A Visit to 50’s Prime Time Cafe

The second of two guest posts this week comes from one of your favorite Disney Food Blog guest writers. A special thanks to Chef BigFatPanda for sharing this review with us! He recently met up with two of our other favorite friends for a meal at 50’s Prime Time Cafe in Disney’s Hollywood Studios! Take it away, Chef!

50's Prime Time Cafe Sign

Hello! Chef BigFatPanda here! I recently had the pleasure of accompanying Amanda Tinney and Suzannah DiMarzio for dinner at the 50’s Prime Time Cafe in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

As usual, the atmosphere was relaxed and I noticed everything appeared to be sparkling clean. We were seated right away, and our server, Mandy, immediately knew we were going to be a handful. On this visit, the theme of 1950’s nostalgia was vibrant. And, as servers at 50’s Prime Time Cafe work in “Mom’s Kitchen” and play the part of your relative in line with the restaurant’s themeing, Mandy was our “sister” for the afternoon.

One of the Prime Time Cafe Waiting Areas

A 50s Prime Time Cafe Dining Room

Suzannah and Amanda at a TV Table

It’s a great experience if you allow yourself to get caught up in the fun. Introverts might be uncomfortable here as guest participation is encouraged. If you are the type to get offended by your server telling you that you’re not getting up from the table unless you eat your veggies, this won’t be your ideal meal. If, however, you enjoy being a big kid, or if you have children with you, this could be a blast!

Our server, Mandy, realized we were Disney fanatics and not easily rattled. When we each had our cell phones out at the same time, she yelled “put those walkie talkies away!” She was not Disney-nice about it either. Like I said, it’s the 1950’s, and she was our big sister.

Amanda ordered a salad wedge; Suzannah: Dad’s Meatloaf, which I also recreated here on the Food Blog; and I opted for the Fried Chicken. I only enjoy white meat chicken, so Mandy said Mom would just give me two breasts. I am not sure if I paid more, but was happy they accommodated my preference.

Amanda loved her salad, and it looked very fresh and crisp.

Salad Wedge

Suzannah really enjoyed her Meatloaf. Everything was hot and colorful. I don’t remember the presentation being so good at my house, but that was the 70’s :)

Dad's Meatloaf

My Fried Chicken was really perfect. It still had the skin under the delicious coating, but it was crispy and enjoyable. Had it still retained the texture of skin, I would have peeled it off and discarded it. I know people who like it either way.

Fried Chicken Meal

I really enjoy food HOT and have an issue with food served just below warm or downright cold (unless it’s standard for the dish). I am happy to report the mashed potatoes, with some of the red skins remaining, were hot and scrumptious. The green beans were nothing special, but were just as I remembered as a kid. If they’d added some melted butter, I’d have eaten more.

The standout fun of the evening, apart from being with two wonderful ladies of Disney, was when Amanda and Mandy started talking about Amanda’s order: the salad wedge. Somehow, “Wedge” became “Wedgie,” and Mandy was put on notice that people from all over the Disney blogosphere would be coming into the Cafe to request a Wedgie from Mandy! Mandy then posed for the picture below and exclaimed that she’d be more than happy to oblige! You now know what to do the next time you’re at the Studios, yes? :)


It’s nice to see that while the themeing and ambiance is the big draw here, the food has not suffered from what I remember from my last visit three years ago. As a matter if fact, I would say it’s improved. The menu is limited, and we all commented that a gourmet burger would be a nice addition — and surely popular — but it’s not on the menu as of this visit.

This is the place to have fun with family and friends, and enjoy the themeing. Although we did not have desserts, I saw them coming out for other guests and they looked marvelous. Oh, and the milkshakes looked heavenly.

Chef BigFatPanda

Again, thanks to Chef BigFatPanda for this awesome trip to Disney World! You can also find him at DisneyBoy.com

If you’re intrigued by this story, head over to Amanda Tinney’s website, Disney Every Day, where she’s got a post all about the infamous server, Mandy!


  1. says

    The 50’s Prime Time Cafe is one of our favorite restaurants in all of WDW. I have a hard time resisting that delicious fried chicken! The s’mores are fabulous for dessert – I hope they are still on the menu!

  2. says

    Oooooh – I didn’t realize there’s a wedge salad on the menu! This is one of our favorite places but it’s not yet on my list for October. I need to remedy that!

    Now I’m hungry…I’ll have a Dad’s meatloaf with extra gravy, please!

  3. says

    50’s Prime Time Cafe is one of my favorite restaurants in all of Walt Disney World. Sure, it’s a different experience than dining at California Grill, but the food is fantastic, the decor is absolutely perfect and the Cast Members are a blast!

    Here’s a tip I like to share with couples and solo travelers: if you’d like to eat at 50’s Prime Time Cafe and they are fully booked, try the adjacent Tune In Lounge. If there’s an available seat at the bar, you can sit down and order food from the 50’s menu! Sure, you miss out on some of the fun of eating in the regular dining room, but you’ll still enjoy a great meal!

  4. says

    On my last trip to Prime Time, I tried the stuffed pepper and it was delicious! I’d always had the pot roast but decided to try something new and I’ll be hard pressed to make a choice on my next trip because it was that good…..of course, I could order both….right? right?

  5. Glenn says

    We have our reservation set for our trip in August. I have heard nothing but good things. Can’t wait!!

  6. James (Disneynorth) says

    I’ll chime into the chorus… 50’s Prime Time is one of the best restaurants in WDW. Probably the best in DHS.

    The fried chicken is fabulous. The Pot Roast even better. I wanted to eat here again on our next trip in the fall, but my wife wanted to try something different. I think it also had to do with me embarassing her on our last trip. Here comes the airplane with the vegetables!!! LOL!

  7. says

    Tsk, Tsk . . . Amanda had her elbows on the table. Wonder if she got in trouble for that. I know that they have really tamed things down a lot from the old days at 50’s Prime Time, but it is still fun. We did it last May and had fun with the kids and my parents. Brought back memories of going there when it first opened. I still remember back in he 90’s when the server tried to put airplaned veggies into my father’s mouth. He played along with the entire restaurant watching.

  8. says

    We enjoyed a meal here in June on our honeymoon, we both ordered the steak. It was well cooked and we even custom ordered without the sauce. It was lovely, but we felt the interaction lacked some what, my husband came away very disappointed, he tried everything to wind up the waiter. We decided to give it another go this september!

  9. says

    I had such a great time, the company, the service and the food were all perfect! :) I normally get the pot roast too, this was the first time I’d had the meatloaf and it was really great. I did get scolded for not finishing my veggies tho. ;) Mandy was great!

    Thanks for the great report, Chef!

  10. says

    This place is a favorite of my wife and me. We almost always order the fried chicken and pot roast along with a [real] cherry coke. The tip about eating at the bar is a good one. We’ve eaten at the bar when we couldn’t get a reservation [highly recommended to get reservations at WDW restaurants!]. Bad news to the previous poster about the stuffed pepper though, they have removed it from the menu and replaced it with a pearl pasta dish:( Also, keep in mind the bar will serve drinks to go! Cocktails and a better beer selection than the ‘popcorn’ stands scattered about the park.

  11. says

    Holly — The s’mores are still there! Here’s the dessert menu!

    Janna — I’ve NEVER had the meatloaf here; I’m too stuck on the fried chicken! Lemme know how the salad is!

    Tim — Great tips! I’ll have a post on Tune In Lounge coming up and I’ll be sure to share your info.

    Matt — I never have anything against ordering multiple entrees. No siree.

    Glenn — Great news! Can’t wait to hear your review!

    James — Where are you guys headed instead?

    TAF — The restaurant really CAN be a lot of fun with family! Also can serve as a great icebreaker!

    Nicola — Too bad! I’m glad you’re giving the restaurant another shot; maybe you can slip a note to the server to really rile your hubby up!

    Zanna — You didn’t finish your veggies?!? Tsk tsk tsk!

    Edmoe_N — Thanks for the cherry coke reminder! I always get those! Also, good to know about the cocktails-to-go. I’ll be taking advantage of that for certain.

  12. says

    I agree with all of the comments boasting about this place. I think if Disney ever decided to close this restaurant, we could organize a real grass-roots effort to save it. Based on how busy they were, I would say it isn’t going anywhere.

    Tim W – I didn’t know that. Very good tip about the Tune-in lounge.

    Matt – I was so excited to hear about a stuffed pepper and then read on from Edmoe_N that it has been removed (Darn).

    TheAngelForever – I think Amanda did get yelled at, but that didn’t stop her after the waitress left. :)

    Zanna – We have to do it again and review more. Was great to be in the company of you both.

  13. says

    How is the Tune In Lounge early in the day? I have a day in the studios by myself and would like to hang there for lunch . . . last time, though, it was packed with folks waiting for Prime Time tables. Any experience with the crowd flow in there?

  14. Bethabee says

    Great post and I agree with everyone on this, 50’s Primetime is fantastic – theming, food, waitstaff. Check uptight attitudes at the door! I’ve been with a large-ish group and just with my husband. When we were there with the group we definitely got picked on more by our waiter – one member of our group had her elbows on the table repeatedly and ended up having to stand with her nose to the wall, while the waiter led us in some kind of ditty about remembering good table manners. We all thought it was hilarious. When I went with my husband the waitress was really friendly, but definitely more low key. From what I’ve observed it’s usually the larger groups that get the hi-jinks. We’ve had the pot roast, fried chicken, onion rings and a peanut butter & jelly milkshake (not all on the same visit!) and every item was tasty in that perfect comfort food kind of way. My husband still speaks in hushed, reverent tones about the milkshake. Next time we go I’m definitely getting the meatloaf – and s’mores!

  15. says

    Awesome post, Panda! We’re eating at 50’s PTC for the first time during our trip in June, and I’ll admit that this is one of those ADRs that I was concerned about. This post definitely allayed many of my fears. I’ve read and heard elsewhere that the CMs are hit and miss…we’re keeping our fingers crossed that we have a good one (our boys will love seeing me get in trouble throughout the meal). If we don’t get much interaction, it’s good to know that the food quality seems to be at the point where it can carry the experience. It looks like the biggest problem is going to be deciding what to order (or convincing my wife to order something and then commandeer some of her meal) We’ll definitely be looking for Mandy there!

  16. says

    Janna…The wedge salad is considered an app/side more than an entree, but I needed something lite that day as I had been nursing a massive headache. Mandy didn’t mind… The goal was to eat the Fried Chicken with Panda…he let me sample some =)

    Chris…If Mandy isn’t available that day I have friends that visit regularly and request someone named Mama Sue. Give her a try.

    Zanna and Panda…Was a joy hanging with ya. When are we gonna do it again?

  17. says

    I’m ready when you are! Really!
    I really enjoyed reading your blog with the other very important serious conversation of what you discussed with Mandy. This cast member gave her hair to “Wigs for kids” rather than the well known “Locks of Love”.
    Charities like this are great and your great for recalling and bringing light to it.

  18. Rich T. says

    In my opinion, this is the epitome of what a Disney restaurant should be. While the meatloaf and milkshakes were much better than I anticipated, it was the experience that sells this place in my mind. I will say that there were only 3 of us dining here, and our cousin was plenty lively. He was constantly cracking jokes, making up songs/chants, and scolding one of the people at the table to the point where he made that person stand with his nose against the wall to hold up a sugar packet, while loudly proclaiming to all the other relatives how naughty my table mate had been. I will say though that we were giving things right back to him, so perhaps they adjust their performance based on the reception of the guest.

  19. renee says

    as an introvert i do want to say that my friend and i went there, not aware of the interactions til it was too late. Our waitress was a lovely older woman, and sensed that we were uncomfortable, and was just very nice and pretty much just dropped the act. i cant say if everyone who works there is as attuned to their guests as she was, but it could have been a miserable experience if not for this lovely woman (i wish i could remember her name, but this was 3-4 years ago).


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