Let’s welcome back guest reviewer Bill Iadonisi with another insightful and delicious Disney World restaurant review! Bill travels to the Magic Kingdom’s The Pinocchio Village Haus this week, so let’s tag along. Take it away, Bill!
Hello again Food Blog readers! We are back on track reviewing Disney’s amazing array of Counter-service restaurants. This week we mosey over to the Magic Kingdom again, Fantasyland to be exact, and explore another of my favorite watering holes, The Pinocchio Village Haus.
This eatery, like everything else in Disney, is richly themed and has a very interesting back story. So before I begin to explore the cuisine, I would like to acquaint all with this interesting story:
Atmosphere and Story
As all fans know, Pinocchio is the tale of a puppet that comes to life and becomes a real boy when he proves himself truthful, brave and able to tell right from wrong. This story is set in Italy. In fact the name “Pinocchio” in Italian means “Pine Eyes.”
But the Pinocchio Village Haus has more of a German motif than Italian; even the word “Haus” is German. Why? You can blame Disney chief Illustrator Gustaf Tenggren, who after being hired by Disney in 1936 was given the task of imparting an “Old World” look to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
This influence rolled over into the film Pinocchio, where Old World German architecture won out over Italian. This factored into the construction of the Village Haus. In fact, if you look up at the building, you will note that it is exactly like the opening scene in Pinocchio, with the multi-plane camera zooming in from a distance.
The restaurant inside is divided into several rooms, each of which honors a Disney character from the film. There is the “Figaro” room, the “Monstro” room, the “Stromboli” room, etc.
The rooms are resplendent in dark oak beams, shelves and railings. You will see beer steins on stained glass windows, a Cuckoo Clock, and beautiful murals depicting the cast from this wonderful film.
The most interesting room is the Stromboli room, the main dining area. This room is themed after an outdoor puppet theater. Look at the tall stained glass windows behind the ordering kiosks — you will see marionettes on strings, and there is an overhanging roof in back of the kiosks.
There is also a small upstairs balcony inside and an outside balcony for additional seating. And getting back to the outdoor puppet theater I mentioned before, that little inside “Balcony” represents the puppeteer’s catwalk where he would work the marionettes for the show.
Although the main dining area is large, and there are several other rooms, the Village Haus is, for the most part, very busy — especially during peak times. Remember, you are in the Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland, the busiest park and land on property!
There have been times where we had to wait for a table to open (much like Pecos Bill in Frontierland!). And it is very, very noisy! Again, the busiest land in the World means lots of people to make lots of noise.
But the murals and beautiful interior, and not to mention the menu, (we are getting to that!) make it a nice place to eat. There is even a section of tables that overlook the loading area for “It’s a Small World;” you can wave to the guests and it’s just enjoyable to watch the goings on!
Finally, the food… Although the decor appears more German than Italian, the menu is defiantly “Italian.” Offered is a zesty Meatball Sub Sandwich, on a small torpedo roll with choice of apple slices or French fries ($8.39), Chicken Parmesan with Orzo Pasta, ($8.99) and everybody’s favorite, Pizza combos. Take your choice of Pepperoni ($8.69), or cheese ($8.39) with a Caesar salad.
I love salads and can make an entire meal out of them. I enjoy the Village Haus because they offer two of the tastiest salads on property: a Caesar Salad with Romaine lettuce, white meat chicken strips and Parmesan cheese ($7.79), and for a bigger taste of Italy, you can order a Mediterranean salad with mixed greens, white meat chicken, Mozzarella cheese, roasted red peppers, red onions and black olives ($8.49).
My lunch companions again were my wife Donna, and friend John. John ordered the Chicken Parmesan. He usually orders the Meatball sub, which he says is excellent, but wanted to try this dish for the review.
The chicken was very flavorful and moist and was a nice sized piece, but the companion orzo pasta “lacked any real flavor.”
Donna ordered the Chicken Breast Nuggets with French Fries ($7.89). You can also substitute apple slices. The word “consistency” pops up. If you ordered the Chicken Nuggets anywhere else on property, they would taste the same. They were hot and tasty, and eight pieces made this a good value. And yes, I ordered the Mediterranean Salad. This good-sized entrée is one of my favorites. I love the red peppers and the mozzarella, and the lettuce was crisp and cold.
Other menu items include a kids’ pick with Mac and Cheese, Smucker’s Peanut Butter and Jelly, and a Cheese Pizza; all items were $4.99. All kids’ meals are accompanied by grapes, carrot sticks and choice of 1% Mickey Milk, small bottled water or 100% apple juice. Also available upon request are Applesauce, cookies, French Fries or a soft drink.
Grown-ups can order a side of French Fries, a Caesar side salad or a cup of Tomato Basil Soup (I recommend this, it’s delicious!). Sadly, no more Figaro Fries.
And last but not least, dessert. You can order Strawberry Cheesecake ($3.59) or Chocolate Cake ($3.59), and for the health conscious, Strawberry Yogurt ($1.99).
Other than John’s low rating of the orzo, the meal at the Village Haus was enjoyable and satisfying. You receive a nice sized portion for your money, and unless you are a huge eater, the restaurant is a good value.
Again, the food is a little above the standard quick-service fare; the two salads and pizza are a nice change from the ordinary.
Some of the plusses are the neat view of the loading queue for it’s a small world and the upstairs balcony, both inside and out. You can access the outside balcony from the outdoor dining area. While small with only four tables, it’s worth the wait for the view of Fantasyland. The indoor balcony has a few more tables, and is a little quieter and a lot less crowded.
It can get very crowded and noisy, but the Pinocchio Village Haus is a wonderful place to eat. The décor and themed rooms are a treat for the eyes; there is even a super-small Hidden Mickey on the mural of the Blue Fairy with Pinocchio in the back room, look for it on the left side of the Fairy.
I will see you all at the next review, Bon Appetite!
What are you thoughts on The Pinocchio Village Haus? Let us know in the comments section below!
I had NO idea about the balconies. That is too cool. Thanks for the info, Bill!!
Lillian C. says
Oh, I LOVE the pizza here. I’m not sure how to describe why I do but I do! We had a quick, early dinner here before watching the Electrical Parade last month. Does anyone know if there’s a counter-service restaurant at Disneyland that serves the same pizza? I need to my village haus pizza fix.
How is there an article about the Village Haus containing absolutely no mention of the window overlooking Small World?
I demand a refund!
After a careful rereading, I retract my last statement.
We ate here once, mainly to sit near the Small World windows, lol. We did get a seat right at the window which was really cool. Probably the most memorable part of the meal 😉 At the time they were trying this thing where you couldn’t get a table until you had food. So, it looked like they had extra CMs on hand to direct people, and keep some from getting tables without food. Luckily, they did see that we were waiting for an order and let my wife and son sit down at that point, while I got the food. I would go back, yeah, just to sit at those windows again 🙂
I have many fond memories of eating here as a child…we used to sit by the windows watching the Small World boats while eating hot dogs. (I swear PVH used to serve more German themed food??) Now as an adult I appreciate the upstairs outdoor balcony that is usually empty. It’s a fun place to watch the hustle and bustle of Fantasyland!
Nice detail about a restaurant I haven’t made it inside yet, believe it or not. Is the chicken on the salads served warm or cold? Do you happen to know if you can get the Mediterranean salad without dressing? Thanks!
I kept waiting for the Small World reference. It’s the most striking thing about the Haus.
Ooops. There it is. I’d have expected a little more attention (maybe a picture) since I think it’s the primary draw for a lot of people.
I can’t remember the last time I ate here (apart from ordering only a soda or getting cookies at MVMCP). I vaguely remember watching the boats from the window; I must have been under 10. The salads look good, especially the Mediterranean one. If the meatball sub is anything like the one I had at Electric Umbrella, it should be decent. But ugh, those pizzas…
This restaurant reminds me of the criticism of Tony’s Town Square. The food is so-so compared with the beauty and detail of the building. You almost feel as if you are walking into the Pinocchio movie. I wonder how many folks sit down and eat without really looking around and appreciating their surroundings. The comments above show that the DFB readers are looking around. The food is okay but obviously mass produced in a central location. The best of the menu are the salads.
We really enjoy this restaurant as a quick service during our stay. As stated by others, not the best food, but pretty consistent and we love the location and decor!! I always get the Mediterranean salad–yum! DisneyMommy–the chicken is served cold and the dressing is always left off. There is a condiment station in the middle of the restaurant and you choose your own packet of dressing. Definitely a a fun place to eat for the family with the Small World viewºOº
Great Review Bill! I really think since they changed the first menu off of the Figaro Fries it’s never really ever the same for most people.
Also, does Walt Disney World not have the window into Small World like Disneyland?
Thanks for the review and pictures. We’ve never eaten there in almost 20 trips, mostly because it is so always so crowded that I felt claustraphobic and left. But since you showed the beautiful artwork and the good-looking salads, maybe we’ll try to get in for an off-peak lunch on our next trip. Up to now, we’ve only waved from IASW at the lucky folks having meals up there!
We ate here back in 2005, and I loved the ambiance of the whole place. The menu has changed, as I remember having a turkey roll-up served with grapes (off the children’s menu, because who can really eat 3 full heavy meals a day?) and it was just right. Thanks for sharing your photos!
Galloping Gourmand says
The first time I went there was in the mid 80’s when I was 12 and I had a stomach ache all day. My family avoided it after that. When I started going to Disney again 10 years ago I tired it and once more got a stomach ache. I haven’t even thought about looking at the place since. Didn’t even know about the menu change. Now that they have all new offerings I might give it another shot. Every restaurant deserves another look after 10 years.
Bill Iadonisi says
Again, a warm thanks to all who commented! To Greg, sometimes trying to get a pic of the window facing the queue line of It’s a small World is iffy, for the most part there are always guests seated there, and I thought the pics of the murals would convey a better image of the eatery. To Alan, I always loved the food at Tony’s Town Square! My group gave it thumbs up several years ago during an earlier review. The only down part of the meal was John’s comment about the orzo. I promise all that I will try to include more pics in my reviews, but remember, you can have just so many, so I will try to include the best. Looking forward to all your comments next review!
I didn’t even know you could go upstairs My husband hates this place so we avoid it.
As for the Germanic looking surroundings, I always figured it was Northern Italy!
My late grandfather painted these murals. He was unfortunately one of the many under appreciated artists of film’s early years. He never got to see the restaurant itself as a whole. So very happy to see that people are still enjoying them and appreciate his talents today! thank you
Deneen, that’s awesome!!!
Danny Martinez says
Worst place to eat in Disney, too expensive, personal working there so rude.
Ate here for a very late lunch in April 2013. Loved, loved, loved the flat breads. We had sat here after my daughter had a 2:30 bibbity bobbity appt and thought we’d run over for a quick bite. The place was quiet, we got a seat right by the windows to watch the It’s a Small World ride and had wonderful flat breads. I’m not a pizza fan at all, but the Caprese Flat Bread was one of my fav meals at Disney. My mother had the BBQ chicken Flat Bread and really enjoyed that too. My 5 year old had typical chicken fingers and fries. Overall, the price was fantastic for the size of the food. Would I eat here again? Absolutely!