Everyone needs to eat when they are at Disney. Sometimes, you just don’t have enough time to sit down and have a full table-service meal. That is where the counter/quick service dining options come in handy. You can go in…grab a quick bite and then head back into the parks. But what are the best counter-service restaurants to dine at. Well, there are lots of them. I’ll sift through them and bring you, in my opinion, the best counter service restaurant in each park.
MAGIC KINGDOM: COLUMBIA HARBOR HOUSE
Yes, Be Our Guest is a counter-service restaurant for lunch within the Magic Kingdom. However, it is only available, now, by reservation only. That doesn’t make it a convenient quick service option in my book. As a result, Columbia Harbor House moves to the head of the line.
Columbia Harbor House checks in at number 5 on my list. There were a bunch of restaurants that could have easily slid into this spot but Columbia Harbor House gets the nod. Columbia Harbor House has something that the other restaurants didn’t two marquee meals amongst their menu options. Those options are the Lighthouse Sandwich which is hummus with tomato and broccoli slaw and the lobster roll. The lobster roll is a traditional lunch/dinner time staple in the summer around New England.
The rest of the menu is pretty standard counter service fare. Another advantage Columbia Harbor House is a large sitting area that runs back to Fantasyland where the bathrooms are located since there are no bathrooms located in Liberty Square.
Columbia Harbor House is open for lunch and dinner.
EPCOT (WORLD SHOWCASE): YORKSHIRE COUNTY FISH SHOP
I am, typically, not a fan of seafood. However, one of the seafood dishes that I do enjoy is Fish and Chips. This is the Yorkshire County Fish Shop’s specialty. In fact, it’s the only entree on the menu. When a restaurant only has one thing on the menu, it better be done well. The Yorkshire County Fish Shop does a great shop with the fish and chips. They come in a basket wrapped in a London newspaper adding to the feel that you have ordered them from a chip stand in London.
The Fish Shop is a great place to go to grab a late-night counter service to take back to the room if you are staying at Boardwalk, Beach Club, or Yacht Club. Also a good place to get something to snack on while you wait for Illuminations to begin.
EPCOT (FUTURE WORLD): ELECTRIC UMBRELLA
The restaurant quickly moved to the top of the list on my family’s first trip. It was in late September. It was hot. It was humid. We were prepared for it but it was a shock to the system. We decided to eat at the Electric Umbrella and got a great reward: unlimited self-serve drinks. We spent a good portion of the afternoon sitting the Electric Umbrella out of the heat and rehydrating.
The menu, at the Umbrella, is pretty standard counter service fare with salads, burgers, and sandwiches. But it makes up a lot of ground with the unlimited drinks. There are only a couple of places that have unlimited drinks especially in the parks. There is a good amount of seating at the Umbrella but will be hard to find a seat during busier times. Usually one member of my family orders for everyone while the others go find a table. It is a great place to sit back and re-hydrate.
ANIMAL KINGDOM: FLAME TREE BBQ (CURRENTLY CLOSED UNTIL SPRING 2015)
Flame Tree BBQ is the best counter service location, in my opinion, at Animal Kingdom. As the name suggests, they serve BBQ. For those that aren’t BBQ fans, this is probably not the counter service restaurant for you. That said, there are a couple of non-BBQ options on the menu as well. I’m a fan of BBQ so this is a must-eat on just about every trip.
The seating area is large. However, it is all outside which is a negative for me. I don’t like to eat outside. I don’t like to share my food with the bugs and other critters that reside in the seating area. I’d prefer an indoor seating area. That keeps Flame Tree BBQ out of the top two but it is an excellent counter service that is an excellent value for your money or dining plan credit.
HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS: ABC COMMISSARY
I know this may not be a popular selection but ABC Commissary scores a lot of points in my book. It’s fully indoors which is a great thing especially in the summer when it’s hot and humid. The seating area is fairly large meaning that there won’t be a rush for a table except for the busiest times. As a result, you can spend a good deal of time just sitting back and relaxing and watching the park go by.
The food, itself, is pretty standard counter service fare. But they do add little twists to the plates to make them unique even though they do nothing but add extra calories. The food is good, the desserts are great, and relaxation level can be fairly high. All of those reasons move ABC Commissary ahead of the other counter service options within Hollywood Studios.
What are your favorite counter service options in the park? Leave a comment with your selections.
Thanks for reading!