Friday, April 27, 2018

Where Should I Eat at Hollywood Studios? Our Favorites Ranked!

Hollywood Studios is in a huge transition period right now. We've spent a year or two losing attractions and dealing with construction walls waiting for Toy Story Land and Star Wars Land to open. One thing that is staying contact are the great table service choices at Hollywood Studios!

So, where should you eat while you're at Hollywood Studios? I'm glad you asked! Based on our highly scientific study (i.e. FaceBook poll), here are Wishdrawals' top favorites.

Hundreds of caricatures are hung on the walls!
5. Hollywood Brown Derby: This is a recreation of the Brown Derby restaurant chain that originally operated in California in the 1920s where the Cobb Salad was invented. The Hollywood Brown Derby at Hollywood Studios is a Signature Restaurant requiring 2-credits on the dining plan. However, the reviews are inconsistent. At that price point, I generally expect great service and great food. The menu sounds delicious and the Cobb Salad is usually good, but for the money, we generally think there are better options.


4. Mama Melrose's Ristorante Italiano: This Italian restaurant is tucked away in Muppet Courtyard and smells delicious! The menu is pretty typical Italian dishes with a decent price point with most entrees $20-$25. The back story is that Mama Melrose arrived in Hollywood from Sicily to be a star but instead started cooking her father's secret recipes; the rest is history! There's not anything to really set this restaurant apart from the average Italian restaurant. The food is good if not outstanding. The restaurant has a Fantasmic! dining option, and it's a good location for a large party. Of the five table service restaurants, this one is the easiest to book so it's often available for a last minute trip or change in plans.

Wall decor at Mama Melrose's. (Photo credit: Walt Disney World)
Minnie welcomes guests to the diner! (Photo credit: Walt
Disney World)

3. Hollywood & Vine: Hosting the only character meal in Hollywood Studios put Hollywood & Vine in the middle of the pack here. Reviews here range from "great--best food we had this week" to "truly horrible" but generally falls somewhere in between. It's a pretty typical buffet with options to make most everyone pretty happy. The real star here is not the food but the characters you can meet! Breakfast has some Disney Junior characters (Doc McStuffins, Jake from Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Sophia, and Handy Manny) which is great for the younger set. Breakfast buffets are usually pretty decent, too. Lunch and dinner will find Minnie and her friends dressed to meet the season! You might find them wearing their beach-wear in the summer, holiday wear in the winter, or dressed for spring dinner party.

2. 50s Prime Time Cafe: Located right next door to Hollywood & Vine, 50s Prime Time Cafe is a fun throwback to the 1950s. The decor definitely has a vintage feel to it, and a small TV at each table plays clips from some of the great family shows from the 50s--Leave it to Beaver, Father Knows Best, and more! The food is generally reminiscent of home cooking--meatloaf, fried chicken, pot roast--with a few healthier choices thrown in there! The servers generally refer to themselves as "Aunt" or "Uncle" and often teach some table manners. Elbows off the table! No cell phones at dinner! Eat all your peas or no dessert! The food is generally quite tasty, the servers are entertaining, and the cute TV clips that play table-side are a nice addition.


My son sitting at the formica table--note the TV in the background!

1. Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant: Our number one pick is Sci-Fi Dine-In! Designed to resemble a drive-in movie, this very unique restaurant is very dark inside, the "tables" are actually cars, and the large "drive-in" movie screen plays terrible and entertaining sci-fi movie clips from the 50s. The food here is relatively inexpensive making it a good choice if you're paying out of pocket. The burger and the sandwiches here are tasty and affordable. The atmosphere is fun, food is tasty, and the restaurant is well themed. A couple of negatives here--if you're seated in one of the "cars," your party will be split into smaller parties of two so it's not a good restaurant for talking over your day or planning your afternoon. (On the flip side, if you need a break from your family, this is a great option!) There are some cars with more picnic table style in the back, but it seems to be luck of the draw as to where you sit. The sci-fi movies might be slightly disturbing for very young children, but overall, they're just laughably scary clips.
Wishdrawals agent, Heather, waiting for her food at Sci-Fi Dine-In.

Wishdrawals agent, Susan, enjoying the Sci-Fi movies on the big screen!
Cars "parked" and waiting for the movie to start! (Photo credit: Walt Disney World)

There you have it! The five restaurants ranked in order by your Wishdrawals Travel agents. Have you tried any of these? Which is your favorite?

Susan Burks is a Disney travel planner at WishdrawalsTravel, a military spouse, and a homeschooling mom to a 13-year boy!

She and her family love visiting Disney World and taking Disney cruises. With nine Disney cruises under her belt and too many Disney World trips to count, her next adventure is Aulani, a Resort & Spa in Hawaii!