Quick service, or counter service, meals are Walt Disney World’s version of fast food. And these restaurants can be a life saver for anyone looking for a quick, cheap bite (usually without needing a reservation). We’ve eaten at our share of quick service restaurants on Disney property, and while none are exactly “bad”, there are certainly some that are superior to others, in our opinion! Obviously, food is a very subjective thing, and every guest will have his or her own favorites – and least favorites! Here are a few of ours.
1. The ABC Commissary
We’re hoping with the planned updates to Hollywood Studios, this counter service restaurant may finally get an update too! But for now it remains on our “worst” list. There’s just nothing impressive about it. The food is bland and uninspired, and because the restroom is shared with its neighbor, the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant, you’ll often have to wait in line to use it. At present, there aren’t a lot of quick service dining options at Hollywood Studios, but we’d recommend skipping this one if you can.
The name of this quick service restaurant in Animal Kingdom is a bit misleading. Any guests heading here looking for pizza will be disappointed, because there isn’t any classic pizza offered here – it’s all flatbreads. This might be fine for some guests, but be aware that food options are pretty limited here, and kids in particular may not be fans of the flatbread choices – especially if they were expecting actual pizza!
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3. Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe
We enjoy the futuristic theming of this restaurant in the Magic Kingdom, but that’s about it. You may find the multiple bays confusing (although the different bays have now started serving the same food options, which can be helpful for families who don’t want to split up to order their meals), and the food remains pretty bland and limited. It can also be very difficult to snag a seat here, despite the reams of tables. The fun space decor and alien entertainment are great, but we still skip this counter service restaurant.
4. Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory
Counter service meals at Walt Disney World resorts are certainly convenient! But we found that there wasn’t much else to recommend the quick service options at Port Orleans: Riverside. There wasn’t a lot available for vegetarians, or guests who are want healthier options – there was an emphasis on fried food, and meat, much of it with a spicy kick (likely because of the resort’s southern theme). The kicker? We had to wait for 45 minutes for our food several times during our vacation – this takes the “quick” right out of “quick service”!
1. Satu’li Canteen
This counter service restaurant in Pandora – The World of Avatar, at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, is our new favorite! This is Walt Disney World immersion at its finest. You’ll dine among rock formations and Na’vi items, but you’ll also see the technological remains of the RDA. Food here is made to look like it was grown and cooked on another world. Favorite picks for their exotic looks include the blueberry cream cheese mousse (an irresistible shiny dome of bright blue), steamed cheeseburger pods, and the translucent, yogurt-based boba balls, which top all of the bowl entrees and are just plain fun.
2. Be Our Guest (Lunch)
We adore Be Our Guest Restaurant any time of the day, and the counter service lunch is no exception. Reservations are still recommended, and you can actually order your food up to a month in advance if you wish! Whether you eat in the ballroom, the West Wing, or the gallery, you’ll be enchanted by the atmosphere in the Beast’s castle. The prices can be a bit high here for the food you get, but there are plenty of delicious food options, and honestly, the ambiance is worth the extra money! This is our favorite counter service location in the Magic Kingdom.
3. Sunshine Seasons
This counter service restaurant at The Lands in Epcot is pure magic! While usually we head straight to the World Showcase for food, this is also a good option, especially if you’re eating before the worlds open. Sunshine Seasons has a variety of food options to suit all preferences and dietary requirements, and the best part is that much of the food you eat here was grown on site! (Take a ride on Living With the Land to see behind the scenes here.) We love the whimsical atmosphere here, and the abundance of seating.
4. Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie
Ok, we admit it – we have a weakness for the World Showcase in Walt Disney World’s Epcot! We love eating around the worlds, and one stop we always make is this lovely quick service restaurant in the France pavilion. You’ll find sandwiches, croissants and baguettes at this mouth-watering bakery, but our favorite is the dessert section! Try the collection of macaroons for a truly French – and truly sweet! – experience.
5. Flame Tree Barbecue
You’ve probably smelled this guest favorite at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom, even if you’ve never eaten there! You’ll find a variety of BBQ meats here, from chicken to ribs – and there’s a lovely watermelon salad for veggiesaurs in your party. There’s even beer and wine to accompany your BBQ. And mmmm, that BBQ sauce!! We were recently at a wedding where the guest gift was pots of Flame Tree Barbecue sauce – it’s that good.