We’re taking it back to 1950 when the meatloaf was good and Mom never let us put our elbows on the table!
Walt Disney World reopened with quite a few changes to the overall dining experience. Limited capacities, increased sanitation, physical distancing, and limited menus are just a few of the newly implemented health and safety regulations. With all the new social distancing procedures, we wanted to check out one of the most interactive restaurants in Disney World to see what it’s like now. We headed over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios to get a good home-cooked meal from 50’s Prime Time Cafe!
The restaurant is themed like a retro dining room with kitschy knick-knacks and old television sets that play classics like I Love Lucy. From the moment you walk in, it feels like you just walked into an old family member’s house you might remember as a child (you know what we mean — where you can’t touch ANYTHING!).
It’s filled to the brim with vintage decors like ceramic teapots, funky cookie jars, and old Coke bottles. It’s a sea of retro checkered wallpaper and linoleum! This place screams “garage sale find” is the best and most kitschy way!
The theming here really is something! It almost feels like you walked onto an old 50s sitcom set and are about to sit down for a meal before they yell “action!” If you crack a joke at your table, you almost expect to hear a studio audience burst into laughter!
Speaking of tables, there are a few options here. First, there’s your average table and chair combos scattered around the restaurant in various sizes. These are perfectly fine. You’ll still get a fun waiter or waitress and the same great food, but it’s hard to pick these tables when you could have…
…the T.V. tables! The prime tables (pun intended) in our opinion are the ones with a T.V. set right at the table. You feel like you’re in your own little corner of a vintage kitchen watching the black and whites while you eat!
There’s a good mix of both options throughout the restaurant (which, due to the staged look of the tables, can make the restaurant feel a little hard to navigate if you need to make a trip to the restroom!). We highly recommend requesting a T.V. table when you check-in.
One thing to note at this restaurant — the adjacent Tune-In Lounge is currently still closed until further notice. This spot was a great option for grabbing a quick bite and a drink or two if you couldn’t snag a table at the restaurant proper! We’re keeping our eyes out for it to reopen and will let you know as soon as there’s information available.
The new dining experience was very similar to what we experienced at other recently reopened restaurants like California Grill. Contactless menus are available via a QR code for your phone, tables are spaced out to create distance between guests, and you check into your reservation using a QR code with Disney’s Mobile Dine Check-In.
We were most interested in seeing how the character interactions that are unique to the restaurant held up following their reopening. Similar to the server antics we’ve known and loved over at Whispering Canyon Cafe in Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, 50s Prime Time Cafe is known for quirky servers who are referred to as your “aunt, uncle, or cousin.”
They’re known for poking fun at guests and reminding them to mind their manners. After all, as far as they’re concerned. you’re just kids pulling up to the table for supper! You might find your server fussing you if you have your elbows on the table or forget to put your napkin in your lap, or even feeding you a la “here comes the airplane!” if you don’t eat all of your veggies. It’s all in good fun and one of the biggest appeals of the location for many guests. We’ve got a few great reader stories from this restaurant here if you dare to know more! Don’t even get us started if you forget to wash your hands in the bathroom (trust us…they KNOW!).
We’re here to report that this heckling HASN’T been eliminated! Well, not entirely. The staff was still making jokes and having a ton of fun with the guests. In fact, we had to rush out for our Rise of the Resistance reservation and our server balked that we didn’t clean our plate! Obviously, the hands-on antics have been toned down for the time being. You might not get your napkin tucked into your shirt right now or your server spoon-feeding you your peas, but you still can join the Clean Plate Club if you play your cards right! 🙂
The food here is based on good ol’ fashion homecooked meals. Picture the goodies you’d find in those old fashioned metal T.V. dinners but…you know…tasty. The menu is currently limited compared to previous visits. You can still order most of the crowd-favorites like Cousin Megan’s Traditional Meatloaf and Mom’s Old-Fashion Pot Roast. There’s also a full cocktail menu.
We started our meal with a traditional Chocolate Milkshake for $9.00. The big star at this spot is the famed Peanut Butter and Jelly Milkshake but today we were in the mood for classic chocolate. The milkshakes are mixed fresh and taste like it too! It was the cool and delish treat we needed for a mid-afternoon break. The consistency is thick enough that you have to eat it with a spoon! It’s served straight from the milkshake mixer cup, just like the good ol’ days!
Is it still considered a milkshake when you can’t drink it through a straw? Or is it officially considered ice cream? Inquiring minds want to know! 😉 Either way, it was tasty! Note that these are not bottomless milkshakes, so if you suck yours down, you’ll have to order another (but that is a LOT of milkshake and we’ve got food coming!).
For our entrée, we opted for the classic Aunt Liz’s Golden Fried Chicken. This comes with a LARGE serving of a mix of dark and white meat chicken, roasted garlic mashed potatoes with chicken gravy, and “seasonal vegetable” (in our case, corn) for $24.00. If you can’t tell from the picture, you could easily share this between two people as long as you’re not both starving! The fried chicken was exactly what we wanted it to be. It was extra crispy, well-seasoned, and the chicken was nice and moist. The chicken was the absolute main attraction and we would definitely order it again.
If you want more variety in your meal, you can opt to get the chicken served alongside Pot Roast and Meatloaf in A Sampling of Mom’s Favorite Recipes. This is, not surprisingly, also a monster-sized plate of food! We’ve enjoyed this many times in the past.
As for the sides, the corn was warm and buttery while mashed potatoes were just a little “meh.” We would have liked them to be a little more creamy and garlicky. It needed to be a little extra when being paired with the fantastic fried chicken. It looked and reminded us of mashed potatoes from our grade school hot lunch days. Not bad, but we’ve had better.
To make a meal comparison, this entree was like an amped-up KFC combo. Only, the food tasted considerably better and made with quality ingredients! This is definitely not “fancy” food but it’s hearty, tasty, and quite enjoyable! Prepare to get your fingers messy and dig in.
After that monster plate of chicken and an entire chocolate shake, we were SPENT (and we still had to run to ride Rise of the Resistance. Priorities.)!
Nosh or Not
Consider Dining at 50s Prime Time Cafe if:
- You love Cast Member interaction! These aren’t your traditional Disney servers — they’re a whole lotta fun!
- You love comfort foods! Load up on meatloaf, fried chicken, big desserts, and those ginormous shakes!
- You want loads of atmosphere to go with your meal. This place SO much fun. Kids and adults looking for a fun meal will likely enjoy the experience.
Consider Skipping 50s Prime Time Cafe if:
- You’re looking for something fancy. This table service restaurant is very casual. This is comfort food done VERY well.
- You don’t like being the center of attention or themed dining. The servers like to poke fun and interact with guests so be ready to be the butt of the joke! You can ask them to ease up on the razzing, but where’s the fun in that?
- You want a dark, quiet meal. The Hollywood Brown Derby is a better choice if you’re looking for a romantic night out! Here, prepare for, at times, loud and silly antics.
We walked out of 50s Prime Time Cafe feeling full and happy. Despite the new safety regulations, the service was still centered on guest interaction. Our conversations with our hilarious server were refreshing, made us laugh, and lifted our spirits. The sense of silly fun and Cast Member interaction is really what this restaurant is all about. Sure, you come for the food, but you stay for your “Aunty!” We have countless hilarious memories here, like many of you. Luckily, the food is pretty solid too! 😉 Speaking of food — we could have eaten another plate full of that chicken and the milkshake was exactly what we needed to power through the rest of our day.
We’ll be sure to make a trip back to the 50s Prime Time Cafe in the future. In the meantime, visions of delicious fried chicken are still dancing in our heads!
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Have you been to the 50s Prime Time Cafe? Let us know in the comments!