In comparing quick service dining locations in the Magic Kingdom, we’re going to limit our scope to, what we call, the cornerstone establishments. These are Magic Kingdom dining locations that have mostly consistent menus and extensive seating. The locations in this category are – Cosmic Rays Starlight Cafe, Pecos Bill’s Tall Tale Inn & Cafe, Pinocchio’s Village Haus, Be Our Guest, and Columbia Harbor House.
So, what quick service is the best?
For quick service dining in the Magic Kingdom, we say Columbia Harbour House is the best.
Opening as the Nantucket Harbour House in 1971, Columbia Harbour House poses as a revolutionary war-era cottage overlooking the tranquil Rivers of America and nearby Haunted Mansion. As a result, you’ll find a seafood-centric menu consisting of various sandwiches, salads, and fried entrees. Assuming shipping conditions are good up river, allergy-free items are also available at this location.
Prices are in the standard quick service range and the restaurant participates in the Disney Dining Plan. Also, just like in revolutionary war times, mobile ordering is both available and recommended.
Why it's the Best
With quick service food quality being of a similar nature across the Magic Kingdom, we prioritize ease-of-access and seating availability / configuration in our dining selection. Thankfully, Columbia Harbour House offers both. With no reservations required and two levels of comfortably spaced table arrangements, you’ll feel more at ease eating at the Harbour (as the locals mostly likely call it) than at most quick service dining.
In some ways, we do stray a bit from conventional wisdom with this pick. Most folks would tell you Be Our Guest is the best quick service in the Magic Kingdom. However, while you can’t argue with the atmosphere, we’re just not crazy about the menu. Also, the whole reservation thing for lunch and table service only for dinner is a limiting factor in our minds.
When you should visit
Like every quick service dining location at Magic Kingdom, you simply have to visit at non-peak times to actually enjoy the experience. So, if you roll in for lunch at the standard 12pm time slot, you’re going to find folks spilling out of the entrance. Your only hope at that point is mobile ordering and the off-chance that another guest didn’t want to tackle the stairs and left you an open table on the second floor.
What you should order
On the food front, we’re simple folks. We’re the people who actually like the standard theme park fare. Columbia Harbour House, however, allows us to take a walk on the wild side and add a little fried fish to our chicken nugget combo…and that’s what we do. We like any of the combo platters. It’s hard to go wrong taking this approach. You can venture out into the other seafood options, but we’re a bit wary of mixing non-fried seafood and theme park dining.
How you can locate
Columbia Harbour House is located on east side of the Magic Kingdom near the intersection of Liberty Square and Fantasyland. You’ll find the Haunted Mansion queue entrance just to the north of the restaurant. See the map below for details.
What folks say about our pick
Your next best option
If the Harbour’s seafood lean is a turn off for you, your next best non-reservation quick service option in the Magic Kingdom is Cosmic Rays Starlight Cafe across the way in Tomorrowland. The entertainment stylings of Sonny Eclipse give it an edge over the remaining quick service dining options. If you can snag a reservation, we recommend venturing to the southern end of Liberty Square and having a burger at Liberty Tree Tavern.
Best Magic Kingdom Quick Service - What do you think?
When it comes to dining in the Magic Kingdom, everyone has an opinion. What’s yours? Have you eaten at Columbia Harbour House? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below…