It’s time to head to the Wild West and take a look behind some rarely open doors…
During Thanksgiving week and around Christmas, it’s been known to host an evening buffet. When it’s open for lunch, though, it’s a counter service stop featuring turkey and barbeque sandwiches served up to the tunes of a self-playing Wurlitzer.
Perhaps you yourself have strolled past The Diamond Horseshoe.
If so, odds are good (well, pretty great, really) that you’ve seen these doors closed.
But on the busiest of busy days, you just might catch them open… it’s time to step inside The Diamond Horseshoe!
And since it’s so rare to find this place open, we’ve got a little exploring to do…
Okay, I’ll admit… like any good Disney geek, when the doors opened I walked straight past the ordering counter to check out the atmosphere. But I felt fine lingering, since someone left their umbrella at the front , which indicates to me that folks at the Horseshoe are expected to sit and stay awhile!
Though located in the more rustic surroundings of Frontierland, when you step into this ol’ West music hall, the atmosphere seems decidedly more lush — from the deep red curtains on the centerpiece stage…
… to the red glass chandelier on the ceiling.
Framed photographs and sheet music abound, paying tribute to vaudevillian actors and artists.
The set up at the Horseshoe is different from most counter service locations on property, due to its unique “horseshoe” shape, it’s double-duty as a buffet, and the fact that it served as an entertainment venue in the past. Rather than the standard setup of food counters directly behind the ordering registers, once you place your order, you’re directed to the left to pick up your food, where the counter is reminiscent of an old-style saloon.
Remember, though, you’re at the Magic Kingdom, so the only “saloon” drinks you’ll find here are fountain soda, root beer slushes, and flavored lemonades .
There are plenty of tables in the center of the downstairs floor, awaiting their peak-crowd-day destiny.
By the way, the picture above was taken at 11:00 am – pretty much right when the doors opened the day of my visit. If you’d like a comparison, you can click this link and you’ll be able to check out some pictures of the crowds during a noon arrival at Tortuga Tavern. It’s amazing the difference that an hour can make even on peak crowd days.
Anyway, back to the Horseshoe! I was really interested in heading upstairs…
I LOVE the seating up here. Though not ideal for larger groups (which can easily be accommodated on the lower level), you have your choice between the majority of counter-style seats or a few smaller tables.
While on the topic of seating, I have to mention that the chairs upstairs are unusually well-cushioned and comfortable. I guess it’s because they’re so rarely sat upon!
I chose the more secluded table in the balcony box seating. (There are cool sections like this with larger tables on the lower level, too.)
Whether upstairs or down, everyone has a great view of the stage, upon which sits a self-playing piano.
The Wurlitzer piano is cool, but what I wouldn’t give to see an actual performance here, like they used to do! It’s been over ten years (to my knowledge, I should say) since this stage saw a performance — not including when it’s been used for the occasional DJ or what have you for special events like Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. But I mean a live, old time revue, you know?
The menu at The Diamond Horseshoe serves up sandwiches, including hand-carved turkey and an assortment of barbeque, and a Portobello Sandwich for a vegetarian option.
The primary side is potato chips, but apple slices are also available.
I ordered the Hand-Carved Turkey Sandwich, and the first thing I noticed were the substantial turkey slices peeking out from the bread. It’s a hearty serving.
Accompanied by bacon, lettuce, and tomato, the flavors were fine, but pretty low-key. The one exception was the cranberry mayonnaise topping the turkey.
Yes, it really was that pink!
Since the cranberry mayo isn’t mentioned on the item description, the Cast Member who took my order made sure to ask if I wanted it first. So, that’s good to know if you’d prefer to top your sandwich with something a little less… pink ;). But the flavor was good, if a little surprising in its strength. I’m accustomed to mild cranberry mayos, similar to that on the delicious Turkey and Brie Sandwich at Artist’s Palette. This one had a stronger tang.
Of course I chose the potato chips as my side, because there are few things I like better than thick, seasoned Disney potato chips.
The turkey sandwich was okay (and I liked the roll as well), but even with the cranberry and bacon, I still found it to be rather bland. Next time I get a chance to visit, I’ll likely go with the Barbecued Turkey Sandwich (which, the Cast Member informed me, is a pulled meat sandwich).
I mention my next visit, because I really do hope to have more opportunities to dine at The Diamond Horseshoe in the future. Of the seasonal offerings, I prefer the Mexican-based menu at Tortuga Tavern. But there is something about the atmosphere of The Diamond Horseshoe that is just so vintage Disney. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that its sister restaurant in Disneyland — The Golden Horseshoe — was so dear to Walt Disney that he and his wife celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary there. I don’t know exactly. But whatever it is, it feels unique and special.
But not so special that I wouldn’t like to see them make it even more special by bringing a show back here someday. Just sayin’.
Would you like to step inside The Diamond Horseshoe? Please let us know with a comment!