9 Best Places to Grab Lunch at Walt Disney World
Let’s face facts. During a theme park visit, you’re going to get the munchies at some point. By ignoring that urge, you’ll feel lethargic and possibly even fall asleep on a ride. Any frequent Disney guest has done this at some point. The trick to avoiding it is to eat smart while eat in the parks, refueling after a hectic morning. Here are nine great places to grab lunch at Walt Disney World.
Columbia Harbour House
I’m going to assume a couple of things here. The first is that you favor counter service food over sitting down for a meal. As such, I’ve only included one Table Service restaurant here and one that’s an either/or situation.
I’m also including a couple of places at each park so that you’ll have some variety, no matter where you are. For that reason, I’ve thrown in a Disney Springs location, too. I do want to say that in a pinch, virtually anything at the World Showcase or Disney Springs will work. Similarly, anything on the Mobile Ordering list on Disney’s official website should satisfy your basic needs.
At Magic Kingdom, I generally guide people to Columbia Harbour House as the Quick Service meal of choice. I do this because of the food AND the location. Conveniently located at Liberty Square, this eatery sits right across from Haunted Mansion. You grab a FastPass before or after the ride, and you efficiently plan in an hour of park time. It’s a wonderful way to kill two birds with one stone. As for the food, it’s remarkably good seafood, particularly the lobster roll. You can read the review linked above for additional details.
Let’s conclude our Magic Kingdom discussion by facing the reality of the situation. This park is the most popular one in the world. With so many people there, you’re going to get tired and a bit claustrophobic at times. Don’t worry. You’ll still have the vacation of a lifetime, and you won’t remember any temporary struggles after the fact. It’s just a part of living in a society that you’ll have to fight the crowds at times.
I’m including Crystal Palace as a suggested meal because it’s a lovely escape from reality. Once you pass through the shiny glass doors at the restaurant entrance, you’ll feel like you’ve transported to a new place. Specifically, you’re in an ornate building filled with glass and the purest white décor, but you’re also somewhere near the Hundred Acre Wood. How else could you explain the presence of Winnie the Pooh and friends?
Yes, Crystal Palace checks off two boxes. It’s a character meal that’s relatively uncrowded relative to others at Walt Disney World. You’ll get to interact with many of the inhabitants of Hundred Acre Wood while you eat. And the other box is that it’s an All-You-Care-To-Enjoy (AYCE) restaurant, Disney’s way of describing a buffet. You’ll grab a plate (or two or three) and fill it with food. It’s a great way to refuel between attractions. Crystal Palace feels like an escape from Magic Kingdom, but it’s right in the middle of the action.
My rough estimate is that I spend 20 percent of my Disney vacation shopping at Mitsukoshi Department Store, the flagship retailer at the Japan Pavilion. I may be joking, but my credit card statements would probably support the notion. Since I’m already here, I figure I might as well eat at Katsura Grill.
Now, you may not be like me. Your significant other may not be hopelessly addicted to kawaii culture. If so, you should still visit this restaurant. The Japanese cuisine on display here is the perfect combination of tasty and cheap. Everything on the menu is $14 or less, and it has plenty of options, too.
Sushi fans can grab a California Roll, but the noodle dishes are exceptional, too. This place has mastered the art of ramen preparation. They also have a few teriyaki dishes that are spicy heaven. Katsura Grill has managed to stay a bit under the radar at the World Showcase. You shouldn’t have to wait long when you eat lunch here, either.
Woody’s Lunch Box
The newest restaurant where you can grab lunch at Walt Disney World isn’t a place where you will sit down and enjoy the surroundings. It’s grab-and-go in the purest sense of the terminology. That’s what you’ll love about it! When you walk up to Woody’s Lunch Box, you’ll see all sorts of foods that will remind you of school. Not the bad parts, of course!
I mean that special moment when you open the lunch box to see what your mother or father prepared for you. This restaurant is quite possibly the kid-friendliest restaurant in the history of Disney theme parks. You’ll feel a rare sense of contentment when you order from here. Plus, all of the dishes are on the light side, perfect for an early afternoon meal.
What’s better than a slice during a park day? Pizza’s certainly in the discussion for best theme park food. At Pizzerizzo, you get a good looking pie, but you get something extra on the side. You get the ambience of a Muppets-themed restaurant. You can watch Resort TV1’s review to see the interior décor. My primary complaints about this place are that the pizzas are modest in scope (Giordano’s has spoiled me) and that the Muppets tie-ins could be stronger. Even so, Pizzerizzo cooks a stunningly tasty slice, and the merchandise here is adorable.
The Polite Pig
Sometimes, everyone needs barbecue. Even George Clooney knows this, and he used to have a pet pig. When you dine at Disney Springs, you can partake of the finest barbecue in the city. That’s not much of an exaggeration, either. The family that owns and operates The Polite Pig has received a nomination for the coveted James Beard Award for their flavors.
Their other locations are in Winter Park, Florida, but Disney executives persuaded them to add this restaurant 25 miles south of their other two. For fans of brisket, pork, and other pig-based dishes, it’s the perfect addition to Disney Springs. Unlike most other restaurants here, it’s owned by locals, but the cuisine is tasty enough to garner attention from the most discriminating culinary judges.
I won’t lie. I just love the name. It’s ridiculous and fun and absolutely perfect for DinoLand U.S.A. But Restaurantosaurus is more than just a silly name. It’s a beefeater’s kind of place, one that serves ample portions of high-protein entrees. It even has a bit of flair thanks to its Black Bean Burger and Battered Fish dish. Hey, cavepeople ate fish, too! I’m…not sure about beans, though. Anyway, eat at Restaurantosaurus so that when your friends ask you where you ate at Disney, you’ll be able to say something silly to them.
Rose and Crown Pub & Dining Room
FISH AND CHIPS! FISH AND CHIPS!
This meal is so good that you’ll wonder why Americans ever revolted. It’s also available in two forms. You can sit down and luxuriate in the ambience of classic English elegance. Alternately, you can grab-and-go at the connected Yorkshire County Fish Shop. It serves the signature dish, Fish and Chips, at the counter. With Rose and Crown, the central selling point of the restaurant for me (other than the cuisine) is the view of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. At lunch, that won’t help you any, so pick the counter service instead. The Fish and Chips order is only $11.49! It’s an insanely great deal for lunch at Walt Disney World!
Pandora isn’t real. At least, it wasn’t real until Disney made it real. So, discussing authentic Pandoran cuisine is a confusing topic, as it causes me to question the very fabric of reality. Let’s assume that Sa’tuli Canteen does offer real versions of fictional dishes. Just go with me on this.
At Sa’tuli Canteen, you’ll eat pods and bowls that taste like flavors you know. They won’t look like you’d expect, though. A cheeseburger pod looks like a roll but tastes like something that you’d now find IHOB. And the signature dessert here kind of looks like unicorn leavings, but it somehow tastes like blueberry mousse. Everything about Sa’tuli Canteen is perplexing. Since you’re going to spend a lot of time at Pandora – The World of Avatar anyway, you might as well double down on the experience by eating here, though.
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