before your trip to browse the menus for the Festival that will be happening during your trip. It’s a wealth of information and allows your to pick what you want to try ahead of time and make a list so you can be more efficient with trying all the yummy foods!
- Backlot Express – This is generally my go-to in Hollywood Studios. The food is basic burgers and chicken, but they have a drink refill station so you can help yourself instead of waiting in line or having to pay for refills, which is amazing on a hot day in Florida!
- ABC Commissary – This location, quite honestly, used to be questionable, but they have updated their menu in recent years and now have some of the tastiest and varied quick service food in the park. Everything from shrimp tacos to a Mediterranean salad to a buffalo chicken grilled cheese – it’s all delicious and will suit a variety of picky eaters!
- Docking Bay 7 – Located in Galaxy’s Edge (Star Wars Land), this newer restaurant has otherworldly dishes on the menu that allow you to fully immerse yourself in the setting of Batuu. While the food is named and themed to fit the setting, the flavors have more of an Asian flair, with poke and stir-fry heading up the menu. However, there is something for everyone, with the “Fried Endorian Chicken Tip Yip” being a clever name for fried chicken, served with mac n’ cheese and roasted veggies. While they do not have the famous Blue Milk on the menu, it is a hop, skip, and a jump away at its own stand on the streets of Batuu.
- Restaurantosaurus – Once sponsored by McDonald’s, this DinoLand U.S.A. location continues to serve up burgers, but also has some hot dogs, chicken, and a couple of salads. Much like Backlot Express in Hollywood Studios, this one makes my list of favorites because it has a self-serve drink station. It has also not been as crowded on my recent trips, which makes it a very quick option when you’re in a hurry.
- Yak & Yeti Local Food Cafes – The quick service component of the restaurant, this one has some more interesting and unique Asian-themed eats. However, we always get the cheeseburger. Don’t hate us for being unadventurous! It is hands down my favorite burger in any of the four parks for quick service, and would be my favorite quick service burger in all of WDW if not for D-Luxe Burger in Disney Springs.
- Flame Tree Barbecue – This location in Animal Kingdom is a fan favorite, but not one of ours…we’re not big BBQ people. But I’d be failing as a blogger and a travel planner if I didn’t mention it. The portions are huge and the price is right!
- D-Luxe Burger – This spot specializes in burgers and has some fairly crazy, but delicious, concoctions. It is our go-to lunch/dinner spot in the Springs if we’re shopping and get hungry, or get into town late and need to eat. The burgers are phenomenal, and so are the milkshakes.
- Sprinkles – This is not a meal (for most people), but it is amazing cupcakes for dessert (if you didn’t have a milkshake with your burger). You can use the cupcake ATM outside, which is one of my kiddo’s favorite Disney Springs treats!
As you can see, there is a wide assortment of choices to satisfy everyone in your traveling party, and most of the quick service locations have the theming, entertainment, or other fun experiences that make a Disney vacation so magical. So if you find yourself without any of the “must-have” table service reservations, don’t lose your cool! Your vacation is what you make of it, and quick service dining can still be a fun and memorable experience, as well as allow you to have a more flexible day when it comes to riding attractions or making showtimes.
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