Woody’s Lunch Box Review: Best Counter Service at Hollywood Studios
Woody’s Lunch Box is the new Toy Story Land quick service restaurant in Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World. This dining option serves mostly American comfort food with a better menu than other restaurants at DHS. It’s open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with solid choices for each. In this review, we’ll share food photos, strategy for avoiding the lines, and our thoughts on dining at Woody’s Lunch Box.
As background, Woody’s Lunch Box is akin to many other Disney’s Hollywood Studios counter service restaurants in the sense that it’s just outdoor ordering windows with tables outside. Meaning that on a summer day, you get no reprieve from the heat or humidity when eating here. Unfortunately, there are no indoor air-conditioned spots in Toy Story Land (aside from the restrooms), so the umbrellas above tables at Woody’s Lunch Box are about as good as it gets.
Woody’s Lunch Box participates in the Disney Dining Plan as a counter service credit. Currently, it does not accept the Tables in Wonderland card for a 20% discount nor does it accept Disney Vacation Club or Annual Passholder discounts. As far as value goes, Woody’s Lunch Box is neither a good nor bad value on the Disney Dining Plan (see our ranking of the best value quick service restaurants here). It is, however, a strong value when paying out of pocket.
Let’s start with some strategy, which might seem like an odd (and excessive) thing to discuss when it comes to a counter service restaurant that’s nothing but an outdoor ordering window. However, on opening day, the lines for Woody’s Lunch Box exceeded 2 hours at some points. While this is unlikely to be the norm, we do expect long (30-45 minutes) wait times for lunch even on normal days going forward.
Hearing those long reported waits, we went in the middle of the afternoon shortly after Florida’s regularly-scheduled 2 p.m. thunderstorm. Expecting a long wait, Sarah grabbed some Ample Hills “for the walk” from Epcot. When we arrived in Toy Story Land, we found the area relatively cleared out, and had less than a 20-minute wait for Woody’s Lunch Box. On the one hand, this short wait was great. On the other hand, Sarah just ate ice cream and was almost full when we arrived, “forcing” me to eat two full meals basically by myself.
Our tip is not to avoid Ample Hills before eating at Woody’s Lunch Box (“avoid” and “Ample Hills” are words that never belong together), but rather, to go in mid-afternoon or during/immediately after it rains. The lunch rush from 11:30 a.m. until around 2 p.m. is going to be the worst time of day to hit Woody’s Lunch Box.
If at all possible, you’re going to want to use Mobile Ordering. We inquired with a manager about this, and they advised that Mobile Ordering would be disabled for Woody’s Lunch Box during peak times, as the kitchen is not equipped to handle the onslaught of guests, so keep that in mind if you see a “Restaurant Unavailable” message in the My Disney Experience App. It will likely work in mid-afternoon.
Another bit of strategy: order the sandwiches at Woody’s Lunch Box as “entree-only.” We know this is possible, as we did it. Some Cast Members may not know how to do this on the cash register, but it’s absolutely an option. Not that the sides are bad, but it’ll save you some money and, more importantly, room for sides and delicious dessert.
For our first entree, we ordered the BBQ Brisket Melt. From the menu: “Sliced Smoked Brisket, Pickles and tangy BBQ Sauce between melted Cheddar and Monterey Jack Cheeses on Grilled Sourdough.”
This is going to be my new go-to counter service entree at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The brisket is incredibly tender and juicy, with a light smoky flavor and equally light amount of BBQ sauce. The cheeses and buttery sourdough also work together to make this one really delicious sandwich. Great texture, not too greasy, and a generous helping of smoked brisket make this a big-time winner.
Next, we had the Monte Cristo. From the menu: “Thick-sliced Smoked Turkey Breast, Ham, Raspberry Marmalade, Dijon Mustard and Melted Swiss Cheese on Grilled Custard soaked Brioche.”
Disney fans are likely familiar with Monte Cristo sandwiches in the context of New Orleans Square at Disneyland, but this is a pretty significant departure from that. It’s still good, and the raspberry marmalade mixed with dijon mustard provide work as an interesting sweet and tangy juxtaposition. Neither of us thought this was nearly as good as the brisket, but it’s still far superior to 95% of the other counter service entrees at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It’s a unique item and worth trying to form your own opinion.
Our final entree, which was really more of a side since we didn’t order those, was the Totchos. The menu describes these as “Potato Barrels coated with Beef and Bean Chili, Shredded Cheese and signature Queso with Tomatoes and Corn Chips finished with Sour Cream and a sprinkle of Green Onions.”
While technically an entree, we think these are more a shareable side as eating the entire bowl on your own before Slinky Dog Dash might be a recipe for disaster. We both really liked the Totchos, finding the quality really high and the potato barrels having a nice crunch despite all of the other ingredients piled on top.
For dessert, we had the Chocolate-Hazelnut Lunch Box Tart. From the menu: “Chocolate-Hazelnut stuffed Pastry coated in Maple Fondant and Candied Bacon.”
I was apprehensive about this, as Epcot has done similar Pop Tart inspired items at its festivals, and I’ve felt that those have missed the mark. Not even remotely the case here. The pastry here is clearly of a higher, flakier quality and the maple spread coupled with the Nutella inside was to die for. I could’ve used a more generous helping of bacon on top, but that’s a minor quibble for an otherwise excellent dessert. This and the brisket sandwich will be my go-to meal at Disney’s Hollywood Studios going forward.
In our full Toy Story Land Review, we expressed disappointment that Imagineering didn’t go all-out with a highly themed and immersive Pizza Planet restaurant. While we maintain that belief, when judging Woody’s Lunch Box on its own merits–a counter service ordering window comparable to other spots at Disney’s Hollywood Studios–it’s an absolute standout.
The details around Woody’s Lunch Box are clever and nostalgia-evoking, and even the heavy-handed Babybel cheese product placement is done in such a smart way that it’s tough to do anything but give a little golf clap. Like the rest of Toy Story Land, it’s interesting to see how different items from inside Andy’s lunch box form the restaurant’s structures and seating area. I found myself wanting more, but what’s there is really well done.
Overall, Woody’s Lunch Box easily claims the throne of best counter service restaurant at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. In a park that has been notoriously bad on the quick service side, Woody’s Lunch Box is a very welcome addition, and you should absolutely do a meal here (if you’re not following our prior strategy of two table service meals). Its “reign” might be short-lived, as we expect Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge to push the envelope on dining even further. Irrespective of that, Woody’s Lunch Box is a great option for a meal, and that would be the case if it were in another park, too–no grading on a curve here–we highly recommend it.
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Have you had the chance to dine at Woody’s Lunch Box in Toy Story Land? What did you think of your meal? Do you agree or disagree with our review? Looking forward to trying this new counter service spot? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!
We’re headed to WDW in Sept and it appears Woodys Lunch Box is closed? Can you validate this and explain maybe why it’s closed? I was so excited about eating there!
Was very disappointed. We were looking forward to it (because of the lack of good quick service in HS) and I do like a good grilled cheese. Well it was awful. The area is cute but too small and in the summer (we were there end of Nov. and it was chilly) it will be too hot to sit out there. People need a break for lunch inside with AC. Back to having mickey pretzels for lunch at HS.
We tried the S’more French Toast Sandwich and the Raspberry Lunch Box Tart and boy, were we let down. The S’more sandwich was pretty flat tasting, somehow dry, and not luscious like you would expect. The pastry on the tart was soggy and greasy. We ate less than half the tart and one half of the sandwich between the two of us (we are two distance runners – we can eat). Guy at the next table was shaking his head sadly over the Breakfast Bowl and said aloud that it was early stages and he hoped the future was better for the food.
We are just leaving from out 10 Day Disney vacation! We LOVED!!! all of our meals at Woody’s lunch box! We had a breakfast there one day (hubby had breakfast bowl and I had the turkey and egg sandwich) we tried both tarts and we weren’t huge fans of those. Another day we had the Grilled cheese and the brisket samdwich…all very very delicious. The grown ups lemonade was perfect too! Our last night, I was craving the grilled cheese again and hubby tried the monte cristo…we also ordered the totcho’s as a side to share…you really can’t go wrong with anything here!! Also, wait times were manageable for the rides! We rope dropped and rode toy story mania twice and it was walk on, then we had a FP+ for Alien Swirling
saucers…waste of a FP! The second day at HS we had a FP for Slinky Dog and later that night we wanted to ride again at night, the wait was posted as a 55 min wait but we ended up on the ride in less than 30 mins!! (We did choose to skip the nighttime shows to be able to do this!) hope this helps!!
Tom – Are you removing the EXIF data from your pictures now? I didn’t see it for the photos in this post. I like to check it out to see what kind of settings you’re using.
Pizza Planet wouldn’t have worked in Toy Story Land anyway. In the land you are shrunk to the size of a toy and in Andy’s back yard. Pizza Planet is an adult sized restaurant and isn’t in Andy’s back yard.
Converting some of the old Pixar Place and Toy Story Mania entrance to a new building for a Pizza Planet before you enter Toy Story Land would be better thematically.
A thesis, but I’m curious if there won’t be one more expansion piece to the Studios after the current projects are done.
In theory, Star Wars: Launch Bay will be gone once Galaxy’s Edge opens up. It would leave that, plus the large space currently housing Walt Disney Presents and Voyage of the Little Mermaid, as flexible spacing.
I would not be at all shocked if they simply migrated the Walt Disney Presents assets into the site of Launch Bay, then either expanded Toy Story Land (to include a better themed entrance and a possible re-conceptualized Pizza Planet) or added a brand new asset into the existing space where Presents was. The very weird wrinkle, as Tom has noted before, in adding Galaxy’s Edge is that although it will move a lot of people *specifically* into that new land, it’s also going to kick up waits across the board, so the more they can offer in the park for dining, shows, and attractions, the better off everyone ends up in general. Right now, that space is really the only one that has the capability to add to the current slate.
Still curious why there is alcohol in his lunch box?
How else do you expect him to sleep
I agree, Mitch. Before long, there will be a beer cooler vending machine inside every bathroom. Then you will be able to pay, drink, pee, repeat…., without ever having to leave the bathroom.
Thank you so much, Heather!
I’m wondering if the sandwiches and totchos were at all dry? I feel like all the pictures I see everything looks hard and dry and I’m curious if that’s just how things are photographing or if they really are as dry as they look (although admittedly your brisket picture is the most moist I’ve seen yet).
Thank you for this review. This was very helpful, as me and my 7yo (Katie) are going to WDW in October. We are spending more than one day in Hollywood Studios. What other quick service restaurants do you think are okay for lunch? Katie also has a peanut allergy. Thank you! 🙂
My son also had allergies and Disney is great about it. Just let a staff know or mark for ADR and you will be given special menu or walked through by chef. Be Our Guest and Columbia Harbor House in Magic Kingdom are great, as well as Crystal Palace for sit down. Epcot has many solid options, but try Sunshine Seasons in the Land or Les Halles in France (some items here do have nuts as it is a French bakery but they have amazing sandwiches and soups too). Animal Kingdom, try the new Cantine in Pandora or Tusker House for an amazing character meal!
Our son also has a peanut allergy, which fortunately isn’t as severe as some, but anytime we had a question, we asked, from Pinocchio Haus to ‘Ohana (including the incredible pastries at Les Halles, as Heather already mentioned). Ohana and other sitdown restaurants had chefs who were in charge of allergies. I was even provided a salad that was spinach free, due to a mild allergy I have.
Everyone was more than happy to answer our questions and provide us the information we needed and to make the accommodations we needed. So don’t hesitate to sing out, no matter what your allergy issues are, they’ve got the info, and even special menus. I also have to agree with Heather on Sunshine Seasons, as it is just a great place to eat in Epcot (Les Halles is also yummy about everything).
Thirding Disney’s awesome service regarding food allergies! You should be free to enjoy any of the restaurants at Disney World without any issue as long as you remind the staff that someone in your party has an allergy. I’m allergic to tree nuts and when I was younger (I’m a college student now, haha) the staff (usually a chef or manager) would come out and discuss my allergy with my parents at length. Disney is one of the BEST possible destinations for anybody with severe food allergies. They go above and beyond what any restaurant off property would do to ensure that people with allergies can enjoy the meals they want safely.
WOW! Minimal wait on an opening weekend…leaves me excited and hopeful for our end of August visit. I’m planning on a breakfast and lunch visit. Thank you for your photos and food overload sacrifice 🙂
BLACK. On the brisket melt tells me it’s Burnt……This is Good ???
Yes, good brisket should have some black from the crust. 🙂
I think he means the BREAD, not the Brisket!
To me, the bread looks well toasted, not black. Lightly toasted (or “hot bread” as I call it ) doesn’t appeal to me. Plus, the sandwich tends to fall apart easier.
Different tastes, I guess!
The Monte Christo exhibits a nicely grilled sandwich
The Briskek looks burned, however I am willing to overlook such a detail considering the workload of the poor cooks on opening day.