Menu Monday: Late Arrival Day Food Choices at Disney World

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Late Night Castle, perfect sight for late night dining at disney world
Even if you arrive to see this gorgeous sight, it still isn’t too late for you to find a good meal.

The Walt Disney World Resort area has tons of options for dining, from quick service restaurants, places to get snacks, or regular table service restaurants, to fancy, signature dining experiences. However, sometimes there seems to be no options other than the $2 vending machine crackers at your resort, once you’re on the property, especially if you don’t have a vehicle and are relying on Disney transportation. To avoid the stress of trying to track down dining options for your late arrival, I have gathered a listing for restaurants that stay open late, so you can avoid wandering around hungry. In addition, I listed the items available on the menu, written in plain language for easy understanding (i.e., it might be Oak-Grilled Salmon with a Selection of Winter Greens, but I’ll simplify it down to Grilled Salmon). Obviously, both hours and menus are subject to change, but you can check with Cast Members at the park or at your resort upon check in to ensure that these options are still available and open late. Here goes!

Magic Kingdom

While Magic Kingdom has quite a few options for a quick snack, the counter service restaurants begin closing and it becomes more difficult to find a full meal. There are four options available after the regular dinner hours (after around 8 p.m.) where you can find a full meal.

 

Casey's Corner, at the end of Main Street, USA., a good option for late night dining at disney world
Casey’s Corner, at the end of Main Street, USA.

Casey’s Corner – this counter service restaurant has a topping bar for your hot dogs that includes sauerkraut and hot cheese sauce.  Limited seating options make it best for a meal on the go, and they will give you a carrier for your food items that you can take with you.

Serves:

  • Hot dogs
  • Chili dogs
  • Corn nuggets
  • Nachos
  • Fries

Open: Almost always to park close, including Extra Magic Hours.  Sometimes (rarely) closes 20 minutes before park closing.

Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café – a counter service restaurant that generally has plenty of seating options, though it can be very loud inside.  Entertainment in the form of animatronic Sonny Eclipse adds fun to your dining experience. With a larger than usual menu variety, this spot is perfect for picky eaters and families who can’t agree on what sounds good for dinner, though the food is divided up in different Bays making it impossible to get a meal for everyone all at once without splitting up into different lines.

Serves:

  • 1/2 Chicken
  • Rib meal
  • Chicken/Rib combo
  • Hamburger
  • Pork Sandwich
  • Hot dog
  • Chili cheese dog
  • Vegetable burger
  • Chicken nuggets
  • Turkey sandwich
  • Grilled chicken sandwich
  • Vegetable sandwich
  • Greek sandwich
  • Tortellini pasta salad
  • Sides: fries, chili fries, chicken noodle soup

Open: Until park close, including Extra Magic Hours.

Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe – this counter service restaurant has an amazing amount of seating, making this a place that you can almost always find a seat, even on the most crowded of days. There is also a large toppings bar for adding flavor to your meal, including salsa, cheese, tomatoes, grilled onions, pickles, and more, plus hot cheese sauce.

Serves:

  • Pork sandwich
  • Various cheeseburgers
  • Vegetable burger
  • Southwest chicken salad
  • Taco salad
  • Sides: corn on the cob, fries, chili

Open: Until one hour before park close.

 

La Fou's Brew is a must try, and you can also grab a pork shank to make a (slightly strange) meal, for late night dining at disney world
La Fou’s Brew is a must try, and you can also grab a pork shank to make a (slightly strange) meal.

Gaston’s Tavern – a quick service location serving mostly snacks, with a pork shank that could be made into a meal. The high level of theming surrounding Gaston’s tavern makes this a must-see, so if you arrive late you can grab a meal and then check out the area.

Serves:

  • Pork shank
  • Cinnamon rolls
  • Chocolate croissant
  • Fruit cup
  • Mixed vegetable cup
  • Hummus and chips
  • Sliced apples and caramel
  • La Fou’s Brew (frozen apple juice flavored with toasted marshmallow)

Open: Until park close, including Extra Magic Hours.

Epcot

Epcot has a large number of restaurants, and most of them stay open until the park closes, so you will have quite a few options for a late meal if you are dining in the park. There are restaurants in both the Future World and the World Showcase, with a variety of options in either.

Future World:

 

These are the Electric Umbrellas that give the restaurant its name.
These are the Electric Umbrellas that give the restaurant its name.

Electric Umbrella – a counter service location filled with whimsical electric umbrellas (which are much easier to see and recognize as umbrellas at night!), and located near the entrance, which makes it a good stop if you are already late eating dinner.

Serves:

  • French dip burger
  • Vegetarian flatbread
  • Sausage and Pepper sandwich
  • Hamburger
  • Chicken nuggets
  • Chicken caesar salad
  • Veggie naan wich

Open: Until the park closes.

 

Head inside this pavilion to find a great dining option, the fabulous Soarin', and the best attraction at Epcot: Living with the Land!
Head inside this pavilion to find a great dining option, the fabulous Soarin’, and the best attraction at Epcot: Living with the Land!

Sunshine Seasons – a fabulous counter service option, with tons of variety and ambience. Truly unique meals based in four areas: wood-fired grill, sandwich shop, Asian shop, and soup and sandwich shop. Housed in the same building as Soarin’ and Living with the Land, it’s a perfect option to eat a quick meal before a late Fastpass+.

Serves:

  • Rotisserie chicken
  • Salmon
  • Pork chop
  • Chicken quinoa salad
  • Caesar salad
  • Roast beets
  • Fish tacos
  • Mongolian beef
  • Thai green curry shrimp
  • Sweet-and-sour chicken
  • Tamarind vegan beef
  • A variety of sandwiches, soups, and flatbreads

Open: Until the park closes.

World Showcase:

Katsura Grill – a relatively new restaurant in Japan’s pavilion, with a small amount of seating indoors and out. While the outdoor seating is gorgeous and quiet, it’s extremely limited making it difficult to find a place, though eating at an alternative time might work in your favor.

Serves:

  • Sushi
  • Udon (or Udon with beef, curry, shrimp)
  • Teriyaki chicken, beef, or salmon
  • Chicken curry
  • Japanese curry

Open: Until the park closes, and during the first hour of evening Extra Magic Hours.

La Cantina de San Angel – a counter service in Mexico’s pavilion, with lovely outdoor seating over the water. The food is obviously Mexican, and it’s tasty as well as quick.

Serves:

  • Grilled chicken and rice
  • Beef tacos
  • Cheese empanadas
  • Nachos
  • Mexican salad

Open: Until the park closes, and during evening Extra Magic Hours.

les halles
As usual, this place offers a host of amazing treats, including many that would make a great late meal.

Les Halles Boulangerie & Pâtisserie – this recently expanded quick service location is best known for delicious desserts and pastries, but it also has a variety of sandwiches and soups which can easily make a good late meal.

Serves:

  • Ham and cheese sandwich
  • BLT
  • Fruit sandwich
  • Chicken sandwiches
  • Varied cups of soup

Open: Until the park closes, and during evening Extra Magic Hours.

Sommerfest  – while open late, this difficult to find window in Germany’s pavilion has a limited menu, but is a good place to get a quick meal with a cold beer. Seating  is so limited as to almost be non-existent, which makes it a good meal to grab and eat while walking around the World Showcase.

Serves:

  • Bratwurst
  • Frankfurter
  • Currywurst
  • Baked macaroni

Open: Until the park closes, and during the first hour of evening Extra Magic Hours.

Tangierine Cafe – this restaurant in Morocco’s pavilion offers authentic food and some indoor seating, with more seating outdoors. While the food is unfamiliar to many people, it’s a good way to try interesting new dishes when the Food & Wine Festival isn’t going on.

Serves:

  • Chicken wrap
  • Lamb wrap
  • Falafel wrap
  • Chicken platter
  • Lamb platter
  • Kefta sandwich
  • Sliders combo
  • Vegetarian platter

Open: Until the park closes, and during the evening Extra Magic Hours.

Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom is currently rarely open late, though that will change once the new additions to the park are completed. Until then, this park isn’t really an option for you if you arrive late to Walt Disney World, with a closing time of 5 p.m.  While in the summer months the park stays open later, it still closes by 8 p.m., making it within the usual dinner hours. Save Animal Kingdom for a day later in your trip, and be sure to try the Chicken Fried Rice from the Yak & Yeti Local Foods Cafe, which is both amazingly tasty and surprisingly inexpensive.

Hollywood Studios

Hollywood Studios is another park that may or may not be open late when you are visiting Walt Disney World. During the busier summer months, the park is open until 10 p.m., but much of the rest of the year the park closes at 7, making it inaccessible the night of a late arrival. There are two restaurants that stay open until park close, so if you do happen to come on a late closing day, here are your options:

Fairfax Fare – an outdoor counter service restaurant over by Tower of Terror, with some seating nearby. The standout dish is the Macaroni and Cheese and Truffle Oil Hot Dog, which is definitely worth a try.

Serves:

  • Chicken
  • Ribs
  • Pork sandwich
  • Macaroni and cheese hot dog
  • BBQ pork hot dog
  • Chili dog
  • Turkey leg
  • Salad

Open: Until the park closes.

Rosie’s All-American Café – another outdoor counter service restaurant over by Tower of Terror, near Fairfax Fare, which also has some seating nearby. Pretty standard food options here, but it should be possible to find something for everyone here.

  • Cheeseburger
  • Chicken nuggets
  • Vegetarian black bean burger
  • Soup of the day

Open: Until the park closes.

Resort Dining Options

This was my late night Pasta Creation at Port Orleans Riverside... it was quite tasty!
This was my late night Pasta Creation at Port Orleans Riverside… it was quite tasty!

If you are arriving late to your resort without heading into a park, you should also have choices for dinner that are more exciting than a vending machine meal.  All resorts should have at least some kind of dining option that will be open late, most closing at either 11 or midnight. While many of the resorts have multiple restaurants with varying opening times, the main resort food court style restaurant will be open for late dining. Each location has a varying menu, but expect to find some assortment of the following: burgers, grilled chicken, salads, pasta, flatbreads,sandwiches, and a vegetarian meal, plus meals for children. In addition, there will be a grab-and-go section, featuring pre-packaged items such as salads, sandwiches, and yogurt.

Downtown Disney (soon to be reinvented as Disney Springs)

Downtown Disney is usually open later than the parks, and most of the counter service restaurants are open until Downtown Disney’s closing time. During the week, Downtown Disney can be crowded, but on the weekend, it can be absolutely swamped, filled with both vacationers as well as the locals enjoying a night out. As a result of the late hours, Downtown Disney is a great option if you need a late night meal, and are uninterested in what’s available at your resort hotel.

Bongo’s Cuban Cafe Express – the Bongo’s Cuban Cafe is a restaurant that was created by Gloria Estefan, and obviously services Cuban food. There’s a walk-up window that will allow you to get a meal quickly without sacrificing too much time. It is located on the West Side of Downtown Disney.

  • Variety of salads
  • Cups of soup
  • Pork or chicken bites
  • Empanadas
  • Pollo asado
  • Ropa vieja
  • Arroz con pollo
  • Plus a selection of sandwiches

Open: Until Downtown Disney closes.

Cookes of Dublin – located right next to Raglan Road in the Pleasure Island section, this little pub location serves up traditional Irish pub food, plus some sinfully tasty desserts. One must-try is the Doh Bar, which is a donut battered, deep-fried Snickers. There’s really far too many options to name here, and everything is cooked fresh to order, making this a wonderful choice for a group who can’t agree on what to have. Here’s just a few options:

  • Fried scallops
  • Fish & chips
  • Beef and lamb pie
  • Cheeseburger
  • Salads
  • Wings

Open: Until Downtown Disney closes.

 

This place offers amazing pretzels that simply must be tried, no excuses.
This place offers amazing pretzels that simply must be tried, no excuses.

Wetzel’s Pretzels – boasting two locations in Downtown Disney, you can get a pretzel dog in either the Marketplace or the West Side. While the menu is limited, and the seating might as well be non-existent (unless there’s nothing going on at the stage, though that’s unlikely), pretzel dogs or bits make for a highly portable meal.

  • Pretzel (original, cinnamon, pepperoni, almond crunch, jalapeno)
  • Pretzel dog (with or without cheese)
  • Pretzel bites (original, cinnamon, almond crunch)

Open: Until Downtown Disney closes.

Earl of Sandwich – you may have eaten at this popular sandwich chain elsewhere, and the Downtime Disney location (in the Marketplace) always has a line, and deservedly so, as the sandwiches and wraps are very good. In addition to the sandwiches, they also serve soup and desserts. There’s not a lot of seating inside, though if you’re quick and somewhat patient you can usually snag one, but there’s more outdoors and you can usually find a space there in all but the most crowded of times. They also offer a 10% discount for Annual Passholders and DVC members, so be sure to ask after it.

  • Large variety of sandwiches
  • Soups
  • Salads
  • Wraps
  • Smoothies

Open: Until Downtown Disney closes.

The Express at Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe – located in the West Side, this counter service location lets you have a gourmet meal quickly. A step above most theme park food, in the sheer variety alone, it has interesting choices as well as pizza.

  • Butternut squash soup
  • Tortilla soup
  • Pizza (pepperoni, cheese, margherita, four cheese pest0)
  • Rotisserie chicken
  • Chicken pot pie
  • Selection of salads
  • Various sushi

Open: Until Downtown Disney closes.

Wolfgang Puck Express – located in the Marketplace, this counter service location offers an expanded menu, with some of the same options as the other Wolfgang Express location at Downtown Disney, offering fancier pizzas.

  • Soups
  • Selection of salads
  • Pizza (BBQ chicken, sausage, mushroom, pepperoni, mushroom, spicy chicken)
  • Ravioli
  • Spaghetti and chicken meatballs
  • Salmon
  • Rotisserie chicken
  • Chicken alfredo

Open: Until Downtown Disney closes.

All in all, there should be something for you to make a late meal of, no matter where you head upon arriving at Walt Disney World!

Pop Century's famous tie-dye cheesecake tastes particularly good as a late night meal ending.
Pop Century’s famous tie-dye cheesecake tastes particularly good as a late night meal ending.

Were any of your favorites included on the late night list? Have you had any late night dining experiences? Do you venture out, or do you stick close to your resort?  Let me know!

 

 

 

Katie McNair

Katie McNair was born and raised in Central Florida. She grew up visiting Disney World as often as she could manage. Her favorite park is Epcot, and her favorite attraction is Living with the Land. Katie currently teaches 7th grade language arts.

10 thoughts on “Menu Monday: Late Arrival Day Food Choices at Disney World

  • November 17, 2014 at 12:09 pm
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    You guys are mind readers again. Going on Nov 29th, and was just researching best late night counter services.

    Could you please mark which Magic Kingdom restaurants are open for teh Very Merry Christmas party? Thanks.

    • November 17, 2014 at 9:06 pm
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      Glad to help! 🙂 On my most recent trip, I wasn’t hungry until after most places closed, so I had a lot of difficulty locating filling food, so I thought I might be able to share what I learned.

      For Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, you will find the following open:

      -Casey’s Corner
      -Peco’s Bill (open until 11)
      -Friar’s Nook (open until 9)
      -Pinocchio’s Village Haus (open until 8)
      -Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe
      -Westward Ho
      -Gaston’s Tavern
      -Sleepy Hollow

      Plus a few more places serving things like pretzels, popcorn, churros, or turkey legs.

      But don’t forget one of the best perks of the evening! As many cookies and apple slices as you care to enjoy, as well as cocoa and apple juice. While you likely won’t want to make a meal from the treats, it will certainly make a great dessert!

  • November 17, 2014 at 4:26 pm
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    Just so you know, your link to sommerfest lists “Jagermeister Shot” as non-alcoholic in the menu link 🙂

    • November 17, 2014 at 9:09 pm
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      Hmm… That’s not good! I’ll check into that. Thanks! 🙂

  • November 17, 2014 at 4:58 pm
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    If it is really late, as in your plane lands midnight, 🙁 your choices are extremely limited. If you have a car, it isn’t so bad. No car, you had better pack a snack unless you are staying at one of the hotels on Crescent Lake. From the Swan/Dolphin, Yacht/Beach, or Boardwalk you can then grab a meal at Picabu which is 24×7 counter service at the WDW Dolphin. If you are staying at the Swan or Dolphin you have 24-hour proper room service.

    Otherwise, with a car, you can get a gas station sandwich or a other snack like thing at either of the Hess Stations (Boardwalk or Magic Kingdom.) There really isn’t much open in the wee hours of the morning. Best choice is to grab something and throw it in your carry on at the departure airport. Once you land in Orlando, it’s going to be a long night.

    Am I the only one who on vacation travel days, works all day without stopping for lunch, runs to the airport, and then gets on a 9pm flight without dinner? 😉 The saddest situation was when I had thought to grab a Kind bar, but had only grabbed one, not knowing hubbie had skipped lunch and dinner, too. I’m OK with half a Kind bar. He’s a farmer who had done hard, physical work all day without a break getting the garden, orchard, and chickens ready for us to go away. So I gave him the whole thing. Now I try to book earlier flights, and always grab three Kind bars heading out the door. Two for him and one for me. 😉

    • November 17, 2014 at 9:11 pm
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      Great suggestions! While I do always pack extra snacks, I have the luxury of driving to Disney. If I ever make it out to Disneyland, I think I’m going to be completely lost.

      I agree, a Kind bar wouldn’t last long if you’ve been working hard all day!

      Thanks for reading!

  • November 19, 2014 at 12:24 pm
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    I have two very picky eaters in my family, me being one of them. It’s extremely hard to find a place that we will all enjoy. I’m a very picky vegetarian. I’m fine with a simple salad, but my son is a different story. Cosmic Rays at MK is one of our favorites. It provides several options for me and everyone else, tortellini pasta salad is awesome (its enough for 2 people)!!! Usually eat at least 1 meal there everytime we are in MK.

    • November 22, 2014 at 2:06 pm
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      I am very picky as well, and I am glad that Disney now has so many choices beyond what used to be basically an option of pizza or chicken nuggets. I never really liked Cosmic Rays, but recently I have had a couple of stellar meals from there, so I am revising my opinion. 🙂

  • November 21, 2014 at 11:38 am
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    We ate at Earl of Sandwich last week on arrival day. Loved it!!!! The Holiday sandwich was amazing and the Hawaiian BBQ was very good too. Though it is sometimes tough to find one location to fit all(especially with picky eaters), there really is something for everyone at WDW. You may have to visit a number of places to feed everyone, but you shouldn’t have to travel to different parks.

    • November 22, 2014 at 2:05 pm
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      Exactly! There’s SOMETHING you will want, but you may have to wander until you find it. I love Earl of Sandwich! It’s definitely a must-do for me whenever I go and stay at Disney.

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