Disney Counter Service Meal Recap

When you’re at Disney World, you have two different types of meals you can get: counter service or table service. Counter service is essentially fast food. You walk up to a counter, place an order, and then grab some food and sit down. During our trip we ate at six different counter service locations. Here’s the dirt on the dishes:

Magic Kingdom

Columbia Harbour House

Columbia Harbour House

Type of Food: American, think chicken seafood, soup, and sandwiches

Theming: Seafaring nautical New England inn

Location: Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square

Lunch at Columbia Harbour House
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While the Lighthouse Sandwich is a favorite here, my husband and I opted instead for a mixture of the seafood and land food. We placed our order at podiums and then continued to walk back to a counter where our order was being made. Both of us ordered the #1: a chicken nugget and fish fillet basket that came with fries. I opted for the apple crisp for dessert, husband opted for the chocolate cake. Our meals also came with sodas. The noise level was high as was the crowd level but we found a spot and dug into our hot food. It was good, though I preferred my dessert over the meal. That may have been because I ate so fast I could barely taste the first part. I might have been a little hungry from our journey though.

Menu sneak peaks available at WDWinfo and AllEars and a great review is available on the Disney Food Blog.

Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe

Dining Area Starlight Ray's Cafe Magic Kingdom Walt Disney World 2008

Type of Food: American, more on the burgers and chicken side with huge portions

Theming: The Space Age as imagined in the 60s

Location: Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland

Cosmic Ray's Burgers
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Your meal begins a bit differently here. First you figure out what kind of food you are in the mood for: chicken, burgers, or sandwiches/soup/salad. Once you make that decision you head to a bay (a section of the line just for your meal) and place your order. One of the great options is that you can order an entire half of a rotisserie chicken from Bay 1 and whatever you choose, there’s a condiment bar to dress up your meal with enough toppings that you have a meal in itself. If you sit in the main dining room, you may be treated to a song by Sonny Eclipse. We sat outside to avoid the crowds and people watch with our double bacon cheeseburgers, fries, sodas, and chocolate cakes.

Menu sneak peaks available at WDWinfo and AllEars and my tip to you is that if you’re craving a burger, check out the wait time in both bay 2 and bay 3, the burger is available at both.

Animal Kingdom

Yak and Yeti Counter Service

Yak & Yeti Local Food Cafes in Asia at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Type of Food: Pan-Asian, stir fries are the most obvious dish here

Theming: Himalayan Mountain influenced, neighbor to Expedition Everest

Location: Animal Kingdom-Asia

Yak & Yati
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While most people know the Yak and Yeti as a sit-down restaurant, there’s also an off-shoot that serves takeout boxes of Chinese food to go. Let’s just say it doesn’t live up to the name the sit-down restaurant offers. My husband got the honey chicken, which was Disney’s standard chicken nuggets coated in a sticky sweet sauce and thrown on some rice. He paired his with the standard Disney chocolate cake that appears everywhere. I ordered the shrimp lo mein which was noodles and shrimp and it came with a mango pie, something that resembled a key lime pie I’d seen on Disney property but not as good. The meal was a bust but we were hungry and plowed through it.

Menu sneak peaks available at WDWinfo and AllEars.

Flame Tree Barbeque

Flame Tree Barbecue
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Type of Food: American Barbeque, St. Louis style

Theming: Bright animals highlighting the Circle of Life

Location: Animal Kingdom-Discovery Island

Flame Tree Barbecue
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Put this at the top of my list for my favorite counter service, the place with the most food, and the best bang for your buck. I had fond memories of this place after my 2007 visit but when I returned again in 2010 I swear it was even better. I got a half slab of St. Louis style ribs with beans and coleslaw and for dessert I got a key lime mousse. I’m from St. Louis and I don’t even like ribs but I had to have this dish. It did not disappoint. The meat fell off the bones and it didn’t have but an ounce of fat on them. The beans were just right with some pork thrown in and the coleslaw was creamy and perfect. I shared half with my husband because I’m nice like that. The key lime mousse tasted good but it had a strange jello topping on top that tasted good but confused me.

Flame Tree Barbecue
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My husband opted for the pulled pork sandwich and he piled his half of the coleslaw on it just like God intended it to be eaten. His came with beans and he got a chocolate mousse that he swears tasted like a Three Musketeers bar. Both of us fight to this day over whose dish was better but we’ll never know because we each refused to share.

Flame Tree Barbecue
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This place is also eco-friendly. They don’t allow lids on the cups though they recently introduced eco-friendly biodegradable straws. Make sure your trash gets in its rightful place and keep the animals and natural beauty intact.

Flame Tree Barbecue
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Menu sneak peaks available at WDWinfo and AllEars. Bonus: Make your own barbecue sauce and rub with this recipe from AllEars.

Tip: Sit at the waterside pavilion for the best views of Expedition Everest in the park.

Downtown Disney

Wolfgang Puck Express

Wolfgang Puck Express
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Type of Food: American-California Cuisine

Theming: Simplistic Casual Elegance

Location: Downtown Disney Marketplace

Barbeque chicken pizza
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I wanted to eat at this fan-loved restaurant but didn’t plan to fit it in. Luckily a crowded theme park sent us to Downtown Disney to escape. You order as you come in and then are given a number designating where the staff should deliver your food to. It’s a nice touch and makes Wolfgang Puck Express feel a step above the other counter service restaurants.

Four Cheese Pizza
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My husband and I each ordered a woodfire pizza, I went with the four cheese pizza and he went with the barbecue chicken pizza. Mine had a pesto base with a california crust and it was topped with tomatoes and Mozzarella, Fontina, Parmesan, and Goat cheeses. It was perfection. My husband’s pizza came with a barbecue sauce on it and was topped with cheese, chicken, onions, and cilantro. The barbecue sauce was a bit too tomatoey and watery but the dish held up. We had both wanted brownies as our dessert but the kitchen was out due to high demand so we settled for some delicious cookies.

Menu sneak peaks available at WDWinfo and AllEars.

Coronado Springs Resort

Pepper Market

Pepper MarketPersonal Photo

Type of Food: Food Court- A bit of everything

Theming: Mexican marketplace

Location: Coronado Springs Resort

Pepper Market

We had never planned to eat at the Pepper Market. After a terrible day at the ballpark, we were cold and wet and not quite warm enough to brave the parks. We turned to our resort and trusted in the Pepper Market. We were not disappointed.

When you enter you have two options: get a carry out box or request a seat. A cast member will hand you a card and you can approach the many food stations. Depending on what you order, you’ll get a stamp indicating your food choices. When you’ve gotten your fill of food, you approach the cashier with your card and they convert it to the cash you owe or the meal plan credits owed.

Inside you’ll find stations with Mexican, Stir-Fry, an American Grill, the pizza and pasta kitchens, a kid station, a bakery, an espresso spot, and a place to grab drinks. Spend plenty of time walking around, getting acquainted with all your options. We both wanted something hot and greasy after our long day so we stopped by the Pizza and Pasta kitchen and each of us ordered a pepperoni pizza. While that cooked, we stopped by the bakery and grabbed dessert. He got a cinnamon roll while I got a strawberry shortcake. We went back and grabbed our pizzas, picked up some drinks and used 2 counter service meals to cover the cost. We had taken our food to go so they put our 4 boxes in a bag and we walked back to our room and chowed down.

Pizza
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Our last morning at Disney, we had 2 counter service meals left so we turned to the Pepper Market once again, this time for breakfast. Neither of us wanted anything big so husband went for another cinnamon roll while I went for the chocolate croissant. We each grabbed a soda and took it to go to the cashier. She determined we only needed to be charged one meal for our measly portions and sent us on our way. We took the food outside and ate while the sun rose over the Florida sky.

Menu sneak peaks available at WDWinfo and AllEars.

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Author:julie

I'm Julie, I love to travel, I'm very hyper and I like to "hype" things and from that, TravelHyper was born. I'm a Missouri native and I cover St. Louis travel ideas as well as my own travels. I also like to focus on places I want to visit and budget travel ideas by creating trip plans. There's so much world out there and I hope you'll find that it's worth seeing and that vacation doesn't have to be out of reach to you.

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