Happy Fourth of July! While we can’t celebrate at Walt Disney World, we thought it’d nonetheless be fun to take a stroll down memory lane back to the good ‘ole days (a few months ago) when the parks were open and we could engage in the most patriotic of experiences: devouring a gluttonous feast! (Updated July 4, 2020.)
Our researchers at the Disney Tourist Blog Institute for 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 DTBIFLCI has pinpointed these choices as the 10 unassailably best meals for true patriots at Walt Disney World.
In actuality, our “institute” is actually just my personal opinion, in response to someone asking, “what Fourth of July meals are there at Walt Disney World?” Nevertheless, a lot of painstaking “research” has gone into this, as I’ve spent the better part of the last decade meticulously taste-testing Walt Disney World menus…
In all seriousness, I think this list represents a good cross-section of definitively American foods, options at appropriately-themed resorts & restaurants, etc. Our list also offers a wide range of options at a variety of price points–from quick snacks and desserts to table service feasts.
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. Bison Burger, Geyser Point Bar & Grill – Located along the waterfront at Wilderness Lodge, which is Walt Disney World’s resort themed to a U.S. National Park lodge, Geyser Point offers serene open-air views of nature. The setting alone doesn’t get much more patriotic.
It might not look like much, but that Bison Burger above is one of the absolute best at Walt Disney World. Topped with Bacon, Sweet Crispy Onion Straws, Marionberry Sauce, Lettuce, Tomato, and Garlic Aïoli–it’s really something special.
9. Mom & Dad’s Specialties, 50’s Prime Time Cafe – Looking for a distinctly patriotic drink? The specialty cocktails and the glorious PB&J milkshake have you covered. On the patriotic foods front, there’s pretty much the entire menu (“A Sampling of Mom’s Favorite Recipes” is our top pick).
More importantly, there’s the ambiance. Spend some time with your surrogate relatives at 50’s Prime Time Cafe, enjoying some mid-century Americana while fake relatives find ways to admonish your behavior and why you’re disappointing them. Now that’s the true meaning of Independence Day!
8. Waffle Sandwiches, 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 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. Loaded Buffalo Chicken Tater Tots, The Friar’s Nook – There are a few different options here (and the menu has changed several times over the last few years), but pretty much anything will do the trick here–whether it be tater tots or various varieties of mac & cheese.
I really enjoy grabbing something from Friar’s Nook, 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.
5. Assorted Items, Crew’s Cup Lounge – This used to be a Walt Disney World hidden gem, offering great bang for buck and superior food to the nearby Beaches & Cream. Prices have risen considerably in recent years, but there are still a few fantastic items: Prime Rib Sliders, Everything Pretzel, House-made Signature ‘Yacht Dog’ (pictured at the top of the post). The burger is good, but overpriced and not as good as it used to be.
It also 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. 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 or punch 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. Entire Menu (Except the Plant-Based Stuff), Regal Eagle’s Distinctly Patriotic Smokehouse: A Salute to All Foods, But Mostly Barbecued Meats ~ A Sam Eagle Craft Drafts & BBQ Joint – Is any meal more patriotic than enjoying a glorious feast of barbecued meats in the American Adventure pavilion that pays tribute to Sam Eagle?!
We love Regal Eagle, but there’s something distinctly American about BBQ 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 barbecue exemplifies the true “warts and all” America, as opposed to the idealized one. Irrespective of that, the food at Regal Eagle 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 devouring a feast of meats while mentally and spiritually preparing yourself for the emotional tour de force (pardon my 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!
Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
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? 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!