Cosmic Rays Starlight Cafe review
Blast off into space as Cosmic Rays Starlight Cafe takes you through a futuristic dining experience that is out of this world! Cosmic Rays is a highly popular counter services restaurant located in Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World.
From its stellar interior design to its diverse menu, Cosmic Rays is enjoyable for all ages. Whether you’ll be visiting Magic Kingdom for the first time or are looking for a different place to eat in the park, we think our Cosmic Rays Starlight Cafe review will help you realize that this restaurant is worth giving a shot!
Cosmic Rays Starlight Cafe is easy to spot as it is positioned just right of Cinderella Castle before entering Tomorrowland — and with its handful of additions over time and recent refurbishments this year, it’s pretty hard to miss. The building is lined with glass windows that display spectacular views of the castle as well as other areas of the park.
It offers both indoor and outdoor seating, which can be really nice on a cooler day to take in all the sights and smells. It’s honestly one of my favorite places in Magic Kingdom to just sit and people watch when I am in need of a break.
The restaurant is separated into three bays, each of which you can get in line to order and receive your meals with plenty of seating spread throughout the rest of the building. Cosmic Rays offers round, eclectic metal tables to sit at as well as some booths, but more importantly, it’s about where you choose to sit. I recommend sitting anywhere that you can see Cinderella Castle, get a view of the lake, watch the tourists walking by or be in earshot of the entertainment located inside.
This family friendly restaurant is always bustling with hungry people. It’s fast-paced, as people are mainly there to get in, eat and get out. Since the tables are positioned fairly close to one another, it can get pretty loud in there. The lively atmosphere is all part of the experience and makes it one of the most fun places to eat at Disney World.
The Cafe’s galactic aesthetic illuminates from the floor to the ceiling. There’s no doubting this place is space themed — with its classic diner style tables, purple walls and swirly milky way ceiling. Chrome-colored counters lead you through the bays to order and pay for your food and neon lights glow over the Topping Bar. You’ll definitely notice the futuristic vibes in here during your visit.
When it comes to size, Cosmic Rays’s Starlight Cafe’s floor plan consists of a very large, open area, so maneuvering strollers or wheelchairs shouldn’t be a problem in here. Oftentimes, families like to eat here because it’s easy to get around in — and because the kids have such a fun time! There are a lot of funky things to look at in every part of the restaurant.
While Cosmic Ray’s has had quite a few updates over the years, it still holds that timeless feel. It is a tad outdated — I mean, it did open in the early 90s — but is always recognizable by avid Disney-goers. If you’re looking for something more high-end, this might not be the place for you. Eating here is definitely more about the experience you’ll have than how fancy it is.
The best — and probably most anticipated feature of Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe is alien animatronic super star, Sonny Eclipse! Sonny is an alien from Yew Nork City on the planet Zork who puts on a musical show for the restaurant guests. He shreds jazzy tunes on his Astro Organ while accompanied by the voices of the invisible Space Angels. He even adds in a joke or two between songs. His show lasts approximately 25 minutes before starting it all over again for the next batch of Earthlings coming in to eat.
If you’re bringing your kids to Disney, this would be a really great restaurant to eat at because they will love listening to Sonny sing! He’s certainly a crowd pleaser — and I’ve even seen little ones dancing to some of his songs on the floor by his set-up. The music keeps them entertained, which allows parents to actually get a chance to eat their food at a semi-normal pace.
Sonny Eclipse is an original feature of Cosmic Ray’s and is honestly the highlight of the dining experience. If you haven’t seen him yet, you’ll definitely want to stop by, even just to get a glimpse of him! If you don’t end up getting the chance to, though, you can actually listen to some of his music online.
This restaurant does not feature any Disney World character dining, so if that’s something you really want to experience, you’ll have to attend one of the places in Magic Kingdom that offers this, such as Cinderella’s Royal Table or The Crystal Palace.
How Busy Is It?
Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe is open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Since this restaurant is planted in an area that brings a lot of foot traffic, it is almost always busy, especially during common eating times. Cosmic Ray’s doesn’t require a reservation, making it much simpler to get into without waiting long and because of this, it also sends the crowds in this direction.
Thankfully, since it’s a counter service franchise, the lines in the bays usually tend to flow smoothly. You won’t have to wait to be seated, nor will you have to wait for any servers to come and take your order or go back and forth for particular items. Additionally, you can use any waiting time to get your condiments from the convenient buffet-style Topping Bar located inside.
The best times of the day to eat at Comic Ray’s, in my opinion, are during unpopular eating hours. I suggest either eating there earlier (such as 10:45 a.m.) or later (such than normal to best the rush. Even though it’s busy, you can usually get in and out as desired at a very reasonable time during most hours of the day if you didn’t have time to plan out your day.
I also think it would be wildly fun to dine here after dark while watching the Happily Ever After fireworks display across the lake!
While it is one of the more busy places to eat in Magic Kingdom, dining at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe has always been a pleasant experience for me. The staff here is extremely friendly — as most Disney employees are — and are always willing to accommodate to requests or concerns. Just an example would be that I’ve asked for an extra hamburger bun one time and they obliged without question. This is traditionally my choice of restaurant to eat at when visiting the park due to their swift, reliable service.
The prices here are generally low in comparison to other restaurants in the park that require a reservation. The majority of the meal options at Cosmic Ray’s are around $15 or less — but is always subject to change. These prices are very average for Disney World — slightly lower than the prices at the Be Our Guest restaurant, but without needing a reservation. Because Cosmic Ray’s is counter service, you pretty much get what you pay for, which is a well balanced meal and delightful dining.
Due to the low prices, you’re going to see large groups come in to eat here. Field trips and international groups often come to Cosmic Ray’s because they have a group dining deal or were given some sort of meal ticket to eat at one of the quick-service restaurants. I’ve been here many a times — by my own choice and as part of a group — because I can spend very little here without hurting my bank account.
If you’re on a dining plan, you’ll be pleased to know that Cosmic Ray’s does accept most! This is great for families who are participating in these plans and can save a little in the long run.
Here’s the truth: food isn’t the reason why people come to eat at Cosmic Ray’s. Though their food is good, it’s nothing to rave about either. In the past, Cosmic Ray’s attempted to put a twist on a handful of dishes — like the Falafel Burger and the Angus Pizza Burger — that just didn’t keep guests coming for more and were removed completely. The restaurant now offers mainly classic American grill dishes and does a decent job with flavor, but definitely don’t expect to be eating food from the Royal Table.
People like to eat here because they have a lot of lunch and dinner options on their menu to choose from. This is really great when you’re bringing along picky eaters. Everyone there is bound to find something they will like.
Some of Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe menu options include:
- BBQ Rib Meal
- Grilled Chicken Sandwich
- Chicken Nuggets (6 pieces)
- 1/4 lb Cheeseburger
- Chili Cheese Dog
- Turkey Bacon Wrap
They also offer vegetarian dishes:
- Vegetarian Burger
- Vegetarian Wrap
- Greek Salad
- Caesar Salad (without chicken)
The Topping Bar is also a crowd-please because you can put as much — or as little — as you want on your food and can help make your meal a little more flavorful. Some of the toppings at the bar are lettuce, tomato, onion, mushrooms and even grilled onions. You can also get condiments and sauces including ketchup, mustard, mayo, BBQ sauce and cheese sauce.
Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe does have a children’s menu, all of which the meals come with GoGo squeeZ Applesauce, carrot sticks and their choice of either milk or water to drink. My children are still very young and more than likely won’t finish an entire kids’ meal themselves. When dining here, I would either split my meal with them or have them share one of the kids’ meals and just order an extra drink to save a few dollars.
One of the major changes they made to ordering your food at Cosmic Ray’s is that each of the three bay now serve all of the items on the menu. In the past, each of the bays only allowed you to order specific items (one was for chicken, one for burgers and the other for sandwiches) which made large groups and families have to split up when getting in line. This change has been for the better as now guests can stay together instead of having to meet up somewhere once everyone got their food.
This restaurant is also allergy friendly, which can be really helpful in deciding where to eat at Disney World. The menu discusses items that cover several common allergens including eggs, soy, gluten/wheat, peanuts/wheat, milk and fish/shellfish. Cosmic Ray’s does not use any peanut or tree nut products, nor any fish or shellfish, in their food preparation so you could choose anything on the menu in regards to these allergies. Any other special diets or requests can be consulted with the chef as needed.
While the menu isn’t anything surprising, the food does it’s job to satisfy visitors. Getting the chance to listen to the Space Angels belt a high note is worth ordering a what-you’re-used-to burger.
Overall, Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe is a Disney World restaurant that provides great service, a cheap meal and really enjoyable entertainment for all. If you beat the rush hours and plan accordingly, you’ll get the chance to see all that this spot has to offer. It’s an experience you won’t forget and may even hold a place in your heart like it does for me. I love it to Zork and back and I know you will too!
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