by: guide4wdw – Collin

In my own personal opinion, dining is a big part of the overall Walt Disney World experience. However, the vast array of options in the parks and beyond can be quite difficult to navigate without a bit of experience. We’ve spent quite some time over the years dining and trying many different options, but the options most guests tend to overlook are the outstanding counter service meals available. 

Of course, everyone has their favorites and there are certainly some “instant classics” that every guest should try (like Casey’s on Main Street), but today we’re going to take a look at a few options that could be easily overlooked.

Contrary to the majority of our lists here on, today’s will actually be in reverse order starting with the number five selection and working our way to our most recommended dining option. 

(Pictured: Geyser Point)

5. Flame Tree Barbecue
Starting things off right, we’re headed to Animal Kingdom for perhaps the most recognizable meal on our list, Flame Tree. The location itself has been a guest favorite for many years. The menu consists of mostly pulled pork, barbecue chicken, ribs, and even smoked turkey. While the seating area is nearly all outdoors, the covered patio areas feature fans and offer a nice view of the surrounding area in the heart of Animal Kingdom. To be quite honest, the barbecue is very good and utilizes a sweet yet slightly spicy sauce which has become synonymous with the Flame Tree name. It certainly won’t take the top spot on our list, but it is an incredible option at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The portions are great and the food is always hot, served quickly, and a good change from typical “fast food” fare. 

4. Captain Cook’s 
For this particular meal, you’ll have to leave the parks for a short while and head over to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. Personally, I recommend this pick for a quick lunch or dinner option on a Magic Kingdom or “resort hopping” day. Captain Cook’s is a short monorail ride away from Magic Kingdom and a great way to escape the heat for a few minutes. On the ground floor, just off of the lobby, you’ll find a small quick service dining establishment with a fairly broad menu including: coconut meatballs, the aloha pork sandwich, a hot beef and cheddar, and much more! The atmosphere is outstanding and just around the corner you can grab a dolewhip to complement your meal. 

3. La Cantina De San Angel
Over at Epcot, this simple waterfront dining location has become one of our “must-do” counter service options. While the menu offerings are not all that “authentic,” it is certainly a great place to pick up a quick nacho, or an order of cheese Empanadas while enjoying the waterfront seating! Also worth noting is that if you decide to dine before the neighboring location begins seating for their first meal of the day, you can also utilize a door directly around the corner from the order window to enter an inclosed seating area with window views of the World Showcase lagoon. The best time to try for the indoor seating is right when the order windows open up until around 11:30-12:00.    

2. Geyser Point
As the newest dining option on this list, Geyser Point is a new and unique dining concept. At the walk up window counter service option you can enjoy large cheeseburgers, smoked turkey, and assorted salads all in a waterside lounge setting at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort. Personally, I highly recommend eating here as the sun goes down. The views from the seating area are second to none and while it is all outdoors, fans and circulating air create a quite pleasant atmosphere even in the hottest summer months. The food is outstanding and features high quality toppings like Tillamook Cheddar cheese! All around, while it is a bit pricey, this is one of your best counter service offerings on property and it’s just steps away from one of the greatest hidden gems at Walt Disney World, The Carolwood Room.    

1. Floatworks             
If you’ve read this site before in the past, you may already be aware of how much we enjoy Floatworks over at Port Orleans French Quarter. The food is truly outstanding, and the desserts are simply some of the best on property. As a counter service offering, the meals could easily be featured at many table service restaurants, and really bring a small piece of New Orleans to central Florida. Beyond the food, the atmosphere of the resort itself is quite classy, while remaining casual in a way that encourages guests and visitors alike to take a few minutes and roam the grounds. Headed to Disney Springs for the night? Jump on the resort ferry and after a leisurely ride down a river and across the lake you’ll arrive at the center dock right next to Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar. The ride takes about 20 minutes, but it’s quite an experience at or around sundown and a really neat journey back to the resort after dark. If the property is not your home resort, head to the Disney Springs station and you can catch a bus back to your resort. 

After dinner, be sure to try the beignets! If you want to learn more about the experience, be sure to check out our full post about the experience: Disney Dining Hidden Gem: Floatworks 

So, that’s our Top 5! If we missed anything that’s on your list be sure to share it with us!