Are you ready for a delicious dinner buffet served up with a side of THE FORCE?!
I sure hope so, because a long time ago (a few hours now) in a galaxy far, far away (Disney’s Hollywood Studios) we attended the debut evening of the Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine at Hollywood and Vine! We JUST returned from the long-awaited new character dining meal in Disney’s Hollywood Studios featuring…yup!…STAR WARS CHARACTERS!
Well, not exactly Star Wars characters; this was BETTER than Star Wars characters because it was Disney characters dressed up as Star Wars characters!!
Confused? Maybe a picture will help it to make more sense… ;-D
Now, let’s dive in and check out the Cantina… uh, I mean, the scene!
Staged (see what I did there?) at Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ Hollywood and Vine Restaurant — which normally houses Disney Junior characters — the new Star Wars Weekends character meal was nearly an immediate sell-out when we announced it just over a month ago.
The restaurant is set up as a buffet, which means you’re able to set the pace of your meal and make sure you’re at your table when the characters come your way.
Hollywood & Vine is themed as a vintage “Cafeteria to the Stars” (and the art deco decor on the buffet makes it stand out a teensy tiny bit from its companions around Walt Disney World).
However, for this event, the place received a bit of a galactic makeover!
Otherwise, a relatively neutral backdrop featuring photos of old Hollywood, a big ol’ mural, and aluminum tables and chairs means that the characters really are the feature here.
Speaking of…the characters! That’s what you really want to hear about, right? Enough pictures of seating, DisneyFoodBlog…let’s get to the fun!
As seen earlier, Ewok Chip & Dale greet you immediately upon your arrival with a couple of hugs and a chance for a sweet photo opp! (But hey, ummm, guys… I think you’re facing the wrong way 😉 )
There, that’s better! After your picture, your photographer will hand you a special Photopass card just for the occasion: your picture with Chip & Dale is included in the cost of this experience.
Clearly, everyone is excited about this 😉 !
Once you’re seated at your table, you’ll entertain a few other special visitors who stop by, including Stormtrooper Donald,
Darth Goofy (Brilliant!),
Princess Leia Minnie (LOVING that bun/ears combo!)…
… and JEDI MICKEY himself, striking his best Jedi pose!
I will say that the meetings with the characters were a bit brief compared with some other character meals I’ve experienced — the house was packed. But even so, we got to meet and have our photos taken with every single character, and were happy with each visit. And as I saw the characters interact with the kids, it seemed that there were plenty of hugs and autographs going around. The general mood was just high-energy FUN.
Okay, with both the Empire and the Alliance represented with these characters, you now have a choice to make. Upon being seated at your table, you’ll notice something in addition to your napkins and silverware. A piece of paper that is red on one side…
… and blue on the other.
What appears to be merely paper transforms into a LIGHT SABER!
Throughout the meal, guests are invited to choose their color: fold your paper to show blue if you’re on Mickey and Minnie’s side (the Alliance), or red for Goofy and Donald (the Empire). I thought it was super clever how they didn’t ask kids to choose between the dark side and the good guys — basically, you just picked your favorite character, waved your light saber like crazy, and let out a holler! (This is also, by the way, a great little energy spender for kids who are really excited while waiting for the characters to arrive at their table).
I noticed impromptu light saber battles happening all around the restaurant, primarily between fathers and their kids (and, yep, a few pairs of full-grown adults, too!).
I would LOVE to see a more permanent souvenir available for the kids with this meal, like a small, plastic red or blue light saber — the paper ones were such a hit, I think something like that would be an extra thrill and terrific touch.
For all this talk of children, you should know that my friend and I — both adults — felt right at home, and there were plenty of other adults-only groups for this event. While this is not the case with the typical Disney Junior meals featured throughout the year here, please don’t shy away from this event if you would like to go but don’t have children to bring. All Star Wars fans are welcome, both young and not-so-much 🙂 !
I think the Hollywood and Vine buffet offers some truly unique choices compared with some other buffets on property, but on this evening, the fare was a little extra special.
Things started in a fairly typical fashion with the salads, fruit, breads, and the cold bar.
But moving foward, we didn’t just have a chance to try pork, chicken, beef, etc… oh, no!
On this night we ate everything from Tusken Raider Chicken, to Salacious Crumb’s Crusted Pork (an absolute standout!), to Kamino Maple Mustard-Glazed Salmon. Reading the Star Wars names for the dishes was nearly as fun as eating it all!
Even beyond the fun names, the entrees were plentiful and varied. We also had [Read more…]