I sure won't lie! One of my favorite things to do at Disney is to eat! Disney has so many great restaurants, but it's not just IN the parks that have good food, but outside too! Disney Springs, the Resorts, they are all known for having an incredible variety of unique and wonderfully delicious foods.
While that's great, what if you are at the park and want a quick bite? We've got suggestions for you! All of these places are included on the Quick Service Dining Plan, so they aren't going to cut into your budget, but they will provide a nice place to stop, rest and fill up your stomachs! Quick Service doesn't mean fast food! Your portions won't be small, and neither will the value for your meal if you go with one of these favorites!
At a Quick Service restaurant, most entrees will be $14.99 or less, but the average price for a burger and fries (or similar) is $10-12, same as at a fast casual place back home.
These are where we always suggest at Animal Kingdom, and why! We've even got a few suggestions for who this might, or might not, be appropriate for.
Flame Tree Barbecue
With loads of covered outdoor seating situated near the water, this is our favorite stop for lunch. We like to relax as we watch the birds flying, and often landing and walking up to you to see if there's anything you have they want. Our favorite spot also gives you a great view of Expedition Everest, you can even hear the screams as they meet the Yeti!
The picture at the header, is Flame Tree Barbecue's menu, you can see they have a great menu that's varied. There's a kids menu too, and lots of sides, I just didn't snap a photo of those. You can see my plate above, (we got the to die for onion rings too!) and I just couldn't eat it all. The portions are large, the food always tastes great. We had the dining plan, or else I might have been splitting this! Desserts are lacking in choices, but with so many other places in the park to get those, you might want to explore your options.
Over in Pandora, you will find this unique quick service. There's more to the menu, but the basics are a mix or match to your favorite combination. I think this is really neat, and definitely pretty unique to Quick Service. Disney boasts that the fish are sustainable as well. I didn't feel like the portions were overly generous, though they were filling.
Unless you have adventurous kids, I might skip this one, or grab them something elsewhere. The kids menu is like a miniature version of the adult menu, though there is an offering of Cheeseburger Pods, cheese quesadilla, and dough wrapped hot dog.
One more thing to note, Many of the menu items has the warning that it contains raw or undercooked ingredients, which can lead to foodborne illnesses. If you've got a cast iron stomach, like Mr. Disney Magic, I'm betting you won't care. I tend to go for the menu items without that warning!
This is a great place for any family. Besides the really fun Dinosaur decor, there's going to be something that anyone will eat, from Battered Fish to burgers, grilled chicken sandwiches, salads and chicken nuggets. Seating is pretty good, it's not usually too difficult to find a place to sit and cool down in the air conditioning and portions sizes are pretty normal. There's also a toppings bar, which is going to be similar to the one at Cosmic Ray's so you can jazz up your sandwiches or burgers and customize them a bit.
While this isn't my favorite pizza, when you've got kids and want to make them happy at lunch, it's a good stop. Everyone gets a personal sized pizza and salad, and the prices are reasonable for what you get. There's loads of indoors seating so you can cool down, and the cast members are some of the more friendly we've met. We spent an entire meal once with the manager drawing us a map of hidden trails to take, and shortcuts to our next stop after asking us what we planned to do that day!
The decor is actually among my favorite, even if the food isn't, just because it's all so bright and colorful and energetic! If you don't eat there, at least poke your head in to see what I mean!
Those are our favorite quick serves! As you can see, Quick Service isn't something like McDonalds, when you are at Disney. You still get the quality of a casual restaurant, with the convenience of a quick in and out so a meal doesn't take up half your day, or a ton of your budget!
Did we miss your favorite? Which place do you love to go to?
Want to see our top quick service picks for Magic Kingdom? Click here!
A while back, we talked about when to tip at Disney, and when not to. We also talked about how much to tip, but the last few weeks a disturbing trend has popped up among a lot of the Disney sites in regards to saving money, and I wanted to talk about that, and why it’s not appropriate to do. I’ll use one example I read about a few days ago.
A woman trying to budget how much she would need for meals wondered if the tip at Disney’s table service was automatically included in the meal price. A few people answered that when you were a party of 6 or more, then yes, 18% was automatically added, but you could go up, or down, as you thought. Parties of 5 of less, the tip was up to you to add on.
Quite shockingly, a large number of people said that because they thought the food was overpriced, they left no tip at all, or else, 5 – 10% of the bill. They admitted that the food was excellent, the service wonderful and they were happy with everything, but felt like because they were already spending so much at Disney on other things, including, in their minds, overpriced food, that it was perfectly fine to short the people who had been their waitstaff.
This is not okay.
I don’t care who you are, if you have the money to sit down at a restaurant, at any restaurant, then you have the money to tip those hard working men and women who take your orders, refill your drinks, get you this and that, and do it all with a smile, even though they are spending 8 hours running back and forth between multiple tables.
The argument that Disney food is overpriced was brought up time and time again, so I was curious (since we are mostly quick service people) and looked up a few sample menus.
From the Sci Fi Dine In at Hollywood Studios
Drive in BBQ Burger - our signature blend of beef, BBQ spice, brioche bun, house-made BBQ sauce, bacon, and cheddar served with crispy-fried jalapeno and onion straws $19
Chili Lime Salmon Fajita Salad - mixed greens tossed with roasted corn, peppers, shredded cheddar cheese, cilantro-lime vinaigrette topped with crispy tortilla chips and house-made avocado green goddess dressing; also available with grilled chicken $15.5; $16.5
Flame-broiled New York Strip Steak - with red wine demi glace, creamy-four cheese macaroni and cheese with bacon-panko crust and seasonal vegetables topped with onion straws $32
From the Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom
Freedom Pasta - grilled chicken or sauteed shrimp, pasta, artichokes, mushrooms, and tomatoes tossed in a roasted red pepper cream sauce $23
Our Tavern Keeper's Favorite - pot roast served with mashed potatoes and garden vegetables $20
These seem pretty similar in price as to what you would get at any casual sit down restaurant, like an Applebees, Chilis, or Red Lobster. Even the more expensive meals, are on par with what you would pay at a more upscale restaurant.
Disney is known for having some of the finest chefs, the best ingredients, and service that is second to none. It isn’t right to go and expect such quality, and not be willing to pay for it.
Disney’s menus and prices are all over the internet. If you aren’t sure if table service is for you, time wise, or price wise, I encourage you to look over the menus, add in the gratuity, and see if it’s something your budget allows. If it’s not, then either save a little by bringing in your own drinks to the park, or having snacks or a meal form food you’ve brought in but for goodness sake, don’t skimp on your server’s tip! They work hard and deserve it, just like you work hard and deserve your paycheck. It’s not the staff’s fault how much something costs. It’s up to the patron to decide if they want to buy the service, or skip it. If you've spent a few thousand on a Disney vacation, is spending another hundred more to tip accordingly, really going to put you in bankruptcy?
There is never a reason to not tip your server.
There has been a lot of buzz about a big change in Magic Kingdom. Last week, you read about the changes to the Be Our Guest Menu, but this week, it's all about another favorite in Magic Kingdom, Pinocchio Village Haus.
If what the roumers say, sometime in the near future, they will beginner a dinner buffet, at the price of $22 an adult, or $12 a child, and will be an italian based menu. Since this dinner buffet will be Table Service, it will count as one credit if you use a dining plan.
I'm thinking that any Italian menu will be better than the octopus or escargot at Be Our Guest, which makes me wonder if a lot of the families with kids will be heading to Pinocchio Village Haus for dinner, instead of Be Our Guest. The food is definitely going to be more kid friendly and the price is good!
Be Our Guest is about to undergo some changes. Starting at the end of July, dinner will now be a 2 credit meal, meaning Be Our Guest will be a Signature Dining Experience. Additionally, the menu will be changing, becoming prix fixe, which for those of us who don't speak fancy (like me!) means fixed price. No matter what you order, or your age, if you are there, you are charged the flat rate. $55 for adults, $35 for kids.
I wonder if they had a problem with people coming in to order just desert and drinks in the evening, just to meet Beast?
According to the Disney Parks Blog, the menu will consist of an appetizer, entree and dessert. I hate to say it, but most of the menu actually doesn't appeal to me.
The appetizers are: "French Onion Soup in addition to rich new offerings like Charred Octopus with citrus-laced fingerling potatoes, pickled hearts of palm and red pepper coulis; Escargot with herb garlic butter and toasted gremolata; and a selection of assorted meats and artisanal cheeses such as chicken liver pâté, chorizo sausage Manchego, and truffle tremor."
You can click on the link below to see their pictures, and read a little more from the park's blog. At this time, no kids menu is available, but looking at the portion sizes and thinking about how any child from age 2 to 9 is automatically charged $35, and any child 10 and up is charged $55, I just don't know if it's worth it, considering there's a new dinner buffet coming to Magic Kingdom! (More on that, next Sunday!)
Click here to check out the full article, and see the pictures
New year, new changes. That happens every where, Disney included. For 2018 there's been a slight change in the cost of the Disney Rapid Refill Mug. Is it still worth it?
The price of the rapid Refills Mugs in 2017 was $17.99 for the length of your stay. 2018, it's $18.99. That's just a dollar, but... is it worth it?
Lets start off with a review about what the Rapid Refill Mug is.
Disney offers a really nice perk to those staying on Property. A souvenir mug that's not only solid quality but will stand up to many times in the dishwasher and many tumbles onto the floor without any fading, cracks or marks.
Anyone staying at an on property resort can buy one of these refillable mugs, but those who purchased the Disney Dining Plan get to have the mug included at no extra cost. If you want to learn more about the Disney Dining Plan, click right here to read my post about it.
What is this mug?
The refillable Disney mug lets you fill up your mug as often as you want, with whatever you want in the food court area of your resort, or any other for the length of your stay. There is a RFID chip in the bottom of it, that allows the owner to fill it up. There is a small time delay between fill ups. If you tried to use a different cup, say a regular sports bottle without the RFID chip in it, the machine won't dispense the beverage.
What can you fill it up with?
Disney has Coke products, and you'll generally find the same things on tap that you would most any fast food place, Sprite, Coke, Diet Coke, Hi-C, lemonade, root beer, etc. You can also get tea from their tea machine, which usually has four different kinds available, sweetened, unsweetened, white citrus or green. If you like hot drinks, it's all you can drink hot tea, hot coffee or hot chocolate. You will not find juice or milk available to fill in the mug. There are also mug wash spots near the drink dispensers so if you want to fill your mug with orange soda, the last few drops from your morning coffee won't make it taste strange.
How much does this cost?
The mug, and it's unlimited refills costs $18.99 for the length of your stay.
Where can I fill this up at?
At your resort, or any other Disney resort if you feel like carrying it around. You cannot fill it up within the Parks though. If you want to fill it up in the morning and drink it at the bus stop, be prepared to carry it with you until you get back to your room.
How does this work?
After you have selected the color mug that you want, (usually available are red, green, blue, yellow, purple and pink) take it to the cashier and he or she will activate it. Go over to the drink station and follow the instructions on the digital pad. (Basically setting the cup down, waiting a few seconds, then pushing the button to dispense the beverage choice)
Why is this right for me?
This might be right for you if
Why should I skip this?
You might not want to buy the mug if
If the average person bought only three drinks a day, let's say a morning coffee ($2.79), an afternoon soda ($3.29) and an evening tea ($3.29), based on food court prices it would come to $9.37. On a 3 day stay that equals $28.11. The mug is more than paid for, and it's cheaper to have the drinks, plus the mug to take home as a run reminder of your vacation.
I'm on the fence as to if I should get this.
In our opinion, it's completely worth it for the mug since just three drinks in it a day and it's paid for by day two, but I know there are people who don't drink anything other than water, so you'll need to figure out what works best for you. There is always the option of just buying one or two mugs for a family, if some are soda/tea/coffee drinkers and some are not, and sharing.
What about you? Have you ever gotten the Refillable Mugs before? Do you like them or is it not a good buy for your family?