Roaring Fork Review

Roaring Fork is a Walt Disney World counter service restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner at Wilderness Lodge. This WDW dining review features food photos, thoughts on the quality, our experiences here, and how this quick service eatery compares to other alternatives. (Last updated January 26, 2019.)

In terms of basics, Roaring Fork participates in the Disney Dining Plan as a counter service credit. It does not accept the Tables in Wonderland card for a 20% discount.  In terms of the Disney Dining Plan, Roaring Fork is neither a good nor bad value (see our ranking of the best value quick service restaurants here).

Roaring Fork is a rather unassuming restaurant. Tucked away down a corridor in Wilderness Lodge, it doesn’t look at that impressive. However, like most things associated with Wilderness Lodge, Roaring Fork is awesome. (Objectively speaking, of course.)

There’s a bit of cool hunting and fishing theming in the seating area, along with masculine woods, but it mostly looks like a small seating area carved out of the resort, with the intention that most guests will take their meals and eat outside or back in their rooms. This doesn’t particularly bother us, as we almost always do eat outside by the (roaring) waterfall or babbling brooks.

It’s a restaurant you never really hear anyone talk about it, and whenever we go, it doesn’t seem that popular. Unlike other delicious Magic Kingdom area counter service restaurants like Contempo Cafe and Captain Cook’s, no one seems to make a special trip to Wilderness Lodge to visit Roaring Fork.

That relaxed boat ride from Magic Kingdom to Wilderness Lodge is worth it: between the faux ‘natural’ ambiance and the under the radar menu, we are fans of Roaring Fork.

Of course, Wilderness Lodge really shines during the holidays, and you could enjoy a meal with sitting under the glow of the moose antler wreaths that line the hallway outside Roaring Fork.

During Christmas season, plan to stop at Wilderness Lodge on our “Free Self Guided Yuletide Tour” right around lunch time so that you can enjoy the food here and the Christmas decor.

In terms of the menu, everything at Roaring Fork is made to order. Much like at other Deluxe Resorts in the Magic Kingdom area, you place your order and then sit down with a table tracking device and Cast Members locate you (or you locate them when the tracker inevitably doesn’t work) and deliver your food.

Since Roaring Fork is a more intimate location, this preparation style works here, and its relative popularity also allows for menus that include items that take a little more of a personalized touch to prepare.

Let’s start with a quick look at breakfast, as there are a few interesting items. First is the Chicken and Mickey Waffles.

This might seem like a pretty standard dish, but the pecan butter (which is served atop the chicken) makes it really interesting. I’m not a huge fan of “plain” Mickey waffles, but the excellent fried chicken plus that pecan butter turns this into a quality dish that we’d recommend.

Next, the Loaded Mickey-Shaped Waffles: “Mickey-shaped Waffles with Strawberry Sauce, Chocolate-Chips, Banana Foster Sauce, Caramel Sauce, Chocolate Syrup and Whipped Cream.”

If you want a sugar rush first thing in the morning, these are perfect for you. There’s a lot going on here…too much for either of us to eat by ourselves, but it’s a good item to split. Taste-wise, this the best Mickey waffle preparation I’ve had at Walt Disney World.

Our favorite breakfast item at Roaring Fork is the Banana Foster’s French Toast. We’ve had this several times…yet I can’t seem to locate a photo of it. You’ll just have to take our word for it (or not), I guess.

We’ll start our look at the lunch and dinner menu at Roaring Fork with the Gourmet Grilled Cheese.

I really enjoyed this. The cheese was high-quality and balanced nicely with arugula, tomato, and onion jam. I’m not normally a huge fan of multi-grain bread, but it provided a nice texture to offset the other ingredients. I’d highly recommend this, and would definitely get it again myself. (It’s a bit like the old ‘Grown-up Grilled Cheese’ at Captain Cook’s.)

Next, the 10-Hour Smoked Pulled Pork Sandwich with Chipotle-Apple Barbecue Sauce, creamy Slaw on a Sweet Brioche Bun.

Don’t mistake this for the phoned-in pulled pork sandwiches in the parks, as this has little in common with them. This is a delicious and generous helping of portion, with a legit smoky flavor. Highly recommended.

Next up is the Warm Roaring Beef Sandwich, with Arugula, Blue Cheese and Buttermilk Chive Dressing with Chips. As I’ve been making a concerted effort to try the new items on the menu, it’s been a while since I’ve had this sandwich, but I love it.

If I could choose only one word to describe this sandwich, I would have to make up a new word, because the current dictionary wouldn’t suffice. It’s simply mouthwateringlyawesomemagicsaucebeefgreatbreadlyness. (I’m not sure if smashing together a bunch of existing words counts as making a new one, but it should.)

Above is a modified version of the House-smoked Turkey Sandwich served with Chipotle Aïoli, Bibb Lettuce, and Tomato. Instead of being on Multigrain Bread like normal, it’s pictured on pita.

Sarah’s mom ordered this while visiting with us. She seemed pretty indifferent towards it, which was roughly my reaction to its appearance. Neither of us tried it, so we have no opinion one way or the other on it. I’m in no rush to order the “normal” version, though.

For our last entree, we’ll take a look at the Holiday Turkey Sandwich. This only appears on the menu in November and December (and even then, I haven’t seen it on the online menu.)

It’s fantastic. When we do the Yuletide Tour, this is what I get, and it’s like the cherry on top of a full sensory holiday-time experience. The sandwich is juicy, sweet, savory, a glorious mess that somehow works spectacularly well. If you visit while this is on the menu, you can’t go wrong giving it a try.

Roaring Fork also has a rotating selection of desserts. The Campfire Cupcake is consistently available, so let’s take a look at that.

The marshmallow filling was a bit much for me; overly dominant and artificial tasting. This is probably a YMMV dessert, but it just didn’t work for me. I wouldn’t necessarily discourage others from ordering it, but I wouldn’t get it again.

Overall, Roaring Fork may be a bit out of the way for some guests, and it’s certainly not worth a two hour roundtrip commute to visit, but if you’re able to quickly hop a boat from the Magic Kingdom to Wilderness Lodge, or make eating here a part of your already-planned trip to Wilderness Lodge, you will be rewarded with much deliciousness. The made to order menu here shines, as does the ambiance of the resort, which compensates for the relatively plain seating area. It’s one of the best counter service restaurants at Walt Disney World, and one that you absolutely should visit when you have a chance!

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…

Do you agree with us that Roaring Fork is one of Walt Disney World’s hidden gems, or do you think it’s only so-so (or worse)? Planning on going now? Share your thoughts in the comments!


22 Responses to “Roaring Fork Review”
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