I love burgers. I would eat them 4 meals per day, if I could. The staff at my local In-N-Out Burger greet me by name, as if I’m Norm entering Cheers (they don’t really, but it’s basically my life’s goal for that to happen someday). Suffice to say, I have a lot of experience with burgers at Walt Disney World. I’ve had some great burgers there and some bad ones (and then there’s the short-lived Cosmic Ray’s Pizza Burger, which I just barely survived consuming), and this has been an “in progress” post for nearly two years now.
However, I decided when looking at our upcoming Advance Dining Reservations that, unless I compromise, this post probably wasn’t going to be complete until 2018 at the earliest, as there are some restaurants we won’t be visiting that have burgers I’ve heard are really good. So, rather than delaying further, I’ve decided to just go with what I have so far, adding the prefatory parenthetical before the name of the post.
With that said, be confident that I will not rest on my burger-consuming laurels now that this post is published. I will leave no menu unturned in my consumption of burgers–all in the name of science, research, and the future of mankind. If a new burger appears on a menu at Walt Disney World, I will be there to try it, reporting back to you on the quality of each specimen.
Note that this list contains both table service and counter service burgers from around Walt Disney World. The table service options are almost universally better on a strict quality scale, but accounting for value, some counter service choices are worthy inclusions on the list. Some popular options like the Grand Floridian Surf & Turf Burger (above) didn’t make the list due to merit (or lack thereof) on that ‘overall’ scale.
They say everyone was put on earth for a purpose, and if that’s true, I’d like to think mine was “eating burgers.” It’s tough work, but someone has to do it…
Beef Brisket Onion Burger – This recent addition at Plaza Restaurant instantly raised my previously low opinion of the place, as any restaurant serving a burger with burger, brisket, and bacon (3 of the major food groups) is doing something right. The quality on this is tremendous, and the burger is bursting with flavors, all of which fuse together nicely. It doesn’t hurt that this burger is only a few dollars more expensive than your ordinary counter service burger…yet so, so much better.
Angus Beef Burger – Few experiences at Walt Disney World top grabbing a seat at the counter in Beaches & Cream, enjoying a burger and sundae, and then recovering from my food coma by floating around in the Storm-Along Bay lazy river for an hour or so. Perhaps my opinion of the burgers here are colored by that overall experience, but this relatively simple, grilled-to-order burger still rates among my favorites at Walt Disney World. I order it every time we visit Beaches & Cream Soda Shop, and have yet to be disappointed.
Bronto Burger – It’s a huge disappointment that this burger served at T-Rex Cafe isn’t made of actual dinosaur, but until science gets its act together and clones dinosaurs, I guess we’ll have to settle for beef. I can’t penalize T-Rex Cafe for the shortcomings of science, though, and this burger deserves accolades for being surprisingly good. It’s not the leanest burger ever, but it tastes fresh and is plenty juicy, making it a great, safe option at T-Rex Cafe.
Cuban Burger – Here’s the point where we turn to counter service burgers, and one thing they all have in common is that there’s a lot of “stuff” on them that, presumably, helps mask an otherwise mundane beef patty. Plain Walt Disney World burgers are fairly weak, but dress them up with some gourmet toppings, and there are several standout options. Funny how that works. This kitchen sink burger served at the underrated Old Port Royale Food Court at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is better than it looks. Much better. This burger is topped with what might seem like an odd mix of grilled ham, pulled pork, swiss cheese, mango mayonnaise, on a toasted bun topped with fried pickles, but it’s delicious, with a taste that is (unsurprisingly) unique among Walt Disney World burgers.
Azteca Burger – Pepper Market is one of those love it or hate it places, and I happen to love it. There are a lot of great menu items here, and this burger is high up that list. It’s a fitting gourmet burger for this location, topped with fried onions, fried jalapeños, guacamole, chipotle aïoli and pepper jack cheese. The Garlic Parmesan Fries that accompany it are icing on the cake. Oh, but if the BBQ Ribs are available when you visit, get those instead. Carnivore Rule #37: Burgers are great, but ribs are better.
French Dip Burger – This blog has poked fun at Electric Umbrella a lot over the years, but much like the barbs directed at Downtown Disney, all good things must come to an end. “Unfortunately,” just like Downtown Disney, Electric Umbrella is no longer the embodiment of suckage. This burger is one of a few ambitious menu additions in the last year or so, and this burger topped with brisket, muenster cheese, and onion crisps is a solid, flavorful option.
Surf and Surf Burger – I’m not sure this option from Landscape of Flavors at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort belongs on the list. This is the kind of burger those mischievous cows from Chik-Fil-A would endorse, as there’s no beef in it. To me, that makes it ‘not a burger’, but I’m sure vegetarians are going to recommend other ‘not a burger’ burgers made of beans, tofu, or other folly in the comments, so I’ll at least throw this in as a ‘not a burger’ burger that actually tastes good.
Finally, an honorable mention. This is flat out the best burger I’ve ever had at Walt Disney World, but it’s only an honorable mention because it’s not exactly easy to get this one. This is the signature burger served at Markham’s Restaurant in the Summerhouse at Golden Oak…you know, those fancy multi-million dollar houses at Walt Disney World we all dream of owning “someday when we win the lottery.” If you want to eat here, all you have to do–short of dropping a cool million dollars–is put on your favorite monocle and top hat, rock a seersucker suit, and head to the gates of Golden Oak, demanding (burger) satisfaction.
At the other end of the spectrum, another honorable mention goes out to the Island Burger at Typhoon Lagoon’s Leaning Palms (pictured below). I can’t find my photo of it, but this burger topped with BBQ pork is shockingly good, and the best water park food.
That covers it–for now–when it comes to my favorite burgers at Walt Disney World. Hundreds have entered (my stomach), few have emerged to take their place on this honorable list. Now, the question I have for you, carnivorous readers, what other burgers at Walt Disney World should I try?
In Memoriam: Le Cellier Burger. This post is dedicated to your juicy deliciousness; you were taken from us too soon.
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Have you consumed a delicious burger at Walt Disney World? What’s your favorite burger at WDW? Any burgers you recommend avoiding? If you have any questions or thoughts to share, please post them in the comments. We love hearing from readers!