Best Quick Service Restaurants in Disney Springs
Now that we’ve discussed the finest restaurant options at all of the Disney theme parks, it’s time to turn our attention to the entertainment district. Disney Springs is the epicenter of cuisine at Walt Disney World, a place where Disney entices James Beard-award winning chefs to showcase their wares. Today, we’re going to take a look at the counter service options in the area. Here are the seven best Quick Service restaurants at Disney Springs.
7) The Daily Poutine
I’ll say what we’re all thinking. Canadians are weird. Sure, several of my dearest friends come from north of the border. Yes, their manners are better, their friendliness is unrivaled, and their curling is slightly better (but not this Olympics!!!), but their food… Oh, man. Some of their food is like snacking on a Pollock painting. The colors make no sense, and the overall picture is muddled at best.
I’m speaking, of course, of poutine, the devil’s ruination of French fries. Yes, that’s a strange comment to make about the primary offering at one of the best places at Disney Springs. What can I say? My wife is going to read this, and she’ll make me sleep on the couch if I don’t include The Daily Poutine on this list. I like my bed, so I’m ceding to her (terrorist) demands.
Personally, I’d rather swallow my tongue than eat a single bite of poutine. I recognize that this is the minority opinion at Disney Springs, though. For better or for (much, much, oh so much) worse, poutine is a thing. And this restaurant’s onslaught of poutine offerings is remarkable.
You’d be stunned how many different ingredients you can throw into a pan of cheese curd-covered French fries. Sure, each one is a violation of the Geneva Convention, but poutine admirers don’t seem to mind. If you’re one of those otherwise normal folks who love to destroy a great-looking pile of French fries, this place is the mothership calling you home! As for me, I celebrated when the Poutine food truck owners here in town moved back to Winnipeg. So, I’m not with you. Consider seventh place as having an asterisk beside it!
6-tie) Blaze Pizza/Pizza Ponte
Sometimes, you just want a slice after a long day at the parks. The stuff that Disney Room Service sells is fine, and virtually all major pizza joints deliver to the resorts. You can do better, though. Disney Springs is just a ride away. The food here will make you wonder what you ever saw in Papa John’s.
You’ll find two great pizza options here. Blaze Pizza is one of the fastest-growing pizza chains in America thanks to its celebrity endorsement. One of the co-owners is LeBron James, who has leveraged his lofty social media status to build awareness for these rapid-bake pizzas. At Blaze, you’ll customize your order with a poutine-esque number of components. Then, the ultra-hot oven will cook the dough in about three minutes. Blaze isn’t just the name of the joint; it’s also the theme.
Pizza Ponte is a touch more refined, albeit at the cost of customization. This restaurant sells pizza pies the old-fashioned way. It cooks them in advance in anticipation of your order. What it lacks in freshness during a peak mealtime, it makes up for with flavor. These are delicious Italian pies lovingly crafted using classic recipes. I prefer Pizza Ponte when I want a basic pizza order, while I head to Blaze when I want something special. Both are better than the standard pizza fare at Walt Disney World, although neither one can hold a candle to Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria at the Italy Pavilion in Epcot.
4) Bongos Cuban Café Express (owned by Gloria Estefan!)
Get on your feet and celebrate the majesty of the Cuban sandwich at Bongos! Why did I say, “Get on your feet…”? Because I’m a lazy hack trying to make a cheap Miami Sound Machine reference. I’m doing this because famous chefs aren’t the only celebrity owners at Disney Springs.
The name Bongos hints at the entrepreneurs in charge here, and it’s Gloria and Emilio Estefan from Miami Sound Machine! You may know them for their 1980s Latin pop fusion ditties, but this couple is worth more than half a billion dollars! They’re wildly successful in their endeavors to marry their Cuban roots with the Floridian lifestyle, making them the perfect restaurant owners for Disney’s entertainment district.
Bongos has a Table Service restaurant that’s also worth your time, but its counter service pickup is perfect munching food. The sandwiches and snacks are all $12 or less, a tremendous value at Walt Disney World. I’m a huge fan of the Cuban Party Box, which is perfect when friends want to share a meal late at night. The Cuban Sandwich is the go-to order here, though. It’s one of the most luscious bites at Walt Disney World.
3) The Polite Pig
In recent years, Disney’s made a dedicated effort to attract local talent to their campus. They successfully enticed Art Smith to come home, and then they acquired the talents of a local family. James Beard-nominated power couple James and Julie Petrakis already ran a couple of famous Florida restaurants, Cask & Larder and The Ravenous Pig. Disney persuaded them to join the already-impressive Disney Springs lineup.
The Petrakis family (including Brian, James’ brother) started The Polite Pig in 2017. Its savory delicacies and impressive lineup of beers instantly won over Mickey Travelers. The key is in the sauces. This place isn’t fancy, and you’ll know that the moment you sit down. An entire roll of paper towels is the centerpiece of every table. You’ll need your fair share due to the sauces. The Polite Pig has seven selections at the Sauce Bar. You’ll want to try them all, as each one gently alters the flavor of the BBQ. This place is heaven for fans of smoked flavor.
2) D-Luxe Burger
I’m a burger and fries guy. I’m not talking theoretically, either. They’re about half of my meals each week. So, I’m going to claim expertise on this subject since it’s the food that keeps me alive.
The 21st century ascension of gourmet burgers has been a godsend to me. The prevalence of Five Guys restaurants and the like has made my life so much easier. D-Luxe Burger at Disney Springs is like Five Guys++ due to its deep menu of unique burger preparations. I also love that they have couples orders available when you want to “share a meal” without, you know, sharing food. It’s romantic AND pragmatic.
PS: The French fries here are phenomenal.
1)Earl of Sandwich
You’re probably laughing right now, thinking that the top two meal options at Disney Springs are burgers and sandwiches. I was once like you. Then, I started researching the situation. Earl of Sandwich is one of the top 80 restaurants in Orlando according to Trip Advisor. This isn’t even the franchise’s highest evaluation. The Downtown Disney store is the #12 restaurant in Anaheim! When Disney announced that it would close the Anaheim branch to make room for a new Disney resort, the public outcry was immediate. People love these sandwiches.
I never understood it, either. Sandwiches are the most basic of foods, right? They’re what your mother packs in your school lunch as a matter of practicality. In a sealed pouch, they have a shelf-life of a full school day, but their taste is as vanilla as, well, vanilla extract. That’s what I believed right up until I bit into an Earl of Sandwich offering. The proverbial light bulb went off in my head at that moment, as I mumbled a predictable, “Ohhhh.”
The Earl of Sandwich is to sandwiches what the Soup Nazi is to soup. Once you see what a maestro can do with bread and meat, you’ll feel shame each time you slap a giant dollop of mustard on your sandwich to hide its dullness. This place elevates one of the most basic peasant foods, and it does so at $8 or less per sandwich.
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