Columbia Harbour House Review
If you are looking for a quick service restaurant in the Magic Kingdom that offers something beyond burgers, try sitting down to a meal at the Columbia Harbour House. This eatery, themed as a colonial seaside tavern, is located in Liberty Square directly across from the entrance to the Haunted Mansion.
Be warned, Columbia Harbour House is a very popular meal stop due to its location. In fact, Disney uses a queue line to order guests before they get to the cashiers’ stations to place their orders. Although this might be a turn-off to some, I appreciate the effort to keep things organized and moving as smoothly as possible.
My family and I hit the restaurant just before the lunch crowd hit full tilt. As we stood there considering the menu boards, I was happy to see that this restaurant is moving in a healthier direction compared to standard theme park fast-food joints. While you can still find French fries, chicken strips, and battered fish, Columbia Harbour House tries harder with options like fresh-made sandwiches, steamed broccoli, and couscous.
The kids and I each decided to order something different so we could taste around the table. My daughter ordered the chicken nuggets off the children’s menu which also lists macaroni & cheese, a tuna sandwich, and a crustless peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The chicken nuggets came served with grapes and a kid’s yogurt – all an indication to me that Disney is trying to offer children healthier options.
My two sons went for seafood. One boy ordered the Fried Shrimp Basket with coleslaw and French fries (you can have steamed broccoli in place of the fries, but I’m dealing with a young teenager). The battered shrimp are fried until lightly crunchy and are happily not greasy. My son’s plate had about eight or nine good-sized shrimp which I felt made for a decent lunch. My son cared less for the bland, nondescript coleslaw. He left most of it behind saying “it tastes like it comes from a can.”
My younger son surprised me by choosing the Grilled Salmon which is paired with steamed broccoli and couscous. While he and I didn’t find the fish particularly amazing, the meal did have its merits. The salmon is just the right sized portion and is simply grilled with very light seasoning. The steamed broccoli is also very green and fresh. Our couscous, however, was a disappointment. It lacked flavor and was a little bit dry. I thought it a shame that something meant to be better for you was less than appealing.
My lunch turned out to be the winner at the table. The Lobster Roll features a creamy lobster salad presented in a soft, top-split hotdog roll. I loved the real mouthfuls of sweet lobster (you can see the bite-sized pieces; this isn’t little flecks of meat) mixed in with crunchy celery and mayonnaise. Though a bit messy to eat, I couldn’t wait to take my next bite. This is a sandwich I definitely will be seeking out on future trips to the Magic Kingdom. The Lobster Roll comes served with a bag of Disney brand potato chips.
Although we didn’t try them, other tasty sounding sandwiches are available. The Anchors Aweigh Sandwich features tuna salad and the Lighthouse Sandwich features hummus with tomato-broccoli slaw. In addition, there is a Garden House Salad which is topped with chicken, fresh vegetables, cheese, and sunflower seeds. A few dessert options, such as an Apple Crisp, are there to satisfy your sweet tooth.
On future voyages to the Magic Kingdom, I will be sure that my ship sails back into port at the Columbia Harbour House. I appreciate that Disney has chosen to freshen up the menu here and offer options that make it easier to eat better in the theme park.
Food – The restaurant primarily features chicken and seafood. This is one of the places in the theme park that serves a more health conscious menu with grilled fish, steamed broccoli, and couscous.
Atmosphere – Columbia Harbour House is intended to feel like a colonial-era ship tavern and is decorated as such. Dark woods and nautical theming prevail. There is seating on the first floor which fills up quickly so carefully carry your tray to the second floor for a better selection of tables.
Service – Helpful Disney cast members do their best to organize the line of hungry guests and streamline ordering, especially during the main lunch and dinner hours. Beware though, sometimes the ordering area can become a crush.
Tips – Check the restaurant’s hours if you are interested in eating here. During off-peak season, hours of operation are typically 11am to 5pm.
The DisDining Mama Says – This is a good restaurant to visit with the kids since it offers a very safe children’s menu with chicken nuggets, mac & cheese, and peanut butter and jelly. I also think it offers a great opportunity to introduce your children to seafood.
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