Happy Foodie Friday! Today we’re heading to, in my opinion, the best Quick Service restaurant on property. Allow me to repeat: this is the best Quick Service restaurant on Walt Disney World property.
It’s become a bit of a tradition for my family. We arrive at Disney on December 24th. Our day starts early in the morning. We wake up around 4:30am and drive over to the airport. Sometimes we grab a quick snack at the airport, but we don’t really eat until we arrive at Disney. So, by the time that we arrive and check in at the Port Orleans French Quarters, we’re pretty hungry.
After settling in our room and changing into weather-appropriate attire, we hop on the boat to Downtown Disney. The restaurant is a short walk from the boats. No, it’s not Ghirardelli Ice Cream Shop or the beloved Earl of Sandwich, our go-to restaurant is Wolfgang Puck Express. I know, Wolfgang is not “unique to Disney.” Other than Starbucks, my family usually avoids the restaurants you can find in the “outside world.”
We first discovered Wolfgang Puck Express a few years ago. After checking in, we boarded the boat to Downtown Disney. After wandering the area for a while, our stomach’s growling became harder and harder to ignore. It was time to eat. Wolfgang Puck Express offered the most diverse menu, so we went inside and ordered.
Wolfgang Puck Express presents a great value to guests on the Disney Dining Plan. Most meals average around $19-$20, with the more expensive entrees coming in at $27! With Quick Service credits valued around $18, this is a great use of a meal. For those paying out of pocket, Wolfgang Puck Express serves up some hefty portions, giving you a lot of bang for your buck.
The restaurant serves up a diverse array of food, as well. It’s hard to give an exact name to the type of food you can find at WPE (that’s how I’m abbreviating it.) The menu is a hybrid between new American and Italian. All the offerings feature a modern and unique twist on a traditional dish. The menu certainly covers a broad spectrum. There’s chicken tenders and pizza for picky eaters; unique offerings like the bacon-wrapped meatloaf; and dishes like the oven-roasted salmon with a cauliflower puree, for those seeking a more refined dish.
Being on the meal plan, you receive an entree, a drink and a dessert. You can grab a packaged cookie or brownie, or choose from creme brulee, fresh fruit, cheesecake, or frozen yogurt.
After placing your order, the cashier will give you a number to place on your table. It’s nice, because WPE straddles the line between a table service and a quick service restaurant – much like Be Our Guest during lunchtime.
The server brings out our food soon after we find a table. My dad went with the bacon-wrapped meatloaf. It looked and smelled amazing. My mom went with the butternut squash soup. The soup is a bad value on the meal plan, but to each their own. My sister went with the grilled chicken caesar salad. I always worry about ordering a salad, as they’re often too small to be considered a meal. That was not the case with this salad. It was a nice-sized portion served over a grilled pita bread. There was at least 4 ounces of grilled chicken atop the salad. The salad, coupled with the bread, served as a filling meal.
I was craving pizza. As many of you may know, there are not many spots in Disney to grab a great slice of pizza, especially as a New Yorker. Wolfgang Puck Express offers a traditional cheese pizza, as well as a margherita. I can’t eat traditional pizza outside of New York, it would be an unfair comparison. They also serve up some interesting twists, including a cheese pesto and a wild mushroom pizza. I decided to go with the Barbecue Chicken pizza, as it was the most appealing at the time. First thoughts – this is a large personal pizza. I have a huge appetite, so the size of the pizza was right in my wheelhouse. I’d estimate the pizza to be right around 10 inches. For normal eaters, you can easily split this between two people.
The crust on the pizza is thin and crispy. The biggest indicator of a good crust is whether it can hold up the toppings. Everyone has experienced a flimsy slice – you pick up the slice and it bends, sending the cheese, sauce and any other toppings sliding off. The crust held its own, holding all the toppings intact. I gave the slice a slight fold and took a bite. The crust was crispy on the outside, and light and airy on the inside. The first thing you taste is the shredded barbecue chicken. It reminds me of pulled chicken. The barbecue sauce has a sweet, smoky taste to it, with a slight tange. The cheese is a nice compliment and adds a creamy component, bringing the slice together. Last is the cilantro. Many people don’t like cilantro, but I love it. The cilantro adds another dimension to the slice without overpowering the dish – something cilantro can easily do. If you’re like my sister and don’t care for the taste of cilantro, you can ask them to leave it off.
Overall, Wolfgang Puck Express is on our short list of must-do restaurants. It offers a Table Service meal at a Quick Service price. While there’s not much theming and it’s not a restaurant unique to Walt Disney World, the food is delicious and a great value on or off the Disney Dining Plan.Follow @survivedisxmas