Columbia Harbour House in the Magic Kingdom's Liberty Square

On a recent visit to the Magic Kingdom it was about 3 p.m. when I realized (1) I was starving and (2) I wasn't going to get anywhere near Casey's because Main Street was a mass of humanity thanks to the parade. As disappointed as I was to not be eating corn dog nuggets and fries with cheese, I had another less hectic location in mind. So, in an attempt to avoid the crowds my friend and I headed through the castle, walked past the very long lines at Peter Pan's Flight and it's a small world, turned the corner and then it hit us. The lovely smell of fried food coming from the Columbia Harbour House.

Harbour House SignHarbour House Sign

You can't miss it really - on any given day you can guarantee walking right into that wall of fried food aroma. It lures you in just like the bells being rung by the cast members standing out in front of the restaurant. Actually, it's much more effective than those dinner bells, but I digress.

The first thing you notice when you walk into Columbia Harbour House is how big it is inside. From the outside it looks deceptively small, but it's actually a two-story restaurant. And that is what makes it so special in my book.

The Columbia Harbour House doesn't have the self-service kiosks like some of the other Magic Kingdom counter service restaurants, so you still get to talk to a cast member to place your order. It took me a few minutes of internal debate (fried fish or lobster roll?) before placing my order.

Ordering AreaOrdering Area

I was beyond starving at this point, so I went with the fried fish and French fries. Go big or go home right? While the lobster roll looked good (and I have yet to ever try a lobster roll!), I just couldn't resist fried food.

Now, I'm going to tell you quickly that the food at Columbia Harbour House is good. Really good. The fish was hot out of the fryer - crispy and just delicious. And the fries were pretty spectacular too.

However, as much as I love the food, I want to tell you why I really love Columbia Harbour House - the dining rooms. Specifically the upstairs dining rooms. Yes, I'm spilling a secret to you right now... when you're eating at Columbia Harbour House, go upstairs! It usually empty (I don't know if many people realize there IS an upstairs) and if you're lucky enough to grab a seat by a window, it's a lovely place to people watch.

Upstairs SeatingUpstairs Seating

My friend and I were the only people sitting in the front dining room area upstairs and had a great view of the queue for The Haunted Mansion, the Liberty Belle Riverboat, and the throngs of guests wandering past. It was the absolute perfect place to enjoy a good lunch, chat, and people watch.

So the next time you're looking for a really good, quick meal in a quaint colonial inn, be sure to check out Columbia Harbour House. Be sure to sit upstairs and enjoy a little quiet time. But it will be our little secret, right?

Thanks so much to our friends over at the Disney Food Blog for exclusive use of their images, and to Traci C. for sharing her Columbia Harbour House secrets with us! Do you enjoy the food at this Magic Kingdom staple? What's your favorite menu item? Leave a comment and let us know below!

Poppet wrote on Mon, 04/01/2013 - 14:01:

It is huge upstairs. Our last month's trip we made a point to eat here. It is amazing! The decor makes you feel like you've stepped into a chapter of "Moby Dick". My husband and son absolutely loved it and the food was good. For some reason we've always missed this gem but not anymore. We will make a point of eating here for future trips to MK.

finngirl wrote on Mon, 04/01/2013 - 16:23:

finngirl's picture

We tried CHH for the first time last year, and it is now on our "must do" list. We also went upstairs, and the peace and quiet was heaven. The downstairs seating area was just jammed, and yet upstairs, there were only a few people. Plus they have a condiments bar upstairs too.

Hubby had the shrimp basket, and I had the tuna sandwich. Both were excellent, and we are planning on eating there again in May.

Cindy wrote on Mon, 04/01/2013 - 17:15:

Cindy's picture

It's always one of my family's food stops at the Magic Kingdom. We are always recommending it, I'm so surprised why no one knows about it but once they go their hooked! Love the tuna fish sandwich and the newer broccoli peppercorn chicken salad.

crazycatperson wrote on Mon, 04/01/2013 - 17:26:

crazycatperson's picture

I love the shrimp basket and hubby enjoyed the fish.

We've never gone upstairs - we've always eaten there early, before the crowds hit, and had our picks of the tables downstairs.

Stephanie Schermerhorn wrote on Tue, 04/02/2013 - 03:12:

Stephanie Schermerhorn's picture

The lobster roll is really good, try it next time. When we go in June I'll see about sitting upstairs for lunch.

J wrote on Tue, 04/02/2013 - 14:58:

J's picture

Love this place as the upstairs is a nice option (though sometimes I could do without the bell ringer). It certainly proves that fired food may not be a healthy choice, but it is a yummy one.

V No Privacy wrote on Tue, 04/02/2013 - 18:27:

V No Privacy's picture

Maybe it's good you went with the fried fish. While I'm sure the lobster roll is good - your first should be authentic, from a good spot up north! Then enjoy Disney's version!

Kristen K. wrote on Wed, 04/03/2013 - 00:53:

Kristen K.'s picture

I'm thrilled to hear that so many people enjoy this spot!

taratru wrote on Wed, 04/03/2013 - 03:12:

taratru's picture

I've never eaten there, because I always thought it was just fried fish. I'll put it on our list of places to eat the next trip!

NurseMinnie wrote on Thu, 04/04/2013 - 05:52:

NurseMinnie's picture

Being from New England, I agree, your first "lobstah roll" should be from up here! Otherwise, and I consider myself to be quite the lobster connoisseur, the one at CHH wasn't too bad. The salmon was delicious in January as well, I hope they have it in May when I go back! Also, love the upstairs seating- it's quiet, out of the way, and a great place to sit and people watch in air conditioned comfort whilst sipping on iced tea!

Traci S. wrote on Thu, 04/04/2013 - 19:52:

Traci S.'s picture

My husband & I ate here in February and sat upstairs. It was very enjoyable, a quiet respite. He had the lobster roll and I got the salmon with the couscous. He enjoyed the lobster roll, but wished he'd gotten the salmon as well after he saw my meal!

Tara2373 wrote on Sun, 04/07/2013 - 00:53:

Tara2373's picture

This is our favorite restaurant within The Magic Kingdom! We LOVE the tuna sandwiches! As soon as we exit the Haunted Mansion, it's Columbia Harbour House time. :)

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