There are many choices when it comes to a day at theme parks – what to ride first, which shows to watch, when to get there and when to leave! Once it comes time to eat, sorting through all of the options can be a bit overwhelming. That’s where we come in, with a series about our favorite places to eat in each Disney theme park. We’ll start in this post with Magic Kingdom!
This series is here to give readers a quick look at where we frequent when we’re in a specific park. I set up a few rules to follow in these posts which will include somewhere between 5 and 10 restaurants each time. Each favorites list will have:
- At least one counter-service restaurant.
- At least one table-service restaurant.
- One restaurant (generally quick-service) that’s not in the park but is very quick and easy to get to.
Typically, I’ll include more than just one from each category! I’m going to try to stick to counter-service once outside of the park because it just takes up too much of the day otherwise. Even if it’s a short walk or ride away, eating at a counter-service spot, getting back through the gates and to the land you want will likely take more time than eating a slow meal inside that park. If you’re looking for just a simple ranking of all the resort’s table-service and counter-service restaurants we’ve been to then here’s our Walt Disney World post on the subject!
Unlike those posts, I’m not going to rank the restaurants I’ve put on these lists. I might mention if one is a favorite or something but am hoping that this will just serve as a jumping off point with some variety between price, atmosphere and cuisine. Because variety is the spice of life and we are talking about food after all. It felt like time for a joke in this post and I, perhaps unfortunately, settled on that one.
Magic Kingdom is an (eerrhhhmmmm…) interesting spot to start this series. If I were to rank the eight Disney theme parks I’ve been to based on their dining, this would finish dead last. Frankly, it’s not even close. When I’m not writing blog posts about where to dine in Magic Kingdom and someone asks me where to eat in that park, I generally just say to go somewhere else. I did include a couple of those places on this list as the nearby spots! That said, there are some restaurants I like here, they all just have a flaw or two about them.
Really quick, just wanted to shout out Sonny Eclipse from Cosmic Ray’s because he’s an icon but the food there is terrible and I did not include it. Let’s get to the places I did include!
Columbia Harbor House – The one true counter-service spot on this list is the restaurant in Magic Kingdom I visit the most. This restaurant is on the border of Fantasyland and Liberty Square, taking its theme from the latter. If you like seafood then there are some quality options here including the Shrimp Boil, Lobster Roll and Grilled Salmon. If you don’t like seafood then, well, could I interest you in chicken strips? This is the most ambitious of the Magic Kingdom counter-service spots and is pretty good overall.
Jungle Navigation Co. LTD Skipper Canteen – Sticking with the ambitious menu thought, Skipper Canteen is the most adventurous (no pun intended) place for eaters in Magic Kingdom. While the menu has changed over time, there are quite a few interesting options and a wide range in prices, from $21-$38 in the entrees. I’ve liked those entrees pretty well but the best thing I’ve had here are the Cachapas on the appetizer menu. The wait staff is sure to crack a few jokes based on the Jungle Cruise and it’s a fun dining experience for the whole family.
The Plaza Restaurant – Another pretty affordable table-service meal, The Plaza Restaurant offers American diner food while sitting on the corner of Main Street. I enjoy the Loaded Fries and the Club Sandwich here but nothing has really wowed me. This is a great spot to beat the heat though and a dependable meal. I do like the atmosphere, especially if you can score a table with a view of the castle.
Be Our Guest – I’m hesitant to even link our review on this one because it is out of date. Be Our Guest now offers a 3-course Prix-Fixe menu for $67. It’s too expensive and I really do long for the days where this was a counter-service restaurant during lunch. If it was still that, then this would be an easy number one on the list. Instead, it earns a spot solely based on ambiance, as dining in Beast’s Castle is a step above any other atmosphere in Magic Kingdom.
Sleepy Hollow Refreshments – I contemplated leaving this off the list but we do end up here a lot. Sleepy Hollow offers a few items but what they’re best known for are the waffles. Whether savory or sweet, these are a pretty good option if you’re looking for something fast. I don’t seem to love them as much as everyone else but they’re unique to the park and pretty good overall.
Roaring Fork/Geyser Point Bar & Grill (Wilderness Lodge) – I decided to list just the counter-service spots instead of going with ‘eat anywhere at Wilderness Lodge’ as I was trying to follow my own rules. Just a quick shoutout to Storybook Dining because it’s fantastic! A short boat ride away from Magic Kingdom is Wilderness Lodge and it’s two excellent quick dining spots. Roaring Fork is inside of the hotel and offers BBQ, burgers and sandwiches. Geyser Point, which I like just slightly better, is an open air restaurant that doubles as a lounge. The menu there is a little more creative but both options are excellent and fairly priced!
Capt. Cook’s (Polynesian) – We’ll end the list with a real standby! Taking the monorail loop over to the Polynesian to cool off in the middle of the day is a great way to spend an hour, made even better by food. This counter-service spot overlooks the pool and has a view of Magic Kingdom across the lake. Capt. Cook’s serves approachable Polynesian food and, in our experience, the more ambitious the menu item, the better it is here. If you can’t afford the Contemporary’s California Grill but need a respite from Magic Kingdom, this is a great spot to go!
Where are your favorite spots to eat in and around Magic Kingdom? Let us know, along with any questions you might have, in the comments below! If you are planning a trip to Disney World, then check out our planning guide. Looking for discount Walt Disney World tickets? Check out this site! If you enjoy what you are reading here on Wandering in Disney please share this post with your friends, as well as like our social media pages. You can also subscribe to the blog via WordPress or email. You can do all of that on the right side of this page. Thank you for reading, we really appreciate it!
Categories: Restaurant Reviews