Columbia Harbor House is a counter-service restaurant in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. Residing in Liberty Square, Columbia Harbor House serves American fare and specializes in seafood. The restaurant does take part in the Disney Dining Plan (when applicable) as a counter-service credit but doesn’t accept any other discounts. In this post, we’ll review Columbia Harbor House’s atmosphere, cuisine and value.
Magic Kingdom’s dining options have historically been a sore spot for an otherwise thriving park. Counter-service dining is especially poor with very few interesting options and a lack of quality that you can find at other Disney World restaurants. This was especially true when Columbia Harbor House was closed for the better part of the year after Magic Kingdom opened its gates back up. Thankfully, the restaurant did open back up last summer and had the same heartwarming atmosphere and menu as usual.
Due to its spot in Liberty Square, the restaurant feels like a little, cozy spot you might wander into in a seaside town. I find the restaurant to be very welcoming with its maritime décor. The restaurant also flows well from the European-inspired Fantasyland to the colonized Liberty Square. The architecture and story fit the thought of traveling from Europe to the American colonies. Once reaching the colonies, Columbia Harbor House is the type of warm restaurant that you’d want to find. Of course, if you lived long enough to see the colonies then this whole idea of a theme park might be pretty confusing.
There are plenty of seats on both floors. The top floor used to be one of the hidden gems in Magic Kingdom, a quiet respite with some fun views out the window. Now, both floors are usually typically pretty busy but I still recommend sitting upstairs. At times that area can still be fairly empty.
As for the food, the menu mostly consists of seafood. Columbia Harbor House has a nice mix of fried and grilled food, along with a salad mixed in. Everything we’ve ever tried at the restaurant has come out fresh. Although the menu has changed slightly over the years, the quality has always been solid and a tick above most other counter-service spots in Magic Kingdom.
For my entrée I decided to go with the Lobster Roll. This came with house made chips. As for the Lobster Roll, I was pleasantly surprised. There was not very much filling in the sandwich and a ton of lobster. The flavor wasn’t as rich as some lobster rolls I’ve had but this was still delicious, mostly thanks to the amount of lobster in the sandwich. I thought the chips were a better alternative than your run of the mill french fries.
At $16.99, the Lobster Roll is a decent value especially considering the amount of lobster in the sandwich. There are other lobster rolls around Disney World but they are more expensive and this one isn’t much worse, if at all. I would happily recommend the dish.
We’ve also tried the Grilled Salmon which is served with Rice and Green Beans. The salmon was cooked well and had a somewhat sweet glaze to it. The portion size was, as you can see, fairly large and filling. This isn’t your typical counter-service entrée, it was fresh and delicious. The green beans were fine and somewhat fresh but a little mushy. The rice is nothing to write home about. There wasn’t much flavor in it but I thought it was a nice starch to finish off the dish. All in all, this was a great option and a steal at only $13.99.
On subsequent trips, I’ve tried the Trio Platter. This consists of Fried Shrimp, Chicken Strips, and Battered Fish served with Hushpuppies and choice of side. Trio Platter is one name for it. Tray Full of Fried Food is probably more accurate but might not be as good of a seller. Both the fish and shrimp were pretty good, with good flavor and a batter that wasn’t overly greasy. There’s nothing that sets it apart from standard fried fish or shrimp but it’s also not worse than that. As far as the Chicken Strips go, they were good but not great.
The whole dish was decent and definitely the most filling thing on the menu. I also liked the Hush Puppies pretty well but, as is the theme with this option, it wasn’t anything outstanding. The best part of the Trio Platter is the value. This is a lot of food for $13.99 and one of the best choices in the park for value.
We went with the seasonal cobbler for dessert and thought it was pretty average. The addition of the cream that you can see on top was nice. Otherwise there was nothing that stood out about the cobbler. I regret not getting the Boston Cream Pie as I think that’s a slightly more original counter-service dessert. Maybe next time! For now, desserts aren’t listed on the menu but they seem to come and go at the restaurant.
Columbia Harbor House offers some surprisingly fresh and delicious entrees at decent prices. The salmon is likely the healthiest non-salad counter-service option in Magic Kingdom. The Lobster Roll and Trio Platter both offer some of the best value around. I do think that the restaurant could benefit from having nicer plates and cutlery instead of paper and plastic but that’s a minor gripe.
If you enjoy seafood then Columbia Harbor House is one of the better counter-service options in Disney World. While the menu isn’t extremely diverse in its offerings there are different selections that could fit the whole family. All in all, Columbia Harbor House is easily Magic Kingdom’s best counter-service restaurant right now.
Overall Rating – 8.5/10
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Categories: Restaurant Reviews