Quick Service Dining at the Magic Kingdomby Roan Poulter, contributing writer
I have been reviewing Disney restaurants for the past eighteen months. In that time, I have spent a great deal of time in the parks. For our reviews we try to dine at traditional restaurants, however there are a few hidden gems that serve limited items or hours that don't really fall into the restaurant category. The Magic Kingdom's limited number of quality restaurants brings this issue into sharp focus. Sleepy Hollow Inn is our hands down favorite concession stand in the Magic Kingdom, when properly combined with Gaston's Tavern and Friar's Nook. And be not fooled, based on hours and availability these are indeed concession stands.
Sleepy Hollow Inn
Sleepy Hollow Inn almost qualifies as a restaurant, but technically it's a concession stand. Located in the Liberty Square area of the Magic Kingdom, this is the house of waffle creation and funnel cake dreams. When you approach, there is an order side and a pick-up side, much improved from the old two-sided order/pickup system that often had vastly different wait times.
From the order station it becomes apparent why this is a superior dining option; the food is made fresh before your eyes. No food trucks rolling from the Central Kitchen in Timbuktu, these waffles aren't poured until you order. For anyone who knows the difference between a fresh churro and one that's been shipped across the park, the difference is immense.
Sweet and Spicy Chicken Waffle Sandwich – A battered and fried chicken breast wrapped inside a fresh waffle with fresh coleslaw and a sweet and spicy sauce. This dish is easily the best counter service sandwich in the Magic Kingdom (including the lobster roll from Columbia Harbour House). If there is any possible downside to this sandwich, it is only the fading memory of the ham and cheese waffle sandwich that used to sit next to it on the menu.
Fresh Fruit Waffle Sandwich served with Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread – Craving something sweet, but with enough gluten to power you through your day? The fresh waffle sets the perfect soft and warm wrapper for a generous helping of sweet and delectable fruit. Hazelnut spread helps hold the fruit in place and gives an extra punch of sweetness and complexity that ranks this treat as a top sweet.
Hand-dipped Corn Dog – If you have lived in a world darkened to the joys of the Little Red Wagon, rejoice. Hand battered corn dogs are the ultimate guilty pleasure. I will say that for my money there is nowhere better than the Little Red Wagon in Disneyland, but this is close enough.
Gaston's Tavern is smack dab in the midst of Fantasyland. The visuals of the dining room are amazing, however on a busy day the wait for a table can be ridiculous.
Ham and Cheese-stuffed Pretzel with a Le Fou's Brew – Certainly not the healthiest of treats, but well worth the investment. This pretzel has just the perfect amount of ham and cheese in it—ample. It needs a smattering of mustard for true appreciation, but appreciate it you must. A Le Fou's Brew is an apple juice Slurpee with a mango marshmallow foam. On a hot day it's the best possible way to suffer a brain freeze.
Friar's Nook is truly an easily overlooked gem. Though we only like one dish, it's worth the walk.
Barbecue Chicken Mac & Cheese - This dish is Friar's Nook's specialty. A generous helping of creamy mac and cheese is topped with generously-sauced, shredded barbecue chicken. This dish is best split, so as not to overload your pleasure centers. Finding the right amount of chicken to macaroni is an existential crisis worth investigating over and over.
Dad (42): 4.7 of 5 Really if I were to complain about Sleepy Hollow, Friar's Nook and Gaston's Tavern it would only be that the hours and selection seem to be in constant flux. One day you can't get the Prosciutto and Swiss on a pretzel bun, only a hot dog in pretzel bun, or the disappearance of all savory sandwiches for a couple of months. Don't get me started on the loss of our beloved pork shank. Everything I have had here was amazing, I wish The Magic Kingdom would learn something from Sleepy Hollow in particular; it's awful hard to beat freshly made food.
Mom (42): 4.3 of 5 – Don't look for gluten free or healthy options here. But if you're looking for something delicious and sweet, this is a great spot
Daughter (19): 3.6 of 5 – The waffle sandwich has too much sweetness in the waffle, giving the whole thing a sandwich dipped in sugar effect. The funnel cakes are amazing.
Son (17): 5 of 5 – Quite simply put, perfection. I would eat here every day if I could.