NOT SO FAST! Our researchers at the Disney Tourist Blog Institute for Individual Liberty and Carnivorous Ideals have been working around the clock in a tireless effort to ascertain the 10 most patriotic meals at Walt Disney World. Through thoughtful, independent analysis of myriad variables, the DTBIFILCI has pinpointed these choices as the 10 unassailably best meals for true patriots at Walt Disney World.
Actually…these meals are just ten options that quickly came to mind after someone asked me, “what Fourth of July meals are there at Walt Disney World?” (But really, isn’t all good think tank research just personal opinion masquerading as something more?)
In all seriousness, I think this list represents a good cross-section of definitively American foods, dining experiences, etc., and at a variety of price points. Whether you want something to get you in the spirit on Independence Day, or just some generally good options any time of year, here are our picks…
10. “Mushroom Soup”, Artist Point – One of the first things that jumped to mind when making this list was the Smokey Portobello Soup at Artist Point. Unfortunately, upon reviewing the menu, Smoked Mushroom Bisque soup appears to have replaced it. Here’s hoping it bears much in common with its predecessor, in which case having this soup in a restaurant reminiscent of a U.S. National Park dining room (and maybe the Cedar Plank Salmon as an entree) is a distinctly “American” experience on the high end of the dining spectrum.
9. Dad’s Specialties, 50’s Prime Time Cafe – Whether you want to go for some of the specialty cocktails or the glorious PB&J milkshake, you can’t really go wrong here. More importantly, there’s the ambiance. If you can’t be with your drunk uncle as he guzzle cans of “America” “Belgium” and complain about how your generation is ruining the country, why not at least get the next best thing? Spend some time with your surrogate relatives at 50’s Prime Time Cafe! These ones won’t serenade you with their half-baked political ideas, but you can be sure they’ll admonish you over something far more innocuous. Now that’s the true meaning of Independence Day!
8. Fruit Waffle with Chocolate Hazelnut Spread, Sleepy Hollow – With a selection of sweet treats including the homemade ice cream cookie sandwich, funnel cakes, and these waffle sandwiches, Sleepy Hollow is truly what punctuates the LIBERTY! in Liberty Square. Among these options, the fruit waffle is my favorite (an ice cream cookie sandwich with fresh, moist cookies is unbeatable, but the cookies can be hit or miss). “Chocolate hazelnut spread” here is not Nutella, so this manages to be patriotic and not at all a European-influenced snack. 😉
7. 32-oz Porterhouse for 2 (…for 1), Yachtsman Steakhouse – Another option on the Signature end of the dining spectrum, few things embody the spirit of America as does a steak eating challenge. I feel like Yachtsman should offer some sort of prize to individuals who conquer this on their own, but that would probably go against the classy nature of this place. A couple of years ago, this would probably rank #1 on this list. Unfortunately, I haven’t stayed current with the “steak scene” at Walt Disney World, as rapidly escalating prices (this entree for 2 is currently $119) have surpassed our balking point for the upper end of menu items. Based on how delicious this used to be, I assume it’s still the pinnacle of steaks at Walt Disney World, though.
6. Mac & Cheese, The Friar’s Nook – There are a few different varieties here, but my unadventurous go-to here is the standard issue variety, topped with bread crumbs. I really enjoy grabbing a cup of this, and heading up to the balcony at Pinocchio Village House for an elevated view of the backside of Fantasyland. When Walt Disney dedicated Fantasyland to “those who believe that when you wish upon a star, your dreams come true,” I think this is what he had in mind. Consider this one a two-fer in the sense that it replaces one of my favorite guilty pleasures on this list: the bacon mac & cheese hot dog. This hot dog bounced around a bunch of different menus, an outlaw trying to stay one step ahead of Disney’s “Healthy Living” police, I assume. Last I knew, this divisive indulgence was gone from every menu. The good news is that you can make your own variation of this, as Friar’s Nook sells both mac & cheese and hot dogs!
5. Burger & Truffle Fries, Crew’s Cup Lounge – I decided from the get-go that this list would only have one burger on it, which made for a challenging proposition. While the obvious winner would be the Picnic Burger (which itself fairly could be renamed as “America”), I decided to go with the best intersection of quality and value instead. That is, without question, the Angus Chuck Cheeseburger at Crew’s Cup Lounge. It doesn’t hurt that the rich woods of Crew’s Cup make the place feel like Teddy Roosevelt’s den (not totally–there’s no taxidermy), and the respite from the heat and humidity of Epcot make it a great spot for a midday break on July 4th, or any day during the brutal summer months.
4. Fried Chicken, Trail’s End Restaurant – I’m trying for specificity on this list, but really “virtually the entire buffet” would be an apt listing for Trail’s End Restaurant. From the fried chicken to the smoked pork ribs to the chili–to the desserts and even some items on the salad bar, Trail’s End hits the high notes when it comes to American comfort food. If you’re looking for a last-minute Fourth of July meal, this is probably the experience that best represents Americana. From the moment you arrive at Fort Wilderness through the last bites of dessert, the whole package here captures the rugged essence and charm of America. (And I mean that without the slightest sense of irony or sarcasm. There will be plenty of that in the top 3…)
3. Full Slab of St. Louis Ribs, Flame Tree BBQ – There are few experiences I savor more than eating ribs on the waterfront in Animal Kingdom. These smoked, St. Louis style ribs are not just a patriotic meal, but arguably the best counter service meal in all of Walt Disney World. Don’t be afraid if you have to punch an ibis in the beak as you bravely defend your ribs from this feathery predator. Circle of life and all that. Besides, our forefathers fought much more to ensure your freedom to enjoy a slab of meat the size of your head, so think of this as a way of paying it forward. (For the more sensitive of you, this is a j o k e. I condone neither the punching of birds nor the feeding of wildlife in theme parks. (Seriously, don’t feed the wildlife.)
2. Sand Pail, Happy Landings Ice Cream – This giant pail of soft serve ice cream (available at Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach) is amazing, and a relatively good value. Eating this–by yourself–on a beach chair with a cold one in hand represents all that is good and right about our wonderful nation. For bonus points, sneak the pail onto the lazy river and float around while eating ice cream (just kidding…maybe?) for a quintessentially lazy new experience I’m dubbing The‘Murican ‘Venture.
1. New York Strip Steak, Liberty Inn – Is any meal more American than a New York strip steak? Yes, one served at fast food restaurant, combining our fierce carnivorous spirit with our societal impetuousness. As a nation, we’ve adopted the “we don’t care, and it shows” mantra of Krueger Industrial Smoothing and applied it to food quality. This fast food steak exemplifies the true “warts and all” America, as opposed to the idealized one. Irrespective of that, this particular entree still manages to be above average for what it is. There are superior options in World Showcase, but what better way to celebrate freedom than by gnawing on a tough cut of meat while mentally and spiritually preparing yourself for the emotional tour de force (sorry for the French) that is The American Adventure?!
That covers it for our top 10 distinctly patriotic meals at Walt Disney World. Sadly, we had to leave off a lot of ostensibly patriotic locations, such as Liberty Tree Tavern, T-REX Cafe, and others. That’s just the way lists like this go. If you have a favorite pick that didn’t make the cut, please share it in the comments below!
Check back tomorrow when we share our Top 10 ‘Distinctly Patriotic’ Experiences at Walt Disney World…
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Do you agree with our choices for the most patriotic meals at Walt Disney World? Anything you’d add to the list? Anything on here you don’t like? Share your thoughts or questions in the comments!