I am often asked about the details of Quick Service (also known as Counter Service) Dining. Fortunately, this is a much easier question than Table Service Dining! Quick Service locations are plentiful, require no reservations and are open all day; so, you just walk up, order, pay and receive your meal. Much like any fast food chain, there are no servers, no tipping, and no waiting on the bill at the end of the meal…yes please! And naturally, prices at Quick Service locations are much more affordable than Table Service restaurants. I really like the freedom Quick Service meals offer. While Quick Service does bring to mind “fast food”, the term is not accurate for describing your options for this style of dining. Burgers, fries and nuggets are certainly available (and tasty comfort food), but there are also options for those wanting something more. Read on for my tips and suggestions!
Q: What time of day should we utilize Quick Service locations?
Without reservations to keep things flowing steadily throughout the day, there are times when these locations are busier than other times. When dining at Quick Service locations in the Parks, it is to your advantage to dine outside of traditional lunch and dinner times. You will have a smoother experience with less wait time by eating lunch before 11:30 or after 1:30, and by having dinner before 4:45 or after 6:30.
When you are using the Quick Service locations at the Resorts, mornings and late nights can be quite busy as guests are either grabbing a bite before or after visiting the theme parks. Meanwhile, afternoons are rather quiet as there are less guests utilizing the resorts.
Q: How can I maximize my purchase?
The portions in general are quite large. Sharing is totally feasible, depending on your party dynamics. Young children will likely not finish a meal. You may want to consider buying 2 meals per 3 guests and sharing. At any quick service location, you may request a cup of ice water at no charge. This is a great way to save some money as a standard soda accompanying a meal is $3. Alternatively, if you and your partner want the same kind of soda, opt for the large- it is plenty for 2 people and is only .29 more than the standard size.
Also, most menus are listed as a combo- an entrée with a side dish. You can almost always order it without the side, if it is something you do not quite like or just do not want. Ask if there is an entrée-only price. The price will then be adjusted, usually saving about $2. Alternatively, if you are sharing, you can also order 1 combo meal and a second side-only.
Even if you are not traveling with children, you can order from the kid’s menu. Sometimes that is just the right size. The children’s menus are usually listed with healthier options such as carrots and grapes with drinks like apple juice or milk. You can ask to substitute fries and soda instead at no additional charge.
Q: With so many options, how do I decide where to enjoy a Quick Service meal while I visiting Walt Disney World theme parks?
Here are a few of my recommendations for Quick Service locations by theme park….
Pinnochio's Haus is my absolute favorite. It is better than the typical burgers and fries you can get anywhere. They have flat bread pizzas, salads, and a chicken parmesan sandwich to name a few. When it is not too hot, try to snag a table on the balcony facing the castle. It is great for a relaxing meal with people watching. If it is a scorcher, try to get a window seat inside overlooking the Small World loading area.
Pecos Bill's is available for Mexican type fare which receives good reviews online.
Columbia Harbour House has tasty fish/seafood options and lovely ambiance. Try the seating upstairs.
ABC Commissary has a nice variety of options. From a small steak and broccoli to various sandwiches, this is my go-to place. With plenty of air conditioned seating and TVs throughout, it is a nice break for cranky kiddos.
Backlot Express is also good, especially for the burgers. Indoor and outdoor seating available.
Min and Bill's Dockside Diner has a menu that changes often, but tends to be pretty good as well, and usually is not too busy. Note this location is outdoor seating only.
This one is harder because there are so many options! In the World Showcase, all of the countries have ethnic food that gets great reviews depending on your taste buds. If you are a foodie at all, I recommend checking out the countries for quick service meals. For less adventurous eaters, I will call out Yorskshire County Fish Shop. This is a fish and chips place in England that I can personally vouch for- it is very good! And for even pickier eaters, head to the Liberty Inn at the America Pavilion for your burgers and nuggets. They also have a small steak option.
Over in Future Land, there is your standard burger/chicken place that is good, but also crowded called the Electric Umbrella. It is conveniently located making it a good choice no matter where you find yourself when hunger pangs strike.
For more flavor and more interesting options, try going into the Land building and check out Sunshine Seasons. This receives the highest marks for unique healthy options in all of the parks!
Flame Tree BBQ has an excellent menu featuring ribs, pulled pork and chicken. A very popular location, it only has outdoor seating, but excellent views.
I personally prefer Pizzafari, which includes indoor seating and, you guessed it, pizza! Also featured are heart of romaine salads and garlic knots.
For burgers and such, head to Restraurantosaurus in Dino Land USA.
In conclusion, note that most, if not all, locations have menus located outside the establishment so you can check things out and make sure you like what you see before getting in line. Also, you can view menus and prices for all locations on the My Disney Experience App. Bon Appetit!