Diamond Horseshoe is a dining establishment located next to the Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom. I open with this innocuous introduction because you may very well have no idea what the title of this post references. That’s because Diamond Horseshoe is very rarely open. The only time you’ll likely see it serving food is a couple of weeks during the summer, potentially during part of the Free Dining Promotion in September, and during holiday weeks like Easter and Christmas. As it turns out, this is Disney trying to do us all a favor. I have to assume the person in charge of opening quick service locations takes a look at the attendance numbers and says, “Bummer, sorry visitors about to spend $10 on a sandwich that consists of nothing but a roll and two pieces of dry turkey, but there just won’t be enough availability at Pecos Bill for everyone. Someone is going to have to eat here.” And so it is, today I was that fool.
Admittedly, your author is a bit of a dork who gets excited about opportunities like trying the Diamond Horseshoe. That should be obvious by the fact that he is a 26 year old male that runs an amateur blog about Disney World. Not to mention the fact that he intermittently, and somewhat obnoxiously, changes to the third person when writing. I was looking forward to returning to the blog and gushing about Diamond Horseshoe. Nothing in this world would have given me more pleasure than to come back and brag about how you will never have the opportunity that I had on this great day. That you, my loyal reader, will never be able to order a sandwich from the Diamond Horseshoe. That you, poor peasant, will never have the opportunity to enter its sumptuous facade. That you, undeserving day visitor, will be stuck roaming the halls of Pecos Bill with a tray full of large Diet Cokes endlessly searching for a table. That you, unfortunate underling, will have to wait in three separate lines at Cosmic Ray’s to order a chicken plate, hamburger, and vegetable wrap. That you…okay let’s get on with it.
People seem to respond well to the Disney Food Blog and Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, so I’m just going to steal their formats for the rest of this review.
Atmosphere and Ordering
Diamond Horseshoe is a pleasant looking building located in either Liberty Square or Frontierland. I don’t want to give a definitive location because DisneyWorld.com says it’s located in Frontierland (http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/diamond-horseshoe/) while their Times Guide for this week says it’s located in Liberty Square (https://www.easywdw.com/times-guides/magic-kingdom-times-guide-july-17-july-23-2011/). For the sake of political correctness, let’s say it’s located in unincorporated Magic Kingdom or the demilitarized zone between Frontierland and Liberty Square.
A mother of fourteen from La Habra, California says ditto:
There’s just something about that baby blue exterior. It says: carved meat is served here.
Only two cash registers serve Diamond Horseshoe, which means lines can be long if there are more than a dozen people in line. Because it’s so rarely open, the staff doesn’t quite have the hang of what’s on the menu, what can be ordered on the Dining Plan, what substitutions are available, and other nuances. In other words, expect delays. The ordering process is also unlike you’ll find at other quick services. Because Diamond Horseshoe (can theoretically) doubles as an “all-you-care-to-eat” restaurant in the evening, food is ordered from a cash register in front of the entrance and then picked up from several areas across the restaurant. This process is detailed below.
This is distinctly a sandwich and salad joint. Note that there is no mention of “acoutrements” on the sandwiches. More on this later.
A mother of six adopted children from places such as Cambodia and Ethiopia agrees, observing:
The menu consists mostly of sandwiches and salads.
The interior has a welcoming saloon feel, with wood floors, tables, and chairs. It’s dark, with a large chandelier providing most of the light. A stage sits in the back of the restaurant, creating a suitable home for the world famous self-playing piano (that you may or may not hear play). Seating is on two levels. You’ll find ordinary tables downstairs and a nice counter area upstairs. Standing-room tables sit against one wall.
Speaking of the ordering process, I numbered the cast members above because this is the area where you retrieve your order. You take your receipt down to the end of the counter. One cast member takes a look at it. If you’ve ordered the barbecue turkey, one of them will open a roll and glop some turkey on it for you and then tell you to move on to the middle section to pick up your drink. If you’ve ordered one of the other entrees, you will be beckoned down to the middle of the counter to pick up your drink and then you’ll pick up your sandwich from one of the meat-carving-people. It’s basically 11 people doing a four-person job, but I don’t charge $350/hour to be an efficiency consultant so I’ll keep my mouth shut.
Diamond Horseshoe offers your run-of-the-mill condiments upstairs and downstairs. You’ll find your usual variety of Ken’s Salad dressings. Ketchup, mayonnaise, and mustard are available in dispensers, along with bbq sauce in packets. Napkins, straws, sugar, salt, and straws are plentiful.
I’ve been to Diamond Horseshoe a couple of times over the last few days. On my first visit, I made a mistake. I ordered the Barbecued Turkey Sandwich ($8.69), assuming that it was somehow going to be a sandwich carved from the delicious looking turkeys on display at the front of the restaurant. When I received my order, it looked like the same pulled pork sandwich you can order from several different locations, including Flame Tree Barbecue, Fairfax Fare, Pecos Bill, and several others. I protested for a moment, even proclaiming that the entree in front of me was not what I ordered. As it turns out, the Barbecued Turkey Sandwich is reminiscent of the “Pulled Pork Sandwich,” only made with turkey glop instead of pork glop.
This sandwich wasn’t bad per se. It just wasn’t what I was expecting. There’s no explanation on the menu about what it is you’re ordering. It doesn’t say “Pulled Barbecue Turkey Sandwich,” which would be Josh-speak for what arrives on the plate. I guess it was a decent, albeit small, portion and the roll was amazingly soft and fresh. The “house made chips” are of the same variety that are served at Tomorrowland Terrace. You may remember me mentioning that they are pretty bizarre. About three quarters of them are varying levels of crunchy, while the other quarter is soft with no crunch at all. It’s difficult to gauge whether this is intended or some sort of flaw in the process. Personally, I would have been happier with a bag of Doritos.
The President of the United States agrees, offering this advice:
If they give you a choice between Doritos or the house made chips, go with the Doritos.
In full disclosure, Mr. Obama is merely reading that statement off a teleprompter.
Here’s the Hand-Carved Turkey Sandwich ($8.79):
This is “literally” two little slices of turkey on a roll. There’s no cheese. No lettuce. No onion. No tomato. No relish. I thought that I had screwed up and missed the condiment bar, but no. This is what you get for $8.79. A roll, two slices of turkey, and six apple wedges. For $8.79.
I’ve whined a little bit about quick service entrees in the past. The turkey sandwich from Flame Tree Barbecue comes to mind. But at least that came with lettuce! I could continue ranting, but take from it what you will.
Chef Boyardee disagrees emphatically, singing the praises of Diamond Horseshoe:
That looks pretty good.
While I can’t comment on the vegetarian options, I can’t imagine they’re any better than Columbia Harbour House. The Hand-Carved Sandwiches are a joke and the Barbecued Turkey doesn’t differentiate itself from the Pulled Pork Sandwiches available elsewhere in any meaningful way. I simply can’t recommend Diamond Horseshoe and easyWDW (lamentably) rates it as a “Strong Sell.”