First, don't worry about being hungry when you make it back to the American Adventure pavilion for this barbecue restaurant. Because after all the extra steps you'll be walking through the Future World construction maze, you're sure to be hungry.
For me, walking into Epcot now is deja vu from visiting Disney California Adventure a decade ago, when Disney was rebuilding that park's entryway, too. Sure, it's extra steps and probably a different set-up every few days, but if Disney improves the Epcot entry half as much as it did California Adventure's, I think everyone will be quite happy with the result here.
Anyway, on to the food.
Regal Eagle serves a collection of regional barbecue from around the country, but if you don't want to commit to just one meat and sauce combination, go for the combo American Platter, with its selection of three available meats. I chose the ribs, brisket, chicken, plus baked beans with burnt ends for my side [$18.99].
My mom went with the North Carolina Chopped Smoked Pork Butt Platter, with onion rings [$12.49].
Honestly, I prefer barbecue without sauces, 'cause I want to taste the meat. As far as that meat goes, I'd rank 'em like this: ribs, pulled pork, chicken... and then the brisket. (We didn't try the sausage or the plant-based jackfruit burger.)
There's a touch of vinegar in the pork, but I hardly noticed the sweet "Kansas City" sauce on the chicken. The ribs were dry-rubbed and the clear highlight for me, with a nice bark and plenty of well-smoked meat.
The brisket, however, I'd avoid. I've been binging "The Chef Show" on Netflix and just finished the Aaron Franklin episodes, so I'll admit that I was walking in with ridiculously high expectations for a Texas brisket. But forget about queuing in Austin for a moment. There's better quick-service brisket than this in Orlando and even on Disney property. Stick with the pork or the chicken here, instead.
As for the sides, the onion rings were our top choice, though we were wishing we had tried the mac n' cheese, too. The beans oddly tasted more of mustard than brown sugar or ketchup and lacked the promised burnt ends. My mom had tried the coleslaw on a previous visit and turned a thumbs down on that, too. But we both enjoyed the garlic toast.
If I'm craving a quick and easy barbecue platter in Orlando, especially some brisket, I'm still driving to a 4 Rivers Smokehouse rather than making the trek through Epcot. And if I am confined to Disney property, I'd recommend The Polite Pig in Disney Springs for better overall quality. But the Regal Eagle does step up from the Liberty Inn it replaced, so it's not like this is a loss for Disney. A barbecue restaurant was the perfect choice for an American pavilion restaurant, and Regal Eagle delivers some fine options.
Now if Disney would just step it up with the brisket, it could be great.Tweet
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