Looking at 50's Prime Time Cafe

 When you make a recommendation to a friend about where to eat at Walt Disney World, you often base the recommendation off a good personal experience you had at that restaurant which was good enough to warrant you wanting others to go there as well.  Certainly the person receiving the recommendation expects that your preference for a restaurant would reflect a good choice as well.  So when it comes to recommending restaurants at the Studios, I often like to recommend the 50's Prime Time Cafe to people, even though sometimes the experience here can be a little hit or miss.

For those unaware, the 50's Prime Time Cafe is a restaurant with a 1950's theme to it where black and white sitcoms play on a loop and Cast Members play the part of being "family members" who serve the food that "mom" cooks in the kitchen.  Part of the whole "schtick" is for the Cast Members to really get into their parts and talk to guests as if they are juveniles who require some attention to assure they don't misbehave (like putting their elbows on the table) and do what they know they should be doing (like eating their vegetables).  The problem is that not all Cast Members are the same and some are much more into their role than others.  I've even seen instances where a Cast Member is really into their role at one table and not so much at another table.  There's a lot of factors that go into the Cast Member's role, part of which may be the "vibe" they get from the family; Is this family going to play along or are they the type that looks like they just want their food and to leave as soon as humanly possible?  By in large, I think the major factor is the Cast Member who is your server.  Some do a better job than others and that's how it goes with people sometimes (it's also why Walt Disney originally preferred Audio-Animatronics to people to ensure everyone got the same experience). 

Because the experience can be so differing, it's always an issue if I want to recommend Prime Time or not.  The good news is there are some very good dishes on the menu, regardless of the entertainment.  The pot roast and fried chicken dishes are by far the best entrees you can order and the servers usually recommend them based on how good they are.  Lots of great flavor in every bite and the serving size is on the larger side of things.  While the entrees are great, be sure to save room for dessert because the S'mores are outstanding and worth getting, even if you split them up.  Never mind that the dessert menu isn't on a piece of paper or a menu but rather, you look at the desserts with the aid of a View Master.  Talk about cool!

So it's time for me to decide if I can recommend Prime Time or not.  The fact is, the food is excellent and the prices are about average for what a sit down meal at Disney World will run you.  The entertainment factor is what puts Prime Time over the top (or doesn't if it stinks).  In my opinion, I think it's worth recommending because if you get some good entertainment then you will have a great meal that you will remember for a long time.  If the entertainment is only so-so, then you can at least know you got a good meal and be on your way.  In the end, it all comes back to the food in front of you and without a doubt the food is great here.  The entertainment factor is important and can make a good meal an excellent meal but don't let that stop you from trying it out.  Eating at the 50's Prime Time Cafe is a quintessential Walt Disney World dining experience.

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A regular look into Disney's Hollywood Studios, both past and present, with commentary and analysis from Matt Hochberg.


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Posted: Wednesday, May 21, 2008 by