Category Archives: Reviews
By now, I’ve written how to make the most of your counter service dining at all the Disney theme parks. Now, it’s time for the Downtown Disney area. Downtown Disney is home to my all time favorite counter service dining location on property-Wolfgang Puck Express. While Downtown Disney can be a great place to grab souvenirs and use some snack credits, eating a meal at some of the following locations is also a must!
Wolfgang Puck Express-Wood fired pizza, pastas, salads….tortilla soup, sandwiches, even breakfast! This counter service location has a HUGE menu. Love it! Also, talk about variety. The pizzas can be made almost any way you’d like-bbq chicken pizza, margherita pizza, four cheese pesto pizza, my mouth is watering just thinking about eating there!
Recently, I shared with you how to make the most of your counter service dining at the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT. Today, I am giving you some suggestions for Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Just because you have counter service dining, doesn’t mean you have to eat the same thing over and over again. Even if children are part of your group, they don’t have to eat just chicken tenders and peanut butter and jelly all the time. Yes, those are often choices at the counter service restaurants as far as children go. However, we’ve been known to get a kids meal for a “snack”…..no worries, we use those snack credits, too …..and maybe let the kids share off of our meal for dinner or lunch. We don’t misuse our food credits. We just try to be creative, and use them so we’re getting variety, trying new things, and getting the most for our money.
It was so exciting try a different Character Meal during my February trip to Walt Disney World. My daughter and our two good friends, Les and Lisa had a “girls’ breakfast” at Cape May and really enjoyed it.
Cape May Cafe is at the Beach Club Resort on Walt Disney World property. We had a car so we just parked in the guest parking lot, but if you were staying on property you would want to take a bus to either Hollywood Studios or Epcot for your reservation and be sure to plan that into your travel time. Once we got to the host station, we received our buzzer and had a seat in the lovely Beach Club lobby for just a few minutes. We probably waited for less than 5 minutes before our buzzer went off.
The restaurant is much larger than I thought it was going to be, and could accommodate many guests. The dining rooms sport a classic 30’s beach theme and there is a buffet that will blow your mind. It’s also one of the most affordable Character Meals out there at $25.00 for adults and $12.99 for children, and a great way to see the some of the “Fab 5” ( Minnie, Goofy, and Donald).
I remember in the 80′s when Epcot opened, my family visited the Living Seas. I remember thinking that it was one really huge aquarium as I descended in my hydrolater and then rode my seacab (does anybody remember those things?) to “Seabase Alpha”. In fact, the Living Seas IS a huge aquarium filled with 5.7 million gallons of salt-water and over 6,000 sea creatures.
The Coral Reef Restaurant actually opened in 1986 at the same time as the rest of the Pavilion. In the 26 years that it opened and all the many times we have visited Epcot in those 26 years, I have never made an ADR (Advanced Dining Reservation) at the Coral Reef.
However, on the “girls leg” of my trip in February, my daughter said she’d like to eat somewhere different. So I went on my smart phone to the mobile Disney Dining Reservations site and booked a table for two, for later that day so we could “eat with the fish“!
We arrived at the Restaurant and checked in. There was actually a bit of drama all around us, as a large family was trying to get themselves coordinated to celebrate their parents anniversary. They took up, I kid you not, most of the dining room. I stood and waited significantly longer than I thought I would.
For many people, the only way they can afford a Walt Disney World vacation is to stay at the Value Resorts, which is Disney’s least expensive group of hotels. I am part of this group, and I personally LOVE the Value Resorts, the decor is huge and tacky and right up my alley, the rooms are just enough for what I need, and there are a lot of food options to choose from!
They are all fairly similar in most ways, including in their dining offerings, each of the 4 Resorts has a food court, which is setup with several different stations each serving different types of menu items. There are also areas of pre-packaged meals, snacks, desserts, drinks, etc.
In my experience, it can be hard to eat ‘healthy’ while on vacation, and at Walt Disney World there are so many restaurants and yummy dishes to choose from, that it makes it that much harder to stay on track, food-and-diet-wise! Luckily, there are actually a lot of available choices that can give you the healthy nutrients you need to stay energized for a full day of touring the Parks!
Healthy Meal Options:
-Packaged sandwiches – they come without any dressing/mayo on them (packets are available)
-Packaged and fresh made salads with low fat dressing options
-Packaged Sushi that is made fresh daily (I know because I asked!)
-Yogurt cups – both regular and greek varieties
-Parfaits – a great fast breakfast of yogurt/granola/fruit
Healthy Drink Options:
-Juice – including 100% Simply Orange Juice, and other options that aren’t 100% fruit juice, but hey it’s still a better choice than soda in my book!
-Vitamin Water (regular and no calorie varieties available) and Powerade
-Milk options – including 1%, skim, and low fat chocolate
-Soda Machine – Minute Maid Light Lemonade, Diet Coke, and Sprite Zero were all found here
-V8 – because hey, it can’t hurt to get some extra vegetables in your diet while on vacation!
Healthy Snack Options:
-Fruit – mixed fruit salad, bowls of grapes or pineapple, and individual pieces of fruit – which can be used as a dessert if you’re on the Disney Dining Plan
-Celery/Carrot sticks packaged with ranch dressing
-Apple Slices packaged with caramel
-Fat Free, No Sugar added sorbet – available next to the frozen ice cream treats, I have seen Mango but I am sure there are other flavors too
Eating with Kids? All of the Kid’s meals available in the food courts (and most available at the Counter Service restaurants in the Parks too!) include a choice of 2 sides: grapes, carrot sticks, applesauce, yogurt, gelatin, pudding, or a cookie. They also include a choice of beverage: bottled water, 1% milk, 100% apple juice, or a soft drink. Obviously there are some healthier choices in there, which is nice to see, and Disney has been making an effort to push the better-for-you choices (it’s good to have choices for young ones that aren’t just chicken nuggets and fries!)
I don’t know about you, but Dessert can be tricky for me, as I LOVE baked goods, and will take any chance to try something new, be it a cupcake or a cookie, and I am a sucker for the Mickey Rice Krispie Treats! Having the option of getting a piece of fruit or a fruit salad for dessert is great, and it is something I try to take advantage of as often as possible (as long as the cupcakes don’t lure me in, that is!)
One great thing about this is that most of the items I have listed above are pre-packaged, which means not only are they helping you stay healthy, but they are fast and easy to grab on your way to/from the Parks!
I took all of these photos when I was staying at POP Century last month, but I have recently been to the All Star Resorts as well, and the selection they have is pretty much exactly the same as at POP. The Moderate the Deluxe Resorts will also have some of these items, but I personally find that the selection at their Quick Service eateries is not as large (perhaps because at the Value Resorts, there is no other place to eat but the food courts, so Disney makes sure they are stocked with a better variety of items? Just my personal theory!).
I can’t say enough good things about the Value Resorts, and I especially love their food courts, the food is always freshly prepared, the Cast Members are always polite and efficient, and the healthy food options help me stay on track while on vacation, which to me is the biggest perk of all!
- Gettin’ Your Sweat On – Where To Workout at WDW (chipandco.com)
- Top 3 Places To Get An “Adult Beverage” at WDW (livinginagrownupworld.wordpress.com)