Magic Kingdom’s Hidden Gem Restaurant
Aunt Polly’s is a counter service restaurant in Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. This dining review features food photos, thoughts on the quality, our experiences here, how Aunt Polly’s compares to other alternatives in the park, and what it brings to the table on peak season days.
If you’ve never stopped at, passed by, or even heard of Aunt Polly’s despite being a Walt Disney World regular, don’t feel too badly. The quick service eatery is tucked away down by the water, facing the Liberty Square Riverboat dock on Tom Sawyer Island, which is only accessible via raft.
On top of that, Aunt Polly’s restaurant operating has been incredibly rare. While other seasonal counter service locations at Magic Kingdom open around a half-dozen times per year, there have been numerous stretches of time when Aunt Polly’s was mothballed for several years. The good news is that Aunt Polly’s now typically opens for peak holiday travel dates…
In a normal year, Aunt Polly’s is now open for the week leading up to Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and Easter. It has been returning more and more, often for longer stretches and with an expanded menu. Given that Magic Kingdom crowds continue to grow, we’re betting Aunt Polly’s being open is going to become a more regular thing.
When Aunt Polly’s last opened about 3 years ago, it had a limited menu of mostly pre-packaged items, and was really just overflow dining to add desperately needed capacity. Last Christmas, that menu was expanded upon with Becky’s Buttery Biscuit Barbecued Pork Sliders and Soft Pretzel Sticks, two hot items.
Both of those items are still present, but another two made-to-order items have been added to the growing Aunt Polly’s line-up: Peanut Butter with Raspberry Sandwich plus a Peanut Butter, Chocolate Hazelnut Spread, and Banana Sandwich.
Not wanting to overdo it on the sugary options, we opted to order the Becky’s Buttery Biscuit Barbecued Pork Sliders and Peanut Butter, Chocolate Hazelnut Spread, and Banana Sandwich.
First up, Becky’s Buttery Biscuit Barbecued Pork Sliders.
We both enjoyed these. The biscuits were not overly-dry (a victory itself when it comes to biscuits) with the pork being juicy and tasty. The coleslaw on top didn’t really taste like anything, but I suppose it provided texture. There really weren’t any surprises here. For better or worse, these are exactly what you’d expect.
The Peanut Butter, Chocolate Hazelnut Spread, and Banana Sandwich was fantastic and the far superior entree option. The sandwich was made of freshly-pressed brioche bread, and miles from an ordinary PB&whatever sandwich.
The helping of not-Nutella was generous, and mixed in a “I never knew I needed these two things together, but I do” way with the peanut butter sort of like peanut butter and butter do. With that said, it was a sugar rush, and splitting this sandwich was definitely the way to go.
Both of the entrees we had were good to great, but it was the experience that was truly sublime. Prior to dining at Aunt Polly’s, we were going to do Pecos Bill, but at around 10:45 a.m. the line was already out the door and the seating area was pretty busy.
Calling a quick audible, we headed over to Tom Sawyer Island on the second raft of the day (we just missed the first) and rope-dropped the 11 a.m. opening of Aunt Polly’s. We were the first guests in line there, and no one was in the seating area.
We sat along the Rivers of America for about 30 minutes, watching the Liberty Belle while we ate. During that time, only a few other parties ordered from Aunt Polly’s. (Which is actually a bit concerning–Walt Disney World won’t keep opening the restaurant if it’s not doing enough business. So basically we need it to find the sweet spot between not busy enough to stay in business and too crowded.)
Upon returning back to the Magic Kingdom mainland, the park was even more bonkers with holiday crowds. It was getting so frustrating to simply navigate the walkways that we promptly headed for the exit. (On the plus side, we arrived at 6:30 a.m. for Extra Magic Hours, so leaving by noon wasn’t a total bust!)
The point we’re really trying to underscore here is that Aunt Polly’s has great food, but more importantly, is an incredible respite from the crowds. While we were out on Tom Sawyer Island gazing across the Rivers of America at the rest of Magic Kingdom, we couldn’t have told you whether it was a “10” on the crowd calendar, as it felt more like a “1” from where we were sitting.
Dining at Aunt Polly’s was simply a serene experience, and we loved it for that. There’s also this quintessential “Vacation Kingdom of the World” vibe out there, and I know many longtime Walt Disney World fans yearn to experience Aunt Polly’s for that reason.
Ultimately, we’re suggesting that if you’re visiting on a day that Aunt Polly’s is open and what’s served here appeals to you, this is your best counter service dining option in Magic Kingdom. It’s a great way to get away from the crowds, have a delicious meal, and decompress for a bit.
The menu is too limited to call Aunt Polly’s the best counter service restaurant in Magic Kingdom, but it’s not operating on the same scale as a venue like Cosmic Ray’s or Be Our Guest Restaurant. For what it is, Aunt Polly’s is a far better experience than it has any right to be, and is an exceptional change of pace option. As of right now, Aunt Polly’s is open daily from 11 am until 3 pm during the busy holiday season. We’d love it see it stick around beyond that!
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Have you dined at Aunt Polly’s? What did you think of it? Would you eat here? Do you agree or disagree with our review? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!
We used to always stop at Aunt Polly’s when my boys were small. They had fried chicken and lemonade back then. we would sit on the porch and chill back in the 80’s-90’s. It was sometimes crowded back then as it was the only place to eat on the island. My boys liked shooting rifles from the Fort over to Big Thunder Mtn. (we were anti-gun but they loved it).
Anything on the DDP there?
I have to say that I throughly enjoy your insights and observations about all things Disney.
Your objectivity and honesty about WDW helps your readers to build realistic expectations before our visits which leads to a better experience.
Thank you very much
I can only imagine how crowded it is at Fisney for spring break right now. A couple weeks ago at my child’s dance class, I was eavesdropping on conversations around me and I swear EVERYONE was mentioning how they were going to Disney for Spring Break. People at tables around me, people who were at my table, and then others who came and sat my table once the others left!!! Must be SOOL BUSY! No thank you! I’ll take a long weekend at the beginning of November instead.
Tom, I don’t know what this means but I can’t find Aunt Polly’s on the Disneyworld website or in the app (they have every other place you could get food listed there). Could this mean it is no longer open, or is it merely an oversight since this place hasn’t been open in the past?
So Aunt Polly’s is back by Pecos Bills? Never even knew. We are not visiting until 3rd week of May so we will miss it, but will look for its location. Thanks
A) Yes, peanut butter & butter! PB & B Posse!
B) I can’t believe they serve that sweet sandwich with chips. Ouch.
Dang, my kids LOVE Tom Sawyer Island and Aunt Polly’s has never been open for any of our visits. We would have eaten there for sure. I hope it stays open!
Us too! It’s such a great spot for a midday break to relax! We’ve been numerous times and it’s never been open. I’ve always said they needed something over there !
Thanks for the recommendation, I’m going to have to check it out soon! I love the idea of restaurants “hidden in the crowds.” One of my favorites is sitting facing the castle after getting a snack at Sleepy Hollow. It can make it feel like you have the park to yourself 🙂
What is the best way of knowing whether it is open? Absent of taking a raft over to the island of course.
I’m guessing if it’s open, it’ll display on the My Disney Experience app on the Dining selection?
As a kid, I remember eating at Aunt Polly’s. It was sublime. Running around Tom Sawyer island is one of my favorite childhood memories.
Me too! It used to be run by Smucker’s. I remember having a PB sandwich there, with some non-grape jam and maybe multi-grain bread? I was 10 yo and thought it was ethereal, best thing ever.
We ate there the day of operation at Christmastime and the crowds revealed its popularity. Glad to hear its return is not as busy, but I am hoping they decide to keep it open!
Sign me up…BBQ Biscuits, PB&whatever, AND a rootbeer float??? Truly heaven on Earth in the most magical place on Earth. Super excited to find this spot open in either my upcoming Mother’s Day weekend trip or the end of August “one more time before school starts” trip. I’ve been to Disney World 5 times in the past 2 years and have yet to make it over to the island. Now it’s a Must Do! Thanks for the info Brickers!
It’s one of those places I want to eat at, not because I really want the food, but just to have said I have done it. There are ski trails here that sometimes don’t open in the winter, due to low snow and being south facing, and then add on it is a trek to get to them, but having done them, sated something in me. I don’t know what.
Love Tom Sawyer Island. Last there in Feb. but this food stop was closed. I had to ride the raft over to the main land just to purchase water.
Who doesn’t love Tom Sawyer Island? The last time I was there a family had a whole picnic spread at the top in a secluded area. From a planning / preparation standpoint, that’s either brilliant or overkill. I’ll stick with those biscuits if I can ever get my hands on them.
Has there ever been an explanation as to why it comes and goes?
I think a proper “Disney challenge” would be to eat 3 meals in the MK on the same day: Tortuga Tavern, Aunt Polly’s, and Tomorrowland Terrace!
It was a great review. We’ll be there in May and I think it’s worth a try with two young kids.
According to the article it will be closed at the end of April :/
yay. I heard it had reopened and hope it’s open end of October. If not, I may just take my own food over to get away from crowds.