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Review: Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe

Riding side-saddle between Adventureland and Frontierland, Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe — often shortened to “Pecos Bill’s” is the place to sit for a spell (and chow down) with your posse!

From burgers to taco salads, there’s a little something for everyone here, which makes it a guest-favorite for counter-service in the Magic Kingdom!

Atmosphere

Because guests can see the restaurant from Adventureland and Frontierland, Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe looks like an old West saloon from the outside in Frontierland but has a more Caribbean appearance on the Adventureland side.

Pecos Bill Sign on Adventureland Side

Sign from Frontierland Side

Inside, you’ll find dark woods and decor you’d expect in booming mining towns of the West. If you keep moving toward the Adventureland side of the restaurant, though, you’ll run into slightly more Caribbean decor — cobblestones, blooming flowers, and warmer stone walls. This runs opens into Tortuga Tavern next door!

But back to the old West, if you take a peek at the walls, you’ll find the story behind Pecos Bill’s (every Disney destination has a story!).

Story of Pecos Bill - click image for larger version

And, of course, we can’t forget the Code of the West!! We highlighted this and another fun Disney sign on the blog last week!

Code of the West

And outdoor seating section wraps around two sides of the restaurant, offering an option to eat al fresco. Here’s a great tip: the seating section located all the way around the restaurant (toward Adventureland) is the last to fill up, so head there first!

Outdoor Seating

More Outdoor Seating

Inside, you’re greeted with a dark, but cozy seating area. Be warned that during busy times, this place is both loud and busy…and could be a reason to high tail it over to the relative quiet of Columbia Harbour House‘s second floor seating area over in Liberty Square!

Indoor Seating

Ordering

The ordering process at Pecos Bill’s gives you a choice before you even begin to decide what you want from the menu! You can choose from the relatively new automated ordering system, or the standard order-from-a-real-person system.

Regular, Non-Express Ordering Line

Express Ordering Sign

I went for express ordering, because ever since my love affair with Sheetz gas stations’ Made-to-Order machines (MTO!), I’ve always chosen automated over person! Good memories of some seriously delicious buffalo chicken sandwiches back in Pennsylvania!

Express Ordering

The express ordering option opens with the question of whether or not you’re on a Disney Dining Plan so that it can charge your card correctly. And once you’re ready to pay, you have multiple choices, including your room key, a Disney gift card, a credit card, or a Disney Rewards Card. I think this is a great way to keep things streamlined!

Express Ordering - Select a Disney Dining Plan

Express Ordering Payment Options

The options are divided into different menus, so you just need to select the menu needed (e.g. entrees, vegetarian, kids, desserts, sides, etc…), then choose what you’d like from that menu. The system will offer choices as necessary!

Express Ordering - Select an Entree

I liked that they offered a vegetarian menu AND a menu with side dishes!

Express Ordering Vegetarian Menu

I never knew they had corn chowder! Why didn’t anyone tell me they had corn chowder??? I need to go add that to the Disney Food Blog Mini-Guide to Magic Kingdom Snacks!

Express Ordering Side Items

And of course, I fell for the up-sell…

Express Ordering Upsell

Eats

OK, let’s get down to business and take a look at the options! Pecos Bill’s is known for its burgers, taco salads, and condiment bar! Yep — this is one of those lovely spots where you can get unlimited sauteed mushrooms and other goodies to dress up your entree!

Menu - click image for larger version

Speaking of the condiment bar, let’s take a look-see, shall we?? Peppers and pickles, salsa, and sauteed mushrooms are in high demand!

Peppers and Pickles at Condiment Bar

Condiment - Salsa

Condiments - Sauteed Mushrooms

And folks have been known to create a little side salad out of the lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese!

Cheese, Lettuce, Tomatoes on Condiment Bar

Of course, there’s ample mustard, ketchup, and mayo (in those annoying dispensers that end up squirting out more stuff even after you’ve stopped pressing the button…tip: stop pressing the button when your cup is about 3/4 full!).

Condiments - Mustard, Ketchup and Mayo

And…sigh…plastic cheese. I wonder when Disney will start labeling these dispensers “plastic cheese.”

Plastic Cheese

Once you’re ready to head over to your seat, grab utensils, salad dressing, and other condiments at the end of the condiment bar.

Other condiments and utensils

So, since I’m getting hungry, let’s get on with the show! I chose the Angus Burger with onion rings, bacon, and barbecue sauce, on the recommendation of several readers over on the Disney Food Blog facebook page!

I really thought this burger was good. The onion rings, bacon, and sauce gave it a lot of flavor (though with all of that topping flavor, I missed the true Angus beef flavor a bit). From the looks of the photos, the patty looks dry. I don’t remember it being dry, but maybe I was blinded by the yummy toppings!

If you’ve tried this burger and have an opinion on it, let us know in the comments!

Angus Burger

Angus Burger close-up

Angus Burger Cross-Section

Next up, of course I had to try the corn chowder!! Yes indeed! I am a corn chowder lover, and this version was decent. It wasn’t the best (a super buttery, somewhat watery, version I had once, which was to die for), but it certainly wasn’t the worst. Definitely a good option on a cold Magic Kingdom day, or for a filling snack when you don’t want a full meal.

Corn Chowder

Corn Chowder Close-Up

And just to torture myself a month later when I’m on a diet to fit into a bridesmaid’s dress in my brother’s wedding, I had to take a photo of this deliciousness — a yummy french fry dipped in liquid gold. Why do I do this to myself?? Why?? ;-)

Dipping French Fry in Plastic Cheese!

Overall

I hadn’t been to Pecos Bill’s in years — seriously…years — and I am SO glad I went. While this joint serves up standard Disney fast food, I can’t help it that I’m a big fan of standard Disney fast food! Sometimes a giant burger and a side of fries really hits the spot, and that’s exactly what Pecos Bill’s delivered on this visit.

I love the automated ordering system. It was quick, easy, and made going through the getting-my-food process very easy. But I do have to say that the seating areas at Pecos Bill’s leave something to be desired. I tucked myself into a corner outside, but it still felt crowded and loud making the experience slightly less enjoyable. (What can I say…I love food, and I want eating to be a good experience, not just a task.)

Also, as an aside, I didn’t have a problem with the whole wheat burger falling apart on me, luckily. I know that’s been a problem for previous visitors… . :-)

Have you been to Pecos Bill’s lately, or are you headed there soon? Let us know what’s on the menu for you when you go!

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34 Comments

  1. Becca says:

    Call me a pleb, but this is simply one of my favourite restaurants at Disney World. It just doesn’t feel like a Disney trip without plastic cheese, glow-in-the-dark jalapenos and the great skill of table scouting!

  2. Matt says:

    This is by far the best counter service place at the Magic Kingdom. My wife loves the fixins bar, and like you said, sometimes a good burger and fries just hits the spot. Plus I love eating and being able to look out into frontierland, and plan the next leg of our attack on the park!! To make a game out of it, my wife likes to go grab a table and have me meet her with the food. I try to beat my time each visit, but somehow it seems like it always takes me longer

  3. Old Dan Tucker says:

    My family and I ate at Pecos Bill’s Cafe within a year or so of WDW’s opening when I was ten. I’m sure we didn’t realize there were “fancier” dining options–not that we would have chosen them! We chose Pecos Bill’s because we had studied one of those funky original park wall maps that had been brought to us by an aunt who had made an earlier visit to the park, and we recognized Pecos Bill as a character. We had never seen “Melody Time,” which hadn’t been shown theatrically in its entirety (to my knowledge) since its original release. We must, therefore, have seen the Pecos Bill cartoon as a short prior to a Disney feature or on The Wonderful World of Disney television program, which everyone watched on Sunday evenings (everyone that I ever knew, at least). I remember we were very impressed by the setting and how it referenced Bill and the cartoon, which is perhaps when we first realized that Disney World was something entirely different from anything we had experienced before. Do you think visitors today recognize Pecos Bill and know his backstory?

  4. Silvercat says:

    I luuuuurrrrrvvvve this restaurant! We ate there in November last year, and for the first time tried the all-singing, all-dancing Angus burger. I am not a big fan of BBQ sauce, but this was to die for! It was gorgeous!! The flavours blended really well together, and we were so stuffed afterwards!

    A great meal, and a fab atmosphere, we would not hesitate to eat there again.

  5. Bill White says:

    This IS probably my favorite CS restaurant in the Magic Kingdom. However, each time I visit, it is more and more crowded! It seems to be one of the most popular dining spots in the MK. If I can’t get there before noon, I skip this place and find something else. It is with great reluctance that I do this, however, as I LOVE to dip my fries in that hot cheese (Full Disclosure: I dip everything except desserts in that hot cheese!)!

    Why doesn’t Disney sell that cheese in jars so you can take it home and microwave it whenever you need a “Disney-Hot-Cheese-Fix”?!

  6. I ate here for the first time with my mom back in May. While the food was good, the atmosphere was a little loud for my taste. But then melted cheese makes everything better!

    Also–have to say–as someone from PA, I love your shout out to Sheetz, and I agree that the touch screen ordering in WDW is great. I encountered it for the first time and Captain Cooks (mmm…pulled pork nachos…) and loved the ease of use.

  7. Alan says:

    A great, fun eatery. The condiment bar is the secret weapon at Pecos Bill’s. Mix the sauteed onions and the mushrooms and you get a great side dish. You don’t need the deluxe burger when you have all those condiments. If you are eating a hamburger with all those greasy toppings, not to mention that cheese, why does Disney’s food police bother with a tasteless whole wheat bun?

    It is almost always crowded, so if you can, swing by Adventure Land early, see the Pirates and maybe the Tiki birds and then have an early lunch.

  8. Just curious about the “Snack Plan” option on the payment menu. Is this something new or just a reference to snack credits?

  9. marcellina says:

    we ate here for the first time in oct of 2010 during Mickey’s Not so Scary.. it was surprisingly good! I had the burger and loaded it up with mushrooms (yum!) and it was pretty tasty.. but I’ll tell you what was the star of that meal… my mom’s barbeque sandwich! I believe it was fairly new to the menu at that time and she let me have a bit… wowee! it was so good that I wished I had ordered that instead of my mushroom burger (and that’s saying a lot!). On that trip I realized that the counter service options in Magic Kingdom are pretty great! (I guess before that trip we were dining snobs and always had table service meals in MK!). Great review! I wish I was there now!

    (and FYI, I LOVE the Pecos Bill Disney cartoon.. as a little girl I used to always want to be the red-headed girl in the cartoon! here’s part 2 of 3 on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4VjJWkF-ww&feature=related)

  10. John Grigas says:

    On our list of WDW “Traditions,” we always stop at Pecos Bill’s for a snack of Chili Cheese Fries! It’s the perfect retreat from the parade crowds!

  11. Jon Grant says:

    Pro tip: ask for an extra plate. Move fries to plate. Cover fries with sautéed onions and mushrooms. Cover with obscene amounts of cheese. DO NOT FORGET FORK. Copious amounts of napkins are also advised.

    I used to do this over at Pinocchio Village Haus (back when they had a condiment bar) and go to the upstairs outside seating area (back before they consistently roped the upstairs off.) Fert.

  12. Allie says:

    I remember visiting Pecos Bills a lot as a child, but just went back for the first time as an adult. That burger is HUGE! I have a hearty appetite and I could only eat half, and some of the fries. It was delicious :)

  13. Kris says:

    The BBQ sandwich at Pecos Bill’s is definitely the best barbecue in the World (alas, Flame Tree BBQ used to take the cake but they have changed their sandwich and it doesn’t even compare to the delicious sandwich at Pecos Bill’s). A side note: since the burgers are so large, you can choose to purchase an extra bun – you can do this at any Disney counter-service restaurants – for a very minimal cost and split the meal, leaving room for a Mickey Bar later on!

  14. Daniel says:

    the wildest toppings bar in the wildernesssssss!

  15. Paul C says:

    My kids and I went there last week. My son had the taco salad, and my girls and I all had the chicken wraps. Amazingly yummy food.

  16. Sommery says:

    I had the exact same burger as you, one night during extra magic hours and this was one of the only places still open. It was delicious, and not dry at all. It was on that trip that I also ate at the Columbia Harbor House for the first time. I have been a bit anti counter service since we always spring for deluxe dining. But eating at these two MK restaurants showed me that counter service could be just as good as table service – sometimes better! I also used the screens to order and it seemed the second I clicked enter on the screen, my order was ready. I definitely like the do-it-yourself ordering.

  17. Bret says:

    Do you know that they do a little show when they open the doors??? Yep we were there one time right as they opend the place and the workers did a little show right out front and then said come on in….. This is a great place to eat. I have had a few meals here and now I want to try the deluxe burger after this… I cant wait till June.

  18. Galloping Gourmand says:

    The burger looks like the standard Disneyburger, only made of Angus beef. In other words form pressed skinny and well done. Overcooked Angus is the same as overcooked regular beef and therefore falls prey to the problem I have with all Disney fast food burgers – namely a dry flavorlessness.

    All Disney quick service locations live and die by the specialty dishes. Pecos Bill stands out for the condiment bar where the Disneyburger can be overcome by loading it up with the toppings. A topping bar and a taco salad is not enough to get me to switch from my beloved Columbia Harbor House just yet.

  19. JoAnn says:

    First I have to say – I miss Sheetz. Ok, now that I got that out my system. I had the BBQ pork sandwich and loved it.

  20. Rose says:

    In Nov, Hubby had the burger, I had the taco salad. It was pretty busy that day but I have seen it worse. The goopy (my word for plastic) cheese was out on one side so we had 4-5 people in front of us. The salsa bowl was empty and looked really gross sitting there with little bits stuck on the bowl. I didn’t wait for it to be refilled. By the time we finally started eating everything was cold. IMO those Disney fries are BAD cold. Hot cheese probably would have helped. Ha ha. This is the only time in probably 10 times we had any problems. Hopefully in March our lunch will be better. Think I will try the BBQ pork!

  21. marcellina says:

    Rose, you will LOVE the BBQ sandwich! :)

  22. Mike says:

    I love Pecos Bill. I can make a meal out of just the sauted mushrooms and grilled onions. Can’t wait to go back!

  23. Sharon C says:

    Confession time – my DH & I love this restaurant so much, we have breakfast there one morning during every visit. Yes, we eat a big greasy cheese onion mushroom covered burger for breakfast. Vacations at WDW are awesome : )

  24. Becca says:

    @Galloping Gourmand – ha! You are so right. I’m sure they could do better with the burgers. After all, McDonalds and Burger King manage to do a much more moist burger and they’re probably operating on tighter margins! It’s all about the fixin’s bar.

  25. Gigi says:

    I grew up in Altoona, PA (the birthplace of Sheetz) and still think of it as a “local convenience store.” Yeah, yeah…I know they are all over the place, but I still do a double-take when I see someone on the innerwebs mention Sheetz. Even weirder, I was in Alexandria, VA this past weekend and saw a Sheetz to-go cup in the garbage of a coffee shop.

    Sorry to hijack ;) I do enjoy Peco Bill, but always feel like I overdo it on the toppings bar. It’s just tooooo tempting to pile everything on top of everything. More everything!!! Lettuce and tomato on fries make the fries healthy, right?

  26. Alex says:

    Re the automated ordering – does anyone know if this is a way to order all ‘adult CS meals’ via DDP when you have a mix of adults and kids ?

  27. Laura B. says:

    Best quick service burger in the park!

  28. Christin says:

    I love Pecos Bill’s. It isn’t a trip to WDW without it. And don’t make fun of the cheese – it is great and with fries – yum! – ugh if only MN would catch onto that trend.

  29. Diana says:

    Yep, I agree. A great restaurant. What more can be said?

  30. Pam says:

    So you can’t order a burger on the automated menu, just a cheeseburger?

  31. AJ says:

    Pam– you might be able to remove the cheese via the system, and there may be a hamburger there already; I’d have to look at the menu again :-)

  32. George says:

    I used to love Pecos Bill’s. Stopped going once they started using the multigrain buns. To say they are bad is an understatement. Why would anyone (on their vacation) feel a healthy bun with a cheeseburger topped with a fried onion ring and mayo make a difference? At least offer a soft white alternative. With or without sesame seeds, I don’t care just not one of those horrible multigrain buns.

  33. Kathy B. says:

    We always, always, eat at Pecos. It’s one of our favorite places to eat . The food and service are always good. The cast members are very nice and polite. Not a trip goes by that we haven’t eaten there at least once a day. Love it!!!!

  34. Bill Cianci says:

    Where:
    Pecos Bill Tell Tale Inn and Cafe, Frontierland, Disney World, Orlando, Florida
    What:
    Deluxe 1/3-pound Angus Cheeseburger
    Build:
    1/3 pound angus burger, bacon, onion rings, barbecue sauce, American cheese, sautéed onions and mushrooms, artisan roll, cheese sauce
    Comments:
    Holy Cow! Just look at this beauty…. NOT! The bun and toppings were awesome, but the burger was the same mystery meat patty I just had at the Gasparilla Grill. Awful, just awful. This burger wasn’t even close to fast food standards. Really? Is Disney that hard up for money that they can’t spring for a decent quality meat for their $95 a day admission to the park guests? Appalling, just appalling. Seriously, this burger couldn’t hold a candle to the frozen Drive-Thru Burger* I recently reviewed.

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