Growing up, all I ever wanted to do was go to the drive-in movie theater and watch movies underneath the stars and that’s exactly what I did—until I got older. Drive-in movies became increasingly unpopular, and soon enough a large majority of them shut down.
That’s why I think the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater is so impressive. It brings back nostalgia for those that grew up loving the drive-in movie theater. And for those that never experienced drive-ins, this restaurant provides one of the most unique dining experiences in all of Disney World.
Let’s begin our Sci-Fi Dine In Theater review with the overall restaurants atmosphere.
Atmosphere of the Restaurant
I could go on and on for hours about the atmosphere at the Dine-In. In fact, I think it’s one of my favorite places to eat at Disney World. The theme is extremely well executed and from the minute you walk in you feel like you’re living in the 50’s, watching old school cinemas at the drive-in.
You enter a giant soundstage and are greeted with dark ceilings to resemble the night sky, movie posters on all of the walls, and rows upon rows of vintage style convertible cars, each containing a booth or table. No matter where in the restaurant, you are able to watch the sci-fi clips that are being projected onto the giant screen at the front of the room.
Every clip that is shown is actually a real clip from a real movie. What’s better than enjoying a burger while watching mummies and aliens? But don’t worry it’s nothing too scary, making it the perfect place for everyone in the family.
In fact, because this place can be a bit loud and there’s always something going on, I’d consider this one of the best places to eat in Disney World with kids.
Lunch and Dinner
The themed dining consists of things such as burgers, sandwiches, salads, and pastas, offering something for everyone. The lunch and dinner menu are identical so it doesn’t truly matter what time of day you decide to come in. When we visited, we came in for dinner. We checked in and were seated fairly quickly.
When it comes to the seating, I have heard that the booths can fit up to 6 but can be a little bit awkward. I know when it was just 2 of us in a booth, there was plenty of room. But this might be something to consider if you have a larger party.
They started us off by offering beverages first, informing us that made their own speciality milkshakes and specialty coca-cola drinks so I started out with a vanilla coke, something I will order whenever I can find it. As for food, we decided to stick with what we know and settled on the chicken pasta and the classic American burger.
Although the food was very good, it did feel as if you could get it anywhere else. The servings were large and I remember walking out with my pants unbuttoned because I was so full. Of course, how can you go there and not end the meal with a milkshake? Can you tell I have a sweet tooth yet?
I decided on the oreo milkshake and my oh my, it was yummy. In fact, I’d have to say it was the best thing on the menu. Overall, it made for a romantic date. In fact, if you haven’t been on a drive-in movie date and you feel like having a romantic night in Disney World (yes, they do exist), come here and then go ride Tower of Terror until you feel like you’re going to throw up. I did and I still reminisce about it till this day.
When it comes to the prices, they are a little bit higher, ranging from 14-32 for an entree but I do think that you’re paying more for the experience than the food. In my opinion, it’s worth every penny. There have been mixed reviews about it and some say it’s not worth it but I’d disagree.
I’m one of the folk who thinks despite the average food, you will find yourself leaving with a smile on your face. Another thing that I’ve heard is that despite the fact that they accept most dining plans, it’s not worth using it here and to save it and use it elsewhere. Something to consider!
If you’re looking at the large menu and feel completely lost on what to order, don’t panic. That’s why I’m here. Although you really can’t go wrong, no matter what you order, here are some of my go to favorites.
- Oreo milkshake (in fact if that’s all you order, you’ll still love happy)
- Speciality coca-cola
- The Rueben
- American classic cheeseburger
- Chicken pasta
- Glazed donut (I haven’t been able to try this one yet but it’s high on my list for next time)
Because it is a themed dining restaurant, you are most likely going to need a reservation when visiting. In fact, to save yourself the headache, you’re probably going to need a reservation at every restaurant you visit except for quick service. This ensures that you get a table.
As for Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater, after making a reservation and checking in, you are probably going to have to wait a bit to get seated but it shouldn’t be too long. When we made reservations for dinner, we made them for 2 people that same day because we were unsure what we wanted to do until that night.
So it is possible to get a reservation without a long notice. I think a lot of people end up canceling their reservations day of since you are given the chance to book out 180 days in advance. But if you want to be safe, it’s always worth checking out sooner rather than later.
I think one of my favorite thing about Sci-Fi is it’s convenience. Disney World has a lot of restaurants on property but many of the spots that you will find in the parks happen to be quick service and while those can be great, sometimes you want to find a cool spot to sit down, get out of the heat, beat the crowds, and unwind for awhile.
I think that Sci-Fi really allows you to do that and when you’re feeling refreshed, you can pop outside and go on Tower of Terror or Rockin’ Roller Coaster. Because of this, I think that a lot of people try to get in for lunch or dinner without a reservation.
As I mentioned earlier, this is why I’d recommend booking sooner rather than later rather than trying to walk up and trying to get in or trying to find a reservation day of.
With Hollywood Studio’s construction, I’m hearing that park is less busy because people are losing interest. However, Disney has decided to keep Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater open, so if I were you, I’d use it to your advantage. I’ve heard of people walking up and being able to get in so that means that if you are serious about eating here, you should be able to get a reservation with relatively no problem.
In the End
So is Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater really worth it? I think it depends on who you ask.
Many people might tell you no. Much like many other restaurants, if you order the wrong thing, it can make or break your experience so it’s just a matter of ordering the right thing.
In my opinion however, I say that it is worth it 100%. It’s theming is so well done and truly stands out more than any other restaurant on Disney property. I think that it is something that everyone needs to experience at least once in their life if they make it to Disney Word.
Although there are some not so great reviews on it, I think that you have to take a look at the restaurant as a whole. Between the movies that are being shown that can keep you entertained for hours and the milkshakes and burgers, it’s hard not to feel like you’ve truly gone back in time.
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