Hollywood Studios Quick Service Options
Disney’s Hollywood Studios gets a bad rap. Some folks dismiss it as a half-day park. What they fail to note is that you can do a LOT here in only a few hours. For example, three well-planned FastPasses will enable you to ride Toy Story Midway Mania!, Star Tours, and Twilight Zone Tower of Tower. You’ll probably find a way to take a single-rider trip on Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, too. That’s four great rides in only three hours.
By the time you get done crisscrossing the park, you’ll have built up quite an appetite. Fortunately, this gate is a great place to grab a quick bite. Several fun meal experiences are available at Hollywood Studios, but you can’t always eat at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater or 50’s Prime Time Café. Sometimes, you need a quick bite for lunch. Here are the best five Quick Service restaurants at Hollywood Studios.
(Note that everything listed here costs one credit on the Disney Dining Plan.)
The Muppets are eternal. They had movies and television shows in the 1970s and 1980s. They’ve had movies and television shows over the past five years. This restaurant celebrates one character, a rat named Rizzo. While no one will ever confuse him with Remy from Ratatouille, Rizzo’s recently joined the pizza game. I mean very recently. This is currently the newest eatery at Hollywood Studios, replacing the former Pizza Planet.
Yes, Toy Story is out, and The Muppets are in here, but the menu hasn’t changed much. Pizza is still the main course. Actually, it’s “rat pizza” according to some of the signs. Don’t let this unappetizing thought scare you away from the meal, though. PizzeRizzo serves a decent pie at a very good price (for Disney Quick Service), generally $9.99 for most toppings. The portions are a bit on the small side, but that’s to be expected for such a cheap meal.
The only people who won’t like this place are those who hate pizza, assuming such weirdos exist. A meatball sub and an antipasto salad are the only other two choices for entrees. PizzeRizzo is a perfect choice when you’re not too hungry but want to eat before leaving the park.
4) Backlot Express
This eatery is one of the best-themed Quick Service establishments at Hollywood Studios. It has tons of memorabilia and movie props from the Golden Age of Hollywood. The restaurant name is a play on filming locations at studios, and Disney’s goal here is for guests to feel like they’re feasting on the finest offerings from craft services. It’s a bit insider for a Disney theme, but it works well.
The food at Backlot Express isn’t necessarily any better than PizzeRizzo; it simply has a deeper menu at affordable prices. Most of the entrees are $10-$11, which is cheap-ish for Walt Disney World Quick Service.
Here, you can fill your belly with standard Disney Quick Service fare like Angus beef burgers and chicken nuggets. You can also order something with a bit more flair. In anticipation of Star Wars Land: Galaxy’s Edge, Backlot Express has introduced Dark Side Chicken and Waffles, a decadent dish that stacks syrup on top of chicken nuggets on top of waffles. One mouthful will put a huge smile on your face.
The hidden gem of Backlot Express is a sandwich. The Caprese marries fresh mozzarella, mouth-watering tomatoes, a sprinkle of pesto and some zesty arugula on Ciabatta Bread. This is one of the most explosive bites at Hollywood Studios.
3) Fairfax Fare
On a hot summer day, Fairfax Fare isn’t the ideal choice. This walk-up eatery doesn’t have indoor seating. Technically, it doesn’t even have seating. The adjoining area offers covered seating for any park guest. You can sit there while you dine, of course, but since the seating isn’t exclusive, you may not find a table at times. When you’re thinking about dining here, you should evaluate the seating situation and stake out a table before ordering. Otherwise, you may have to walk a bit to find a comfortable place to eat.
Assuming this aggravation doesn’t discourage you, Fairfax Fare offers a lot of delicious options at affordable prices. Most entrees cost roughly $12, with a couple of selections under $10.
My favorite thing on the menu is the El Pastor Pulled Pork Sandwich. Fairfax Fare has introduced several Latin flavors, and one bite of this pork will definitely take you south of the border. For a similar effect, you can try the Fajita Combo Platter (pork and chicken on a flour tortilla) or the Empanadas Platter. The latter dish pairs perfectly with the included tomato corn salsa, but the fajita meal seems more filling.
A recent addition that’s garnered a lot of buzz is the Fairfax Loaded One Pound Baked Potato and its beefier sibling, the Fairfax Tri-tip One Pound Baked Potato. I can’t speak to the quality of either one yet, but Instagram is showing a lot of support for the beef sirloin potato. Putting the meat inside the potato is a special kind of genius.
I’m a huge fan of Fairfax Fare. If it had indoor seating, it would have been a strong contender for first place on this list. People who don’t mind standing while they eat will fall in love with the explosive flavors here. It’s also a great choice if you’re starving when you exit Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster or Tower of Terror. The restaurant is close to both attractions.
2) Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner
I’d vote this restaurant number one if the food were better. That’s a strange thing to say about a place that I’m listing as the second-best option at Hollywood Studios. I love this restaurant whole-heartedly, but my passion is for the ambience, not the menu.
Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner offers one of the most atmospheric settings of any Quick Service meal at Walt Disney World. You walk up to a full-sized tugboat, only to discover a counter where you can order food. Yes, this diner has some of the same issues as Fairfax Fare in that its seating is outside-only, but I don’t mind as much here. Whenever I order a meal under the boat deck, I feel like Popeye, and my only aggravation is that the eatery doesn’t sell spinach. Actually, I hate spinach, so that’s really a good thing.
The menu at the diner is extremely limited. Until 2016, it was best-known for selling the infamous Disney jumbo turkey leg, but that’s gone now. All that’s left is a hot dog, a less healthy chili-cheese hot dog, a pulled pork sandwich, and chili-cheese nachos. Most entrees cost $11 or so.
The restaurant also sells some great milkshakes, but the star of the show isn’t always there. Always check to see what the current Seasonal Shake is. If it’s blue, you NEED to have it. It’s Star Wars-themed and presumably will be more readily available at the park in the future. The official name is the Bantha Blue Milkshake. Fans of potent potables should also sample the Kahlua milkshakes when they’re available. As you can see, you need to pay careful attention to the menu at Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner. It changes frequently, and some days make for better visits than others.
To a larger point, if you don’t love the idea of eating beside a tugboat, you’ll find better meals elsewhere at Hollywood Studios. As for me, I run around screaming, “Toot-toot!”
1) ABC Commissary
Sometimes, you’ll want to eat quickly at Disney, but you still need a protein boost. ABC Commissary offers the best option at the park, but it’s also the most expensive. The meal in question is the Chicken and Ribs Combo Platter, the heartiest Quick Service meal imaginable.
At $17.99, it’s bordering on some of the cheapest Table Service meal options. In fact, it’s slightly more than the delicious (but basic) cheeseburger at Sci-Fi Dine-In and basically the same price as Cousin Megan’s Traditional Meatloaf at 50’s Prime Time Café. Then again, you won’t have to spend 90 minutes at a Table Service restaurant for this dish. You can carb-load quickly, especially when Mobile Ordering arrives at Hollywood Studios.
Guests who aren’t into a giant plate of chicken and ribs will find other limited options, most of which cost $10-$11. The rest of the food here is standard Quick Service fare like the Angus burger and nuggets. ABC Commissary also features a pair of Mediterranean salads if you want to eat healthier. The chicken club is my second favorite option here. The marinated chicken is usually quite tasty, although it can get a bit rubbery at times.
As for the ambience, the restaurant has a soothing atmosphere. It’s an indoor establishment, yet palm trees are plentiful. The lobby is quite serene, as is the seating area. You’ll also find several mementos of ABC television decorating the walls. Most of the items are from recent television series like Grey’s Anatomy rather than the classic ones on display at Backlot Express. You can also sit on couch cushions while you eat, something I always enjoy at Walt Disney World.
Out of the Quick Service options at Hollywood Studios, ABC Commissary provides the best seating, most filling meal selection, and most soothing atmosphere. It’s the best choice for eat-and-go food. In reading this, you can probably infer from the tone that Table Service meals at Hollywood Studios are the preferred choice, though. I’ll rank the best five of them next week.
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