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Review: Tony’s Town Square

Today, we’re revisiting a Magic Kingdom institution, Tony’s Town Square for lunch!

In the past, Tony’s Town Square hasn’t wowed me. Decent food and a great view of the Magic Kingdom Town Square (and any parades going on out there!), but nothing to really pull me back to that spot. Read on to see if anything has changed…

Atmosphere

The first thing that we noticed as we arrived for our Advanced Dining Reservation is that Tony’s has a brand new sign out front, depicting the jolly restaurateur himself! I knew this would be there after the recent renovations, but I really liked it!

Tony's Sign

Tony's Entrance

One of the biggest draws of this Magic Kingdom hotspot continues to be the patio seating area. Tony’s is one of the few table service restaurants that offers an outdoor dining experience; and even on super hot Florida days, this is a great place to chill and enjoy a bite to eat!

Tony's Patio

Tony’s has received a brand new neighbor since our last visit — Mickey Mouse and Friends moved into the newly-renovated Town Square Theater / Exposition Hall — and so a few alterations have taken place to restaurant’s waiting area.

New carpet and some other changes will definitely give guests who haven’t been here since Mickey’s debut next door something fresh to see. But the central themeing of the restaurant around the Disney animated classic, Lady and the Tramp, remains firmly and unmistakably in place.

Tony's Check-In

In the lobby waiting area, children and grown-up kids alike can enjoy a few minutes of Lady and the Tramp, which plays constantly on the updated widescreen television. Kids can also color Lady and the Tramp coloring sheets while waiting for their table.

Tony's Waiting Area

It’s hard to miss the movie allusions as you walk in. There are all manner of tributes to these famous Disney pooches, including this lovely statue in the entrance to the restaurant. Really, if you haven’t taken in Tony’s and you’re a fan of this particular film, you’re definitely missing out.

Decor and Theme

Lady and the Tramp statue

There is also a fun piece of trivia regarding the pictures of Lady and the hatbox sign for Le Chapeau across the street.

Check out this fun and enlightening post from SamLand’s Disney Adventures for the skinny on this charming event from Disney history and how the Imagineers bring it to life. Awesome Disney detail from one of my favorite fellow bloggers!

Lady and the Tramp Decor

Don’t forget to tell your family there’s a “Hidden Mickey” here!

Hidden Mickey

There remain three distinct dining areas inside this nostalgic Italian restaurant. The main indoor dining room, with its comfortable family seating and checkerboard floors, is reminiscent of a classic New York City, family-owned, Italian eatery.

Indoor Dining Room

I love that you have booth dining options here. It’s also good on those rare cold Orlando nights.

Indoor Dining Room Booth

The sunroom gives you the impression of dining al fresco while you are still firmly indoors (in air conditioning). It’s a bright and cheerful spot, with outdoor touches like patio furniture and lots of sunlight.

Indoor Sunroom Area

With its skylights and many windows, it always reminds me of an old-fashioned solarium.

Indoor Sunroom Looking to Outdoor Patio

Indoor Sunroom Table

But the real gem and draw at Tony’s is the fantastic patio seating area. Why is it fantastic, you ask? Because this is one of the best spots in Magic Kingdom to catch one of the many parades that take place throughout the day and seasonally in the park!

Outdoor Patio Table

Patio Table at Tony's

As we mentioned in our previous review, if you can score a patio seat approximately an hour or 30 minutes before a parade, the experience is sure to delight you and yours! It may take a little patience and luck on your part, but it’s worth a try.

Here’s a Tip: When you’re planning your dining time, be sure to find out which direction the parade will be coming from so that you’re seated around 30 minutes to an hour before the parade passes by Tony’s. If the parade begins in Frontierland, you’ll have longer to wait than if the parade begins on Main Street.

View from Outdoor Patio Table

Eats

We have come to expect NOT to be dazzled by Tony’s menu. Going into it with my eyes wide open, I can visit this Magic Kingdom eatery with the right perspective and still have an enjoyable experience.

Right off the bat, we noticed that only a few things had changed since our last visit.

Front of Menu

The lunch menu featured a few new items, including the “Taste of Italy” and the Zucchini Fries.

Menu - click image for larger version

We decided to give the Zucchini Fries a try. I know, I know — vegetables?!?! What am I thinking? ;-D Just kidding.

I really liked liked these a lot! They were fresh, well-seasoned, and crisp-tender. The mayonnaise-based, sun-dried tomato dipping sauce was a delicious accompaniment.

Fried Zucchini

I’m not usually (read: EVER) a big fan of mayo, but with the added tang of the dried tomatoes, I thought this sauce was really good. It kind of reminded me of the Cafe Orleans pommes frites dipping sauce in Disneyland, which is pure heaven.

Fried Zucchini Close-Up

My dining partner opted for the Mixed Greens salad, which was tossed with house-made vinaigrette and topped with a sprinkling of feta cheese. He said it was perfectly fine.

Salad

For my entree, I went with the Chicken Florentine Calzone — “Florentine” being a fancy Italian way for letting you know there will be spinach involved ;-). (MORE VEGGIES! WOO!!)

Spinach and Chicken Calzone

While the portion was adequate and the pie was stuffed (semi-)full of the filling mentioned on the menu (although I didn’t see or taste an abundance of caramelized onions), the flavor was a little bland. I definitely needed the red sauce on the side to punch the flavor up a bit.

I liked this, but I wanted it to have a bit more oomph…

Spinach Calzone Close-Up

In contrast to my meal, my dining partner thoroughly enjoyed his Chicken Parmigiana, which happens to be one of his favorite menu items. He’s always up for a comparison of Disney Chicken Parm!

He pronounced his entree delicious, and really enjoyed the afternoon at Tony’s!

Chicken Parmesan

Chicken Parm Close-Up

Soon, it was time for something sweet, and since we couldn’t make up our minds, we decided to try three different desserts! (In the name of research, of course!)

Dessert Menu - click image for larger version

The ice cream bomb was our first option. It looks like super fun, right? Ice cream! Chocolate shell! Cake! Chocolate Sauce!

Ice Cream Bomb

Sadly, it was the most disappointing for the three. BORING. The flavors fell flat — especially in the cake, which was somewhat stale (likely from being in a freezer, eh?). Fine, but nothing to write home about.

Inside Ice Cream Bomb

In contrast, I thought the Pistachio Crème Brûlée was delicious!

I’m not always a big fan of Crème Brûlée, but it was spot-on in both flavor and texture. The lace cookie basket filled with fresh strawberries was a pretty and pleasant garnish. (If you’re a fan of Crème Brûlée, check out our Crème Brûlée gallery here!)

Pistachio Crème Brûlée

Crème Brûlée Inside

We also enjoyed the seasonal cheesecake offering, the Strawberry Cheesecake. You’ll find that the the chef at Tony’s changes the cheesecake seasonally; the last time we ate there, we had the Pumpkin Cheesecake (yum!).

Depending on when you dine, you might have a different flavor than we did. This was very good — not-too-sweet, and with a great, silky-creamy texture. And the silkscreen of Lady and the Tramp on our plate was pretty adorable.

Strawberry Cheesecake

Overall

So, Tony’s remains not my favorite restaurant in Magic Kingdom. I find the food to be mediocre with some bright spots. However, my dining partner’s experience was in sharp contrast to mine this time; he really enjoyed our meal here.

Our consensus: the food is improving, and the atmosphere is worth it. Themeing, location, and a predictable menu make Tony’s a spot that everyone should visit at least once. And if you do, try for that patio table, by all means. The parade views and people watching are unparalleled.

Is Tony’s Town Square a favorite pick for you? Leave us a comment below, and let us know your thoughts on this Magic Kingdom hotspot!

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31 Comments

  1. Marcellina says:

    growing up my family ALWAYS ate at Tony’s.. it was somewhat of a tradition so I suppose that could be one reason why I really like this restaurant… also, originally being from Texas (though now living in NY) I wasn’t exposed to “authentic” Italian I suppose so anything with lots of cheese and red sauce was always good in my book. Now that I’m older and more of a foodie I can definitely appreciate why some people don’t like this place, but it will always have a place in my heart. Also, I really love Lady and the Tramp! Great review and I loved the trivia about the hat shop sign! So cute!

  2. Alan says:

    My heart soars when I see the iconic statues, decor and beautiful pictures and murals. It takes me back to my childhood; watching the bits and pieces of that movie Uncle Walt would show on the Wonderful World of Disney. In those days there were no videos and they never showed whole Disney movies as they periodically re-released them in theaters. I don’t believe I have ever seen the entire movie.

    But the sad thing is that the food reviews remain tepid at best. Tony’s may be one of the most beautiful and disappointing restaurants on the property. They should turn this one over to the Tutto Italia folks and let them run with it. I think most people are more sophisticated in taste and do not want stereotypical Italian fare. AJ’s review shows some baby steps but I’ll save my money for one of the better Italian eateries.

  3. I couldn’t decide whether to book an ADR for Tony’s for my forthcoming trip and decided against it in the end. The location in MK is super and the interior looks pretty…just wish I could find more fans of the place!

  4. Raelynn says:

    How large of a party can you have on the patio? We will be a party of 6 in early December and may ADR Tony’s if Be Our Guest is not open by then.

  5. Eric says:

    We go back and forth constantly whether or not to book this. I’ve heard it’s better than Mama Melrose, I’ve heard it’s worse. I’m in the opinion it might be worth to book just for the theming that DD3 loves (carries her plush Lady and Tramp with her) and the chance of a view of an afternoon parade. After this review I think we may have to!

  6. Jill says:

    Just curious, what do you guys consider to be the best restaurant in MK? There is such a lack of Table Service restaurants there (which I guess Disney realized with the upcoming restaurants added in the Fantasyland addition). We always leave MK to have dinner in Epcot, but it would be nice to stay and have dinner and see the fireworks for once!

  7. canada68 says:

    I remember having breakfast at Tony’s Town Square in the early 1990′s—they served Mickey waffles. It was really fun having breakfast there ! :) Do you know when they stopped serving breakfast AJ :)

  8. Juanita says:

    My sister and I are both Tony’s fans. We’ve taken two different groups of friends there, and they all enjoyed it. While the food isn’t always the best, we’ve never been disappointed in anything we’ve tried there, and it’s our favorite spot for the afternoon parade.

  9. Jenny says:

    I’ve gone to Tony’s twice now, and the food has been good, not great. Like you when I went last Oct. I had the zucchini fries, I also love zucchini. I also had the Pistachio Creme Brulee. very nice. But most of our main corse meals were just soso. My oldest DD was the only one that really loved her meal. Sadly I don’t remember what she had. My biggest complaint is how long my family has had to wait to be seated after our ADR. We have only done dinner, but both times we waited 1hr and 30 mins to an hour and 45 mins past our ADR. Unless that changes I don’t think we”ll be gong back.

  10. Niki M says:

    We were so disappointed with our only visit to Tony’s. So much that we decided not to bother again. The food was subpar. Our waiter was snarky (which I’ve never experienced at any Disney restaurant before or after). When we ordered our beverages we stated we didn’t want anything artificially sweetened/diet but he brought us diet lemonades. We sent those back and ordered ginger ales. He brought us diet coke mixed with sprite and told us they don’t carry ginger ale but this tastes the same. We gave up at that point. We were also disappointed to find out after that there’s some cool Lady and the Tramp stuff to see (out back and the fountain). He asked if it was our first time there but never followed that up with info on the must-see features. I realize though that things constantly change and hopefully improve so we may give it a shot again in the future.

  11. Elaine says:

    I always eat at Tony’s. I am a picky eater and do not have a sophisticated palate. Just plain old spaghetti and meatballs is fine for me. Lady and the Tramp has always been my favorite Disney movie so I have to eat here – I love the decor. Never get dessert since we just want a Mickey Mouse ice cream bar to finish it off. I do miss having breakfast here though. We always had breakfast and sat out on the veranda and thought it was a perfect way to start our day at the Magic Kingdom. I guess there must be a lot of folks like me since the restaurant is still there.

  12. AJ says:

    Marci — Maybe that’s why I’m not a huge fan of the food here. Growing up in New York (in a town where there were a lot of Italian immigrants), I got some GREAT Italian food! ;-)

    Alan — Agreed on all counts. The theme here is great, and it truly feels like a “disney” imagineered restaurant, but they just can’t quite get the food up to where it should be in my opinion.

    Emma — Yep. There are better places for Italian on property, though the patio here is a winner! Very tough decision.

    Raelynn — I’m pretty sure you could have a party of 6 on the patio! Just eat at an “off” time to be sure you can get seated there.

    Eric — Mama Melrose on a good day is much better than Tony’s, but if you have a kiddo who loves Lady and the Tramp, this is a must-do. :-D

    Jill — We LOVE Liberty Tree Tavern for both lunch and dinner. And the Plaza is a great meal as well. If you’re into buffets and characters, Crystal Palace gets high marks from many guests. :-)

    Canada68 — A while ago, breakfast at Tony’s became an option only for Grand Gatherings, and now it’s not an option for anyone (except private events). Sad, eh? I wish I’d had the chance to eat there before they stopped serving breakfast.

    Juanita — That’s great! Agreed — I’m never “disappointed,” but nothing ever wows me, either.

    Jenny — That’s unacceptable, I think. If you make a reservation, it’s just not OK for you to have to wait that long to be seated. This happened to us yesterday (we’re in Disneyland right now), where we had a reservation and had to wait about 40 minutes past that time to be seated (outside…in the sun…). Very frustrating.

    Niki M — Wow! That’s so bad it’s almost comical! Diet Coke and Sprite taste the same as ginger ale? Wha?!? I can totally understand if you wanted to hightail it away from Tony’s! Our waiter wasn’t snarky this time, but he was brusk and clearly trying to get us out of there. I should have put that in the review, but I forgot about it!

    Elaine — Oh, trust me; I don’t have a sophisticated palate, either (thus my love for chicken fingers) ;-D. I think breakfast on the patio would be a wonderful way to start the day at the Magic Kingdom, and I agree that the theme and decor are fantastic.

  13. John G says:

    Thanks for the detailed review . . . I have had my best meal at MK at Tony’s (in the mid-1990s) and my worst meal in the MK at Tonys (in the mid-2000s). Sounds like they have landed squarely in the middle, which means that atmosphere can make up for moderate cuisine!

    Good call on trying to score a patio table. I haven’t thought of those, usually getting seated in the sun room.

  14. Jimmie says:

    My family really enjoyed Tony’s, when we went in2009. We liled it so much, that we will make it a must, every time we go. The atmosphere was GREAT, the service was AWESOME, and the food was delicious. We almost cancelled our reservations, because of most of the reviews, but were very happy we did not. All I will say is, try it for yourself, do not just go off of bad reviews.

  15. AJ says:

    John G — Ha ha; very succinct!! :-)

    Jimmie — Thanks for this comment. I’m so glad you didn’t cancel your reservations. I agree whole-heartedly that Disney restaurants can be “up” one day and “down” the next, so going off of reviews isn’t always the best bet. On our website, we like to show the atmosphere and menu “concept.” The reviews are useful, but should be considered more of a “suggestion” than a definitive statement. ;-) If there’s someplace you want to eat, by all means go there!

  16. Emma says:

    Next time get the eggplant catasta!!!!!!!!! It’s only offered at lunch and it…is….MAGICAL. The first time I went to Tony’s I wasn’t impressed but this dish converted me! The mountain of eggplant, caramelized onions and cheese is so good you won’t even want to touch the pasta that comes with it.

  17. Elizabeth says:

    We ate there on Leap Day out on the patio for the afternoon parade…it was lovely! We split a chopped salad and a Tony’s flatbread and thought the food was really good and just the right amount for a late lunch. We also hit The Plaze later that night. This was my first time eating in both of these restaurants because I normally don’t think about spending time for a sit-down meal at the Magic Kingdom, but when you’re going to be there for 24 straight hours…you have some time! HA!

  18. CraigInPA says:

    My wife and I are NOT a fan of TTS. The food is mediocre and service is spotty. The only redeeming qualities are the location (if you can score a patio seat) and decor.

    @Jill: You won’t be disappointed if you go to Liberty Tree Tavern in MK. Very (some might say “ridiculously”) large portions of american staples. The pot roast is fabulous!

  19. mealtrip says:

    The Zucchini Fries came with the house Marinara sauce when they were first introduced, and then they switched to the dressing-like sun-dried tomato mayo sauce… I think primarily because the Marinara didn’t stick to the Zucchini Fries so well. But… for those who don’t like mayo-based dressing (and even for those who do), the Marinara seemed to be a better flavor pairing. Fortunately, they just might still bring a little dish of the Marinara if you ask nicely, since they do still use it for other dishes.

  20. Jill says:

    We were there a couple of years ago and we loved it. I got eggplant and the crime brûlée, it was just delicious. Out of four if us, there were no complaints. The place was so nice and the service was wonderful. Would go back anytime!!

  21. JuneT71 says:

    I liked Tony’s (have only been once) but didn’t think it was WOW enough to put it on the regular list.

    Jill – Libery Tree is great, but the food amount was too much for two dinners and a great deal of food was wasted and the price was too high to waste that amount of food. My server was from Haiti (came after the earthquake) so wasting all that food just made me feel guilty. It was tasty.

  22. melissa sue says:

    Thank you for this great review!! Tony’s is one of the very few in-theme park restaurants I haven’t been to, and these photos were very instructive. Also loved the close-up shots of the zucchini!

  23. Joe says:

    My family and I tried ‘Tony’s’ for the first time a couple of years ago, we really enjoyed it. I decided (and by coincidence) to try the Zucchini Fries, Chicken calzone, and pistachio creme brulee. I have a thing for zucchini fries so there was no chance that I wasn’t going to love them. In contrast to the review, I really enjoyed the chicken calzone, mine happened to have plenty of onions (but a strange garlic aftertaste). And from what I hear, they are well known for their pistachio creme brulee. The taste and texture of the desert was spot on (and in my experiences in the parks I have encountered a burnt sugar topping more than once) however, the custard was lukewarm instead of cold, which was the same problem that occurred at Le Cellier with their maple version.

    As for the atmosphere…
    The inside of the restaurant is beautiful, one of the most immersive restaurants in the Magic Kingdom. I am very happy that they used Lady and the Tramp as the theme, since it is set in a small victorian era town (I re-watched the blue-ray a couple of days ago and realized just how perfect the setting is). However, I am not the biggest fan of the “open” ;floor plan of the waiting area. I would prefer if they made the restaurant and gift shop two separate areas.

    Anyway, I am going off on a tangent. My overall experiences with Tony’s were very positive, what was lacking in food was made up for by the ambiance.

    (Disclaimer: I am from a very Italian part of New Jersey and am familiar with Italian food. I went into Tony’s NOT expecting the most authentic of this type of cuisine, which may also account for the positive review).

  24. Novi says:

    This is actually the perfect review of Tony’s… In the times I’ve eaten there, or anywhere in Disney, I’ve never had a BAD meal. But Tony’s is probably the only one that I only go to if I want to see a parade at night or something. The food is perfectly adequate, edible, but the only reason to choose to go is if its a particularly hot day in the Magic Kingdom and Columbia Harbour House is just smelling too fishy for you to go in and get their amazing Lighthouse Sandwich.

  25. JoAnn says:

    I have an ADR at Tony’s in November. Lady and the Tramp is my favorite movie.

  26. Mandy says:

    So glad to hear a good review of Tony’s! We have it picked for our son’s 4th birthday dinner. He is scared of characters, so a character meal was out, but he loves all the Disney dogs so Tony’s will be perfect, plus, pasta is his favorite meal!

  27. Kathy says:

    I wish they would bring the breakfast back. It was great and my husband and I loved it!

  28. MLR says:

    Our family ate dinner at Tony’s April 1, 2013 – the day after Easter – for the first time. I had never even noticed it before, but we were on our way out & made a last stop to see Mickey & my husband decided to see if we could get in. They told him it would be a 30 minute wait, but we only waited 15. I was very skeptical, but we were all tired & hungry. I ordered 2 appetizers right away: cantelope wrapped in prosciutto & caprese salad. The caprese was good, the melon was not as ripe as I like it, but my daughter was fine with it. Main course: 1 of my girls had the calamari appetizer for her meal – she liked the 2 dipping sauces – she liked the calamari but thought it could have been a bit crispier (at 12, she is already a calamari officionado). My other 12 year old ordered the Mickey ravioli off the kids menu. She’s not a big fan of ravioli, but the shape was the draw & she ended up really liking it. It came with just the right amount of sauce. (She chose the fruit for her dessert selection and it was a tiny cup.). Obviously, the kids menu is not made for her age group, so without the appetizers it probably would not have been enough food for her. I had the mushroom ravioli in a cream sauce with pesto. Both raviolis were freshly made. It was delicious & I would order it again. It was a good sized portion too. My husband had the braised lamb shank on polenta. It was huge! He really enjoyed it. It was cooked perfect and just fell off the bone. He was disappointed that after all the bread, appetizers & side salad he had, he was too full to finish it. So, our dinner experience was a good one & we would go back.

  29. Adrienne says:

    Question….I made an 8:10 ADR for Tony’s during the MNSSHP in hopes that we could get a patio table for the 8:30 parade. Are there any tips/tricks to accomplishing this….getting there x minutes before our ADR, etc?

  30. Michele S says:

    Tony’s was the only bad place we ate at on our stay in July. My husband and I had the Chicken Parm and my daughter had the pasta and meatball. The pasta was over done and had no taste what so ever and the chicken was bland. This is one restaurant we won’t go to again.

  31. Morgan Borine says:

    During my childhood (in the early to mid 90′s) my family went to WDW frequently. I always pleaded to eat at Tony’s, in spite of the lines…my choice menu item, Tony’s Lady and the Tramp imprinted waffle iron waffles. They were incredible!! Best thing on the menu..Wish they would bring back the breakfast menu.

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