Eating Counter Service at Disney World without a Single Burger9:28 AM
As you all should know by now, I am obsessed with Disney World. We go every single year and have eaten everywhere from the Signature restaurants to the McDonald's stand in Epcot (yes, I know.) That being said, there are a lot of misconceptions going around that you have to get the regular Dining plan and eat at the Table Service restaurants in order to get anything but burgers. Below are some of the options available so that you can eat counter service (like fast food for those unfamiliar with Disney) at Disney World without ever touching a single burger, unless you want to of course.
The Magic Kingdom has a few good counter service restaurant options that offer things other than burgers and when the new Be Our Guest restaurant opens in the Fantasyland Expansion December 6th, it will be another great option too.
Besides having a really awesome toppings bar complete with sauteed onions and a fun alien that plays music for you while you eat, Cosmic Ray's also has fabulous rotisserie chicken and ribs served with mashed potatoes and a seasonal vegetable. Want something lighter? They also have turkey sandwiches and Greek salad too.
While Pecos Bills does have the standard burger fare, they also have a huge and delicious Taco salad. I fully plan on getting this when we are there next week. It is so good!
Columbia Harbour House
This has always been a favorite of ours for lunch at the Magic Kingdom and now they have added some great new menu items including a Lobster Roll and a Salmon meal that looks like something that should be served in a table service joint. In addition, there are some yummy soup and salad options here too.
Disney's Hollywood Studios
Okay, this is admittedly my least favorite park and it has some of my least favorite counter service options too, but there are still plenty of choices outside the standard burger and fries.
The ABC Commissary has a seafood platter that is just fish and shrimp, but still not a burger. They also have an Asian salad option that can be ordered with either chicken or salmon.
If you love your dessert, then Starring Rolls is going to be your best burger free counter service option in Disney's Hollywood Studios. Not only do they have some of the largest and best turkey or ham sandwiches around, but they also offer a full bakery case of delights including an out of this work Butterfinger Cupcake.
I have always loved the Animal Kingdom food options. In fact, there has not been a place we have eaten here yet that has not been delicious. They are also not big on burgers, which helps.
Yak and Yeti Counter Service
Like its table service counterpart, the Yak and Yeti counter service restaurant offers food with an Asian influence. Available options include honey chicken, sweet and sour chicken, beef lo mein and a Mandarin chicken salad.
Flame Tree BBQ
If BBQ is your thing, then definitely head on over to Flame Tree Barbecue. They have some awesome and juicy St. Louis Ribs as well as chicken, or if you are plenty hungry, you can get a combo with both. They also have a fruit plate and a BBQ chicken salad option for those who want to eat on the lighter side.
Oh boy. I could go on and on about the great counter service option here, but will just point out a few of my favorites. Literally, almost every country in the World Showcase has a counter service restaurant, so the possibilities are endless.
Located in the Land pavilion, Sunshine Seasons is your best bet if you are looking for variety. They have Asian dishes like Mongolian beef or cashew chicken, many types of soups, salads and sandwiches, as well as items from the grill like a slow roasted pork chop with cheddar mashed potatoes. The best part is dessert though. They also have a full bakery case with everything from giant cookies to a decadent strawberry shortcake and even a creme brulee.
This is a counter service location in Morocco and they have some amazing food. If you ever wanted to sample different foods from an exotic country, then this is your best bet. The Shawarma Platter comes with chicken, lamb or a combo of both, hummus, tabbouleh and a tangerine couscous salad as well as fresh bread. They also have a Mediterranean Sliders combo I have heard amazing things about and authentic baklava for dessert!
The Katsura Grill is another exotic dining option. You can get sushi rolls at this counter service location as well as other Japanese plates including Japanese Curry Udon and a Tonosama Combo that has teriyaki beef, chicken and salmon. Their Matcha Roll (green tea swirl cake) is in fact green and is definitely something different to tempt your palate.
Downtown Disney is like Disney World's shopping mall and entertainment plaza. They have a few great counter service options as well, so even though they aren't a Disney Park, I will throw them in there too.
Wolfgang Puck Express
This is the restaurant you will likely hear the most about if you ask for the best counter service at Disney World. Their food is definitely table service quality and a great value if you are on the dining plan. From bacon wrapped meatloaf to wood fired pizzas, soups, salads and an oven roasted salmon, this place gets a big two thumbs up. I have also heard amazing things about their cheesecake, although I will have to wait until next week to check it out.
Earl of Sandwich
There is always an enormous line here and I know why now. I ate here for the first time on our last trip in January and it was delicious. They serve a crazy amount of different fresh deli sandwich options. There are hot sandwiches like The Earl's Club, a roasted turkey club and the Hawaiin BBQ sandwich with roast ham and grilled chicken. There are also tempting salads and wraps like The Earl's Cobb or Mediterranean Tuna.
There you have it, a few of my favorite counter service meals from around Disney World, where you can easily eat without touching one burger. I head to The World tomorrow and will be eating at most of these locations. Just remember, you don't have to do table service dining in order to enjoy new flavors and delicious food!