A Counter Service Location in Star Wars Land Featuring Galaxy Class CuisineI had a chance to stop by Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo for lunch the other day. I've not actually ever been inside this location or sampled any of their food, so this was all new for me, this time around.
The exterior of the building is very nicely done… as is most of the Star Wars exterior areas at Hollywood Studios. The land in general, doesn't seem (to me anyway) to "flow" as well as some of the other, more open parks. I always feel like I'm in somebody's way here… but I'm sure that's how people in Star Wars feel… most of the city scenes have lots of people, creatures and droids walking around — so if that's what they were going for — they hit the mark!
The nearest thing that I could find to a "main entrance" to Docking Bay 7 is this digital sign and non-digital menu board — this area is kind of across from the Millennium Falcon and up on a balcony (of sorts).
This is about as close to a "main entrance" as I could find for Docking Bay 7. The person standing outside the door isn't a "guard" or a "check-in" cast member, because you don't need reservations. I think this person's main purpose is to hand you a menu with prices on it so you can look at it before going in (the giant menu board in the middle doesn't include prices), and to keep the door closed. The "look" of the interior is more authentic, when there's not sunlight streaming in from the door.
There's no prices on this menu board, just food and beverage descriptions. The cast member standing near the door confused me a bit at first — since this is a "no reservations required" location — I wasn't sure what they were doing. I actually saw several guests kind of step up, and then turn away once they saw the "door guard". As near as I can tell — this cast member's function is to keep the door closed (apparently self closing doors are not a "thing" in Star Wars Land), and must be closed manually. Who would have ever guessed?
Once inside, it took a couple seconds for my eyes to adjust. The difference between full sun and the darkened interior was quite substantial. Oh — now I get why they want to keep the door closed. Once I walked around some oddly placed "show" cargo elements, I found the main ordering line.
There's really just these three registers at Docking Bay 7. I think they are really relying on people using the Mobile Ordering system (via your own phone) more and more. The process went pretty quick for me, but there were only a couple people in line when I visited.
It seemed to be a little smaller than I was expecting it to be. There's only three registers, and during my visit, only two of them has cast members. There was also an additional cast member directing guests that had placed a "Mobile Order" to skip around the registers and head right over to the counter. I'm guessing more people are doing that, rather than placing an order at the registers.
Even though there were a couple of groups ahead of me, the process went quickly and I placed my order for a Batuuan Beef and Crispy Topato Stri-Fry" and a Diet Coke.
After you pay and get a receipt, you move up into a slightly larger, free-standing holding area, until someone at the counter calls your name, receipt number... or you spot what looks like it could be your order.
This wider shot shows the order and payment stations on the right, and then the food pick-up location is a couple more steps away on the left. The system is like most Disney counter service locations... you order and pay for what you want, and then move to the larger "holding area" in the middle. When your order is ready, they'll call your name or ticket number, and you pick up your food.
All the register placed orders were being prepared on the right hand side of the long counter, while all the "Mobile Order" guests could just pick up their food and drinks on the left. My order was put together in about the same about of time as I waited at the register. I didn't feel like it was very long at all.
This is the food pickup location at Docking Bay 7. On the day I was there, the Mobile Pickup location was on the left-hand side. Most all of the mobile orders were being prepared near the "2" and "3" signs, while the guests that paid at the registers were getting their orders from the "4" area. This could change at any given moment though... depending on how busy it gets.
Seating inside didn't look like it was going to be too much of an issue (although I was there a good 45 minutes before the lunch rush), I used my Jedi mind powers and floated on over to the napkin and condiment station with my food. I'm not sure what you'd need condiments on, but I think they had some ketchup packets over there, some napkins, and hot water dispensers for those guests that ordered tea.
This is where the napkins were located at Docking Bay 7. I would assume there's another station like this somewhere... but I couldn't find it. I think there's hot water in those canisters... for guests that ordered coffee or tea. What you won't find at the station... is silverware. If you want a knife or fork... you'll need to ask for them at the main food pickup counter.
What I didn't find, was any additional silverware. They gave me a fork at the food pickup counter, but no knife. I asked the condiment counter attendant, but she said — "oh no, you have to get those from behind the counter". I'm guessing, everyone just uses their light sabers to cut the meat, but seeing as how I left mine at home that day, I went back to the counter and asked for a knife.
While I don't normally like chairs with no back support, the many little "oil barrel" seats turned out to be very cool. They had tiny wheels under them and were super easy to glide across the floor — like a puck on an air hockey table.
Here's a closer look at one of the "chairs" at Docking Bay 7. It's an oil drum... or is it???? Actually, these were really cool... they had tiny wheels under them, so they kind of "floated" around until you positioned it to where you wanted to be... and then putting your weight on it (aka "sitting down") secured it to the floor.
Once you put a little weight on it by sitting down, you can't move it anymore and it stays put until you get up again.
There's quite a number of different seating options, both indoors and outside. Take a look through the Docking Bay 7 Photo Gallery to see some of the different areas. Most of the tables had backless seats, there's "tall boy" style counter seating with fix position chairs inside and outside, and then there's a few half and full booth seating options around as well.
So what about the food?I ordered the Batuuan Beef and Crispy Topato Stir-Fry entree which is said to feature smoky braised beef glazed in a tamarind sauce, and served with stir-fried mushrooms and veggies (mostly red bell peppers and onions), and topped with crispy herbed yucca, pickled onions, an cilantro.
This is the "Batuuan Beef and Crispy Topato Stir-Fry" entrée from Docking Bay 7 Cargo and Food restaurant in the Star Wars Land area of Hollywood Studios.
At $18.99 it's the most expensive item on the menu, and I'm pleased to report, it was really great! All of the things listed on the menu were in the dish. The herbed yucca was crispy and the braised beef was glazed in tamarind sauce.
Here's a close-up of one of four large pieces of braised beef in the Batuuan Beef entrée. It's not really "bite sized" I found cutting it into three smaller pieces to be about right. Everything is cut and plated in large pieces, which maybe makes you think there's not much there — but the portion sizes ends up being pretty decent.
The portion size was pretty good as well. At first, it doesn't look like much food, but all the "pieces" are quite large. I couldn't stick one of those beef cubes in my mouth all at once, I actually ended up cutting them into three smaller pieces — and that seemed about right. There were a total of four large beef cubes under all the stir-fry — which was more than enough for me. The yucca fries were also two or three bites each, so it's more than just a couple of fries tossed on top.
I'm not really sure where to put this one in a geo-culinary context though … it was a little Tex-Mex and a little Asian. If you're not sure what tamarind is — this might not be the best introduction to the flavor. Since the meat was pre-glazed, maybe a something where you can dip into a sauce would be a better first step. On the portion I was served, the beef had a good, strong tamarind flavor (a little sour and tangy, but it can also be a little sweet, like a brown sugar glaze) — when paired with the smoky flavor of the beef, it all was quite craveable.
The Environment and Closing ThoughtsSo the food was great. A little expensive, but if plated differently — my entree would have been on-par with something I would expect to get at one of Disney's full service, sit-down restaurants … so relatively speaking, I didn't think the pricing was out of line for what I was eating.
I guess the only thing I found a little lacking was... shockingly, the environment. It did feel like I was having lunch in a docking bay, so it's definitely done well — it just didn't strike me as being particularly "Star Wars". It could have been a cargo or docking bay from just about any industrial Sci-Fi movie.
Ahhhh... I finally found some "cargo". It's a cool looking box. I really like the aperture style airlock at the top. This is all very authentic looking. I kind of wish this moved up and down out of that portal — kind of like Teddi Barra come out of the ceiling at the Country Bear Jamboree — but alas, it just sits there... motionless.
But maybe that's just me??? I like Star Wars — I've seen all the Star Wars movies… but I haven't memorized what the light fixtures look like, or if there's a particular planetary color pallet that was used here. I guess that makes me a casual fan and not a super fan. Maybe they could have put parts from Anakin’s Pod Racer around or hang some random droid bits on the wall or something — anything to send out a little more Star Wars vibe.
In my mind, I could see most of the design elements here at Docking Bay 7 — being interchangeable with stuff from Satu'li Canteen over in Avatar Land in Animal Kingdom. Wasn't this blue fish animal (photo below) just in that new Avatar Water movie? (I have not - actually seen the new Avatar Water movie yet.)
The two places seem pretty similar to me. In fact, even though the food here was great — if I could only eat at one of these places, I'd pick Satu'li Canteen at Animal Kingdom. Mostly because it's a little larger and more open.
If you're a Star Wars super fan though, this is a great counter service location. I guess the only location that might be more immersive would be Oga's Cantina — but they don't have much in the way of food over there, and you can't just walk in whenever you want.
There's not many "immersive" counter service locations at Hollywood Studios though… ABC Commissary (by nature and name) sort of just looks like, a commissary, Backlot Express has some cool stuff to look at, but is starting to feel a little dated (to me anyway)… and then there's PizzeRizzo — which I'm not going to say anything about.
I'd say, if you're in Hollywood Studios and are near Star Wars land, give Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo a try — especially if it's not around a peak dining time. You won't have to struggle to find a seat and the food is actually quite good and a little different than the "burgers and pizza" of a typical counter service location.