We gave readers a brief overview of our experience after visiting the restaurant. We’re back to give you a detailed review and answer the most frequently asked question, “Is dining here worth it??” Since both restaurants reopened within days of each other, we found ourselves comparing our experience to Cinderella’s Royal Table character dining. You might be surprised to learn our verdict of which character dining came out on top. Hollywood & Vine is amping up the character dining experience and offering a vastly improved menu than they have in the past. Step inside Hollywood & Vine and see what we mean!
Like most Disney World restaurants, Hollywood & Vine had to make adjustments to adhere to the current health and safety guidelines. Plexiglass windows were installed to create barriers between guests and Cast Members. We were encouraged to check-in via Mobile Dine Check-In on the My Disney Experience app, as opposed to in-person. Plus, more hand sanitizer stations were placed around the restaurant.
Many of the tables were missing inside the dining room. The tables were once crowded next to each other with hardly any room for characters to wander down the skinny aisles. Now, many of the tables were cleared out to make room for activities and for characters to greet guests at a distance. This also allowed for a greater physical distance between travel groups.
During past Hollywood & Vine holiday events, the entrance used to host a character photo opportunity with a scenic background. The Halloween mural was installed so we could still take a picture, but there were no characters to pose with!
Also, note that Cast Members aren’t allowed to touch cameras and take your photo. You may have to opt for a fabulous selfie instead.
When we visited, we saw Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, and Pluto strutting their stuff in fab Halloween costumes. The stars of the show were obviously Minnie and Mickey. They were moving and grooving pretty quickly and hardly stopped for a long period of time. Pluto and Goofy stuck around to socialize for a little longer.
In order to maintain a distance, character interactions had to change quite a bit. They now greet guests from a distance and mostly consist of waving and creating cute moments from afar. They stop by each table briefly, but can’t get too close.
Instead of personal autographs, we were given a pre-signed souvenir card with all of the character’s signatures.
What we lacked in up-close photos and personal autographs, we gained in repeated character greetings. We got to mingle with them far more often than our usual visit’s to a seasonal Hollywood & Vine event. We saw all of the characters at least twice and visited Pluto and Goofy even more than that.
Every 30 minutes or so, the characters do a “Halloween spell dance.” A song plays which asks you to repeat a Halloween spell about trick-or-treating. The characters dance around the open space and it was a fun way to engage with the dining folks.
Before the dance happens, the overhead message asks guests to remain seated while the activity happens.
Previously, Hollywood & Vine was home to a buffet. Sanitation reasons lead Disney to change the menu to Prix-Fixe experience that includes salad and bread (both are unlimited!), Your choice of entree, dessert, and non-specialty beverage. The Prix-Fixe dinner is $36 for children between the ages of 3-9 and $55 for ages 10 and up.
If you’ve enjoyed this previously all-you-care-to-eat buffet, prepare for the quite fancy-sounding food you’ll be served below!
We started with the Farmhouse Tossed Salad and were given big dinner rolls with butter. The salad was made with mixed greens, tomatoes, red onion, cornbread croutons, and homemade smokehouse ranch dressing.
The cornbread croutons were a great compliment to the dish and added a bit of sweetness and texture to the salad. We were also fans of the homemade ranch. So creamy, so fresh, SO delish. The bread wasn’t too special or different, but it was buttery and fresh. Plus, who can turn down unlimited bread! (Sorry not sorry — not us!)
For the entree, we chose the Pork Osso Bucco. The pork comes topped with a pork reduction gravy and Boursin cheese hominy grits with caramelized apples and lemon gremolata.
This dish was suggested by our server and we’re eternally grateful for the recommendation! The pork practically melted off the bone and was perfectly slow-cooked. It was delightfully tender and packed with seasonal flavors. Traditionally, pork is often paired with apple sauce and the caramelized apples served here upscaled this pairing nicely.
Ok, but the grits. Let’s talk about GRITS. They were cheesy. They were perfect. We will dream about them forever and ever. Basically, after experiencing the Mac and Cheese Booth over at EPCOT’s Taste of Food and Wine we’re convinced slapping Boursin Cheese on ANYTHING will make it incredible. This is no exception. It’s crazy good! This isn’t a dish we would normally choose, but we’re SO glad we did!
To finish our experience, we opted for the Chocolate S’mores Pie. All the pies come in a deconstructed style. The s’mores came with a chocolate pie crust, chocolate mousse, graham cracker streusel, and marshmallow fluff. While the entree was the main attraction, the dessert was a pleasant follow-up.
It was really rich, so if you don’t love the taste of thick, chocolate mousse, you might wanna try a different dessert. That said, we really enjoyed the chocolate goodies and crunchy crust!
Nosh or Not
You Might Enjoy Minnie’s Holiday Dine at Hollywood & Vine if:
- You want to experience one. of the few character dining opportunities in Disney World right now
- You’re looking for a table service restaurant at Hollywood Studios that offers entertainment for little ones
- You’ve had the buffet here before and want to try a different experience at Hollywood & Vine
You Might Skip Minnie’s Holiday Dine at Hollywood & Vine if:
- Characters aren’t your main Disney World priority
- You’re not a fan of Halloween
- You want a fancy atmosphere. Try the Hollywood Brown Derby instead!
Hollywood & Vine is killing it when it comes to dining value and character interactions. We honestly had a BLAST hanging out with Mickey and friends. It felt like we had stepped back in time 6 months when characters had the ability to have intimate interactions with guests. And, dare we say it? Hollywood & Vine wins our vote over Cinderella’s Royal Table right now.
This verdict is due to the one-on-one time you get with each character and the improved food selections. We loved the Halloween costumes and the fun Halloween soundtrack that plays while you eat. It made us feel like we joined a mini-Halloween party. Plus, the FOOD. It was MILES above our previous visits to the restaurant! Take whatever preconceptions you have about Hollywood and Vine and throw em out the door. This food is legit good, guys. It’s high quality and well prepared and plated. You might forget that months before this was home to all you can eat buffet chickey nuggs and a communal chocolate fondue fountain!
We often get the question if a restaurant is “worth it.” The food alone may not be worth the price. However, if you like Halloween and you want to experience character dining, we’d say that it’s worth it. When it comes to table service meals in Hollywood Studios right now, your options are a bit limited. This is a solid addition to the lineup. It was fun, it was cute, it was tasty, and we got plenty of character time. That said, if character dining isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other good Disney restaurants open for you to enjoy.
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Are you a fan of Hollywood & Vine? Let us know in the comments!