5 Things About 50’s Prime Time Cafe
What would you say is the best restaurant at Walt Disney World? Everyone has a favorite, and I would certainly argue the merits of mine against anyone else’s. I’m sure you feel the same way. We’re all so passionate about the things we love about Disney, right?
Well, the people who run foodie websites are that much more passionate about their selections. And one of the most popular foodie sites, Eater.com, recently revealed its choice for the best of the best. Their selection may surprise you, as it certainly did me. Here are a few reasons why this place is the best restaurant at Walt Disney World according to Eater.
The Theme Is Everything
If you didn’t click the Eater link, the restaurant in question is 50s Prime Time Café. That may make you boggle – it certainly caused me to do a double-take – but the website has its reasons. Let’s start with the main one.
The theming at 50s Prime Time Café is as detailed and constant as any Disney restaurant in the world. When you enter the surrounding area, you immediately step back in time. You’re no longer a 21st century visitor to the Most Magical Place on Earth. You’re now living in a 1950s television program instead.
That’s only a slight exaggeration. The premise of this eatery is to take every established cliché about the Leave It to Beaver era and jam it into a single meal. You’re really not a part of a television show, though. Instead, you’re more of a time traveler visiting the post-World War II era of optimism and family. The trick that this restaurant pulls off so deftly is that you feel like you’re with your relatives in the comfort of your own home…and mom just rang the dinner bell.
There’s No Place Like Home
As a beloved family member, you get treated to a great meal and more than a little sass at 50s Prime Time Café. You’ll wait for your table at Dad’s Living Room. Here, you’ll see every cliché about housing from the era. Dad’s bookshelf contains a full set of encyclopedias, a phonograph is so large that it doubles as furniture, and a tiny black and white television pulls focus away from hideous vinyl furniture. Heck, one of the chairs will remind you of a dentist’s appointment.
The kitchen is where you’ll truly feel transported to the 1950s. This section takes kitsch to its logical extreme. You’ll sit at an ironing board-shaped Formica table and stare at wallpaper so hideous that you’ll wonder about your great-grandmother’s eyesight. Knickknacks adorn the walls, and you’ll see retro touches like 1950s calendars, paintings, and clocks.
The star of this room isn’t a decoration, though. It’s the family television, the pride and joy of every home back then. Disney recreates the vibe of a night spent in front of the television during the golden days of broadcast networks. Back then, as much as 80 percent of the country would watch the same show, as the technology was new and exciting to American families. Disney augments the theming by airing reruns of popular shows such as Dennis the Menace, The Donna Reed Show, and The Mickey Mouse Club (natch).
In every way, this restaurant honors the spirit of living in the 1950s…or at least the pop culture perception of it that we’ve come to love thanks to movies like American Graffiti and shows like Happy Days.
You’ve Watched Mad Men, Right?
Before you eat dinner, you’ll have one other option. More than 60 years ago, manly men were expected to drink. You’ve watched Don Draper drown his sorrows many a time on Mad Men, and while that technically came a few years later, the premise holds.
At 50s Prime Time Café, you may want to get in the spirit of things by imbibing a few spirits. When you wait for seating at the restaurant, you can do just that by hanging out in the Tune-In Lounge. It’s always Happy Hour here, and a quick stop here will provide a pleasant surprise.
This bar is one of the best kept secrets at Walt Disney World. You’ll love hanging out in this throwback lounge, and you can drink like Hugh Hefner while you’re here. Plus, the Tune-In Lounge has a surprise offering. You can order food from the 50s Prime Time Café menu while seated here. When you’re in a hurry or don’t have a reservation for the restaurant, Disney gives you a way to eat there anyway!
You’ll Enjoy a Home-Cooked Meal…with Some Sass
When you’re on vacation, the last thing that you’d expect is a home-cooked meal. That’s doubly true at Walt Disney World, as theme park food doesn’t have a lot in common with family dinners.
Disney park planners analyzed this quandary and came up with an impressive solution. The food at 50s Prime Time Café isn’t just tasty. It will also remind you of your family. The menu all but guarantees it.
You can order appetizers such as Grandpa’s Crab Cake and Cousin Amy’s Iceberg Lettuce Wedge. For your meals, your choices include Mom’s Old-Fashioned Pot Roast, Grandma’s Chicken Pot Pie, Aunt Liz’s Golden Fried Chicken, Cousin Megan’s Traditional Meatloaf, Cousin Harold’s Vegetable Lasagna (Cousin Harold’s kind of weird), and Dad’s Stuffed Pork Chop. You don’t just order a meal at this eatery; you also pick your favorite family member!
As for the taste, you can tell by the selections that this restaurant favors comfort food. This place probably isn’t the best choice when you want a light meal. All of the foods are protein-intensive, and the lunch menu is the same as the dinner one. You’re going to feel stuffed after you leave here, just as you would when mom feeds you.
And that brings us to the other wonderful touch at this restaurant. You will get treated like you’re at home. In other words, you will get nagged to eat your vegetables. Your server, taking the role of a caring family member, will nag *ahem* press you to mind your manners at the dinner table, too.
You may feel a bit self-conscious as you appreciate how little regard you pay to your manners while eating at this restaurant. Or maybe that’s just me. Anyway, the Disney cast member pretending to be a relative will keep you on your toes about proper dinner table etiquette. The whole thing is glorious and one of the most enjoyable meal experiences available at any Disney themed restaurant in the world.
But is 50s Prime Time Café the best? Well, that depends entirely upon who you trust. The kind people at Eater.com clearly think it’s true. I’ve previously declared my thoughts on dining at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and it’s not even my favorite at that park. So, I think Eater is a bit too enthusiastic on this one…but it’s still a dynamic dining experience.