Old Port Royale Food Court is the quick service dining at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort at Walt Disney World. This review features food photos and my thoughts on the menu, among other things. Old Port Royale has multiple ordering “shops”, so its menu has plenty of options. In terms of money-saving info, it participates in the Disney Dining Plan as a 1-credit counter service restaurant, but does not accept the Tables in Wonderland card for a 20% discount.
I want to start this review out with a little “keepin’ it real” for context. No one is booking a Walt Disney World vacation because they are itching to get back to Old Port Royale for another Cuban Burger. This isn’t even the Le Cellier of counter service–it’s not a place people hype up on all corners of the internet. Even Caribbean Beach superfans don’t become giddy thinking about enjoying the pleasant breeze while lounging at the food court.
This review is aimed solely at those who are going to be staying at Caribbean Beach Resort and wondering if they should skip the food court or give it a try. While I think that Old Port Royale Food Court is underrated–even a hidden gem, the fact of the matter is that no one staying elsewhere at Walt Disney World should plan a special trip to Caribbean Beach Resort to try this gem. I don’t want you to read the praise that follows and make the pilgrimage from the Polynesian to Caribbean Beach, and in the process waste so much time that you end up on an episode of “When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong.”
So, yeah, this is a food court review only relevant to those staying at this Walt Disney World resort hotel. Exciting stuff. Don’t worry, I’ll try to liven it up with some big budget theatrics and hilarious* comedy jokes…
I think one of the reason Old Port Royale Food Court might be overlooked is because of the setting. The different ordering bays are meant to resemble an open air outdoor market in the Caribbean, which is pretty cool, save for the fact that it looks like this is a market you’d encounter if you stepped into Doc Brown’s DeLorean and dialed in 1988.
On the other hand, there is this laid back and cool vibe to the area, almost as if the backstory is that the denizens of this particular part of the Caribbean are so busy playing road tennis (it’s a real thing) they can’t be bothered to update their market. If I’ve learned anything from Corona commercials, it’s that life moves slower in the Caribbean. Then again, those commercials also suggest Corona tastes good, so who knows if anything they’ve taught me is true.
Although it does feel quite dated, it does have a certain charm to it thanks to that laid back vibe. The seating area itself is pretty basic, although it pops with color. The overhead breeze fans are also a nice touch; I’m not sure what these are called, but they are sort of like ordinary breeze fans meets a steampunk power system. I assume these have a name and are something that actually exists in the Caribbean? I’ve never seen them anywhere else. Ultimately, the ambiance here is okay, but nothing special.
Turning to the food, we’ll start with the Cuban Burger. Walt Disney World has been experimenting with more gourmet burgers in the last couple of years, with very mixed results. (Anyone remember the Cosmic Ray’s Pizza Burger? I do. A giant one chases me nightly in my dreams.) Given that this burger is topped with grilled ham, pulled pork, swiss cheese, mango mayonnaise, on a toasted bun topped with fried pickles, I think it definitely qualifies as an attempt at “gourmet.”
I was a little nervous to order this when I saw its odd mix of ingredients, which gave me flashbacks to that dreaded Pizza Burger. However, some would say I’m like a wingsuit basejumper–but with burgers–and the possibility of peril and adventure got my adrenaline pumping. I had to order it.
Unlike that nightmare-fuel Pizza Burger, the Cuban Burger is delicious. I know it probably sounds like there’s a lot going on with this burger and an odd mix of flavors, but the finished product coalesces well. The burger has a slightly sweet taste thanks to the mango mayo, which is slightly contrasted by the pickles and swiss cheese.
My biggest complaint about Disney burgers is normally that they are dry, and the beef patty here very well might be (I’m not sure), but the pulled pork gives the burger a certain juiciness and is probably the key to this being such a good burger.
Opting for something healthier (as if a burger with 3 meats and fried pickles somehow isn’t healthy…) Sarah went for the Caribbean Catch Sandwich. She ordered this at my behest, and was willing to take one for the team for a sandwich that was not expected to be good.
It was good. I don’t recall the type of fish (something mild and light…maybe Mahi Mahi?), but she found it to be a sizable filet, with good flavor, and well-prepared (a normal pitfall of counter service fish). The slaw and Chipotle sauce gave the sandwich a good flavor, and the vegetable salad rounded out the entree nicely. She considered it to be one of the better healthy options she has had at Walt Disney World counter service restaurants.
Normally, we aren’t in a position to eat in food courts at the resorts (the ones that aren’t near theme parks, at least) outside of breakfast, because we are in the parks the entire day until they close. The only reason we even had lunch here was because they had just started serving lunch right after we checked in, so we thought we’d give it a try. We so enjoyed our meals at lunch that when we were debating whether to stay in the Magic Kingdom or leave on a later night, we looked up what time the Old Port Royale Food Court closed, and left promptly when we learned we could make it there just before closing.
Unfortunately, what the internet didn’t tell us was that in the last hour of operation, Old Port Royale Food Court serves a limited menu. Consequently, we were not able to try the Shrimp Curry, Mojo Pork, or Ropa Vieja that had intrigued us when we were looking at the menu earlier. They were only serving pizza and pasta. Disney counter service pizza is typically Almost Pizza, and although my taste buds were saying “indulge!” in this guilty pleasure, my stomach warned me not to slum it, so we decided to split the pasta. It was good for what it was, but nothing to write home about. Unless you’re here late at night, there are so many better options.
That’s the crazy thing about Old Port Royale Food Court. It reminds me a lot of Landscape of Flavors at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, which is a food court routinely praised for its inventive menu. Old Port Royale Food Court has arguably just as ambitious of a menu, but you never hear anything about it. I saw no fewer than 5 other things I’d like to go back and try there, and they are things I have not seen on any other menu at Walt Disney World.
Perhaps Old Port Royale Food Court doesn’t get hyped up a lot because this is a new menu replacing a previously more generic one? I know I’ve looked at their menu on previous trips and nothing really caught my attention. It does seem like Walt Disney World has been moving away from generic menus at the Moderates and Values (we even had a good meal recently at All Star Sports’ End Zone Food Court!), so that would make sense.
Old Port Royale Food Court isn’t lacking when it comes to desserts, either. This is the Monkey Cupcake (which interestingly looks totally different from what it used to look like). As a huge monkey enthusiast, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to consume a cupcake made of one. It’s a chocolate cupcake filled with banana cream, actual banana pieces, and topped with peanut butter buttercream icing.
Seemingly a weird combo, but whoa–absolutely delicious. We initially were going to split this since usually Disney cupcakes are large and decadent (and this was both), but I ended up having to get my own. One of the best Disney cupcakes I’ve had in a while.
Overall, Old Port Royale Food Court was a huge surprise for us. On past trips we’ve dismissed it out of hand because the menu seemed generic and there was really no compelling reason to shuffle our schedule so we could eat here. I still don’t recommend making a special trip out to Caribbean Beach Resort to eat here simply because it’s such a hassle to do that, and a significant time commitment. However, this counter service option is now on our radar with some ambitious and delicious menu options that definitely make it worth checking out for anyone staying at Caribbean Beach. I guess it’s only fitting that the resort that has made significant improvements to its rooms has made significant improvements to its menu. The food court offers a wide variety of choices with plenty of safe choices as well as some mildly adventurous ones, so there’s really something for everyone. We have only sampled a few of the intriguing choices so it’s really too early for us to make any bold proclamations, but we wouldn’t be surprised if the quality of those other choices make Old Port Royale Food Court one of the better counter service options at Walt Disney World.
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If you have dined at Old Port Royale Food Court, what was your experience? Did you dine here prior to or after the new menu? Any other menu recommendations? Do you agree or disagree with my assessment? Any other tips? Share your thoughts in the comments!
*Disclaimer: Any claims of content on this blog being “hilarious” are mere puffery and not actual representations that said content, is, in fact, humorous. Someone, somewhere will probably find some of this funny. After all, Spongebob has been on the air for over a decade and Adam Sandler continues to make money at the box office, so anything is possible when it comes to people finding things “hilarious.”