Reader Favorites: Best Walt Disney World Counter Service Restaurants

Whelp, it’s time to re-visit one of our favorite topics around here: Best Disney World Counter Service Restaurants!


We polled our readers back in 2009 for their favorites, and things are looking slightly different these days… ;-)

We recently asked our Disney Food Blog Facebook Fans via the Disney Food Blog Facebook page for the best counter service restaurants inside the theme parks at Walt Disney World. Let’s find out where everyone is eating…

Best Magic Kingdom Counter Service Restaurants

Best Disney World Counter Service Restaurants

Winner: Columbia Harbour House
In a quiet corner of the Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square, the Columbia Harbour House sets the scene for traditional Americana in a colonial village — and steals our Best Magic Kingdom Counter Service title away from Pecos Bill’s this year!

Columbia Harbour House

The decor of the restaurant emphasizes a nautical theme with plank flooring and hurricane lamps. Downstairs, seating is divided into small dining rooms giving the space a colonial charm.

Here’s a Favorite DFB Tip: The upstairs seating area is usually the quietest and offers some tables with quaint views. Brick hearths add even more “warmth” to the dark-wooded rooms.

Grilled Salmon… this meal belongs on a real plate.

Serving popular soups (awesome clam chowder!), salads, and sandwiches such as the Lighthouse (hummus with tomato and broccoli slaw) and Anchors Aweigh (white tuna with lettuce and tomato) served on toasted multigrain bread; and recently adding a Lobster Roll and Grilled Salmon to the menu, Columbia Harbour House offers selections beyond the usual chicken nugget fare. (Although, there are those too!)

Lobster Roll with real chunks of lobster at Columbia Harbour House

Runners Up: Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe, Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe, Be Our Guest Restaurant (lunch only), and Casey’s Corner.

Best Epcot Counter Service Restaurants

Winner: Sunshine Seasons
Soarin’ isn’t the only main attraction in The Land pavilion! According to our readers, Sunshine Seasons gets a lot of traffic too.

Epcot’s Sunshine Seasons

With five food stations including a [Read more…]

Food Challenge: The Disney Food Blog 2012 Cupcake Crawl

Last year we created a special kind of challenge… It was meant for only the truly brave — the true cake and frosting fans. Some of you took on the sweet mission with enthusiasm and…well…courage.

White Chocolate Elephant Cupcake at Animal Kingdom

Yes, we’re talking about the Disney Cupcake Crawl of 2011!

Now as we come upon the anniversary of this challenge, we’ve been inspired by all of you who have attempted — and even conquered — the Cupcake Crawl! And because Disney Cupcakes are one of our passions around here — Yep, we’ve created a sequel!!

The Disney Food Blog’s 2012 “Walt Disney World Cupcake Crawl” Strategy

Are you ready to take on yet another sugary challenge in the name of sweet snacks?!

Follow the 2012 crawl step by step, or opt to mix and match the 2011 and 2012 challenges. Cupcake success is accomplished when you’ve visited these six locations and sampled at least 7 different cupcakes.

Remember that many Disney World cupcakes are offered seasonally, so if you need to substitute out new options for the ones below, that’s A-OK with us!

Depending on your tolerance level, you may want to split this crawl up over a couple of days. We won’t judge!

Don’t forget, most of these can be purchased for a Disney Dining Plan snack credit, so save up those snacks!

CONTEMPORARY RESORT: Cupcakes required = 2

Contemporary Resort’s Contempo Cafe is your starting point for wonderful (and seasonal) cupcakes.

Contempo Cafe
A modern quick service restaurant in the midst of the bustling Contemporary Resort makes a convenient cupcake stop on your way to or from the [Read more…]

Butterfinger Cupcake Revisited at Starring Rolls Cafe

We found this amazing butterfinger cupcake waaaaaay back in early 2009, and at first, I wasn’t sure it was real!

You can find it at what has become the holy grail of Disney cupcakes and all things yummy, Starring Rolls Cafe, in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

I decided (nearly three years later) that it was time to re-visit this treasure and see if it still garnered high marks as a snack (or breakfast ;-)) worthy cupcake.

I’m all about in-depth research — especially where frosting is concerned! So what’s underneath that crushed butterfinger topping?

Butterfinger Cupcake

The answer is obvious, isn’t [Read more…]

Disney Food Pics of the Week: Counter-Service Cult Favorites

We love drooling over the food photos at the Disney Food Blog Photo Extravaganza flickr group!! Although these pics make our tummies rumble, we are grateful for your submissions to the group!

The Disney Food Pics of the Week this week feature counter-service foods that I intend to savor on my next vacation. I’m counting the days until I can start digging in!

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cupcake

The magic here is in two words — chocolate and peanut butter. This Chocolate Peanut Butter cupcake served at Starring Rolls Cafe in Disney’s Hollywood Studios is on my vacation’s foodie list!
Photographer: Bonnie Creevy

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake

Grand Marnier Orange Slush

While strolling through the 2011 Epcot Food and Wine Festival and tasting some new dishes, I’ll stop in France for this thirst-quenching beverage. The Grand Marnier Orange Slush in France is on my [Read more…]

Top Five Disney Brownies

They may not be as fancy as cake or as rich as fudge, but they sure are a great compromise! Brownies are a true comfort food, and Disney has figured out several ways to make them even more special. Check out our top five Disney brownies below!

Top 5 Disney Brownies

Cheesecake Brownie

This gorgeous confection is brownie on the bottom and cheesecake on the top. A perfect mixture of “classy” and “comfort!” Find this one at the Boardwalk Bakery in Disney World’s Boardwalk Inn.

Boardwalk Bakery Cheesecake Brownie

Brownie-Frosting Sandwich

Found at Earl of Sandwich, the brownie-frosting sandwich is pretty true to its name. Two of Earl’s incredible, chocolate-chip packed brownies sandwich some incredible buttercream frosting. You’ll definitely need to share this one!

Earl of Sandwich Brownie-Frosting Sandwich

White Chocolate Chip Brownie

Get this one over at Starring Rolls Cafe in Disney’s Hollywood Studios! While it may be upstaged by its cupcake counterparts, the white chocolate chip brownie is well worth [Read more…]

Reader Favorites: Disney Grab-and-Go Breakfast Items

It’s apparently a breakfast-y week here on the Disney Food Blog, so here’s another fun, nourishing post about the most important meal of the day! When your main goal is conquering Space Mountain after rope drop or securing FastPasses for Toy Story Mania, a quick breakfast will help get you there before thousands of your fellow vacationers!

Breakfast at the Main Street Bakery

DFB followers and Facebook Friends shared their on-the-go fave breakfast options via the Disney Food Blog Facebook page.

Favorite Disney Grab and Go Breakfast Items

The most mentioned breakfast items were cinnamon rolls, Mickey waffles, and muffins (mostly blueberry)! Favorite Orlando and Anaheim locations for early morning fueling were the Main Street Bakery in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, Disney Resort food courts, and White Water Snacks at Disney’s Grand Californian Resort.

Walt Disney World and Disneyland

Many locations are available for quick-service breakfast items in Disney’s Orlando and Anaheim theme parks. With the quick-service locations at the hotels, finding a [Read more…]

Star Wars Weekends Darth Vader Cupcake and Other Specialty Foods

Darth Vader and R2D2 are where it’s at when it comes to food at this year’s Star Wars Weekends in Disney’s Hollywood Studios!

This chocolate peanut butter cupcake has been upgraded with a white chocolate Darth and a couple of dueling chocolate light sabers on top! We found this one at Starring Rolls Cafe.

The taste is still out of this world, and the gooey, fudgey peanut butter chocolate center is well worth the cost of the cupcake!

Darth Vader Cupcake

If you’d rather fight for the good guys, pick up the [Read more…]

The Red Velvet Cheesecake Cupcake

There really is no cupcake like a red velvet cupcake. Rich, red velvet cake, smooth, tangy-sweet cheesecake…

And it’s like Christmas came early this year at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, because Starring Rolls Cafe has taken the perfection of the Red Velvet Cupcake and made it just a little bit better.

The Red Velvet Cheesecake Cupcake.

Red Velvet Cheesecake Cupcake

That’s right. They’ve added cheesecake to the mix, and it’s pretty outstanding. I first heard about this cupcake from Ryan at Main Street Gazette and I happened to be in Orlando at the time. You can bet I high-tailed it over to [Read more…]

Giant, Mickey, Chocolatey, Toffee-y Goodness

To quote one of my favorite monsters… “Coooooooooooookiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeee!”

So, when I showed you the Disneyland treat-of-the-month — the Peanut Butter Chocolate-Dipped Mickey Cookie — my mouth was pretty much watering as I wrote the post.

You can bet that when I got to Disney World a few weeks later, I bought their treat-of-the-month — a Chocolate Chip Toffee Chocolate-Dipped Mickey Cookie!

Now, I have no idea if this is still available, but just in case it is, I had to show you. Look at how HUGE this thing is!!! See that little knife right there? That’s for scale purposes only… [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: April 18, 2010

Lots of Disney food news this week, including:

And don’t forget to check out the awesome posts over on the Disney Blog Carnival! There’s a new one up this week!! Now, on to the round-up!

DisneyGeek, our favorite Disneyland photographer, has some fun photos of the opening days of Disney’s California Food & Wine Festival! (Start at the linked page and click through the next few pages for more pics.)

The Unofficial Guide to Disney’s Contemporary Resort takes a look at breakfast options at the Contemporary Resort.

The OC Register is reporting from Disney’s California Food and Wine Festival! Check out the latest from Guy Fieri’s appearances!

Theme Park Insider has a “What’s On Your Funnel Cake?” poll with some great opinions in the comments section!

The Disney Chick walks us through the recipe for Jarlsberg and Leek Soup from Akershus.

Disney Parks Blog shares some photos of great Disneyland Food and Wine Festival merchandise!

Main Street Gazette has a photo blog of the decor over at the Adventureland Veranda in Disney World.

The Daily Disney posts the recipe for one of the most popular items at the 2009 Epcot Food & Wine Festival — seared beef tenderloin with sweet potato puree!

@Marcomboy sent the best twitpic ever. Seriously. I love this. Where can I get one?

Touring Plans takes a look at Trail’s End in Disney’s Fort Wilderness.