Okay, so it's no real secret as to why the Backlot Express is physically in existance; it's a restaurant! But the theme of the restaurant eludes many as the specific reasoning for the choice in decor goes back to the very beginnings of the Disney-MGM Studios. Back when the Studios opened in 1989, Disney opted to create a counter service restaurant to fit into the new Epic Stunt Spectacular and opted for a restaurant that would look like some of the old craft shops on a typical studio backlot.
The 600-seat restaurant features areas where guests eat in a paint shop, stunt hall, sculpture shop and model shop. Each "shop" is unique in how the tables are arranged to really give the sense that you are in fact eating your lunch in a real area. For example, in the paint shop, there are paint-spattered floors with chairs and tables around the splatters. In the prop storage area, you will find a delta wing kite, car engines, bumpers, fan belts and other odds and ends. Finally, outside the restaurant you will dine among streetlights, plants and trees. Adding to the idea of the different rooms with various things inside, the slogan of the restaurant is "A Warehouse Of Good Eats". Backlot Express is filled with a rich visual assortment of props so after your meal, take a walk around the restaurant and look at the various props, some from well known films such as "Roger Rabbit" and "Raiders of the Lost Ark".
The interior design of the Backlot Express was designed by Wudtke Watson Associates of San Francisco, CA. When Backlot Express first opened, it was to be a "upscale fast food" location and its' specialty was a charbroiled chicken with salsa and tortillas. Executive Chef Reimund Pitz designed the menu. which also featured a tropic chicken salad with sun dried fruits. Of course, these signature dishes are long gone from the restaurant. Despite the fact the menu has changed over the years, the interior theme and design remains largely the same and still maintains the overall warehouse theme.