Earl of Sandwich is a sandwich shop in Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and Disneyland Paris. There are also a few other locations, mostly at airports, around the United States. The restaurant has developed a cult following among Disney fans, particularly for its inventive “Holiday Turkey Sandwich,” which is basically like a mash-up of Thanksgiving dinner in a sandwich.
Each of the Earl of Sandwich locations are unique, but they share the same common backstory. It’s an interesting story that combines true historical figures (yes, there really were Earls of Sandwich) like John Montagu, the supposed inventor of the sandwich in 1762, with a bit of fiction–or perhaps just a bit of truth-stretching–about the history of the sandwich. It is true that Earl of Sandwich’s founder is a descendent of John Montagu, but it’s unclear how many other parts of the story are true. Regardless of what’s true and what’s imagined, it’s nice in that it makes Earl of Sandwich more than just a generic sandwich shop. The paintings of the various Earls of Sandwich, antique books, and things like the “Sandwich Charter” all on the walls give the various locations their own unique wrinkles.
The Earl of Sandwich at the Downtown Disney location in Walt Disney World is always incredibly busy, likely because of its inexpensive price, good sandwiches, and very positive word of mouth. We’ve heard from many Walt Disney World fans who make special trips to Downtown Disney just to visit Earl of Sandwich! Given its prominence at Downtown Disney in Walt Disney World, we think this Earl of Sandwich review is the perfect place to kick-off our second Downtown Disney Area Resort hotel giveaway. Scroll to the bottom of this post to enter!
If you’ve never been to Earl of Sandwich, it’s very similar to Potbelly Sandwich Shop. This is true both in terms of somewhat ‘smart’ decor of the restaurants (Potbelly definitely wins in this regard as there’s more to its eclectic style) and the sandwiches (Earl of Sandwich wins in this regard as they’re larger and generally tastier). Still, they’re pretty comparable. Disney fans may not like to hear that, thinking Earl of Sandwich is some sort of magical creation. It’s not.
Make no mistake, we are fans of Earl of Sandwich. We’ve eaten at each of the Downtown Disney locations in Disneyland and Walt Disney World, plus the Disney Village (same thing as Downtown Disney, just a different name) location in Disneyland Paris many, many times. In fact, we ate at the Disneyland Paris location every single night after the parks closed when we were there! It may seem like a waste to eat in an American sandwich shop in Paris, but all of the park restaurants closed early, were overpriced, and they weren’t that good, anyway. Plus, Earl of Sandwich at Disneyland Paris has free WiFi.
Each of these locations are sizable, but different, and each are incredibly popular. Disneyland Paris’ is probably the largest, with a smaller footprint but a two-story seating area. Disneyland in California is the newest location, having opened just a couple of years ago. Walt Disney World’s sees the most traffic and is the original Earl of Sandwich location, having opened in 2004. The restaurant has exploded in popularity since, and already has 25+ locations in the United States and one in Paris.
In terms of the sandwiches (you know, the important part!) at Earl of Sandwich, they’re pretty good. Again, my baseline comparison is Potbelly for those who haven’t tried Earl of Sandwich. At Earl of Sandwich, you order your sandwich, then make your way through the line, picking up sides and watching the sandwiches go through the toasting and preparation line before paying. Most of the time, you receive a buzzer after you pay, because the line to pay moves much faster than the sandwich line. Even if the line at Earl of Sandwich is long, you won’t wait that long to order and pay–you might wait ~5-10 minutes (at most) for your sandwich after you pay, though.
Earl of Sandwich has many ‘standard’ sandwich shop options, such as an Italian and a BLT, but many of these sandwiches have their own unique twist at Earl of Sandwich. My favorite sandwich is The Earl’s Club, but you also can’t go wrong with The Original 1762 (I believe that’s what’s pictured above–since every sandwich at Earl of Sandwich basically looks like a ‘sandwich brick,’ I typically don’t photograph my food here), the Italian, or The Full Montagu. The only sandwich I haven’t really liked at Earl of Sandwich is the Best BLT. That might just be a personal preference thing. My bacon was too crunchy, which is probably an unavoidable result with the toasting process.
While the bread is always fresh, the meats are always flavorful, and the sauces seem to tie things together perfectly, Earl of Sandwich is not the end-all, be-all of sandwich shops. It’s better than most standard chains, including Potbelly (I prefer Penn Station to both, though), but I’m not sure by how much. It’s a really good sandwich, and a great place to go in Downtown Disney if you’re on a budget, but we definitely would not make a special trip to Downtown Disney for it. At least, not at Walt Disney World where Downtown Disney requires a special trip and a lot of time. If you’re in Disneyland Paris or Disneyland, it’s a short walk and makes a lot more sense.
Overall, Earl of Sandwich is a great spot for what it is. With that said, “what it is” is a fast food sandwich shop chain, and given that we can’t quite understand the cult following Earl of Sandwich has developed, with it being a must-do for many guests whenever they visit Walt Disney World. While it is a great value, we do not believe it’s the best counter service restaurant at Walt Disney World’s Downtown Disney (it’s a comparatively better option in Paris and California, where the competition isn’t as good). Still, it’s tough to criticize Earl of Sandwich, which does offer large portions of delicious sandwiches at a reasonable price. It is a bit overrated, but “overratedness” isn’t a good reason to penalize a restaurant when reviewing it.
To read other Disney restaurant reviews from Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Tokyo Disney Resort, Disneyland Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, and Disney Cruise Line, organized by location, check out our Disney Dining Reviews Index.
For May, we’re continuing our promotion to win stays at the seven Downtown Disney Resort Area Hotels. (Congrats to Michelle M., the winner of last month’s Downtown Disney Resort Area Hotel stay giveaway!) These seven official Walt Disney World hotels feature a convenient location and easy walk to the shopping, dining, and entertainment venues at Downtown Disney. In addition, the seven hotels also provide complimentary shuttle transportation every 30 minutes to all Walt Disney World parks and Downtown Disney. Guests at these hotels also receive the “2014 Downtown Disney Deals” booklet that features exclusive discounts and special offers from over 30 merchants in Downtown Disney.
This month, you can enter for the chance to win a 3-night stay at the Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa. This hotel has three heated swimming pools, Jacuzzi and sauna, and the Kay Casperson Lifestyle Spa & Boutique. In terms of recreation, it has a tennis court, sand volleyball, kid’s playground, and arcade. There are five restaurants and lounges, including Watercress restaurant with Disney character breakfasts every Sunday morning, the Shipwreck pool bar, Lobby Lounge, and one80 Sportgrill & Bar.
Enter via the contest widget below!
Have you eaten at any Earl of Sandwich location? What did you think of the sandwiches? Do you have a favorite sandwich at Earl of Sandwich? If you have any questions or thoughts to share, please post them in the comments. We love hearing from readers!