Before I discuss Pecos Bill – Tall Tale Inn and Cafe, I need to let you know of a change in the way you will be posting comments. Because we have been getting a lot of junk email, we have had to implement a new procedure. After sharing your thoughts, there is one more box that needs to be completed before you press “Post.” At the moment, you need to write the word “blog” (without quotes) in this field (this word could change periodically). This will let the computer know that a real person is writing us and not some automated program that generates spam. If you don’t complete this field correctly, your comment will end up in a “junk” folder.
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Many fairytales have become so associated with Disney that it’s hard to imagine that they ever existed before the animators brought them to life. Ask anyone the names of the seven dwarfs and they’ll struggle to recall Grumpy, Dopey, Doc, Sleepy, and forget the other three. But as we know, it was the Grimm Brothers that first took this folktale and publicize the story of Snow White back in 1812. It’s interesting to note, Walt was not the first to give the dwarfs names. This actually occurred in a 1912 Broadway play when author Jessie Graham White came up with his own set of monikers for this band of men. And Walt was not the first to make a movie about this sweet heroine and her protectors. This occurred in 1902 when a silent film was produced by Siegmund Lubin. And other Snow White films were made before and after Disney’s 1937 masterpiece debuted. Yet it’s Disney’s version that we remember.
Pecos Bill has a similar history. Folktales circulated for years about the roughest, toughest cowboy that ever lived. It was Edward O’Reilly who first published an adventure of Bill’s in a 1916 edition of “The Century Magazine.” Later, a number of his exploits were collected and reprinted in a 1923 book titled “Saga of Pecos Bill.” As time went by, other writers added new feats of daring-do to Bill’s credit. Between 1929 and 1938, Edward “Tex” O’Reilly and Jack A Warren co-authored a cartoon strip about Bill that was published in “The Sun.” But it was Walt who created the character of Pecos Bill that sticks in our brains.
On May 27, 1948, “Melody Time” opened in theaters. This collection of seven “shorts” contained a number of stories including the legend of Johnny Appleseed and the tale of Little Toot. The movie ended with a rip-snorting finale of Pecos Bill’s adventures sung to us by Roy Rogers and the Sons of the Pioneers.
It’s interesting to note, when the DVD of “Melody Time” was released on June 6, 2000, the cigarette that Bill smoked throughout the segment, and an entire verse from the song which talks about smoking, had been electronically removed.
Pecos Bill is remembered at the Magic Kingdom with his own restaurant in Frontierland, Pecos Bill – Tall Tale Inn and Cafe. Its main entrance is located at the far end of town and is housed within a saloon facade. However, this restaurant uses several styles of architecture as the building rounds the corner. Classic Western clapboard construction gives way to that of adobe used in the American Southwest. This was necessary so that the transition between Frontierland and Adventureland would be seamless to the guests as they pass from one land to the next.
Tall Tale Inn and Cafe is a counter service establishment that serves burgers, wraps, salads, and BBQ sandwiches. This eatery opens at 10:30am and becomes very busy by 11:30am. If you want to avoid crowds, it’s best to arrive early. This is also one of the few counter service restaurants that allows guests to place their order with a cast member or via a computer terminal.
I actually have a love-hate relationship with one of the features in this restaurant, the topping bar. My “love” is generated by the fact that I can garnish my burger, sandwich, and taco salad with all the lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, cheese, and peppers that I like. And I especially like the freshly sauteed onions and mushrooms that are cooked right before my eyes. But I “hate” the crowds this station generates. It can become maddening, jockeying for position as I move from topping to topping – which is why I always arrive early if I’m planning on making Pecos Bill’s my lunchtime destination. But in the end, it’s worth the hassle.
There are several seating areas in the restaurant. One section is themed like the old west while another is modeled after a Mexican patio. Outdoor tables are also available and a pleasant place to dine when the weather is good.
If all of the indoor tables are occupied at Pecos Bill’s, there is a hallway that leads to the dining rooms of El Pirata y el Perico located in Adventureland. You can usually find empty tables in this area.
The restaurant’s namesake is prominently displayed above a rock fireplace and the legend of this establishment can be found written on a nearby piece of rawhide.
Since I’m pretty sure none of you have ever taken the time to read it, I’ll present it for you here. And if you’re not in the mood to read the entire tale, then just read the second paragraph.
Considered by many as the meanest, toughest, roughest cowboy of them all, Pecos Bill has been credited for inventing all things western, from rodeos to cowboy dancing, to spurs, hats and lassos. He can draw faster, shoot straighter and ride a horse harder than any man alive. Unfortunately, we don’t know when and where he was born, just that he was raised by coyotes and that his name comes from the river in Texas. Over the years, Pecos Bill along with his trusty horse, Widowmaker, have made quite a name for themselves forging new trails and taming others. Legend tells us several tall tales, like the time Pecos Bill jumped on a powerful twister and road it like a bucking bronco. Then there was the time when Pecos Bill dug out a path to create the Rio Grande river during a severe drought that hit his beloved Texas. And then there was the day Pecos Bill was so bored he took his handy six-shooter and shot out all of the stars in the sky except for one. That’s why they call Texas the “Lone Star State.”
In 1878, with the encouragement of his friends, Pecos Bill decided to open his own watering hole, a restaurant whose motto very much reflects its one-of-a-kind owner. “The tastiest eats and treats this side of the Rio Grande.” Pecos Bill called it the Tall Tale Inn and CafÃ© and it quickly became a popular hangout for some of his legendary friends. As time went by, it became a tradition when each friend paid a visit they would leave something behind for Pecos Bill to remember them by. As you can see from the articles and artifacts that don the walls, many of which carry inscriptions, Pecos Bill had some mighty impressive friends. Seems that every trail eventually led to the Tall Tale Inn and CafÃ©.
If you pay attention, you’ll notice the building is dated 1878, the year Bill opened Tall Tale Inn and CafÃ©.
Also, if you check the restaurant walls, you discover the objects left behind by Bill’s many friends. Each artifact has been carefully displayed and is accompanied with the donor’s name engraved on a nameplate. Pictured here are Johnny Appleseed’s pot-hat, Kit Carson’s scouting tools, and Davy Crocket’s satchel and powder horn.
I especially like the artifacts displayed in the next picture. If you notice, the nameplate is intentionally left blank. If you don’t get the joke, think about it.
While you’re in the neighborhood, be sure to check out some of the signs that are posted on the outside walls of the Frontierland buildings. Some are quite clever. I especially like this one.
So there you have the story of Pecos Bill – Tall Tale Inn and CafÃ©. Like everything at Disney, it’s teeming with details if you take the time to look.
40 Replies to “Pecos Bill — Tall Tale Inn and Cafe”
Wonderful blog as always. Pecos Bills is a must do restaurant each time we are in the Magic Kingdom. My 2 daughters and I love the taco salads with the fixings bar (I know what you mean by the madhouse at the bar though) while my husband loves the pulled pork sandwich there. Thank you so much for taking time and telling us about all the detail that goes into our favorite counter service restaurant. I had no idea all the wonderful gems you can find in there. I really need to start paying more attention to these kinds of things.
The outside patio is a great place to watch the parade while you dine — with the exception of the birds. I second the “please do not train the birds to mooch food”. Jack, thank you for the very interesting blog that zooms in on the interesting details.
Thanks for the backstory behind what has become one of our favorite quick service stops! Thanks to the many Saturday mornings spent watching westerns with my dad, I knew immediately who that mask & bullet belonged to! It’s like you said, the Disney magic is all there if you just take the time to look.
We loved the deluxe burger, bbq pork sandwich, and taco salad. Our favorite dessert is the carrot cake!
I can’t recall eating at Pecos Bill’s on any of our many Disney trips up until our most recent one last week, but I know it will definitely be included in each trip from here on out!
Thanks for including all the photos. This was another enjoyable (and informative) read, as usual!
Thanks again for fueling my love for Disney that much more. I am like Julia’s husband (posted above) in that I compare our local amusement park to Disney and it never meets the Disney standard. I have never been to Pecos Bill’s but I will definately go the next time I am there!
Thanks again for the blog. You have no idea how much I enjoy reading your work. Always very interesting and I always learn something new. Keep up the great work!
“The Disney Fanatic”
Of course, I have to give the “fixin’s bar” at Liberty Inn in The American Adventure in Epcot props as well… Not quite as good as Pecos Bill’s… But still, most enjoyable. 😉
the names of the rooms reallt describe them well. the room that looks like its out side( with the working balcony and dark ceiling is called Siesta, the others ( Widowmaker, Corral)
also lets not forget the CODE OF THE WEST
“Respect the Land, Defend the Defenseless …and don’t ever spit in front of women and children!”
As always, love your blogs. Being the big eaters we are, we usually eat at table service restaurants during our stay, but of the few counter services we visit, Pecos Bill is always at the top! Very conviently located and the “fixin’s bar” definiely make it a favorite for many. When the weathers nice I highly recommend sitting outside, and we enjoyed feeding the birds:)
The food at Pecos Bill’s is good and fixin’s bar can accommodate a big eater. But you really shouldn’t feed the birds. Human food really isn’t good for them and they become a nuisance.
Great article! The bio sounds like a 19th-century Chuck Norris!
Great article. Pecos Bill’s isn’t really a regular stop for me, but I love to be reminded that the Disney magic doesn’t stop just because it’s in a counter service restaurant and everything has a story.
Just FYI, the mask is the Lone Ranger’s, not Zorro’s. Note that along with the mask is a silver bullet. And the blank placard confirms it. Looking at that mask anyone might find themselves wondering, “Who was that masked man?”
All the best!
Thanks so much for a great look at one of my favorite places to eat at MK!
Wow thanks so much for this report. I have been to Disney many many times and never eaten here. It is definately on my “must eat here” list for our trip in October. 😀
Great article are usual, and thanks again.
Hi Jack! We really enjoyed reading this article about Pecos Bill’s. It is a favorite of ours.
David: We love The Lion King, but it really is a re-telling of Hamlet.
Pecos Bill’s has the “Best Fixin Bar East of the Mississippi”
I know its bad for you but we love the cheese sauce on the fries. Be careful, because the cheese is really HOT!!!
Another amazing and detailed blog from you, Jack ! We’ve eaten there at least a dozen times over the years and I never knew about “the hallway”. Something to look for in December…
Hi Jack- Love this. My favorite room to eat in is the one with the paper lanterns and the tiled water fountain.
Pecos Bills has become a tradition for my family. We have been going to Disney World yearly since 1989. We get an 8:00 am flight from New York, get to the MK by 1pm, and head over to Pecos Bills by 2:00 for lunch, usually sitting outside to see the parade. I can’t think of anything more enjoyable!
I take more advantage of the fixin’s bar than does my family, loading up a plain burger with everything in sight. And those onions and mushrooms…just thinking of it makes me want to book my next trip right now. THINK I WILL!
Pecos Bill’s is our favorite counter service meal in the parks. We always try to make it a point to eat there. The fixin’ bar is great and like you, we love the mushrooms and onions. My daughter loves them so much she puts them on her taco salad. Yes, Pecos Bill’s is always very crowded and can get noisy, but crowds are usually handled very well and tables found as quickly as possible for all the guests. If you happen to have an outside seat, I agree with another reader- DON’T FEED THE BIRDS! They will never go away if you do! We always say that we are going to try Columbia Harbor House, but it never fails, we always end right back at Pecos Bills. I have never had a meal there that I didn’t like. I have never paid attention to the way the veggie burgers are made since I have never ordered one, but it does make sense that they would be prepared separately from the other things. Maybe a better system needs to be devised so that the veggie burgers come out to the customer as fast as the other food. I recommend Pecos Bills to anyone who hasn’t tried it before. You’ll really enjoy it. Next time I go, I’m going to look more closely at the memorabilia on the walls. Sometimes it can be so crowded in there that you miss seeing some of those things.
Love Pecos Bill!! Just watched Melody Time the other day too hehe. I had no idea that there were some Johnny Appleseed references! Definitely going to look for those the next time we eat there 🙂
This was a very nice review. I ate at Pecos Bill just last March for the first time with my best friend and I am flooded with the great memories of the good tasting food, the unbelievable fixin’ bar, and just how great the day was. I actally went back twice to get more of those mushrooms! Although the fixin’ bar was crowded, I think my overall mind set helped: “Hey, I’m here at Disney to enjoy every moment and to relax”. I just look forward to eating there again.
Thanks again for a great review and, as I have yet to eat there, I do hope you do one on the Columbia Harbour House as someone else also suggested.
Hi Jack! I love your blogs! Thanks for giving us some background on everything and anything WDW. I found your info very helpful when stuck on a line during a recent trip. I looked for all the details and annoyed my family with “did you know…?” (LOL)
If I have helped one person effectively annoy their family, then I have successfully executed my job as a Disney blogger. 🙂
Okay, so I’ll be the stupid one and bite.
Whose mask is that?!
Is it Zorro’s? The Lone Ranger’s? Some random thief or bandit? It’s driving me insane!
The mask and silver bullet belongs to the Lone Ranger. The reason there is no name next to this bit of memorabilia is that his identity is a secret.
Thanks for a great article, Jack! I love eating here for the taco salad. 🙂 Just wanted to inform your readers that Pecos Bill’s uses 100% ground beef in their burgers. We took my two young cousins to WDW for the first time in March. They are both autistic and have extremely limited dietary needs. They cannot eat soy or any products containing soy (among other things), so knowing that Pecos Bill’s serves 100% ground beef patties was a relief to their mother. It is so wonderful to know there is a place like Disney that is so willing to accommodate guests so everyone can enjoy the magic!
Another good one, Jack!
At the risk of offending someone, Pecos is pronounced “PAY-cos”. (My favorite Disney podcast has trouble with this one.)
Great article. This is one of my favorite places to eat. And I love seeing all of the details that I am often overlooking because I am typically there at the lunchtime. I think I will go early next time and get a chance to look.
I love reading your articles. It helps fuel my love of all things Disney. We rarely get to take the time to inspect these details when we are at the parks. So to be able read this at home is wonderful. Also it floods my mind with memories of past trips. Last year we trick-or-treated through this restaurant so it was a great reminder of that trip. Thank you for all of your hard work! I can’t wait for the next.
Great blog as usual!!
I have never eat at Pecos Bill because is always too crowded!! so I always eat at Cosmic Ray or Pinocchio Village…
If I’m lucky enough and have the chance to travel there next year, I’ll try it!
By the way…I love those mushrooms too!! (that’s why I always end eating at Cosmic or Restorantosaurus at AK)
you are right the crowds can be a little bit overwellming but the food is very good. They have a good variety of choices when it comes to lunch and dinner and it is a place that I enjoy to stop in and eat once in a while. can’t wait for your next blog and as always keep up the great work.
Thanks for the update. It’s good to see you can request white bread buns. I hope that’s true at Casey’s too.
If you eat outside, please don’t feed the birds. They’re a nuisance and stick around because people feed them.
Pecos Bills is our favorite place to grab a hamburger, but that’s mainly because of the fixin’s bar.
“As always another great blog post. Pecos Bills food is good, just don’t like the atmosphere with too many people and screaming kids and kaos.”
Yet another Awesome post. I love Pecos Bills, particularly the decor and the artifacts. Thanks for some close up pics of them!! Most people just walk right by and miss them:( It’s these little gems and attention to detail that sets Disney apart from the rest!
I did not know of the hallway that connect to the dining room of the El Pirata y el Perico. Thanks for the heads up. I will have to look for the hallway next time I visit MK. El Pirata y el Perico is one place I have always wanted to eat but find it closed every time I visit 🙁 I think its the only place in MK to get Tacos.
Oh and please pass on to Julia the reason or “rational” Disney has for cooking the Veggie Burgers over at the Fix’in Bar, separate from the rest of the kitchen is to ensure the they do not come in contact in any shape or form with Meat products or any grill that has previously been used to cook meat! I certainly understand her frustration and I can see how this would slow things down but from what I understand many Vegans and Vegetarians have complained that their Veggie burgers where being prepared int he same place and on the same surfaces as meat products. So to prevent this from happening they have implemented the change of cooking them separately. It might not help to speed things up but understanding the reasons behind why they do it might help to make the change easier to swallow (pun intended:)
I have a similar dislike for the “whole wheat” buns they have been serving with Hamburgers and even Hot Dogs as of the last few years. They are in an attempt to make it a more “healthy choice”:( However I just found out not long ago that if you request a “White” bun they will provide you with one!
Take care and as always keep up the good work!!
It’s hard for me to eat at Pecos Bill’s without remembering Wally Boag at the Golden Horseshoe in Disneyland…
You know after nearly 20 years of living in Orlando and having an Annual Pass, the closest I’ve been to the interior of Pacos Bill’s Tall Tale Inn and CafÃ© is the exit of the Country Bear Jamboree. I’m not really sure why, but it seems that I just stick with my favorite places. So far, for counter service this would be either the Columbia Harbour House or Cosmic Ray’s. After reading your blog, I’ll have to make a point of dining at Pacos Bill’s. I guess it’s all too easy to get into a “Disney rut” with familiar eating places.
If I’m not mistaken, the first story actually written by “Disney” was “The Lion King.” I remember seeing The Story of Disney Animation, when Walt explained that the first step was to find a good story, as he pulled a book from his shelf. It really is amazing how Disney took classic fairy tales, usually European, and made them his own. You are quite right that it seems the only films we remember are the Disney ones. I guess that was just part of the magic of Walt Disney.
So your review of this fine eatery ends with a poster promoting a pill that treats dyspepsia, constipation, diarrhoea, worms, etc.
In the literary world they call this “foreshadowing”.
Do you know something we don’t?
And Kudos for another dazzling blog entry!
Another great blog Jack!!
On our recent trip to WDW last August we ate at Pecos Bills. I even made the comment to my wife that the burger there was better than the burger at the Plaza Restaurant!
I would like to point out that the computers were a little confusing when using the dining plan. I ended up going to the cast member to order.
We always enjoy Pecos Bills. The fixin’s bar is one of the best at Disney!
Another great article! I have never noticed the souvenirs, but will the next time I am there.
Please do a blog like this about Columbia Harbour House. Last time I ate there I was the last person upstairs. I started roaming around looking at all of the nautical artifacts and faux posters, including one asking for men to sail with Captain Bligh!
thanks for that informative article.. and here i thought Peco Bills was just a place to get great burgers… lol
Thanks for this story. We love Pecos Bill’s Tall Tale Inn and Cafe. I love, love, love the veggie burger! I honestly believe this was the best meal of my trip. This is a must stop and eat for our family on every trip!
Thanks for taking the time to look for all of us. Our trips never seem long enough to take the time to look for all of the details. It is just fascinating to hear about all that goes into every aspect of Disney World. It really does make our trips that much more fun. We have an amusement park about an hour from where we live and my husband has made a trip there every year for to many years to count. Since he has been to Disney World, he has become more and more disenchanted with this park with each visit. Disney really sets the standard and there is no comparison. I only wish we lived closer so we could visit more often. In the meantime I look forward to your blogs to add a little Disney to our lives each week.
I just wanted to let you and your readers know of another change at Pecos Bill (our favorite eatery at the MK). We’ve been going to WDW annually for a few years now and every year we eat a Pecos Bills multiple times… and every year my husband orders the veggie burger (he says it’s the best anywhere on property). It use to be that you received all of your food at the counter and then went to the toppings bar and then you could go eat… but NOW (we were there in August 2010) You order and pay, then wait for your food to come up then you take the food AND your ticket over to the fixin’s counter and THEN they cook your veggie burger over there…. and it can take about 8 minutes….. So who ever orders the veggie burger sits and waits while everyone else is eating… I was really annoyed at this change… and the second time we ate there on our trip I just decided to (after I ordered and paid) walk over to the fixin’s bar and TELL them that I ordered a veggie burger… by the time the rest of the food was ready and the rest of us went through the bar and found a seat the burger was ready… That was about the best I could do to minimize the wait time …
Thanks for another great blog Jack. Pecos Bill has been one of our favorite places to eat in the MK for years. Thanks so much for all of the details about Pecos Bill. I am always amazed at all the little details that Disney puts into everything they do weather it is a ride, restaurant or resort. Thats why WDW ( and Disneyland every couple of years) are our favorite places to vacation.