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Tony’s Town Square & the “Boo to You” Parade

I’m so excited to talk about this experience. While Tony’s Town Square Restaurant‘s Italian fare is far from 5-star cuisine, the memories you can make there — if you’re savvy and just a little bit lucky — are second to none.

Tony's Town Square Restaurant

Atmosphere
The restaurant is located in the Exposition Hall right next to Disney World’s Train Station. You’ll remember from Disney’s Lady and the Tramp the restaurant upon which Tony’s is styled — in the alley behind it was where Lady and the Tramp shared their famous spaghetti dinner! And you’ll find several Lady and the Tramp references throughout the restaurant. (Check out this post from SamLand’s Disney Adventures for one very special tie-in!)

Lady and the Tramp Appear on Windows...

Lady and the Tramp Appear on Windows...

...And in Statues

...And in Statues

They Even Appear on TV in the Lobby

They Even Appear on TV in the Lobby

The restaurant includes a plush lobby and three main dining areas: an indoor room with booths and tables, a “sunroom” that floods with light during the day, and an outdoor porch seating area.

Lobby Chairs and Stained Glass Windows

Lobby Chairs and Stained Glass Windows

Indoor Dining Room

Indoor Dining Room

Sunroom Seating

Sunroom Seating

Porch Seating

Porch Seating

And it’s that porch that makes all the difference…

My Favorite Time to Visit
So here’s the dining tip — the porch at Tony’s Town Square has one of the best views of the Disney World Main Street parades anywhere. No joke. You’re relaxing with your family, cutting up your kid’s meatball, and ohmigosh — there’s Mickey right there in front of you! And while everyone else is jockeying for position on the curb, you’re digging into your dessert as the floats go by.

It’s a lovely experience on any given day, but my favorite time to visit Tony’s is during the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party (MNSSHP). The “Boo to You” parade is one of the top Disney parades of all time, and watching it from the porch at Tony’s is a magical experience. Additionally, I love watching the anticipation and pure joy on the faces of the kids — all dressed up in their Halloween costumes for MNSSHP — coming under the arches into the Magic Kingdom for the first time!

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party brochure

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party brochure

Goofy's Candy Company Float

Goofy's Candy Company Float

MNSSHP Float from Tony's Town Square Porch

MNSSHP Float from Tony's Town Square Porch

Pulling off this stunt isn’t easy, though. In the same way that trying to get a patio table at Rose and Crown for Illuminations is often a flight of fancy, getting a porch table at Tony’s during a parade can be…difficult. My best advice for seeking out an experience like this is to book your reservation for an hour prior to the parade’s start time. When you arrive at the podium, let the cast member know that you’d like to wait for a porch table to open up. But just remember, this is only a request and they likely won’t let you wait forever. Usually, after an hour or so, they may ask you to take the next available seating. You’ll still have a decent view from the sunroom section. :-)

Eats
As I said earlier, Tony’s has never been the best Italian dining experience for me. My meals there have been average to satisfactory, but it’s not for the food that I return. That said, I’ve heard many positive reviews about the food, and the restaurant is well-known for its signature dish — Lady and the Tramp favorite: Spaghetti and Meatballs. There are other standard Italian favorites on the menu as well, and it’s definitely a location where everyone — even the fussy ones — in your party will find something they’ll enjoy eating.

On the night we went, we chose some of our favorite “Disney-Italian-Food-Restaurant” dishes — Spaghetti and Meatballs (of course) and Chicken Parmigiana (though, in retrospect, I wish I’d ordered steak! It looked delicious when I saw it brought to another table!). To start, we ordered a caesar salad and a bowl of minestrone soup. Bread rolls with olive oil were also brought out prior to the meal.

Bread Rolls and Olive Oil

Bread Rolls and Olive Oil

Caesar Salad

Caesar Salad

Minestrone Soup

Minestrone Soup

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Chicken Parmigiana

Chicken Parmigiana

Again, the food was fine, but unmemorable. I hope we’re just ordering the wrong things and that other dishes are stellar at Tony’s. Those of you who have had great meals should type up a comment below and let us know about ‘em! Give me some ordering suggestions for next time.

We ended the meal by sharing the signature seasonal dessert — a pumpkin cheesecake! This, I thought, was innovative, interesting, and quite good!

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Overall
I will absolutely keep returning to Tony’s for the atmosphere and the *fingers crossed* chance to sit on the patio while watching a parade — or even just watching the faces of the people walking into the Magic Kingdom for the first time! It’s a magical dining location that has been created and styled by top-notch imagineers to bring an animated Disney classic film to life in the parks. Definitely worth a try!

For more on Tony’s, including links to full menus, see our Tony’s Town Square info page.

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14 Comments

  1. Rich T. says:

    I have to agree with you . I went there once and dined in the sunroom. While the atmosphere was pleasant and the service decent, the food was certainly nothing to write home about. I would say it was better than my experience at Mama Melrose’s though.

  2. Sara says:

    Unfortunately we also thought the food was acceptable but not stellar. We went last May for lunch and it reminded us of Olive Garden. I like the atmosphere and the chance to escape the rain (there was a lot of it that week) but overall we decided that we wouldn’t come back for awhile.

  3. Evan says:

    I have to agree with the comments about the food. I ate there a couple of years ago and none of us were thrilled with what we got. It wasn’t a bad experience, but not something that I would return to given the numerous other dining locations.

  4. Stephanie says:

    This is on my current line up for our next trip. Thanks for the review! Wish we could try for a later reservation, but my daughter likes to eat at normal hours… thus probably no parade viewing..but it does look like that atmosphere inside is pleasant :)

  5. AJ says:

    Rich — I go back and forth with Tony’s and Mama’s. Neither are out-of-this-world delicious, but there are varying degrees of “average” on each visit ;-)

    Sara — Yep. I really wish Tony’s would step up the food; there are so many other things to like about the place that it *could* be great!

    Evan — Thanks for the corroboration. Agreed that it’s a once-every-couple-of-years kind of place for us.

    Stephanie — I’m glad you’re trying it; drop me a line when you get back and let me know what was good/bad. The Lady and the Tramp tie-in is so much fun. When’s your trip?

  6. Dizneydreamer says:

    I agree about the food- it’s nothing spectacular. We prefer Mama Melrose’s food, but just slightly. However, I agree that the atmosphere is great, especially an outside table. Even if there aren’t parades or anything going on, it’s still a great place to sit and take in the beginning of Main Street!

  7. Michele says:

    I ate at Tony’s during the early March 2010 trip as a unexpected opening & invite from another DISer. (coming soon on TR)

    I loved the theming & did you see the victrola in the lobby? I think I had the salad. Nothing to shut about. But I did take a bunch of pictures.

    I will definitely try to get an ADR just for the pumpkin cheesecake! I will see about your suggestion during MNSSP. I, hopefully, will be making a trek back down in mid-October. *fingers crossed*

  8. We ate at Tony’s on our trip in February. We had eaten there on our honeymoon almost 9 years ago and thought it would be fun for our kids. For some reason it did not live up to my memories. It seemed more plastic and less inviting. We selected Tony’s because it offered a little more choice for my husband that eats vegetarian/fish (not seafood) when out. I think Tony’s could really beef up their menu more and have more options. The food was OK at best, but did not live up to my standards for Disney food. We will have to share the photos of our meal there. Holy cow on the extreme garlic served in the dish with our salmon!

  9. Sass says:

    Back on May 7, 2003 my family and I had Tony’s all to ourselves at around 6pm. The place was empty!!!! Desserts were great. We probably won’t be returning since we have other restaurants to try. Oh the possibilities.

  10. Janna says:

    Our only Tony’s experience was a Grand Gathering breakfast last summer. The breakfast was fantastic – much better than most of the breakfast buffets (this one was served family style). The service was great, too.

    Based on that experience, Tony’s (for a regular meal) is on our agenda for the fall.

    My one MM meal was not spectacular. My kids love OG, though, so maybe Tony’s will work well for us!

    Great pictures, AJ! The salad and bread look great!

  11. April says:

    We ate there on our last trip, my husband & I had steaks & they were very good. We were on the deluxe dinning plan so for the “cost” it was very good :)

  12. AJ says:

    Disneydreamer — Agreed! There’s nothing better than taking in the sights and sounds of Main Street from that porch. :-)

    Michele — Looking forward to your TR! (Be sure to send a link to it — I’ll post on the round-up!)

    TAF — Would love to see the pics. How did the kids like it?

    Sass — Which desserts did you try; it’d be great to hear some recommendations!

    Janna — Breakfast — now that’s intriguing! They don’t serve breakfast here regularly, do they? Did you have the place to yourselves?

    April — Thanks for the review! I knew I shoulda had that steak!

  13. Janna says:

    The breakfast is listed here:
    http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/wdwi/en_CA/special/magicalgatherings/ggSpecialProducts?id=GrandGatheringsSpecialProductsPage

    It was only for those with trip reservations through Grand Gatherings. The restaurant was full but (then) they only had it on Wednesday mornings and Saturday mornings. It was FUN. It was very organized as far as being seated, receiving food, and seeing the characters. At the end, each group was called – one at a time – to have their pictures taken with Mickey. As we left, Tony passed out commemorative pins that were basically Fastpasses for the Mickey’s Philharmagic that started soon after.

    ‘Twas a great experience…

  14. AJ says:

    Wow — I want a grand gathering!!! Thanks for the news Janna!

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