Review: 50s Prime Time Cafe at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

It’s been a looong time since we reviewed 50s Prime Time Cafe, which is strange as it’s one of my favorite restaurants!

If you have ever wanted to escape into a 1950s sitcom, then you must give this spot a try.

Located in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, it’s a fun hybrid of good comfort food with immersive entertainment. And you’re one of the stars (of course)!

I don’t get to dine here as much as I would like, but Wendy and I managed to squeeze in an advance dining reservation on a recent trip to Walt Disney World.

Come along while we take a tour, and stick around to see what’s for dinner!

Atmosphere

And we will get to dinner soon enough. We have lots to show you! But first, let’s take a look around.

The retro, Mid-20th Century vibe comes across as soon as you lay eyes on the sign. Check out the antennae!

50s Prime Time Sign

50s Prime Time Sign

Head in to the podium and let the hostess know that you’re there, and prepare yourself to be embraced like kin. Because you’ve just acquired a whole bunch of new cousins. Why? Well, when you step into 50s Prime Time, everyone here is a family member! Mom’s in the kitchen, and you’re usually being served by one of your cousins, aunts, or uncles. Really cute concept.

When your table is called, listen for your last name: “Wolfe Kids! Time for dinner!” (And don’t dilly-dally; you WILL get a talking to if you take your sweet time to come to the table.)

Before that happens though, have a look around. There’s TONS to see. The waiting room is fashioned after Dad’s Domain. You can practically see the slippers and smell the pipe smoke. :-)

Waiting Area

Waiting Area…Dad’s Living Room

50s Prime Time also plays host to The Tune-In Lounge. This is a great bar. Beyond the vintage feel, I love that you can sit here and order from the 50s Prime Time Cafe menu! So if you can’t get an ADR, don’t despair; the digs here are pretty comfy and the bartenders are always great.

Order from the full menu at 50s Prime Time Cafe when you're at Tune In Lounge in Disney's Hollywood Studios

The Tune In Lounge

There’s additional seating allocated to The Tune-In Lounge as well if all the bar seats are full.

Another Living Room for Dad -- and Additional Tune In Lounge Seating

Another Living Room for Dad — and Additional Tune In Lounge Seating

But…the stuff! It’s everywhere. I know you have a relative somewhere who holds onto all manner of knick knacks — that person clearly decorated 50s Prime Time.

Be sure to look at it all — the vintage appliances, the tchotchkes. There’s such a sense of the familiar here, and I figure it’s because if you look long enough, you will find something you recognize from childhood if you’re as old as I am.

Atmosphere - Recognize Anything From Your Grandparents' House?

Just Like Your Grandparents’ House, Right?

See what I mean?

50s Prime Time Cafe Decor

50s Prime Time Cafe Decor

Seating areas continue the throwback feel, and of course you’re sitting in the kitchen, not the dining room. There’s formica and vinyl everywhere!

One of the 50s Prime Time Cafe Dining Rooms

One of the 50s Prime Time Cafe Dining Rooms

Even in the kitchen you’ll find TVs, however. And they play some cool stuff, so be sure to request a seat beside one!

Don't forget to ask for a TV table on your visit to 50s Prime Time Cafe! And keep your elbows off the table...

The Best View — Be Sure to Ask for a TV Table!

But if this is your first timing dining here, I’ll give you The 50s Prime Time Cafe Primer.

As I mentioned, this restaurant is a fully immersive experience; it’s nearly as much entertainment as it is dining, and you’re part of the story! Your server will be giving you a hard time throughout your meal — after all, you’re just kids comin’ in for supper! It’s all part of the act, and lots of fans book tables here during every visit because it’s such fun.

Want to be really prepared? Check out a few of our readers’ favorite 50′s Prime Time Cafe experiences here!

But as always, participation is strictly voluntary. If you don’t want to play along, just let your server know from the beginning.

Take your elbows off the table!

Dude! Elbows!!

That way you can watch the antics, rather than being part of them.

Care to see what we ordered from Mom’s Kitchen? I thought you might. :-)

Eats

The cool thing about the menu here is that, at its core, it doesn’t normally change all that much. That’s good, right? I mean, a spot that celebrates nostalgia really shouldn’t mess too much with a good thing.

We did have a chance to try a few new-to-us things this time out though. Stay tuned!

The first page of the menu is entirely taken up with beverages. Check out the fun options from Dad’s Liquor Cabinet!

Menu -- Click to Enlarge

Menu — Click to Enlarge

As for food, the menu is pretty compact, taking up just one page.

Menu -- Click to Enlarge

Menu — Click to Enlarge

Old-Fashioned Handmade Milkshakes are a specialty of the house here, and we had to try a couple!

Milkshake Menu -- Click to Enlarge

Milkshake Menu — Click to Enlarge

The Red Velvet Cake Milkshake was calling my name for sure! Cupcake + Milkshake? What??

Pouring the Red Velvet Cupcake Milkshake

Pouring the Red Velvet Cupcake Milkshake

Incredible. Right down to the CHUNKS OF CREAM CHEESE FROSTING. I’m not even joking. They clearly had my number with this one.

Red Velvet Cupcake Milkshake

Red Velvet Cupcake Milkshake

In addition to regular flavors, they also have specials, so be sure to ask about them. During our visit, we also took advantage of the Blue Milk Milkshake, which obviously had a Star Wars theme.

Blue Milk Milkshake

Blue Milk Milkshake

The Blue Rasberry flavor was good, and well, I mean, it’s just cool, isn’t it? To be sitting down to Blue Milk. Luke would approve.

There was even Blue Whipped Cream!

Blue Whipped Cream!

Blue Whipped Cream!

And of course, you can also still get the famous Peanut Butter and Jelly Milkshake as well. This is a long-time fan favorite.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Milkshake

Peanut Butter and Jelly Milkshake

While we enjoyed the milkshakes, I can never resist ordering something from Dad’s Liquor Cabinet. On this visit, it was an Ultimate Long Island Iced Tea. It certainly lived up to its name.

Ultimate Long Island Iced Tea

Ultimate Long Island Iced Tea

On a previous visit, I really enjoyed Dad’s Electric Lemonade though.

Dad's Electric Lemonade

Dad’s Electric Lemonade

We started off the meal with a few appetizers. Of course, I can’t visit here without having the Fried Herb and Garlic Cheese. It’s probably my favorite app anywhere. I hate sharing it. (Don’t tell Wendy!)

Fried Herb and Garlic Cheese

Fried Herb and Garlic Cheese

When my husband and I visit this restaurant, we just get two so we don’t have to share. ;-D

Fried Herb and Garlic Cheese -- Cross Section

Fried Herb and Garlic Cheese — Cross Section

Grandpa’s Crab Cake has been on the menu with one name or another forever, so we finally decided to give it a try.

Grandpa's Crab Cake

Grandpa’s Crab Cake

The name is deceptively simple, but the plate actually has many more components than you’d probably find if you were enjoying crab cakes at the family potluck. The Lump Crab Cake itself is a decent size, although two would have been better, of course.

The Chili Sauce was more of a mayo-based Remoulade, which always works well with Crab.

Grandpa's Crab Cake -- Inside

Grandpa’s Crab Cake — Inside

The appetizer portion is served with a hearty helping of vegetables, of course. The Succotash has many of the classic ingredients, like Corn and Lima Beans. But you also find Bacon in there at the moment.

But if that wasn’t decadent enough for you, there are also loops of Crispy Fried Onions.

Succotash Served with Grandpa's Crabcake -- Up Close

Succotash Served with Grandpa’s Crabcake — Up Close

We didn’t have them on this visit, but we’ve enjoyed the Beer-Battered Onion Rings previously. And we especially like the rich Horseradish Sauce for dipping.

Beer Battered Onion Rings

Beer Battered Onion Rings

As we turned our attention to our entrees, we decided to sample Dad’s Pork Chop. Although it’s been on the menu for a couple of visits now, it was new to us.

The dish comes with two sides: Arugula, Fennel, and Apple Salad and Garlic Mashed Potatoes. You should note that the salad is sautéed and served over the Pork Chop — good to be aware of if you were expecting something raw and on the side.

Dad's Grilled Pork Chop

Dad’s Grilled Pork Chop

And so you could see the cooked-ness of the pork, I pushed the green off to the side. (Yeah. That’s why I did it. For YOU! Sure… . ;-D) The Bone-In Pork Chop itself was a teensy bit overcooked for me (as most pork is). I know it’s super dangerous to serve less-than-completely-cooked pork, but I think I’m going to request it a little less done the next time I’m in a Disney restaurant. The Garlic Mashed Potatoes, which are always wonderfully homestyle here, were a great side.

Although I didn’t eat much of the salad, the pan juices from the combination of Fennel and Apple were a nice match for the meat. I definitely enjoyed the dish.

Dad's Grilled Pork Chop -- Up Close

Dad’s Grilled Pork Chop — Up Close

We can never pass up the chance to order Mom’s Old-Fashioned Pot Roast. And so we didn’t! If you’re craving Pot Roast just like you had at Sunday dinners of old, you’ll want to give Mom’s version a try. Fork tender meat, thick gravy, and a garnish of savory vegetables, all served over Garlic Mashed Potatoes. It’s a tried and true favorite, and it never disappoints.

Mom's Old-Fashioned Pot Roast

Mom’s Old-Fashioned Pot Roast

While we didn’t enjoy either on this visit, 50s Prime Time also offers a couple of homestyle Chicken dishes. Grandma’s Chicken Pot Pie and Aunt Liz’s Golden Fried Chicken have also impressed during previous meals. (I usually always order the fried chicken.)

Chicken Pot Pie at 50s Prime Time Cafe

Grandma’s Chicken Pot Pie

Aunt Liz's Golden Fried Chicken

Aunt Liz’s Golden Fried Chicken

Having begun our meal with Milkshakes, we decided to skip dessert. But we’ve tried several in the past. Fun and homespun are always the theme here. Go for Dad’s Sundae if Brownies and Ice Cream are your thing.

Dad's Sundae

Dad’s Sundae

The S’mores are a fan favorite, although they always seem a little burnt and boring for me. Chocolate sauce just doesn’t do the job, you know?

Smores

S’mores

While we haven’t really found anything to write home about, they’ll all provide a sweet ending to your meal if that’s what you’re looking for.

Boston Cream Parfait

Boston Cream Parfait

If a dessert experience is what you’re looking for, stick with those Milkshakes. They’re the star dessert here in my opinion.

Overall

So 50s Prime Time isn’t the BEST food I’ve had in Disney, but the combo of comfort food and a fun, unique atmosphere is what keeps bringing me back — and recommending it to others. The staff do a great job with their roles. They aren’t just servers — they’re actors! And it’s so fun to see what they come up with. They’ll keep you on your toes for sure.

The attention to detail — from the setting to the food — keeps this experience from getting stale. It’s worth a try, whether you’ve been to Disney World 50 times or are going for your first visit.

Is 50s Prime Time Cafe one of your favorite Disney spots for dining? Leave a comment and tell us your thoughts!

Comments

  1. says

    Just very occasionally, I get caught up by the ‘Disney are overcharging us’ tidal wave, but fabulous themed restaurants like the 50s Prime Time Cafe put things back into perspective.
    The menu isn’t the cheapest in WDW, but the fun factor is a big 5 star experience.
    Only in Disney! ;-)

  2. Stacey says

    My family loves this place! The kitsch factor alone has us coming back, but a nice home cooked like meal mid the chaos of vacation is always a treat!

  3. Tricia says

    AJ It is all your fault. We tried the fried cheese last visit on your recommendation and now I swear I am craving it right now!!! I made the mistake of sharing, that is not happening again!

  4. says

    That pot roast is absolutely the best I have had, anywhere – including my mother’s own kitchen! Loved it here (though the tables were a tad close together for me – I loved bantering with my “cousin” but not so much the right-next-door-neighbors) and can’t wait to go back again!

  5. Nigel says

    We ate at Prime Time in August before the villians party. It was a real treat, although it is hard to get a reservation! Simple menu, but it hits the comfort food niche. We shared the onion rings and a crab cake, great flavor. Usually we opt for fine dining, but this really hits the spot based on the dining room, the menu just makes sense!

  6. Danielle says

    I was underwhelmed by this place. The fried cheese is amazing but none of the other food we had was great and our server was boring. We were expecting all the antics you hear about and I think the only thing he did was bring my husband vegetables for dessert. It was a real bummer.

  7. Katie says

    My family and I had a great time as 50s Prime Time when we went to WDW last October. The food was delicious and plentiful, and we had so much fun. Our server was great, I think her name was Megan. She gave us a Disney quiz we had to finish – we had to list 20 Disney movies with one-word titles. We finished the quiz after a few hints, it was harder than you’d think. She brought my older brother four glasses of Cherry Coke at one time, when he finished his first one quickly, and she had my other brother bring dishes back to the kitchen when he said he used to be a dishwasher. I would highly recommend this restaurant when visiting Hollywood Studios. It is a lot of fun and great food!

  8. Samantha says

    Perfect timing! We’re going there in about a month and I was hoping for an update. I haven’t been there in about 20 years and was a kid at the time. Really looking forward to the cheese and milkshakes.

  9. Beth says

    We’re you there during Star Wars weekend or is the blue milk milkshake there other times as well? My husband would LOVE it!!!

  10. Beth W. says

    Like you, AJ, the last time we dined at ’50’s Prime Time (in Nov. 2012), I was a little bit underwhelmed with the food. My fried chicken was very good, but the sides seemed like they had sat under a heat lamp for about 30 minutes before being delivered to our table. On the other hand, my hubby and son loved their sampler plates!

    The most wonderful thing about this restaurant was our server, Cousin Tommy!! He was AWESOME. Turns out, he is from Egypt (originally), and he actually sat down with us after our meal and we discussed all of the happenings in the Middle East (I’m Syrian in background) over dessert. He was the best! He signed my son’s autograph in Arabic and I promised to come back and see him when we go this December!

  11. DebC says

    I really like the pot roast at Liberty Tree Tavern for lunch in the MK. So when we ate here, I ordered the pot roast. I couldn’t believe how bad it was. Very grisly and fatty.

    So with dinner ruined, I got the sundae. And it had loads of stale caramel corn on it.

    Strike two. I’m not going to try it again for strike three. It’s out already.

  12. Lea says

    I loved this dining experience! The fried chicken is to die for and I can’t wait to go back. I always make sure to finish all my food.

  13. Elissa says

    I’ve only been to 50’s Prime Time Cafe once, which was 7 years ago while on my honeymoon. We sat in the Tune In lounge & I ordered the fried cheese. I still crave it sometimes!

  14. Essie says

    I’ve always loved this place. We’ve always had good food and a lot of fun. The kind of place that you’d only find in WDW. My next trip will be a solo trip, so while I may not eat here, it will be the perfect time to visit the bar area and get a PBJ milkshake to go!

  15. Sam Winston says

    For interactive places like this and Whispering Canyon at the Wilderness Lodge.

    If you want the full experience. When you check in ask for “A funny server” and say you can wait a bit if needed. Some servers are trainees, others are old timers and really know the act and spiel.

  16. Mark says

    Haven’t been for years but had a good time when we went. Mama Melrose’s is our favorite Italian in wdw so when we have a sit down at Hollywood studios it’s always there.

  17. Jamey says

    I did use to love this place. But over the years they use to serve burgers and fries. Stopped for awhile now. I do miss that. I wish they would offer more of a sandwich choices and a sides. But still ok.

  18. Pardonmyfrench says

    we used to love it but had a bad experience when we went there in 2013. Agree 100% with the decorations and the theme and I would have agreed regarding the food but the last time we were there it wasn’t even average. The pot roast was dry and the fried chicken was greasy . The crab cake also wasn’t very good. We have avoided it the past two trips and haven’t recommended to friends since then. Perhaps we had a bad day there – we were disappointed

  19. JoAnn says

    I had the best “cousin” in February. I was looking on my phone for breakfast the next morning for my cousins and I after the Cinderella 5K while waiting for our meals. Our “cousin” kept yelling at me for playing with my “walkie talkie” at the table.

  20. Denise says

    I currently work at prime cafe as a cook, the sauce in the crab cake is aioli sauce and the salad on the pork is not sautéed, it’s actually cold but since the salad sits on top of the pork it gets hot. Porks are either well done or raw, we have to grill them I’m less then 10 min meaning people start cooking it and leaving it on the grill to the point we’re it just sits in the grill for hours, also the fried chicken sits in a warm oven for hours if it’s not busy

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