Review: Brunch at Boathouse (Disney Springs’ Best Restaurant)

The Boathouse restaurant in Disney Springs has a new weekend brunch: “The Captain’s Sing-Along.” In this Walt Disney World dining review, we’ll share food photos, menu info, and thoughts on the seemingly self-contradictory experience.

To my knowledge, the Captain’s Sing-Along has still not yet been announced via a press release or update to the Boathouse’s official website, but instead via Instagram (a ridiculous trend that overestimates the influence and reach of social media, but I digress). Per those posts, brunch runs from 10 am to 3 pm with dueling pianos from 11 am until 2 pm. Guests who wear a captain’s hat or Boathouse shirt receive a free mimosa.

We’re huge fans of the Boathouse–it has held the #1 slot on our Disney Springs Table Service Restaurant Rankings for several years. We also love many of the brunches at Disney Springs and were excited to see the Boathouse join the brunch mix. Approaching this brunch review is consequently a bit of a challenge. In some ways, brunch builds upon and enhances what normally makes the Boathouse so great. In other ways, it falls woefully short and could be the weakest brunch at Disney Springs…

One thing worth mentioning before we dig into the food that this was literally the most crowded we had ever seen the Boathouse. Not just post-reopening, but ever. We’ve been during Marathon Weekend, weekends around the Christmas season, and other peak times. I don’t recall the restaurant ever being this busy on any of those past visits. It was a stark contrast to our “Ghost Town” experience dining at the Boathouse a few days after Disney Springs reopened.

The new brunch menu likely played a role, but we didn’t see many bloggers. Additionally, everywhere at Disney Springs was busy–not just the Boathouse. There was a long line just to get through security from the parking garage at noon and congestion throughout Disney Springs. It was probably the combination of really nice weather (literally every table outside at the Boathouse was occupied–something I’ve never seen before), Mardi Gras visitors, and some early flickers of pent-up demand as case numbers improve after a rough few months.

As we’ve mentioned in numerous posts, we’re still only doing outdoor dining. Everyone’s risk tolerances vary, so to each their own on that. The good news is that there are numerous restaurants with outdoor seating at Disney Springs, and the Boathouse is chief among them. (If you’re simply looking for the best options to avoid indoor restaurants, check out our Outdoor Dining at Walt Disney World.)

This meant we couldn’t see the dueling pianos, but that would be true of the vast majority of guests dining inside at the Boathouse. This is a colossal restaurant with multiple rooms. Everyone inside, outside, and walking past the Boathouse could hear the dueling pianos, though. They added a ton of energy to the experience and were really enjoyable to hear. Think Jellyrolls, but minus everything else that makes Jellyrolls almost unbearable. (Who are we kidding–we love Jellyrolls, warts and all.)

Moving on to the menu, which is pictured above since it doesn’t seem to be readily accessible online. It’s worth noting that there’s the weekend brunch menu in addition to, and not in place of, the normal menu at the Boathouse on weekends.

Having the normal menu is huge, and arguably makes the Boathouse brunch a “bonus.”

Brunch at the Boathouse begins with bread rolls for the table. These are the iconic rolls that normally start each meal, but covered in icing like a cinnamon roll. If you find yourself with a new appreciation for life, what better way to celebrate than with bread, butter, and icing? Knock out three of the four food groups just like that.

Joking aside, these are phenomenal. The Boathouse’s rolls are always one of the highlights of dining here, and that’s dialed up to 11 with these indulgent puppies. We had a couple of rounds just for the sake of research, and each roll was better than the one before it.

Moving on to the “Captain’s Choice” brunch menu entrees at the Boathouse, we first have the Steak and Eggs: Broiled Petite NY Strip Steak, Home Fries, and Two Eggs any style.

There should be added emphasis to the petite in that entree description. It may look like a decently-sized plate, but there are only four pieces of steak there. The meat was fantastic, but it’s simply too small. We do not recommend ordering this.

For her entree, Sarah had the Avocado Toast: Multigrain Toast, Avocado, Tomato, Pickled Red Onion, Feta Cheese, and Two Eggs any style.

Sarah enjoyed this, praising its fresh and refreshing quality. However, she also said it was “nothing special,” offered nothing inventive to distinguish it from avocado toast served anywhere else, and not on par with the same entree at other Disney Springs brunches. We do not recommend ordering this.

Finally, I ordered the Fried Chicken Biscuit and Gravy: Buttermilk Biscuits, Creole-Onion Gravy, Panko Chicken Tenders, and Two Eggs any style.

I really enjoyed this. The gravy was an excellent twist, with an herby and well-seasoned flavor plus a very mild punch. It was still creamy and decadent, pairing well with the also-fantastic biscuits.

As for the chicken…I’ve had a lot of delicious fried chicken at Walt Disney World. It’s one of the dishes that Disney has mastered, with great options everywhere from Fort Wilderness (a glorious, great value family feast) to Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ and many places in between.

This was very good fried chicken, but not better than the nearby Homecomin’ and probably not top 5 material. Definitely top 10, though. (My #1 and #2 fried chicken dishes are actually at the resorts–here and here.) We recommend this to anyone craving brunch; there are at least a half-dozen better items on the normal menu.

In gawking at other dishes as they passed us, there appeared to be several duds–or at least, very pedestrian options–on the brunch menu at the Boathouse. Aside from what’s reviewed above, the other interesting items are the Shrimp & Grits and the Jumbo Lump Crabcakes Benedict (but the latter is $28).

For review purposes, this creates something of a dilemma. Do we rate our meal primarily on the brunch menu? If so, this is one of the weakest brunches at Disney Springs. Or, do we judge the Boathouse brunch on its overall experience while factoring in the what we could’ve ordered from the normal menu? If so, the atmospheric enhancements and the rolls on steroids plus the potential for a free mimosa makes this meal a winner, you just have to ignore the brunch menu.

Ultimately, we’re inclined to do the latter. You might cynically call this giving the Boathouse a “pass” on its lackluster new menu, and maybe that’s true. However, we had an absolute blast at this brunch. The atmosphere was delightful and jovial, imbued with a sense of energy and life that we haven’t felt at a restaurant in a long time. In short, it was fun, happy, and felt normal.

Based upon all of that, we’d definitely do brunch at the Boathouse again–we’d just totally ignore the separate menu for the far superior regular options. There are at least 5 better brunch menus at Disney Springs, but nothing else touches the overall atmosphere of brunch at the Boathouse. This was far and away our weakest meal at the Boathouse from a cuisine perspective, but our best non-food experience. Next time, we know what we can do differently to avoid the pitfalls of this meal, and only enjoy the upsides of brunch at the Boathouse.

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!

YOUR THOUGHTS

Have you tried brunch at the Boathouse? What do you think of this menu–or the normal one? Thoughts on the overall experience and atmosphere of brunch at the Boathouse? Do you agree with our “weighting” of the meal v. the experience? Would you give this brunch a try or stick to the superior options at Disney Springs? Any standout menu options you’d recommend people give a try at the Boathouse? Do you agree or disagree with our review? Any questions about this meal? Hearing from readers is half the fun, so please share your perspective on whether this meal is ‘worth it’ or any other thoughts you have in the comments below!

22 Responses to “Review: Brunch at Boathouse (Disney Springs’ Best Restaurant)”
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