Centertown Market Review

Centertown Market is the food court inside the Old Port Royale lobby area of Caribbean Beach Resort at Walt Disney World. This WDW dining review features food photos, thoughts on the counter service restaurant’s menu, our experiences here, and how this quick service eatery compares to its predecessor.

In terms of background and money-saving info, Centertown Market participates in the Disney Dining Plan as a 1-credit counter service restaurant, but does not accept the Tables in Wonderland card for a 20% discount. With mostly-inexpensive entrees (at least, by Walt Disney World standards), it’s not a particularly good use of Dining Plan credits–but is a solid option paying out of pocket.

Before we start with our review, I want to share that reader feedback on Centertown Market has been overwhelmingly negative. Not that we’ve heard a ton of scathing reviews, but out of the dozen or so that readers have shared in the comments sections of various posts, probably 75% of them have been negative. None have been overwhelmingly positive.

Normally, I discount crowd-sourced reviews, as you never know the background of the reviewers, their expectations, or what they ordered. However, our readers are obviously brilliant, so I’m willing to give your perspectives a bit of credence (except those of you who love the cuisine at Tony’s Town Square).

Our experiences with Centertown Market have been 75% positive, so I thought that was worth putting out there–I don’t want to be raving about a place that everyone else seems to dislike.

Another thing we’ve heard repeatedly about Centertown Market is that the menu is very limited. With over 20 entrees, this is demonstrably false. Trying to “explain away” both complaints, I’ve developed a theory: most guests are only considering a narrow subset of the menu, limiting themselves to the worst part by virtue of personal preference or what sounds safest.

Taking a step back, Centertown Market has three broad categories of food: vegan/vegetarian, ambitious island cuisine, and traditional theme park fare. Some people have zero interest in the first two categories, and that’s fine. However, this becomes a problem when it comes to ordering, because the former two categories are (arguably) overrepresented and the latter is underrepresented.

It also doesn’t help that several options from that last category–anything pizza–have a high likelihood of being terrible. Although we haven’t had them, we’re also going to assume the two regular burgers aren’t good, because a long history with Walt Disney World burgers has taught us that this is a reliable truth. It’s also possible that the same goes for the pasta. The end result here is a limited menu of food that is approachable and delicious.

In terms of atmosphere and theme, Centertown Market is very similar to its predecessor, Old Port Royale Food Court. The previous incarnation had different ordering bays meant to resemble an open air outdoor market in the Caribbean.

Our review of that remarked that it was “pretty cool, save for the fact that it looks like this is a market you’d encounter if you stepped into Doc Brown’s DeLorean and dialed in 1988.”

The open air market look has been carried over into the new location, albeit without quite the same charm and character. It looks fresher and more modern, but it’s also not convincing as a lived-in or themed place.

It just seems to pay face to the notion of a marketplace, rather than actually playing the part.

Given that our old review was tepid on the theme and our new review is likewise, you could say there’s no winning with us. That might be fair, but I think it’d be even more fair to say that Disney overcorrected. It’s becoming increasingly rare to see new immersively-themed spaces in Walt Disney World hotels, so we assume this approach was intentional.

Centertown Market’s seating area is pretty basic, although it pops with color and there’s some tiering to the area, texture via the shutters, and nice views outside. (Better yet, there’s an outdoor seating area, which we prefer.) One thing that befuddles me is the lack of overhead breeze fans. These were present in the old seating area, and are such a nice, on-theme touch. At least the mural behind the drink station is cool.

Turning to the food, we’ll start with by far the worst of the things we’ve had thus far: the Jerk Chicken & Pineapple Pizza.

This is the second Walt Disney World “deep-dish” (air quotes) pizza we’ve had recently, and after an abysmal experience with the one at Sunshine Seasons, I’m not sure why we rolled the dice on this. It makes the frozen “Almost Pizza” served at places like PizzeRizzo seem gourmet by comparison.

To add insult to injury, the bread stick was an absolute abomination, somehow worse than the pizza itself.

That same visit, Sarah ordered the ‘Cheese Steak’ Griddled Seitan: “Seitan Cheese, Pickle Chip, Vegan Mayonnaise, Peppers and Onions and Pickle Relish melted between French Bread.”

As far as vegan dishes go, this was solid. I had the Brisket Sandwich at Electric Umbrella a few days prior (a new guilty pleasure) and it was nowhere near that good, but it was tasty, with the peppers and onions giving it a bit of punch. My only complaint is in terms of texture–it was just a tad on the slimy side, but I think that’s par for the course with seitan. It was still a good, filling dish that we’d recommend if you’re vegan.

Prior to that, I ordered the Create-Your-Own Dinner Bowl, with choice of base, protein, and sauce. This is a lot like the raved-about bowls at Satu’li Canteen in Pandora at Animal Kingdom.

Protein options include rotisserie beef, pork shoulder, banana leaf-wrapped fish, jerk chicken thighs, or vegan chipotle seitan. Going for the healthy choice, I ordered the jerk chicken with rice and chimichurri. This was really good, and I’d put it on par with Satu’li Canteen, which is high praise.

If I were going all-out and not the ill-advised healthy living route, I would’ve preferred the pork shoulder with garlic ranch. The breakfast options sound even better, with home fries being one of the bases. For our next Riviera construction update, I’ll try to find a way to make it back for breakfast.

For our first visit to Centertown Market, Sarah ordered the Plant-based Spicy Jackfruit-Carnitas Burger: “Grilled Plant-based Burger topped Spicy Jackfruit, Barbecue Mushrooms, Cabbage Slaw and Chipotle Mayonnaise served with Plantain and Yuca Chips.”

If you’re like me, you scoff at the notion of this burger, dismissing it out of hand as something that cannot compare to a real burger. In which case, you’d be wrong (at least you’re in good company!) because this is one of the best things on the menu, and far superior to the standard Walt Disney World burgers.

Juicy, lightly spiced, and full of meaty flavor, this burger was good enough to trick me (it’s a Beyond Meat patty, for those curious). I could’ve done without the abundance of slaw, but everything else worked together flawlessly. It’s truly incredible the strides Walt Disney World’s vegetarian cuisine has made in only a few years–I remember when this stuff bordered on inedible, and now it’s among menu highlights.

Finally, the Caribbean Beef and Chorizo Blend Burger: “Grilled 6 oz Chorizo Burger topped with Crispy Pork, Provolone Cheese, a Pink Sauce and Crisp Potato Straws nested on Iceberg Lettuce and Tomato on a Brioche Bun served with a side of Onion, Pickle and Plantain and Yuca Chips.”

For the sake of taste-testing “research” I really wanted to order this to compare it to the one at Spyglass Grill, but in reality, they’re identical. This burger scores very high marks and rivals the best counter service burgers at Walt Disney World, including the highly-regarded D-Luxe Burger at Disney Springs.

It’s better than the If you’re ordering a burger at Jackfruit-Carnitas Burger, but not by nearly the margin you’d expect. If you’re ordering a burger, go for one of these two options.

Overall, Centertown Market can best be described as a mixed bag. I don’t think the overly negative comments we’ve read reflect the entire menu, but nor does our initial, overwhelmingly positive meal. Moreover, this seems like a food court destined for a significant menu change in the not-so-distant future. There’s a disproportionate emphasis on vegan/vegetarian fare, and most of the best items on the menu are options the average Walt Disney World guest will never order. Now, we’re all for people stepping outside their comfort zones and trying interesting food, but as a practical reality, a counter service restaurant at a Moderate Resort simply needs more options that are both safe and delicious. There are some great options at Centertown Market, but we’d like to see the more straightforward cuisine be improved upon, and that side of the menu expanded.

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Your Thoughts…

If you have dined at Centertown Market, what was your experience? What specific entrees did you order, and what did you think of them? Did you eat here prior to the Old Port Royale re-imagining? Any other menu recommendations? Do you agree or disagree with our review? Any questions about Centertown Market? 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!

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