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Guest Review: Fulton’s Crab House

Today, we’re welcoming Orlando native Matt Shealy with a guest review of Fulton’s Crab House in Downtown Disney. Matt shares a rave review of the seafood as well as the memorable ambiance of dining at Fulton’s at sunset.

My childhood memories of Disney include images of loveable characters like Mickey, Minnie and Pluto as well as care free roaming of the park’s lush grounds. Those memories were still vivid after an over ten year hiatus. Now that I am a proud father of a two year old girl, I made the 30 minute trek south of Orlando to that magical place called Disney. Other memories of Disney include long lines and Florida’s summer heat, so we headed to the park bright and early.

After a long day of rides and good times, it was time to grab some good food and relax. My wife and I are huge fans of seafood. After asking some of the cast members we settled on Fulton’s Crab House.

On our walk to Fulton's Crab House

Atmosphere

We arrived at Downtown Disney at dusk on a warm breezy Central Florida evening. As we strolled towards the larger than life riverboat style restaurant, the air was rich with the smell of restaurants getting ready for a dinner rush.

Atmosphere and Bar

Fultons Crab House Bar area and Dining Room

We were greeted at the door by a lovely young lady and were seated on an outdoor deck upon request, which we felt lucky to get as the restaurant seemed very busy.

As the sun set and Fulton’s lights came on we saw the restaurant in all of its glory. The large light bulbs lighting the restaurant created a feel that you were really floating down a river in a time when riverboats ruled. My daughter was enthralled with the experience even before we started eating.

A view of Fulton’s at dusk

Eats

The service up to this point in our experience had been fantastic. We were quickly escorted to our requested table and seated.

Our waiter was not far behind to welcome us and take our drink orders. My daughter ordered soy milk (which they had!), my wife had a glass of Argentinian Cabernet and I ordered an ice cold Miller Lite. Our night was off to a great start and would only get better from here.

Our drinks were served and our appetizer order taken. Our server suggested I try the clam chowder and I was not disappointed! Next was the difficult task of choosing from Fulton’s amazing menu.

My much anticipated bowl of clam chowder

After my consideration, I ordered a snow crab plate, which was amazing! My wife was in the mood for some fried seafood, so she ordered the Seafood Combination. This assortment of seafood includes beer battered cod, fried shrimp, and scallops. She was impressed with the taste of the batter they used.

My amazing snow crab plate. The work is well worth the prize!

My two year old daughter ordered (on her own) the snow crab legs off of the kids menu! She has quite the pallet at a young age. We were all impressed and happy with our selections. Everything tasted fresh which is the key to good seafood.

Our dessert topped off a magical night of food and family. We were all so stuffed that we shared a sundae off of the kids menu. It tasted great and my daughter found it very amusing.

Overall

As a parent of a young child, you have to pick and choose where and when you include your little one in night time activities. This includes dinner after a long day. If my daughter’s attention/imagination is not stimulated, dinner can be a long event of whining and crying.

Fulton’s Crab House was a perfect place to take her, have a fantastic meal, and spend time as a family. I would highly recommend Fulton’s for a family dinner or a date night (great wine selection). From start to finish we felt welcomed and taken care of. The price tag was well worth it. Disney is as magical today as when I was a kid.

Have you dined at Fulton’s recently? Let us know your experience!

Matt is a husband and father who was born and raised in Orlando. Fatherhood brought him back to Disney after ten years away. He enjoys traveling, great food, and being part of a local wine company.

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21 Comments

  1. kirsty says:

    We are going in October, after many years of it being off the dining plan! We love this place and my daughter requested it because of the crab legs, she is 4! BTW were you on the dining plan? Just curious if there were any exclusions?

  2. heidi says:

    Kristy-I know Fulton’s takes 2 credits (all day).

    I went many years ago. It was alright. In all fairness though I live in Charleston, SC where fresh seafood is quite plentiful (and excellent!).

  3. kirsty says:

    Yes we know its a two credit place, just wondering if there were certain menu items that you were not allowed to order on the deluxe dining plan

  4. Lisa says:

    Sorry, I cannot give Fulton’s a thumbs up. Several years ago we were excited to be dining at Fulton’s. Our experience was horrible. Poor service from beginning to end. It was so bad, we told them we would take our check before our entrees even arrived. The food we did receive was cold and unappetizing. Given the incredibly high prices, don’t think I will give it another shot. We are from Florida, South Carolina and Virginia where our seafood is fresh and priced well.

  5. Galloping Gourmand says:

    Has this always been Fulton’s? I have pictures and vaguely remember eating at a character breakfast there back in the mid-late 70′s. I have some pictures of a 8 year old me with Pluto, and recall hoping that the boat would move but being told that it wasn’t a real boat. I don’t think those memories are that reliable though.

  6. Diane says:

    Dear Galloping Gourmand: Yes, Fulton’s used to be the Empress Lilly, named for Walt’s wife. It housed three restaurants, at least one of which hosted character breakfasts (my husband and I have photographic evidence with Minnie while on our honeymoon in 1993). The fanciest of the three was the Empress Room, an incredible dining experience that was the top of the line long before there was V&A’s or Cali Grill. I remember eating there with my parents when I was a teen. Sigh. With all those memories, I just can’t bring myself to try Fulton’s.

  7. AJ says:

    Diane — I’d love to see your Empress Lilly picture! Sadly, though my family went to the village, I never got to dine there.

  8. Alan says:

    Diane is right on about the former Empress Lily. Back in the pre-Boardwalk and Pleasure Island days the Lily was one of the few places at WDW for night time entertainment. Before the big expansions in the late 80′s, WDW had just three company owned hotels near the MK and a bunch of condos right next to what is now Downtown Disney. If you were booked into the condos you went over to the marketplace in the evening for dinner and music. At the very end of the path in the Marketplace was the Lily. Three great restaurants, a beautiful gay nineties bar and a large lounge that featured Dixieland jazz and later the wonderful singiing and guitar music of Denny Zavitt. Everyone staying at that part of the property went to the Empress Lily.

  9. Craig. says:

    Looks like King Crab to me!

  10. Sherri Erwin says:

    Diane, I am with you! I miss the Empress Lilly days and I can’t bring myself to try Fulton’s. It makes me sad to see Fulton’s, actually, nostalgic for the days when Downtown Disney was the quiet Buena Vista Marketplace, with just a few shops, restaurants, and twinkling lights in all the trees. Our big honeymoon dinner in 1990 was in the Empress Room, because I had such fond memories from eating there with family when I was 12. Good times.

  11. Galloping Gourmand says:

    Diane – Yes that’s it! Thank you!

  12. Sue McNaught says:

    Did you have the Crab Boursin that they bring to the table with the bread? It was amazing!! They give the recipe on the seating card (they did in 2006) and I’ve made it many times, it is a crowd favorite!!

  13. Steph says:

    No wonder you enjoyed the crab plate– those are king crab legs, not snow crab! IMO, they are better than lobster :)

  14. Mike Venere says:

    Yeah…..maybe you ordered the Snow crab, and hopefully they charged you for that but that’s King crab….they do a FANTASTIC King crab special with the claws cook perfectly and cracked and ready for you…..My wife orders that and can never finish, which is all good news for me. Atmosphere is fantastic, been here more than 10 times and never a bad meal. We acually got engaged on the back deck, so this is a place we will never forget!
    HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

  15. AFoodie says:

    Glad you had such a great experience. My family & I tried Fulton’s last summer and were pretty disappointed. I liked the crab boursin plate, but the soup was disappointing and I got these fish tacos that were subpar. Even my daughter wasn’t too thrilled with her crab legs — and she LOVES crab legs. Felt like we got chain-quality food at an unecessarily high price. Glad you enjoyed, tho! The view is quite spectacular.

  16. Anne Marie Geary says:

    I have to agree with Lisa, our family went there for dinner and were very disappointed.
    We have never set foot there since.

  17. Rebecca says:

    Our Family was so excited to try Fulton’s, But left very dissappointed. The food was not appetizing at all and was cold. We had vey bad service,the waiter was barely seen. We were debating on whether to leave or not after being seated for 20 minutes and no one even approached our table. Our family LOVES seafood and looked forward to this most of our trip and had saved the best for last, but left hungry and dissapointed. Dont think we will try again, not with the prices, too $$$ to risk.

  18. Shannon McDonald says:

    My Family eats at Fulton Crab House every year and we usually have a great experience. This year we were very disappointed. I ordered the seafood combo and explained I have a food allergy. They told me they would pan sear it. The food came out with a curry dressing and was awful. I returned it and they said they would make it plain. It came back a pile of boiled seafood. It was awful and not edible. Not to mention we were charged for it. I had to go to the front desk to get the bill changed. To top it off the bathrooms were dirty and had not toilet paper in two of the three stalls. They also had no paper towels. This place has gone down hill. I would highly recommend going to Flying Fish. They have great food and clean facilities.

  19. Olivia says:

    Dreadful disappointment. This was a celebration meal for my daughters birthday,wish we d not bothered. Steak served raw twice even though we asked for medium. Waited 10 mins for knives for steak…so cold when eaten. crab legs hideous…how can you eat crab without correct cutlery when they don t crack . Don t waste double Disney dining plan points on this restaurant. There was NO ice cream….how can there not be ice cream in America !!!!!!! . No water refills…
    Awful….such a shame . This restaurant is not worth visiting.

  20. Daniel says:

    That’s not snow crab! It’s Alaskan king crab!

  21. Joni says:

    Empress Room
    Steermans Quarters and
    Fishermen’s Deck , I believe were the names of the 3 restaurant’s on the boat.

    Have only eaten there twice. once when it was Empress Lilly and once at Fulton’s Not really impressed. Too bad could be a great place.

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