Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ Disney Springs remains one of the toughest advanced dining reservations to acquire at Walt Disney World. What makes this place so popular? Homecomin’ Disney Springs opening in the Orlando area brought an excellent version of southern comfort food to the area. The fried chicken stars as the main reason to visit Homecomin’. However, this restaurant offers far more than just fried chicken and you would be mistaken if you think this will taste like average fast-food fried chicken.
According to the Homecomin’ website, this restaurant desires to provide locally sourced food and a wonderful dining experience. The website states that this restaurant is “paying homage to Florida’s rich agricultural heritage by highlighting local ingredients and farm-to-table cuisine. So come over, sip a handcrafted moonshine cocktail on our back porch and enjoy the bubbling springs backdrop.”
Southern Comfort Food at Homecomin Disney Springs
For those looking for southern-style comfort food, Homecomin’ should be on your list to dine at while visiting Disney Springs. As one person described this place, Homecomin’ takes classic southern rural cuisine and creates a premium table service level version. This restaurant offers a wide variety of choices and flavors. For those not afraid of some well-prepared, mostly fried, locally sourced cuisine, Homecomin’ deserves a visit.
Chef Art Smith
This Chef Art Smith-run restaurant utilizes his immense cooking experience and family background. As Chef Art Smith often says, “The art of cooking, the act of feeding people, is the most engaging, most memorable way to connect with people.” Chef Smith currently co-owns six restaurants and two non-profit operations.
Chef Smith earned several of the highest culinary awards in the world. He also has famously been the personal chef for celebrities. For example, he served as the personal chef for Oprah Winfrey. He held that position for ten years.
Also, he developed Common Threads, a non-profit organization teaching low-income children to cook wholesome, affordable meals. He believes hands-on cooking and introducing children to fresh foods will reduce childhood obesity and solve many other dietary issues. Chef Art Smith also strives to educate about diversity and tolerance by celebrating our cultural differences.
Operating Hours of Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin Disney Springs
Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ serves weekday lunch and dinner from 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. On Friday and Saturday evenings, it stays open until 11:30 p.m. The weekend morning hours start at 9:00 a.m., with the outdoor bar area also available. A unique brunch menu is served during the weekend from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Disney Springs is a shopping and entertainment complex within Walt Disney World Resort. The Walt Disney World transportation system provides bus and boat transportation to Disney Springs. Disney Springs also offers several large parking garages that visitors may use for free.
Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ Disney Springs is in The Landing area of the complex. The closest parking garage would be the Orange Garage at Disney Springs. Morimoto Asia restaurant and STK Steakhouse are also located near Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ Disney Springs..
Homecomin’ Disney Springs offers indoor and outdoor seating. The outdoor seating includes a newly redesigned “Shine Bar” area with some seating offering a view of the water or “Springs” for this setting. The outdoor seating provides a pleasant experience most of the year.
The indoor seating area contains fewer tables than you might expect for such a popular restaurant. For example, we dined at Homecomin and Morimoto Asia on back-to-back days. We noticed a far larger seating capacity at Morimoto Asia than at Homecomin’ Disney Springs.
This develops one of the reasons that dining reservations can be tough to acquire at Homecomin’. In addition, a large bar area consumes a sizeable amount of space in the center area of the indoor seating. Having eaten at the bar several times, the experience there is always great.
The indoor bar area backs up to one of the outdoor bar areas that guests can visit. This simplifies the responsibility of the bartending staff.
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Service at Homecomin Disney Springs
One criticism of this restaurant revolves around the service. However, this criticism relates to speed rather than quality. The Homecomin’ experience often takes more time than one would expect. The servers here are highly skilled, but this restaurant fits the stereotypical idea of moving slowly in the South. Nevertheless, this criticism should not negate from your dining experience.
How to Get Reservations at Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin Disney Springs
Homecomin’ Disney Springs uses Walt Disney World My Disney Experience for reservations. Also, you can call the Disney Dining phone reservation service at 1-407-939-5277. However, we recommend using the My Disney Experience system on your mobile device or computer to make reservations.
Reservations open 60 days in advance, starting officially at 6:00 a.m. Florida time. That means for those of us based in the central time zone of the United States, then we need to be ready at 4:45 a.m., 60 days in advance, to have the best chance.
Remember, these dining reservations can be a challenge to acquire. Guests staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel can book dining reservations a few days earlier than guests not staying on-site. This limits the reservation slots open for the most popular restaurants at Walt Disney World, like Topolino’s Terrace, Ohana, and Space 220, at the 60-day mark. Homecomin’ Disney Springs, being popular also, often has limited reservation timeslots available, even at the 60-day spot.
Other options exist if you still need to get reservations at the 60-day mark or do not like deciding what you will eat on vacation that far in advance.
- You could keep checking on your own on the My Disney Experience. Reservations do open within the 60-day window. The best way to acquire a dining reservation is by refreshing the app and checking often. However, that will not work for most people unless they have nothing but time.
- You can use travel agencies to help schedule your dining reservations. At MickeyVisit, we highly recommend one of Disney’s top travel agencies, Get Away Today, to help with your trip. In addition to helping secure the lowest prices for your vacation, they can also help you book hard-to-acquire dining reservations. Remember, there is no additional cost to book with a travel agent because Disney pays them after your trip.
- If you choose to do this on your own, several websites offer advanced dining reservation services for Walt Disney World Resort restaurants. For instance, for this recent reservation, we used the free service at MouseDining.com to make the reservation seven days in advance after setting an alert two days before. Though we cannot guarantee the same success, several options exist to help you with your advanced dining reservations. Please be aware that many of them charge a fee. For example, MouseDining offers a paid version, but we used the free service for this most recent reservation.
The Homecomin’ Disney Springs menu often pays homage to Chef Art Smith’s ancestor, Britton Smith. Britton Smith might be known more for his moonshine recipes, but he also had some solid food recipes. Currently, the Homecomin’ menu features Britton’s Chicken Salad Sandwich.
Still, the moonshine drinks at Homecomin’ Disney Springs have earned a loyal following. They play a prominent role in Homecomin’ Disney Springs lore. In fact, half the online main menu contains alcoholic beverages. If you do not drink, do not let this stop you from visiting Homecomin’. As someone who drinks very little, I have visited Homecomin’ at least 20 times and enjoyed my meal every time.
The signature option in terms of moonshine drinks here revolves around the “Moonshine Flight.” The Shine Flight costs $34. It consists of five moonshine drinks. The flavors currently are:
Rumshine Punch – a Strawberry RumShine, blackberry brandy, banana liqueur, pineapple juice, and house-made grenadine.
Blue Hooch – Blue Flame moonshine, lemon-infused moonshine, blue curacao, house-made simple syrup, fresh lemon juice, and a splash of Sprite. Homecomin’ Disney Springs claims this one is the most substantial shine on tap.
Strawberry Lemonade – strawberry moonshine, freshly muddled strawberries, lemonade, and strawberry puree.
Moonshine Margarita – tequila, moonshine with a splash of fresh squeezed orange and lime.
Sweet Tea Shine – sweet tea, fresh-squeezed lemon, and moonshine.
For obvious reasons, we recommend you share these moonshine drinks with friends. The flavor of some of them will confuse you into thinking you are not drinking an alcoholic beverage until it is too late.
At the walkup outdoor bars, moonshine is also sold. In fact, you can purchase a refillable squeeze bottle at the bars and indoors. These refillable squeeze bottles initially cost $23 and come with a 22 oz. moonshine of your choice. You can refill with moonshine for $15 after the initial purchase.
For those that prefer soft drinks, you can purchase a refillable squeeze bottle for $10 with a soft drink of your choice. Homecomin’ Disney Springs serves Coke products. After your initial purchase, you can bring the refillable sipper back for FREE soft drink refills. Yes, you read free and Disney in the same sentence.
If using it for a soft drink, two words of advice should be provided. One, if you prefer Coke Zero Sugar, they do not have it behind the bar. With that choice, it will take a little extra time to receive your soft drink. Two, you should consider tipping the staff a dollar for your “free” soda. This is especially true if you visit regularly and ask for Coke Zero Sugar.
The Food Options at Homecomin Disney Springs
The main reason people visit Homecomin’ revolves around the food. Fried chicken takes center stage in the excellent food experience. The signature item here, Art’s Famous Fried Chicken, gets top billing on the menu in the main plates section. The menu description for these reads, “Buttermilk-brined for 24 hours then perfectly fried. Served with creamy mashed potatoes, a cheddar drop biscuit and love” This entrée costs $34. I have enjoyed it a few times. It lives up to being the best fried chicken at Walt Disney World. However, on my most recent trip, I did not order this. Nevertheless, I feel this fried chicken is worth the price.
Before discussing my dining choices for the day, I want to make a strong suggestion. Always consult the official Homecomin’ Disney Springs website. This site remains up to date. The Walt Disney World version has been known to be five or more months out of date. We would hate for you to plan your meal after booking a reservation 60 days before discovering that the entrée you wanted was no longer there. This lack of updating Walt Disney World’s website often happens with the Disney Springs restaurants.
Church Lady Deviled Eggs ($14.00)
Homecomin’ Disney Springs offers some excellent appetizers. During our most recent visit, we ordered two of the most popular, Church Lady Deviled Eggs and Thigh High Chicken Biscuits.
As someone who graduated from seminary and served in church settings for over 20 years, I have tasted my fair share of church lady deviled eggs. This Southern comfort food staple fits the image of Homecomin’ Disney Springs well.
This appetizer receives positive reviews from most guests. You receive six deviled eggs. However, we noticed that the eggs’ portion size has reduced since we last had these.
In typical deviled eggs style, the mixture on top involves mustard and mayonnaise. We assume the mayonnaise is Duke’s since it appears in other entrees at Homecomin’. The usual touch of paprika and a bit of hot sauce comes with these deviled eggs.
One of the reasons this appetizer continues to be one of the most popular at Homecomin’ Disney Springs relates to the consistent solid flavor contained in each deviled egg. Also, the eggs arrive in a special container that has been cooled to help with the enjoyment of the deviled eggs.
This appetizer makes an easily sharable option. In addition, you might want to share these since Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ offers larger portion sizes with its entrees. After having these before your entree, you will still have plenty of enjoyable food to consume when dining here.
Thigh High Chicken Biscuits ($19.00)
Another popular appetizer at Homecomin’ Disney Springs is the Thigh High Chicken Biscuits. This appetizer costs $19. Still, many guests love this appetizer and have it as their main entrée. The portion size is large enough to be a meal.
As you might expect, chicken perfectly fried stars on this menu. If you want genuinely remarkable fried chicken, you visit this place. This appetizer provides a great introduction to the food at Homecomin’. The menu description tells us that three excellent biscuits come filled with Chef Art’s famous fried chicken thigh meat. The biscuits are then drizzled with hot honey.
The well-prepared chicken benefits from the flavorful biscuits and honey mixed with Art Smith’s special hot sauce. The flavor combination earns high praise. If the idea of hot honey alarms you, our experience is that it provides flavor. Still, the flavor does not reach an excessive spicy kick to scare your taste buds. The balance of hot sauce and honey fits this appetizer thoroughly.
Though some guests voice concerns about the quality of the chicken itself. Those complaints function as the exception, not the rule. Typically, the chicken thigh meat comes well prepared. Also, it is incredibly tender with good flavor by itself. The most common complaint about this appetizer involves very little about the taste. Many guests would like to see a larger version of this on the main entree portion of the menu. Also, three chicken biscuits can be tough to share in groups of four or more.
Chopped Pork Barbecue ($28.00)
At Homecomin’ Disney Springs, you can order some of the best-tasting fried chicken around. You can order a fried chicken sandwich, a plate full of fried chicken, and even a play on chicken and waffles known as chicken and doughnuts.
Some other popular entrées at Homecomin’ are the Shrimp & Grits and Britton’s Chicken Salad Sandwich. We ordered the Chopped Pork Barbecue during our recent trip.
One member of our dining group asked me what they should order at Homecomin’ Disney Springs. I suggested two entrees. He then asked our server, and she named the same two items. The Chopped Pork Barbecue earned a high recommendation from myself and our server.
Since they ordered the Chopped Pork Barbecue, that meal comes with a side of the Momma’s mac and cheese. This tasty side provides the best version at Walt Disney World. This side can be ordered for $9 as a side. This version of mac and cheese passes the cheese pull and flavor tests. If you enjoy mac and cheese, you should give this a try when visiting Homecomin’ Disney Springs.
Back to the main entrée, the menu description for the Chopped Pork Barbecue sounds ordinary for such a flavorful entrée. The menu description indicates that chopped pork is dressed with the special HFK barbecue sauce. The menu makes sure we know this barbecue sauce will be sweet and spicy. In fairness, that statement reflects the truth. In addition to Momma’s mac and cheese, this comes with southern style slaw, pickles, and a cheddar drop biscuit. On a personal note, I always wonder why this slaw needs pickles. However, that might expose my personal bias.
Good Portion Size
As you might expect, the portion size counts as filling. In addition, if the amount of sauce drizzled on the pork does not satisfy you, another sauce container comes with this entrée. The sauce goes well with the mac and cheese if you want to give that a try.
The pork by itself displays excellent preparation. The high quality of pork used shines through with this meal. With the addition of the HFK sauce, the flavor adventure deserves respect. The pork tastes so tender. This sweet style barbecue pork earns being a highly recommended entrée at Homecomin’ Disney Springs. When combined with the biscuit plus mac and cheese, this entrée qualifies as excellent.
On the negative side, the slaw tastes just okay. It feels like an obligatory portion of this meal since slaw and barbecue pork often go together. The slaw remains my only valid criticism of this entrée. For example, one of my dining companions ordered this entrée and does not enjoy pork. He enjoyed this entrée, however. He enjoyed the mac and cheese, also. Well, the portion of the mac and cheese he ate before another dining companion took most of it.
So, what does a food blogger order at Homecomin Disney Springs after over 20 visits?
Every trip to the Orlando area involves a few stops at Disney Springs for me. Many of the staff at Homecomin’ Disney Springs know me by name or at least by my face. They know my drink orders very well. So, after having almost everything on the menu at Homecomin’ Disney Springs, what do you order?
Answer: Chopped BLT Salad
One of the newer items on the menu at Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ is the Chopped BLT Salad. Several new items arrived on the menu back in late 2022. This would be one of those.
The Chopped BLT Salad costs $18. You can upgrade this salad for an additional charge by adding chicken. During the most recent visit, I did not add chicken. The menu description reads, “Double-chopped iceberg lettuce with fried green tomato, pecan-smoked bacon, blue cheese crumbles, heirloom tomato and red onion, tossed in blue cheese icebox dressing and drizzled with balsamic reduction.”
Unsurprisingly, this salad came in a large bowl. The portion size exceeds standard entrée size salads. Especially if you add chicken, this salad would easily be sharable.
As the menu description reveals, this salad contains a wide variety of ingredients. The lettuce tasted wonderful, probably reflecting the locally sourced produce used at Homecomin’ Disney Springs. This combination of fresh produce, bleu cheese, and icebox dressing shines in this salad. We found this salad to be an excellent option. However, we do not think this would count as a low-calorie salad.
Finally, this salad comes with two fried green tomatoes. These are like the ones on the appetizer menu. I do not enjoy fried tomatoes. However, I ate both fried tomatoes happily with this salad.
Dessert at Homecomin’ Disney Springs
If somehow you complete an appetizer and entrée here and find yourself wanting dessert, Homecomin’ still has you covered. On the most recent trip to Homecomin’, we did not have dessert. However, we would highly recommend the Hummingbird Cake for $14. This is Chef Art’s southern specialty combining pineapple-banana cake with luxurious cream cheese frosting. In addition, this comes with vanilla bean ice cream.
Other desserts at Homecomin’ include a hot fudge bourbon brownie, carrot cake, and chocolate pecan pie. If you prefer, you can order some Everglazed doughnuts for dessert. Everglazed Doughnuts, also in Disney Springs, is run by the same parent company as Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ and Splitsville in Disney Springs.
As you can probably tell, I love Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ at Disney Springs. You do need to arrive prepared to pay a bit more than at your local comfort food dining option. Still, I have never heard someone leave Homecomin’ Disney Springs complaining about the quality of their meals. The combination of Homecomin’ beverages, unique appetizers, impressive entrees, decadent desserts, and quality service makes Homecomin’ an excellent dining option.
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