If you’re like me, you’re always looking for an advantage over the regular visitor to Walt Disney World to make your next trip a smidge better. And who can blame you with the way crowds are getting bigger and bigger in the parks, it’s hard to just go with the flow and leave everything to chance. I’m not talking about paying off a Cast Member to get you first in line (Please note bribery is not endorsed by Matt) but there are certain ways to not necessarily buck the system, but avoid some preverbal potholes. One I’d like to talk about today is last minute dining.
Everyone and their mother advocate making Advanced Dining Reservation 180 days in advance of your trip and sometimes we do that. But let’s be honest with our selves; sometimes we get to a park and we’re in the mood for something different. Or we change our plans completely for one reason or another. Or perhaps we made a last minute decision to come to Walt Disney World all together. Either way, eating a burger at Backlot Express can get kind of old after a while, so you’ll want some variety.
So how can you get a sit down meal at a premier Studios sit down restaurant with no reservations every time? The answer has been right in front of you. Well, actually it’s to the left. I’m talking about the Tune-In Lounge which is located to the left of the entrance to the 50’s Primetime Café. Okay, okay, I know, beer and liquor is not considered a meal (contrary to what I learned in college). But besides serving up some great drinks and comfortable seats to sit on while you wait for your name to be called at Primetime, you can actually get a meal at the Tune-In Lounge.
To get a meal at the Tune-In, all you have to do is sit at the bar and ask to see a menu. You will be presented with the same exact menu from the 50’s Primetime Café. Nothing different. Same food. Same prices. And yes, you can sit your kids at the bar (this is Disney). I recommend the seats on the left side of the bar that curve around the bar. It’s far less crowded over there as people tend to congregate and wait near the opposite side of the bar. Plus eating here is great if you do enjoy the food at Primetime (or have been meaning to try it) but don’t care for the “schtick” of Primetime where the wait staff bother you about no elbows on the table or to eat all of your vegetables.
Again, you have to be at the bar to be able to order food. Would it be okay if you as the parents sat at the bar and ordered and handed off food to the kids sitting on the couch behind you? Maybe. Hard to say, but if you got a Cast Member on a good day it might fly. Eating at Primetime is ideal for solo travelers or couples who make that last minute impulse decision to eat at Primetime. Better yet, you can still use your Disney Dining Experience card to get your discount as well as the opportunity to try out some drinks (there is usually a drink of the day on a blackboard behind the bar that offers an interesting concoction to try).
Aside from getting a full meal, this option is great for snacking, especially if you start craving one of the desserts off of the Primetime menu (S’mores anyone?) and can’t have another Mickey Mouse ice cream bar. Some people feel bad sitting down at a restaurant and just ordering fries and a dessert, but this is a great option. It should also be noted that it’s amply air conditioned inside the lounge, which makes it an even more attractive option during those hot and humid months (that’s like 9 months of the year, right?).
So the next time you find yourself at the Studios and completely go off the itinerary and need to beat the crowds somehow without waiting 60 minutes for a table somewhere or you feel that need for sugar, head over to the 50's Primetime Cafe and go to the left to the Tune-In Lounge for a great option to consider if you're (or aspiring to be) a Walt Disney World veteran.