Backlot Express

by josh on November 29, 2012

10/7/14 Update: Menu updated and items added.

Location: Backlot Express is located in Echo Lake in between Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular and Star Tours.  You’ll find it closer to Star Tours on the left side of it.

Food Type: Burgers, Chicken Nuggets, Hot Dogs, Salads, Sandwiches.

Dining Plan: One quick service credit and some items count as snack credits.


Unique Items: Buffalo Chicken Breast Nuggets, Southwest Salad with Chicken, and Cantaloupe and Cucumber Salad.


  • Fountain beverage machines are accessible to guests so you can get as many refills as you want.
  • Tons and tons of outdoor seating.  Indoor, air-conditioned seating is also available.
  • Inside, the theming is as good as any Disney quick service.
  • Convenient location.
  • More options than most quick services.


  • Menu isn’t particularly inspired.
  • May close several hours before the Park.
  • Much busier after an Indiana Jones Stunt Show because of its proximity to the exit.

Value: Average.  Most items on the menu are Disney staples.  The fact that you can easily refill your beverage is a nice bonus though!

Reputation: Average.  I don’t think Backlot Express is on too many people’s “must do” list, but the theming is very good and the food is prototypical Disney.

Food Choices:

Buffalo Chicken Nuggets:

The cast member working the register noted that they were “spicy” and asked if that would be okay.  Knowing this was ridiculous, I smiled and asked, “Like a two or three out of ten?”  She confided in me that it was a three or four.

I’m inclined to agree.  They are a little spicy, but we’re not talking ghost peppers here.  They dipped nicely into the Ken’s ranch dressing bucket.

Chicken Breast Nuggets:

Disney Chicken Nuggets are basically the same theme-park-wide.  The exterior is light/crispy and they aren’t greasy.  The nuggets are quite good dipped in sauce, though nothing spectacular or much different than Tyson brand nuggets you can heat in the oven at home.  If you’re looking for something that isn’t quite as heavy and don’t want a salad, then the nuggets aren’t a bad idea.  At nearly $9, they don’t offer much value though.  The Buffalo version have a bit of a kick to them.

Southwest Salad with Chicken:

Mixed Greens, Crisp Corn Tortilla, Black Bean Relish, Avocado, and Cilantro Vinaigrette.  And Chicken.

I don’t know if I had bad luck or what, but this was the worst salad I’ve ever had at Walt Disney World.  There’s virtually no chicken in it.  Maybe three bites.  The salad dressing was either tasteless or nonexistent.  I ended up dumping two ranch dressing containers on it, which probably means the Cheeseburger would have been healthier.  The lettuce wasn’t particularly crisp and the small bits of avocado only added to the mushy texture.  I think this is supposed to be similar to the Fairfax Salad or Dig Site Salad, but it just wasn’t working.  If you’ve had a better experience, please post!  Hopefully it was just a salad creating noob behind the wheel or something.  At present, not recommended at all.

Cantaloupe and Cucumber Salad:

Chopped Romaine, Red Onions, Tomato, Green Peas, and Zinfandel Vinaigrette.

Without any protein, this seemed like an oversized side salad with a lot of chewing involved.

But it was also as fresh as possible with chilled ingredients and crunchy vegetables. It would not be enough to satisfy most large appetites, but it’s certainly a nice lighter option if you’re in the market and the rest of the fam insists on the bacon cheeseburgers. You may also consider splitting a salad and one of the heavier items.

Pressed Turkey Sandwich

This Pressed Turkey Club – Turkey, Bacon, Swiss, Roasted Red Pepper, Arugula and Multigrain Bread served with Carrot Sticks or French Fries is pretty lousy.

A couple slices of limp bacon, few slices of cheap lunch meat, and melted swiss along with the accompaniments.

Studio Catering Co. sandwiches are better and more diverse. This does the trick and doesn’t appear to be a gut bomb that will take years off our lives, but it’s bland and forgettable too.

Kids Grilled Vegetable Sandwich (half size adult portion):

I was a bit wary of the vegetable sandwich – Basil Asiago Artisan Bread, fresh Mushrooms, Red Peppers, Zucchini, Tomato, Watercress, Cheese, and Sun-dried Tomato Pesto as I am not a vegetarian by choice. But the overwhelming flavor was ooey gooey melted cheese with some crunch from the plentiful vegetables. I mean this thing was stuffed with perfectly grilled vegetables on delicious, toasted bread. If you do eat vegetarian, you may want to add this to your short list (it’s available as a full size adult entree as well). I thought it was really good.

For pre-packaged fare, the kids’ chocolate chip cookies are decent enough.


Backlot Express has plentiful air-conditioned seating in several different themed rooms.  Just like Restaurantosaurus at Animal Kingdom, the rich theming helps make up for a somewhat bland menu.  You’ll also find covered patio tables that overlook Jedi Training Academy outside.  The view isn’t always great because people will be standing in front of the stage, but the stage is elevated and the view is usually decent.  There are also covered outdoor tables in front of the main entrance.


Backlot Expres is the only quick service where you’ll find self-serve fountain beverage machines with free refills.  Note that fountain beverages do cost 30 cents more than the small size at other quick service locations and 10 cents less than the 32-ounce large size.  You’re welcome to fill up your cup before exiting the quick service.  Also note that the cups look the same here as every other quick service at the Studios.

Otherwise, the condiment bar at Backlot Express is similar to others at the Studios.  You’ll find your usual assortment of packets and tubs, but nothing special.  Ketchup, mustard, and BBQ sauce are available in self-serve tubs, along with mayonnaise and relish packets.  Buttermilk ranch is the available salad dressing.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

annie December 1, 2012 at 12:54 pm

I had the Southwest Chicken Salad here in October. Mine had some kind of creamy dressing on it, not the vinaigrette that was advertised. It was not good, your salad looks much better than mine. The best part of the meal was the giant halloween cupcakes we were able to get for dessert on our DDP. The free drink refills were nice, also.


Mark December 24, 2012 at 9:25 am

Nice outdoor dinning area. Free soda refills! Good place for a burger. Not sure that this place is on the radar of first time guests. One of out “go to” lunch spots.


Tori November 17, 2013 at 9:59 am

This is one of our go-to spots, because I love the grilled vegetable sandwich and everyone else loves the soda refills and ample space to sit. I tried the SW Salad and I’m afraid you can’t chalk it up to the salad-making-noob. It was pretty soggy and bland.


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