Best Magic Kingdom Quick Service

by josh on December 12, 2012

Magic Kingdom has several of the most popular quick service locations at Walt Disney World, which makes sense because it’s the most visited of the four major theme parks.  With Be Our Guest Restaurant, it also has two of the best choices – that and Columbia Harbour House.  Let’s take a look at what’s available:

Most Unique Menu

  1. Be Our Guest Restaurant
  2. Columbia Harbour House
  3. Pinocchio Village Haus
  4. Tortuga Tavern
  5. Sleepy Hollow Refreshments
  6. Diamond Horseshoe
  7. Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe
  8. Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe
  9. Friar’s Nook
  10. Casey’s Corner
  11. The Lunching Pad

Be Our Guest Restaurant’s entire menu is full of items you won’t find elsewhere.  Columbia Harbour House also offers several entrees that you won’t find elsewhere, including tuna and hummus sandwiches, chicken pot pie, seafood macaroni and cheese, and clam chowder. Since it replaced Disney pizza with flatbreads, Pinocchio Village Haus also offers unique dishes, including the BBQ Beef Flatbread, Italian Deli Sub Sandwich, and a Mediterranean Salad, in addition to garlic knots, gelato, and tomato basil soup. While it may sound surprising, Mecican food isn’t that abundant in Disney World, making Tortuga Tavern’s burritos unique, especially now that Pecos Bill no longer serves the popular taco salad. Sleepy Hollow Refreshments offers waffle sandwiches unavailable at any other quick service.

The bottom half is less unique. While it isn’t often open, Diamond Horseshoe offers different interpretations of sandwiches and salads as most other places. While most of Pecos Bill’s items can be found elsewhere, it does offer Kurubi Style and the Southwest Chicken Salad.  Most of Cosmic Ray’s menu is standard Disney food, though their barbecued items are less common and it offers a great vegetarian tortellini salad. Both Casey’s Corner and The Lunching Pad offer similar Hot Dogs that are available at Fairfax Fare and elsewhere.

Best “Value” AKA The Most Expensive Meal  on the Disney Dining Plan

  1. Cosmic Ray’s (Dinner) (Average Entrée Cost $10.77, Most Expensive Entree $16.19)
  2. Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe (Dinner) ($10.86, $14.19)
  3. Be Our Guest Restaurant (Lunch) ( $10.72, $13.99)
  4. Columbia Harbour House (Lunch) ($9.94, $11.49)
  5. Columbia Harbour House (Lunch) ($9.53, $11.49)
  6. Cosmic Ray’s (Lunch) (Average Entrée Cost $10.23, Most Expensive Entree $10.79)
  7. Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe (Lunch) ($10.19, $10.79)
  8. Casey’s Corner ($9.25 $10.29)
  9. Pinocchio Village Haus ($9.30, $9.99)
  10. The Lunching Pad ($9.22, $9.69)
  11. Tortuga Tavern ($8.44, $9.29)
  12. Friar’s Nook ($8.50, $8.99)
  13. Sleepy Hollow Refreshments ($7.49, $7.49)

Note that Cosmic Ray’s $16.19 Chicken & Ribs Combo and Pecos Bill’s $14.19 Karubi Style Pork Ribs are only available after 4pm, which is what pushes those meals up during dinner. Be Our Guest Restaurant is only a quick service for lunch and would offer the most expensive food for that meal on average.

Best Value Out of Pocket

  1. Be Our Guest Restaurant
  2. Columbia Harbour House
  3. Sleepy Hollow Refreshments
  4. Tortuga Tavern
  5. Pinocchio Village Haus
  6. Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe
  7. Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe
  8. Casey’s Corner
  9. Diamond Horseshoe
  10. Friar’s Nook
  11. The Lunching Pad

Out of pocket value is obviously more difficult to quantify than simply looking for the most expensive entrees.  The newish Be Our Guest Restaurant wins out for the total experience – plentiful air-conditioned seating in an interesting environment, high quality food served on “real” plates with silverware, refillable drinks, and an interesting menu. Columbia Harbour House is a close second, offering fresh food at reasonable prices with comfortable seating, particularly upstairs. While not offering a terribly large menu for lunch, Sleepy Hollow’s Waffle Sandwiches are a ton of food for the money and a good value, in addition to covered seating overlooking Cinderella Castle. Tortuga Tavern offers some of the cheapest quick service fare that is reliably good, particularly dressed up at the toppings bar.  Since switching to Flatbreads from traditional Disney pizza, Pinocchio Village Haus serves better food that’s easily sharable.  Pairing a Flatbread with their Mediterranean Salad makes for an easy, shareable lunch that’s healthier and fresher than a lot of the other options.  Pecos Bill and Cosmic Ray’s serve up mostly the usual Disney burgers, hot dogs, and sandwiches.  The food isn’t spectacular by any means, but it does the job. Casey’s Corner does hot dogs better than the other locations and it offers fries as a side, which makes it a better deal than Lunching Pad with its bagged chips and apple slices. When open, Diamond Horseshoe is rarely busy and now that it offers something more than dry sandwiches, the food is better.  Still, these $9 sandwiches aren’t particularly special. Friar’s Nook’s macaroni & cheese’s are difficult to quantify. Portions are large, but it basically boils down to Stouffer’s brand with toppings that tend to look less than palatable. Entrees are a lot of calories, but it’s hard to rationalize eight bucks for a cup topped with panko bread crumbs. In last place is The Lunching Pad, offering low quality hot dogs similar to Casey’s, only with less imaginative toppings and only bagged chips or apples as a side.

Best Seating

  1. Be Our Guest Restaurant
  2. Diamond Horseshoe
  3. Columbia Harbour House
  4. Pinocchio Village Haus
  5. Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe
  6. Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe
  7. Tortuga Tavern
  8. Sleepy Hollow Refreshments
  9. Casey’s Corner
  10. The Lunching Pad
  11. Friar’s Nook

Offering plentiful air-conditioned seating in one of Disney’s most magical settings, Be Our Guest is the winner here too. The fact that your food is delivered to you tableside adds to the ambiance.  Diamond Horseshoe edges out Columbia Harbour House because it’s rarely busy and offers air-conditioned seating in a fun environment. There’s almost never anyone upstairs.  Next comes Columbia Harbour House – head upstairs for quiet, air-conditioned seating.  With air-conditioned seating that overlooks it’s a small world and patio seating overlooking Fantasyland, Pinocchio Village Haus is a sound choice. Both Pecos Bill and Cosmic Ray’s offer indoor and outdoor seating, but both can be pretty slammed during peak meal times when Magic Kingdom is crowded. Cosmic Ray’s gets the nod because tables are usually easier to find when Magic Kingdom is crowded and the added entertainment value of Sonny Eclipse.  Of the outdoor venues, Tortuga Tavern usually has plenty of tables and isn’t particularly crowded most days. Most of its seating is also covered. Sleepy Hollow also offers dedicated seating, some of which overlooks Cinderella Castle, but none of the tables are air-conditioned and many are uncovered.  Casey’s Corner offers expanded seating inside and out, but it’s still usually short and indoor tables no longer have the advantage of fun bleacher seating and cartoons.Seating at The Lunching Pad is all outdoors and is popular with those taking a break in Tomorrowland. You can opt to walk a few feet over to Cosmic Ray’s with your food, but Lunching Pad’s stool seats without backs aren’t particularly comfortable. Friar’s Nook offers only outdoor tables that are shared with Storybook Treats next door and whoever is looking for a break in Fantasyland. They’re fine, but it’s not something to seek out.

Best Food

  1. Be Our Guest Restaurant
  2. Columbia Harbour House
  3. Sleepy Hollow Refreshments
  4. Pinocchio Village Haus
  5. Tortuga Tavern
  6. Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe
  7. Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe
  8. Diamond Horseshoe
  9. Casey’s Corner
  10. Friar’s Nook
  11. The Lunching Pad

This list is similar to “Best Value out of Pocket,” though it differs slightly.  Be Our Guest Restaurant and Columbia Harbour House again top the list, offering tasty, fresh, unique food.  Bite for bite, Be Our Guest wins out again, though Columbia Harbour House’s Lobster Roll, Fried Shrimp, and soups are all very good. Sleepy Hollow Refreshments recently switched out their otherworldly thick waffles for a thinner model, which lets the flavors from the fillings shine through instead of being weighed down with the maltyness of the waffle. Particularly good is the Nutella Waffle, available all day. Pinocchio Village Haus is a somewhat distant fourth place, though its Flatbread pizzas are better than their predecessors and the salad is more interesting than most. One problem is the BBQ Beef flatbread, which is a little strange and served with far more onions than the menu indicates. Dressed up with lettuce and cheese at the toppings bar, Tortuga Tavern serves up pretty decent burritos. Cosmic Ray’s and Pecos Bill are again your standard Disney fare, though both tend to do a better job than other in their preparation. With its barbecued items, better salads, and a decent turkey sandwich, Cosmic Ray’s gets the nod. Now that Diamond Horseshoe tops their sandwiches with something other than two slices of meat, the food is better.  Still, their sandwiches aren’t going to win any awards on flavor or uniqueness.  Casey’s Corner and The Lunching Pad both offer Disney’s usual hot dog fare. Casey’s Corner is usually a little better. With Stouffer’s quality macaroni and cheese, Friar’s Nook doesn’t have a whole lot to offer.

Overall Best Counter Service at the Magic Kingdom

  1. Be Our Guest Restaurant
  2. Columbia Harbour House
  3. Pinocchio Village Haus
  4. Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe
  5. Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe
  6. Diamond Horseshoe
  7. Sleepy Hollow Refreshments
  8. Tortuga Tavern
  9. Casey’s Corner
  10. Friar’s Nook
  11. The Lunching Pad

Just about everyone is going to want to plan to have lunch at Be Our Guest Restaurant. It offers some of Disney’s best quick service food in one of its best settings. Before Be Our Guest, Columbia Harbour House was the winner and it now drops to second place. With outstanding soups, lighter fare, and excellent seafood options, it’s a sound choice for dinner or a second lunch. Seating is also pleasant and ordering usually isn’t a hassle. Pinocchio Village Haus is a pretty distant third place. The Flatbreads are pretty good, the garlic knots are a filling snack for $5, the Tomato Basil Soup is quite good, and there’s usually plenty of seating. It’s not a bad choice by any means. With several different “Bays,” Cosmic Ray’s can be a hassle to order from, but it does offer the most entrees along with a convenient location in Tomorrowland. The Chicken and Ribs are also quite good, if not overly priced north of $16. Pecos Bill is reliable too – though none of its offerings are particularly stellar.  But the Disney burgers are there if you want them. With several more options and one of the best themes, Diamond Horseshoe narrowly beats out the bottom five.  It’s usually a quick, easy meal when it’s open.  Sleepy Hollow only offers a couple of Waffle Sandwiches, but they’re arguably better than Disney’s Hot Dogs for less money. Tortuga Tavern, usually open from just 11am to 3pm, drops to 8th place. It’s a nice change of pace, but the meals rely on the toppings bar.  If it isn’t yet obvious, I’m not crazy about Disney’s version of the hot dog.  Casey’s Barbecue Slaw Dog is put together well, but their Chili Dogs are sad and the dogs generally lack any discernible flavor. Friar’s Nook isn’t anything special, offering a few entrees with Stouffer’s Mac & Cheese as the headliner, but the large portions and short lines may appeal to some. Lunching Pad, with lousy outdoor seating and a limited hot dog menu, drops to last place.

Overall, most of the quick service food locations at Magic Kingdom offer edible, if not tasty entrees.  There’s usually something on the menu that stands out as a winner.  For the best experience, strongly consider the top three choices.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Tresa Henry January 19, 2011 at 9:35 am

Just wanted to thank you for your Best of section. We were at WDW over the MLK weekend and ate at Cosmic Ray’s and Earl of Sandwich based solely on this site’s Best Value Out of Pocket recommendations. Both were good choices (we really loved Earl’s!). Thanks for the time you have devoted to this research and your site!

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Heather & family August 13, 2011 at 12:16 am

Thank you so much for this exhaustive list! It was just what I’ve been looking for. We’re headed to the World in less than two weeks and trying to get our bearings ahead of time. Your breakdowns are fantastic. Kudos!

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Sandra Rudolph June 4, 2012 at 8:07 pm

great article. Always looking for new places to try each visit. I use to love ABC but it has declined so much in the last few years. For several years it was on our must do list. The fish and chips were very good. In 2009 was disappointed, but decided it was just an off day. Tried again in 2010. It was worse than before. Haven’t been back. Based on your review I see it still hasn’t changed. Too bad because the location and seating are excellent.

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Priscilla October 9, 2012 at 1:31 pm

I must register that i ate the best pizza ever eaten at Pinochio’s Village Haus. The Caprese Pizza is fabulous!!!! Everybody must try that, and the Chocolate gellato is fabulous too! For me, the best quick service option for your day.

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Lew December 13, 2012 at 6:53 am

Be Our Guest sounds great, especially for lunch. And the words ” refillable drinks” are magic words. I know where to refill drinks at HS, AK, and EP. But could never find one at MK.

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Cassie March 7, 2013 at 1:14 pm

Thanks for all the wonderful info on this site!! I am going to WDW in May and this really helps.

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mike March 26, 2013 at 3:46 am

Can’t wait to try be our guest. Been looking forward to it since My November trip when it wasn’t open

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bagsRpacked May 21, 2013 at 10:20 am

Going to disneyworld in September.Got free meal plan. Going to eat all all those great places.
Thanks

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Amanda June 26, 2013 at 5:51 pm

this site is becoming very helpful in planning our second disney family trip this year! thank you for all the info and pics;}

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