Let’s go back in time to the 1950s when TV was the latest technology and food was simple and delicious. Meatloaf, fried chicken, pot roast — you can’t go wrong!
Over at 50s Prime Time Cafe in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, get ready for a fun, interactive meal in Mom’s kitchen. That’s right — the whole place is decorated like a kitchen straight out of the 1950s, including accessories, decorations, calendars, and even those old black-and-white TVs!
But make sure you eat all your veggies and keep your elbows off the table… you never know when Mom’s watching!
When you walk into 50s Prime Time Cafe, you’ll find yourself right in between Dad’s Living Room and Mom’s Kitchen. Dad’s Living Room is the waiting area for the restaurant, while Mom’s Kitchen is the main dining room. Here’s a tip: When you check in, ask for a TV table. While they can’t guarantee it, cross your fingers — you’ll see why later!
Hopefully you’ll have a bit of time to explore Dad’s Living Room while you wait for your table. Everything in the room(s), from the wallpaper to the knick knacks to the furniture, is vintage and fabulous.
To your right, and directly ahead of you, is the Tune-In Lounge. This is where Dad’s liquor cabinet can be found, and the bar also serves meals should you not be able to get a reservation at the restaurant.
Pretty soon, your name will be called for seating. This is one of my favorite parts of the meal as the servers call out your last name along with the word “kids” after it as though they’re calling you to come in from dinner after a long afternoon of playing outside: “Mom’s got dinner ready for the Wolfe kids! Wolfe kids — time for dinner!” I’m easily amused.
Anyway, as you pass by the refrigerator and head into the main dining room, see if any other “kids” have left mom a message!
Keep your eyes wide open in the dining room as there’s so much to take in! 50s Prime Time Cafe is one of my favorite restaurants in Disney World for this reason — the themeing is absolutely outstanding. I can only imagine how many thrift shops and garage sales were turned upside-down in the hunt for many of these classic items. How many of these do you remember from your kitchen when you were a kid?
And remember when I said to ask for a TV table? Here’s why! What better way to eat your lunch or dinner than while watching some of the best TV ever made?!?
Dick van Dyke, Donna Reed, Topper, Car 54 Where Are You?, Dennis the Menace, The Mickey Mouse Club, I Married Joan…sigh. There are even little “public service announcements” for the teenagers giving them great tips on 1950’s dating! Where else in Disney World are you going to get that?!
But don’t spend too much time staring! It’s time to meet your server, who just happens to be your cousin, Aunt, or Uncle! Because you’re eating in Mom’s kitchen, it made sense to Disney to have a family member serve you. Of course, the server isn’t your real family member, but it’s fun to play along. If you ask, they might even have a family album to show you!
Now, if you’re headed to 50s Prime Time Cafe for the first time, here’s a an important bit of information to understand: the servers are instructed to banter with the guests and treat them as though they’re kids eating at Mom’s kitchen table. That means no elbows on the table, no chewing with your mouth open, and no skimping on those veggies! If your caught, several things could potentially happen:
- You could find yourself standing in the corner
- You could be made to sing “I’m a Little Teapot” in front of the whole restaurant
- You could find your server making airplane noises, armed with a fork full of green beans headed for your mouth
Here’s an example of what you might expect:
I’m sure they’ve thought up a few other punishments, but just be wary! (By the way, if you’re not interested in the antics, just let your server know at the beginning that you’d rather just watch the fun rather than be a part of it.)
The menu here is short and simple. Mom and Dad’s favorites are here — meatloaf, fried chicken, pot roast, and chicken pot pie are the staples — along with a few extras to spice it up.
My favorite appetizer, sadly, was dropped off of the menu a couple of years ago (a fried boursin cheese — delicious), so these days I stick with the onion rings. These are thick and greasy — just they way they should be. Also, the chicken noodle soup is some of the best in Disney World here; definitely worth a try if you’ve got a soup fan at the table.
On this recent trip, I added a margarita to the appetizer mix along with a PB&J milkshake, a guest favorite at 50s Prime Time Cafe. The margarita was pretty plain. If you’re going to order from Dad’s Liquor Cabinet, consider trying one of the mixed drinks on the menu.
The PB&J shake was great, but there wasn’t much J to it. I tasted a lot of vanilla and a lot of PB, though, so if you’re a peanut butter lover, this shake is for you! I’m pretty addicted to the chocolate malt shakes at 50s Prime Time Cafe, though, so I think I’ll stick with that next time.
Now, didja catch that viewfinder sitting next to the shake? That’s the dessert menu at 50s Prime Time Cafe! Just another great addition to the fun themeing at the restaurant, and another reason why I love this place so much.
After the apps, we launched into our favorite entrees here: Aunt Liz’s Fried Chicken and Mom’s Old-Fashioned Pot Roast. The fried chicken is wonderful here. While it probably won’t be a great substitute for your Mom’s or grandma’s recipe, it’s still quite good, and I’ve never heard anyone say differently. The mashed potatoes here are “so-so.” They won’t be winning any DFB Choice Awards anytime soon, but they’re edible 😉 The generous portion is served with southern greens, but I always ask for green beans instead for fear I’ll end up in the corner if I don’t finish my greens!
The pot roast here doesn’t quite match up to the version at Liberty Tree Tavern, but it still garners a thumbs up and is well worth the order.
Moving on to dessert, I was very excited to try a new Boston Cream Pie cupcake I’d been hearing about. But, alas, it had been taken off the menu just a few weeks prior to our visit. It had been replaced with a 50s Boston Cream Parfait — layers of vanilla cream (really more of a custard), chocolate fudge, and pound cake. Let’s just say this wasn’t an appealing substitute for the cupcake from what I’d heard. While I took a few bites of the parfait, I didn’t get much further than that. Instead, I battled my husband for his dessert, which was much better.
The seasonal cobbler was apple, and whenever there’s an apple cobbler out there we order it! This one didn’t pass my numero uno apple cobbler test (the apples were canned and not fresh), but the cobbler/granola was good, and the ice cream was plentiful and delicious.
All in all the desserts were pretty much a dud this time around (definitely should have gone for that chocolate malt shake and Dad’s Brownie Sundae or the S’mores). We’ll know better next time. From previous trips, I can highly recommend Dad’s Brownie Sundae.
I’m a sucker for 50s Prime Time Cafe. I think the themeing is phenomenal, the service is great, and I love the fun interaction between servers and guests. The food isn’t 5-star, but I just love that fried chicken, and as long as it’s there, I’ll be one happy guest. 😉
Do you have a favorite meal or a fun story from 50s Prime Time Cafe? Are you planning to visit soon? Let us know in the comments section below!