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…
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!
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 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.
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.
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.
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!
Don’t forget to tell your family there’s a “Hidden Mickey” here!
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.
I love that you have booth dining options here. It’s also good on those rare cold Orlando nights.
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.
With its skylights and many windows, it always reminds me of an old-fashioned solarium.
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!
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.
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.
The lunch menu featured a few new items, including the “Taste of Italy” and the Zucchini Fries.
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.
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.
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.
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!!)
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…
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!
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!)
The ice cream bomb was our first option. It looks like super fun, right? Ice cream! Chocolate shell! Cake! Chocolate Sauce!
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.
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!)
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.
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!