I’ve spent much of my life overvaluing my opinions. In fact, I have allowed myself to walk through life as if given special antennae that allowed me to assess the relative quality of many things. Food. Music. Movies. Sports teams and players. And also, amusement park experiences.
I used to be more obnoxious about it. I enjoyed the sparring and the debates. But there were times I spurred debate when it wasn’t wanted. Today, when I tell you what is good and what is bad, I try to insert the caveat that ultimately that determination is really yours to make. I can only offer my opinion. With that said, here are some of my favorite food and dining options around Hollywood Studios:
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11. Pizza at PizzeRizzo
Between this and Remy over in EPCOT, Disney is really pushing the rat-prepared culinary vibe. Look, I’m not here to tell you this is particularly good pizza or that it’s anything different than any other pizza you’d get at Walt Disney World. But it’s pizza in a park that caters to kids who don’t want a lot of things like toppings. You don’t think Rizzo is moving a lot of units in the cheese pizza game? I bet between this and the various grilled cheese sandwiches around the park, Disney is putting up numbers in the dairy game. Therefore, there’s no way this cheese pizza isn’t one of the most popular menu items in the park.
10. Woody’s Lunch Box Tarts
Gullion, I’ve asked you for food recommendations and you’re giving me a Pop-Tart? What’s next, the Wookiee Cookie? Well, slow down there, partner. We will get to the Wookiee Cookie, but these are no ordinary tarts. These are rectangle-shaped pastries, stuffed and covered in fondant to look like a Pop-Tart but instead, they’re something wonderful. They come in three basic types of Lunch Box Tarts, though there can be a seasonal variation. The Chocolate-Hazelnut Lunch Box Tart is a chocolate-hazelnut stuffed pastry coated in maple fondant and candied bacon. Lemon-blueberry is a Lunch Box Tart with blueberry filling, frosting and a taste of lemon. The Raspberry Lunch Box Tart is a raspberry marmalade stuffed pastry coated in a strawberry fondant and crispy pearls. They’re all available at Woody’s Lunch Box, a quick-service restaurant in the Toy Story Land section of Hollywood Studios.
9. Green Milk at the Milk Stand
The newer variety of Star Wars milk was made famous by Luke Skywalker himself who milked a giant space creature known as a thala-siren while in exile in Ahch-To in “The Last Jedi” movie. The Green Milk is sold along with the more popular and canonical blue milk at the Milk Stand in Disney’s Galaxy’s Edge. Green Milk is a plant-based blend of coconut and rice milk with zippy citrus and tropical characteristics. Also, bonus Dad points as you get to channel a little Ron Burgandy from “Anchorman” by taking a deep swig of space milk and remarking in the baking Florida sun, “It’s so hot. Milk was a bad choice.”
8. Aunt Liz’s Golden Fried Chicken
Step back into the golden era of sock hops and early rock and roll and enjoy this American classic while surrounded by the ephemera of a bygone era at the 50s Prime Time Cafe. What is it? It’s all in the name. Perfectly prepared fried chicken served with roasted garlic mashed potatoes, chicken gravy and seasonal vegetables right across from the shores of Echo Lake.
7. The Wookiee Cookie
The Wookiee Cookie – available at the Backlot Express – is described on Disney’s website as two oatmeal cookies with vanilla cream filling garnished with a milk chocolate sash on top. Wait, a sash? Does Disney think Chewy won a pageant? I’m not sure. I assume that whoever wrote that description either didn’t understand that Chewie’s famous – and only – garment was actually a space bandolier used for carrying equipment or ammunition attached to the strap for easy access. Or perhaps they thought that many of the guests wouldn’t be familiar with the term and didn’t want to put them off eating the otherwise delicious but in no way connected to Star Wars oatmeal cream pie.
6. Shrimp Tacos at ABC Commissary
At the ABC Commissary in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, shrimp tacos are all the rage. These tacos are served with sautéed shrimp on flour tortillas and topped with cabbage slaw, chipotle-mayonnaise and mango salsa. It’s served with Mexican rice and black beans topped with pork and queso fresco. They’re really quite good. Not just theme park seafood tacos good – but good. As a bonus, try the Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese Sandwich – a grilled sourdough toasted with buffalo chicken and Monterey, provolone, cheddar and cream cheese served with buffalo sauce and your choice of a side.
5. Jack Jack’s Num Num Cookie at the Market
Inspired by “Incredibles 2” when the only way Mr. Incredible can lure Jack Jack – now exploring his nascent powers – to do what he wants is to offer him a Num Num cookie. The culinary treat is available at the Market near the entrance to Toy Story Land from Pixar Place. Served fresh out of the oven, in a mini-muffin tin, the Num Num Cookie is a chocolate chip wonder. It’s thicker than your average cookie and looks almost like a tiny pie.
4. BBQ Burger at the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant
Hey kids. Back a long time ago, when the world was young, we had these things called drive-in theaters. Essentially, it was a parking lot with a concession stand and a giant movie screen onto which the film would be projected. Disney relives that golden era with the Sci-Fi Dine-in Theater Restaurant where the tables look like cars and they all face the big screen. The experience isn’t entirely authentic, however, because there weren’t many drive-ins in America serving a burger as good as the signature blend of beef and house-made seasoning served on a brioche bun topped with 9-hour smoked pork, bourbon-bacon jam, cheddar, lettuce and barbecue sauce. The drive-in BBQ burger is delicious.
3. Blue Milk from the Milk Stand
Blue Milk is the more famous of the Star Wars-based milks. This one was served to Luke by Aunt Beru when he was a boy on Tatooine. This version of Blue Milk is a plant-based blend of coconut and rice milk with alluring fruity characteristics.
2. Brown Derby’s Famous Cobb Salad
If you go to the Brown Derby – and you should – the famous Cobb Salad is a must. The Brown Derby is an authentic replica of the famous Brown Derby, a Tinseltown landmark steeped in glamour and glitz. The walls are adorned with caricatures of famous faces – a tradition that began with the original restaurant – and the upscale atmosphere harkens back to the Golden Age of Hollywood. Anyone who was anyone in that era of Hollywood dined there. In fact, they famously filmed a classic “I Love Lucy” episode in the original. It’s iconic. And so is the salad that was invented there. It was 1937 or 1938 and Brown Derby owner, the unfortunately named Bob Cobb, created the now-world-renowned salad which comes with spit-roasted turkey, bacon, egg, tomatoes, blue cheese, avocado and classic dressing. If you want to feel a little extra Hollywood, order the shrimp cocktail as an appetizer.
1. Ronto Wraps at Ronto Roasters
I’m including both the Ronto Morning Wrap and the lunch and dinner versions. These are available at Ronto Roasters and (for dinner) at Docking Bay 7. The morning version has eggs, grilled pork sausage, shredded cheddar and peppercorn sauce in pita bread. The lunch and dinner version is roasted pork, grilled pork sausage, peppercorn sauce, and tangy slaw wrapped in pita bread. Both are delicious and the best combination of unique park experience and flavor that Hollywood Studios has to offer.
But what are the best table service restaurants at Hollywood Studios?
I’m a big fan of the Brown Derby, but there are several table service restaurants with indoor restful dining as well as several more quick service restaurants with first-come, first-serve seating. Hollywood & Vine is a great place if you’re looking for character dining with Minnie. Also, Anaheim Produce probably isn’t technically a sit-down place, but it’s in with all the other restaurants and stands along Sunset Boulevard. There are tables not far away. Hollywood Scoops and The Trolley Car Café can be good spots if you are looking for something sweet like ice cream or a carrot cake cookie.
Additional places include:
- 50’s Prime Time Café
- ABC Commissary
- Backlot Express
- Catalina Eddie’s
- Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo
- Dockside Diner
- Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano
- Ronto Roasters
- Rosie’s All-American Café
- Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant
- The Hollywood Brown Derby & Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge
Any honorable mentions?
There are a couple worth an honorable mention, like Woody’s Lunch Box which has outdoor seating only. Fairfax Fare offers seats nearby. Then, Roundup Rodeo BBQ is set to open in March of 2023. If you’re looking for a place to get a drink, I also enjoy the Baseline Tap House where I like to grab a Bavarian Pretzel while I’m visiting. The lounge has some small plates, including the coffee-rubbed rib-eye beef puff, but it’s mostly a place to get beer and wine. The Tune-In Lounge has the Magical Bacon Cocktail. And of course, Oga’s Cantina is more focused on alcohol but they do serve some snacks. I started to do a bit about why don’t they have an Indiana Jones restaurant, and then I remembered the unfortunate culture-shaming food scene in Temple of Doom and answered my own question.
What is your favorite food at Hollywood Studios? Do you think one day is enough to visit? Let us know in the comments below.