Let’s welcome back guest reviewer Bill Iadonisi with another insightful and delicious Disney World restaurant review! Bill travels to the Magic Kingdom’s The Pinocchio Village Haus this week, so let’s tag along. Take it away, Bill!
Hello again Food Blog readers! We are back on track reviewing Disney’s amazing array of Counter-service restaurants. This week we mosey over to the Magic Kingdom again, Fantasyland to be exact, and explore another of my favorite watering holes, The Pinocchio Village Haus.
This eatery, like everything else in Disney, is richly themed and has a very interesting back story. So before I begin to explore the cuisine, I would like to acquaint all with this interesting story:
Atmosphere and Story
As all fans know, Pinocchio is the tale of a puppet that comes to life and becomes a real boy when he proves himself truthful, brave and able to tell right from wrong. This story is set in Italy. In fact the name “Pinocchio” in Italian means “Pine Eyes.”
But the Pinocchio Village Haus has more of a German motif than Italian; even the word “Haus” is German. Why? You can blame Disney chief Illustrator Gustaf Tenggren, who after being hired by Disney in 1936 was given the task of imparting an “Old World” look to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
This influence rolled over into the film Pinocchio, where Old World German architecture won out over Italian. This factored into the construction of the Village Haus. In fact, if you look up at the building, you will note that it is exactly like the opening scene in Pinocchio, with the multi-plane camera zooming in from a distance.
The restaurant inside is divided into several rooms, each of which honors a Disney character from the film. There is the “Figaro” room, the “Monstro” room, the “Stromboli” room, etc.
The rooms are resplendent in dark oak beams, shelves and railings. You will see beer steins on stained glass windows, a Cuckoo Clock, and beautiful murals depicting the cast from this wonderful film.
The most interesting room is the Stromboli room, the main dining area. This room is themed after an outdoor puppet theater. Look at the tall stained glass windows behind the ordering kiosks — you will see marionettes on strings, and there is an overhanging roof in back of the kiosks.
There is also a small upstairs balcony inside and an outside balcony for additional seating. And getting back to the outdoor puppet theater I mentioned before, that little inside “Balcony” represents the puppeteer’s catwalk where he would work the marionettes for the show.
Although the main dining area is large, and there are several other rooms, the Village Haus is, for the most part, very busy — especially during peak times. Remember, you are in the Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland, the busiest park and land on property!
There have been times where we had to wait for a table to open (much like Pecos Bill in Frontierland!). And it is very, very noisy! Again, the busiest land in the World means lots of people to make lots of noise.
But the murals and beautiful interior, and not to mention the menu, (we are getting to that!) make it a nice place to eat. There is even a section of tables that overlook the loading area for “It’s a Small World;” you can wave to the guests and it’s just enjoyable to watch the goings on!
Finally, the food… Although the decor appears more German than Italian, the menu is defiantly “Italian.” Offered is a zesty Meatball Sub Sandwich, on a small torpedo roll with choice of apple slices or French fries ($8.39), Chicken Parmesan with Orzo Pasta, ($8.99) and everybody’s favorite, Pizza combos. Take your choice of Pepperoni ($8.69), or cheese ($8.39) with a Caesar salad.
I love salads and can make an entire meal out of them. I enjoy the Village Haus because they offer two of the tastiest salads on property: a Caesar Salad with Romaine lettuce, white meat chicken strips and Parmesan cheese ($7.79), and for a bigger taste of Italy, you can order a Mediterranean salad with mixed greens, white meat chicken, Mozzarella cheese, roasted red peppers, red onions and black olives ($8.49).
My lunch companions again were my wife Donna, and friend John. John ordered the Chicken Parmesan. He usually orders the Meatball sub, which he says is excellent, but wanted to try this dish for the review.
The chicken was very flavorful and moist and was a nice sized piece, but the companion orzo pasta “lacked any real flavor.”
Donna ordered the Chicken Breast Nuggets with French Fries ($7.89). You can also substitute apple slices. The word “consistency” pops up. If you ordered the Chicken Nuggets anywhere else on property, they would taste the same. They were hot and tasty, and eight pieces made this a good value. And yes, I ordered the Mediterranean Salad. This good-sized entrée is one of my favorites. I love the red peppers and the mozzarella, and the lettuce was crisp and cold.
Other menu items include a kids’ pick with Mac and Cheese, Smucker’s Peanut Butter and Jelly, and a Cheese Pizza; all items were $4.99. All kids’ meals are accompanied by grapes, carrot sticks and choice of 1% Mickey Milk, small bottled water or 100% apple juice. Also available upon request are Applesauce, cookies, French Fries or a soft drink.
Grown-ups can order a side of French Fries, a Caesar side salad or a cup of Tomato Basil Soup (I recommend this, it’s delicious!). Sadly, no more Figaro Fries.
And last but not least, dessert. You can order Strawberry Cheesecake ($3.59) or Chocolate Cake ($3.59), and for the health conscious, Strawberry Yogurt ($1.99).
Other than John’s low rating of the orzo, the meal at the Village Haus was enjoyable and satisfying. You receive a nice sized portion for your money, and unless you are a huge eater, the restaurant is a good value.
Again, the food is a little above the standard quick-service fare; the two salads and pizza are a nice change from the ordinary.
Some of the plusses are the neat view of the loading queue for it’s a small world and the upstairs balcony, both inside and out. You can access the outside balcony from the outdoor dining area. While small with only four tables, it’s worth the wait for the view of Fantasyland. The indoor balcony has a few more tables, and is a little quieter and a lot less crowded.
It can get very crowded and noisy, but the Pinocchio Village Haus is a wonderful place to eat. The décor and themed rooms are a treat for the eyes; there is even a super-small Hidden Mickey on the mural of the Blue Fairy with Pinocchio in the back room, look for it on the left side of the Fairy.
I will see you all at the next review, Bon Appetite!
What are you thoughts on The Pinocchio Village Haus? Let us know in the comments section below!