Columbia Harbour House

by josh on November 26, 2012

10/8/14: Menu updated and items added.

Location: Columbia Harbour House is located in Liberty Square across from Haunted Mansion.

Food Type: Seafood, Salads, Sandwiches, Soup.

Dining Plan: One quick service credit and a couple items count as snacks.

Menu:



For Dinner:

Seafood Macaroni & Cheese – Lobster and Shrimp served over Macaroni & Cheese – $10.99 replaces the Lobster Roll

Chicken Pot Pie with Steamed Fresh Broccoli – $9.59 is added

Unique Items: Almost the entire menu is unique or rare.  The only exceptions are the Chicken Nuggets, Fried Fish, Kids Picks, Fries, and Beverages.

Advantages:

  • Some of the freshest, healthiest (in some cases), most unique quick service fare at the Magic Kingdom.
  • The upstairs seating is the quietest at the Park and the theming is pleasant.
  • Food is prepared fresh and usually served at the appropriate temperature.  Hot food is generally piping hot and cold sandwiches and salads are served at a nice cold temperature.
  • Portions are large and pricing is reasonable.
  • The Clam Chowder is outstanding and the same stuff that’s served at Liberty Tree Tavern.  The Vegetarian Chili is also a nice hearty snack or a perfect complement to a shared meal.

Disadvantages:

  • At peak times, service is often slow – both to order and then the wait to pick up your food.
  • The menu might benefit from a couple more generic items so that the entire family can find something they’d like to order.  I’m not a proponent of the Disney burger, but the lack of one does stop people from dining here.

Value: High.  This is the freshest, often times healthiest quick service food you’ll find at the Magic Kingdom.  Portions are large and prices are reasonable, relatively speaking.  Order any of the items without the Bagged Chips or Side Item to save $2.

Reputation: High.  This is a favorite quick service of anyone in the know.

Food Choices:

Lighthouse Sandwich


What’s in it?  I have no idea.  Actually, AllEars will tell you exactly what’s in it here.  It’s basically tomato, hummus, shredded broccoli, and honey dijon dressing.  It’s a unique sandwich, but there really isn’t much “oomph” to it for those of us who aren’t vegetarians.  Bread, hummus, and broccoli will only take me so far.  I need some MEAT or something.  With that said, it is one of the better vegetarian options that is unique to Columbia Harbour House.  Other than the lack of oomph, my only complaint is that the amount of dressing on it makes the entire sandwich pretty soggy.  It isn’t necessarily a bad thing though.  It’s a great choice for vegetarians and likely a highlight of the trip.

Anchors Aweigh

Mother is about to have a heart attack as the Anchors Aweigh is a Tuna Sandwich with Lettuce and Tomato.  Historically, I don’t like tuna.  Just the smell gives me a headache and I’m not usually finicky about such things.  But now that I’m 750 pounds, I’ve tried to increase my consumption of lean proteins – tuna being one of them.

The sandwich was surprisingly enjoyable.  It had very little fishy taste and was light on the mayo.  The lettuce and tomato were fresh and provided a nice crisp crunch.  The bread was perfectly toasted.  I’ve honestly never had a tuna sandwich before in my life, so the experts may have to weigh in (GET IT? WEIGH IN?  ANCHORS AWEIGH?  Nevermind.)  But I was happy with it.  I didn’t think it was particularly filling, but I’m also used to Disney gut bombs.

I wasn’t entirely prepared to order when I walked up to the podium and forgot that I wanted the sandwich without a side, so I ended up with $1/ounce apples.  As the label reads, they were crispy, juicy, and surprisingly flavorful for a bag full of old apple slices.

Lobster Roll

Like the Tomorrowland Terrace version, this pleased.  For any of you “I’m from Maine that is not a Lobster Roll” folks, that’s probably true.  But if it was, Disney would charge you $75 for it.  This was nice and cold and had a nice Lobster flavor.  If you ask to look at the ingredients, you’d see that lobster is the first ingredient on the list.  The bun is light and fresh and only sort of disintegrates underneath the lobster mass.  It’s filling without the gut bomb feeling that you might get if you down one of Pecos Bill’s burgers.  I enjoyed it and it’s a nice option, particularly when it’s hot and you’re looking for something cold that isn’t a salad or a turkey sandwich.

Fried Shrimp Platter


While it’s the second most expensive entree on the menu, I think it’s also the most compelling value.  Seafood isn’t cheap no matter where you go, and the shrimp platter includes ten large shrimp, a healthy portion of french fries, and a side of coleslaw. The shrimp have a distinct crunch, yet the breading is light and the shrimp flavorful.  In your author’s opinion, the shrimp platter is a higher quality meal than your run-of-the-mill burger or chicken nugget basket and offers a better value for your money.  It’s my favorite Disney quick service meal.

Chicken Breast Nuggets and Fish

As one might expect, this is your standard Disney Chicken Breast Nuggets and Battered Fish.

I’m not crazy about Disney Fried Fish here or at ABC Commissary, which serves the same stuff.  But it’s okay – served alongside Heinz Tartar Sauce packets that always seem to be impossible to open.  You should receive two strips of fish and five nuggets, making this a reasonable value if you’re looking to go the deep fried route and don’t like shrimp.

Grilled Salmon

This isn’t a bad value at $10.99, considering the price of even lowish quality salmon.  The broccoli was fine.  Maybe “under steamed” a bit for my liking.  I’m used to steaming broccoli in a bag in the microwave until its limp and has lost any indication that it’s broccoli though, so I may not be the best judge in that respect.  It did retain a bit of a “crunch” or “raw texture,” which may very well be ideal.  The couscous was about the same quality you’d get from a box in the grocery store.  That is to say, it was fine.  By the time I got it to the table, it was no longer hot (if it ever was), which was a bummer.  The texture is what you would like to see in a couscous – it wasn’t overcooked and mushy.  Considering the quantity that must be prepared, the attention was commendable.  Not a ton of flavor, but couscous generally has a subtle taste unless it’s over seasoned.

The salmon had an overpoweringly tart taste, like it had too much lemon.  It was hot, flaky, and cooked well, but they didn’t have the marinade quite right (in my opinion).  I would have liked to see a more subtle flavor from the marinade that brought out the flavor of the fish.  Of course, a strong sauce also covers up a lower quality salmon.  We’ll see what other people have to say about it down the road.  I’m not much of a food critic, as you can tell.  Overall, the meal was just fine.  It’s nice to see some healthier options that aren’t salads with fried chicken on top served with a high calorie ranch dressing.  I always laugh at the people dumping the full tub of Caesar dressing on their salad at the Costco Food Court, completely oblivious to the fact that there’s more fat in that tub than in a huge piece of Costco pizza.  But that’s only because I’m mean.

Broccoli Peppercorn Salad


The Broccoli Peppercorn Salad – mixed greens, garden vegetables, chicken, broccoli, bacon, parmesan, tossed with a creamy peppercorn salad ($8.59) – another relatively new item at Columbia Harbour House.  It was well above average with a nice mix of crunchy vegetables and a somewhat unique peppercorn dressing.  The “garden vegetables” are peas, corn, and carrots, but it’s a nice mix of “stuff.”  Not a huge portion of grilled chicken on top, but my idea of a salad is a little lettuce with a lot of chicken – not something served outside Josh’s Kitchen.  You’ll particularly like this if you like creamier salad dressings.  Most Disney salads are served with balsamic vinaigrette or run-of-the-mill Ken’s Ranch.

Garden Harvest Salad


This is the Garden Harvest Salad, described as having Mixed Greens, Garden Vegetables, Green Beans, Carrots, and Chicken for $8.19.

For a company that’s generally well regarded as catering to those with special dietary needs and allergies, it continues to surprise me that their menus are so vague.  What salad dressing does the salad have?  Don’t know by looking at the menu.  You could ask, but it would just hold up the line, assuming whoever was at the register even knew.

What are “Garden Vegetables?”  It apparently includes whole and pieces of tomato.  There’s some red cabbage in there.  The dressing is a strawberry balsamic vinaigrette.  This was the first time I was offered the salad dressing on the side.  If I didn’t want the vinaigrette, I could have opted for one of their other salad dressings – Ken’s Ranch or Olive Oil from the condiment bar should be the choices.  While there’s no chicken visible, there actually was a decent amount underneath.  This is more or less your basic Disney salad.  It’s a pretty decent amount of food.  The lettuce and the rest of the ingredients are all fresh.  There was only the single whole cherry tomato.  A few green beans.  The carrots are cut in different sizes to give you more of that “harvest” feeling you specifically ordered.  It was perfectly enjoyable and the vinaigrette was a nice twist on the usual balsamic that they like to put on everything from pasta to pizzas.

Seafood Mac & Cheese

The macaroni and cheese takeover continues with this edition arriving avec lobster and shrimp.

The macaroni and cheese is the same as you’d find elsewhere – microwavable Stouffer’s quality with a half dozen gummy shrimp placed on top along with three or four sizable pieces of lukewarm lobster. The flavor may work better for you than it did me and Lisa – the radioactive looking cheese didn’t seem to mesh well with the off-taste of low quality seafood. It’s not necessarily a terrible value as it’s a large portion with a decent amount of seafood on top. I think it works better as a shared side than it does as a meal. It’s heavy and one-dimensional.

Chicken Pot Pie

The Chicken Pot Pie isn’t so much a pie as it is a thick chicken soup spooned inside of a crumbly crust. There is no baked crust on top, only bread crumbs.

There is a considerable amount of diced chicken inside a light broth with a few vegetables – carrots, corn, and peas. The flavor reminded me a lot of a Campbell’s Chunky Soup.

It’s potentially a lighter option, particularly with the hefty side of nicely steamed broccoli, but I don’t think its presence beckons a special trip over.

Vegetarian Chili

Obviously, it would be better with beef, but it’s also one of the best. heartiest vegetarian snacks on property.  It’s full of beans, corn, and to a lesser extent, mushrooms and olives.  It has a bit of a kick to it, but not overwhelmingly so.  It is Disney after all, so you can be sure it will appeal to most palettes.  At $4.99, it’s a pretty decent value.  It’s restaurant quality and a nice choice if the vegetarian in your group is looking for something hot to eat that isn’t a dessert.  Recommended, especially because it’s served piping hot.

New England Clam Chowder

This is the same soup that’s served over at Liberty Tree Tavern and it’s excellent – hearty with chunks of potatoes and clams with a hot, rich broth.  Because it’s on the heavy side, I could easily see two adults splitting the soup and the Fried Shrimp.  You’d be getting a large meal for less than the Chicken/Rib Combo over at Cosmic Ray’s.

Seating:

Columbia Harbour House has plentiful indoor seating on two levels.  Check upstairs for quieter surroundings because those with strollers have difficulty getting up there without an obvious elevator.

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Melanie November 26, 2012 at 5:11 pm

I would definitely recommend the fried shrimp. It is delicious!

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Bob November 26, 2012 at 5:54 pm

I had the The Broccoli Peppercorn Salad a couple of weeks ago and highly recommend it. Lots of chicken and quite filling.

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KJay November 26, 2012 at 8:10 pm

Love that Lighthouse sandwich!!

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Lisa November 27, 2012 at 2:59 am

I love Columbia Harbor House. The quality is excellent. I agree that the fried shrimp is the best!

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Schmoodle November 27, 2012 at 5:30 am

I’ve had the salmon, fried shrimp, and the tuna sandwich (adult and kids), all very good. I really want to try the chowder, but I can’t seem to tear myself away from the tuna. We always eat here at least once per trip, more if I can manage it.

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shalom November 27, 2012 at 8:07 am

I thought their fried shrimp was excellent, but I’m a midwesterner, so not picky.

You are correct that steamed broccoli should still be a bit crunchy, although that’s not how I like it, either. But Disney’s trying to retain the vitamins or whatever, so good on them.

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Tricia November 27, 2012 at 10:13 am

Fried shrimp meal = amazing.

Not as good as fish in the UK though…

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annie November 27, 2012 at 3:29 pm

I enjoyed the Lighthouse Sandwich, but I found Columbia Harbour House to have the slowest service of any counter restaurant we encountered over five days in the parks.

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Nate December 4, 2012 at 6:14 pm

We enjoyed this place. For some reason it felt like a nice break during a busy MK day. I am all things Disney but it was nice to take a break in a place that didn’t scream “Disney”. You’re in the heart of it all but you wouldn’t know it…that can make a huge difference especially with children.

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LesliePR December 6, 2012 at 4:28 am

This wonderful restaurant is one of the places to get hot choc and cookies during MVMCP so it closes early on those nights, which we found out when we went there on 11/27/2012 and i was SO disappointed! I fell in love with this place five years ago, so didn’t get there this year :-(

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Jo December 29, 2012 at 3:18 pm

This place is great. Healthy, tasty alternatives to the usual, I had the grilled salmon. Really good with lots of seating upstairs.

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Cheryl January 5, 2013 at 8:08 am

Can you use a snack credit for the vegetarian chili and the clam chowder? My 7 year would much rather eat those than the kid’s choices! Thanks!

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Alice February 17, 2013 at 3:44 am

Has anyone tried the lemon slush? It sounds good.

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Andy February 17, 2013 at 8:56 am

Alice, as a connoisseur of all ice-based drinks I can tell you that the lemon slush is delicious. Perfect with the lobster roll on a hot summer day.

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Lee March 3, 2013 at 12:21 am

Well, I’m from Maine, and this lobster roll looks pretty OK. I have been eating lobster rolls for over 50 years, with lobster brought by the lobsterman to my nana’s back door. Lobster rolls should be made with lobster, diced celery, salt, and pepper. No lettuce (although some will argue this point), no avocado, tomato, or onion slice (a la Martha Stewart). The roll is the secret ingredient. It HAS to be the kind of hot dog roll that has the vertical slice in the middle, so you can open the roll from the top, with white-bread sides (not crust). You butter the sides of the roll and grill them in a frying pan, like for grilled cheese sandwiches. The lobster roll pictured looks right, although I can’t tell about celery/lettuce or if the roll is properly grilled… HOWEVER, I have NEVER eaten yellow clam chowder! What’s IN that bowl??

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JenniferS April 2, 2013 at 2:19 pm

Another big thumbs up for the Anchors Aweigh sandwich.
Sooooooo good!

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Joy W April 7, 2013 at 7:14 am

My husband and I were very pleasantly surprised by how delicious the apple crisp was. We weren’t expecting much, but it really tasted homemade.

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Melanie January 19, 2014 at 2:11 pm

I LOVE this place! Every trip we go here at least once. I really like the vegetarian chili and couscous.(better than the couscous at Tangierine Café) I’m not a vegetarian, but I love how it tastes! I also like the fact that you can go upstairs and cool down on a warm summer day, and get away from the rush of things.

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Orla March 16, 2014 at 3:48 am

I’m sure this must be a stupid question, but do you need a reservation for this restaurant? Heading at Easter so I know there’ll be crowds EVERYWHERE!

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Anonymous October 16, 2014 at 7:36 pm

No

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dusty cheatham October 12, 2014 at 5:24 am

the tuna sandwich is delish if you are tried of burgers

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Beth October 12, 2014 at 5:44 pm

I am a huge fan of the lighthouse sandwich. we go to CHH on every trip just so i can get one!

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Amanda October 12, 2014 at 6:28 pm

I’m a big fan of the broccoli peppercorn salad. It is a great break from fried meat and fries! And the soup is good too. We like the salmon, but maybe the marinade was better the day we went?

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Lauren October 23, 2014 at 11:27 am

Does anyone know if the tuna has raw onion in it? From the photos it looks like it has celery, which I like. I’m just not a big fan of onion.

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