Photo Examiner.com/Copyright Peggy MacDonald.On busy days, midday lines at counter service restaurants in the Magic Kingdom can stretch out the door. Next time, don't fight the crowds. Instead, head over to one of the monorail resorts; you don’t need to be a guest to visit, shop or eat. Located just minutes away by monorail from the Magic Kingdom, counter service locations at the Contemporary, The Polynesian, and the Grand Floridian resorts are less crowded during the day because guests are in the park, so they’re an excellent place to cool off, relax, and have a quick lunch. Here’s a sampling:
Contempo Café: Located in the Contemporary Resort, it’s the first stop on the resort monorail after you leave the park. If you want, you can even walk over there. Salads, flatbreads, and sandwiches that are a step up from what you’ll find in the park. Try the smoked turkey with brie and apple butter.
Captain Cook’s: Located in the Polynesian Resort, the third stop on the resort monorail as you leave the Magic Kingdom (right after the Transportation and Ticket Center). Sandwiches, pasta dishes, and stir fries. Quality food that gets consistently good marks.
Gasparilla Grill. The last stop on the resort monorail from the Magic Kingdom, Gasparilla’s is located in the Grand Floridian across from the marina. Serving sandwiches and other quick meals similar to what you’ll find in the parks, you can take your meal outside to one of the tables near the marina and eat there if you like.