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Review: Wolfgang Puck Express

I am FINALLY getting to review this wonderful counter service location — can you believe it’s taken this long? Well, let’s make up for lost time!

Wolfgang Puck Express is the counter-service version of the famous Chef Puck’s quintessential California cuisine. There are two locations in Disney World’s Downtown Disney — one in the Marketplace and one in the West End area (right next to the Wolfgang Puck Cafe and Dining Room).

Focusing on table-service quality food with the taglines “Simple is Delicious” and “Live, Love, Eat”, WPE strives to offer organic and locally grown ingredients whenever possible. I’m pretty sure it’s one of the best counter-service eateries on Disney property. Let’s take a look…

Atmosphere

Clean and sophisticated can aptly describe the dining rooms here. Walls of windows, wooden tables and chairs, and stainless steel accents make this restaurant light and airy with a loft-like feel.

Main Dining Room

Dining Room Decor

Outdoor Patio Seating

There’s indoor and outdoor seating, but my favorite location is the kitchen seating. It feels almost like you’re sitting at a chef’s table, surrounded by the sights, smells, and sounds of some great food being made! I spent a bit of time taking pics back here, and was treated to this shot. I love capturing happy cast members on film!

Kitchen Seating

Cast Members in the Kitchen

When you’re sitting back here, don’t forget to check out the big ol’ pizza oven. Chef Puck is famous for his delicious and innovative flatbread-like pizzas.

Pizza Oven

You’ll order at this counter, but this is the last time you’ll feel like you’re at a counter-service restaurant. Take your number to your table and a server will take care of the rest — including refilling your drink if you’d like! Wolfgang Puck Express has a quality that I love about many Disneyland counter service locations as well — real dinnerware and silverware!

Ordering Area

My Number -- and my first dish

While this food is a bit pricier than you’d find in other counter service locations, it’s high-quality, and the restaurant really does give the aura of a table-service meal.

Eats

I wanted to order just about everything on this menu, but I limited myself to just three items — the famed Butternut Squash Soup, a Meatball and Peppers Pizza, and Pennette Chicken Alfredo. (And yes, this is way too much food for one person. I over-ordered because I wanted to give you a good idea of what was available. :-) )

Menu -- click for larger image

We’ll start with the Butternut Squash Soup. This was very thick and “squashy” (I know — that helps, right?). It reminds me of the soup I had at Animator’s Palate on the Disney Dream a few days later — more like a squash puree than a multi-ingredient (a.k.a. butter and cream) soup. However, it was a great item to have on a rainy, chilly day.

Butternut Squash Soup

The Meatball and Peppers Pizza was out of this world. It’s obvious why this restaurant is famed for its pizzas. First of all, it was very pleasing to the eye — you could tell immediately that these ingredients were fresh. The meatballs were bursting with flavor, and were slightly fatty — which I loved. It gave the pizza an incredible taste, and kept the meat from being dry and crumbly the way many ground beef pizza toppings end up. The sauce was spicy and salty vs. sweet — another pro for me as sweet tomato sauces often fall flat with my taste buds. And the cheese was wonderfully fresh and flavorful. YUM!

Meatball and Peppers Pizza

Meatball and Peppers Pizza Close-Up

On to the Pennette Chicken Alfredo! Granted, I was getting full by now, but I have to say that the Alfredo sauce seemed a bit too standard. I didn’t get the feeling that a lot of time and effort had gone into this recipe. While thick, the taste wasn’t particularly rich or memorable.

However, I really liked the addition of bacon and wondered if it would have been better if it had been incorporated more into the dish instead of being placed, crispy, on top. The bacon did give an extra added texture, however! The chicken in the dish was very flavorful, which is not something you often find with chicken Alfredo dishes — especially at a counter-service location. Usually the chicken is an afterthought when it comes to flavor. My favorite part of the dish was the fresh little peas scattered throughout. I’m a sucker for peas.

Pennette Chicken Alfredo

A Pea

Drinks are available self-service, and include soft drinks and tea. Desserts include cookies, brownies, creme brulee, cheesecake, and frozen yogurt.

Pop Varieties

Tea Varieties -- Tropical, Unsweetened, Sweetened

Cookies

Frozen Yogurt Topping Area

Also, don’t forget that you can get breakfast here and use the Disney Dining Plan. Check the menu above for breakfast items; here’s what you can get cereal-wise.

Cereals

And here are the details on using the Disney Dining Plan here.

Dining Plan Info -- click for larger image

And for those who like to plan ahead — you can do your ordering online!! Just click here to get started.

Overall

I really could rave over and over again about this restaurant. While not everything I ordered on this trip was perfect, the atmosphere and service are divine — especially for a counter service spot. Plus, I’ve tasted several other dishes here and have never been disappointed. I can highly recommend either location of this restaurant!

Don’t forget, because it’s in Downtown Disney, it’s the perfect restaurant to sample on a day you’ve decided not to use a park ticket!

What’s your favorite dish at Wolfgang Puck Express? Let us know in the comments section below!

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28 Comments

  1. Griffin says:

    Absolutely love WPE! Last time there I got the BBQ Chix pizza and creme brulee. This is one of my family’s top spots to eat in all of Disney. And the food is best as fast as counter service spots in all of WDW go. Though it is basically a CS spot, we leave a tip for the staff, since they are so helpful with everything. Save us a table, we’ll be back in August :)

  2. pap says:

    I was there once, and had both the Butternut Squash Soup and the Pennette Chicken Alfredo. I agree with you: the soup was very good, but the pasta was not great.

    Also, I didn’t like fact that the dessert (Crème brûlée) came with the main dish. Why not bring it after the meal? :/

  3. Pudge the Fish says:

    We have always been a huge fans of WPE and we have considered it one of the best counter service locations in all of WDW. The value received when on the DDP is phenomenal. However, a shift has happened in the last year or two where the restaurant is not quite as good as it has once been. I believe Wolfgang Puck, the chef, sold his name and operations of this location to the Levy restaurant chain. WPE once had wonderful faltbread sandwiches and that is no longer true. My wife still enjoys the chinois salad and the pizzas are still great (on par with Via Napoli) plus the creme brulee is a nice change from the ubiquitous chocolate or carrot cake served at CS locations throughout WDW.

  4. canadiansloveWDW says:

    WPE is a great CS i see they have changed whats available for the dinning plan, last year we were aloud to have powerade and you could get any dessert off the menu.. but still a great value. we had the turkey cobb which was very good and the BBQ chicken pizza.. there were 3 of us and more then enough food.. and they still have CHERRY COKE..

  5. Alan says:

    If you are on the DDP eating at this restaurant is like stealing. Compared to most other CS places, WPE offers the most varied menu with something for almost any taste and you feel like you are at a table service eatery. I echo AJ’s review and all the comments. A real winner.

  6. Kathy says:

    One of our FAVORITE places in Downtown Disney. We eat there just about every time we are in town. I even prefer it to some of the full service places. I didn’t know about the ordering online. We will have to try that when we’re down in March!

  7. Keith says:

    I love WP Express, by far the best quick service restaurant on Disney property. We make a trek to DTD once a trip, whether we need it or not, and we make it a point to eat here. The prices are akin to a table service restaurant, but count as a quick service meal. The food is cooked to order, large portions, and excellent, even better than most of the table service places in the parks and resorts.

    The lines can get long, so plan accordingly!

  8. Tony says:

    I love the pizza here. if you eat early for dinner or lunch you can get in and out with almost no wait, time it wrong and the line goes out the door.

  9. Sarah says:

    I love this place as well! Last time I was at WDW with my mom, we had the free quick service plan, and we were pleasantly surprised to see this was one of our options! It was 2 years ago, so I don’t remember what I ate, but I remember us really enjoying the meal there!

  10. Kristin says:

    We absolutely love WPE and make it a point to eat there at some point on every trip to WDW. In our opinion, we also feel like it’s the best CS on property; it’s not how they bring out your food and will even ask if you’d like refills on your drinks (only happened to us a couple of times). My favorite comfort food is at WPE: macaroni and cheese and creme brulee. The mac n cheese is baked with crumbles on top…yum! My husband usually gets a sandwich and hasn’t been disappointed yet. Next time, though, we’ll definitely have to try a pizza! Great review!

  11. Lynne says:

    Our favorite place. The meatballs are the best I’ve ever had (I almost hate saying that having an Italian mother, but its true)–in September, we had them in pasta and on the pizza. The two nights we had dinner, our server actually brought our desserts out when we were done with our food. We were blown away by the excellent customer service–we came in two nights in a row and the manager and our server welcomed us back. This is one place we make sure to tip our server. We also came in for breakfast one morning–my husband got the breakfast pizza and I got the french toast. It was almost too much food, but it was so good.

    I wish we had a location that was easy to get to here in Denver, but the only one is in the airport and it’s on a concourse. I was so excited about our experience that I sent an e-mail through the website to let them know what a wonderful time we had there. Within the hour, I got a response from the GM of that location thanking me for the e-mail.

    Really…I could go on and on about WPE, but it’s making me miss WDW AND the food! :)

  12. Hazel says:

    I usually get the chicken strips kids meal and a creme brulee! That Pennette Chicken Alfredo looks really good though!

  13. Scott says:

    We ate at WPE on our last trip at the urging of many on Twitter (I had asked where we should eat for dinner in DtD while we were in WDW). I had a rotieressie beef focaccia, my wife had a California turkey hero, and my parents and daughter all had pasta. It was alright, but I felt like I would have rather eaten at Earl of Sandwich.

  14. We, a large family group with 3 children did enjoy our vist at Wolfgang Puck Express, we used the DDP and loved the place. There was one Vegetarian in the group, he had the Veggie Pizza, two who have to eat Gluten Free and they were easily accommodated with rotisserie chicken, which they both gave the thumbs up, I had a Mediterranean Veg Panini, very good, also had the creme brulee, which I also enjoyed. We were seated in the kitchen area , next time I will opt for the window area, just a little too busy in the kitchen area.

  15. Meg says:

    I love WPE too – last time we were there we had the roast chicken as the entree and both the chicken and the mashed potatoes were phenomenal. The service was also great – we’ll definitely be eating there again.

  16. Pudge the Fish says:

    I haven’t had the rotisserie chicken or the bacon wrapped meatloaf (both served with the mashed potatoes) in quite a while but they were always favorites as well. Not your typical QS meals.

  17. Janna says:

    Mt favorites are the four cheese & pesto pizza and the macaroni & cheese. Both are truly decadent!

  18. Galloping Gourmand says:

    WPE is the best pizza in WDW, hands down. The prices are reasonable. There is really not a bad dish; the worst you can say about some food is “standard.” There was a brief period of time in the early 00′s when I thought the quality had dipped. If you haven’t been since around 06′ due to disappointment you should go back.

  19. DaGuru says:

    This is a great restaurant to stop at… My wife and I usually go back and forth between WPE and Earl.

  20. AJ says:

    Griffin — Great point on tipping the staff. I always do as well.

    Pap — Interesting that the dessert came with the meal, but perhaps since it’s actually a counter-service restaurant, this makes sense. If you were ordering counter service the same would happen.

    Pudge — Thanks for the info and the review!! Always good too have your insights.

    Alan — Ha! I laughed out loud when you said it was like stealing! So true in this case!

    CLWDW — Hooray for Cherry Coke! ;-)

    Kathy — Yes indeed!! I’m intrigued by the ordering online, too. I imagine it works best for those who are working in the area and stopping buy to pick up take out. Let me know if you try it! :-)

    Keith — Good point on the lines getting long! In the same way that you have to plan for Earl of Sandwich, plan here!

    Tony — Agreed! Thanks for the info!

    Sarah — Wow, this place on the free quick service dining plan would be a major win!

    Kristin — Can’t wait to hear how you like the pizza!

    Lynne — Wow! What awesome customer service! Thank you so much for this review/story!

    Hazel — I’ll bet the kids meal is plenty of food, too! :-)

    Scott — Thanks for the review. I think WPE and Earl of Sandwich are the two counter service winners in DTD to be certain.

    Mary Jane — Thanks for the review on gluten-free and vegetarian dining here. Great suggestions!

    Meg and Pudge — I missed those mashed potatoes the last time I was there! I’ll have to order those again soon…

    Janna — I’m pretty shocked that I didn’t get the four cheese pizza (I get it everywhere else) but that meatball pizza swayed me! It was great!

    GG — Thanks for the review on the food quality and consistency!! Good to know!

    DaGuru — Yep, same here!

  21. Josh says:

    Wow, this place really looks interesting! I have only heard of the other Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant that they have, but not this one. Pretty decent menu too.

    How did you think the Squash Soup compared up to the one in Animator’s Palate on the Dream?

  22. Great review, as always. Love the details you put into it, such as not really enjoying a sweet tomato sauce for pizza. I’m the same way. I missed WPE the last time, and I’ve never eaten there for breakfast, so that’s a goal for my March trip. Any suggestions?

  23. AJ says:

    Josh — I think WPE wins out on this one!

    Debra — Ooh! Going for breakfast? I have no idea! I haven’t been! I’ll have to do so… when will you be there in March?

  24. A.J. I’m headed out the first weekend in March. I like to think my husband’s college deliberately scheduled spring break for the start of Epcot Flower & Garden!

    I’m thinking about trying WPE’s Crispy Cornflakes French Toast – I’m somewhat obsessed with Disney’s French Toast options.

  25. Liz says:

    You guys have to try their breakfast. It is to die for. The breakfast pizza is so delicious. I know it may sound odd to have pizza for breakfast, but you have to try it out for yourself. I was skeptical the first time I tried. Now, everytime we go to Disney we always have a breakfast pizza at least once during our trip. Not to mention that our whole family loves the pizza now, so it’s a must eat.

  26. Lynleigh says:

    My mom and I have two trips planned to WPE in March. It’s our absolute favorite counter service meal, and the best bang for your buck too! So much good food, and great service as well. Great review btw!

  27. AJ,

    I have to second Liz’s comments about trying breakfast at WPE. We made a point of doing so on our last trip. My husband had the breakfast pocket (no scrambled eggs in it, but fresh basil and grated Parmesan cheese) with roasted potatoes (garlic, mmm).

    I had the crispy cornflake french toast, with freshly grated cinnamon; the cornflake texture was unusual and enhanced the effect of the spice. I’d like to put it up against Tonga Toast in a taste test, if I could. I definitely need to eat both again.

    And the portions – just as with other meals – were huge! We had a late breakfast but weren’t hungry by dinner! Not that being satiated stopped us from eating, mind you.

    I got some pictures of both that I’ll put on DFB’s flicker.

  28. Michael R says:

    During our vacation we decided to head to DTD. We knew that Wolfgang Puck had a restaurant there so we went there for dinner. I walked in thinking this is just another place with a famous persons name on the sign. My expectations were low. Boy was I wrong! The service was excellent, beyond excellent. The food was terrific and the portion size was huge. My wife is still talking about the chicken and mashed potatoes. This place will now be on our regular visit list when we are there.

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