Theme Park of the Day: Knott's Berry Farm

Vote of the week: Where to eat lunch at a theme park?

November 12, 2010, 10:46 AM · Let's say it's lunchtime... at your favorite theme park. You're hungry. So what are you going to do?

Eat something such as this?

Cedar-planked salmon at Universal's Mythos Restaurtant

Or this?

Bratwurst at Disneyland's Troubadour Tavern

Or this?

Funnel cake, from Dollywood

What type of restaurant is your favorite place to eat during the day at a theme park? That's our vote of the week.

In the comments, please tell us what's your favorite theme park restaurant, and why. Have a great weekend, and thanks for reading Theme Park Insider!

Replies (24)

November 12, 2010 at 10:58 AM · I don't bother with that bland overpriced food in the park. I just get my hand stamped and prepare my lunch in my car and heat it if I need to in the microwave oven that I've set up.
November 12, 2010 at 11:02 AM · Well we play hard when we visit the parks and allow ourselves to be pampered when we finally decide to grab a bite to eat. My husband and I are kind of food snobs and the traditional "theme park" cuisine is not really appealing to either of us. Breaking up the rides with new & exciting places to eat really made the vacation special for my husband. Just a few of our favorites were...Yak & Yeti, Mythos, Tchop Chop, well I could go on and on.
November 12, 2010 at 11:10 AM · Definately counter service. It's a quick thing to eat at the theme parks and then you can continue on. Leave the character and sit down dining for dinner!
November 12, 2010 at 11:28 AM · when were last at universal in orlando, we got meal deals and stopped at differant places, and sharde the food between us, works out cheaper, yours michelle.
November 12, 2010 at 11:32 AM · Table service for dinner please!

Though it depends, EPCOT is all table service for me!

November 12, 2010 at 11:33 AM · While most theme park food does seem "bland and overpriced"... I definitely say PAMPER yourself when it comes to the food.
Although I'm not much of a sit-down restaurant person (maybe once in a while) I LOVE looking for a counter-service that delivers something different than a burger and fries. Come on, you're in FREAKIN' vacation!!!! Why would you try and eat something that you can everyday???? ARGGH i'm getting emotional (OH NO!!) I'm all for saving money, but at least let the theme park transport you to a place where you don't eat your typical bagged lunch.

Like-- Smokehouse (Busch Gardens) Tangierine Cafe (Epcot)

November 12, 2010 at 12:36 PM · Pecos Bill Cafe - Muetti loves the double bacon cheeseburger! YUM!
November 12, 2010 at 12:44 PM · For lunch, I'm currently craving some fish n' chips and a Butterbeer from the Three Broomsticks at Islands of Adventure.

The turkey from Plymouth Rock Cafe at Holiday World would be my second choice.

I'm also a big fan of the salmon at Mythos and at Legoland California's Sports Cafe. And the tofu yellow curry from Lucky Fortune Cookery at Disney California Adventure.

Must. Stop. Typing. Now. I'm beginning to drool on my keyboard.

November 12, 2010 at 12:53 PM · I'm diabetic, but I have been remiss in the past as far as eating at parks goes. I wouuld often forgo food while in the park in favor of riding more coasters. I'd eat breakfast beforehand and hit someplace when I left the park. But since I'm often there open-close, that's not best.

So this year, I resolved to do things differently. If I was gonna be at a park all day, I made sure..except once, at Darien Lake...that I ate during the day. If I'm away, I'll rarely eat IN the park. I'm more inclined to leave in the afternoon and hit a local Friendlys or fast food joint..always easy to find (well, not at Holiday World, Darien Lake or Knoebels!) Worst case scenario, I'll find something in the park. If I'm going to Great Adventure, I may bring sandwiches in a cooler.

As far as the vote goes, I voted the heck with food..give me more rides (based, of course, on the voting options..but that funnel cake looked pretty damn appetizing, Robert!)

November 12, 2010 at 1:38 PM · At Universal Studios Hollywood, my favorite place to eat is the Flintstone's grill. It's a true outdoor charcoal fired grill where they turn out some awesome 100% Angus beef burgers, chicken, corn on the cob and turkey drumsticks. My favorite meal is the grilled cheeseburger, grilled corn on the cob and an order of their fresh made potato chips -- sweet and salty and a wonderful crunch. Just perfect!
November 12, 2010 at 1:41 PM · The Festhause at Busch Gardens, Europe in VA. Great German food. Great Desrts and refreshments and terrific entertainment.
November 12, 2010 at 1:53 PM · I always pack a lunch or eat a big breakfast and go back to the room for lunch in the afternoon. The lunches I make give me the energy to dominate the park, plus I don't feel lethargic like I do when I eat fried food. I splurge on a late-night table service dinner.
November 12, 2010 at 2:07 PM · If the park has a defining, stand-out, table service (non-buffet) restaurant, I am all in. However, I am not opposed to counter service at all as long as the prices are right, the food is good, and the tables are in an air conditioned building.

Incidentally, I do not mind paying a little extra (take note, Disney, I said "a little extra") if the quality is there as well. But, I absolutely hate paying high prices for food that is a step down from McDonald's (everything at SFSTL and Worlds of Fun - except for All Stars Grill which is actually pretty good).

Some of my favorite table service joints: Tokyo Dining (Epcot), Plaza Restaurant (Magic Kingdom), Blue Bayou (DL), and Mythos (IOA).

Sadly, Missouri's best theme park, Silver Dollar City, does not have a table service restaurant. The food at SDC is mostly excellent, but I would love to see them add true table service dining in the future.

November 12, 2010 at 2:58 PM · Table service; I'm in a wheelchair, so it is easier for me. Also, I find the counter-service food at theme parks to be junk. It's more expensive but worth it.
November 12, 2010 at 3:25 PM · Electric Umbrella in warm weather - refillable drinks! The Caesar salads used to be pretty good, although last time we went a couple of weeks ago, the salads were smaller.
November 12, 2010 at 4:05 PM · It depends on my budget what i eat for lunch. Pizza is always good (Pizza Planet) hollywood studios. I like the Sci-Fi drive in for sit down at the studios for lunch. Libery Tavern a magic kingdom. The Buffet at Animal kingdom.and the Living Seas at Epcot for lunch are all pretty decent food.
November 12, 2010 at 4:43 PM · Much depends on the theme park. At Disney, we always eat there, and usually will have a counter service for lunch and a full service for dinner. Some of my favorite counter services are.. at Magic Kingdom: Pecos Bills, At Epcot- Seasons in The Land or Yakitori House in Japan, at Hollywood Studios- Farefax Fare, at Disney's Animal Kingdom- Flametree BBQ.

If you want to save money and have an easier time of getting a last minute full service experience, try to make your main meal lunch, and try to eat at off times, like before noon or after 2:30.

November 12, 2010 at 9:57 PM · Sixflags greatadventure I always go to I always get counter sevice food cause you can walk around with it and you do not have to sit at a table with it. THe only time I ever go inside for lunch is if it is a hundred degrees out and looking for ac which most resturants do have in the parks
November 12, 2010 at 10:30 PM · I voted counter service. To me is mostly about price althogh I agree with Pyra in the sense about trying to do something different. I don't agree at all with "snobby foot eater" Anon.- Is about something different, but for my money being in the park already, in another country is something different enough!

I would like to check some of the different foods around if I was able but price is important if I want to go eat something nice I'll go to a restaurant. It doesn't have to be in the park. Plus unlike a lot of people that come here we actually have vacations. You know the 2 or 3 week vacations... Not the long weekend 3 or 4 day vacation a lot of people do, and seem to cherish and love. You know the we'll do Disney's 4 parks in 3 days and don't even have time to look at the Universal's brochure vacation. Is easier to do a table restaurant when budget only includes 5 days. But 15? Not that easy... It gets me really aggravated!! I don't consider 3 days a vacation!! Like Miss Pyra said, is supposed to be a Vacation...


November 13, 2010 at 4:01 AM · Ann already mentioned 2 of my faves:The LIberty Tavern at MK and the Sci-Fi Diner.

But my all time numero uno, as if I haven't said it before, is the Flame Tree BBQ at AK.

November 13, 2010 at 1:59 PM · I love table service but, last time at Disneyland I didn't eat in the park. I went to Downtown Disney. The food is cheaper and better and just outside the park gates. Really recommend the Mexican Restaurant there, good nachos.
November 13, 2010 at 3:32 PM · I prefer to eat lunch at EPCOT. Even if I'm elsewhere, I'll still go eat lunch at EPCOT. And dinner. And breakfast the next morning (at the Land...)
November 14, 2010 at 11:06 PM · Flame Tree BBQ. All the way. 'nuff said.
November 15, 2010 at 9:34 PM · Counter service most of the time. But if it's a special occasion, sit down service is great! Well, most restaurants at least.

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