Disney’s Hollywood Studios Counter Service Restaurants Rankings

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This post ranks the best quick service restaurants in Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World, a park with notoriously bad counter service options. In fact, “best” here might be a bit of a misnomer, as it could be more of a question of which restaurants are the “least worst.” Rankings are based upon a restaurant’s overall appeal, with factors such as cuisine quality, theme, uniqueness, and menu variety taken into account.

While I think Disney’s Hollywood Studios is actually underrated when it comes to table service dining, the same cannot be said for its counter service options. It doesn’t have a single restaurant on our Top 10 Counter Service Walt Disney World Dining list, and accordingly is the only Walt Disney World theme park not represented. Now, the counter service options at Disney’s Hollywood Studios aren’t awful, there’s just no real draw or anything that leaves a lasting impression. If your budget allows, I highly recommend doing table service meals here; you’ll certainly have time given the lack of attractions currently operating in the Studios.

Note that these rankings focus only on the major counter service spots at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, so not every outdoor vending cart and little location makes the list. We’ve dined at all of these spots, but have yet to review most of them…largely because there’s little to say. Our meals at most of these spots have been out of necessity when we couldn’t get into 50’s Prime Time Cafe or Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater, and we simply had to eat somewhere.

Let’s get started with the Disney’s Hollywood Studios counter service rankings… (more…)

Top 10 Epcot Counter Service Restaurants

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This post ranks the best quick service restaurants in Epcot at Walt Disney World, including both World Showcase and Future World. Rankings are best on overall quality, with factors such as quality, uniqueness, menu variety, and more all taken into account. There are also photos of some of our favorite food items from each location, which might help you visual folks make the decision a little easier.

Epcot has long been regarded as one of the best dining options at Walt Disney World, with World Showcase in particular viewed as a culinary highlight. It should thus come as no surprise that we view Epcot as having the best counter service restaurants at Walt Disney World. There are a couple of things that probably will surprise you, though. First, this reputation is largely predicated upon its top 2 dining options: Sunshine Seasons and Tangierine Cafe, both of which are also near the top of our Top 10 Counter Service Walt Disney World Dining list. Second, there actually are not a lot of good counter service options in Epcot that have “full” menus as compared to Magic Kingdom or Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Given that a lot of the spots that could be considered counter service restaurants around Epcot have very limited menus, and since I’ve learned from my mistake of ranking every counter service restaurant in the Magic Kingdom (including the Starbucks Main Street Bakery and seasonal places that are seldom open), I’m limiting this to a top 10. This means that some small stands aren’t on this list at all, which is either a product of them not being noteworthy, or of us just never having tried them.

All in all, we think that Epcot is a fairly straightforward park when it comes to counter service, with the good choices being undeniably good, and the rest being varying degrees of decent. There are a couple of surprises, particularly with restaurants we’ve previously criticized that have since improved. It is also worth noting that most of the options in World Showcase are highly dependent upon what you think of a particular regional cuisine. Namely, if you don’t like it at all, you likely won’t like its Epcot counterpart, and if you are used to highly authentic versions of a particular cuisine, you might find the Epcot versions overly Americanized or bland.

We’ve separately reviewed many of the Epcot restaurants in this post, so if you want to know more, those thorough reviews are the way to go. To read our full reviews and see additional food photos of each spot, click the restaurant name (if it’s not click-able, we have yet to review it).

Let’s get started with the Epcot counter service rankings…

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Trail’s End Restaurant Review

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Trail’s End Restaurant is a buffet in Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground at Walt Disney World. This review features photos and thoughts about breakfast at Trail’s End. The buffet menu at Trail’s End features a lot of different country favorites, and I think offers the best bang for your buck at Walt Disney World. Trail’s End participates in the Disney Dining Plan, and accepts Tables in Wonderland for a 20% discount. Given its low cost, it’s not a great use of a Disney Dining Plan table service credit if you’re trying to maximize your value on the Disney Dining Plan. However, it’s an excellent option if paying out of pocket.

Trail’s End is one of those restaurants you don’t hear a ton about, probably due to its remote location at Fort Wilderness. What you do hear is almost unanimous praise. I was a little concerned about all of the hype before I visited the Trail’s End for the first time (well, probably not the first time…my family used to camp at Fort Wilderness every year until Shades of Green opened, but I don’t remember any of those early-1990s meals), as I’ve found that hype tends to snowball in the Disney community, and some of the most popular things tend to be disappointments (Exhibit A).

Fortunately, that was not the case with Trail’s End in the slightest. Not only did it live up to every bit of that hype, but it also proved to be a fun location that is equal parts quaintness and quirkiness in terms of ambiance… (more…)

Disney World Restaurant Reviews

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Our Walt Disney World restaurant reviews will help you book the best dining options, whether you’re on the Disney Dining Plan or paying out of pocket and using the Tables in Wonderland Card for a discount. Each review contains a detailed description of the restaurant, along with lots of Disney food photos from that restaurant (in the case of food reviews, often pictures speak louder than words!) Since there are literally hundreds of restaurants at Walt Disney World, the choices can be overwhelming. We’ve dined at the majority of Walt Disney World restaurants in the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and these reviews are based on many years of visiting the parks and these restaurants.

If a restaurant that you’re considering is absent from the reviews below, feel free to ask about it in the comments. We’ve thus far only reviewed a portion of the restaurants at which we’ve dined. Downtown Disney is conspicuously absent from these reviews, and that’s because we tend to avoid it, as many of its restaurants are chain locations that exist in multiple cities in the United States. (Raglan Road seems to be the big exception to this, and we plan on visiting it soon.)

Each review gives the Walt Disney World restaurant it’s reviewing a score out of 10, with this score being based solely on cuisine and ambiance. For most of these reviews, we eat at a restaurant at least a couple of times before reviewing it, as quality can vary from one day to the next. If there’s one big caveat to these reviews, it’s that Walt Disney World restaurants can be very inconsistent: we may have a horrible meal at a restaurant one night and you may have a fantastic at the same restaurant the next night, or vice-a-versa. This is especially true of service, which is why we don’t factor that into our scores except in certain (noted) circumstances. Due to this inconsistency, we recommend reading a few reviews (not just ours!) of the same restaurant before making a decision on it.

As for the scores, they should be viewed like letter grades: 10/10 is an A+, 8/10 is a B-, 6/10 is a D-, (and so on), with any score below a 6/10 being varying degrees of failing. Much like letter grades, most of the scores here are in the B range.

When we started this blog, we only had a handful of reviews, most of which were for Walt Disney World. We started a “Disney Dining Reviews Index” page to organize them all. As we’ve added a lot more Disneyland Resort restaurant reviews plus restaurant reviews from Hong Kong Disneyland, Tokyo Disney Resort, and Disneyland Resort Paris, we’ve realized we need better organization. This Walt Disney World restaurant-specific page is the first step in our 2014 “resolution” to make this site better organized. Stay tuned for that.

With that said, here are the reviews and food photos from various Walt Disney World restaurants… (more…)

Be Our Guest Restaurant Lunch Review

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Be Our Guest Restaurant in New Fantasyland is the best counter service option in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. Here, you step inside Beast’s Castle in a restaurant themed to Beauty and the Beast. It’s a 2015 Disney Dining Plan participant as a one-credit counter service restaurant at lunch, and as a one-credit table service restaurant at dinner. At lunch, it makes our list of the best counter service values when on the Disney Dining Plan, but it just missed our list for the best values on the Dining Plan at dinner.

Both the lunch counter service and dinner table service menus feature French-inspired cuisine, and although the menus are ambitious for the usually unadventurous Magic Kingdom restaurants, most guests will find something that appeals to them at Be Our Guest Restaurant.

We’ve dined here a few times over the course of the last couple of years, and each time Be Our Guest Restaurant impresses us a bit more (we have updated this review several times since our first time eating here). During my last meal here, I finally had the chance to dine in the West Wing, which really put the experience over the top for me.

Why is Be Our Guest Restaurant so popular? Let’s take a look… (more…)