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Saturday, February 10, 2024

Disney World’s New Food Truck is a Step Up

 by Beth Keating



February 10, 2024


We’ve been coming to Disney World for decades, and had never set foot inside of Big River Grille & Brewing Works at Disney’s BoardWalk Resort – until late December of this past year, just a few weeks before the restaurant’s unexpected and sudden closure in January.  To be honest, we weren’t heartbroken at the news, since the burger platters we’d eaten at Big River, part of a national chain, were just average. Other Disney guests were just as nonplussed at the closure news. The working microbrewery did fill a certain food slot on the boardwalk, however, so its absence will be missed in that regard.

On the other hand, the news that Disney was replacing the restaurant, however temporarily, with a rotating selection of FOOD TRUCKS(!) was met with a degree of skepticism. The BoardWalk area is a valuable piece of real estate that is surprisingly already in a bit of a food desert, with the loss of the former ESPN Club, The Cake Bake Shop still under construction, and the Blue Ribbon Corn Dogs stand not open yet. Several of the other existing restaurants aren’t open at lunchtime.  If you have a ticket to EPCOT, no problem, you have lots of options, but if you aren’t EPCOT bound, your choices are a bit more limited throughout the day. You’ll most likely be eating at the BoardWalk Deli.


On a trip to the BoardWalk this week, we decided to give the food trucks a try. On the afternoon we arrived, it happened to be the “APP’S” food truck.  We were pleasantly surprised by the visit to this Colombian-American style food truck, and decided that the selections were actually a step up from the prior Big River Grille.  In fact, we enjoyed the options we tried at App’s more than some of the selections we’d previously sampled at the Arts Festival booths, though there’s obviously a price difference. On our visit, the truck was parked on the boardwalk itself, closer to the Jellyrolls end of the loop.  (Hours and days of service for the food trucks vary.)

In addition to a rather extensive selection of 19 different entrées for a food truck, there’s also a board announcing a daily special.  (The APP’S truck has their own Facebook account, so you can check out their meals before you get to the BoardWalk.). Choices range from specialties like  arepas, tostones, empanadas, and pucha, to chorizo burgers, grilled chicken wraps, maizito salad, wings, chicken tenders, quesadillas, and even a fully loaded hot dog. For the less adventurous, there’s also a grilled cheese. Prices range from $13 for the grilled cheese or chicken tenders, to $15 for the pucha, tostones, and burgers.

On our visit, we decided to try the daily special, the Arepa Encarnada, as well as the Arepa con Pollo. The Arepa Encarnada ($14.00) was a fresh made Columbian arepa with mozzarella cheese, tomato, onions, cilantro, sweet kernel corn, shredded cheese, shredded beef, ketchup, mayo, pink sauce and garlic cilantro sauce.  That garlic cilantro sauce was an excellent addition to the top of our beef arepa, adding a smooth creaminess to the dish.  The beef was juicy and tender, and the corn was fresh and crisp, a nice inclusion that added a touch of sweetness and a bit of textural crunch.

Our second selection was the Arepa con Pollo ($14.00), prepared with a Columbian arepa with mozzarella cheese, diced tomatoes, chopped onions, cilantro, diced avocado, shredded cheese, shredded chicken breast, ketchup, mayo, pink sauce and garlic cilantro sauce. This selection was also very good, with finely shredded chicken and melty mozzarella pulling it all together. As with the daily special version, the cilantro sauce was flavorful without being spicy, and had an herby freshness. It was on the milder side, and a welcome topper to the dish.  The base of the entrée, the corn arepa, was nicely flavored, and while the fluffy pancake still had that distinct corn griddle flavor, it did not overpower the rest of the flavors in the dish. The dish was carefully layered so that all the components were equally blended. We’d return to the BoardWalk again just for these arepas.

Our only problem with the dishes was a serving container one – the white paper under the arepas couldn’t stand up to the heat from the food, and disintegrated pretty quickly, getting stuck to the food. We found ourselves picking the paper off of our forks several times. Other than that, we had zero complaints about eating from a food truck, parked at the BoardWalk of all places!


While it’s an outdoor food truck setting, there was plenty of seating, both at café tables next to the food truck, and at some tables closer to the water a bit further down on the boardwalk.  If the weather is nice, it’s a really pleasant way to enjoy your meal, waterside, watching the Friendship Boats making their way up and down Crescent Lake. The meals are freshly made as you wait, but our food was ready in under ten minutes, so the wait wasn’t long. We dined al fresco around noon-ish, and we weren’t the only guests, but our food was ready quickly.

While we are looking forward to whatever new venture is coming to the empty Big River space, we’re also looking forward to trying some of the food coming to the boardwalk with the new rotating variety of food trucks. If they are all as good as App’s, you’ll have a good lunch, indeed.




Beth Keating is a theme parks, restaurant and entertainment reporter for DisneyBizJournal.


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