Home » 4 Walt Disney World Resort Quick Service Restaurants That Are Worth Leaving the Theme Parks For

    4 Walt Disney World Resort Quick Service Restaurants That Are Worth Leaving the Theme Parks For

    Capt. Cooks

    Most people look at a resort quick service restaurant as nothing more than a convenient place to get a meal before heading out to a park, or for a place to grab something before heading up to bed. However, some resort quick service restaurants really go above and beyond, and are actually worth taking time out of a busy theme park day to experience.  Between their great menus and atmosphere, you will definitely not be disappointed with a meal at any of these restaurants! 

    1. Capt. Cook’s (Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort)

    Capt. Cooks

    Capt. Cook’s is located on the first floor of the Great Ceremonial House towards the back of the building,  and like other restaurants and snack stands around the resort, its menu is uniquely Polynesian-themed, but without the table service price. While it’s breakfast menu contains standard American favorites like bacon, eggs, and Mickey waffles, you can also get an order of Tonga Toast, a Polynesian Resort classic. The lunch and dinner menu also lists some dishes that you wouldn’t find in other quick service restaurants, like the aloha pork sandwich, pho noodle soup bowl, and Thai coconut meatballs over rice.

    Another reason to visit Capt. Cook’s is it’s stellar location – its outdoor seating overlooks the pool area, which in turn over looks the Seven Seas Lagoon and the Magic Kingdom.  If you get a spot early enough, you may be able to eat dinner or dessert while watching Wishes from across the lagoon, a sight that everyone should see at least once.  For a more quiet dinner option, you can take your food to go and find a spot on the sandy beach to have a picnic. And since Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is just a quick monorail or boat trip away from Magic Kingdom, it’s a great place to get away from the theme park crowds and enjoy a more laid back meal.

    2. Contempo Café (Disney’s Contemporary Resort)

    Contempo Cafe

    Image: Disney

    For a more upscale feeling quick service, you wouldn’t regret visiting the Contempo Café, located on the fourth floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort.  While most quick service restaurants in the resorts or in the parks tend to serve the same generic theme park food, the Contempo Café instead chooses to offer a more gourmet menu.  An example of this is the Italian and ham & cheese frittatas offered at breakfast, as well as the steakhouse salad, Maine lobster roll, hot turkey sandwich (with brie, arugula, apple slices, and apple butter), and selection of flatbreads at lunch and dinner.

    The location and atmosphere of the Contempo Café also can’t be missed. Though the inside of the restaurant is great for monorail enthusiasts, if you feel like taking your food to go, you can sit outside on the Contemporary’s fourth floor patio, where you will get excellent views of the Magic Kingdom, especially at night.

    3. Mara (Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge)


    Image: Disney

    Mara, located on the ground floor of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, has some of the most uniquely themed foods in any of the Disney resorts.  At breakfast you will be able to find the African-Inspired Breakfast Platter that has pap (a maize meal porridge), chakalaka (a vegetable relish), and grilled tomatoes, along with scrambled eggs and sausage.  There is also bobotie “a traditional African dish with ground meat, seasoning, and an egg custard baked on top.”  For lunch and dinner you will find more African favorites like African stew, curried coconut chicken soup, and pita sandwiches served with couscous.  For dessert, they even sell the infamous zebra domes that Disney fans rave about.  Best of all, all the meals are a fraction of the price of similar dishes at other restaurants in the Animal Kingdom Lodge like Boma – Flavors of Africa, Jiko – The Cooking Place, and Sanaa.

    Not only does Mara have great food, but it’s location alone is worth it.  The restaurant is named after the Masai Mara National Reserve in Tanzania, and it’s themeing represents that, with columns decorated like ceiling high trees and murals on the walls of native plants and animals.  There is also outdoor seating that looks over the beautiful pool area.  But, if you want an even better view, you can take your food to go and find a place to sit outside by the savannah, where you can see giraffes, zebras, and other animals.  The resort is just around the corner from Disney’s Animal Kingdom, so it’s a quick bus trip away if you want a more relaxed, enjoyable, and African-inspired meal.

    4. Beaches and Cream Soda Shop (Disney’s Beach Club Resort)

    Beaches and Cream

    Image: Chuck Kramer, Flickr (license)

    Beaches and Cream, located on the first floor between Disney’s Beach and Yacht Clubs, is more well known as a sit down restaurant that serves American diner food like hamburgers, grilled cheese sandwiches, fries, and, of course, ice cream.  What many people don’t know is that Beaches and Cream also has a side window where guests can get some treats to-go.  This place is one of the best places in Disney World to get ice cream. Not only can you get the Mini Mickey Sink (vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry ice cream served with just about every topping), they also serve homemade ice cream sandwiches and soda floats.

    Although you can find lots of great dessert options in Epcot, Beaches and Cream is well worth the trip.  It’s within walking distance of Epcot’s International Gateway entrance, so it’s easy enough to visit without rearranging your entire schedule.  The theming is reminiscent of a 1950’s soda shop, complete with pastel colors and employees wearing old-fashioned soda shop outfits.  Not only is it a blast from the past, it’s a fun place to get a traditional American sundae or root beer float.  Besides, you can always take your ice cream out to the beach and watch part of the Illuminations fireworks or just enjoy the great atmosphere.