Regal Eagle Smokehouse is a quick-service restaurant in Epcot’s American Adventure Pavilion. The restaurant is a recent addition to World Showcase, replacing the much maligned Liberty Inn. Regal Eagle Smokehouse serves barbecue fare and is loosely themed to the Muppets. This restaurant does take part in the Disney Dining Plan (whenever that returns to the parks) as a quick-service credit. In this post I’ll review Regal Eagle Smokehouse, including my thoughts on the restaurant’s food, value and atmosphere.
World Showcase has no shortage of different food to try. Every pavilion is filled with snacks, counter-service and table-service restaurants. Fan favorites are seemingly in each pavilion, from Funnel Cakes to School Bread. So when a restaurant comes around that is subpar, it is seemingly left in the dust and deserted. This can happen even when the restaurant improves over time since Disney World guests tend to not be quite the regular crowd that Disneyland encounters. Of course, some restaurants are just bad and that is what Liberty Inn was.
When Regal Eagle Smokehouse was announced to be taking over for Liberty Inn I had two reactions. The first was simply being happy for the change. If things aren’t good they should be changed, that’s how theme parks improve over time. The second reaction was that I still wouldn’t be all that interested in Regal Eagle. Not because the idea wasn’t good but because there are so many other interesting options in Epcot to try.
That said, Regal Eagle Smokehouse wasn’t done trying to win me over just based on replacing Liberty Inn. Before opening it was announced that the restaurant would have a Muppets theme incorporated into it. Barbecue food when I could go over to Tangierine Cafe? No thanks. Barbecue food with Muppets when I could go over to Tangierine Cafe? Now I actually have to think about the decision. With that in mind, we headed over to Regal Eagle Smokehouse to check out the hubbub.
The inside of the restaurant largely looks the same as its predecessor, just with a hint of more patriotism. There is a big open seating area with large pillars and American streamers flowing between them. Windows along the end of the restaurant let in plenty of natural light and the tables are and benches are all nice but forgettable. It’s a sleek looking restaurant but saying that there’s an ‘atmosphere’ in there would be generous. While we stayed inside to beat the heat, the outdoor seating looking over World Showcase would probably be a more enjoyable choice if the weather is manageable.
Opposite the side of the restaurant with the windows comes all of the Muppet connections. There are some fun drawings of Muppets along with other trinkets. The one above includes Rowlf and his certificate of competition in a cooking challenge. This is the norm for the restaurant and it’s a nice addition. I’d say Regal Eagle Smokehouse is more of a restaurant with Muppets throw-ins than an actual Muppets restaurant but it was fun to see the characters nonetheless.
All of the Muppets nods lead me to believe the backstory for the restaurant is that Muppets characters participated in a 4th of July cook-off with the ever judicious Sam Eagle choosing the winner. The best of those dishes have ended up here at Regal Eagle. It’s a fine backstory but again if you’re just dining here for the Muppets connections then you may be disappointed. Overall, the seating area is decent but there are far better and more interesting options within World Showcase from an atmosphere standpoint.
Moving on to the food, we tried a couple of entrees and sides at the restaurant. The menu, which you can see here, is full of barbecue options. The entrees range from $12-$16, with the salads being slightly less. All of the sides are $5, which is a good deal for some and definitely not for others. Whenever the Disney Dining Plan comes back (sometime in 2021) Regal Eagle will be a decent counter-service value just in terms of monetary value.
For our first entree we went with the Sliced Texas Beef Brisket Sandwich. This is Brisket in between Texas Toast with a spicy barbecue sauce. I thought the sandwich was decent but the meat and sauce were a little too sweet after a while. I was surprised by the amount of beef on there, they did not hold back. The sandwich will definitely fill you up. Unfortunately, I don’t think the taste merits the $13 price tag but you could certainly do worse. The sandwich came with a side and I chose the Cole Slaw here. It was sweet and a nice acidic offset to the very heavy sandwich. I wouldn’t go out of my way to get it but it was good.
For our other entree we ordered the Kansas City Smoked Half-Chicken. This also came with the Sweet BBQ Sauce, Texas Toast and a choice of side. Frankly, the chicken was disappointing. The Sweet BBQ Sauce was a miss and the chicken itself was fairly dry without much flavor. This was $14 and I wouldn’t recommend it here.
Moving on to the sides, we tried the Mac and Cheese, French Fries and Banana Pudding (along with the aforementioned Cole Slaw). The Mac and Cheese was very heavy but delicious. For $5, I think this could fill someone up and that’s a good deal. That said, I think the Germany Pavilion’s Mac and Cheese is better and would recommend that.
The French Fries were the surprise of the meal, as WDW’s fries are usually bland and uninteresting. These had a really nice seasoning on them and tasted surprisingly fresh. Were they hand cut? Probably not but they didn’t seem to be quite as ‘come straight from the freezer’ tasting as other fries. I really enjoyed them.
Likewise, the Banana Pudding was also good although I must admit that I’m a sucker for pretty much any Banana Pudding. This one had some nice layers of wafers and pudding along with a caramel sauce drizzled on top. I enjoyed it and would get it again.
Overall, Regal Eagle Smokehouse is a decent addition to Epcot for those that aren’t adventurous eaters. They have standard barbecue fare that is good but not great. I would recommend other places over this but the prices seemed fair and the food is a major improvement over the disaster known as Liberty Inn. All of the entrees were large and shareable, and the sides were all decent to good. Regal Eagle Smokehouse won’t turn any heads but it’s a fine addition to the Epcot dining scene.
Overall Rating – 7.5/10
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Categories: Restaurant Reviews