Undignified Dining

There are two restaurants in Disney World that people either love…or hate! And it’s not because of the food; it’s because of the service. Not that 50’s Prime Time Cafe and Whispering Canyon Cafe have bad service; you simply have to know what to expect.

Disney incorporates “story” into all of its theme parks, rides, hotels, and restaurants. And in these two particular restaurants, the “story” is that you’re being served in an atmosphere that calls for a little less dignity and a few more pranks.

50's Prime Time Cafe

50's Prime Time Cafe

50’s Prime Time Cafe

The 50’s Prime Time Cafe in Disney’s Hollywood Studios has long been the place to get fried chicken, meatloaf, chicken soup, and other mom-a-rific favorites. The story here is that you’re eating in Mom’s kitchen, and that your server is some sort of relative — aunt, cousin, uncle, brother…you get the idea.

To make this “comforts of home” story even more real, Disney has trained its cast members at 50’s Prime Time Cafe to treat their customers as family. They bring around photo albums to show the table and ask about Aunt Betty and Cousin James. But they also tell customers to keep their elbows off the table, finish their vegetables, and set the table!

Of course, if you don’t decide to follow directions, punishments which range from slightly embarrassing to hilarious may ensue! Should you find yourself pinning a sugar packet to the wall with your nose, standing in the corner, or singing “I’m a Little Teapot” — with motions — in front of a restaurant full of your new best friends, don’t say we didn’t warn you!

Whispering Canyon Cafe

Whispering Canyon Cafe Warnings

Whispering Canyon Cafe Warnings

While Whispering Canyon Cafe at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge doesn’t have quite the same reputation for humiliation as does 50’s Prime Time Cafe, you will definitely experience your fair share of pranks here!

Cast members adopt specific personalities, complete with wacky nicknames, that harken back to the old west. There’s not a lot of respect for niceties around these parts. You may have napkins and straws thrown at your table, and making a cell phone call from your seat probably isn’t smart — your waiter might want to have a word with the person on the other end! Of course, the last thing you want to do is ask for ketchup… unless, of course, you really like ketchup! (I won’t post specifics, but if you request the info via the “contact us” button above, I’ll give you the low-down.)

So you think you might want ketchup...?

So you think you might want ketchup...?

But the games and pranks are all in fun, and kiddos have a great time at this restaurant. There are sing-a-long songs, hobby horse races, coloring pages, and other games. And, of course, the repeat-after-me vows to “stay up as late as I can,” and “never, ever go to Universal Studios.”

So Go Have Some Fun!
I think that a lot of folks who dislike these restaurants simply aren’t prepared for the type of service that’s customary. Once you know what you’re in for, you can be ready for it…and even have a few zingers ready for retorts! That said, if “interactive” service isn’t for you, just let your server know that you’d rather watch the fun rather than be a part of it. Shouldn’t be a problem in either restaurant. Enjoy!

Photo Credits:
Ketchup: EdenPictures via flickr
Prime Time Cafe: JoshMcConnell via flickr
Special Thanks to WildernessLodgeSite.com


  1. Hilda says

    WCC sounds good humored and charmingly lively while the 50s (50’s? how gratuitous) strikes me a bit intimidating, to be quite honest (most notably, the ‘standing in the corner’ bit).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *