Where to eat: Lunch at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant at Disney's Hollywood Studios
Published: October 12, 2013 at 9:19 PM
For our last two trips, we have had lunch there during our visits to Disney's Hollywood Studios. This was a first though for our sons. I don't know how many fellow Mysties (Mystery Science Theater 3000 fans) are TPI's, but if you are then you are well acquainted with the selection of monster/sci-fi clips that are prime for riffing and have been by Mike, Joel, and the bots. Seriously, check out old Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes. I digress. Back to Sci-Fi Dine-in Theater.
Once entering, you are directed by your carhop to your convertible (there are also picnic tables for those who would prefer a different seat). This is by far one of the best themed restaurants, in my opinion, on Disney property. The ceiling is a nighttime sky and every car has a perfect view of the movie screen. Even the old speakers that use to adorn drive-in theaters are right beside your vehicle. Many of the cars have seating for two in the front of the car, seating for two in the middle, and additional seating in the back. There are a few cars that have a table in the middle with seating available for everyone to see each other. Our boys sat in front of us and loved being the "drivers." While we were eating, we picked up a pair of hitchhikers, an additional couple, to our car.
A continuous loop of previews, old food stand/snack commercials, and a couple of cartoons are projected on the movie screen. One drawback to this is, if you are the kind that believes in taking your time while eating at a sit-down restaurant then you will be subject to repeats. Chuck and I have debated on how this could be improved upon. Our sons wanted to actually see some of the movies that were previewed, Chuck and I would love to see MST3K shown in here, and I have begun to think that maybe with Star Wars belonging to the Disney family, how about showing one of those films? Timing it would be difficult with folks coming in at different times. I understand that the whole point is to get the customer back out to the park, but it would be a lot of fun to see a movie.
We had lunch reservations for 11am (opening time for the restaurant). We were seated right away. We had the deluxe dining plan this vacation, and as part of it we were able to order appetizers. Chuck went with the spinach artichoke dip while I tried the fried dill pickles. Our picky eaters, or children, decided to skip the appetizers. Chuck thought his dip was on the bland side. It was good, just not enough heat for him. The fried dill pickles came with a spicy ranch dip. They were crisp, tart, and were wonderful with the dipping sauce.
Spinach and Artichoke Dip ($8.49)
Fried Dill Pickles ($8.49)
For our entrees, the boys ordered cheeseburgers and fries, Chuck chose the flame-broiled New York Strip Steak and I finally decided on the Build-Your-Own Angus Chuck Burger. The boys enjoyed their burgers and fries.
Flame-broiled New York Strip Steak ($29.99)
Chuck's steak came with two fried onion rings and veggies. He ordered his steak medium rare and it was cooked as requested. He felt it was lacking in flavor. We have had steaks from different places in Disney World, and he believed that this did not match up to some of the others in taste. It was alright, just not as great as previous ones.
Build-Your-Own Angus Chuck Burger, with bacon, lettuce, tomato, and Swiss cheese ($15.99)
My burger was ordered well done with bacon, lettuce, tomato, and Swiss cheese. It came as requested and was a great burger. Many times, I find when ordering a burger with bacon, that the bacon is too chewy almost rubbery. This bacon had a little more crispness so that when I bit into the burger, I did not pull all the bacon out in one bite. I went with the fries for my side item (not the healthiest choices, I know, but sometimes you just need a burger, fries, and fried pickles). While eating, our car hop was great with teasing our boys about their driving. She alerted us when we had obtained our hitchhikers and made sure all food allergies (mine) were taken care of.
For dessert, the boys ordered milkshakes. Sam ordered vanilla and loved it. Luke ordered chocolate. He didn't like his. This isn't really an accurate review for the chocolate shake, since we all tried it and it tasted like a chocolate shake should. Luke is our pickiest eater. If food looks the least different, then he has already decided before eating it that it is no good.
Hot Fudge Sundae ($7.99)
Chuck ordered the hot fudge sundae and I ordered the apple crumble. Chuck enjoyed the sundae more than his meal. My apple crumble came out piping hot with vanilla ice cream and little cinnamon pearls. It was soft in the middle with a crunchy crust surrounding it. It was delicious!
Apple Crumble ($7.99)
I have had the turtle cheesecake and the house-made Sci-Fi candy bar on previous visits which are both yummy, but I believe that the apple crumble knocks the other two out of the running. Definitely puts one in an autumn state of mind. After lunch we received our bill, or "speeding ticket." Our boys drove a little too crazy for the theater and we as their parents were forced to pay the price.
Sci-Fi Dine-in Theater is a unique dining experience. The ambience alone is good for a visit. It is just a fun place. The food is good, though not on the signature scale of other restaurants. It is easy to make reservations and/or walk-in.