Looking for the best counter service meals at Disney Springs? In this post, we cover our favorites, and rank the quick service restaurants at Walt Disney World’s shopping, dining, and entertainment complex from worst to best.
Following its huge redesign and expansion, Disney Springs is now an all-day destination at Walt Disney World, and a place where you’ll want to have multiple meals. While we’d ideally recommend multiple table service meals since that’s where Disney Springs truly excels, arriving for a light lunch, followed by some shopping, then a large dinner and some nightlife is a great way to approach Disney Springs.
While this post focuses solely on the counter service (including the bakeries–since dessert is essential), it’s only part of what you need to know about Disney Springs. For more advice about visiting this shopping and entertainment district, refer to our Disney Springs Tips & Tricks post…
Note that this is not (yet) a definitive list. Noticeably absent are a few of the newer options: AristoCrepes, Morimoto Asia Street Food, and Daily Poutine. We also have somehow never done Wolfgang Puck Express. (To be honest, we fully expected it to close at some point, but that now seems unlikely, so I guess we should eat there and review it…)
As we dine at new locations and additional restaurants open, we’ll update this list. Now, let’s dig into the rankings of the counter service restaurants at Disney Springs!
10. Polite Pig – We want to love Polite Pig. It really pains us to rank the restaurant this low, because we were really excited for Polite Pig. The idea of a BBQ restaurant as a spin-off from a popular, locally-owned restaurant held a lot of appeal. Unfortunately, sky-high prices coupled with small portions and bland flavor tank Polite Pig, pushing it below even the most unambitious choices on this list.
Later this year, we plan on buying the Quick Service Disney Dining Plan for a few days, and will revisit Polite Pig (currently the #1 use of counter service credits on the Dining Plan) to see if anything has changed. If it can find its footing and start firing on all cylinders, Polite Pig could challenge for the top spot on this list.
9. Bongos Cuban Cafe Express – Did you even know Bongos has a counter service wing? (Back that up a step: do you even know Bongos is a restaurant at Disney Springs?) Bongos seems like one of those often-overlooked restaurants at Disney Springs, which is surprising given its huge building and giant pineapple out front that makes it look like the ultimate party house, but perhaps that’s for good reason.
The strong point of Bongos is that they serve on-the-good empanadas and various meat-filled pastries for only a couple of dollars, making for an affordable, savory snack. We’ve grabbed these a few times and–without fail–they’ve been bland and far heavier on the pastry than any filling inside. The Cuban Sandwich is likewise forgettable, not even as good as the one that used to be served at Sunshine Seasons.
8. Earl of Sandwich – The OG of counter service restaurants back in the Downtown Disney-era, Earl of Sandwich has a strong reputation among Disney fans, but time has passed it by. It was once hyped for its cheap, high-quality sandwiches, but over time those prices have risen and we find it tough to justify the prices for such small portions.
Don’t get us wrong–Earl of Sandwich still has good food. The problem is that Blaze Pizza offers significantly better value, and a number of places offer better taste. While we’re certain Earl’s legion of loyal subjects will staunchly disagree, we are ready to go to war with Sandwich. (It’s just a small town–they could never match the military-might of Disney bloggers.)
7. Cookes of Dublin – Being the counter service arm of Raglan Road, which is one of the best table service restaurants at Disney Springs, expectations for Cookes of Dublin are high. Unfortunately, our experiences at Cookes of Dublin have been a letdown, and certainly unworthy of association with Raglan Road.
We know people who love Cookes, so perhaps disregarding our review and giving it a try is worth the risk? Alternatively, we’d propose the lower-risk approach of skipping Cookes, doing a different counter service restaurant, and then going to Raglan Road for a late night meal. That’s a no-risk, all-upside approach!
6. B.B. Wolf’s Sausage Co. – This is an under-the-radar spot, one of the kiosk locations similar to AristoCrepes and Daily Poutine, all of which opened around the same time at Disney Springs. Don’t let its inconspicuous setup fool you: B.B. Wolf’s serves the best hot dogs at Walt Disney World.
While that might seem like super-duper high praise, the competition isn’t exactly staunch. Moreover, when you start comparing B.B. Wolf’s to other restaurants at Disney Springs, it doesn’t hold up all that well. There’s no indoor seating, no theme, and its menu is a one-trick pony (err…Wolf?).
5. Sprinkles – At first blush, it may seem really odd to directly compare dedicated restaurants with a trendy California-based cupcake bakery, but if you’re not eating full meals of cupcakes on vacation, you’re doing something wrong. Just kidding (not really). We rank Sprinkles alongside hot dog stands and pizza joints, basically, for lack of better options.
As far as desserts at Walt Disney World go, Sprinkles rates very highly. While these smaller cupcakes look fairly pedestrian as compared to Disney’s own elaborate monstrosities, do not let that deceive you. Sprinkles uses high quality ingredients, the cake itself is always moist and flavorful, and the icing is delicious and fresh. With few exceptions, these are significantly better than cupcakes at Disney bakeries. With that said, Sprinkles doesn’t hold a candle to the #1 dessert spot at Disney Springs…
T3. Pizza Ponte – Okay, this is a total cop out, but I’m going to call it a tie between the two pizza places at Disney Springs. We really enjoyed the oversized squares at Pizza Ponte as a great way to end a long night at Disney Springs, but we also appreciate the size and build-your-own nature of Blaze Pizza.
Pizza Ponte serves hearty squares of pizza that are more substantial than in-a-flash thin pizzas at Blaze, and are even slightly heftier than what you’d find at Via Napoli. There’s a nice light char on the underside of the Pizza Ponte crust that provides added texture and flavor, and the slices are loaded with toppings. As we wrote in our full review, the pizza has a liberal amount of cheese and toppings, and is the greasy type of pizza you’d order at a hole-in-the-wall pizza joint.
T3. Blaze Pizza – My biggest issue with Blaze is that it’s becoming increasingly ubiquitous. Call me sentimental, but on a Walt Disney World vacation, I like to do things that are special or that are distinct to WDW. Even real-world restaurants like Earl of Sandwich or (shudder) Rainforest Cafe are far less common, and could have that quality for some people.
With that said, Blaze Pizza offers great value for money, uses quality ingredients, and is a definite change of pace from the norm at Walt Disney World. After a long vacation of inflated prices, it could be very easy to look past Blaze’s real-world presence and go here for an affordable and filling meal of pretty-good, custom-made pizza.
2. Amorette’s Patisserie – This is not just the best dessert spot at Disney Springs, or the most underrated bakery–it’s the best bakery at Walt Disney World. (So good, in fact, that I debated whether to put it #1 on this list.) We first reviewed Amorette’s Patisserie last summer, and at that time many readers haven’t even heard of it.
We’ve since revisited Amorette’s many (many) times, in a couple of cases deliberately forgoing dessert at table service restaurants just so we could do Amorette’s again. The desserts are hand-made with care with impeccable presentation (they are seriously like little works of art), and the taste is incredible. I think some people balk at the price, but the desserts Amorette’s serves are better than at least 75% of Walt Disney World table service restaurants. Amorette’s is the real deal, and is a must-do at Disney Springs.
1. D-Luxe Burger – Without question, D-Luxe serves the best counter service burger at Walt Disney World. From its signature beef blend (a mix of brisket, angus, chuck, and short rib) to the freshly-made buns, the ingredients here are high quality and the results are delicious. While the prices are on the high side, they are no worse than any counter service burger, and the quality here rivals the best table service burger at Disney Springs (an honor going to the Boathouse).
For a slightly more economical meal from D-Luxe Burger, order one of the duos, which includes two burgers, two drinks, and an order of fries. Depending upon which version you order, you’re basically getting the drinks for free. (Pro tip: upgrade your duo’s fries to a large size and request one of each dipping sauce–trust us on this.)
What is your favorite counter service restaurant at Disney Springs? Least favorite? Do you agree or disagree with these rankings? How would you rank the Disney Springs quick service restaurants at which you’ve dined? Any questions? Hearing your feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts or questions below in the comments!