About the Column

People have always squabbled over which whatever at Disney is better. You like the Contemporary, I like the Polynesian. You like Cinderella, I like Pirates. It never ends! But now it does. Dan Sisneros, for years a professional boxing judge for the state of New Mexico, rings the bell for biweekly bouts between classic and not-so-classic Disney rides, resorts, and more. Dan tells the tale of the tape, then calls the action until a winner is declared.

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FROM: Disney Tale of the Tape Published Every Other Saturday

Pollo Campero vs. Earl of Sandwich

In a battle sure to wet your appetite, 2 of Downtown Disney's beloved counter service restaurants face off in a 7 round battle. Can the Mexican underdog score the upset? Let's get ready to crumble!

A new challenger - Pollo Campero - steps into the ring to face Downtown Disney's defending champ - The Earl of Sandwich in this 7 round title bout.  The Earl's reputation is that of a powerful puncher with plenty of boxing savvy.  His undefeated record proves the point, but Pollo's here to prove that when it comes to a good boxing match, he's not (just) chicken!

The challenger - Pollo Campero is led into the ring by a mariachi band.  He looks sharp sporting a Zarape, and a giant Sombrero.  He climbs through the ropes (of course his Sombrero falls off), waves and blows kisses to the crowd.  He looks VERY confident!

The Earl of Sandwich approaches the ring with an entourage of 15 people!  Trumpeters, Royal Guards, wearing a long robe, and a "King's crown"...  The Earl of Sandwich really knows how to make a ring entrance!  He's the defending Downtown Disney Counter Service champion, and his trainer holds the title belt high in the air.

And now, let's go down to the center of the ring for our introductions from Disney Dispatch's ring announcer...

the one and only...

"Dapper" Don Rogers!


Earl of Sandwich

Location: Downtown Disney (WDW) - Marketplace

Opening Date:3/19/04

Featured Items: Sandwiches, Salads & Wraps

Seating: Counter Service with Indoor & Outdoor seating


Pollo Campero

Location: Downtown Disney (WDW) - Marketplace

Opening Date:11/12/10

Featured Items:Grilled or Fried Chicken & Sides

Seating:Counter Service with Indoor & Outdoor seating





ROUND 1: Location:

These two eateries are located on opposite ends of Downtown Disney's Marketplace area.  

The Earl of Sandwich (ES) is located closer to the bus stop and boat dock areas.  So when you arrive, you will probably cross Earl's path first.  

Pollo Campero (PC) is a bit of a walk from the bus/boat areas and you will be passing lots of other shops on your way there.  Both are located in colorful and busy locations. But PC's location has a slight advantage.  It is housed inside the old McDonald's building, and has two other eateries inside the walls.  Fresh-A-Peel and Babycakes NYC are also located inside this "mini food court" location.

It's mostly a jabbing contest in round 1.  Not much action, and neither boxer presses the issue.  But Pollo Campero seems a bit more confident with Fresh-A-Peel and Babycakes NYC in his corner!

Pollo Campero takes round 1 on my scorecard, 10-9.


ROUND 2: Theme & Appearance:

There is quite a contrast in styles in round 2.  

Pollo Campero is brightly colored, and well lit.  The theme appears to be a toned down version of a South American Mercado.  Very simple but quite cheerful.

Earl of Sandwich is darker with reddish/brown/black and marble throughout.  Even though it's darker in appearance, it's a busy and active place for most of the day, every day.  

This is one of those rounds where "styles make fights".  And to this judge, there is just something about the orderly and established feeling inside the walls of ES.

Round 2 goes to The Earl on my scorecard.  10-9.


ROUND 3: The Menu:

This is a round where both boxers show great versatility and skills.

ES offers an assortment of tasty sandwiches.  Italian, American, Veggie,  and Caribbean Jerked Chicken are just a few of the offerings you'll find on the sandwich menu.  The trademark punch for this pugilist is known as "The Full Montagu" - Roast Beef, Turkey, Sharp Cheddar, and aged Swiss piled up with Lettuce, Tomato and The Earl's Mustard sauce. Soups, Salads and Desserts round out a very satisfying menu board.  There's even a "Just 4 Kids" menu.

PC fires back with it's offering of both Fried and Citrus Grilled Chicken, as well as Chicken Strips.  The Sides are dazzling and such a change from French Fries or the usual offerings at most counter service locations (although they DO offer French Fries as a side).  Black Beans & Rice, Sweet Plantains, and Yuca Fries are a nice touch that can make your chicken meal something a little more special.  Warm corn tortillas come with the chicken meals too.

Lots of fireworks in this round.  Both boxers break a sweat, they look fast & powerful.  Both of them had their moments in this round.  It is very tough to score.  

I can see this round going either way, and would not argue if another judge sees it different, but on my scorecard I have to go with... Oh man, here comes the Referee asking for my scorecard for this round.  I can't decide.  I hate to do this, but I have to make it an even round 10-10.


ROUND 4: Service:

PC is more of a food court style of service.  You can step up to either the Pollo Campero counter, or the Fresh-A-Peel counter to order.  You are then given your food and take it to the register area to pay and then find a seat.

ES is the traditional line up, order, pay, and then pick up your food.  You probably won't see a longer line this side of Toy Story Midway Mania, and they do a great job of keeping it moving.

Both offered cheerful and helpful service when I last ate there.  Both are very popular and during the lunch or dinner rush hours can be very crowded and hectic places to maneuver your way around, and at those times, efficiency is the name of the game.   

Round 4 sees ES begin to land some stinging shots, PC takes them well and shows no signs of being hurt, it's a solid scoring round for The Earl.   10-9 on my card.


ROUND 5: The Food:

When it comes to food at WDW, I love it all.  I have no problem with Burgers or Hot Dogs and Fries!  But there are so many folks out there who are always looking for something else, and both of these places offer just what you are looking for.

ES has some of the tastiest sandwiches around.  Their bread is good and the stuffings are pretty generous. Every sandwich is made fresh to order, and they really do use top notch ingredients.  The soups and salads are wonderful, and they offer their own brand of bagged kettle chips.

PC offers some great fried chicken, and the citrus grilled chicken is even better (in my opinion).  The sides really make the difference.  They are unusual and most of all very tasty.

Both boxers are scoring with lightning fast combinations.  It seems that ES always gets in the last punch of every exchange though.

A very exciting round 5 goes to ES 10-9 on my Scorecard.  Every round has been close.  Neither contestant seems to be in full control of this bout!


ROUND 6: Price & Value:

This is where both of these eateries shine.  The prices are very good, not just for a Disney theme park, but for anywhere!

PC offers indivdual chicken meals (2 pieces of chicken and 1 side) for 6.99, or a family meal which includes a whole grilled chicken with 2 family sides and warm corn tortillas for 19.99.  This is one of the strengths of Pollo Campero.

ES matches his opponent - price for price, value for value.  Hot Sandwiches of Wraps are just 5.99 and they do a good job of satisfying a big eater like myself.  Soups are 2.99 and worth every penny.

Two of the best values in any theme park around.  Again, It is very hard to pick one over the other in this round.  they both land big shots and both can take a shot very well.  I just can't help myself, I must give this round to Pollo Campero on the strength of that 19.99 Family meal deal.

PC takes round 6 by a razor thin margin.  10-9.


ROUND 7: Intangibles:

It's been another classic battle. The fans know they have witnessed a bout that will be talked about for years to come.  This bout is up for grabs.  They come out and touch gloves as the bell rings to start the final round.

One thing PC has going for it, is that besides the Flan & other goodies offered at the grab-n-go tubs, you are sitting at your table possibly hearing Babycakes NYC whispering your name throughout your entire meal! (I heard it, and answered the call).

ES has a very tempting assortment of sides and desserts in their refrigerated coolers that you can't ignore!  Yogurt Parfaits, Fruit Cups, Pudding, Muffins, even The Earl's own brand of packaged Cookies!

And while PC oozes South American Flair, ES offers some interesting history about the real "Earl of Sandwich" and how the Sandwich came to be!


It's a great end to a close boxing match!  I had to give this round to ES 10-9 and now it's time for the commissoners to tally up the 3 judges scorecards and decide a winner.

and for that we send it down to our ring announcer, the one, the only... Don Rogers!


"...Ladies and Gentlemen, how about a round of applause for these two talented warriors!

We have a SPLIT decision!...

Judge Chico Gallito scores the bout 68-66 for Pollo Campero!

Judge Graham Worcestershire sees it 67-66 for Earl of Sandwich!

and Judge Dan Sisneros casts the deciding scorecard of 68-66 for the winner...







The Earl of Sandwich had to dig down deep and relied on his disciplined training regimen to pull out a very close victory over this new challenger.  There is lots of talk around the arena, about a possible rematch.  But for now, the champion will take some time to rest and savor this great victory.  The Champ calmly grabs a fruit cup out of the refrigerator case, and holds it over that swollen eye.