REVIEW - Regal Eagle Smokehouse at Epcot's American Adventure Pavilion

Feb 21, 2020 in "Regal Eagle Smokehouse"

Regal Eagle Smokehouse food and drink

Epcot's latest eatery brings classic American barbecue to World Showcase, expanding on the popular kiosk that has been a staple of the Flower and Garden Festival for the last several years.

Regal Eagle Smokehouse takes the place of the former Liberty Inn, and adds an outdoor bar, more seating on the exterior, and a remodeled indoor dining room with a hint of a Muppet theme.

The story goes that Sam Eagle from the Muppets is hosting “Sam’s Centennial Cook-Off: A Salute to All Cook-Offs but Mostly Barbecue”. The contest brings a variety of classic backyard barbecue selections from across the country together to battle it out for Sam's top award.

You can look around the restaurant and see that some favorite muppets have taken part, including Janice, Gonzo and Rowlf. Many guests are not going to make any connection with the muppets, but for fans, it is a nice touch.

Starting inside, the dining room has undergone a complete makeover. New tables and chairs can be found throughout in a variety of groupings, including tables for two, four and banquet seating. Staying true to the somewhat messy BBQ roots, each table is equipped with paper towels on a roll - and there is even a wash basin should things get really messy.

Sadly the water feature that was in the center of the dining room has been removed to make way for more seating.

There are two beverage stations, offering a good range of Coca-Cola products, which is expected since Coca Cola are the sponsors of the restaurant. The drinks are self service and as such are refillable.

Another island offers a selection of four house-made BBQ sauces and ketchup, and great news for diners and the environment - silverware is metal.

The ordering setup is very similar to before and most other quick service locations at Walt Disney World. You can order at a Cast Member manned register, or use Mobile Order from My Disney Experience and stop off at the dedicated Mobile Order pickup window bypassing any queues at the registers.

Moving outside, seating is made up of benches surrounding a central smoker. Although not specifically part of the main kitchen, which houses two large-scale smokers, the show smoker outside will be in use.

The benches are equipped with umbrellas for some shade, along with the same paper towels holders as inside.

Also on the outside is a walk-up bar, offering a range of beer, hard cider, wine, and specialty cocktails. The bar is not accessible from inside the restaurant.

The Food at Regal Eagle Smokehouse

The culinary team at Regal Eagle have been keen to point out that they are serious about their BBQ and intend to offer the real deal to guests who dine there. The chicken is brined before being smoked, the brisket smokes for over 10 hours, and the beans have burnt ends added for that real BBQ flavor. View the full Regal Eagle Smokehouse menu.

We are pleased to report that from our visit on opening day that Regal Eagle moves straight to the top of our list when it comes to quick service food at Epcot, but it falls short of being the best BBQ at Walt Disney World.

The best value is the American Platter, which gives you the choice of three meats, a choice of side and a slice of garlic toast. It is priced at $18.99, and although not enough to really share, it is a great way to try three of the meats.

The chicken stood out as being very moist and flavorful, but the ribs were a little dry with very little meat on the bone. The brisket was good, similar to what you can find at the Polite Pig in Disney Springs, but fairly lean and as a result not the melt-in-your mouth variety that some prefer.

The Pork Butt Platter was a favorite - slightly fatty (in a good way) but very tender, and paired with the excellent NC Vinegar sauce.

The South Carolina Sausage Sandwich is another good choice, served with a tangy mustard sauce and onions.

A note about the house-made sauces - all four are excellent and go great with the fries or on-top any of the meats. Be sure to try them all.

Moving onto sides, the Mac and Cheese is a standout. Think real cheese, and not the plastic cheese sauce that you find at many quick service locations.

The baked beans with burnt ends is worthy of an order, but the fries, although seasoned, are nothing special and the portion is small for $5. The same can be said for the onion rings.

House made pickles are on offer, not fried, but still very good.

The coleslaw is described as creamy, but it isn’t the best you can find.

Both desserts are excellent - with the Banana Pudding perhaps edging into the lead.

Skip the watermelon, it is a tiny serving and for $4.99 is terrible value.

Specialty cocktails are new offering for the American Adventure Pavilion, and served outside it is a nice way to grab a drink with a meal or perhaps for firework viewing.

The Tennessee Lemonade is Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey with Odwalla Lemonade and Peach, priced at $14. It tastes very much like Lemonade with the tiniest hint of alcohol. Not unpleasant by any means, but not worth $14.

The Moonshine Sour is a favorite - sweet, and goes down very easily. Like the Lemonade, it is very slim on the alcohol content. Priced at $14 itis Ole Smoky Blackberry Moonshine, Blood Orange, Blackberry, Lemon.

Final Thoughts

There is no question that Regal Eagle Smokehouse is miles ahead of its predecessor. Gone are the re-fried frozen foods, and in their place comes some real barbecue that is well worth a visit. For any locals, it doesn’t reach the standard of Central Florida favorite 4 Rivers, but it gives the Polite Pig a run for its money and is a better option than the Flame Tree at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Just in case you are wondering, our pick of best BBQ at Walt Disney World goes to Disney Springs with Polite Pig and City Works - with the later serving a fantastic platter prepared in the on-site smoker.

The presentation of the food is very good for quick service, and it is great to see reusable trays being used, along with metal silverware.

Pricing is in-line with what you will find at other in-park quick service locations, with the entrees leaning slightly to the good value rating. The sides are over priced at $5 each for the portion size that you get, with the water melon dessert being the worst offender.

Despite some criticisms, Regal Eagle Smokehouse is for us the best quick service option in the park, and once the smoker starts up on the outside and floods the promenade with the aroma of smoking oak, be prepared to be tempted in for some BBQ!

Operating hours are 11:30am to 8:30pm daily, and the restaurant is on the Disney Dining Plan.

Click the gallery for more pictures of Epcot's Regal Eagle Smokehouse.

Discuss on the Forums
Article Posted: Feb 21, 2020 / 10:22am ET
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UNCgolfMar 09, 2020

Don't go in expecting some of the best BBQ you've ever had -- it's not at that level. It is quite excellent for Disney, though.

NunuMar 09, 2020

H and I were thinking of maybe sharing one of these, guess not! 🤔

HauntedPirateMar 09, 2020

Brisket sandwich was good. I like the garlic toast “bun”. The spicy mop sauce wasn’t too spicy, good flavor. We also liked the smokehouse sauce as well. The 3-meat platter was very disappointing. Small portions, too small for the price.

Texas84Mar 09, 2020

I've got to try Polite Pig one of these days.

zeedanMar 07, 2020

But how was the BEER?

Epcot82GuyMar 07, 2020

Man... Now I want Pig Floyds!!

UNCgolfMar 07, 2020

Yeah I know, but he didn't specify Disney owned; he just said at WDW -- most of the restaurants at Disney aren't operated by Disney anyways.

MrConbonMar 07, 2020

Same. Got the ribs at Docking Bay 7 once and they were just awful. It was all fat and rubbery.

Steph15251Mar 07, 2020

Depends how far out you want to go,4 rivers is great imo .

Steph15251Mar 07, 2020

Polite pig is much better but that is not owned by Disney ,it is owned by a local family in winter park ,they have a few other restaurants but those are table service.

UNCgolfMar 06, 2020

I don't know about that; EPCOT has some pretty good counter service in the World Showcase. Also there are several excellent counter service places at Disney Springs -- I will never believe Regal Eagle is anywhere near as good as Polite Pig for counter service BBQ unless I experience it myself. You may not be counting Disney Springs as part of WDW though if you meant just inside the parks themselves.

jaxonpMar 06, 2020

I’ve only been to docking bay twice and had gritty gross ribs. That could have been a one off and since everyone raves about it I’ll likely give it another go.

Texas84Mar 06, 2020

I'm comparing it to other WDW counter service. By that standard it's an A+. But yeah, I think I enjoyed Docking Bay 7 ribs more now that you mention it.

Tom MorrowMar 06, 2020

It was around 8:00 PM so perhaps I didn’t get the best example of it, but have you eaten at a legit, high rated bbq place before? I genuinely can't imagine Regal Eagle improving that much to where it could compete with one.