Sci-Fi Dine-In Theatre Restaurant Review at Disney World

by josh on March 12, 2010

Food Type: American

Location: Streets of America behind American Idol Experience and near ABC Commissary and Star Tours.

Dining Plan: 1 Table Service

Cost:  Appetizers: $6-$11; Entrées: $13-$30; Kids: $9. Same menu for lunch and dinner.

Discounts: 20% Tables in Wonderland.

Menu:

One menu (11am – Park Close): https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/hollywood-studios/sci-fi-dine-in-theater/menus/

Bar: None, though occassionally a temporary kiosk is set up outside the entrance when it’s busy with a limited menu of bottled beer and well cocktails. Try High Octane Refreshments next to Studio Catering Co. and near Backlot Tour.

Setting: This is one of the cooler restaurants on property and has (arguably) the most unique setting of any restaurant at the Hollywood Studios. Diners sit inside replica cars at this indoor “drive-in theater” while old black and white movie clips, trailers, and commercials play on a large movie screen ahead. Above, the ceiling is lit up like the night sky, complete with twinkling stars.

Advantages:

  • A great retreat from the bright, hot sun.  Atmosphere is fun with or without children.
  • Onion rings, burgers, sandwiches, and milkshakes are delicious.  The burger isn’t on the dinner menu, but if you ask for it they shouldn’t have a problem preparing one for you at dinner too.
  • Milkshake counts as a drink on the Dining Plan.

Disadvantages:

  • The higher priced items aren’t particularly outstanding for the money.
  • The seating arrangements can get a little odd.  Each car sits up to six people with two people per row. Like a car, everyone is facing the same way, so it’s difficult to have a conversation. Request a picnic table in back if you prefer a more traditional table setting.
  • The restaurant is very dark, which may make it difficult to see the menu or move around for those with eyesight issues.  If your children are easily scared then the clips on screen might startle them, but nothing should scare anyone over the age of four or so and even then it’s rare that any child gets particularly upset.
  • Reservations can be surprisingly scarce. Book early.
  • Most entrees are under $20, making this a poor value on the Dining Plan unless everyone is prepared to order the steak.

Tips: Walk-ups are usually offered picnic tables in back, which isn’t usually quite as fun as sitting in the cars. If you’d like a car, make a reservation far in advance. If you’re not sure what you’ll be up to, it doesn’t hurt to ask if there’s availability somewhere in the restaurant.

Value: Above average on the lower priced items. There’s a ton of entertainment value here and burgers and sandwiches aren’t much more than the quick service fare next door.

Reputation: Sci-Fi is great for anyone looking for a fun, relaxing lunch.  Although the food isn’t going to win any awards, the burgers and milkshakes are better than what you’ll find at any quick service at Hollywood Studios.  Since dining choices are slim at the Studios, Sci-Fi stands out as one of the two better stops here.  50′s Prime Time is a better choice for those looking to have a conversation and see the menu/food in front of them. Nonetheless, if you’re planning two sit down meals or need a place to stop for a cool lunch, Sci-Fi is a great choice.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Jennifer January 27, 2011 at 4:29 pm

The Sci-Fi is our family favorite. When you are seated in a car (which you should request), the kids can sit in back, while you can enjoy a rare quiet semi-private meal in the front seat. In addition to being a great cool place out of the sun, the shakes are delicious AND they have ice cold beer, which makes experience even sweeter. Who cares about the food, they have shakes and beer!!!

Jacky June 29, 2013 at 7:36 pm

I just finished eating dinner here. I had never been and neither had my husband. The food was horrible. I had the chicken club and it tasted like nothing. My husband had the turkey sandwich and he said it tasted like nothing too. Don’t bother going EVER!

Nicole March 4, 2014 at 10:16 am

We have been wanting to try here for some time. Had a ADR for lunch here at 2PM in May. Politely asked the hostess what time can we check-in seeing that it was only 1:30PM. She rudely snapped she cannot check me in until at least 1:50PM as if I wanted her to seat us right away. I told her, I was just asking what time, no need to snap me up. As I walked away, my husband told me she rolled her eyes at me. Wow. Ok then. Let’s see if the atmosphere and food are worth dealing with rude hostesses. Um, no. First off, the seating is ridiculous. If you are on the larger side, there is no way you can comfortably sit in the cars. I am average and I still felt squishy sitting there. Perfect for little kids though! You also share your “car” with other diners and everyone is facing the same way so it’s hard to have a conversation. And there is barely any room on the “table” in front of you for food and drinks. And speaking of the the food….UGH! Worst cheeseburger I have ever had! The fries were cold and the waitress took forever to bring us our drinks and check. And the crap playing on the drive in screen is boring and repetitive. Based on this experience and the fact there are a waaaay better sit down restaurants in WDW, we will never eat here again.

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