Crew’s Cup Lounge is a bar & restaurant at Walt Disney World’s Yacht Club Resort. In addition to drinks, the lounge features a menu consisting of table service quality food at (roughly) counter service prices. In terms of money-saving info, it does not participate in the Disney Dining Plan, but does accept the Tables in Wonderland card for a 20% discount. Not accepting the Dining Plan might explain why the food is so good and why Crew’s Cup Lounge is one of the best values at Walt Disney World.
Part of the quality of the food at Crew’s Cup Lounge can also be attributed to its proximity to the excellent Yachtsman Steakhouse. They are right next to one another, and if you’re lucky, you can get a table at Crew’s Cup that looks into the butcher’s locker; if he’s performing, this is basically like a free Cirque du Soleil show (except better). Now, I’m not suggesting that the food here improves by osmosis or by virtue of simply by nearer glorious steaks…but I’m not ruling it out of question, either. Rather, it’s because the two locations share a kitchen.
That means that the menu items here are basically raised by those steaks. (In my head I picture a cartoon steak, let’s call him “Prof. Elder Steaksman” training a younger, “Baby Bruno Burger” character. Yeah, I’m crazy.) Well, maybe not raised by, but prepared by the same skilled kitchen team. More importantly, it means that the same quality of ingredients are likely shared between both locations, which elevates the quality of the food at Crew’s Cup Lounge above what you’d find at a lot of other lounges at Walt Disney World.
You probably don’t need any additional reasons to spend every meal of your Walt Disney World vacation at Crew’s Cup Lounge, but just in case you need them, I have plenty of other reasons…
We’ll start with the decor and ambiance. The lounge is located in a nondescript location in a hallway basically halfway between the Yacht & Beach Clubs. There are no flashing neon signs advertising “AMAZING BURGERS INSIDE” or anything of the sort, and if you head here for lunch on a weekday, you’re likely to find the place mostly empty.
The inside of the restaurant is nice, and exactly what I’d expect from the Yacht Club. It has an abundance of masculine woods, and reminds me of a quiet place Teddy Roosevelt would come for some whisky after a long day of sculling. Even if you don’t get down with rowing, it’s the kind of place I’d recommend anyone go for a breather from World Showcase or Disney’s Hollywood Studios on a hot, humid day (or during the 1-Day No Parks Itinerary).
We didn’t drink here on our recent visits, but have in the past and didn’t really weren’t overwhelmed by the options. I looked at the drink list this time, and I didn’t notice anything outside of the Generic Disney Parks options, but perhaps there’s something good on tap(?)
As for the food, we’ll start with the supporting players. During our lunch meal at Crew’s Cup Lounge, Sarah had the Roasted Beet Salad. Ever since her long summer working the fields of Schrute Farms, she has had a thing for beets. Personally, seeing “beets” on any menu sends me quickly looking in the other direction, but I was pleasantly surprised when I tasted this salad. The lettuce and other ingredients were varied and higher quality than your garden variety iceberg lettuce. Quality greens, plus granola, strawberries, honeyed goat cheese, and beets all for only $8!
When we returned for dinner, Sarah had the Tomato and Mozzarella Sandwich. This was another light meal–well, at least the sandwich was light. Sarah balanced that out with a side of the truffle fries (which we’ll discuss later in the review). The Arugula Vinaigrette on Toasted Sea Salt Focaccia helped bring out the flavors of the tomatoes and mozzarella, both of which were moist and fresh, and mildly acidic kick to the sandwich.
Now, let’s talk about the star of the menu at Crew’s Cup Lounge: the Angus Chuck Cheeseburger. When I posted my “(Some of) the Best Burgers at Walt Disney World” post, I was admonished by a few readers who took issue with this burger’s absence from the list. In fact, this is why we visited Crew’s Cup Lounge in the first place.
When we actually got there and I looked at the menu, I had a feeling of “that’s it?” Whereas many Walt Disney World restaurants build up even the most unimpressive burgers with the burger equivalent of a cheap 3D trick, the description here was humble–too humble. It sounded like an ordinary burger that you might find on the menu at Cosmic Ray’s or Liberty Inn. At $13.99, its price is actually lower than the Liberty Inn burger, so I was doubly suspicious.
Although it was highly recommended by two people whose opinions on food I trust, I was more than a little skeptical. Maybe the menu had changed since they were last here? Fortunately, our server was not so humble. When I pressed her for more information about the burger, she quickly proclaimed it the “best burger at Walt Disney World.” Okay, that settled it.
Now, I’m going to have to do a lot more field testing and retesting (burger rating is both a science and an art) before I declare this Walt Disney World’s burger champion, but it far exceeded my expectations. All of the ingredients were top notch: the toppings fresh, the bun with a light and buttery taste, and the burger itself perfectly cooked, exceptionally juicy (just look at the bottom bun absorbing those juices two photos up–if that doesn’t bring tears of joy to your taste buds, you’re crazy), and just on the hearty side of the intersection between lean and hearty.
The menu gives you the option for having it with a side of grapes (LOLOLOL) or normal fries, but you’ll want to request the double-secret third option: truffle fries. More on these fries below, but suffice to say, the combo of these burgers and fries for $14 makes this an exceptional value by Walt Disney World standards. Heck, I’d gladly pay that price for this meal anywhere. It’s both cheaper and better than the burger at nearby Beaches & Cream, without all of the hassle of that popular spot.
As for those House-cut Truffle Fries with Roasted Shallot Mayonnaise, they are another of the menu’s stars. Truffles make anything better, but that plus the creamy, mild onion flavor of the sauce made these fries criminally good. If I were a potato, I would want my legacy to be becoming these fries, meeting my end by heroically diving into a pool of that magnificent sauce.
In addition to getting them as a side to any entree, the Truffle Fries can be ordered by themselves as an appetizer. For $5.50 (I’m normally hesitant to put so many prices in reviews, as Walt Disney World has a tendency to raise them annually…if you’re reading this in 2016 or 2017, assume everything is $1-3 higher), they are another great value.
Our first time ordering these fries, we got the full appetizer size, and then I ordered them with my burger as a side. Both sets were perfectly seasoned and out of this world. On our second visit, the fries were still excellent, but the seasoning was a bit heavy-handed, and it felt like this was to mask inferior fries. I’d still highly recommend that second set, but they definitely weren’t as good as the first go-round.
Overall, I recommend Crew’s Cup Lounge with absolutely no hesitations. We visited this place twice on our recent trip, which alone is rare for us, and I ordered the exact same meal each time, which is unprecedented since I usually mix things up for the purpose of these reviews. That should speak volumes about how good that meal is, and these visits demonstrated that Crew’s Cup belongs on our Top 10 Bars & Lounges list. The atmosphere is family-friendly at least until the late evening hours when the sailors come into port, so you really can’t go wrong with lunch here, no matter who you are. One thing to note about dinner is that many of the inexpensive options that intrigued me most (outside of the burger) are replaced by significantly more expensive choices. The burger and several options remain for both meals, so that’s great, but if you’re looking for a variety of choices at counter service prices, lunch would be my recommendation.
If you have dined at Crew’s Cup Lounge? Did you try the glorious burger? What about the truffle fries that gave hope and inspiration to a nation? Any other menu tips? Do you agree or disagree with my assessment? Share your thoughts in the comments!