Counter Service Restaurants

Table Service Restaurants

Food Carts

Bars or Lounges

Dining at Hollywood Studios is less ethnic than at Epcot and possibly less interesting than at any other park. The park has five restaurants where Advance Reservations are recommended or required: The Hollywood Brown Derby, 50's Prime Time Cafe, Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant, Mama Melrose's Ristorante Italiano, and the Hollywood and Vine Cafeteria. The upscale Brown Derby is by far the best restaurant at the Studios. For simple Italian food, including pizza, Mama Melrose’s is fine; just don’t expect anything fancy. At the Sci-Fi Dine-In, you eat in little cars at a simulated drive-in movie from the 1950s. Though you won’t find a more entertaining restaurant in Walt Disney World, the food is hit or miss. Somewhat better is the 50’s Prime Time Cafe, where you sit in Mom’s time-warp kitchen and scarf down meat loaf while watching clips of classic sitcoms. It’s fun and the food is a step up. The best way to experience either restaurant is to stop in for dessert or a drink between 2:30 and 4:30 p.m. Hollywood & Vine features singing and dancing characters from the Disney Channel during breakfast and lunch.

Author's Favorite Counter-Service Restaurants

We receive considerable mail from readers recounting their DHS dining experiences. The 50’s Prime Time Cafe, for instance, is always a hot topic. First, from a Maryland reader:

50’s Prime Time Cafe was fun, but the food was mediocre at best. If my mom cooked that way, I would’ve run away from home.

But a West Newton, Massachusetts, family loved it:

We decided to go against your recommendation and give it a shot. We’re so glad we did! For the five of us (ages 16–20), it was a blast. “Leroy,” our waiter and “big brother” for the meal, came and sat at our table and helped us set our places so we wouldn’t get in trouble with “Mom.” When one member of our party cursed, “Mom” arrived to punish him, making him clear the table onto her tray, which he did shamefully. It was a total kick that we talked about for the rest of the trip.

If you arrive at the Studios without having arranged Advance Reservations for meals, you can make them at the restaurants. The Hollywood Brown Derby, expensive but tasty, is usually among the last to fill. The companion Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge is far less crowded and offers a small-plate and dessert menu, including the famous grapefruit cake. If you have no Advance Reservations and you get hungry, try the Starring Rolls Cafe or Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner, both of which sometimes fly under the radar of the teeming hordes.

FANTASMIC! DINING PACKAGE

If you dine at the Hollywood & Vine buffet (dinner only) or at Mama Melrose's or Brown Derby full-service restaurants, you can obtain a ticket/voucher for the members of your dining party to enter the night's first showing of Fantasmic! without waiting in line and sit in a section of seats (one of the best in the theater) reserved specifically for dining package patrons..

Here are the rules: You may call 407-WDW-DINE (or book online) up to 180 days in advance and request the Fantasmic! Dining Package for the night you want to see the show. This is a reservation and must be guaranteed with a credit card at the time of booking. There's a 48-hour cancellation policy. Disney Dining Plan credits can be used to pay for the meal.

To keep guests from coming in and ordering the cheapest thing on the menu just to get Fantasmic! vouchers, Disney includes a fixed price meal in the package. Sample 2013 prices (peak season, excluding park admission and gratuity) are roughly as follows:

Hollywood
Brown Derby
(Lunch or Dinner)
Mama Melrose's
Ristorante Italiano
(Lunch or Dinner)
Hollywood & Vine
Buffet
(Dinner Only)
Adult $59 $38 $40
Child (3-9) $18 $13 $23

The price covers all you care to eat at the Hollywood & Vine Buffet or entree and dessert at the Brown Derby or Mama Melrose. Nonalcoholic drinks are included with the package at all three restaurants. Allow yourself a minimum of two hours to eat and make your way to the Fantasmic! show. If you have made ordinary reservations for any of the participating restaurants, they will not include reserved seats for Fantasmic!. You have to buy the package to get the good seats.

You will receive your tickets/vouchers at the restaurant. 30-45 minutes before the first Fantasmic! show of the night, report to the VIP seating entrance on Sunset Boulevard next to Beauty and the Beast. A cast member will collect your vouchers and direct or escort you to the seating reserved for dining package guests. Though you're required to arrive early, you can be seated immediately and won't have to stand in any lines. You will not have specific assigned seats in the reserved section. It's first-come/first-served, so arrive early for the best choice. Finally, understand that you're out of luck if Fantasmic! is cancelled due to weather or other circumstances; you will not receive a refund or even a voucher for another performance.