OK, so Columbia Harbour House doesn’t really have a “Shrimp Fest.” I just sort of created one on my recent visit by ordering ALL. THE. SHRIMPS!!!! ;-D Coming right up? Shrimp and Chicken, Fried Shrimp, and Shrimp Mac & Cheese! (Yes, I forgive you if you scroll ahead to see that last one.)
Tucked into a perfectly themed corner of Liberty Square in the Magic Kingdom, Columbia Harbour House has a strong and devoted following.
With its menu of consistently popular choices — lots of healthier, lighter, vegetarian choices along with some hearty fish and chips — and its impeccable theming, Columbia Harbour House is a great place to cool down and fuel up when you’re touring the Magic Kingdom.
And its location is ideal. It’s a short walk from Frontierland, a stone’s throw from the Haunted Mansion, and holds court in Liberty Square (just before it morphs into Fantasyland around the corner).
This place is Americana architecture at its finest.
And yeah — you see all those empty tables? That’s why we recommend heading upstairs after you get your food! Fewer people know that there is upstairs seating, so it’s usually a little bit quieter.
The counter service ordering area continues this design with heavy wooden beams, wood paneling, wooden kiosks. You get the picture. The vibe is seafaring, with ship mastheads, and antique diving suit, miniature ships, naval maps, and more tacked onto the walls.
The feeling is definitely one of stepping back in time.
And thankfully, the food here seems to stand the test of time (for the most part).
Don’t forget to grab your condiments and other necessities at the condiments stops on your way to your table.
Now let’s get to the goodies!
This is also a great place to pick up unique options from the kids’ menu and to sample yummy frozen beverages. Remember that you can now add flavored syrups to your drinks and slushes!
But here’s the silver living: I think the blandness might work for babies who are new to solid foods, kids who hate flavoring of any kind, and people getting over a stomach virus.
The couscous was the only winner here. It had great chicken flavor, and there was lots of it. And the broccoli was fine.
After that ho-hum plate of food, I was really hoping for a dynamite shrimp dish — and I found it. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, it was deep fried.
The Fried Shrimp Platter was just what I hoped it would be. The shrimp were plump, and the breading added texture, flavor, and crunch.
With just the right amount of seasoning (really, just salt), these guys were so satisfying. They had a great shrimp-to-breading ratio, too, so you didn’t lose the taste of the seafood under a ridiculous amount of coating.
Since this is a platter, the shrimp come with a massive side of fries.
Ours were fresh and delicious. We also received a decent sized container of Cocktail Sauce. It had just the right amount of zing to off-set the richness of the fried shrimp.
And in case you were missing your veggies, it comes with a side of Cole Slaw too.
Despite the success of the Fried Shrimp Platter, I wasn’t done yet. I had to order the Shrimp Macaroni and Cheese. You’re welcome.
We’ve seen lots of Mac and Cheese incarnations around the Disney Parks (most recently on top of the Mac and Cheese Hot Dog at Casey’s Corner), but I was excited to give this one a try. It’s a pretty hefty serving of Macaroni and Cheese, and there was a lot of shrimp piled on top as well.
This was surprisingly good! The Macaroni and Cheese was creamy and super cheesy (not bland as is sometimes the case). It was rich and savory. The breadcrumbs on top added a little texture, but I was really hoping for some fried shrimp to bring even more crunch to the dish. But luckily, the shrimp weren’t too “watery” on the top as I’d feared.
There was the crumbly topping, the cinnamon-sugar bits, and a dollop of vanilla sauce. But upon dipping in with a spoon, I found this to be a little tough. I didn’t feel like I was “dipping in” so much as “chipping away.”
The Cobbler was not tender at all and tasted kind of stale. The fruit flavor (predominantly blueberry) was present and palatable, but it otherwise seemed like it had been sitting around for a while. I know — it looks really good, right? Bummer.
I’m hoping mine was just a bad batch or maybe accidentally left-over from another era. Blergh.
Don’t think I’ve ever been disappointed there.
Just one of those fun restaurants.
Michael Benami Doyle says
This is everything I love about Magic Kingdom to the bottom of my inner-9-year-old heart. Columbia Harbor House’s second floor–the soul of MK’s remaining, hard-core 1970’s vibe–and the fried shrimp platter. Everyone has their one, off-beat dining thing at WDW. This post just totally captured mine. Thanks!
Sandra G says
This is truly one of our favorites at WDW. We look forward to the Anchors Away and Lighthouse sandwiches, our son loves the chicken and fish with fries, and I am also a fan of that shrimp platter. I agree that the cobbler has been somewhat brick-like the past couple of times, a bit dried out and hard. If only you could get to the second floor without those stairs; I got stuck halfway up last time and had to be helped by a CM and another guest. Old knees!
Never miss a visit to this place on any trip I make. I just love this spot and it’s great food!
Mmmm, the shrimp mac & cheese is SO amazing!! And I know this doesn’t really qualify as “shrimp fest,” but the chicken pot pie here is absolutely perfect. It’s probably one of the best pot pies I’ve ever had. On the glorious occasions when I eat here, I find myself struggling to choose between the shrimp mac & cheese, lobster roll, and pot pie.
We used to eat at the Columbia Harbor House on every visit to WDW..sometimes twice! They used to have wonderful fish and chips, and the portion size was good for Disney. We could even split one meal between two kids when they were young. On our last few visits, however, the fish was dry and chewy, and the portion sizes had decreased. Now it looks like they don’t even offer a fish only option but pair it with chicken. If you want to get your fish and chips fix, head over to the U.K. Pavilion at Epcot. There is a little kiosk at the water’s edge that still does it right!
Pat — Thanks for sharing your experience! We also really love Cookes of Dublin in Disney Springs for their amazing fish and chips!
We are here recently during Spring Break! We are from Louisiana so we are pretty spoiled when it comes to seafood- However, we loved our meal! I had the lobster roll and my husband had fish and shrimp! Delicious and good portion size! We definitely will eat there again on our next visit!
Don’t know how I missed this place all the times I’ve been to the MK!
I won’t make this mistake next time!!!!