There are great counter service restaurants to try at WDW. Don’t be limited to hamburgers & pizza! We have gone an entire vacation without eating one cheeseburger (it was our goal that trip).
First, you would be surprised how often you will eat the quick service at the resort. So if you are deciding between hotels, look at the restaurants available to you. You never know when the kids are going to melt down and your original plan will be altered.
Contempo Cafe was such a surprise on our last trip. We stopped by to grab a bite before we went to the Pirates & Pals Fireworks Voyage. The flatbreads were out of this world and the salads were so fresh and delicious. If you are riding the monorail to scope out the Deluxe hotels or take a break, check out the Contempo Cafe in the Contemporary.
As for the Parks…
Magic Kingdom is home of my favorite 2 quick service restaurants. Tortuga Tavern in Adventureland has fresh burritos with a fixing’s bar to add your favorite toppings. They also have quesadillas for the kiddos, which is my daughters’ favorite! Though it isn’t air-conditioned, it is in a shady building. My second favorite is Cosmic Ray’s in Tomorrowland. Cosmic Ray’s has 3 bays serving different types of food. The rib & 1/2 chicken combo with sides is enough food for 2 adults to share. There is an animatronic alien DJ that keeps the kids entertained while you relax.
EPCOT has too many quick service restaurants to name favorites. In Future World, the only place I would recommend is Sunshine Seasons in The Land. The food is fresh and there is a huge variety to choose from. You can pair fresh sushi with a reuben if you want.
As for the World Showcase, here is my trick…Eat around the world! We will walk around the World Showcase and get a little from each. The shawarma platter in Morocco, fish & chips in UK, sushi in Japan, pretzels & wurst in Germany…the options are endless!
Animal Kingdom has Flame Tree BBQ in Asian which has the ribs, 1/2 chicken, and sandwiches. It is a good choice especially if you sit by the water. Yak & Yeti in Asia has great asian inspired carry out, you can make an entire meal here using snack credits!
Hollywood Studios has quite a few quick service restaurants. None stand out the way their table services do, a few are worthy of mentioning in my book. One thing I have discovered in my wanderings is that Hollywood’s quick service restaurants close early, even on an Extra Magic Hours evening. Almost everything closes around 7, so if you are planning EMH at Hollywood make sit down reservations or arrive early.
I know I said you can go without eating pizza, but my kids really like Toy Story Pizza Planet. The pizzas are pretty good and the combo meal with a salad and dessert is a lot of food! The kids are entertained and they really think they are in Pizza Planet with all the arcade games. You can hand the kids a handful of quarters and sit back to enjoy a beer.
Another good choice at Hollywood is the restaurant hub on Sunset Blvd. Fairfax Fare has BBQ chicken, ribs and pulled pork, Catalina Eddie’s is pizza and sandwiches, & Rosie’s All American Cafe is burgers. It is a good choice when everyone wants different things. I had an awesome customer service experience here. My 3-year-old was crying because she wanted pizza and my husband was in line at a different booth. A girl came over to wipe down the table and asked my other daughter why her sister was crying. She said that she was crying for pizza. About 5 minutes later (before my husband was even to the front of the line) the same girl came back with a steaming hot cheese pizza for my daughter, no charge. She walked to the kitchen and just grabbed one for her. It made my day!
Just remember, you can enjoy the food you are eating in Disney if you have some ideas of where to go before your trip. Don’t settle for burgers and fries! Be adventurous and do your research!