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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Dining Favorites Series: Magic Kingdom Quick Service

Continuing on our Dining Favorites series, today we will cover Magic Kingdom Counter Service restaurants. There are numerous Counter Service locations and carts throughout the Magic Kingdom and we will focus on places were you can eat a full meal and use a Disney Dining Plan credit. Let's get started with our favorites.

Pecos Bill's - courtesy of
Pecos Bill's Tall Tale Inn and Cafe - This is our favorite location to visit while at MK. There is a generous selection of options from hamburgers to taco salads plus the unlimited fixin's bar! The bar has all the toppings you may need for a burger or taco salad including my favorite topping, hot cheese. You may pump all the cheese you need for dipping fries or coating your taco salad. If you're hungry or looking to share, pick the taco salad. It is huge plus you can load it up with lots of extras. Be aware that this restaurant gets very crowded during peak lunch and dinner hours, you may want to eat early or late to make sure you find a seat. Bonus tip: Pecos Bill has collected numerous artifacts from his fellow American folklore heroes. Look around the restaurant for Paul Bunyan's ax or a coonskin cap from Daniel Boone.

Be Our Guest entrance - courtesy of
Be Our Guest - You may have noticed we mentioned Be Our Guest in our table service dining post. That wasn't a mistake, Disney recently introduced a new concept in dining. This restaurant is counter service for lunch and table service for dinner. You order your food normally, via kiosk or cast member, then make your way to a table. A few minutes later a server will wheel your food to your table. Be Our Guest incorporates very unique meal choices in a world of burgers and chicken tenders. Adults may choose seared tuna salad, braised pork, quinoa salad, and more. Kids might have a hard time here, there is a lack of nuggets and mac and cheese. But get them to try the Mickey meatloaf, grilled mahi, or pasta with marinara. Be Our Guest probably has the best desserts of any counter service location. This restaurant is very popular and may have a wait of 30 minutes or more. However the atmosphere and details inside the restaurant will transport you to Beast's castle.

The Hall of Armor as you enter the Be Our Guest
restaurant - courtesy of
Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe - Cosmic Ray's is another large and popular counter service location. It offers many choices for diners such as roast chicken, ribs, sandwiches, and burgers. You will also find a fixin's bar similar to the one at Pecos Bill's. Be sure to sit down near Sonny Eclipse for some live entertainment.

Hit a home run at Casey's Corner - courtesy of
Casey's Corner - Located on the corner of Main Street, here you will find a turn of the century hot dog stand. Casey's offers several gourmet hot dogs as well as corn dog nuggets. You won't find much more here except a grand stand seating area which shows classic Mickey Mouse cartoons. Bottom line: good hot dogs, great location.

Columbia Harbour House - This establishment specializes in fried fish, shrimp, and chicken nuggets, but you will find healthier options too. The batter here is similar to the fish'n'chips you can find in the UK in Epcot. Bonus tip: head upstairs to eat in the Fantasyland/Liberty Square overpass for a great view. Here you'll be able to watch people pass between the lands as they walk underneath you.

Honorable Mentions -
  • Diamond Horseshoe Saloon - Only open during peak times but has a great atmosphere inside this old western dinner theater. It used to present the Diamond Horseshoe Review, a classic Disney show. Be sure to order the BBQ turkey sandwich and enjoy the player piano.
  • Gaston's Tavern - If you like the turkey legs at MK, you must try the pork shank at this eatery. Also, try a hot gooey cinnamon roll and wash it down with a Lefou's Brew.
  • Sleepy Hollow Refreshments - Mickey Mouse waffles, enough said. Also, chicken and waffle sandwiches, funnel cakes, and hand dipped ice cream sandwiches.
  • Sunshine Tree Terrace - Grab a citrus swirl for a throwback to an original MK treat circa 1971.
Roasted pork shank - courtesy of the Disney Parks Blog
There are several more counter service dining locations at the Magic Kingdom. I encourage you to review the menus and find a place suitable for you and your family. Overall you can't go wrong at this park, there are many options for everyone. The real problem is having room to try them all!

Do you have any favorite restaurants or meals? Let us know in the comments section below. Coming up in our next post we'll take a culinary tour around the world as we look at the table service restaurants of Epcot.

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