Sunday Brunch - Setting
Sail to Better Dining Adventures at Columbia Harbour House
26 August 2012
From the gothic, foreboding colonial manor to the
revolutionary tavern by the lantern lit Liberty Tree, the historic
Liberty Square tells the story of a new country where freedom is
king. That first step to freedom was actually on the waves of the
Atlantic, when the first settlers, sea farers, traders, and more
sailed the seas. These ships and other famous nautical vessels are
honored at the Columbia Harbour House in Liberty Square. Vintage
park maps have the restaurant set to be called the Nantucket Harbour
House, though with park opening, the restaurant was given a
different name, most likely to honor the great Columbia Rediviva,
the first American ship to circumnavigate the world. A full scale
replica of the Sailing Ship Columbia sails the Rivers of America at
The atmosphere of the Harbour House
is nautical with portraits of sailing ships, displays of knots,
dublooms, and so much more. The main theme is as if you're in a
house designed like the inside of a sailing ship. This helps since
the Harbour House is in a tiny portion of the already small Liberty
Square, so the design's theme helps with practicality as there are
two floors for dining. The counter looks like a ship's galley, with
dishes on shelves and jugs hanging in nets from the ceiling.
The dining area to the right of the counter on the
first floor is decorated more simply, with barely decorated, white
board walls and a scattering of tables and benches make it seem like
the quarters and mess hall below deck. The second floor really takes
the theming up a notch, with pieces from sailing ships and the more
elegant upper decks of a sailing ship. One portion of the dining
room ' which happens to be over the walkway from Liberty Square to
Fantasyland 'is made to look like the captain's cabin with curtain
windows, carpeting, and timbers holding up the ceiling of the ship.
Captain's Cabin with our very own Brent Dodge and Amanda W.
Counter ordering area below deck in the galley
Saturday Matinee Albert G 'steers' the ship with his face.
Set as a seaside house to feed hungry seafarers, the
Columbia Harbour House serves chicken, seafood, sandwiches, and
salads to Magic Kingdom guests for lunch and dinner. In earlier
days, I recall that the restaurant served such seafood as battered
fried fish and tuna sandwiches. Around the end of the summer 2011,
the menu was revamped to offer more seafood entrees, a move that
contributed significantly to upgrading the quality of quick service
meals at Walt Disney World.
This sign visually indicates that both chicken and seafood are
served at the Harbour House
The extensive new menu
The seafood entrees are baskets of fried fish or
fried shrimp, a grilled salmon dish, and a Lobster Roll sandwich.
The fried shrimp comes with coleslaw and a choice of apple slices,
steamed fresh broccoli, or French fries. The fried fish also comes
with one of the three choice sides. When the menu first changed,
guests could get a combination basket of the two, but on my most
recent meal there, this option was not available.
Fried shrimp basket, my brother opted for more French fries over the
The grilled salmon is my favorite of the new
additions to the menu. The salmon is grilled well and full of flavor
from a light marinade. You get quite a fair portion size and also
two sides: steamed fresh broccoli and couscous, a grain lightly
seasoned mixed with minced vegetables. Out of all the new entrees,
this dish definitely elevates the quality of food one normally does
not expect at a quick service location.
The two sandwiches offered are both served on
toasted multigrain bread and come with Potato Chips. The Lighthouse
Sandwich contains hummus, tomato, and broccoli slaw. The Anchors
Aweigh Sandwich has white tuna, lettuce, and tomato. The chicken
entrees available are the Broccoli Peppercorn salad (mixed greens,
garden vegetables, chicken, broccoli, bacon, and parmesan tossed
with a creamy peppercorn dressing) and the standard Walt Disney
World chicken nuggets. The chicken comes with a choice of steamed
fresh broccoli, apple slices, or French fries. My most recent meal
there, I noticed the shrimp and fish basket missing, but in its
place there was the option for a fried fish and chicken basket. With
that, you get two pieces of fried fish and four chicken nuggets.
In addition to the entrees, soups and side items
help contribute to the nautical and New England Harbour theme of the
restaurant. The most obvious choice, New England Clam Chowder is
offered as well as a Vegetarian Chili. Side items include all the
sides that come with the entrees (Steamed fresh broccoli, Couscous,
French Fries, and Coleslaw), with Apple Crisp, Chocolate Cake, and
Strawberry Yogurt for dessert.
New England Clam Chowder with oyster crackers and chives
The combination of an incredibly detailed dining
area and aptly themed menu make Columbia Harbour House one of the
most well themed quick service restaurants in all of Walt Disney
World, and easily a guest favorite. The one thing to note with the
restaurant is that sometimes it closes earlier before the park does,
so make sure to check the Times Guide or with a cast member. The
food is definitely one of the star players in my overall evaluation
of the upgraded quick service at the resort and still it offers the
expected park food some guests are looking for.