Hollywood Brown Derby Restaurant Review at Disney World

by josh on March 12, 2010

Food Type: Contemporary American

Location: At the end of Hollywood Boulevard to the right of Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat.

Dining Plan: Two Table Service credits

Cost:  Appetizers: $9-$16; Entrées: $29-$43; Kids: $6 – $14. Brown Derby may offer three to four lunch entrees available from 11:30am – 3pm with prices that usually range from $19 – $30. Check outside the restaurant.

Discounts: 20% Tables in Wonderland.

Menu:

One menu served from 11:30am – Park Close: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/hollywood-studios/hollywood-brown-derby/menus

Bar: For years, Brown Derby operated with no bar or lounge area. That changed in late 2013, when the outdoor seating area was converted into a dedicated bar area with a dedicated menu with less expensive small plates, deserts, and cocktails. The full menu is also available. Tables are close together, so be ready to make new friends. Operating most days with good weather from 12pm – Park close, the lounge is an excellent option for guests that prefer a more casual environment and don’t want to commit to a reservation or the pressure of ordering some of the more expensive items inside the restaurant. It’s perfect on a relatively cool afternoon or evening for cocktails and the Derby Sliders. Waits are uncommon, but it doesn’t operate in the rain or when temperatures are expected to be under 60 degrees.

Setting: The Brown Derby is a replica of the famous Brown Derby restaurant in Hollywood California.  The original, opened in 1929, was popular with celebrities due to its close proximity to major movie studios.  Although the original Brown Derby restaurants have all either burned down or otherwise closed, Disney’s version is still standing tall.  This is one of what I would imagine are very few restaurants in the world where the staff wears tuxedos and the patrons wear mostly shorts, flip flops, and Mickey ears. Casual guest attire clashes a bit against the elegant Tinseltown glamour of the rest of the restaurant, but it is certainly a unique and timeless venue.

Advantages:

  • The most elegant, refined dining at Hollywood Studios. Calm atmosphere, attentive service.
  • The Cobb Salad, named after the original Brown Derby owner Bob Cobb, is one of the best you’ll find anywhere and can be ordered as an appetizer or entree for $16.
  • A glorious respite from a crowded and hot theme park. There’s nothing else like it at the Studios.

Disadvantages:

  • Food is expensive and inconsistent in quality.
  • Lunch menu is either limited to a few entrees or not available.
  • Expensive out of pocket, but not expensive enough that it’s worth two table service credits on the Dining Plan.

Tips: This is a lengthier meal. Book it when you want to be off your feet and in air-conditioning for 90 minutes to two hours. If that’s too long, consider another restaurant. If you’re looking at the more expensive items on the menu and planning to see Fantasmic, consider the Fantasmic Dining Package. For a fixed price of about $60 per adult and $15 per child, each person on the reservation will receive any appetizer, entree, dessert, and fountain beverage in addition to a ticket to the reserved section in the Fantasmic theater for the first show of the day. The reserved sections are some of the best seats in the house, but you’ll still need to arrive at the entrance at least 20 minutes early to guarantee Disney doesn’t open up reserved seating to the general population.

Table request: For a more private experience, request a table that isn’t in the sunken main dining room.

Value: Depends. There is not a whole lot of value on the Dining Plan considering the relatively low cost of the meal. You would fare much better using credits at some of the more expensive single credit restaurants. Most signature restaurants offer better food and a more upscale experience for the money. Brown Derby provides a unique atmosphere and the best food at Hollywood Studios, but you’re definitely paying for it.

Reputation: Brown Derby is well regarded by those that choose to dine here and the Hollywood atmosphere and higher pricing attract a more upscale clientele. Staff is among the best in the theme parks and most guests enjoy everything about the restaurant other than the bill.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Ashley Kelley March 5, 2014 at 9:02 am

Thanks for all the wonderful information. The Fantasmic Dinner Package no longer includes an appetizer. The package is still worth it though for the great seats it offers!

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