The Ultimate Backlot Express Review
On a recent unseasonably warm day in Central Florida, I found myself at Walt Disney World Resort. Big surprise there, right? I was coming down from the caffeine-induced state I put myself in to get me though my crazy busy morning/afternoon and as dinnertime drew nearer, it hit me. I was in a bind. I didn’t have a reservation for a table service meal and had a date with a certain Sorcerer I had to keep (read: a 6:40 Fantasmic! fastpass). I had some folks along with me on the journey and we had planned on a meal outside of the park, but time simply got the best of us and we had to make other plans.
That task fell to yours truly, so I had to think on my feet. It had to be quick serve or bust, so I ran through the list of options at Hollywood Studios. I’d never tried the Backlot Express before, and I remembered reading somewhere that they feature a few lighter, healthier options than most other quick serve restaurants on property. Since I had about 5 minutes to make a decision, I let myself be seduced by the promise of a healthy meal and went for it! So, did I make the right choice? Or did my last-minute decision come back to haunt me?
Short on Time, but What About Flavor?
Quick serve restaurants are fine for lunch and are an ok substitute for a table service dinner, but they’re never my top choice at suppertime. I was traveling with a group, and we were all hell bent on using our fastpass reservations for Fantasmic! that we really didn’t have a choice. When we arrived at Backlot Express, I was elated to discover there was a very short line to order food, and thank goodness, since we were so pressed for time.
The Galactic Chicken salad was my choice, as the ingredients (or its Star Wars name) seduced me to the dark side. I ordered the salad just the way it comes save for the black beans- I love my black beans, but do not love the onions also in the mix. For a salad with both chicken and avocado, the price ($10.99) wasn’t bad.
The mixed greens base and avocado were both really fresh, and the entire salad tasted as though it was assembled for my order, which should be run-of-the-mill, but is more of a pleasant surprise when it happens. The grilled chicken on the salad was so well flavored and as I continued to eat, I realized that I was really enjoying myself and not pining for the big sit down meal we had to forgo. The salad is definitely big enough for a lunch entrée, and if you’re looking for a light dinner, this checks all the boxes!
I always ask to sample whatever anyone in my travel group orders at a Disney restaurant, how else would I know how to rate it in a review? Ok ok, you caught me, I’m always after a bite of whatever looks good! Luckily my friends were happy to oblige and let me taste their meals and pretended not to notice when I went back for one or two extra fries. The main course they chose was the caprese sandwich.
The pesto was the real hero here as it succeeded in providing a big flavor boost to what would have been a bland sandwich without it. That being said, the tomato/arugula/cheese/pesto combo melds together to give you the classic caprese sandwich flavor. Again, it tasted as though this sandwich was made to order. The bread wasn’t soggy and complimented the sandwich fillings perfectly! The sandwich came with so-so fries; if they came on my plate, I probably would have left them. Another member of my group ordered the sandwich with carrots as their side and got two bags! A cold fry is a worthless fry to me, and these were served room temperature at best and had little to no salt or seasoning.
There is Always Time for Dessert
I was delighted to see the Darth Vader cupcake as one of the dessert options here (pictured on the left). I try to include this cupcake in as many articles as I can, its really that good…and cupcakes aren’t even my favorite dessert! The richly moist chocolate cake topped with that creamy peanut butter frosting is an unbelievable combination, and it never disappoints. It sure delivered this time, as my party fell in love with the Sith Lord’s signature cupcake as hard and fast as Anakin fell for Padme. There are two other adorable cupcake options available here too, featuring BB8 & Chewie, respectively.
A Mobile Order Glitch
Before I give this place a double thumbs up, I have to mention the mobile order blunder. Backlot Express is one of the restaurants available for Mobile Order in the Walt Disney World app, meaning you can place a customized order ahead of time and it will be ready for you upon your arrival. Mobile Order works, as I’ve used it in the past, so I was eager to use it considering how short we were on time! I quickly decided against using Mobile Order because the options for customization that I needed simply weren’t available. I mentioned that I do not like onions, and I really really cannot have them in anything I eat. There wasn’t an option on mobile order to leave the black bean mix with onions out of the Galactic Chicken Salad, which was a deal breaker for me. Here is a look at the mobile order customization options for the Galactic Chicken Salad. The only option for customization is dressing on the side, which should definitely be an option…along with a whole other list of things!
It didn’t matter in the end considering the line wasn’t long to order, but that was a lucky fluke. Mobile Order is a great new feature, but until all menus become completely customizable and payment accepts Annual Passholder and DVC dining discounts, many guests will continue to order the traditional way. I’m living proof.
Overall, Backlot Express was a positive quick serve dining experience for my group! For a group whose sights were set on a much more elaborate, drawn out dining experience, a quick serve meal will never truly match up, but it was a last minute decision that pleasantly surprised me. The line wasn’t long so the service was quick, both my meal and the one I tasted were fresh, and the giant, covered patio provided some much appreciated shade in an area that is secluded enough from the rest of the park to feel semi-private.
I would return to this quick serve spot for the Galactic Chicken Salad for lunch or dinner. Next time I visit, though, I’m going to have a hard time passing up the Dark Side Chicken and Waffles. Darth Vader Waffles?! Count me in! Will you try Backlot Express on your next visit? Let me know in the comments below!
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Special thanks to Maria Salerno for writing this article: Hiya pal! I am a NYC-based writer/musician thrilled to be bringing you all things Disney! I’m a WDW Annual Passholder, so you can find me in the parks regularly throughout the year. In addition to being a Disney Parks loving girl, I’m also a Disney toy and merchandise collector, a runDisney enthusiast, and Disney music and movie aficionado. You can follow me on Instagram: NYCtoAP and find me on YouTube: NYCtoAP. Thanks for reading, hope to see ya real soon!