We are heading to one of Walt Disney World’s busiest park counter service locations to see what’s new for lunch — Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe.
Located on the edge of Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland near where it transitions to Fantasyland (it’s just to the right of the castle), Cosmic Ray’s is an excellent bet for finding something to please everyone, especially if your party includes members who are less adventurous in their tastes.
But if you do like more interesting fare, don’t be afraid of this intergalactic hotspot! In addition to tried and true favorites like Chicken Nuggets and Bacon Cheeseburgers, you’ll usually find some outta this world (see what I did there?) options as well.
Besides, Cosmic Ray’s is home to one of Disney’s legendary toppings bars. And you KNOW how much I love a good toppings bar.
Wanna see what I’m talking about? Let’s head in.
Much like the rest of Tomorrowland, Cosmic Ray’s is at once retro and futuristic — although the retro vibe is more 1980s than anything. Purple, teal, and silver will send you searching for your Swatch Watch.
We’ll get to the ordering set up in just a sec, but first, let’s check out the seating. There’s a reason I want you to see this area first — one of the galaxy’s most famous acts takes center stage while you enjoy your meal.
Be sure to stick around and check out Sonny Eclipse while you dine!
In addition to this seating area, you’ll find more indoor seating away from the action.
When it comes to ordering, you’ll find the basic Disney set up here. Give your order to a cashier, and then move forward and pick it up at the counter.
One thing to note: Cosmic Rays is kinda huge, and there are three different ordering areas, or Bays. And note that there CAN BE variation in the menu at the three separate bays, so be prepared to wait in two separate lines if necessary to get your family’s whole meal.
This isn’t our only visit to Cosmic Ray’s recently. (I’ve kinda got a thing for Sonny.) We checked out some of their new offerings just a few months back. And it looks like things haven’t changed much since the last time.
But we did note one missing item. The Half Rotisserie Chicken and Rib Combo is no longer available (this one transitions on and off the menu, in our experience). But you can’t go wrong with options like the Bacon Cheddar Hot Dog or the lighter Greek Salad with Chicken.
And I should mention that a recent look at the menu (like, today) shows that now there IS a Half Rotisserie Chicken and Pulled Pork Combo available, and at around $16, it’s a great deal if you’re using Quick Service Credits on the Disney Dining Plan.
I made my selections and then headed to the Toppings Bar to check out the lay of the land. Don’t miss the chance to dress up…well, whatever you decide to order. There’s plenty of Shredded Lettuce, Sliced Tomato, and Pickles to top your sandwiches and such.
There are also Peppers and other goodies.
But you’ll find more than just cold toppings. Sauteed Mushrooms and Onions are available too!
Sadly, my most favorite thing ever on the Toppings Bar — the Plastic Cheese Dispenser — is still nowhere to be found. However, you can purchase Cheese Dip — for a $1 a cup.
Note that they’ve now switched up to Gehl’s sharp cheddar sauce, which is a huge step up from the pre-packaged option they used to have. And FYI, it IS served warm, so even though it’s not true plastic cheese (and it’s NOT free), it’s a good substitute.
I still haven’t quite gotten over the fact that you used to get unlimited amounts of this wonderfulness for the price of your meal. But if you are desperate for cheese sauce, well… at least you have options.
You aren’t without interesting dips, though. I found a brand new Sriracha Spicy Aioli. So I’m pretty pumped about that.
It’s pretty much amazing for Burgers, Chicken, Fries, or just about anything you order. (Well. Maybe not dessert.) And the heat level isn’t overwhelming.
On this visit, I didn’t really have anything to put the aioli on, so I just used it (and the cheese) as dips for my fries :-D.
So on to entrees! I had to revisit the Barbecued Pork Bacon Cheeseburger.
It’s basically two sandwiches in one. You have a heaping helping of shredded Pork Barbecue topping a Bacon Cheese Burger.
Now, despite the nearly well-done burger patty (just so you know, you’ll rarely find a decent pink burger patty at a Disney quick-service location — though I can highly recommend the medium-to-medium-rare standard that’s been set at D-Luxe Burger in Disney Springs), the flavors were fantastic here. Barbecue pork? Gooooood. Bacon? Gooooood. Cheese? Gooooooood! So while I can’t forgive the burger patty, I’m pretty much resigned to this fact of life by now at Disney restaurants and can appreciate the burgers for their added accessories.
Check out all of this pork!! Crazy!
The sandwich is normally served with French Fries, which I totally got. But I really, really love Green Beans. Especially Cosmic Ray’s green beans. So I grabbed a cup of those as an extra side. No joke, you guys, these are SO GOOD! Yes, I’m sure there’s plenty of butter (or “butter product”) and salt on them, but they are one of my favorite snacks in the park.
The dessert is basically a Graham Cracker Cookie studded with Chocolate on the outside.
Tucked inside is where you’ll find the Marshmallow as well as more chocolate.
We had previously tried this treat at Herbie’s Drive-In over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and reviews were mixed. And these were actually better than I thought.
Overall, we like them, but I agree — I love the caramelized marshmallow part of the s’more, and you don’t get that here.
I can’t help it — Cosmic Ray’s is a bit of a guilty pleasure for me. I know that a lot of people write it off. Sure, there’s more history at Casey’s, and there are beloved specialties at Columbia Harbour House. And of course, the food quality is better at Be Our Guest.
But I just love Cosmic Ray’s. Maybe it’s the campy, slightly dated decor and floor show. But they totally own it! Or maybe it’s the fact that I can always rely on it for a good, solid, generous meal (GREEN BEANS!!). For real, this place saved my rear end when I was starving, my kid hadn’t eaten all day, and we just need a ton of food. Cosmic Ray’s to the rescue!!!
Whatever it is, I’ll keep stopping by Cosmic Ray’s to get my Sonny fix whenever I’m in town.
Now, I’d love to hear from you! Is Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe one of your favorite spots to dine in Magic Kingdom? Leave a comment and let me know!