I never say no to a meal at 50s Prime Time Cafe, but I hadn’t been in WAY too long. So when I got a little email tip from a reader last week (thanks, Courtney!!) I knew I had to head over there…and quick! A menu change was about to make my dreams come true!
Located at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, this place is pure nostalgia. You really feel like you’ve stumbled into the 1950s when you enter this eatery — from the decor to the menu, everything screams mid 20th Century Americana.
Fancy meatloaf and mashed potatoes or fried chicken? Then you’re in the right place! Grab a napkin and set of silverware, remember to keep your elbows off the table, and join me for a fun, interactive helping of comfort food in this well-loved table service spot.
Stepping into this restaurant truly is like stepping back in time.
I never cease to be amazed at the way this restaurant immerses guests in the 1950s home atmosphere. You begin your meal by waiting in Dad’s Living Room. Be sure to take a moment and look around; I bet you’ll find something you’ll remember from your parents’ (or grandparents’!) house — I always do!
Fancy a drink from Dad’s Liquor Cabinet? Then sidle up to the Tune-In Lounge Bar for a house specialty, or order something once you arrive at your table.
Here’s a tip: If you can’t get an Advanced Dining Reservation here, hang out at the bar. You can order food there, too.
When it’s time to be seated, one of the “cousins” (because everyone is family here) will call you to the table in a fun way — “Wolfe kids! It’s time for dinner!”
You’ll be led to your table through a series of “kitchens.” All of them are set up to resemble a 1950s dining space and are full of fun decor items that Disney imagineers have collected (garage sale, anyone?).
These kitschy shelves, full of knick knacks, serve as dividers throughout the kitchen spaces. Check out the awesome waffle iron and cloth-covered cord!
This is a terrific time to go over a few points just in case you are a 50s Prime Time Cafe newbie: First off, you can expect a healthy helping of witty banter from your server. They are instructed to give you a hard time, since you’re just kids eating at Mom’s table.
In fact, we gathered a few of our readers’ favorite 50’s Prime Time Cafe experiences here! Read through them to get a good idea of the types of things you might experience here.
It’s all in good fun, though. If you don’t want to play along, just let your server know up front, and they’ll let you watch the fun rather than participate.
So, what are some things you should make sure to do (or not do?)
- Make sure to keep those elbows off the table!
- Chew with your mouth closed.
- If you go to the bathroom, you had better be able to tell the color of the soap when you return.
- Eat all of your veggies.
And what can you expect if you don’t “behave?” You might have to stand in the corner (we witnessed this one), or you might be made to sing “I’m a Little Teapot” in front of your fellow guests.
And finish your veggies! My friend found out this one the hard way when she left two peas on her plate and our “cousin” Tommy picked up her fork and fed them to her!
And here’s another tip: be sure to ask for a TV table at 50s Prime Time. You’ll be able to watch your favorite old shows while you eat! (If you’ve been there before, they haven’t changed the reel in about 600 years, so it’s all the same stuff.)
But we were on a quest to see what was new, so on to the food!
The menu here is pretty small, featuring comfort foods with a couple of interesting options thrown in just for fun. Nothing too adventurous here, so picky eaters should be fine.
To whet my whistle (whew! it was hot for October!) I started with Dad’s Electric Lemonade. Made with Bacardi rum, Skyy vodka, blue curacao, sweet and sour mix and Sprite, this sweet-tart treat hits the spot, and was actually the FIRST Dad’s Liquor Cabinet drink I ever ordered way back when. It was fun to try it again!
And made with “Dad’s experimental electric ice cubes,” you get a special souvenir (yep — don’t forget to fish that thing out and take it with you)!
And now for a drum roll please…
That’s right! The Fried Herb and Garlic Cheese is back in all its glory! As long-time readers know, this WAS my #1 MOST-MISSED MENU ITEM on Disney property — you can even read all about it here on our Extinct Disney Foods post!
Hmm…the citrus swirl and fried herb cheese both came back this year…what else can we expect to be resurrected, Disney? I can’t wait to find out!
It’s just as good as it was back then!
Rich and flavorful with garlic and herbs, this is a fantastic start to a meal. And served with thinly sliced toast (though not enough), fruit, and a pool of raspberry sauce, we both loved this. Yay!
My friend thought the Onion Rings sounded good, so we had an order of those to share as well. We loved the cute fry basket presentation!
She really enjoyed the horseradish dipping sauce, which was creamy with just the right amount of zip.
Next, it was time for our entrees. A Sampling of Mom’s Favorite Recipes won out for me. You’ll remember when we showcased this last year when reader Mandy J. sent us a photo! I was very excited to finally try it…
But while the plate, with its generous portions, was more than enough to share, I was a little disappointed with the selections. The meatloaf and fried chicken were a little dry (not the usual at 50s Prime Time). I wonder if it was because we were there very late at night.
Overall, I think I’ll stick with the big ol’ plate of Aunt Liz’s Fried Chicken on my next visit!
My friend opted for Grandma’s Chicken Pot Pie.
She said it was perfectly adequate. The sauce was good, the puff pastry was fresh, and there were ample chunks of all the veggies from the menu (plus lots of chicken).
If this is a favorite dish of yours, you’ll probably like it.
While we were both full from all of that tummy-warming comfort food, we still left a little room for dessert. (What? No Viewmaster Dessert Menu anymore?!??!)
Chocolate won out in both cases. First up — the classic 50s Prime Time S’mores dessert.
Made of a chocolate-coated graham cracker piled with torched, pillowy marshmallows and surrounded by chocolate sauce, this is exactly what you expect. Not terribly interesting, but if you find yourself in the middle of Disney, craving a s’more (and Fort Wilderness campfires aren’t an option) then give this a go.
We also had Dad’s Brownie Sundae. Another Prime Time classic, this one had all kinds o’ garnish goin’ on — including caramel corn!
But alas…the brownie lacked a little in the freshness department. Sure, if you’re just after something sweet and chocolatey and share-able, this is your go-to dessert.
But if you’re picky about your brownies, I’d skip this one and head to Boardwalk Bakery for a Cheesecake Brownie after my exit from the park! 😉
While our entrees and dessert didn’t super wow us, I am so so happy to see that fried cheese back on the menu! And a trip to 50s Prime Time Cafe is always a fun meal. The truth is, I’ve been here enough to know that this was an off night for the kitchen; my food is usually quite good here.
Plus, the genius of the Imagineers really shines at this restaurant; they’ve done an extraordinary job of re-creating the 1950s kitchen to a T.
Also, a big thanks goes out to cousin Tommy, our server, who’s been at the Cafe for years and continues to be an absolute hoot! He had the tables around us (and us, of course) cracking up all night, which is exactly what you want after a looooong Disney day! 🙂
So come for the atmosphere, and stay for the better-than-good comfort food. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Especially if you get the cheese. 🙂
What’s your favorite menu item at 50s Prime Time Cafe? Do you have a fun story to tell us about your visit? Let us know in the comments below!