Disney Dining – 50’s Prime Time Café

50's-Prime-Time-Cafe-MenuLet’s be honest – Disney’s Hollywood Studios is our least favorite park restaurant-wise.  The counter service options leave a lot to be desired and table service dining is generally underwhelming.  A couple of exceptions being the Hollywood Brown Derby’s patio dining and 50’s Prime Time Café.  One is perfect for some delish snacks or light meal and a glass of wine, the other is great for some classic American comfort food in an awesome mid-century setting.

Raymond and I recently enjoyed lunch at the 50’s Prime Time Café (we hadn’t been there in years) and were tickled by the kitschy décor, the 1950’s TV show clips, the funky service, and the home-cooked-meal menu.  For one table-service credit on the Disney Dining Plan, Prime Time’s a great choice for families and those of us old enough to appreciate the nostalgia.

Disney Dining – 50’s Prime Time Café50's-Prime-Time-Cafe-Christmas-Tree

We arrived a few minutes before our reservation, checked in at the podium and were free to roam around the waiting area.  Because it was the week between Christmas and New Year, the crowds were extreme and finding a place to sit was impossible.  Raymond found a quiet corner to stand in and I wondered around taking in the adorable seasonal decorations and homey atmosphere.  We didn’t wait long before we were called to be seated.50's-Prime-Time-Cafe-Wall-Decorations

If you haven’t heard about 50’s Prime Time Café, it is one of the unique Disney restaurants that creates a total immersion experience.  You are propelled back into a typical home in the 1950’s – complete with a grown-up (your server) making sure you mind your manners, eat your veggies, and have a good time.  50's-Prime-Time-Cafe-WaitressI couldn’t stop looking around!  I kept spotting things I grew up with either in our house or at an aunt’s, uncles, or grandparents’.  On my previous visit, I did not take the time to appreciate the carefully curated artifacts!50's-Prime-Time-Decor

The menu mainly consists of plain old American fare – popular dishes once the mainstay of those long-ago dinners where the entire family gathered around the dinner table together and talked to each other.  Back in the days when kids were called in from playing outdoors to wash up and dinner hit the table promptly at 6:00 pm.  No smart phones or cable TV…just hearty food prepared without benefit of a microwave oven.  Hard to imagine isn’t it?50's-Prime-Time-Dining-Room

Raymond and I decided to share an appetizer and entrée so we’d have more room for the dinner reservation we had that evening.  We chose the “Fried Herb and Garlic Cheese served with Raspberry Sauce, Grapes, and Apples” for $8.99 and “A Sampling of Mom’s Favorite Recipes -Golden-fried Chicken, Fork Tender Pot Roast, and Traditional Meatloaf with all the fixings” for $21.99.  50's-Prime-Time-Fried-CheeseThe appetizer was just okay…we ate it, but probably wouldn’t order it again.  I’m guessing it was the raspberry sauce which struck me as very artificial tasting.  The entrée was excellent!  50's-Prime-Time-EntreeThis place knows how to make fried chicken, pot roast, and meatloaf!  They all tasted exactly the way we wanted them to.  The veggies were great too (and I got all the green beans!)!

We think 50’s Prime Time Café is a great place for a hearty meal.  If you have meat-and-potatoes fans in your family, they’re sure to find something enjoyable on the menu and if you grew up in or just after the 1950’s, you’ll feel right at home.  It’s a fun time-travel experience for everyone!

What’s your pick for best table service restaurant at Disney’s Hollywood Studios?  Have you eaten at 50’s Prime Time Café?  What did you think?





Star Wars Dine at Hollywood and Vine with Jedi Mickey

Last year, Nick and a couple of buddies went to Disney’s Hollywood Studios to for Star Wars Weekends – They had no way of knowing they were enjoying the LAST Star Wars Weekends ever.  The guys had an excellent trip and were making plans for a repeat in 2016 until the announcement was made that due to the Star Wars expansion coming to the Studios (after which all manner of special Star Wars attractions, shops, dining, etc. would be offered all the time) – Star Wars Weekends were over.  This made us very sad!  Let’s take a look at one of the special events Nick and friends attended last year…hopefully the new Star Wars experiences coming in the future will be just as fun!

Star Wars Dine at Hollywood and Vine with Jedi Mickey

By Nick

On a recent trip with 2 friends to Walt Disney World, we went to Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine at Hollywood and Vine, which is in Disney’s Hollywood Studios through June 14th.

We started off this galactic dining experience getting photos with Jedi Mickey himself!

 Me, Mickey, Joe and Josh

As we were being brought to our table, we were handed our Lightsabers. Okay, they were pieces of paper that we rolled up, choosing either the blue side for the good guys or red for the bad, and securing this with provided rubber bands.

This is a buffet, and like the normal buffet at Hollywood and Vine, which my wife and I visited in January and enjoyed very much, there is a wide range of interesting choices mixed in with more standard fair. Several of the items are named in honor of Star Wars characters, such as the salad greens below, renamed “Greedos Fresh Green Mix.”

Continuing down the buffet, we get other items, such as Yoda’s Edamame Salad, Obi-Wan Insalata Caprese and, seriously, my favorite dish from the entire meal, R2-D2s Cantaloupe Salad, which had, obviously, Cantaloupe, pancetta, greens, and, I believe, a vinaigrette. I really need to contact Disney and try to get the recipe, it was terrific.

Moving along we get to entree items like Princess Leia’s Sweet and Sour Pork (a bit dry), and Ahsoka’s Orange Chicken (very tasty).

There is a carving station that served Kessel Run Roasted Strip Loin and Dexter Jettster’s (Obi’s diner owning friend from Episode 2) Herb Roasted Turkey.

The“Padawan Kid’s Buffet” serves Kanans Corn Dogs, Chewbaccas Chicken Tenders and other kid friendly foods.

As you dine, favorite Disney characters come around dressed like favorite Star Wars characters, like Chip and Dale as Ewoks.

If you miss one, don’t fear, they come around frequently, and a Cast Member will make sure you’ve seen everyone, like Darth Goofy

…and Stormtrooper Donald!

On to what many consider the most important part of any meal, dessert! One of the best were the
Darth Vadar Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake.

I didn’t try the tarts as I was saving room for the cupcakes.

My favorite dessert was Aunt Beru’s Blue Milk Ice Cream. It tasted like cotton candy!

We opted for the Fantasmic package, which gave us guaranteed seats for the show, and cost $63.99 for adults, and $38.99 for children aged 3-9.

I highly recommend this experience. True, it is not cheap, but it’s a lot of fun, and the food is really very good. It’s 3 of my favorite things in one. Disney, Star Wars, and food! May The Force be with you!

Princess Leia Minnie and me

Want to read more about Nick’s Disney adventures?  Visit the Disney Musings Blog and follow Nick on Twitter, on Facebook, on Instagram, and on Pinterest.  You can also listen to Nick, our friend Dave, and me on The Disney Exchange Podcast where we talk about….well, I bet you can guess.

That Time We Went to the Frozen Sing-Along

Frozen-Sing-Along-EntranceSometimes when I’m booking FastPasses I’m only after two and that third one doesn’t matter very much.  When I was booking FastPasses for our last trip to Walt Disney World, I wanted Toy Story Midway Mania and Tower of Terror for our day in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  I got them both at exactly the times I wanted – late morning and early afternoon.  We’d try to ride Rock’n Roller Coaster and Star Tours early in the morning on stand-by and have a pretty good plan.  My Disney Experience randomly chose a third FastPass for me and instead of trying to change it to something else, I thought, “What the heck – Why NOT?” and kept “For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing Along Celebration” in the 2-spot for the day between Tower of Terror and Toy Story.  We’d never been to the sing-along and, to be perfectly honest, I didn’t know if we’d make it or not.  By the time that FastPass came due after lunch, I suspected we’d skip it in favor of something else.  Fast forward…

We were having a red letter day!  Seriously, considering it was two days after Christmas, we could not have enjoyed ourselves more.  As planned, we arrived early for the 8:00 am park opening and found Cast Members were letting guests in by 7:45.  We walked on to Rock’n’ Roller Coaster with no wait.  Rock'n'-Roller-Coaster-GuitarWe stopped for breakfast at Starring Rolls, strolled the Streets of America, rode Star Tours (20 minute stand-by), and saw MuppetVision 3D with no wait.  Great-Movie-Ride-WesternNext we hopped on the Great Movie Ride before deciding we needed to see Chewbacca in the Star Wars Launch Bay (30 minute wait) – we were having a blast and it was still early!  Beauty-and-The-Beast-LiveWhy not relax at Beauty and the Beast-Live On Stage before our first FastPass of the day at Tower of Terror?  After we got off our service elevator, we were parched and it was noon.Tower-of-Terror

A beer from Min & Bills hit the spot and then we made our way to 50’s Prime Time Café for our 12:30 reservation.  Lunch was excellent and, fortified for the afternoon with a carrot cake cookie from the Writer’s Stop, we decided we would indeed check out the Frozen Sing-Along. Frozen-Sing-Along-Trolls We entered the theater and took our seats in the center and toward the back – boy, was it crowded!  Behind us an argument between two groups of angry moms broke out and provided some riveting pre-show entertainment.  Then…show time!

The show is cute and funny and, having read reviews and watched this YouTube video, I knew what to expect.  When the first song started, I was ready!  I belted out the first line…Do you want to build a snowman…before I realized that virtually no one was singing along besides me.  I closed my mouth and looked around…yup, silence.  Weird!  Frozen-Sing-Along-SnowWe did like the 30-minute show…even if at our performance at least, there was no actual singing along with the sing-along.  The special effects were great!  Guaranteed to please even the most casual Frozen fan, you should put this on your Studios to-do list.  Probably, you don’t even need to use a FastPass like we did.  If you do go, I’m dying to know if people sing along or not, so please stop back by and tell me what happens!



Saying Farewell to the Osborne Lights

Osborne Lights GlobeWe set aside the entire day on December 27th (2015) to spend at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  Sure, we were there to enjoy our favorite Studios’ attractions and we wanted to check out the new Star Wars Launch Bay, but mostly we wanted to pay our respects to the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.  After a successful 20 year run as one of the most beloved Christmas traditions at Walt Disney World, the lights will be turned off for good on January 6, 2016.

Saying Farewell to the Osborne Lights

We wanted to spend time strolling the Streets of America where the Osborne Lights are displayed – both during the daytime and at night.  The lights are spectacular when they’re on, but during the daylight hours, there’s also a certain charm – a special atmosphere – when the lights are off, the sun is shining, and the streets are mainly deserted.DHS-Olaf DHS-Roger-Rabbit-Christmas

We arrived at 7:30 for the 8:00 am scheduled park opening.  We managed to knock a couple of attractions off our to-do list and grab a bite at Starring Rolls before we made our way to the quiet Streets of America.  The day was gloriously sunny and warm – not Christmas-ish at all, which made the setting seem almost surreal in both its quiet abandonment and seasonal spirit.DHS-Minnie-Mickey-PicnicDHS - Christmas Dalmations DHS-Flying Goofy

We knew that a million tiny details that were so obvious during the day would all but disappear at night as the lights would shine and blink with the music and as “snow” fell on guests packed tightly in the streets to see the spectacle for the last time.DHS - I'm the baby!DHS-Christmas-Stitch DHS-China Bowl-WindowDHS-Mr-Gold'sWhat fun it was to be all alone on the Streets of America during one of the busiest weeks of the year at Walt Disney World!  We took our time and soaked up the wonderful surprises hidden all around.  After we’d seen what we could and used all our FastPasses (plus a few extra attractions), we headed to Epcot for a pre-dinner stroll around World Showcase.  We ate at the Dolphin’s Blue Zoo that evening – after which we caught a bus back to the Studios for the big show.

Now we had lots of company on those same previously-empty streets!  The place was packed and the displays and details we had admired by day took on a completely different look at night.DHS-Osborne-Lights-Dalmations DHS-Osborne-Lights-Goofy-FlyingDHS-Osborne-Lights-Olaf DHS-Osborne-Lights-Baby

DHS-Osborne-Lights-Mr-Gold'sThe music was wonderful!  The lights were as special and spectacular as could possibly be imagined.  As an added bit of fun, we moved as quickly as we could through the hustle and bustle to spy as many Mickeys (and Minnies) as we could before we called it a night.DHS-Osborne-Lights-Minnie DHS-Osborne-Lights-Mickey DHS-Osborne-Lights-Green-MickeyWill the Osborne Lights be missed?  You betcha!  At the same time, we are anticipating the many new and exciting experiences to come after all the changes are complete at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (or whatever the park may be named in the future).

Were you a fan of the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights?  What did you love most about this incredible and unique experience?