Walt Disney World’s Top Five Counter Service Meals
You weren’t able to get a reservation for a fancy table service restaurant, you don’t have time to sit, or you just can’t afford an expensive sit-down meal…don’t worry! Disney World has plenty of amazing counter service restaurants to enjoy. Sure, you can find an inexpensive hamburger or chicken nugget platter on every corner, but Disney World also has some amazing counter service restaurants that will make you feel like you’re paying for fast food, but eating at a table service. Read ahead as we count down the top five best counter service restaurants according to DisneyDaybyDay!
Honorable Mention: Lotus Blossom Café found in the China pavilion at Epcot
Okay, so we have more than five; we can’t help it, there are just so many great restaurants! If you like Chinese food, this little gem is the perfect place to grab a quick bite. Tucked away in the China Pavilion at Epcot, the Lotus Blossom has plenty of your typical Chinese fast food, but in our opinion it tastes even better than your local fare. Our favorite? The Orange Chicken that had just enough sweetness to satisfy our craving. This is a filling meal for one, or even a good snack for 2. But we really adored the light and yummy egg rolls! The staff is friendly, tables are clean, but seating is outdoor (although shaded) so it can get hot in the summer.
Serves lunch and dinner. Average price is $14.99 and under per meal; opens at 11 am
5- Columbia House Restaurant at The Magic Kingdom
Yes, you can get your typical fried food here but Columbia House offers so much more! Columbia House sits between Peter Pan and Haunted Mansion and is actually one of the original restaurants at Magic Kingdom! Decorated in a New England costal décor from day’s past, you’ll feel as if you’re stepping aboard a Colonial ship. Best of all is you can purchase meals here you wouldn’t normally find elsewhere: shrimp, fried fish, grilled salmon and even clam chowder! Not a seafood fan? They also have chicken nuggets and salads. Because it’s out of the way and has lots of seating, this restaurant is a great place to go if the other counter service restaurants are crowded. It’s quiet, air conditioned, and has some nice views of Fantasyland and the Haunted Mansion. Our favorite foods: the fried fish and chicken platter is the perfect meal to share with a young child and if you want something a little healthier try the delicious salmon platter. Just follow the sound of the ringing bell, it’s time for lunch!
Serves lunch and dinner. Average price is $14.99 and less per meal; opens at 10:30 am.
4- Les Halles Boulangerie & Patisserie located in the France pavilion at Epcot
Wanting something quick to eat, we decided to grab a sandwich at this newer café hidden at the back in the France pavilion. Because of the line and limited seating, we almost ignored this one but we’re glad we didn’t! The cheesy goodness makes these warm sandwiches amazing! Our favorites the Jambon Fromage (ham and cheese) and Bisque De Homard (Lobster Bisque)! But there’s more than just sandwiches, you can also find plenty of yummy, upscale deserts like crème brulee. This delicious food will give you a taste of the French life.
Serves some breakfast type pastries, but mostly known for lunch and dinner. Average price is $14.99 and less per meal; opens at 9 am
3- Flame Tree Barbecue located at the Animal Kingdom
Who doesn’t like BBQ? This restaurant has outdoor seating only, but with the beautiful garden-like setting you won’t mind! And because there are so many tables, it’s the perfect place to go if the other restaurants are crowded. Make sure to head down toward the pond where there is seating with views of Mount Everest. From the turkey sandwich, the ribs, and chicken, there’s something for everyone! Our favorite meals are the ½ Chicken with baked beans or the shredded Pork Sandwich.
Serves lunch and dinner; may close early based on Animal Kingdom’s hours. Average price: $14.99 or less per meal; opens at 11am
2- Sunshine Seasons in The Land Pavilion at Epcot
The Sunshine Seasons restaurant is number two on our list for many reasons: it’s got healthier alternatives than your normal fried food, there’s a huge variety, and there is plenty of seating. This is the perfect spot to eat once you’re done with Living with the Land and Soarin Attractions, or if you just want somewhere to sit in air-conditioning. Choose from sandwiches, pork chops, fish, chicken and even some Asian meals. And don’t miss the amazing dessert area! Our favorite is the oak-grilled rotisserie chicken with black beans, yellow rice, and for dessert the strawberry shortcake. Delicious!
Serves some breakfast, lunch and dinner. Average price is less than $14.99 per meal; Opens at 9 am.
1-Be Our Guest Lunch, Magic Kingdom
Because of the amazing ambience, décor, and delicious specialty sandwiches Be Our Guest at the Magic Kingdom places number one on our list! Can’t get into the Castle at the Magic Kingdom? This is a superb alternative! Yeah, you won’t get to see any characters, but dining under chandeliers, your little one will forget. And even better, you’ll pay counter service prices!
Be prepared, there will be a line so get to this stunning restaurant early and prepare to wait. Sit in the great hall where Belle and the Beast first danced, the portrait room, or try to find a seat in Beast’s study where you’ll even see the infamous red rose! Our favorite food? Any! All the sandwiches and desserts are great. This is truly a unique meal that will make you feel like royalty!
Serves lunch and dinner, however our review is for lunch only. Be aware the menu for dinner will be different, more expensive, and you’ll most likely need a reservation. Average price is $14.99 and under per meal for lunch only; opens at 11 am but get in line early!
As always these are only DisneyDaybyDay’s opinions. If you would choose another counter service meal for your top five, we’d love to hear about it in the comment’s section. There can never be too many good restaurants!
I have to agree with your picks. We haven’t eaten at Sunshine Seasons since 2009, but the rest of these would all make my list as well. My family doesn’t eat Chinese, so I always stop in China for the egg rolls as a snack. I love the Lighthouse Sandwich at Columbia Harbor House, and am looking forward to eating there on our Keys to the Kingdom Tour on the 26th. We discovered those sandwiches in the bakery in France on our last trip – YUM! We finally made a point to eat at Flame Tree and LOVED it – so glad we were finally hungry enough. And lunch at Be Our Guest was so good that we’re planning to take our friends there on our Girls’ Only Trip in November. 🙂 Great list!
I would add Cosmic Ray’s! It was crazy crowded, but they have a nice variety there.
I agree with your top 5 too since the ones our family chooses are all on your list! Columbia Harbor House seems to be the one we choose the most. We really love Be Our Guest Restaurant and I think we’re going to try to dine there on our next trip!
I’ve never eaten at the castle for lunch, but the dinner was fantastic! I’m going to have to try the Flame Tree BBQ- this one I keep reading about but never go anywhere other than Pizzafari.
Great post Sean!! These are great choices, I can’t wait to try them all!!
Great round up of some delicious food! I just tried CHH for the first time. They have a pretty good vegetarian sandwich. Can’t wait to try Flame Tree someday!
Capt. Cook’s at the Poly needs an honorable mention. Dole Whips are pineapple. Pineapple is a fruit. Therefore it’s a lovely breakfast. 😉
I cannot wait to try Be Our Guest later this year! We also love Cosmic Rays – there’s such a variety that our family of 5 can (almost) always find something for all of us in one spot.
Ohhh, great choices Sean. My family is a bit odd- because my husband is in the restaurant biz, Table Service is usually mandatory when we vacation. BUT, now that I sometimes travel to runDisney events without him, I’m able to experiment with Counter Service. I love each of your choices; all offer high quality food and the flexibility of time that comes without finer dining!
What a great list! I have not been to the France counter service before. I don’t like cheese, so I wonder if there would be anything for me to order there?!?
Great list! I’ve actually only tried two of those places. I think that means I need to go back to WDW and fix that!
Sunshine Seasons probably has the best quality ingredients of any counter service restaurant. Seared tuna for an entree. Salmon in the kids meals. Its a great value.