DiningIn the ParksWalt Disney World (FL)

Crowd-Free Quick Service Restaurants

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Crowds are probably the biggest complaint you hear at Walt Disney World; and throughout most of the year, crowds are pretty much unavoidable whether you’re in line for an attraction or to board the Monorail or even to dine at a restaurant. For me, a line out of the door at the nearest park quick service restaurant is the worst! This is especially true when I’ve burned off all the calories from my Gaston’s Tavern Cinnamon Roll eight or nine spins on Pirates of the Caribbean ago. So after much trial and error during my trips to the parks and resorts, I have compiled a list of crowd-free quick service restaurants which offer short lines even during the busier times at Disney World. Take a look!

Boardwalk Bakery - A Glass Slipper Vacation
The BoardWalk Bakery

Tortuga Tavern – Only open seasonally, I can’t say that Tortuga Tavern never gets crowded; however, it is known for shorter lines and lower crowds than its next door restaurant, Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn. When lunch rolls around, ignore the line out the door for Pecos Bill’s and make your way over to Tortuga.

Gasparilla Island Grill – The Grand Floridian’s quick service restaurant is one of my personal favorite retreats. This is where I usually go for lunch after spending the morning at the Magic Kingdom; and as many times I’ve visited, I have rarely experienced a crowd. The Gasparilla Island Grill is an airy, spacious restaurant with a great selection of flatbreads, sandwiches, salads, and desserts, as well as gourmet cupcakes! If the weather is nice, I like to head outside for the outdoor seating which offers a view of the resort’s marina and the tip of Cinderella Castle in the distance. So if you’re looking to escape the lines for some fresh variety, this is where you should go.

Sunshine Tree TerraceAloha Isle is the big favorite at the Magic Kingdom for frosty tropical treats, particularly Dole Whips. Although, if you’ve been to Aloha Isle lately, you know that lines can get ridiculously long! To avoid the lines and crowds, check out Sunshine Tree Terrace, which can be found tucked behind The Magic Carpets of Aladdin in Adventureland. Sunshine Tree Terrace is famous for its popular Citrus Swirl and the Orange Bird! See if you can find him when you visit!

BoardWalk Bakery – The BoardWalk Bakery is so much more than just a bakery, although their Strawberry Cupcake is one of my favorite Disney World treats. This quick service restaurant has a yummy menu featuring an assortment of sandwiches, an iceberg wedge, a soup of the day, and more. Everything I’ve ever had at the BoardWalk Bakery has been delicious and there’s rarely a wait!

Trails To Go – Did you know that Fort Wilderness’ Trail’s End has a to-go counter? It’s one of my newest discoveries and one I can’t wait to take advantage of again soon. I know Trail’s End isn’t technically a quick service restaurant, but the fact the to-go menu is reasonably priced and offers a quick meal makes it an unofficial quick service destination in my book. So what can you get here? How about biscuits and gravy for breakfast, or a barbecue sandwich for lunch, or sweet tea for my fellow southerners? So skip the lines outside Trail’s End and the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue and check out Trails To Go!

The Diamond Horseshoe
The Diamond Horseshoe

The Mara – Animal Kingdom Lodge’s food court is unique in that it offers popular dishes, but also a few African-style menu items, as well. The Mara‘s spacious seating usually means few lines and less crowds when you’re ready to chow down. The Mara also features a colorful mural of animals in the dining area, and it’s right across the way from the resort’s Uzima Springs Pool.

Diamond Horseshoe – Found between the Magic Kingdom’s Frontierland and Liberty Square is The Diamond Horseshoe. It’s only open seasonally; but during one of my trips this past June, when it was really really busy, I discovered that very few guests had found their way into the Diamond Horseshoe. To be honest, the menu here didn’t really impress me; but the balcony seating, icy A/C, and the old-fashioned setting made it one of my new favorite escapes from the hustle bustle.

Columbia Harbour House – Another Magic Kingdom quick service restaurant, Columbia Harbour House can be found in Liberty Square and offers a tasty seafood menu. My personal favorite? The New England Clam Chowder. Now Columbia Harbour House is very popular and can get crowded, but hear me out! One of the best things about this quick service restaurant is that it has a second level that few guests know about. This means that you can enjoy a meal without people bumping into you while you eat or having to race to grab that empty, albeit dirty, table before that other family gets there first. So while you may have to wait in line for your food, you can escape the crowds by dining upstairs.

I can’t guarantee that each of these quick service restaurants will be crowd-free when you visit; but I can say that they typically receive fewer guests than others and have been less crowded during my trips. Do you have any crowd-free restaurants at Disney World to share?

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Savannah Sanders

Savannah has been visiting Disney World since she was a year old and has gone back almost every year since. In the real world, she teaches high school history and government and enjoys writing about all things Disney. Savannah can be reached on Twitter @DisneyParkSavvy.

One thought on “Crowd-Free Quick Service Restaurants

  • We like to do quick service at Wildnerness Lodge or the Contempory on the afternoon of a party night. Then take the boat over to Magic Kingdom at 4 for the party.
    Thanks for a fun article ill share with some friends new to the world

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