Today we’re visiting a Fantasyland classic… Pinocchio Village Haus Restaurant!
We were here not all that long ago, trying out the recent addition of Pesto Knots to the menu at this joint, which simultaneously features Bavarian architecture and Italian fare. And Pinocchio’s is always a great place to check out — especially in the hot summer months — for their character-inspired frozen Slushes (not to be confused with “Frozen” character slushes… just so we’re clear on that 😉 ).
But it’s been a while since we’ve reviewed a full-on meal here… or three! So, that’s what we’re here to do. Welcome to Pinocchio Village Haus!
Have you ever wondered about the German-style architecture of this restaurant for a story that’s set in Italy?
Pinocchio’s creator, Gepetto, is decidedly Italian, but even the Pinocchio atop of the ordering section reminds me a little of a German oompah figurine.
To learn a little more about this unique style choice, check out this guest review for some insight!
Aside from the architecture, other hallmarks at Pinocchio’s are the gorgeous murals depicting characters and scenes from the film.
True, there are no roses with magically falling petals or indoor thunderstorms a la Be Our Guest Restaurant, but if you really take a look at the artwork (entire rooms and murals are dedicated to specific characters), I think you’ll agree that they are stunners in their own right. It’s straight-up analog, and it’s pretty great.
I’ve also always enjoyed some of the beautiful stained glass work here.
But that’s not all — Pinocchio’s is the only restaurant in Magic Kingdom where some of the tables provide front row views of a beloved attraction: “it’s a small world.”
Speaking of tables, due to the busy-ness of this spot, the process of getting one can be a bit different here. This picture of a Cast Member holding a sign explains some of the process — she is holding a “Reserved” sign.
The area was not reserved for a specific party or group or anything. Apparently they do this so that people don’t hold a table while the rest of their party is getting food — only people with trays of food are allowed in the “reserved” sections. This isn’t a well-known fact, though, so what can end up happening is that the whole place can get packed, while the reserved sections are practically empty. (These included the area next to “Small World” on my visit.) All I had to do was ask how to get into the reserved section, and it was easy enough thanks to the nice Cast Members working in the area.
So we’ve got our seat and our food… let’s dig in.
Since the story of Pinocchio is based in Italy, so is the menu at the Village Haus! The focus is on flatbreads, specifically Pepperoni, Caprese, and a spin on tradition with a Barbecued Beef Flatbread.
You can also find a Caesar Salad, Mediterranean Salad, and a Meatball Sub. And there is a relatively recent addition for those less interested in the Italian Fare: a Spicy Chicken Sandwich (good ol’ Chicken Breast Nuggets can be found here, too).
We went with the Pepperoni Flatbread, Meatball Sub, and the Spicy Chicken Sandwich to mix it up a bit. I’d heard mixed reviews on the Meatball Sub, and I’m happy to report that I must have hit it on a really good day.
The mozzarella topping the meatballs spilled over onto the soft bread, and the marinara provided great flavor — even though it can get a little messy (like any good meatball sub), it’s worth it.
Onto one of the star dishes: Pepperoni Flatbread.
Unfortunately, this one didn’t hold up quite as well. All the elements were there: plenty of cheese and pepperoni covering the whole of the flatbread, and the bread was nicely golden brown. Unfortunately, the overall effect came together as… just okay. Pretty bland and unmemorable, to be honest. Maybe if the pepperoni was crisped just a bit to impart more of the flavor, that might do the trick. But overall? Meh.
The Spicy Chicken Sandwich is a pretty darn huge breaded chicken breast topped with tomatoes and lettuce (fresh and not at all wilted). I like that the tomatoes are diced — it makes for a little less mess overall.
Don’t be too concerned with the word “spicy.” It’s not especially so — just enough to give the chicken an extra burst of flavor. I really like this sandwich, and am glad to know that it has a home again, since it got booted off the menu at Golden Oak Outpost in favor of the Loaded Waffle Fries. Granted, you can also find something similar at Tomorrowland Terrace, but really… when is that ever open?
Of course, I needed something to wash everything down, and since a rotating cast of slushes is big on the menu at Pinocchio’s, it was kind of a no-brainer. We’ve tried the Blue Raspberry Slush in honor of the Blue Fairy, and the bright green Jiminy Cricket Slush that appeared for a little while around the holidays last year, so I decided to go with the Lemonade Slush.
You can find the Lemonade Slush at several locations throughout Magic Kingdom, including Cheshire Cafe and Sunshine Tree Terrace. It’s the same sweet-with-a-great-punch-of-sour situation at Pinocchio’s, with the difference being the addition of a berry flavor and whipped cream on the top to cut a bit of that pucker-up punch.
It’s definitely a bummer that the featured menu item didn’t live up to it’s role, but there is enough that is working here to make a stop at Pinocchio’s worth your while.
It’s no secret that lunch at Be Our Guest Restaurant is all the rage these days in regards to Fantasyland Counter Service (or Magic Kingdom Counter Service in general), and understandably so. But there are still treasures to be found outside of Be Our Guest, and I’d argue that Pinocchio Village Haus is one of them.
Even if the menu’s focus on flatbreads doesn’t match your preference, it’s worth a stop to grab a snack (we’re longtime fans of the soup here, especially in these cooler months) and do some serious exploring of the artwork, or some serious relaxing while overlooking “it’s a small world” or sitting on the upstairs balcony overlooking Fantasyland. While it may not be a must-stop on every trip to the Magic Kingdom, the old school charm stands the test of time, in my opinion. And if you keep an eye out for the gems, there are many to be found at Pinocchio Village Haus.
Do you dine at Pinocchio’s Village Haus when visiting the Magic Kingdom? Please let us know with a comment!