“Regal Eagle Smokehouse is now open for business at Epcot. The menu at the new Walt Disney World restaurant is barbecue-based; its theme is Muppet meets Americana.
The eatery replaces the Liberty Inn in the American Adventure pavilion on the World Showcase side of the park. Its opening comes as Electric Umbrella restaurant closed as part of the extensive Epcot renovation, which has included the demolition of Future World buildings, the addition of many construction walls and the planning of several attractions, including a “Guardians of the Galaxy” roller coaster, ride inspired by “Ratatouille” characters and a space-based restaurant.
Here are a few things we noticed on our first visit to Regal Eagle.
Regal Eagle has more patio seating than its predecessor, about 50 tables, some with sun-shielding umbrellas. They surround a new centerpiece that includes a smoker and other decor. In the Disney’s initial rendering, this area looked a bit like a walk-up bar, but that’s actually built into the building, a draw to passers-by. (The nearby Fife & Drum cabin, which has beer, turkey legs, etc., is still in place.)
Inside there’s new furniture, but it remains all hard, echo-happy surfaces. On the western wall, the right side as you enter the restaurant, there’s a barbecue contest theme, divided by regional specialties and decorated with trophies, first-place ribbons, BBQ tools and vintage pictures. An image of Sam Eagle, the ultrapatriotic Muppet, appears in the logo near the door.
Other Muppets are represented in the regions, and you might be surprised at the characters designated as “pitmasters.” Granted, I had given it zero thought ever, but I would not have guessed to see Gonzo, Rawlf and Janice as barbecuers.
For detail-oriented folks, there are proclamations with the wax seal of Sam Eagle. (OK, it gets weird here as Disney has suddenly started calling him Sam *the* Eagle, a la Kermit the Frog, bucking years of nomenclature and Wikipedia. Discuss.)
The ordering process is standard Disney fare with double-sided registers and the peek into the kitchen while waiting for food. There are pans and other cooking décor there and in the outside bar. Friendly reminder: mobile-ordering is your friend.
Also, the decorative fountain in the middle of the room, the one that foiled strollers and pedestrians alike? Gone.
Entrée choices are literally all over the place, including beef brisket sandwich (Texas), smoked half-chicken (Kansas City, Mo.), dry rub pork ribs (Memphis), smoked pork butt platter (North Carolina) and a smoke sausage sandwich (South Carolina). Those range from $11.49 to $15.99. There’s also an “American Platter” featuring three of those meats.
There’s also a salad (with chilled pulled chicken), a burger and a plant-based BBQ Jackfruit burger. The kids meals options include cheeseburgers, chicken salad, a barbecued chicken leg and a rib platter. Among the side: house-made pickles, macaroni and cheese, beer-battered onion rings, baked beans and French fries.
After paying, you get the food at the counter There’s another stop to fill up beverages and heavy-duty silverware. A range of self-serve sauces is in a different location. But don’t look for the napkin dispenser.
Paper towel rolls are on each table, inside and out.