Tag Archives: Counter Service Dining
When I think of food at Walt Disney World, my mind hardly ever goes to Magic Kingdom except to think about the coveted Dole Whip! I tend to dream and salivate about Ohana, and the Tusker House breakfast until I tried something at the Columbia Harbour House that changed the way I viewed dining at the MK!
I didn’t eat at the Colombia Harbour House until about 4 trips ago, and I am hooked! The Columbia Harbour House is located in Liberty Square close to the Hall of Presidents and across the street from the Haunted Mansion. Before I had actually entered the Columbia Harbour House, I always thought it was probably small and crowded but I was wrong. This place is good sized in the inside with plenty of seating with an upstairs too! I have never experienced this place to be super busy, although there has always been a line! I have not had a problem finding a place to sit. I love how cool the Columbia Harbour House feels on a hot Florida day, it is really refreshing! Something else I really like about eating here is that there are a lot of outlets by the tables against the wall, and while I don’t know if we are supposed to use them I always plug my iPhone in while dining here!
I just returned from Walt Disney World after being there for 9 days, and I wanted to make sure to tell you about something that can save you BIG on your Disney vacation… ordering off the kids menu.
If you are really wanting to save some cash on your next Disney vacation then when eating quick service (aka counter service) order off of the KIDS Menu instead of the adult menu. You can read more about counter service HERE. Let me see if I can break it down for you with an example:
The adults meal is a little pricy. It is an Angus burger, about 1/4 pound and the smallest version of the adult drink goes for $11.58 (pre-tax).
The meal comes with a burger and fries. That’s it. You have to pay for that drink separately.
The kids burger meal goes for $5.40 (pre-tax). It includes a burger, fries (if you want them), an additional side item (I had grapes) AND a small drink.
So lets compare.
- Both have burgers. You can see from the picture that the adults is larger, but not by all that much.
- Both have the same amount of fries (you can see they’re on the same size plate).
- Kids meal comes with an additional side item.
- Kids meal comes with a small drink. (Pecos does not have re-fillable drinks but there are many others that DO have refillable drinks so size doesn’t matter there at all).
- Adult meal costs $11.58, Kids meal costs $5.40
So for those of you who are not math genius’ (like me) that’s more than DOUBLE for the adult meal than the kids meal.
If you were really hungry you could actually buy TWO kids meals if you were really hungry and have:
- - TWO drinks (which would equal the same amount of one adult)
- - TWO burgers (which together would be significantly more than the adult burger)
- - DOUBLE the amount of fries
- - AND get a bag of grapes AND A COOKIE
AND YOU’D STILL SAVE .78 on the adult meal!
This applies to breakfasts too!
The kids version? 4.99 which is .70. No big deal alone, but you missed something. With an adult you’d still have to buy a drink unless you’d pre-paid for a resort mug. With the kids meal I got that chocolate milk, AND applesauce, along with my bacon and mickey waffles. I got more food for less money.
So why don’t more people do it? Well I think they’re worried they’re “going to get in trouble”. Let me reassure you… (because I eat off the kids menu all the time), the people checking you out don’t REMOTELY care what you’ve ordered or how old you are. The table-service people do because they make a tip off of your ticket, but they wouldn’t let you order off the kids meal anyhoo!
So, you want a big value that will save you a lot at Walt Disney World and Disneyland? Order off of the kids menu when eating quick service and then if you’re still hungry spring for one of these bad boys!
PS. This doesn’t work if you’re using the Disney Dining Plan. They’re going to take adult credits anyway so you might as well eat “bigger” (but this also makes me question if the dining plan is REALLY worth it. (to be discussed HERE at a later date so stay tuned!
You can get many more money saving tips from the Disney Diva by clicking HERE!
- Oops, I Did It Again! Unexpected trip to Disney World (chipandco.com)
- Top 10 Table Service Meals at the WDW Parks (chipandco.com)
The China Pavilion has some of the most beautiful scenery in all of Epcot. The Pavilion is a great visual representation of China, complete with a replica of the Temple of Heaven, ponds, bridges, and artwork representing the country of China. Unfortunately, there is one thing completely lost in translation: the food.
From reputation alone, I have avoided the Nine Dragons. Reviews call it “flavorless” and recommend stopping pretty much anywhere else. If you have a good Chinese restaurant in your home town, you will most likely be disappointed by the food here. Definitely not “wowed.” My experience comes from lunch several years ago at the Lotus Blossom Cafe – the counter service option in the China Pavilion.
Similar to mall food, the options were limited, and the flavors were greasy and not tasty enough for the grease. Though I’ve heard great things about the egg rolls, the meal that I had sticks out for one reason – I have no idea what I ate, I just remember thinking that it was not good. Surrounded by so many other great pavilions with other counter service options, I would definitely recommend to stop and watch the Chinese Acrobats, but to continue walking when you’re hungry for a full meal.
Enjoy the stunning Pavilion, but for me – let’s update the food options!
- Top 10 Epcot “Must Dos” (chipandco.com)
- Pictures in the Park – China Pavilion (mydreamsofdisney.com)
Earlier this month you had the chance to check out Chris’s Top Eats: Disneyworld Counter Service Meals. She had some very interesting choices and stayed away from your average burger and fry locations. I am more of a traditionalist and love a good burger and fries.
Here are my choices for Disneyworld Counter Service Dining Restaurants.
5. Beaches & Cream Soda Shop – I had to start off my list with B&C. Yes they do have one of the best burgers at WDW but they also have ICE CREAM! I have yet to try the kitchen sink, that thing would give Man vs Food a run for his money.
4. Casey’s Corner – A great place to have a hot dog right on Main Street. I was having a hard time picking between here and the Main Street Bakery as they are both really good. Casey has the best viewing location for Wishes Nigh-time Spectacular
3. Sleepy Hollow – One of my favorite places to grab some funnel cake. They have other goodies too but I mainly go for some Fried Dough..Nom Nom Nom
2. Boulangerie Patisserie – We love getting a snack or a sandwich and popping a squat on the table and chairs outside this quaint cafe in Epcot’s France Pavilion.
1. Starring Rolls Cafe – One the best places to get baked goods in all of Disneyworld. Main Street Bakery is good but Starring Rolls is GREAT! Get the Butterfinger Cupcake it is to die for!
This is a very tough list to narrow down as there are some many good, quick counter service locations at Walt Disney World. What are some of your favorite Counter Service locations? Let us know in the comment section below.
Disney World Table Service locations offer more than just burgers and fries. Here are my personal top five, which is definitely light on the burgers and fries:
5. Casey’s Corner in the Magic Kingdom. I’m not a huge hot dog fan anywhere else, but there’s something about a hotdog from Casey’s, especially on your way out of the Magic Kingdom or while you’re watching the fireworks. Check out our article for more Disney World Firework Viewing Locations.
4. Mara in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. It’s a bit out of the way, so if you’re not staying there you may never get a chance to try it, but if you’re doing some resort hopping, it’s definitely worth having lunch at Mara. Good sandwiches, flat breads, and friendly service. The turkey sandwich on ciabatta bread with kalamata olive spread is literally one of the best sandwiches I’ve had anywhere.
3. Sunshine Seasons, Epcot. Something for everyone, good quality, and fresh taste. Some of the best counter service options in any Disney park. It’s also one of the few counter service places in Epcot that serves breakfast. Many times it is not that busy too!
2. Sommerfest, located in the Germany Pavilion at Epcot. It’s a bit out of the way, located next to the queue area for Biergarten, so you might just miss it. There’s not a lot of variety, but you can satisfy your craving for German food with a bratwurst and a slice of Black Forest cake. They also serve beer, wine, pastries and pretzels. The seating area is small, but if you can get a table it’s very cool and shady. You’ll feel like you’re in a little town square in Germany.
1. Wolfgang Puck Express, Downtown Disney. Hands down, the best value for your counter service dining plan credits. It’s also just plain good food. Disney pizza tends to have a bad reputation, but WPE serves pizza that I would eat anywhere, not just because I’m at Disney World and the kids really want pizza. The service is friendly, it’s in an open and airy space, and it’s rarely crowded like the Earl of Sandwich, which is nearby. Love the aforementioned pizzas, sandwiches, pastas and salads. The entrees here are as good as you’ll find in a casual sit-down restaurant; some of them are even better. There’s no skimping on the quality ingredients. Don’t forget to try the crème brulee.
With Top Eats, Chip and I want to share our favorite food experiences with you. We’d love to hear about your favorite counter service restaurants as well in the comments section.
- Around The ‘Disney’ World – Epcot’s Morocco Pavilion (chipandco.com)
- Disney Food for Families: Counter Service Dining with the Adventurous Child (disneyfoodblog.com)