Breakfast has never been my favorite meal to eat in Walt Disney World. I always leave too early for the parks and tell myself I’ll just buy something healthy once I get there, and then I end up passing a muffin cart and buying one, and it’s delicious and also provides me no good energy and leaves me feeling like a muffin: puffy, stout, and tired (muffins look tired, don’t they?).
My family recently visited Walt Disney World, heading to Hollywood Studios on the final day of our vacation. We were all feeling the burn after several days of theme-park levels of energy expenditure, which for the record amounted to (according to my Apple Watch) 11 to 12 miles per day of walking. By the last day, we were dragging. A muffin would have totally done me in.
I knew we needed some protein, which meant I needed to find us a hearty breakfast. To me, in the context of breakfast, “hearty” is synonymous with “eggs.” To achieve this, we ended up placing a mobile order at a place called Woody’s Lunch Box, which is nestled in the relatively new Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios, a very charming and colorful place that uses oversized toys to make humans feel like tiny play things. Structures made out of Tinker Toys and Uno cards are visually connected by giant holiday lights. It’s all very cute.
I ordered the Breakfast Bowl, described as “a hearty portion of Potato Barrels smothered in smoked brisket country gravy, scrambled eggs, and a sprinkling of green onions.”
As you can imagine, the word “hearty” stood out to me. As did the words “smoked brisket country gravy.” We arrived and told the mobile order gods that we were there and they should start preparing our food. In the meantime, my daughter and I stood next to a giant Babybel cheese. When I was a kid, there was a giant Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pie to climb on in the now-defunct Honey, I Shrunk The Kids: Movie Set Adventure playground. I would argue Oatmeal Cream Pies are in every way more exciting than Babybel cheese, but I digress.
The food arrived relatively quick and, after a scramble to find a table (and a bit of panic that we might not, as I held a tray of surprisingly heavy breakfast bowls in the hot, hot, hot sun), we sat down and I absentmindedly took a bite. I wasn’t expecting much. I was on day five of theme park food, a series of mostly mediocre meals. This Breakfast Bowl was, finally, something truly delicious.
Potato Barrels are what most of us would call tater tots, which at least in my universe tends to be more of a “buy it frozen and cook it at home” food than one I order at restaurants (sit-down dining is french fry territory). But when cooked in oil using industrial restaurant equipment, a tater tot is a marvelous thing. As is smoked brisket country gravy, evidently.
I live in Vermont, where both diners and gravy are abundant. I’m used to a hearty (there it is again, my favorite word) sausage gravy. This Disney World stuff was thin. And I don’t know what “smoked brisket” is supposed to mean in this description, because I swear it was smoked sausage. But I don’t care. It was delicious, just smokey enough and plenty salty.
Green onions, often little more than decoration, added to this dish a lot, and weirdly the scrambled eggs were a standout component as well: puffy, fluffy, “are these real?” scrambled eggs that, when you got them on a fork with a tater tot and some gravy, were just right.
Okay, so, I didn’t get a picture of the dish. I know! But it was hot and I was with kids and frankly I was eating very quickly because my food was delicious. But here’s a tweet from digital journalist Ashley Carter that shows the meal next to what I also did right after it, the Alien Swirling Saucers (I was fine!).
For what it’s worth, mine looked more like Parker’s dish in the above tweet than this press photo Disney apparently sent out in 2018 (also, it comes in a paper bowl, not a porcelain one as pictured in the press materials).
I left this breakfast, and my vacation, feeling inspired to incorporate this relatively simple, very delicious dish into my breakfast routine at home. Tater tots cook up great in the air fryer, scrambled eggs can be as ambitious or casual as you desire, and sausage gravy is easier to achieve when you’re actually looking for a thinner result. Green onions on top are a must.
Who knew that one of my best takeaways from a week at Disney World would be a practical bit of meal inspiration? It’s probably the least amount of money I’ve ever paid for a Disney souvenir.