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Review: Tony’s Town Square at Magic Kingdom

Time for a visit to a great little table service stop in the heart of all the magic — Tony’s Town Square in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom!

This spot has it all — Disney history, beautiful themeing, and if you play your cards right, some of the best views in the entire resort!

But while I love the restaurant itself, the food hasn’t always been the main draw in the past.

We’re checking in today for lunch to see what’s new, and if my love affair with that the patio seating remains firmly intact!

Atmosphere

Tony’s is located right on the Town Square (natch) of Magic Kingdom — as soon as you pass below the train station and enter Main Street USA. You can’t miss it.

Tony's Sign

Pass by the Town Square Theater where you can meet Mickey, and you’re there!

Tony's Entrance

Inside, you’ll check in at the hostess stand and await your table. While a walk up spot isn’t unheard of, it’s best to make an advance dining reservation here — especially if you’d like to take advantage of Tony’s biggest draw. We’ll get to that in a few minutes.

Tony's Check-In

The waiting area was given a bit of a refresh last year, when the Town Square Theater opened as the new spot for Mickey’s meet-and-greet.

The space retains its turn-of-the-century charm, but the finishes are newer. You’ll also get your first dose of the restaurant’s star characters and theme! The animated classic Lady and the Tramp plays continually on the flat screen television.

Tony's Waiting Area

Once your table is ready, you’ll be shown to one of three main seating areas. The restaurant is comfortable and elegant, with this beautiful statue and fountain depicting those famous Disney pooches as a centerpiece.

Lady and the Tramp Fountain

Awwwwwwwww!

Lady and the Tramp Fountain -- Up Close

There is also a fun piece of trivia regarding the picture of Lady and the Tramp on the window, and the hatbox sign for Le Chapeau across the street.

Check out this fun and enlightening post from SamLand’s Disney Adventures for the story behind the placement of Lady on this window. It’s a glimpse into Disney history, movie lore, and the minds of Imagineers simultaneously!

This is awesome Disney detail from one of my favorite fellow bloggers, and it reminds me to slow down and see all of the incredible detail throughout Walt Disney World.

Lady and the Tramp Window

OK,  back inside for some more decor discussion! Seating in the checkerboard-floor room (that’s what I call it anyway) is mixed, with a combination of booths and padded chairs.

Inside Seating Options

And while the indoor area has its charms, I really love the sunroom. Flooded during the day with natural light, it has all the charm of outdoor seating, but with one added benefit — air conditioning!

Indoor Sunroom Seating

Just about perfect!

The Sunroom's Beautiful Natural Lighting

But Tony’s real claim to fame is this beautiful outdoor patio.

Tony's Town Square Patio Seating

Sure, it can get pretty warm here during Florida summer days. But it’s shaded and there are ceiling fans to move the air around.

Patio Table at Tony's

But here is why those patio spots are so coveted: if you time your visit just right, you’ll have a perfect spot for watching a parade!

Parade View

Some parades are better than others, mind you! If you dine during a parade that goes all the way around the central hub of Town Square, you’ll have a spectacular view!! This mostly occurs with the Boo To You Parade during Mickey’s Halloween Party, and the Once Upon a Christmastime Parade during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party!

On the day we visited, the parade simply turned the corner at the Emporium and went backstage. Still, it’s a decent view for a dining spot!

Parade View

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.

Parade View

If you’d like to try for a patio table — and with a little luck and patience, it’s totally do-able most of the time — be sure to let the hostess know when you check in. You may have to wait for a bit, but I think it’s work it. Be sure to time your reservation so that you have time to wait for that table.

Eats

As we looked over the menu to make our selections, we found lots of changes since our last visit in the apps and sandwiches, salads, and flatbreads sections of the menu.

For some reason, Antipasti Platters, which seemed to be all the rage at Disney’s Italian-leaning spots a while back, are disappearing from menus. Gone from Tony’s is the Flavors of Italy. We also noticed during a visit to Mama Melrose’s around the same time that the platter (one of my favorites) was off the menu there, too. At least it’s still available at Tutto Gusto in Epcot!

But almost all of the main entrees were the same, with the exception of one new addition — and I was super-excited about that!

Menu -- Click to Enlarge

I decided to begin with a bowl of Butternut Squash Soup. I really liked the presentation here, complete with a little lid on the bowl.

Butternut Squash Soup

Disney really, really loves this stuff, and so do I! I find that when I visit in the Fall, it’s on many menus, and I order it almost every time.

When I uncovered my bowl, it was filled to the brim and garnished with some savory cream. Not too shabby!

Butternut Squash Soup

The soup was thick and rich, with a full squash flavor. The crostini on the side didn’t bring much to the party, but I suppose if you would like croutons, they would be good for breaking up or dipping into the soup.

Also, even though the section title still read “Flatbreads,” now they’re called Pizza. We were definitely interested in seeing what shape they’d take.

We decided to order Joe’s Artisanal Pizza, which seemed pretty similar to Tony’s Flatbread of days gone by.

Joe's Artisanal Pizza

And while they’re calling it pizza these days, it definitely looks more flatbread-y to me. It’s rectangular and the crust is crisp and thin.

Joe's Artisanal Pizza -- Up Close

This was one of the best parts of the meal. It had a good amount of topping, and the the crust and cheese were nicely brown. It was delicious. And since there are several pizzas on the menu with a fairly good choice of toppings, these are great options for less adventurous eaters or guests who would like to share.

While we didn’t order them this time, I also wanted to show you pictures of one of my favorite menu items from our last visit to Tony’s — the Zucchini Fries.

What an awesome way to get your serving of veggies! ;-)

Zucchini Fries

I definitely recommend this item. Fresh and crisp tender, they’re served with a mayonnaise-based Sun-Dried Tomato Dressing for dipping, which is equally delicious. It kinda-sorta reminds me of the Cafe Orleans Pommes Frites Dipping Sauce in Disneyland! Soooo good.

Zucchini Fries -- Up Close

Soon, it was time to move onto our entrees. I went with the lone new entree menu item — the Cannelloni.

Now, I’m a pretty big fan of this dish, and I’d recently had the BEST VERSION EVAR at Tutto Gusto. So I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Cannelloni

I have to say — it was pretty tasty! The pasta tubes are filled with a mixture of seasoned ground beef and sausage. The stuffing could have used some cheese — ricotta maybe? — but it was still quite good.

The real brilliance was the combination of two sauces — a creamy Alfredo like sauce surrounding the pasta, and a chunky, fresh-tasting Marinara over the top. Nice! I love a good amount of sauce with some serious flavor. And this delivered.

Cannelloni -- Cross Section

My husband went with one of his tried-and-true favorites, Chicken Parmigiana.

Chicken Parmigiana

As previously, the dish was well executed, with all of the components clearly assembled to order, so the pasta wasn’t soupy and the chicken wasn’t soggy. That said, I wish there’d been a bit more flavor punch here.

Chicken Parmigiana -- Cross Section

Whew!! Full, yet? So were we, but when you run the Disney Food Blog, dessert is NOT OPTIONAL! ;-D

Now, Italian restaurants are pretty well-known for having crappy desserts. No? You disagree? Well, we’ll have to take it up in the comments. Luckily, Tony’s has some decent options even if you’re a dessert snob like me!

Dessert Menu -- Click to Enlarge

The pistachio creme brulee truly is delicious, and we’ve had it a few times before.

pistachio creme brulee

We decided to share a couple of desserts, including the Tony’s specialty — Tiramisu. I’m usually not a huge Tiramisu fan. I don’t like the flavors all that much, so I rarely order it.

BUT.

This was incredible!!!!! I was amazed!!!!

Tiramisu

It was served in scoop fashion, which was interesting. But there were overwhelming flavors of rich, fresh cream. Out of this world! It was like diving into a vat of freshly whipped heavy cream. Whew!

Tiramisu -- Up Close

And we couldn’t NOT get that signature Tony’s cheesecake.

This is almost exactly the same as it was the last time we had it — same silk-screened plate, same dome shape. The flavor was just as great as I remembered, too…creamy, which just the right touch of those warm spices. One fun difference is the garnish, however. This time, it came with a piece of Nut Brittle.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

This dessert is pretty standard, and paled in comparison to the tiramisu! I know what I’m getting on my next Tony’s visit. ;-)

And with full tummies, we were ready to enjoy the rest of our day!

Overall

In the past, I’ve been very clear: you don’t go to Tony’s for the food. I mean, it’s always been fine. But the food has never been anything to write home about if you’re looking for an authentic Italian menu.

Now, if you’re looking for an American interpretation of Italian that appeals to a broad audience, Tony’s does that really well. In fact, I’d say that the food has improved over our last visit there.

I’ll continue to stop at Tony’s about once a year or so. It’s worth it to see what’s new, and definitely worth it for the parade view! Since the reviews of this place are often mixed, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Is Tony’s a favorite stop for you because of the parade views, the food, or both? Leave a comment and tell us your story!

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22 Comments

  1. Colette says:

    Even though this is a good review and I’m glad you had a good time there, I will NEVER eat at Tonys ever again! After reading bad reviews of the place I was dead set against eating there but my mum wanted to go. When we where in the queue to check in the systems crashed then when we where seated the table was wonky/lopsided. When we ordered our food it came out really quick (usually a bad sign) and when I went to cut into the meatball it was frozen!! Both of our dishes where luke warm at best. I think we where there for 30 minutes if that before we got up and left. The service felt rushed and I know it’s a busy restaurant (even though I don’t know why lol) but they need to change a lot of things in Tonys for its reputation and word of mouth to be positive.

  2. Claire says:

    My husband really likes it here and I’m sorry for Colette’s bad experience because our meals have always been good. I liked the lamb shank for dinner it was delicious!! My husband always has the pasta and hasn’t had any issues. The desserts….yeah I’m not a big fan of tiramisu either but maybe I’ll have to try it next time we go.

  3. Vaila says:

    I first ate at Tony’s back in 2001 (my first visit to WDW ever!) and LOVED it. I’ve eaten there on every visit since. The food in 2012 on my honeymoon was just delicious, and the chef himself came out to speak to us after our meal, to see what we thought. He got lots of praise, and some constructive comments, and seemed pleased that we had eaten every morsel!

    The Tiramisu is the BEST I have ever had, and I have had a lot… ;)

    Tony’s will always be on my ‘must-do’ ADR list.

  4. Jenny says:

    I’m sorry but Tony’s will not be on my list. For to many times we have gone and waited for over an hour past our ADR just to have so so to below average food. Yes we have had great desserts, but not worth everything else.

    If I could get a togo box of our fav dessert I would only do that.

    Sorry to be a bummer.

  5. Matt says:

    We went there for the first time last month. I was a bit apprehensive after reading all the less than stellar reviews out there, but I have to say, we had a good time. The food was very good. The service wasn’t over the top, but she didn’t detract from the meal. We went for an early dinner, not during a parade time. My wife got the pistachio creme brulee, and raved about it.

    Our practice is to not repeat a place until we have been everywhere there is to go, but I would return here.

  6. Sue says:

    We went last week, mostly because we’d never been and my 9 year old is a Lady & the Tramp fan. It was fine, but one of those restaurants that I wouldn’t bother with if it were in my home town. Still, my seasonal pasta was fine and the kids liked having spaghetti & meatballs at Tony’s. We didn’t have any of the problems with food or service that others have experienced, it just wasn’t as good as the other restaurants we’ve been to in MK.

  7. Asuka says:

    On the topic of Italian restaurants and not so good desserts, I’ll have to disagree here. But that’s probably because I live in New Jersey where there are amazing Italian restaurants everywhere. One of them makes their own Tiramisu daily and it’s absolutely fantastic. And at another place I frequent, the Pannacotta is sublime. Perhaps it just depends what part of the country you’re from.

  8. Frank says:

    >>Antipasti Platters,………….At least it’s still available at Tutto Gusto <<

    Guess you can get the antipasti platter for 2 they present in Tutto Italia after 4 or so on the Gusto side. We tried to get it for lunch on the Gusto side and it was a flat NO..before 4pm.
    So we went to the Tutto Italia side and it was marvelous. Plus you get olives and bread too. So if you want an antipasti platter, the one at Tutto Italia, imho was marvelous.
    Frank

  9. Cheryl Donofrio says:

    I also have to disagree about Italian restaurants not having good desserts. I live near the NY/CT border, and we are totally spoiled, with tons of great Italian restaurants. Some of the local restaurants make their own cannoli shells, and fill them to order, so they will have the right texture. Our favorite in the neighborhood makes zeppolis to order, and fills them with cannoli cream. (Yum!) We are also big fans of tiramisu. The only time I had it and didn’t like it was at the Portobello Yacht Club, many years ago. Tony’s used to be our favorite restaurant to go for breakfast, but they stopped serving breakfast several years ago. (Bah!) The last time we went there, we went for lunch, and had a wonderful server. After looking at their menu, I’m craving spaghetti and meatballs!

  10. Sandra says:

    We took a friend to lunch at Tony’s last year and it turned out to be one of our favorite meals ever at WDW. Our son had wanted to try it, but since he is a selective eater with autism, I wasn’t sure how it would go. We were seated at a table that seemed like it would be in the middle of the foot traffic (it’s actually in one of your pictures), but we never felt anything but comfortable. My husband got the squash soup, which he said compared favorably with the soups at Boma. Our friend and I split the zucchini appetizer which was just enough for two to get your appetite started. Our son wanted the spaghetti and meatballs like in the movie. The sauce was somewhat chunky (he doesn’t like bits) and the meatballs were huge, and well-flavored. To our surprise, our big eater had trouble finishing the two meatballs (his father helped). But he did eat it, chunky sauce and all. I had the vegetarian pasta which was also very good, if a little oversauced. My husband stuck with chicken parm, which he said was a perfectly decent version of the dish. Our friend had a panini, which he also enjoyed. Dessert was creme brulet and chocolate gelato for our son. Very tasty finish to a reasonably priced (for Disney) meal. The service was well-paced and efficient. We did not go in expecting great Italian food, but what we got more than satisfied us, and we would definitely eat there again.

    And I’m a Jersey girl, so I too rise in defense of desserts in Italian restaurants. Rum cake! Almond Tortoni! Cheesecake! Cannoli! Boy, do I miss Jersey right now (I’m stuck in Virginia).

  11. Amber says:

    I have to say, I have read many bad reviews of Tony’s, but I have had good experiences every time I dined there. I always go for dinner and the steak is TO DIE FOR!! But this coming February, I’ll be trying TSS for lunch. Hopefully I will still have a good experience. At least the tiramisu looks good! :-)

  12. James says:

    So breaded and deep-fat fried zucchini sticks is a good way to get a serving of veggies? Dude, no wonder there are so many overweight people waddling around Disney!

  13. Disney Hipster Andrew says:

    Haha! We loved our visit to Tony’s…but that cannelloni looks like vom. :/

  14. AJ says:

    Colette — I totally understand your desire to never go back! ;-) I’ve had some seriously bad Disney restaurant experiences and I never want to return either. Sorry it was so crummy for you!

    Claire — Try the tiramisu! It’s amazing! Thanks for sharing your comments.

    Vaila — How awesome! Thanks for letting us know about your experience!

    Jenny — Ugh! There’s nothing worse than losing precious park time to waiting for an ADR! I hear ya.

    Matt — I love that you’re planning on hitting all of the restaurants! Rock on! Let me know what your favorites are.

    Sue — Yep; that’s usually the general response to Tony’s. Good, but not great. I think I prefer Liberty Tree Tavern and the Plaza to Tony’s…and maybe even Be Our Guest.

    Asuka, Cheryl, and Sandra — Ha ha! Thanks for defending Italian restaurant desserts so vehemently! Your points are all valid. I need to hear about your favorite Italian spots in NY/NJ — I lived in NYC for years and still wasn’t wowed by the desserts. Maybe I was eating at all the wrong places! :-)

    Frank — Awesome recommendation! Thank you!

    Sandra — I LOVE that your little guy ate up his spaghetti!! That’s awesome! Thank you so much for your review.

    Amber — I HAV to get the steak! Never had it!

    James — We’re just sayin, if you’re not going to eat veggies anywhere else, this is at least an option! ;-)

    DHA — Aw, come on! It was good! :-) What’s your recommendation for vegetarian at Tony’s?

  15. Vaila says:

    AJ, you’re welcome. Felt poor Tony needed a good review ;)

    I’ve seriously enjoyed every meal in there. Perhaps the Italian food in Scotland is different, or I’ve just been lucky at Tony’s.

    I’m also vegetarian… maybe that makes a difference?

    Still salivating over that Tiramisu ;)

  16. Tim says:

    Ate here last November and had the best meal of the trip (Shrimp Scampi).

  17. Beth in MI says:

    The first two times I ate at Tony’s, and granted this was in the 1990′s, I had awesome food and good service. Last time I was there was in 2004 and the food was nothing special and the service was atrocious. Don’t think I could ever go back again. The decor is awesome though.

  18. Rocco says:

    Great review! Tony’s is one of my favourite places to eat in the park, the chicken bianca flatbread is seriously one of the best things I’ve ever had to eat at Disney, but I agree, it’s more a place you come for the atmosphere than anything else. I’ve always had wonderful experiences there, both times I went. Me and my fiancé had excellent service and a special little ice cream (for free!) last time we went, the service has always been great. :)

  19. Maureen says:

    I do love the décor of this place, but like so many others have expressed-our food has been hit and miss. The last time we dined was for dinner-and the hostess was the RUDEST cast member we ever encountered. The hate vibes coming off her were unbelievable. We were seated by the kitchen, and ever single server who came out hit my chair-the table seemed to be set right in the flow of traffic. We had to send our daughter’s steak back, it tasted like someone had dumped a salt shaker over it. We did decide to give the place another try-they seemed to be having a very bad night-so we have a lunch ADR for our next trip. After reading your review-I am cautiously optimistic!

  20. Doublethefun says:

    After a very good experience last April, we ate here again on Easter Sunday. We didn’t have a reservation, but they started seating walk-ins at 4:30 (reservations start at 5:00). We visited Mickey and rocked in the rocking chairs while we waited for our table. Our only disappointment was they were no longer serving the Mickey shaped ravioli. We were told the new manager took them off the menu. My daughter was looking forward to them. She ordered the seasonal ravioli, Chicken Marsala. It wasn’t her favorite (she’s 13), so after a few bites I switched my cannelloni with her. I liked the cannelloni and the ravioli. Both were very generous portions, as was the spaghetti with meatballs. Our service was excellent. We would go back again!

  21. Amber says:

    We went to the MK for the first time this past April. I was planning on just a counter service restaraunt for dinner since I didn’t make any ADRs for the day. I checked all the restaraunts and saw Tony’s had one for 7:10. Then I read the reviews. I was almost considering canceling them, we are not foodies by any means, but I have this thing about not liking to eat something I could make on my own. Yeah, it’s weird. Anyway, after touring the park since 8 am, entering into a cool waiting area with comfy seats was so appreciated. We love Lady and the Tramp, so my 4 kids were giddy taking in all the details. We arrived early and asked for a patio table (which they had no problem doing and even sat us 10 minutes early during spring break mind you). While waiting, a cast member approached my children and taught them how to toss pizza dough with some fake plastic dough. They thought this was amazing! They were actually sad to leave their new friend behind. Our server was great an all my movie loving children were not satisfied with anything other than spaghetti and meatballs. I had the Chicken parm (after the recommendation from our server who said it was his fave) and the husband had canneloni. Every last bite was eaten on everyones plate. It wasn’t gourmet, but it was delicious and satisfying. We ordered dessert and got it just in time to watch the electrical parade. It waa really a great time, my kids are still talking about that as one of their favorite parts of our trip. Was so glad we took the chance ;-)

  22. donna says:

    We have eaten here a few times and never had a bad meal or service. I loved the deep fried green beans.

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