AAAAARRR ya ready to go back to Tortuga Tavern?
This seasonally open spot in Magic Kingdom’s Adventureland serves grub to hungry pirates. But because it is open sporadically, you never know exactly what you’ll find on the menu.
For a long time, Tortuga Tavern served up Mexican fare, then switched to a BBQ-based menu. These days, it’s relying primarily on park classics to serve the crowds. You’ll find Hot Dogs and Turkey Legs among the fare.
But I was still in for a couple of small surprises on my last visit. And the rule is, if you find Tortuga Tavern open during your visit, you should at least take a quick glance at the menu… and a quick look around, too!
The main reason it’s fun to stop by Tortuga Tavern is because of its all-things-pirate-y theme in keeping with its location directly across from the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction.
Just enter under the Jolly Roger…
…. and you’ll find several ways brush up on your pirate manners!
Fun touches like dinnerware, ale mugs, pewter candlesticks, and more can be spotted throughout the limited indoor seating area.
But the bulk of the setting is made up of the plentiful outdoor seating (with lots of shade) for those busy days.
Note that there IS limited indoor seating as well!
As I mentioned, the menu at Tortuga Tavern is currently… well, rather uninspired, honestly. While I’m opposed to neither Jumbo Turkey Legs or Hot Dogs, I still somewhat crave the Mexican fare that used to be served here. But you’ll find much of that at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe these days, anyway. And there’s still a bit of fun tucked in when you notice things like the Short-Rib Topped Hot Dog among the offerings.
You can also get a Chipotle Barbecue Short Rib Sandwich. And, hey, it’s ALWAYS a good thing to know where you can pick up a Pepper Jack Pretzel!
The desserts and drinks, while very limited, are where I noticed more recent changes. Two Pirate-y treats have joined the lineup. The first is themed in name only: the Pirate Pear Slushy. But the second is actually pirate-themed: a new Rum Cake!
I ordered up the Chipotle Barbecue Short Rib, and the two snacks made for Pirates like me 😉 ! Yo Ho! The Pirate Pear Slushy, complete with a Mickey Straw, is pretty much like the Desert Pear Slushy at Golden Oak Outpost… and that’s not a bad thing at all!
The pear offers a refreshing, distinct, and enjoyable flavor and the whole thing really hits the spot on a hot day. It’s very sweet-tart and the flavor is intense, though, so be prepared for that. Kids will probably love it!
The Chipotle Barbecue Short Rib is served in a bun and topped with a citrus slaw for some extra tang and crunch. It comes with a bag of Lay’s Potato Chips (not pictured).
This is.. okay. The meat is tender and the plentiful chipotle barbecue sauce delivers a hint of smokiness. But I felt like the portion of the meat could’ve been better, especially when compared with the amount of slaw. So, if you’re craving more meat, you may as well go for that Short Rib topped Hot Dog after all!
It was ultimately the Rum Cake that I was most excited to find. The look of it reminded me of sticky toffee pudding over at Rose and Crown in Epcot’s UK pavilion — similar bundt-cake mould with that caramelly sauce over the top.
Maybe it’s because my visit to the Tavern coincided with my trip for the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, but the the whole cake-in-a-boat was giving me festival vibes.
The whole thing carries hints of spice and I thought the rum flavor was nicely pronounced and very likely pirate-approved.
This is a light dessert that’s going to be best for those folks who don’t understand why you’d put a lot of frosting on a cupcake. It’s subdued, mildly flavored and sweet, but not at all over the top. Does that make sense? 😀
Nosh or Not?
You’ll want to stop by Tortuga Tavern if:
- Your starving and happen to be walking by this place…and there’s no line.
- You’re digging the idea of eating Rum Cake right before or after you ride Pirates of the Caribbean.
- You’ve always been curious about the Tavern and it just so happens to be open on the day you’re there!
You’ll want to pass by Tortuga Tavern if:
- Your group requires a wider range of entree options.
- The current entrees aren’t on your list of must-eats (there are much better counter service options in Magic Kingdom).
- Well… it’s simply not open when you’re there.
Tortuga is basically a “the lines are too long everywhere else and we just need food” kind of place. There’s nothing menu-wise to recommend it at the moment as a destination, and your Disney Dining Plan counter service credit can get you MUCH more bang for the buck at a different restaurant. That said, it’s nice to see them having a little fun with the pirate theme with that new rum cake.
Take a Food Tour of all the eats in Magic Kingdom’s Adventureland in our DFB YouTube Video!