Top 5 Reasons to Eat at Hollywood & Vine
Walt Disney World is the place where Imagineers turn fantasy into reality. It’s also a place where Disney recreates other memorable locales, even ones that they could easily do at other parks. For example, Disneyland might be close to Hollywood, but the restaurant celebrating all of its glitz and glamor resides in central Florida. Fans of Tinseltown and Minnie Mouse alike will want to eat here, too. Here are five reasons to eat Hollywood & Vine.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios is in a growth phase right now. The third gate at Walt Disney World recently opened Toy Story Land, and it’ll become THE hotspot in Orlando next year when Star Wars Land debuts. For now, it’s the least trafficked Disney park in the area, which gives you a bit more time to eat a high-quality Table Service meal before you must fight the crowds.
You’ll have no problem finding Hollywood & Vine. In fact, the name of the place doubles as half of the directions! When you enter Hollywood Studios, you’re walking down Hollywood Boulevard. When you see water off to the left side and have a chance to turn left, do so. You’re looking at Echo Lake, and the restaurant is just off of Hollywood Boulevard, basically at the first moment you have a clear lake view. Even the directionally challenged like me will have no problem finding this place.
No matter which meal you eat at Hollywood & Vine, you’ll have more food than you could possibly want. This restaurant is self-service All-You-Care-To-Enjoy (AYCE), which is Disney-speak for a buffet. You grab an empty plate, you head through the buffet lines, and by the time you return to your table, your plate is faaaaaar from empty.
At breakfast, you’ll discover glorious meats and pastries, and the potatoes are toasted and tasty, too. Since this particular eatery is child-friendly, even by Disney standards, you won’t have to worry about your pickiest kid having enough to eat. The Children’s Breakfast Buffet is heavy on comfort foods like Mickey Waffles and pancakes plus some truly spectacular tater tots. Grown-ups and kids whose palates are already more advanced my own will also get a kick out of the Omelet Bar.
The lunch and dinner menus are largely similar. The restaurant’s menu is comprised of the standard Disney AYCE offerings. It does have fish and shrimp options, which are a bit unusual for most Disney restaurants. Then again, if fish is what you want at an AYCE joint, Cape May Café is a better choice.
The desserts are the best part of a Hollywood & Vine meal in my opinion. Some of them are vestiges from the wonderful Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine events that the restaurant used to host during Star Wars Weekends. While the branding is gone now, the decadent chocolates remain. You want them in your mouth. Trust me on this.
The Character Meal at Breakfast
While lunch at Hollywood & Vine provides tremendous escapism during a hectic morning at the parks, breakfast and dinner are the superior options here. Each of them is a character meal, and your kids will delight in both.
The breakfast meal is called Disney Junior Play ‘n Dine. Park planners do a lovely job of refreshing it every few years to allow for the fact that Disney Junior programming changes frequently. Whenever a new breakout show arrives, Hollywood & Vine adds it to the meet-and-greet lineup.
Currently, the characters are Doc McStuffins, Jake the Never Land Pirate, Roadster Racer Goofy, and Sofia the First. Those characters appear on Disney Junior programs that started as early as 2011 or as recently as last year. No matter the age of your kids, they’ve known these characters for the entirety of their formative years. In other words, this meal will be a huge hit with any children who have watched a lot of Disney Junior. To them, it will seem like they’ve entered a place where cartoons come alive, and that’s the ultimate in Disney magic.
The Character Meal at Dinner
Minnie’s Seasonal Dine is one of the hidden gems of a Walt Disney World visit. It kind of snuck into existence a couple of years ago, almost as an apology for the end of the Jedi Mickey’s events. Park planners understood that one of the strongest parts of that meal was its exclusivity. People who visited in May were the only ones able to experience it. They’ve carried that concept over to the meal that Minnie hosts.
This character meal changes every three months. Now, it’s not a radical change, but it’s different nonetheless. Each season, Minnie Mouse hosts a new soiree for her friends. And fashion matters! She would frown upon any guests who wore the same outfit to different parties!
For this reason, the characters at Minnie’s Seasonal Dine change outfits every quarter. Suffice to say that each one is absolutely adorable and something you’ll want to photograph. If you’re anything like my family, you’ll take dozens of pictures as the costumed cast members work the room.
I warmly invite you to google pictures of the characters in their various seasonal outfits. All of them are delightful, although my clear favorite is the autumnal ensemble. The characters wear adorable Halloween costumes!
You’re probably wondering which characters appear. Yes, Minnie has invited her fella, Mickey, to the party. Their friend, Donald Duck, is on the guest list, too, and since it’s a fashion-related endeavor, Daisy Duck is there, also.
Goofy is the fifth and final character; anecdotally, he’s put on the best shows during our restaurant visits. We had truly un-Disney-like service the last time we were there as our server basically forgot about us. After we grumbled about empty glasses for 20 minutes, Goofy showed up and within a couple of minutes, we’d all forgotten our complaints. That’s the kind of joy a great character meal creates. With five characters in the rotation, you have a great chance of something unforgettable happening the next time that you eat at Hollywood & Vine.
The Fantasmic! Package
Everyone knows about the anchor show at Hollywood Studios. While some Star Wars fireworks displays and holiday events have garnered more headlines recently, Fantasmic! remains the anchor of a lovely evening at the park. The problem is that with so many guests sharing this opinion, seats to Fantasmic! are in short supply.
You can sidestep this potential concern when you eat at Hollywood & Vine. It’s one of the restaurants that offer a Fantasmic! package. When you have dinner here, I strongly recommend that you splurge for the reserved seating for the show. You’ll sit front and center at Fantasmic!, giving you easily the best view of the spectacle. You’ll get a better appreciation of the nighttime performance than guests stuck on the sides of the amphitheater. It’s like a special bonus you can get on top of your thoroughly entertaining character meal!