Whenever we are in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World we plan to eat at Columbia Harbour House. During the off hours it generally is not as crowded as some other restaurant and if you are lucky you can get a table upstairs overlooking Liberty Square.
The day we were here it was a bit crowded but we were still able to get our favorite table upstairs. It takes longer to make the gluten-free food as it is cooked to order so our order took a while to get but because it was off-peak time we were able to sit at our table until the food was prepared. This restaurant was so well run.
We had started at Pecos Bill’s and had a horrible experience just getting into the restaurant. It was crowded and everyone was trying to jockey into the 4 lines that were open. No one was helping guests find the correct line to stand in, handing out menus or allowing anyone to sit down without their entire party. When I went to find a table I was stopped by the wait staff and I tried to explain I needed to sit down that I could not stand for long periods of time. He kept reiterating the line, “You need to have your party and your food with you.” He could not hear my needs. I sent my daughter back to get my other half out of line and tell her we needed to leave because I didn’t feel well, it was a really warm day, I had to sit down and couldn’t wait the 20 – 30 minutes while she was in line.
I started to exit the restaurant when I looked over and there was a line person holding up the rest of my party telling them they needed to go through the exit not the way they came in. They looked up and could see me 5 feet away and said, “She is right there. We need to get to her and know she is okay.” The man started getting in her face and told her “No. You need to go through the exit. Do I need to call security?” “Why, yes please do.” was the answer. He ended up letting her go as the rest of the wait staff kind of snickered at him. The one young man closest to the door who had made a move to open the door and let her out before the other man stopped her just kind of shook his head.
The whole situation could have easily been avoided if they had taken the lead of the Columbia Harbour House. We headed over there right after and the same situation was handled very differently. As we entered the Columbia Harbour House the greeter at the door handed us a menu and said we could make our choices as we would be moving inside in just a moment when some space opened up. I explained that I could not stand very long and she asked if I could just wait a few moments and then when the rest of our party entered I could find a seat and wait for them. No problem. Already, a totally different experience than Pecos Bill’s.
As we entered the restaurant we were guided to a line to place our order and the greeter told the wait person that I needed to go sit down and he suggested I try the far room or upstairs. While I went to sit down my party ordered. We have a gluten-free order so rather than having us all wait for the food they gave us a pager to let us know when it would be done.
I love the Anchors Aweigh Sandwich with homemade chips. I always feel that I am eating something different rather than the usual counter service fare of fried fish, fried chicken nuggets and hamburgers. If you look and plan carefully there are always really great places to find different things to eat at Walt Disney World.
This was my son’s gluten-free Garden Harvest Salad. He liked it very much but wished it had been served on a slightly larger plate to made cutting the chicken and salad a bit easier. He was surprised at how filling it really was. When he first saw the plate I could tell he was a bit disappointed. As a 12 year-old boy he thought he would need more food but in the end the drink, salad with chicken and chocolate chip cookies were plenty.
My partner ordered the Fried Shrimp Platter with Broccoli. She liked the shrimp but LOVED the broccoli. She split part of it with our son. We all believe because fresh fruits and vegetables are available at Walt Disney World but are not plentiful such a large serving of broccoli was perfect. You can substitute the fries if you wish but the broccoli was the first thing everyone was reaching for around the table!
Lastly my daughter ordered the Fish and Chicken Nugget Platter. There was a ton of food on that plate that she and I could easily have split. We think next time we may order three instead of four meals and split some of the dishes. There were lots of fries and chips left as we had already had too many of those during our vacation.
We love the Columbia Harbour House Restaurant and make it a regular stop on our vacation to Walt Disney World.
Also, as an end note after lunch we headed out of the park and stopped at Guest Services and made sure to praise Columbia Harbour House and how well they handled everything and explained that Pecos Bill’s needed to look at their model and see what they could copy. The manager was very nice, listened and apologized for any inconvenience and said he would mention this to both managers. We feel very strongly about making sure management hears good stories as well as not so nice ones. If you take the time to stop and complain also make the time from time to time to stop and give an employee praise to their management team.