Disney Springs Restaurants – Our Top Picks and Must-Do Offerings
Over the last few years, Disney Springs has become the true must see location on Disney property. You don’t have to have a ticket to enter and you don’t even have to plan out your day there with the exception of a few potential dining reservations. It’s the perfect place to hang out and as 2019 progresses even more offerings will be unveiled to guests of all ages.
Many of you who have been to Disney World may better understand Disney Springs as it’s former Downtown Disney title. While I’m a bit nostalgic and wish the days of the Adventurer’s Club and other classic aspects of the Downtown Disney experience were still around for the enjoyment of a new generation (including myself), I’d be lying if I didn’t say I love the changes that have unfolded. Without a doubt, the process has been a long and tedious construction timeframe, and we won’t even mention how long it took to construct the current parking structures, but the results undoubtedly speak for themselves. The area has been given new life and a new, entertaining, and beautiful setting that welcomes guests of all ages and backgrounds. Sure, some of the new experiences are quite expensive, but if you’re willing to look for it, a delicate balance can be found of high end dining and shopping with more reasonable opportunities (in regards to price) for those who do not intend to spend large amounts of money during their visit.
I could talk about Disney Springs for days and could even share personal story after personal story of our experiences in the area over the last couple of years during and after a majority of the construction was completed. However, today we’re taking a look not at the past or even the future, but at what you can experience today at Disney Springs in regards to a culinary experience.
Honestly, I wouldn’t say we’re the most luxurious group of guests in the realm of dining, but we do appreciate a great meal at a fairly acceptable price. With that being said, on our list you’re not likely to find $100 steaks or top price menu items, but rather an honest analysis of the dining locations and entrees that most guests can afford for an entire family. We’ve tried these things from experience, but as with anything, your experience may very and your opinions of the food may very, but the joy of Disney dining is uncovering what works for you and your unique situation. With all of that being said, here are a few of our top picks for Disney Springs Restaurants.
I would be saddened and disheartened if any Disney dining list left off Our “Must-Do” Disney Dining Location – Homecomin’ Kitchen. For me, no trip to Disney Springs is complete without a trip into Homecomin’. It is the ideal Disney Springs Restaurant. It isn’t typically over crowded, the prices aren’t too terribly high (in comparison to other Disney dining), and the food is second to none. It’s a place that makes you feel like a piece of the family. From the wait staff to the picturesque views out over the artificial aqua blue springs to the excellent food provided, in my opinion there is no better place to dine.
The food is largely based around homemade fried chicken and locally sourced items. As always, anything that is locally sourced is a bonus in my book, not only because of a desire to buy local, but also because the quality shines through in the end result. Everything on the menu tastes fresh and is a welcomed home cooked meal after a few days on vacation. Now, I may be little biased due to my southern roots here in Kentucky, but this is the dining location that works best for us and one that I’ll always support if the top quality experience remains steady or improves over time. I’m not partnered with Homecomin’ (even though I wish I was!), but the price is right at around $30 a person and the quality and quantity of food you receive vastly outweighs the price.
The Boathouse is a Disney Springs Restaurant that I really hoped to enjoy on our first visit and to be quite honest it met but did not necessarily exceed my expectations. However, the food is excellent. The pricing is where this one takes a step back for me. Again, the food quality is excellent but the portion size in relation to what you pay for it needs to be improved on some entrees.
Even though that was a distinguishing factor of our experience, I would say that the atmosphere greatly makes up for the high cost. Every table is pleasantly set with white linens that are not off-putting to most guests while setting the stage for a classy yet somewhat casual dining experience. In a way, the location has a bit of a beach vibe to it that I really enjoyed. We visited the Boathouse on the very first night of our last trip and it really brought us into the feeling of the Florida oceanfront dining establishments while remaining in the heart of Orlando on the lake of Disney Springs.
The decor is second to none. The painstaking process that was made by Steven Schussler and his team to create a one of kind experience full of history and authenticity is truly impressive to experience. From the iconic boat shaped table (if you’re lucky enough to dine in it) to the exterior bar out on the wooden dock area sitting directly on the water, it’s hard to beat the atmosphere. So, while I’d be careful what I ordered next time, I’d return to the Boathouse for the experience alone. It more that makes up for the cost and makes the whole dining location worth the price paid. For more details on what we ordered and what it looked like, be sure to check out our A Top Disney Springs Dining Option: The Boathouse Restaurant article.
Earl of Sandwich
As one of the most cost effective options on this list, Earl of Sandwich is a classic Disney Springs offering that dates back to the earlier days of Downtown Disney. For us, it has been the iconic Disney Springs counter service restaurant forever. If you’re looking for a quick meal before going back to shopping and enjoying the atmosphere of the Springs, this is the place to go. The food is reasonably priced, and one of the very best sub sandwiches you’ll ever get the chance to eat. My personal favorite pick is what is called The Full Montagu. The sandwich features roast beef, turkey, Swiss, cheddar, lettuce, Roma tomato, and a mustard sauce. There is very little that rivals the sandwich in the realm of sub sandwiches. The mustard sauce is a unique blend of sweet and tangy, and the bread is soft yet firm enough to hold together as you eat it one bite at a time. It’s an impressive meal for the money, no matter what you order.
Fair warning, go early on in the day if you’re planning to eat lunch or dinner or expect a long line to order your food. Earl of Sandwich is incredibly popular and well worth the the wait, but you may be standing in line for fair amount of time before you get to order. Either way, it’s well worth the time and money spent. Honestly, this wouldn’t be my first choice for quick service but is quite good and a pretty nostalgic Disney Springs offering.
D-Luxe has gotten better and better since it first debuted and today it sits right behind The Polite Pig in a spot as my second favorite quick service offering at Disney Springs. It’s not all that cheap, but it’s no where near as expensive as some of the more expensive dining offerings Disney Springs has to offer. For the money, you get an incredible portion size (almost everything is sharable… unless you’re like me and rarely share food lol), and while the menu is somewhat limited, what is available is shockingly good for a quick service burger and quite possibly is one of the best burgers on Disney property.
Chances are, unless you eat at an odd time there will be a wait to order your food at the counter that reaches outside, but it moves quickly and is well worth the wait. If you can’t find a seat inside, the outdoor patio area over looking the crystal blue waters of the Springs makes for a near perfect spot any time of year!
The Polite Pig
Sticking with food, one of the most recent offerings we’ve tried in the area is the Polite Pig. I was somewhat hesitant to try the location at first, but it turned out to be one of the best counter service options we’ve tried at Disney Springs. I’ve always loved barbecue and this is a unique spin on the traditional American classic. The food is incredibly flavorful and the spices used really round out a unique and varied array of menu items. Over the last few years and various Disney trips we’ve eaten here a few times and it has never disappointed. While we’ll be updating the review sometime soon, here’s a closer look at the first time we visited the Polite Pig and our initial thoughts. If you’re looking for a great meal for your arrival day, or before heading to the airport for a late flight on your last day, this is an incredible option. No reservations are required, the meal is relatively fast, and the food is outstanding. To our surprise, this option has jumped way up our list of must do’s at Disney Springs. While these listings aren’t in any particular order, for counter service offerings, this one is hard to beat!
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A few short years ago, I was sitting in a college apartment trying to figure out what was "next" and came up with this idea to share my accumulated knowledge of the Disney Parks and Resorts with others. The end goal was to help others make the most of their Disney experience and it's been quite the journey!