Columbia Harbor House Lunch Review

One of the must try restaurants for me this trip was Columbia Harbor House!  I am a huge fan of seafood and this is the go to place in the Magic Kingdom for that.  This quick service location is in Liberty Square, just look for the cast member ringing a bell.

I mentioned seafood but that is not the only thing on the menu, there are salads, chicken pot pie, macaroni and cheese, and soups.

dscn3881For lunch I was torn between two options, luckily Jamie felt the same way and we agreed to split the two.  The first one was the Lobster Roll with potato chips this was a hearty serving with lots of lobster and not a lot of filler.  The roll it came on was so soft and delicious as well.  I give this one thumbs up!  The other choice was the Anchors Aweigh Sandwich with chips.  This was a tuna sandwich with lettuce and tomato on a toasted multigrain bread.  This was even better than the lobster roll.  I really really loved this.  The tuna was very plentiful and the bread made the sandwich even better.  I give this one 2 thumbs up and I would get it again! 

Jamie: I was so happy Jillian wanted to split our options for lunch, too! I couldn’t decide and really wanted both, but obviously didn’t want to eat both. I’d previously had the lobster roll so I knew it was good, but I really enjoyed the tuna sandwich, maybe even more so than the lobster. Plus the house chips are really delicious! Both of these options are miles above the “typical” counter service restaurants most people think of. While I enjoy a good burger and fries at Disney, having options like these at Columbia Harbor House really make even quick dining at Disney really enjoyable.

Tara: I had the chicken pot pie with steamed broccoli and since I thought that was super healthy I splurged and had the blackberry cobbler for dessert. The chicken pot pie and broccoli were really good and filling. I could not even finish the pot pie because I needed to save room for the cobbler which was a huge hit. The cobbler was topped with a vanilla cream that was perfect and made it worth the broccoli side at lunch. I definitely recommend visiting Columbia Harbor House!

Shannon: I had the chicken and fish plate.  The fish was very good and cooked perfectly.  The outside is crispy and light and the fish inside was very tender.  The chicken nuggets are the same chicken nuggets you find in other areas of the parks and they are very good for what they are.  The fries are basically the same as what you’d find anywhere else in the parks and that’s fine with me because I love them.  I was not very crazy about the cole slaw that was included, but it wasn’t bad.  I’m just picky about my slaw.  Overall, I really enjoyed this meal.

This is a popular place so go early or a little later in order to avoid a long wait time or lack of seating.  The food is very fresh and filling and you can find something for even the pickiest eaters.  Put Columbia Harbor House on your short list of quick service locations to try!

Best Use of Dining Plan Quick Service Credits

When you get the Dining plan or Quick Service dining plan you want to make sure you are getting a good value for your money.  But cost can’t be the only factor.  You will want to make sure you are checking out the menus to verify that you are choosing a restaurant menu that will appeal to your party.  This isn’t a comprehensive list but some suggestions for great eats!


Be Our Guest for lunch is a fantastic choice based on the location, amazing atmosphere and the food.  The food is similar to the dinner offerings but all at one quick service dining credit. Located in Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland you will be immersed in the Beast’s castle and can choose from three different rooms to sit in.  This restaurant is like no other.  First of all it does require reservations for the quick service.  Next you order solely from a kiosk and then get your “rose” and find a spot to sit.  Your food will be delivered to your table.  You can check out my lunch review here.

Wolfgang Puck Express located in Disney Springs is another amazing choice for a quick service meal, lunch or dinner. Similar to Be Our Guest, you will have your food delivered to your table.  This food is pretty amazing, we recommend the mac and cheese and the bacon wrapped meatloaf.  Check out this review for more information!

Sunshine Seasons food court with high ceiling and a massive glass roof

Photo via Disney

Sunshine Season in the Land pavilion in Epcot is a delicious option with seasonal foods grown right there in the Land Pavilion! Plus the amazing strawberry shortcake is always worth getting.  This location is also ideal if you need to fuel up before waiting in line for Soarin’ Around the World.  They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner so any time the mood strikes you can check out this quick service restaurant.  This restaurant has some amazing choices like Oak grilled salmon, slow roasted pork chops and Mongolian beef.

Columbia Harbour House located in Liberty Square in the Magic Kingdom is a fantastic option for a healthier lunch or dinner with many options.  Some of the most popular options are the Lobster Roll, chicken pot pie, Lighthouse sandwich, clam chowder, and broccoli peppercorn salad.  You cannot beat the location and people watching if you head up to the second floor seating.


Flame Tree Barbecue in the Discovery Island area of Animal Kingdom is probably one of the best quick services values.  You can get more than just barbeque here though, some choices are ½ a chicken, ribs & chicken combo, smoked turkey sandwich, full slab of ribs, and roasted chicken salad.

Dining area of Landscape of Flavors restaurant at Disney's Art of Animation Resort

photo via Disney

Landscape of Flavors is located at the Art of Animation resort is an awesome choice with unique and adventurous flavors.  You can get things like curry chicken, beef stirfry, create your own pasta or pizza, burgers, soup, and salad. Yep, that is a lot of choices in one restaurant!

Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Café in Frontierland in Magic Kingdom is another fantastic choice.  If you love tex-mex food this is the place for you.  It is similar to Qdoba or Chipotle where you can get a rice bowl, fajitas, or burritos and then step up to the fixins bar to doctor up your dinner.

Capt. Cook’s in the Polynesian Village Resort is perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  You can get the famous Tonga Toast for breakfast or the pulled pork nachos for lunch and dinner.  This location is great whether you are staying at the Polynesian or just visiting from the other monorail resorts or want a break for the parks.  The menu has variety and is a pretty good value.

Tangerine Café located in the Morocco pavilion in Epcot is a cool choice for lunch or dinner.  They have many unique offerings such as Mediterranean chicken wrap, shawarma chicken or lamb platter, lamb wrap, and kefta sandwich.  Plenty to choose from for the adventurous palate.


If you have a suggestion to add let us know!  We are always looking for great values and interesting menus!

Unique Dining Outside of the Parks – Part II

Tired of the same old restaurants in the parks at Walt Disney World, or just looking for something new?  Check out the first installment check it out here to learn about unique dining options in the Magic Kingdom and Epcot Resort areas. **LINK** 

Animal Kingdom Resort Area:
ndscape of Flavors located in the Art of Animation is one of the few quick service restaurants on my list of unique dining.  It makes the list due to its lunch and dinner menus where you can custom make any different types of meals such as pasta, omelet, burgers, and salads.  It is fun to custom make your own pasta with sauce and meat choices.  It is sure to win over even the pickiest of eaters.

 Dine with Animal Specialist with in the Animal Kingdom Lodge is a 4 course lunch at Sanaa where you can learn all about the animals that are just outside the windows of the restaurant!  This is a truly intimate lunch that is limited to 12 guests.  Once you are finished eating you will head into a secure area for and up close and personal encounter with radiated tortoises. 


Photo via

Wanyama Safari is available only to guests of Animal Kingdom Lodge and features a 90 minute tour with unique vantage points for observing the animals.  It is limited to 12 guests so you will have a very personalized tour.  Prior to the safari you will have a reception with the chefs and cultural representative from Jiko and then conclude your safari with a fabulous dinner at Jiko.  This is a one of a kind dining experience.

Disney Springs:
If you are in the mood for some fantastic food by a famous chef you will want to see Morimoto Asia at Disney Springs.  There is a large sushi menu and plenty of Pan-Asian food for every palate. The menu is extensive with lots of seafood but plenty of steak, noodle and chicken dishes.  Don’t miss this fantastic restaurant.

Wolfgang Puck Express is an easy choice for a single table service credit with amazing food.  People always rave about the macaroni and cheese as well as the bacon wrapped meatloaf.  Not to be mistaken with Wolfgang Puck Grand Café, the express is just a smaller version of the main restaurant by the celebrity chef. Here is a great review we have!


Photo via

The Boathouse is another recent addition to Disney Springs, right on the water front.  You cannot beat the location and ambience at Disney Springs and the food is pretty darn amazing too.  They feature American, seafood and steaks and have gotten a reputation for the gigantic Gibsons S’mores Baked Alaska that serves four!

What other restaurants would you add to the lineup of unique offerings outside of a Walt Disney World park?  Let us know!

Is the Quick Service Dining Plan “Worth it”?

If you’ve ever planned a Disney vacation for your family, I’m sure this question has come up.  In fact, our own Jamie brought this question up with the standard Disney Dining Plan standard Disney Dining Plan last month.  When I was planning my family’s Disney vacation last year I decided to do a little research and see if the Quick Service plan was a good deal or not.  Here’s what I found out:


Location: Landscape of Flavors (Art of Animation resort food court)

Apple Danish  – (one snack credit or $3.59)


Coffee ($2.49 out of pocket) in resort refillable mug


Location: Be Our Guest (Quick Service, Magic Kingdom)

Braised Pork entrée with sides of potatoes and green beans (one Quick Service credit or $14.99), fountain soda (included with dining credit or $2.99) , The Master’s Cupcake (included with dining credit or $4.59)


Location: Pinocchio Village Haus (Quick Service, Magic Kingdom)

Caprese Flatbread (one Quick Service cred it or $9.99), fountain soda (included with dining credit or $2.99), no sugar added mango gelato (included with dining credit or $3.99)

Total cash price: $45.62

Price of the adult Quick Service Dining Plan (per night): $41.99

As you can see, the Quick Service Dining Plan did save a little money for us, but mostly allowed us to break even on food costs.  We ended up with more food on the dining plan than we would probably normally eat, but that’s ok.  We felt it was a good value and we enjoyed the convenience of not having to pull out a credit card when we were ready to pay.  Overall, it worked out well for us!

Pinocchio Village Haus Review


Caprese Flatbread and Chicken Alfredo

On our last Disney trip, I had the opportunity to try the flatbreads at Pinocchio Village Haus for dinner.  This is a quick service restaurant in Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom.  One of the fun features of this restaurant is that there are a few tables inside that overlook the loading area of the It’s A Small World attraction.  We managed to snag one of those tables and my kids just loved it!  We waved at all the people in the little boats heading into the ride.

I had heard about the caprese flatbread so I gave that a try while my husband had the chicken alfredo with caesar salad.  My girls had the Uncrustables kids meal and my son had the pepperoni pizza kids meal.

My son is a bit of a purist when it comes to pizza so he wasn’t crazy about the flatbread crust.  However, my husband and I thought our entrees were pretty good.  The caprese flatbread had a good covering of mozzarella and tomatoes and quite a generous drizzle of balsamic vinegar.  In fact, the drizzle was a bit too generous for me.  I could’ve used a smidge less drizzling, but it was still very good.

The chicken alfredo entree was a generous portion with lots of chicken.  And for kind of a side dish afterthought, the caesar salad is actually quite tasty.

Since we were using the Disney Dining Plan, my husband and I both got gelato for dessert.  He got the chocolate and I got the sugar free mango flavor.  The chocolate was excellent, but the mango tasted and looked a bit too much like baby food for my preference.

Overall, we really enjoyed Pinocchio Village Haus and will definitely return in the future!

New Tortuga Tavern Menu

The Tortuga Tavern over in Adventureland has a new BBQ themed menu that debuted last week.  If you’re in the mood for brisket, this is going to be your stop!

Barbecued Chicken Sandwich – Served on Texas Toast.  Comes with coleslaw and baked beans.

Barbecued Pork Sandwich – Served on Texas Toast.  Comes with coleslaw and baked beans.

Barbecued Beef Brisket Sandwich – Served on Texas Toast.  Comes with coleslaw and baked beans.

Roasted Corn & Vegetable Salad – Dressed with Red Wine Vinaigrette.

With the sandwiches, you can sub the slaw and beans for the Roasted Corn & Vegetable Salad.

Sounds delicious!  Let us know what you think of these changes!

Difficult to Get Walt Disney World Reservations

Planning a Walt Disney World vacation can be tricky and time-consuming. You really have to know the ins and outs of planning a vacation before you even get started. Dining at Disney is a very important aspect of that vacation. Let’s start with the basics. If you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort you can make dining reservations at 180 days plus 10. What that means is that when you are 180 days from arrival you can make all the reservations from that day through 10 days of your vacation. Say you are arriving on January 1 until Jan 10 you can make all your dining reservations in a single day. The difference in staying offsite is that you would have to make these reservations each day as that 180 days arrives.

Having these bonus 10 days means that you can make all your reservations at once and reach into the tail end of your vacation to get the restaurants and times you want.

But knowing which restaurants are most popular can help you prioritize which reservations to get.

Magic Kingdom
Be Our Guest This is Disney newest restaurant which is Quick Service for breakfast and lunch and Table Service for dinner.

Cinderella’s Royal Table- Still so popular with little ones and adults alike, everyone wants to eat in Cinderella Castle!

Le Cellier- While not nearly as popular as it once was this restaurant is probably the hardest to get reservation in Epcot but no need to worry there are plenty of choices in this park!

Hollywood Studios
Hollywood Brown Derby- This is Disney nicest restaurant in Hollywood Studios if you are looking for a nice night out this is the place to go!

Hollywood & Vine Play and Dine- Very popular with the Disney Junior crowd this is a character meal for breakfast and lunch featuring: Doc McStuffins, Jake, Handy Manny and Sofia the First.

Animal Kingdom
Tusker House- Another popular character meal featuring Mickey and friends in safari gear.

Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Chef Mickey’s- Character meals are so popular and this one with Mickey and friends in chef outfits that so many people are clamoring to get this reservation.

California Grill- A popular one with adults, this one has delicious food and a fantastic view of the Wishes Fireworks!

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
‘Ohana-Breakfast is a fantastic character breakfast with Lilo, Stitch, Mickey and Pluto. Lunch and dinner are also a great meal served family style. It is not to be missed.

The Grand Floridian Resort
1900 Park Fare- If you are interested in breakfast with Mary Poppins, Alice, the Mad Hatter, Tigger, and Winnie the Pooh. Then there is the Wonderland Tea Party in the lunch time. For dinner the Happily Ever after Dinner with Cinderella, Prince Charming, the step mother and step sisters and you won’t want to miss their antics!

Of course if you have further questions you can always talk to your travel agent for suggestions and help!

Disney Dining Plan

Often a cause of confusion, the Disney Dining plan is (to me!) one of the best benefits to saying on property. I thought it might be helpful to put a recap of the three most popular plans here!

Quick-Service Dining Plan

2 Quick Service meals and 1 snack per person per night of your stay. Each meal includes an entree, non-alcoholic drink, and dessert (except for breakfast). For 2013 the price is $41.99 per night ages 10 and up $16.03 per night age 3 to 9. A quick service restaurant at Disney is one where you walk up to the counter and order your food, then take it to a table of your own choosing. This plan is great for people or families who like the idea of being able to eat when/where they choose and when they feel like it as opposed to planning meals in advance.


Disney Dining Plan (sometimes referred to as Standard Dining Plan)

1 Quick Service meal, 1 Table Service meal (in a restaurant) and one snack per person per night of your stay. For 2014 the price is $60.64 per night ages 10 and up and $19.23 per night age 3 to 9 during value and regular season. This is Disney’s most popular dining plan, and for good reason. I like the idea of one sit down restaurant meal each day as a way to escape the heat and have a nice relaxing meal. Also, character meals are at sit down restaurants only, and I consider those a MUST do, at least once! Keep in mind, dining reservations for sit down meals must be made in advance. Some of Disney’s most popular restaurants book up very quickly, but there are great meals to be had even if you are planning a last minute trip.


Disney Deluxe Dining Plan

3 meals, 2 snacks per day. The three meals can be any combination of counter service and sit down meals as you please. In 2014 the price is $109.53 per night ages 10 and up and $29.86 per night ages 3 to 9. The Deluxe dining plan is good for people and families that are big eaters or foodies. A lot of the value of the Deluxe dining plan comes when you plan on dining at some of Disney’s 2 credit “Signature restaurants”, since meal allocations would be used up quickly for those on the regular dining plan.

All meal plans include one refillable mug per person good for non-alcoholic beverages at your resort only. For more information on Disney’s Dining plan, see here!