Disney Dining … Best of Quick Service 04/29/12
Top 5 Quick Service Restaurants: Value and options
When Brian asked me to write a guest post for Central Florida Top 5, I immediately asked if I could write about Disney. He mentioned that he gets questions regarding where to eat for the best value, and also about discount dining, so I jumped at the idea of writing a post about the top 5 quick service locations (one at each park plus one at Downtown Disney) at Walt Disney World. There are a million ways to categorize the numerous quick service locations throughout the resort, from unique eats to hidden gems to most popular, but this list is based on the quick service restaurants in each location that offer the best combination of value and variety.
Quick-service Location #1: Magic Kingdom – Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café
Cosmic Ray’s is a great catch-all stop for a meal on the go in Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom. It has plenty of seating both indoors and outdoors, has entertainment in the form of an audioanimatronic alien lounge singer by the name of “Sonny Eclipse,” and has three different food stations, each with different options. While the menu changes occasionally, the first station usually offers chicken options (such as fried chicken or grilled chicken sandwiches), the second offers burgers and hot dogs, and the third has more healthy options and cold sandwiches. Each station offers the same kids choices, which makes having to wait in separate lines for different items a little bit easier. Also, Cosmic Ray’s usually has the latest opening hours of the quick service spots, so it is a good place to grab a last minute dinner before the fireworks.
Quick-service Location #2: Epcot – Sunshine Seasons
Sunshine Seasons is a great option for quick service meals at Epcot for a couple of reasons. One, it has several stations similar to a food court, so there is almost guaranteed to be something for everyone, and two, it has multiple a la carte options and a huge variety of kids menu items, so staying within a budget is fairly easy. Located in The Land pavilion in Future World, Sunshine Seasons offers tons of different foods, from Asian dishes to sandwiches and soups, plus a wide variety of desserts. Another cool thing about Sunshine Seasons? Many of the dishes are made using produce from the garden viewed on the Living With The Land boat ride. One note, though: you are not able to bring your stroller into The Land pavilion, so you’ll have to be able to accommodate accordingly.
Quick-service Location #3: Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Sunset Blvd Outdoor Area
I’m cheating a little with my Hollywood Studios quick service location and actually giving you a few different ones that are all located around a central outdoor eating area. Similar to the previously mentioned locations, the Sunset Blvd eating area has multiple options for most tastes, all at relatively reasonable prices. Catalina Eddie’s serves personal pizzas and Italian sandwiches and salads, Fairfax Fare serves ribs, gourmet hot dogs, and the classic Disney jumbo turkey leg, and Rosie’s All American Café offers burgers, nuggets, and desserts. The only downside, of course, is that the only eating area for these locations is outdoors, but most of the tables are covered at least. One suggestion? Save eating until after you ride the nearby Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror.
Quick-service Location #4: Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Restaurantosaurus
Disney’s Animal Kingdom has multiple quick service locations, each of them offering, for the most part, different dishes. Pizzafari offers (duh) pizza and other Italian-style options, Flametree Barbecue offers (of course) barbecue, and the Anandapur Local Cafes (attached to the Yak and Yeti restaurant) offers Asian options. I’m choosing Restaurantosaurus mainly for two reasons. The first is that it is slightly off the beaten path (off to the side in Dinoland, near the Dinosaur attraction) instead of right on the main path around the Tree of Life, and the second is that it offers plenty of seating, both indoor and outdoor, in a fun environment, as well as fairly mainstream menu options that should appeal to most palates. Prices also seem to be the most reasonable here, and the location, like the previously mentioned, is vegetarian friendly.
Quick-service Location #5: Downtown Disney – Earl of Sandwich
There are tons of really, really tasty options for quick service meals at Downtown Disney, but none of them have the same value for the flavor as Earl of Sandwich. All of the sandwiches and salads at this location are $5.99, and every single one that I’ve tried is full of flavor and a great combination of ingredients. In addition to the salads and sandwiches, Earl of Sandwich also offers several varieties of soups, beverages, and desserts. I know a sandwich shop doesn’t sound like anything exciting, but this is a must-eat, in my opinion, for quick service meals at Walt Disney World.
In the coming months, I’ll be expanding the Disney Dining series on my own blog, Insatiable ( Orlndofoodie.wordpress.com ), and will be touching on topics including best value for using your Disney Dining Plan credits, must-visit eateries throughout the resort, and best eateries outside of the parks.
To read reviews of Walt Disney World restaurants that I’ve already visited, click the links below:
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