On a recent trip down to the Studios, I decided to eat at the Sci-Fi Dine-In Restaurant to give it another shot. Over the years, the Sci-Fi is big on entertainment and low on good food. I’ve never been a fan of the Sci-Fi because the food is mediocre at best and expensive. However, I decided to try it out again because things do change.
When you check-in for your reservation, you will usually wait about 10 minutes or so for the table to open up. While waiting, you can wait inside or outside. I’m not sure what the theme is for the waiting area. It kind of looks like the back of a movie set but the premise of the restaurant is you’re in a car at a drive-in theater so I don’t follow the logic there of the waiting area being backstage of a movie set.
When the Cast Member calls your party, they’ll say “..your car is ready!”. Some Cast Members (likely the ones with a good sense of balance) walk around on roller skates while others simply walk. The tables are interesting. There are three kinds of tables at the Sci-Fi, a 3 row car with room for 2 adults in each row, tables with umbrellas in the back featuring stools to sit on, or a 2 row car with room for 2 adults for each row. This means if you come with a party of say 2 people or even 4, you may be sitting with other people. The tables in the back with stools just look plain uncomfortable because after a long day in the park, I want to sit back and relax but those stools are backless.
The entertainment value of the restaurant is pretty good. The movie playing on the big screen is funny and I particularly enjoyed one sequence where Donald Duck made a cameo appearance and the over-the-top trailers and news reels from the 50’s are very entertaining. The loop is a little less than one hour long so likely by the time you’re finishing up your meal, you’ll have seen the entire loop. Aside from that, you’ve got random cast members flying around on roller skates and the nighttime setting is nice and you almost feel like you’re at a drive-in.
Along with the scenery is a problem that it’s entirely too dark! I sat in a car and the only way I could read the menu was to hold it as close to the light coming from the “dash” of my “car” which was faint to say the least. I know it’s supposed to be night but they need to do something about that.
Obviously the real reason we’re there is for food. They feature alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks that can come with light up ice cubes and the drinks are pretty good, but expensive (around $9 for one). For an appetizer, I had the 7 bean beef chili which was pretty good (in fact, Disney does a pretty good job with their chili’s in general). For my entrée I got the burger and was not impressed with it at all. There are much better burgers at Backlot Express in the Studios or Pecos Bill’s in the Magic Kingdom. The burger had little to no flavor to it and was very bland. Plus, the burger was $11! I’ve talked to a number of other people who have eaten there and the other entrees weren’t much better either.
The saving grace was dessert. I got a cheesecake with M&M’s, Cracker Jack and caramel that was absolutely amazing. There was something about that combination that really worked and I would love to try to re-create it at home.
The bottom line for me is don’t eat the Sci-Fi but if you do, stick with appetizers or better yet, go for dessert. Get a nice shake and one of their desserts and make a reservation for mid-afternoon when it should be easy to get in. The entertainment value just doesn’t outweigh the overpriced middle-of-the-road food offerings in my book. I’d rather save my money, eat at Backlot Express or ABC Commissary and use the saved money to buy a nice souvenir.