Where to eat: Dinner at Tony's Town Square Restaurant in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
Written by Amanda Jenkins
Some things cannot be helped when vacationing. For instance, one might get sunburned while swimming. One day it might rain. The one thing that you try to control but know you are taking a gamble on is dining. You could be going along having the time of your life, each day just a joy from sun-up to sundown...then BAM! You have an experience that takes away the magic from your trip. You feel dumbfounded and wonder what on Earth just happened.Tweet
My husband and I felt many of these emotions when we dined at Tony's Town Square Restaurant in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. I knew I was taking a big chance on making reservations here. The reviews were not completely positive, but I held out hope that maybe we would find out that it wasn't all that bad. Surely there was something positive about it. I mean, this is Walt Disney World. They have a lot of wonderful places to eat, some even award winning. This is the Magic Kingdom...where dreams come true...Mickey is always happy to see you...the happiest place on earth...right?
I should have seen the signs. First off, I have to explain my sense of humor. I have what I like to call a dry wit. My family prefers to call it sarcasm at its highest level, but I try not to be too unkind. I love T-shirts that reflect my humor, for instance on this trip I brought along some shirts that said, "I avoid clichés like the plague," and "Despite the look on my face, you are still talking." I wore the latter while flying. On this particular day, I wore my "I'm no rocket surgeon" shirt. I should have known something wasn't right when only three people understood the humor. I did have an elderly man say that I made his day by wearing such a funny shirt. But many others though gave me sympathetic looks, as if they were sorry I didn't become a rocket surgeon. This shirt began the dive into the pool of lost magic at Tony's Town Square Restaurant. I'm not sure, but it might be cursed. It definitely will not be going with us on our trip in a few weeks. No need to tempt fate.
We were getting hungry before our actual reservation. Our dinner reservation was for 8:15 pm. We were getting hungry around 5:30pm. So we took a chance and went to see if they could go ahead and seat us a couple of hours earlier than scheduled. They said that it was no problem at all and to sit over in the waiting area. It would only be ten minutes. This set off a few warning bells. A reservations restaurant that could easily seat us nearly three hours earlier than scheduled??? Hmmm. As we went to sit down, a cast member was twirling fake pizza dough in the lobby. She looked at my shirt and laughed. If she had only stopped there, it might have been a bit pleasant. She then began to air her grievances of fate, family, and her life to the two of us. She continued to twirl the fake pizza dough while saying that she actually had been on her way to becoming a rocket scientist, but then opened a bakery that lost money, and now here she is twirling fake dough at Disney World. Her family is filled with brilliant doctors and scientists, but what is she doing?!? Twirling fake dough at the Magic Kingdom. During this tirade, two little children were anxiously trying to get her attention and ask about the pizza dough. My husband actually pointed out to her that she had some interested customers. She ignored them for most of it, but was then short with them while answering their questions. I saw a little Cinderella and pirate walk dejectedly back to their parents. She continued to discuss her horrible fate, though I tried to point out that she at least enjoyed her job. She snorted her derision at such a thought. With grateful hearts, we were summoned to the hostess desk and were able to escape the dark pizza dough lady.
Tomato and Mozzarella salad ($7.49)
As shocking as that was, we still held out hope that our meal would be worth all the drama of the lobby. We were squeezed, and I do mean squeezed, in between two tables. Our elbows were in danger of hitting our neighbors in the back. While looking through the menu, we decided to avoid what we would normally order at an Italian restaurant. It's vacation, time to try something new. We began with a Tomato and Mozzarella salad ($7.49). The tomatoes were fresh with the shallots and had just enough balsamic vinegar dressing. The breadstick that accompanied it was very stale and difficult to chew.
For our entrees, which came way too quickly after our appetizers, I chose the Cannelloni ($16.99) while Chuck picked the Cioppino ($23.99). The Cannelloni were three pasta shells filled with a mixture of sausage, ground beef, and ricotta cheese. They were topped with shredded mozzarella, marinara sauce, and Alfredo sauce. It looked promising. The cannelloni was chewy. The meat and sausage mixture was spiced so strongly that you could not tell exactly what flavor you were supposed to taste. The marinara and Alfredo were incredibly salty. I began to dissect these to see if anything would taste well on its own. Despite these efforts, I eventually gave up and placed my napkin over it. I was saddened now that I had allowed them to take my partially eaten salad to make room for this entrée.
Chuck's Cioppino is supposed to be a classic seafood stew. It was indeed in a large bowl, and it did have clams, mussels, calamari, and even a few shrimp. It also had pappardelle noodles in the tomato-based broth. After a few bites though, he also said that it was as if someone had dumped a load of spices and salt all over the food. Some of the clams even tasted a little gamey. Chuck remarked that it reminded him of something you would get out of a Chef Boyardee can. He loves seafood, and for him to give up after a few bites is saying quite a bit. Our waitress came by, saw that we hadn't really eaten, and asked why. When we told her that our entrees tasted a little off, she shrugged her shoulders and took the plates away.
Hazelnut chocolate cake ($5.99)
Our desserts arrived. Chuck stuck with ice cream ($4.99) while I tried the hazelnut chocolate cake ($5.99). Both were good, but we didn't finish either one. We really wanted something filling. We paid and left (and luckily dodged the angry pizza dough lady). After walking out we quickly towards Tomorrowland and bought a pretzel and hotdog. Not exactly the meal we wanted, but we were desperate to get the horrible tastes out of our mouths and needed something to fill our abused stomachs. Chuck felt very nauseous after his seafood. We had to go to first aid to get him some Pepto Bismol. Based on these two meals, I cannot recommend this restaurant. I now see why many a reviewer on a variety of websites have given such negative comments. I had actually made a reservation here for our upcoming trip with our boys when I made this for the two of us. I quickly canceled it. Until I hear that there has been a new menu implemented, renovations for space to sit and enjoy your meal, and a kinder staff, I do not see us darkening the door of this establishment again.
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