When it comes to breakfast at Walt Disney World, our general philosophy has been don’t bother. Most restaurants are overpriced and the food is sub-par, which is why we’ve been strong advocates of hotel grocery delivery and preparing healthy, inexpensive in-room meals in the morning. (Updated November 1, 2022.)
We’ve also been anti-Ale & Compass Restaurant, which we derided in our original review shortly after the reimagining debuted due to dull decor and only so-so food. However, we’ve been back four times since then for lunch or dinner and have actually had very good to great meals. (The theme of the restaurant still bores us to sleep, but the food is good!)
Despite all of that, breakfast at Ale & Compass is a huge hit for us. Since originally publishing this review, we’ve returned a couple of times for virtually the same orders. This boils down to a few things: lack of better options at Crescent Lake, value for money, and flat-out loving a trio of menu items.
One bit of good news is that the Ale & Compass Restaurant no longer has a limited menu and its breakfast buffet returned earlier this year after being gone for nearly two years. It’s not the only buffet that’s back at Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts, as Minnie’s Beach Bash Character Breakfast also recently returned.
These join Yachtsman Steakhouse, Crew’s Cup Lounge, Beaches & Cream, and every other dining location at Beach Club in operating as normal once again. As compared to other Walt Disney World restaurants right now that are still operating with somewhat-limited menus, Ale & Compass is among the better options.
Here’s a look at what we love about Ale & Compass for breakfast…
Our first time doing breakfast at Ale & Compass was entirely by chance. As noted above, we weren’t keen on our dinner here, and planned on writing the restaurant off for the foreseeable future as a result. However, we found ourselves staying at BoardWalk Inn, without any groceries for breakfast or Advance Dining Reservations for one of the other restaurants.
Nothing else had walk-up availability, meaning the options were basically this, BoardWalk Bakery, or waiting until World Showcase opened in a couple of hours. In perusing the menu, Ale & Compass had a few options that were only slightly more expensive than BoardWalk Bakery, so we decided to roll the dice on it…
Sarah ordered the Dark Chocolate Waffles: “Dried Cherry Compote, Espresso-Mascarpone Cream, Chocolate Shavings, and a choice of Bacon or Sausage.”
These were a fan-favorite at the old Captain’s Grille, but were conspicuously absent when the location reopened as Ale & Compass. Everything about these waffles was perfect–just the right amount of chocolate flavor, a rich and creamy espresso mascarpone to balance them out, and tart dried cherry compote as the literal cherry on top. Forget Mickey waffles–these are the absolute best waffles at Walt Disney World, bar none.
I ordered the Salted Caramel-Apple French Toast with bacon. This is basically an apple sandwich between two slices of french toast, and drizzled with salted caramel and topped with buttery crumble. The sandwich is like the mullet of breakfasts: healthy business in the center, blissfully decadent party on the outside.
The sandwich and mullet are totally inapt comparisons; you can’t actually eat this like a sandwich and it’s not disgusting like a mullet. To the contrary, it’s fantastic–on par with the Dark Chocolate Waffles, which should really say something. The point I’m trying to illustrate is that it’s a somewhat balanced breakfast option, and not just a sugary dessert on the breakfast menu.
All of the entrees come with a choice of bacon, sausage, or fresh fruit.
We ordered bacon and sausage since we were already getting sufficient servings of fruit in our very healthy entrees. The sausage here is the undisputed champ, as these plump house-made patties are absolutely delicious–and provided good balance to our sugary main dishes. Don’t mess with the bacon–get the sausage.
Those are our two main recommendations right now, as a couple of our other favorites have been removed from the breakfast menu at Ale & Compass. We’re also curious about other new menu items like the Blueberry-Bacon Pancakes, Crab Cake Benedict, Breakfast Flatbread, and Breakfast Protein Bowl. We should probably try a couple of those the next time we dine here, but it’s tough to deviate from the tried-and-true.
On a positive note, the breakfast buffet is also back at Ale & Compass Restaurant…
This buffet is not a fully-fledged offering like those at other Walt Disney World restaurants.
Instead, it includes: “Seasonal Fruit, Assorted Yogurt Parfaits, Smoked Salmon with Accompaniment, Assorted Breakfast Pastries, House-made Granola, Bagels, Parker House Rolls, Artisanal Cheeses, Charcuterie, Smoked Trout Dip, Assorted Spreads, Jellies, Preserves, Oatmeal with Traditional Garnishes, Biscuits and Gravy.”
As of Late 2022, the breakfast buffet costs $23 and includes one entrees.
The smart move is thus choosing one of the more expensive entrees, like the $20 Shrimp and White Cheddar Grits or the $20 Breakfast Protein Bowl, and adding it to that. For those meals, you’re only paying $3 extra for the buffet. For the items we recommend, the cost-difference is greater.
We’ve since done exactly that, returning to Ale & Compass and ordering more expensive entrees (when we did it, we got the skirt steak sandwich, but that’s not currently on the breakfast menu) and grazing from the breakfast buffet. For only a few dollars extra, it was a fantastic option–we left so stuffed that we didn’t need to eat lunch that day.
Even though it cost more, that arguably fits with the angle of this article, which is the best value breakfast at Walt Disney World. I’d say breakfast is a pretty great value if you’re not eating again until dinner!
Overall, for around $30 (total, not each), we had one of the best breakfasts we’ve ever had at Walt Disney World for any price. Being able to walk-up and be immediately seated in a half-full restaurant pretty much negates all of our previous complaints about the theme, too. (Although I still really wish Disney would find a way to give this restaurant some personality.) All things considered, it’s tough to argue with breakfast at Ale & Compass if you order wisely–this is the best bang for your buck breakfast at Walt Disney World.
Have you done breakfast at Ale & Compass? What did you think of it? Did you do the buffet? 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!