Review: Disney’s Columbia Harbour House

by Gray Cargill on June 10, 2009

Columbia Harbour House

Columbia Harbour House

So far, all my reviews from my trip to Disney World have been pretty positive.  But as we all know, nothing is perfect, not even Disney.  So I thought it was about time I examined something I found less than perfect on my trip.  I have mentioned before that I’m not a huge fan of Disney’s counter service restaurants, and this trip really didn’t change that opinion.  My first counter service meal was dinner at Columbia Harbour House at the Magic Kingdom.  I’d read the menu at and decided the Lighthouse Sandwich sounded terrific (and healthy).  Here’s what I thought of the restaurant:

The Pros

  • The restaurant was pretty empty around 5pm when I got there. No waiting in line, no waiting for a seat.
  • The lighthouse sandwich was as delicious as I hoped it would be.  It’s made with whole grain bread and consists of broccoli slaw, tomato and hummus.
  • The restaurant (including the bathroom) was clean.

The Cons

  • The Lighthouse Sandwich, side of apple slices, and an iced tea came to $11, which would have been expensive even if I had actually received the apple slices I paid for, which I didn’t.  By the time I realized they never gave them to me, it was too late to schlep back to the counter and ask for them.
  • The sandwich was a bit sloppy, which required many napkins.
  • I was made to feel rushed to get out of there, which baffled me, since the restaurant was almost empty and it was only 5pm.  One of the cast members came along and asked for my tray shortly after I sat down, even though there was no one waiting for it. I had hoped to spend some time resting in the A/C there, but this cast member was hovering around sweeping the floor and acting as if I had shown up five minutes before closing time.  The whole experience was very weird.
Lighthouse Sandwich

Lighthouse Sandwich

Upshot:  Overlooking the weird behavior of the staff, the sandwich was good, so it wasn’t a horrible experience, but man, I wish the prices were more in line with the quality and quantity of food and service provided.  If Disney can do table service food so well, why can’t they do counter service food better?  And if they can’t, then why don’t they just lease space to someone who can (Quiznos, Subway, Chipolte, etc.)?

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