10 Best Magic Kingdom Quick Service Restaurants
Magic Kingdom is the alpha and omega of North American theme parks. It’s the most trafficked park in the world, which means it’s the people’s choice as the best of the best. When you spend a day here, you’re going to get hungry. You’ll have plenty of choices on how to fill your stomach, with the primary options of sitting down for a Table Service meal or grabbing something quicker. The latter choice gives you more park time, so let’s talk about those places today. Here are the best Magic Kingdom Quick Service restaurants. (Note that we’re saving Be Our Guest for Table Service rankings.)
9) Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Café
Two restaurants at Adventureland share the same seating area, and I’m not a huge fan of either one. The menu at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Café is vastly superior to its adjoining counterpoint, but I rank it the worst option at Magic Kingdom for a simple option. I just don’t think spicy southwestern food meshes well with an intense day at the park.
This restaurant offers a deep menu filled with several variations of burritos, tacos, and nachos. It even has a respectable number of salads. And I should love the place since I’m someone who posts taco pictures on social media simply because I know that they make people happy and hungry. When I’m hangry, however, Pecos Bill is the least enticing option at the park. If you’re a huge fan, I totally respect that. It just doesn’t work for me. This seems like a good time to mention I had a portion of my colon removed; spicy food wrecks me. That’s a nightmare scenario at the world’s most trafficked theme park.
8) Aloha Isle
Let’s be honest. If you come here looking for a hearty meal, you’re going to leave disappointed. Aloha Isle is the only snack place listed here, and I’m not even sure it should qualify. You’re not eating a meal, after all. What you’re doing is heading to the only place at a Walt Disney World theme park that sells Dole Whips and Dole Whip-related items. Personally, I’m a bigger fan of visiting the stand just outside the lobby at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, but that strategy is inconvenient when you’ve got a hankering for a Dole Whip at Magic Kingdom.
7) Tortuga Tavern
The menu options at Tortuga Tavern are so limited that your conversation basically comes down to, “Do I want a giant turkey leg?” If your answer is no, you might as well go someplace else. The only other entrée is a hot dog, and those aren’t in short supply at Magic Kingdom. To wit, another eatery specializes in this food and does it much better.
If you’re eating at Tortuga Tavern, you want a giant turkey leg. I can get onboard with that since it’s the best carry-around protein at the parks. You get a delicious meal plus the status of being someone who is walking around with a giant turkey leg. Should Tortuga Tavern ever lose the turkey leg, it would immediately become one of the worst counter service options at Walt Disney World, maybe even THE worst. That turkey leg, tho…
6) Tomorrowland Terrace
Figuring out whether this place is even open is often an ordeal. Currently, Tomorrowland Terrace is open to the public, but there’s a catch. You have to use Mobile Order to purchase your food. There’s no counter where you can walk up and order a meal. In other words, Tomorrowland Terrace lives up to its name right now. It’s like an alternate universe near-future where human servers have been replaced by smartphone apps. Dear Disney: Tomorrowland’s supposed to be optimistic, not dystopian!
The food at this restaurant is unexpectedly complex. One of the dishes is a Pulled Pork Banh Mi Sandwich, which would seem exotic for a World Showcase food kiosk, much less a Quick Service restaurant at Magic Kingdom. Sure, cheeseburgers and chicken nuggets are also on the menu, but it’s Tomorrowland. Be a little adventurous! Neal Armstrong would totally have the Banh Mi. Pro tip: vegetarian options are available at plenty of Walt Disney World Quick Service restaurants, but they’re not prevalent at Magic Kingdom. The Veggie Burger at Tomorrowland Terrace is a delightful exception, with rich flavor and a satisfyingly crunchy Kaiser Roll.
5) Sleepy Hollow
Like the story that is its namesake, Sleepy Hollow is delightfully weird. The food here toes the line between full meal and filling snack. And it has a decided waffle slant. You can have a basic waffle, or you can have a waffle wrap filled with fruit. You can even have a chicken waffle, which is basically a chicken sandwich, only with waffles as the bread. I didn’t even know that was a thing, and it has fundamentally changed the way I evaluate hoagies. The menu also includes a funnel cake and a sugar-laced waffle, making Sleepy Hollow feel like country fair food in the best possible way.
4) Casey’s Corner
I’m an American. I love baseball the way that any pure-hearted patriot should. Ergo, I love the theming at Casey’s Corner more than any other place at Magic Kingdom, save for the entrant ranked just above it at #3. What I especially admire about Casey’s Corner is that Disney went all-in on the concept.
Here, you’re going to eat a hot dog. Period. The only thing that’s even a variant is the Corn Dog Nuggets meal. Everything else has the words “hot dog” right there in the title. You can read the menu if you don’t believe me. Since I view hot dogs as a critical part of any sports stadium visit (seriously, I just had two at a basketball game last night), Casey’s Corner is like the mother ship calling me home.
3) Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café
But theming matters, too. As much as I adore baseball – and I’m ride or die with the Atlanta Braves for life – Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café has it beat when we talk about theming. I have no idea which genius at Walt Disney World came up with this concept, but I’m in awe of the perfection of it.
Cosmic Ray’s is the perfect Tomorrowland eatery. It’s goofy and fun and undeniably a product of the 1960s space race, one of Walt Disney’s favorite subjects. A musician with the punny name of Sonny Eclipse serenades guests with musical stylings such as Bossa Supernova and Planetary Boogie while you eat clearly defined foods.
Each of the sections of the restaurant has a primary offering such as Blast Off Burgers and Bay 1 Chicken. The menu isn’t original or complex, but it has a certain comfort level due to the Interplanetary Chuck E. Cheese vibe (despite the lack of pizza on the menu). Cosmic Ray’s is simply a fun place to eat. It also makes for a great compromise selection since the three food bays are certain to have something that appeals to the members of your party.
2) Pinocchio’s Village Haus
I’ve clearly tended toward the theming with several of the selections here. The top two selections, however, are the exceptions. One gets a vote based on the food, while the other gets a nod for its distinctive feature.
Pinocchio’s Village Haus at Fantasyland is a wonderful to grab some Italian food. In fact, I would argue that it’s on a par with Tony’s Town Square, the Table Service eatery that’s much more expensive. At Pinocchio’s Village Haus, you can eat several flatbreads and chicken parmesan sandwiches. You can even order some chicken nuggets if you’re finicky or traveling with someone who is.
While the food here is good, the strongest selling point of this establishment is a seating area. A few prized tables at Pinocchio’s Village Haus overlook the early portion of It’s a Small World. You can watch the boats head through the start of the attraction, relishing in the happiness of Disney fanatics about to ride a seminal Magic Kingdom attraction. It’s a contact high that permeates the restaurant, adding joy to the lives of the diners. Since so few tables are available with this view, however, you’ll have a lot of competition to enjoy the best part of eating here. As such, I can’t in good conscience name it the best restaurant at Magic Kingdom, merely the one with the best view.
1) Columbia Harbour House
If you like seafood and people in historical American costumes, THIS is the place. Yes, it’s easy to describe Columbia Harbour House in such reductive terms because there’s honestly not much to the place. The restaurant resides in a simple Colonial house that would have seemed right at home in a harbor town centuries ago…you know, except for the electricity and indoor plumbing.
The theme or at least the conceit here is that you’re visiting a harbor restaurant before departing on a trip across the Atlantic. As such, the food is Poseidon’s finest offerings from the sea. Like the colonial towns celebrated here, the entrees are distinctly New England recipes. For example, the Lobster Roll at Columbia Harbour House is legendary. Similarly, the Land and Sea Trio of breaded chicken, fried shrimp, and battered fish has been a staple of this place since it opened. And it opened a long time ago.
Originally the Nantucket Harbour House, this restaurant debuted on the same day as Magic Kingdom in October of 1971. Its theme and seafood style has remained the same for almost 50 years. When you eat here, you’re taking a step back in time to the early 1800s in New England, but you’re also revisiting the first days of Walt Disney World. And the food is sublime. According to Trip Advisor, it’s one of the top 200 restaurants in all of Orlando, placing it ahead of many more expensive Table Service options.
Columbia Harbour House is the gold standard in Quick Service dining at Magic Kingdom. And it’s held that title for 46 years and counting.