The Walt Disney World Resort is home to some absolutely incredible restaurants with delicious menu offerings, immersive theming, and much more. While there are plenty of favorites like ‘Ohana, California Grill, Tusker House Restaurant, Le Cellier Steakhouse, The Crystal Palace and a slew of options in Disney Springs like Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ and The Boathouse, there are also plenty of restaurants that tend to get a lot of hate.
These table service restaurants have some fans, but they have definitely developed a bad rap over the years and become looked at as not worth the time or money. While this could absolutely be true in some cases, let’s check out each one of these table service restaurants at the Walt Disney World Resort and figure out if they deserve the hate and negative reviews.
Tony’s Town Square Restaurant
One of the most universally panned table service restaurants at the Walt Disney World Resort is Tony’s Town Square Restaurant found just inside the entrance of the Magic Kingdom on Main Street, U.S.A. This charming restaurant brings the Victorian theming from Main Street, U.S.A. inside with wrought iron chairs, large windows, and airy white molding as well as several nods to Lady and the Tramp, as it was modeled after the restaurant where the duo shared their famous spaghetti kiss.
Tony’s Town Square Restaurant is often looked down on for serving up generic Italian cuisine that can be found in better options at other Disney Parks, and Guests can dine at the location for lunch and dinner each day. Some of the available menu options include Caprese, Fettuccine Alfredo, Spaghetti, Chicken Parmigiana, Tony’s Pizza Pie, and Five Alarm Wings.
While better Italian food can absolutely be found elsewhere at the Walt Disney World Resort as well as better overall options in the Magic Kingdom, Tony’s Town Square Restaurant makes up for lacking flavors with its atmosphere, particularly the outdoor patio. This beautiful open-air patio offers up unparalleled views of Main Street, U.S.A. including great people watching and unique vantages of the Festival of Fantasy.
Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano
Another Italian table service restaurant that gets a lot of hatred can be found in the Grand Avenue area of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano serves up authentic Italian food in a cozy and quirky interior that blends Mama’s history from Italy, California, and the studio backlot.
Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano focuses on traditional Italian favorites, with some flavors and influence from Southern California. Menu options available for lunch and dinner each day include Crispy Calamari, Charred Strip Steak, Mama’s Italian Pasta, Spaghetti and Meatballs, Shrimp Campanelle, and Oven-baked Chicken alla Parmigiana.
The charming interior of Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano is the highlight of any meal at this table service restaurant and while there are some great menu options, there are definitely better choices elsewhere in Disney’s Hollywood Studios such as The Hollywood Brown Derby. Alternatively, Guests who are looking to enjoy basic Italian cuisine can also do so at nearby quick service PizzeRizzo for a much lower cost.
One of the most divisive table service restaurants at the Walt Disney World Resort can be found in the heart of Disney’s Contemporary Resort on the Grand Canyon Concourse. Chef Mickey’s is an open-air restaurant where Guests can take in bright pops of color, monorail beams overhead, and the chance to see favorite characters like Mickey, Goofy, and Donald.
Chef Mickey’s is open daily for breakfast and dinner and serves up family-style feasts of American favorites for set prices. Some menu options available each day at Chef Mickey’s include Mickey Waffles, Slow-roasted Beef Brisket, Banana Bread French Toast, Citrus-poached Baby Shrimp, Potato Gnocchi, Prime Rib, and Roasted Salmon.
While there’s nothing particularly wrong with the food at Chef Mickey’s, there are so many better options nearby, including Steakhouse 71 and California Grill on the very top of Disney’s Contemporary Resort. The other negative about Chef Mickey’s are the acoustics, which makes the restaurant consistently loud, which doesn’t exactly make for a meal where Guests can easily talk to one another at a leisurely volume.
Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant
Returning to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, an additional table service restaurant in the Commissary Lane area is often the target of a lot of criticism and hate despite its completely unique theming. The Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant brings Guests into a nighttime drive-in where they can enjoy their meals in classic cars while watching vintage sci-fi clips on a massive projection screen.
The Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner and features a menu of American drive-in and diner classics that have been elevated with indulgent ingredients. Guests who enjoy a meal at the restaurant can order items such as Crispy Onion Rings, Fried Dill Pickles, Salmon Burger, Drive-in BBQ Burger, Buffalo Chicken Salad, and the Flying Saucer Impossible Burger.
While the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant doesn’t have the most amazing cuisine available at the Walt Disney World Resort, there is nothing wrong with a good burger or sandwich, especially when paired with the completely unique theming offered. This restaurant definitely doesn’t deserve all the hate that it gets, but it can be understandable why, as there definitely are better menu options found elsewhere within the Park.
One of the most universally panned table service restaurants at the Walt Disney World Resort actually has two separate locations, both of which get equal flack. The Rainforest Café can be found both in the Marketplace at Disney Springs, as well as the main entrance to Disney’s Animal Kingdom and brings Guests into a jungle-themed interior where animatronic animals, large fish tanks, and lush vegetation and trees surround the room.
The Rainforest Café at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day and the Disney Springs location is open for lunch and dinner. Both restaurants feature nearly identical, extensive menus of American cuisine with quirky themed names. Guests can order items such as Pie of the Viper, Wild Waffle, Fried Shrimp, Rainforest Burger, Iggy’s Piggy Sandwich, Anaconda Pasta, Mojo Bones, Primal Steak, and Creole Mac & Cheese.
Sure, the food items at Rainforest Café are okay, but who really wants to enjoy a meal that is just okay while at the Walt Disney World Resort, particularly when both of these locations are close to some of the most popular table service locations available? The Rainforest Café also seems so dated with its animatronics compared to the incredible technology showcased on some attractions throughout the Disney Parks, solidifying the decision to definitely avoid these table service restaurants.
Disney Springs features an immense concentration of table service restaurants where Guests can enjoy many types of cuisine in beautiful dining rooms and environments. The Town Center area especially is home to popular options as well as Planet Hollywood, which gets a lot of hate for being considered a chain restaurant that can be found in many other locations throughout the country.
Planet Hollywood recently received a menu overhaul when it partnered with Guy Fieri, who runs the nearby quick service Chicken Guy! in Disney Springs. Since the transition, Guests can now enjoy lunch and dinner amongst the Hollywood memorabilia and enjoy menu options such as Texas Tostados, Twice-Cooked Buffalo Wings, Plain Jane Cheeseburger, Bacon Mac-n-Cheese, Championship Pulled Pork, Sesame Ginger Chicken, and Fresh Florida Mahi Mahi.
Planet Hollywood understandably got a lot of hate simply for being a chain restaurant, especially when in such close proximity to amazing locations like Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant, Frontera Cocina, Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante, and Morimoto Asia. However, things have definitely improved with the new menu from Guy Fieri- enough to negate all the hate? Probably not, as Guests have better choices nearby or the chance to enjoy a quick service meal for less at Chicken Guy!, but it’s definitely much better than it was!