Best Value Breakfast at Disney World
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.
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!
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!
Okay, you sold me. I’m going in October 19-24. I have two separate days planned for HS. No breakfast the first day (Tuesday) at HS so I can arrive early and be ready to snag a virtual queue spot for ROTR. But the second day (Friday), I made a 9am ADR for Ale & Compass.
THE DARK CHOCOLATE WAFFLES ARE TO DIE FOR!!!! They are what food dreams are made of 🙂
We have the same taste in food. Every time you review something, I think, man, I’ll have what Tom is having. that french toast with apples and caramel with a side of sausage looks amazing. I love caramel apple food items.
Glad to see a new old favorite is back for you to enjoy!
So were you able to walk into the resort and eat at A&C for were you Yacht Club hotel guests? Thanks, Joanne
Have you heard any updates on when California Grill will start offering brunch again (in a modified experience)?
Thank you in advance!
Glad to see Ale & Compass is reopening. Any word yet on when Boma & the Mara will be opening? Also, will Yacht Club be a dog-friendly hotel again when it reopens? Is the guess that room service will not return for a year or more?
Thanks for everything.
I practically screamed when I read this and made my husband run across the house to read the news! We love ale and compass and will be at disney August 26! So excited for them to be open! Yaaaaaaay!
I was not impressed with ale n compass….much better breakfast buffet is at The Wave, fresh, hot and more selections. Also Kona Cafe
I agree my favorite is Trails End.
Personally I think this is a fantastic choice for your post-early morning trip to HS to get a boarding pass for RotR. You could walk or take the boat, then head over to Epcot.
What about the character breakfast buffet at Garden Grove?? It is at the Swan resort, right next door to the boardwalk. I don’t understand why I never see reviews about that restaurant. I would like to know what you think of it. Thanks!!
To Stephanie, Because he Swan and Dophin resorts are not Disney resorts but are run by Marriott Corp. So they are not Disney restaurants inside there.
Went to Ale & Compass for the first time ever last December. Did it for breakfast as part of candlelight processional dining Package. Got the skirt steak sandwich and the buffet, (thought about the apple French toast) don’t think I ate again that day until right before the 8pm show. It was really good and would def go back for breakfast.
Without a doubt my go to place for breakfast every trip to WDW. Bonus- they do a FANTASTIC job with food allergies. Say hi to Chef Dave for me if you are there. He and the team there have gone out of their way to make exceptional -and safe- breakfasts for me every time.
Some other standouts for allergy friendly places for me are-
Table service- Sana’a, Kona Cafe, Whispering Canyon, Jungle Navigation Skipper’s Canteen, Liberty Tavern, Biergarten in Germany, Garden Grill, The Wave, A&C, 50’s Prime Time when you can get the fried chicken with fresh oil
2 credit “Signature”- Brown Derby, Be Our Guest dinner, Le Cellier, Citriccos, and most visits at Tiffins and Flying Fish.
QS- Harambe market, ABC commissary dinner, Pinocchio Haus, Leaning Palms at Typhoon Lagoon.
Would love to hear what your favorites are!
Absolutely love the breakfast at Ale & Compass! My favorite has always been the chocolate waffles. I live in the NYC area and can’t get those here. I do agree they need to redo the decor.
I very much enjoyed my Ale & Compass breakfast. Very nice – and we got to sit in the back little nook room, it was rather cute I felt. The service was excellent, very friendly.
Plus, the Yacht club lobby bathrooms are the nicest smelling bathrooms I’ve ever encountered. No joke. I have an incredibly sensitive nose and stomach – to the point that I normally cannot go to the bathroom after I eat, it ruins my meal experience and nearly makes me retch – it’s odd, I know, but very real to me. No problem at all at the Yacht club bathroom, it smelled great!
We’ll be back at Boardwalk in a couple weeks – and may wander over there, if not, will definitely eat there when we’re at the Beach club next.
I am with you on this! I went for a late breakfast and got the buffet option and was still full at dinner time. The meat and cheese selection at the buffet is pretty high quality for the price. I think this would be the perfect place for brunch after a 6 AM rope drop at Hollywood Studios 🙂
We went to Ale and Compass for breakfast twice during our 5 day trip in December. The buffet is great and is a really good value when you add in the cost of a drink. You only pay $3ish for all the buffet items. We had reservations both times and needed them. Every table was full and there was a 15-30 minute wait.
The buffet is great value. We went there for a brunch – my friend had the skirt steak sandwich and loaded up on the smoked salmon at the buffet, so it was well worth the $25ish dollars he paid. I had one of the entrees modified for my dairy food allergies – notably, they were fine with one person having the buffet and one person just ordering a la carte.
It was also noticeably quite empty when we went, only two other tables were filled. The parks were packed that day, so I’m not sure why Ale & Compass was so empty.
This is only slightly related, but I’ll be going to Disney in a few months and I also have a serious dairy allergy. Is there anywhere you’d recommend to eat? Or any meal in particular? I can’t find much info about the allergy options
Allison, Disney is awesome with food allergies. Just tell your server about your allergy when you are seated or ordering. Generally the chef will come out and discuss with you the items that will be safe for you to choose from. In a buffet situation, they will walk you through the items you can have. Or sometimes they can make you a version that is safe for you to have. It is your responsibility to inform them of your allergy.
Hi Allison! Disney World is one of the easiest places to vacation with a food allergy – it’s one of the few places in the world where I really don’t have to worry, and so we keep coming back! (Disneyland is good too, but Disney World really is stellar). Advise your server when you eat at a table-service (sit-down) restaurant, or when you are ordering at a counter-service restaurants as well. Almost every restaurant will have an allergy-friendly menu you can order from, but for dairy allergies in particular, sometimes the allergy menu is limited, so I will speak to the chef about what can be made dairy-free from the regular menu.
Disney World already has lots of procedures and systems in place, so employees know how to avoid cross-contamination – they will use clean gloves for allergy-friendly food, they will never combine an allergy-friendly dish and a regular dish on the same tray, or use the same waffle iron for dairy-free waffles, etc.
If you’re eating at a buffet, the chefs can cook food for you separately from the food that everyone else eats from the buffet line, so you’ll be able to have a very enjoyable meal there as well. As you likely already know, desserts are often the most difficult at most restaurants, but most of the soft-serve cones in the parks (the “Dole Whips”) are completely dairy free (I have never found dairy-free soft serve anywhere else in the world!) Just double-check with the cast member before you place your order, as not all of the flavors are dairy-free, or free from cross-contamination risks.
Even at a regular ice-cream shop at Disney World, you can ask and they will typically have one or two flavors of dairy-free ice cream or sorbet in the back, even if it’s not on display (eg. the ice-cream shop on Main Street in Magic Kingdom, or Artisan De Glaces in Epcot). Beaches & Cream can make completely dairy-free milkshakes!
One of my favorite places to dine is at 50’s Prime Time Cafe in Hollywood Studios – they have a great dairy-free fried chicken and they have a fun dairy-free s’more dessert! I love that I get to enjoy all these kinds of fun treats at Disney World that I can’t have elsewhere (unless I cook it myself). I also love breakfasts at Walt Disney World as almost every place that serves Mickey waffles can make them safely dairy-free! Enjoy your holiday – I hope you’ll have a wonderful time. You won’t need to worry about your allergy!
Allison, the good news, as others have said, is that WDW is a great place for anyone with food allergies. Our kid has a nut allergy, and I have a (comparatively) minor spinach allergy. Tell your server about your allergy, whether it’s at a sit-down or counter-serve restaurant, and they’ll be happy to help you. For example, we went to dinner at ‘Ohana, and I asked whether there was spinach in the salad. There was. The chef came out and persuaded me to let them make a spinach-free salad for me. At counter-serve restaurants, there’s typically a list of items that are free of your particular allergy contents. There’s usually a chef dedicated to allergy issues at every sit-down restaurant.
Ale and Compass without a doubt. They do an excellent job with food allergies. WDW is heaven for a people with food allergies. Especially at the places owned by Disney. Every Signature restaurant owned by Disney is good. Brown Derby is the best there. Table service places in the resorts tend to be good- with Ale & Compass being a standout Kona cafe Also a solid choice every time. Quick service is pretty tough. There is usually one in each park that does okay but be sure your talking to the chef before you order. Really if you have Food allergies a vacation at WDW will totally reopen your eyes to the joys of travel. (And not just living on safe snacks you brought in your suitcase.).
Where is this located?
Ale and compass breakfasts are the best! I love the chocolate waffles!!! The lobster roll for lunch is great too! One of the reasons we love Yacht club!
Haha! we saw y’all there! My mom and sister loved the chocolate waffles so much that we went back two days later! Btw, my mom wanted to know why “that man” kept taking pics of the food!!! we tried explaining what a vlogger was but she didn’t understand!
I am so curious to read your thoughts on the Bon Voyage breakfast! I hope you make it there soon. I really enjoyed it, but once is definitely enough. $200 for breakfast (including tip) just hurts. Definitely next time we are bringing bowls and cereal and eating in the room. That said, I’m still glad we got to go, even if we don’t ever go back, It was the only sit down restaurant we went to that I would even consider going back again. DW has really stepped it up in terms of counter service (I mistakenly thought it was all chicken fingers and cheeseburgers and pizza), and I think we’ll just stick to that next time, as long as we are paying for three underage picky eaters.
I agree the cost is staggering lol. It was really good food though and with a daughter who loves flynn Ryder it we was a must do for us. We typically don’t bother with going to a restaurant for breakfasts on our trips though and just bring cereal bars, cereal, apples, pop tarts whatever for breakfast in the room and we might do one special breakfast per trip. One time we did Cinderella royal table and the last time we did bon voyage breakfast.
We love Trail’s End too!! But I think our favorite is Tusker House for breakfast. Even my husband who is the most anti breakfast human in the planet (maybe) loves that place. Plus, we have little kids and they love the characters.
I really enjoy your posts. The info is really helpful. Thank you!!