Reader Favorites: Best Disney World Counter Service Restaurants

Got a great question via twitter about best counter service restaurants, and I thought I’d poll the DisneyFoodBlog Facebook Fan Page members about their favorites! Here are the winners in each Disney World theme park:

Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe: Magic Kingdom

Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe: Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom: Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe
“Pecos Bill’s” as it’s commonly called, is located in Magic Kingdom’s Frontierland, between Splash Mountain and El Pirata y El Perico. It’s a HUGE counter service restaurant offering burgers (including a veggie burger), wraps, chicken and taco salads, and a pulled pork sandwich along with several sides and dessert offerings. Kids’ offerings include a hamburger and a salad with chicken.

Magic Kingdom Runners Up: Columbia Harbor House in Liberty Square and Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe in Tomorrowland

Sunshine Seasons Food Station Categories

Sunshine Seasons Food Station Categories

Epcot: Sunshine Seasons
The runaway favorite for favorite Epcot counter service choice, Sunshine Seasons is located in The Land pavilion in Future World.

Sunshine Seasons is one of the only true “food courts” in the Disney World parks, and offers different stations for different types of food, including Asian Cuisine-inspired foods, Soup and Salads, Sandwiches, Grilled items, and Desserts. There’s also a self-serve beverage station.

In the morning, Sunshine Seasons is one of the only places to get a hot breakfast in Epcot!

Epcot Runner Up: Tangierine Cafe in the Morocco Pavilion of Epcot’s World Showcase

Animal Kingdom: Flame Tree Barbecue

Animal Kingdom: Flame Tree Barbecue

Animal Kingdom: Flame Tree Barbecue
Another runaway favorite, Animal Kingdom’s Flame Tree Barbecue is clearly loved by food blog readers!

Located on Discovery Island on the way to Dinoland, the Barbecue sports a clever decor theme and an even more clever menu! As Chris Mushrush puts it: “ribs, beans, fries, key lime pie, and a view of Expedition Everest at dusk — does it get much better?”

You can also get BBQ chicken, pulled meat and turkey sandwiches, and salads!

Animal Kingdom Runner Up: Pizzafari

Toy Story Pizza Planet: Disney Hollywood Studios

Toy Story Pizza Planet: Disney Hollywood Studios

Disney Hollywood Studios: Toy Story Pizza Planet
A spot beloved by kiddos everywhere, Toy Story Pizza Planet is next to Muppets 3D in the Streets of America area of Disney Hollywood Studios.

The menu pretty much consists of varieties of personal pizzas, but you can also order salads and desserts. This is also a great place for burning off some steam; much like the Pizza Planet in the Toy Story movies, there are video games, skee-ball, and other fun diversions here!

Disney Hollywood Studios Runner-Up: Backlot Express

Pizza Planet photo credit: Princess Ashley via flickr creative commons

Check out the other “Best Disney World Restaurants” in our series!


  1. says

    Spot on! Pecos is definitely my favorite counter service in all the “world”! And Sunshine Seasons has the best strawberry shortcake! Yum!

  2. says

    Oh man, I missed the original “tweet!” I mostly agree, but have to throw my 2 cents in! Yak & Yeti is by FAR my favorite at AK! Used to be Flame tree, but I just love Y&Y now!

    And don’t forget about Corn Dog Nuggets over at the MK! YUM!

  3. says

    @Heidi: Strawberry Shortcake sounds just about perfect right now…!

    @Kelly: Yak and Yeti is fantastic — it got a couple of votes as well! I like their spring rolls. Yum!

    @Chris: Thank you, thank you!!

  4. Tracie Sweeney says

    Have to disagree with the folks who like Pizza Planet, but totally with you on the others. I really wish the human traffic pattern at the Sunshine Seasons food court could be improved. The confluence of people getting food, tables, beverages, looking for Soarin’ … if someone has a secret, do share!

  5. betsey says

    what bout pucks express at the dtd marketplace? amazing food good service and it is a quick service too. a salmon dinner on a qs can you believe it?

  6. says

    I don’t think I’ve tried any of the counter services listed – however I will be sure to try them when next at Disney! When my fiancee and I have been, it’s become a bit of a tradition to hit Casey’s Corner at Magic Kingdom for a hotdog and fries. Basic tasty grub!

    The other one worth checking out would have to be Earl of Sandwich at Downtown – its like Subway or Quiznos only 1000 times tastier!

  7. says

    Tracie — Not sure if there is a secret there, yet! I agree, though, it can get crowded over at Sunshine Seasons!!

    Betsey and Mark — I love Earl of Sandwich and Wolfgang Puck’s Express as well, but we were covering only the 4 theme parks in this particular post. If we had DTD included, those would be on the list for sure, I’ll bet!

    Staci — Yak and Yeti is delicious! I’ve heard great things about a lot of the dishes. I do like the counter service, but I’d still prefer to go with the table-service! :-)

  8. CanadiansloveWDW says

    flame tree is by far the best .. unfortunatly when we will be there in 7 days they we be closed.. me, my daughter and my wife are not happy about this. but it will give us a chance to try the picnic in the park…

  9. Samantha says

    While the menu at Flame Tree Barbecue looks delicious, there are no veggie items on the menu (apart from a sliced fruit plate, which, although I’m sure is yummy, doesn’t cut it for us veggies!). Same for Yak and Yeti Counter Service (although I’ve read they will whip something up for you if you ask.) Maybe I’m missing a more updated menu than the one I’ve seen on The new veggie sandwich at Restaurantosaurus looks good, though, and the buffet menu at Tusker House seems to have lots of delicious choices : )

    I’ve always found the lack of good, published-on-the-menu veggie items really sad and ironic at Animal Kingdom and most other zoos I’ve been to– if you are inspired by the animals you see there and choose to avoid buying into the meat industry (which puts such strains on the environment), you are hard-pressed to find equally inspiring food options! What an opportunity lost! I don’t encourage prosthelytizing of course, but it would be great if the options and some info were out there, all the same.

  10. Steve says

    In Hollywood Studios, I never miss FAIRFAX FARE…the barbecue is actually better than Flame Tree (I never miss that either). If you like Hot Dogs, they have a selection of gourmet dogs that look good, but I can’t pass on BBQ chicken, ribs, and pulled pork!

  11. Linda G says

    Do I need to make dinner reservations even though I’m going to WDW in low season (Sept 8th 2013)?

  12. says

    Linda — We always recommend making reservations if you know what restaurants you’d like to try. Even “low” seasons have been busy lately.

  13. Tony says

    The flame tree is great but they took the bar-b-que chicken salad off the menu it was the best dish they had my wife always looked forward to going there to get it now it’s a big disappointment for her.

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