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“Is This Place Ever Open?”: El Pirata y El Perico

There are a couple of dining spots in Disney World that seem to always be closed — at least when I’m there — and El Pirata y El Perico is one of them!

El Pirata y El Perico

Located near Pirates of the Caribbean in Magic Kingdom’s Adventureland, El Pirata y El Perico (The Pirate and The Parrot) is themed to represent a Caribbean village eatery, and with dark woods, beautiful tiles, and mosaics, it seems to be an extension of the ride itself!

El Pirata y El Perico themeing

El Pirata y El Perico themeing

El Pirata y El Perico Ordering Area

El Pirata y El Perico Ordering Area

It is considered to be “open seasonally,” which can mean just about anything! In the past several years, it’s occasionally been open during Disney’s busy seasons (summer and Christmas season), and most often serves counter-service meals. Usually the restaurant serves Mexican food, including tacos and taco salads (see the DisneyWorld.com Magic Kingdom dining page for this description), but the day I was there, the restaurant was standing in for the closed-for-refurbishment Pecos Bill’s Tall Tale Inn and Cafe next door. Thus the menu below displays foods better associated with that establishment.

El Pirata y El Perico Board (standing in on this day for Pecos Bill's)

El Pirata y El Perico Board (standing in on this day for Pecos Bill's)

The open-air seating areas are the perfect place to relax and take a break from the Florida heat. Even when the restaurant isn’t open, a lot of these seating areas are still accessible for relaxing and people-watching.

El Pirata y El Perico Seating Area

El Pirata y El Perico Seating Area

El Pirata y El Perico Seating Area

El Pirata y El Perico Seating Area

When I was wandering around taking photos, the restaurant was actually just about to open believe it or not. Because it was “standing in” for Pecos Bill’s, there was a “fixin’s bar” for the burgers:

El Pirata y El Perico

Have you ever eaten at El Pirata y El Perico when it was serving its Mexican menu? What did you think? Let me know via facebook, twitter, or email! Also let me know of places that never seem to be open when you’re in Disney!

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26 Comments

  1. Debra Galvan says:

    We have tried to eat there everytime we’ve gone and it’s always been closed! You’re lucky you caught it open.

  2. Jackey says:

    I haven’ seen this place open since I was like 11.

  3. Allison says:

    My dad and I ate there in 2005, which is the last time I’ve seen it open (the last time I was at WDW was Oct. 2008). The tacos we had in 2005 were delicious, and I’m always disappointed when I see that it’s closed. It was a great spot to get out of the heat and enjoy our meal.

  4. It was open during my last trip to WDW (late July/early August) and it was the first time I had ever eaten there. The tacos are decent – if you’ve ever made one of those Ortega taco dinner kits at home, it’s the same stuff. But it’s still a nice alternative to the usual chicken tenders/hamburger fare you find in the Magic Kingdom. And the place is big enough that you shouldn’t have a problem finding a seat, even during peak mealtime hours.

    I’m told there’s an egg roll cart in Adventureland somewhere, but I’ve never seen this in action. It’s elusive, and apparently open seasonally, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

  5. Sarah says:

    It was open back on April 18 as well since we had to get on Space Mountain & TTA before the refurbishment. I walked in to check out the menu and it was the one found at the allears website (http://allears.net/menu/men_pir.htm). I should have ordered something to try since the restaurant is so elusive! However, it’s disappointing to see that they put a rather boring menu to replace the Mexican food, even if just a temporary fix.

    As for the Egg Roll Wagon- That is always a must stop for us! It is currently being refurbished (as of around Aug. 22). After crossing the bridge into Adventureland from Main Street, it is located on the left, a little bit past the entrance to The Swiss Family Treehouse and just before the Magic Carpets. Now getting past the Dole Whip stand… We’ll be heading back over on the 23rd, so hopefully it will be open by then!

  6. I love this corner of the park–it is one of those places you can step back in time and experience the Walt Disney World of the 1970′s.

  7. I’ve had the opportunity to eat there once or twice, and the food has always been excellent. But it is one of the rare spaces where you can get away and relax, even if the restaurant isn’t open, and really feel like you stepped back in Walt Disney World time. In fact, it is one of the places I always pause to compile my notes when I’m on a research trip.

  8. The last time I ate there when they were serving Mexican was about three years ago. My friend and I used to take the kids there for lunch. She would get the Empanadas meal with beans and rice. I would get nachos and we would top it off with churros.

    The place that’s never open when I am in the Magic Kingdom is the Tommorowland Terrace Noodle Station. I love sushi!!! They have a large graphic sign with yummi picture of sushi on it to taunt me every time I make my way from Main Street to Tomorrowland.

    Drats!

  9. Watch Me Eat says:

    I was there a few years ago when this place was open. I don’t know what time of year it was, but I had nachos!

  10. AJ says:

    Debra: It was the FIRST time I saw it open! I didn’t know what to do, so I took a bunch of photos!

    Jackey: I was really surprised!

    Allison: Positive taco memories are always good. Especially with Dad.

    DisneyChick: Alternatives are always good in Disney. That’s why I spend so much time in Epcot!

    Sarah: Thanks for the egg roll cart directions! I’d forgotten about that place!

    George and Ryan: Thank you for the reminder that El Pirata is a little piece of Disney history.

    Amanda: You just uncovered the NEXT installment of “Is this Place Ever Open?!” ;-)

    Watch Me Eat: Are your nachos on the blog?!? :-D (Loved your TDB one, by the way!)

  11. I was there in April in 2008 as well and it was open then with its usual Mexican menu. We always get the taco salad. Always a good deal. My wife is convinced I’m making the whole thing up because it has been closed everytime she’s been there save for a couple trips. :)

  12. AJ says:

    Ha ha! They really like to keep us guessing, right Scott??

  13. ERnurse911 says:

    In 4 trips I have yet so see it open!! I agree with the previous poster…Take down the sign for Tommorowland Terrace Noodle Station…the one with the pics is completely mobile. I had to see it constantly when ever I used the restrooms there (one of my fave places to pee, its always empty LOL) Anyway, move the sign and quit playing with my stomachs emotions!!

  14. Chris says:

    Wow, I guess I hit the jackpot because I ate there in May . . .except that it wasn’t very good. For about $9 you get a drink and two smallish hardshell tacos and a scoop of rice which is vaguely Mexican (I guess). The counter service people were friendly and the place was clean (even the toppings bar) but still, that’s a pretty steep price, even for a theme park. Size-wise, the tacos were slightly larger than what you’d find at Taco Bell. The savings grace was the toppings bar, which had tons of stuff to put on the tacos, so if you’re in the mood for a gigantic iceberg lettuce/tomato taco, this is the place for you.

    I had the beef tacos and the flavor was good. I will say that my best friend had the vegetarian tacos and she was really happy with them. Again, the noted that they were too small, but since there are few good vegetarian options in the MK, she’s learned not to be too picky.

    I probably wouldn’t go there again, not because of the food itself but because it’s not a very good deal by anyone’s standards.

  15. AJ says:

    ERNurse — Ha ha! Poor you! I know; that sign is so tantalizing!

    Chris — Thanks for review! Someone else suggested doing a price : portion ratio blog post, and I think it’s a great idea. A whole new way to look at which restaurants are the best values.

  16. Gray says:

    Do you know why there are restaurants that are only open seasonally? It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Knowing that Disney is a money-making corporate machine, I would think that anything that takes up space would be expected to be open and making money whenever possible. I don’t get why they would close down a restaurant the majority of the time, but leave it in existence at all.

  17. AJ says:

    Gray: No idea! Maybe the value proposition is better this way for them. We could ask why the Wonders of Life pavilion is still standing as well…inner workings of Disney brains we’ll never know!

  18. Jeffrey Lodriguss says:

    My mom and I have eaten there once in 1998, and this year when I went, I ate there again. It’s probably the cheapest place to get a filling meal that I’ve found at Disney World. Plus, the fixin’s bar lets you load up on toppings.

  19. The Disney Chick is correct – There is an egg roll wagon in Adventure land. It has strange hours for many years then began serving other foods on certain days, like Turkey Legs and Pizza. I was there in August-09 and the wagon was gone. The cast memeber informed me that the wagon was undergoing a rehab and that it would be back in October. Don’t give up get that egg roll and eat it while sitting on the Magice Carpets of Aladan (sp?) benches. It is so worth it.

    BTW – The food at El Pirata y El Perico is not so hot (2.5 out of 5 Stars). I suggest Harbor house (Sit upstairs) between the lands.

  20. AJ says:

    Jeffrey and Egg Roll King — Thanks for your helpful and informative comments! Great to know that info about the Egg Roll cart, Egg Roll King!

  21. Dan says:

    The pirate and the parrot have been open during our last two trips to Wdw. 8/08 and 7/09. It is a great vegetarian spot. The black beans are great.

  22. AJ says:

    Thanks for the info, Dan!

  23. [ this is jerry ] says:

    http://softopening.blogspot.com/2009/11/here-come-crowds.html
    [ ... ]
    El Pirata Y el Perico Restaurante: Opening Thanksgiving week November 22 to November 28 2009. Daily operating times 11am to 3pm.
    [ ... ]

  24. Maria says:

    I ate there with my mum last July. She had the taco salad, and I had the vegetarian taco. Strangely, I think I got more food out of it than she did, though the salad is a dollar or so more.

    My only complaint about my meal, I think, was that while the regular beef tacos come with lettuce and tomato, the vegetarian taco was beans only and no toppings. Odd. Either way, it was all fairly cheap and filling for park food.

    And, though we were there at a fairly busy time, there was plenty of seating, and it’s a nice place to sit in the shade for a while at midday.

  25. Ian says:

    I eat there once and only once back in 2005 while I was a CM. I ate there just because it was the first time in three years I had seen it open.
    I remember the food being pretty good. It really reminded me of what you would get ordering from the little cantina on the lake in the Mexico pavilion in Epcot.
    Hope this helps!
    Cheers!
    Ian

  26. Renee Johnson says:

    Does anyone know the taco meat recipe that is used at El Pirata? This is the best taco meat. I’m craving it. The nachos are really good there.

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