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Review: Lunch at The Diamond Horseshoe in Magic Kingdom’s Frontierland

It’s time to head to the Wild West and take a look behind some rarely open doors…

The Diamond Horseshoe is a seasonal option in the Magic Kingdom’s Frontierland, which means it’s open only on peak-level crowd days (much like Tortuga Tavern in Adventureland).

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.

The Diamond Horseshoe

The Diamond Horseshoe

If so, odds are good (well, pretty great, really) that you’ve seen these doors closed.

"The Diamond Horseshoe is not currently serving..."

“The Diamond Horseshoe is not currently serving…”

But on the busiest of busy days, you just might catch them open… it’s time to step inside The Diamond Horseshoe!

The Diamond AND the Horseshoe!

The Diamond AND the Horseshoe!

And since it’s so rare to find this place open, we’ve got a little exploring to do…

Atmosphere

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!

Umbrella just inside the entrance

Umbrella just inside the entrance

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…

The Diamond Horseshoe stage

The Diamond Horseshoe stage

… to the red glass chandelier on the ceiling.

Chandelier

Chandelier

Framed photographs and sheet music abound, paying tribute to vaudevillian actors and artists.

Actress portraits

Actress portraits

Framed sheet music cover

Framed sheet music cover

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.

Food pickup counter

Food pickup counter

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 ;) .

Drink station

Drink station

There are plenty of tables in the center of the downstairs floor, awaiting their peak-crowd-day destiny.

Downstairs seating

Downstairs seating

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…

One of two stairwells

One of two stairwells

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.

Upstairs seating

Upstairs seating

More upstairs seating

More upstairs seating

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!

Cushy chairs

Cushy chairs

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.)

"Box seats"

“Box seats”

Upstairs view from the box

Upstairs view from the box

Whether upstairs or down, everyone has a great view of the stage, upon which sits a self-playing piano.

"World Famous Self-Playing Piano!"

“World Famous Self-Playing Piano!”

Self-playing piano

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?

Eats

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.

Diamond Horseshoe lunch menu

Diamond Horseshoe lunch menu

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.

Hand-carved Turkey Sandwich and Potato Chips

Hand-carved Turkey Sandwich and Potato Chips

Hand-carved turkey

Hand-carved turkey

Accompanied by bacon, lettuce, and tomato, the flavors were fine, but pretty low-key. The one exception was the cranberry mayonnaise topping the turkey.

Cranberry Mayonnaise

Cranberry Mayonnaise

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.

Potato Chips

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).

Overall

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!

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9 Comments

  1. Connie says:

    Thanks for the revue. I was fortunate to enjoy a show many years ago and was pulled from the audience to participate! (Unless I have my venues wrong.) It was tons of fun interacting with the Cast Members.

  2. Matt says:

    They should bring back the show! That was tons of fun, and its presence is missed.

  3. Darlene says:

    Went there on Tuesday, It was as cute as can be and the watermelon slush was amazing, But the food was awful.

  4. Kerri says:

    I haven’t been to Disney World since 1987, and I do remember the Diamond Horseshoe having a real show back then and extremely good roast beef sandwiches, if I’m remembering right. I’m sad to see they replaced the show with a player piano, even with as much fun as those can be. The turkey does look good, though.

  5. Julie Threet says:

    It was opening today as I walked by and tables were still empty. I too visited it years ago and wondered why they stopped having the shows there.

  6. Deb says:

    I remember as a young teenager being so embarrassed when I was serenaded by “Diamond Jim” (which of course made “Slue Foot Sue” jealous…LOL!) So much fun. Great memories.

  7. Essie says:

    I love Frontierland and would love to eat a lunch or dinner here sometime, but I always go off- season in Sept. or for Christmas. I’ll always have my eyes open to see if I can enjoy it sometime in the future. Thanks for the review; it was fun.

  8. Gabriella says:

    Nothing better than seeing it open and being able to grab a strawberry lemonade just in time for Festival of Fantasy!

  9. Avaitor says:

    This place is perfect for my sister, who loves a nice turkey sandwich. Honestly, I’d prefer to just walk around inside here than get a bite to eat, but if she and I ever go to MK together, I’ll be sure to keep this place in mind for her if it’s open!

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