Mid-Century Nostalgia

One of the Waiting Area Living Rooms

One of the Waiting Area Living Rooms

One of the unsung heroes of dining at Walt Disney World is the 50’s Prime Time Cafe, a diner where the food is decent, the servers are funny, and the decor is the real reason you’re there.

Reminiscent of their youth for those over 50 and the Wonder Years for those under 40, 50’s Prime Time takes pride in its less-than-chic furnishings. Knick Knacks prevail in colors like cornflower blue and avocado, and, more than once, you’ll hear “didn’t Mom used to have one of those?”

A Coveted TV Table

A Coveted TV Table

Arrive early and request a “TV Table.” This is a table for four or five that has a TV right next to it, so that you can watch the loop of black-and-white show snippets that includes The Mickey Mouse Club (what’s more fun than an egg race?), Spin and Marty, I Married Joan, The Dick van Dyke Show, and others.

The food here is less than stellar, usually on a par with a bad Denny’s, but you can score some pretty good fried chicken, chicken pot pie, and meatloaf. They recently took the best dish off the menu–a fried boursin cheese served with toasted baguette slices and grapes–but the atmosphere is almost enough to keep me coming back. Service is inconsistent and based largely on your waiter–who happens to be playing the part of your Aunt, Uncle, cousin, or brother and is at liberty to force you to eat your vegetables…no kidding. Be sure to ask if you can see the photo albums!

Chocolate Malt and Dessert Viewfinder

Chocolate Malt and Dessert Viewfinder

Dessert is another good reason to visit this restaurant. Again, the quality isn’t great, but Disney comes through on the themeing! Your dessert menu is a Viewfinder, and you get to feel like a kid all over again when you click through the enticing photos to “choose your poison.” FYI: the milkshakes are great, and the s’mores have a good reputation.

So, if you’ve got one of those free dining slots open, I suggest you pop on by 50’s Prime Time Cafe for lunch. While the food could be better, the experience can be a true Disney highlight.

Free Dining at Walt Disney World–The Pros and Cons

The pros and cons of this offer are different for everyone, so I thought I’d take a minute to give you my specific “set of learnings” from my previous free dining experiences:

  1. Free dining means I get to use up all of my table service credits in three days by eating at California Grill every night
  2. Free dining means that Yachtsman Steakhouse stops serving Ribeye because it takes up too much space on the grill
  3. Free dining means I leave for the airport with about 20 bottles of water because I wasn’t able to use all of my snack credits (blame California Grill)
  4. Free dining means I get to discover that Casey’s Corner hot dogs and french fries are the best hot dogs and french fries in Disney World, and that’s that.
  5. Free dining means I should leave more tummy room to use snack credits on Dole Whips!
  6. Free dining means I have to book my advanced dining reservations even earlier than before!
  7. Free dining means that the ghost town that was September in Disney World has now turned into a literal free-for-all! Use fastpass!
  8. HAVE FUN!

Getting It Your Way

Disney is on a customization kick. You can get customized t-shirts, customized park tickets, customized dining plans…you can even customize your Mickey Ear Hats now!

So this is why I insist I should be able to customize my meals as well! I’m one of those picky eaters who never orders directly off the menu. I’m always adding here, substituting there…it’s likely very annoying, yet oddly commonplace for the restaurant waitstaff to have to deal with vacationers like me.

The Perfect Sundae

The Perfect Sundae

But Disney CMs overall are well-trained to endure crazies like myself, and make me feel entirely comfortable to customize my meals willy-nilly. One of my favorite places to do this is Beaches and Cream, where they’ll gladly create for me my very own dessert creation! This is a ginormous brownie topped with ice cream, hot fudge, and peanut butter. C’mon. You know you want it!

Beaches and Cream Counter

Beaches and Cream Counter

Beaches and Cream is located at Disney’s Beach Club resort, in the Epcot resort area. There are only a few tables in this ice cream parlor (which also serves burgers, hot dogs, and the like), and they don’t take reservations, so arrive during off-hours to cut your wait. Open 11am-11pm.

And don’t forget to order the famous Kitchen Sink, made with every flavor of ice cream, topping, and candy they have in the joint and topped with a whole can of whipped cream!

Kitchen Sink (c Rough Guides)

Kitchen Sink (c Rough Guides)

Butterscotch Sundae

Butterscotch Sundae

“Book Early” Series: Le Cellier

Le Cellier

Le Cellier

Lots of folks just glide right by the large, wrought-iron gate leading to the beautiful replica of Vancouver’s Victoria Gardens in Epcot’s Canada Pavilion. They figure it’s just a garden, of which there are MANY in Disney World, so why stop to gawk when you could move on to Soarin’?

Breadsticks

Breadsticks

Le Cellier, that’s why. French for “the cellar,” Le Cellier is the Canada Pavilion’s table-service steakhouse restaurant that’s known for its filet with mushroom risotto,

Cheddar Cheese Soup

Cheddar Cheese Soup

cheddar cheese and Moosehead Beer soup, and delicious breads. Le Cellier has been on top for a while now, and quality and service haven’t seemed to suffer for the many years I’ve been dining there. It’s dark, cellar-like dining room provides plenty of cover for Disney big-wigs who have been rumored to hold business meetings on the premises.

Sausage and Corn Polenta

Sausage and Corn Polenta

Le Cellier is part of our “Book Early” Series, because it’s practically impossible to get a dinner reservation here, and only slightly more possible to get a lunch reservation.

Filet with Mushroom Risotto

Filet with Mushroom Risotto

The place is booked solid six months in
advance, and, in my opinion, Le Cellier could easily pay an extra cast member full-time wages to turn away potential walk-in diners.

When you do get a seat, indulge in that Cheddar Cheese soup, the new sausage and corn appetizer, and the lovely filet mignon (though we like the good ol’ burger, served with black diamond cheddar, just as much). If you still have room

Burger and Fries

Burger and Fries

for dessert the maple creme brulee is wonderful, but I tend to grab the seasonal cobbler most of the time!

Disney + Food = Happiness

We all love pictures, so I’ll post as many as I can. PLEASE send in yours as well–webmaster@disneyfoodblog.com–and be sure to let me know how to credit your work in the blog!

My favorite thing to do in Disney World is eat. And you should admit right now that you love it, too. I don’t know about you, but my Disney Vacation starts with restaurant planning, and I’ll take any opinions I can get (especially if there are pictures attached to the opinions!).

'Ohana Barbeque

'Ohana Barbeque

Here’s hoping that this blog will give you a little “taste” of what’s available for your tummies at Walt Disney World. Whether you’re eating table-service (where a waiter brings your food) or counter service (as in: fast food), there are high-brow, low-brow, hoity toity, and down home options. Whatever type of food you want, you can likely get it (or something close to it) at Disney World.