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WDW Downtown Disney: Goodbye McDonald’s, Hello Pollo Campero

pollocamperoAccording to the Orlando Sentinel, McDonald’s is pulling out of the Disney World entertainment district, Downtown Disney.

The McDonald’s restaurant at Walt Disney World’s shopping-and-dining district will close April 30, Disney said this afternoon.

This is the part of the fall-out from the end of the Disney/McDonald’s exclusive sponsorship agreement, which terminated in 2004.

“Our alliance partners are ever-changing and this shift in our relationship with McDonald’s reflects the dynamic nature of the sponsorship business,” Disney spokeswoman Zoraya Suarez said.

The replacement restaurant, Pollo Campero, is a Latin chicken fast-food chain. Business Wire is reporting that the chain is joining forces with franchisee Levy Campero to provide a new concept restaurant in Downtown Disney based on Pollo Campero’s standard family-style Latin dining coupled with new fresh, healthy menu additions, like chef-made salads, sandwiches, fruits, and healthy snacks as well as vegetarian, gluten-free, sugar-free, low-sodium or organic offerings.

Pollo Campero is scheduled to open in Fall 2010.

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28 Comments

  1. Jeff W. says:

    Interesting. Still, can’t say much for the chain’s website. I mean, come on, what’s the deal with a restaurant website that doesn’t post a menu link?

  2. AJ says:

    That IS strange, Jeff. If you find out anything about the menu, let me know and I’ll post.

  3. Watch Me Eat says:

    Yay! I personally hate McDonalds, but a Pollo Campero definitely wasn’t something I would of thought of to replace it. As far as I know, they aren’t exactly a big chain around here with only a few stores down in Miami. I hear they have good food though…

  4. AJ says:

    WME– You need to go to a Pollo Campero and eat so I can see what they’ve got!

  5. Pudge the Fish says:

    I find it odd that this McD’s is closing yet they just built a new one out by the All-Stars. Never been in either one but it would seem that the DTD location would do more business based on location and food traffic. I miss the good old days of Donald’s Dairy Dip, Goofy’s Grill, Minnie Mia’s and Chef Mickey’s all in DTD.

  6. Sarah says:

    It’s disappointing that the replacement is another fast food chain, but I see the need for it in such a location. I’ll give Pollo Campero a try when they open. Even if I go there once, it will be more times than I went to the McDonald’s at either DTD or the one off of Osceola. If someone is REALLY craving a fast food burger, the Crossroads aren’t far away.

    Here is a sample menu from their Herndon, VA location (now I wish I’d checked it out when I lived in Fairfax!):

    http://ordering.bigholler.com/PolloCamperoHerndon/
    1. Click the black box that says “Jump Right To Menu”
    2. This is the catering menu, so click “View Other Menus” and choose “Regular Menu”

    Hope this helps!

  7. Ro says:

    If it ever stops snowing around here, I’ll have to try to check out that Herndon location. Maybe there’s one here in Arlington. I could swear I’ve seen their sign somewhere nearby.

  8. AJ says:

    Pudge the Fish — A lot of people are clamoring to bring “character brands” back to DTD; I guess, for now, we’ll have to be satisfied with Goofy’s Candy Company! Also, the McD’s by the All-stars has been there for quite a while, they just renovated it this year. No idea why that one didn’t get the boot in the Disney/McDonald’s severance contract, though.

    Sarah — Thanks for the menu! They’re saying now that they’ll be adding fresher, healthier items for the location in DTD, so I’m interested to see what that’s about. Either way, I’m guessing I’ll still want to go to Wolfgang Puck Express…

    Ro — Try it out for us! Tell us what you think!

  9. Janna says:

    I think The Disney Blog referenced this as being part of Disney’s continued commitment to being identified with ‘healthy’ food options. FRIED CHICKEN? That’s healthier? It’s all about choices – and we, the people, are the ones that make those choices – good or bad. I am sad to see McDonald’s go…I’ve already talked about the loss of McD’s at both EPCOT and DHS.

    That said, I will still try the new restaurant (and continue my commitment to see how many different foods I can try on my next Disney trip as well as how many pounds I can gain – HA!).

    Happy eating, fellow Disney food peeps!

  10. AJ says:

    Janna — It’s referenced as a “healthy eating” spot, because the restaurant seems to be introducing a new line of salads, sandwiches, and wraps that will be marketed to health-conscious eaters. Looking forward to seeing how it turns out!!

    When’s your next trip?

  11. daisynme says:

    I live in Boston, where they’ve opened a couple branches in the last year (there were incredible lines out the door the first month or so). The great thing about Pollo Campero is that you can get EITHER fried chicken or their deliciously seasoned grilled chicken if you want to keep it healthier [see list of “products“- menu varies by location]. The combo meals traditionally come with “Campero” beans, but you can switch it out for seasoned rice, small caesar salad or french fries instead. You also have a choice of a roll or fresh tortillas for your meal. I haven’t tried the yucca fries, yet, but I do enjoy the sweet plantains. You can pack up your own salsas at the fresh salsa bar. Add jamaica, horchata or tamarindo instead of soda if you want to keep it “authentic”. Try some caramel flan or tres leches cake for dessert. There’s also some chicken sandwich options.

    You can get McDonald’s anywhere. I think Pollo Campero is a refreshing change at Downtown Disney… Although, I’ll probably still end up at Earl of Sandwich since I can’t get that at home!

  12. AJ says:

    Woo! Daisynme!! Awesome review. Thank you for giving us an “inside look” into what might be available, and what’s good at Pollo Campero! I’ve never tried horchata, tamarindo, or several of the side dishes, so I’m looking forward to a new experience!

  13. Sarah says:

    Ro: Not looking good for Arlington, but there are locations in Falls Church and Columbia Heights. Or you could travel down to Fredericksburg.

    I’m looking forward to seeing the ‘healthy’ options to be introduced. According to their site, they currently introduced 3 meals under 505 calories, and I found info on those here: http://www.junkfoodblog.com/2010/01/pollo-campero-launches-505-calorie.html

  14. AJ says:

    Thanks for the link, Sarah!

  15. Janna says:

    AJ, my next trip is in November (unless I can find a really good excuse…I mean deal to go before then, too). Since I found your blog, my foodie list is ever growing. Fortunately, we go on vacation to EAT so no one in my family should complain!

  16. Joe says:

    Interesting! I wondered if they were going to pull out when we noticed there were no more McDonald’s fry stands when we were last at the parks. Will be interesting to check out their “healthier” menu next trip!

  17. AJ says:

    Janna — I hear you! Dining is the first thing we plan for our trips (of course!). Would love to hear more about your plans when they start to solidify!

    Joe — I know. I have to admit I was pretty sad when I noticed the fry stands were slowly disappearing. But I AM excited to try out somewhere new. Coming this fall: Pollo Campero, Italy Pizzeria, and the new Cantina de San Angel!

  18. Bill says:

    I’m sorry to see Mickey D’s gone. They have actually been upscaling their restaurants and now provide an excellent menu selection, premium coffees and diet items that appeal to most everyone. Starbucks has a new competitor. Where else can you watch a flat screen TV while dining on the dime! Also, we usually find our foreign guests always want to hit McDonalds when visiting America. This unknown chicken place better be sensational or I would have to say WDW made a mistake!!!!!!!!1

  19. mkg says:

    Oh well another thing for Disney to disenchanted the American clientele ,good goin Disney imagineers ,just go ahead and ruin tradition, McDonald’s will be back!!

  20. Alison says:

    Is there an opening date for this yet?? Thanks! I really appreciate the effort you all put into this blog. :-)

  21. AJ says:

    Ooh – Alison, not sure on opening date! Will have to check that out and get back to you!

  22. CLS500 says:

    Pollo Campero is awesome!! Can’t wait for it to open!!! It is very good and 1,000 times better than a McDonald’s hamburger!!

  23. Mike says:

    Ok, I gave it a try the other day, they have some really tasty treats and their food items aren’t bad, the chicken strips lack any real zing but they were ok, very small portions I might add. the campero beans were tasty, needed salt and pepper to bring them to life. I was still a little hungry afterwards, I’m not a large person so don’t get the idea I’m a glutton. the prices were about average for Disney food, not many bargains around Disney so don’t expect budget gourmet. I find the food at Bongo’s bland as well so it could just be my racey taste buds. good atmosphere minus the smell of mickey D grease. I will eat there again, I am not a fan of McDonald’s fare so it was a welcome change. I am sure their other menu items have real flavor .

  24. kellie , australia says:

    very upset about this being an aussie we know mc donalds ..maccas as we call it , we know what everything is going to taste like ,pollo never heard of it ,dont eat beans or mexican dont know if it is but sounds mexican …not happy

  25. AJ says:

    CLS500 — Have you tried it yet?

    Mike — Agreed that the chicken strips are what you’d expect from any WDW counter service eatery. I enjoyed the fried chicken, though — not spicy, but not standard either :-) Thanks for your comment!

    Kellie — No worries — there’s still the McDonald’s close by over by the All-Stars resorts! They do have chicken fingers and fries at Pollo, so you’d probably be able to eat there in a pinch. Do you like Earl of Sandwich or Wolfgang Puck Express? Both great counter service spots to try!

  26. Snow says:

    basically they took out mcds bc they wouldnt raise prices HA! and this new place stinks! :(

  27. patd95 says:

    P Campero is ok – not great – but ok. Why not El Pollo Loco? Much better latin food. Understand the slant WDW has for going after this market. It’s smart business. However, there are much better latin food chains or speciality restaurants WDW could have secured. Even as average as PC is, it’s much better than WDW. Bravo WDW!

  28. Roger says:

    I would like to get any additional details about when Goofy’s Grill opened and closed for business. Also, are there any pics of the building? Thanks Roger,

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