Welcome to those of you joining me from A Glass Slipper Vacation and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the Final stop on our Magical Blogorail
I grew up believing in a West of wide open spaces, untamed frontiers, and determined innovators. The America of my childhood stories was a place where stubbornness and innovation were a way of life, excitement lurked just around the next rattlesnake, and the taller the tale, the better the adventure. Westerns were a staple in our house, and among my favorite storybooks was a chunky, hard-backed volume entitled “Walt Disney American Folklore” that I had inherited from my brother.
In the pages of that book, I met the heroes of America’s tallest tales from Johnny Appleseed to Mike Fink to Paul Bunyan and his blue ox, Babe. I loved those stories, and the illustrations gracing the pages set indelibly in my mind what those cowboys and Native Americans, heroes and scoundrels looked like. Long before I got to see the animated Melody Time episodes that served as the basis for the storybook, I had devoured those tales and made them a part of my concept of “America” and the “Wild West” that was filled with the glorious, romantic impossible.
That love affair with America, or at least the dream of America the Adventurous, is something I can say I share with Walt. Walt loved the idea of the American Frontier and all of the things it represented. That love came through in his animation and film making, but it crystallized in the streets of Frontierland in the Disney theme parks. Frontierland, like the rest of Disney’s parks, is a place dedicated to telling stories, and it is a place that unabashedly celebrates the ideal of the wild west and the wildest heroes to grace its legends.
The homage to those great American tall tales is no small part of the reason that Pecos Bill’s Tall Tale Inn and Cafe remains one of my favorite counter service dining spots on Walt Disney World property. Other counter service options may offer more exotic fare, but no other place embodies America’s folk tale tradition and capitalizes on our love of personalization and choice as well as Pecos Bill’s.
Stationed at the far end of Frontierland, occupying the corner that transitions from the wild west into the wilds of the Caribbean (a shift echoed in the changing decor of the restaurant’s seating areas), Pecos Bill’s offers guests a simple, staple menu of barbeque and burgers. Although it does feature a veggie burger and several salad options, the counter service specializes in…well…burgers, and not just burgers, but burgers with “fixin’s.” Opposite the interactive ordering area, Pecos Bill’s offers a rather impressive “Fixin’s Bar” which offers guests everything from onions to jalapenos to plastic nacho cheese with which to “plus” their burger.
Healthy Pecos Bill’s may not be, but the lure of the fixin’s bar is undeniable. There’s something fun and, well, downright American about being able to do anything and everything your heart desires to your burger. The burgers at Pecos Bill’s are nothing to write home about, but the chance to try all the potential combinations of toppings…now that’s irresistable.
Beyond the food, however, Pecos Bill’s is worth a stop in its own right if you know and love the tall tales that the establishment commemorates (it is the “Tall Tale Inn”). Although few guests take the time, a quick stroll around the ordering area reveals a wealth of memorabilia all honoring the American folklore commemorated in Melody Time and beyond. From John Henry’s hammer to Slue Foot Sue’s gloves to Davy Crockett’s powder horn and (my personal favorite) Paul Bunyan’s axe, the decor at Pecos Bill’s is a tribute to the exaggerations and tall tales that framed the frontier.
Whether or not you’re up for a burger, duck in to Pecos Bill’s next time you visit the Magic Kingdom and walk around the entry room, reading the plaques and seeing how many of those great American folk heroes you remember. Take the time to step beyond the United States of history and into the America of adventure and legend, a place where heroism and tragedy played on a grand scale. Tell those tales again and, at least for the moments you spend in the cafe, remember the courage, overconfidence, and superhuman skills that defined those American folk tales and the men who told them.
Oh, and don’t be too ashamed if that fixin’s bar tempts you into a burger while you’re at it…
Thank you for joining Magical Blogorail Orange this month. Our next loop will be in August with an all new theme. Keep checking in with our blogs in between loops to keep up to date with our Disney info, photos and stories. If you are looking for more Disney magic, you can make your way over to The Magical Blogorail website to see all our members and their blogs, as well as all our previous loops.
Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Loop should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard
1st Stop ~ Focused on the Magic
2nd Stop ~ Heidi’s Head
3rd Stop ~ Disney on Wheels
4th Stop ~ A Glass Slipper Vacation
Final Stop ~ Your Highway in the Sky (You are here)