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A walk through the drive-in

Saturday, December 11, 2010

One of the most talked about experiences at Walt Disney World is dining. On Twitter, forums, through chatrooms and Facebook everyone talks about their 'Disney dining experience' as being an important part of their Disney vacation. And while I'd agree that some of the best food is served over in Epcot's World Showcase, I believe the best themed restaurants are found in Disney's Hollywood Studios. Offering you an experience in a 1950's kitchen, Hollywood buffet, fine Italian-styled restaurant and more, these fun experiences are tough to beat.

Personally, I think the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theatre takes the cake for themed restaurants in Walt Disney World. From the moment you enter the restaurant lobby you are immersed into a different world (Disney does this oh so well) with 1950 movie posters including a large poster for "Attack of the 50 Foot Woman".

When your seats (car seats, that is) are ready, a server, dressed in an old-style drive-in outfit comes and brings you to the 'theatre', where on the way they remind you there is no smoking or sitting on the front of the cars allowed.

Likely, you'll be sitting in a car with a couple of front seats and back seats, but there are also 'UFO tables' at the back of the restaurant that you might be treated to.

As I was sitting in the car waiting for my order, I took in the atmosphere - and that is when it hit me that this place was themed so well. First off, it feels like you are outside on a calm, clear night. The sky is a dark blue/purple, similar to The Three Caballeros in Epcot. Wooden fences line the sides of the drive-in atmosphere, and a Hollywood sign in the distance reassures you are not in Florida anymore.

Then in front of you, the movie screen turns on, and the sound fills the restaurant (at a comfortable level; you are still able to have a conversation with your fellow passengers. The movie clips you see on the screen are old-fashioned cult classics from the 1950's that all can enjoy, including "The Amazing Colossal Man" and the aforementioned "Attack of the 50 Foot Woman". Some of the clips get good laughs from the crowd in attendance, as they watch monsters with vacuum tube arms try to capture humans. The clips you see run for about 45 minutes, so there is a chance you'll see a rerun our two, depending on how quick the service is.

The food options include burgers, pasta and sandwiches as main courses. Their milkshakes are a tasty addition to any entree.

The restaurant is also dimly lit as to provide you with the best drive-in experience as possible.

I really think you should consider the Sci-Fi Dine In theatre next time you’re on your Walt Disney World vacation. It is one of the many dining options in Disney's Hollywood Studios that really is 'out of this world' (thank-you, thank-you).

About this column

Chris Reid is the host of Cosmic Reid's Starlight Cafe on Magical Mouse Radio and loves to talk about Disney's Hollywood Studios


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