Tony’s Town Square Dinner Review, Anna and Elsa Separate, Wishes – Magic Kingdom 7/9/14

by josh on July 18, 2014

A brief update in between ketchup reviews as there is not a whole lot going on at Magic Kingdom these days now that the Mine Train has been open for 6+ weeks and the same Hub construction continues.

Tony’s is loosely based on the restaurant from the film, Lady and the Tramp. Or as Disney describes it:

Step inside this charming turn-of-the-century trattoria on Main Street, U.S.A., with its whitewashed balustrades, French doors and expansive front porch, which offers a fantastic view of evening parades. Take in the classic 1955 film Lady and the Tramp playing in the lobby and pictures of the 2 pooches gracing the wall.

Hopeless romantics are bound to gush over the central fountain depicting the cute canine couple, and more characters and scenes from the movie get you in the mood for food, friends, fun times and perhaps even amore!

This lunch review has a lot more pictures around the restaurant.

Tony’s offers a variety of seating areas. The inside restaurant seating is perhaps the most whimsical.

Outdoor patio seating is comfortable in cooler temperatures and offers a bit of a strained view of the various parades if you time your meal to begin about 45 minutes before said parade steps off.

For this particular meal, we were seated in the corner of the solarium, which is bright and airy when the sun is up. Even in July, this room was well air-conditioned to the point where we were a bit chilly. If you have a seating preference, request it at check-in. My recommendation is the main dining room for a bit more of a Lady and the Tramp vibe, but you may prefer a window looking outside or the patio prior to a parade.

Speaking of which, Lady and the Tramp plays on a continuous loop in the lobby.

Complimentary water, with and without lemon, is popping up in the waiting areas of more and more restaurants. Outside Hollywood & Vine is my favorite spot at Hollywood Studios to stop and get a cup of ice water, for example. If you don’t want to deal with the lines at a quick service, you might seek out a table service restaurant lobby instead.

In related random restaurant advice, you always want a reservation at a table service restaurant, even if you make one via the My Disney Experience app or website a couple hours before the meal and it’s showing plenty of availability. Tony’s was turning away anyone without a reservation as they almost always do. A couple nights prior, Plaza Restaurant was turning away anyone without reservations despite having a half-dozen tables open.

For much better organized advice, you might consider a copy of “The easy Guide to Your First Walt Disney World Visit,” currently the highest rated Walt Disney World guidebook of all time.

In less than a page, you’re introduced to credit card holds at table service restaurants, when to cancel so you won’t be charged $10/person, how to get the fees reimbursed if you miss a reservation, which restaurants run out of availability fastest, and how to make reservations before beginning an analysis of the cost/benefits of the Disney Dining Plan.

Tony’s dinner menu:

On the entree front, Tony’s dinner menu is a bit different than the lunch menu, eliminating about a half dozen sandwiches and pizzas and adding a more expensive steak and pork tenderloin.

Big ups to any child ordering celery sticks and a single turkey meatball.

Arguably the best item on the menu is the Zucchini Fries – Breaded seasoned Zucchini with creamy Sun-dried Tomato Dressing for dipping – $7.99.

Crunchy and somehow entirely devoid of oil residue, the zucchini retains a nice snap after each bite and the creamy sauce pairs nicely.

A largely flavorless bread is served alongside oil with dinner – it looks a lot better than it tastes, unfortunately.

I ordered the Chicken Parmigiana – Lightly Breaded Chicken Breast with Marinara Sauce topped with Melted Mozzarella over Spaghetti – $20.99.

The breaded chicken patty left very little doubt that it had at one time been frozen and was in turn prepared long before anyone in the restaurant ordered it by name. While basically edible, it’s closer to the quality you would expect from a Lean Cuisine than a $20+ entree.

The marinara sauce is the same across the board – bland served on top of overcooked spaghetti. I actually would have liked a bit more as the poor chicken sits bare.

Lisa ordered the Cannelloni – filled with a mixture of Ground Beef and Sausage, Mozzarella, and Ricotta served with Marinara and Alfredo Crème Sauce – $17.99.

These at least tasted a bit better than straight up microwaved chicken, but the filling is reliably one-note with the same sauce and cheese on top. There are no complex or subtle flavors at Tony’s.

They walk you by these sort of sad looking desserts on your way in. It sets the tone for what they probably were not going for.

We enjoyed lunch a lot more than dinner, even with low expectations going in. The food is somewhere around frozen dinner quality for a lot more money. It is convenient on the way in or out of Magic Kingdom, but that’s about all it’s got going for it.

While not exactly comparable, Universal opened Vivo Italian Kitchen in CityWalk last month.

Easier to read menu: https://www.universalorlando.com/Images/Vivo_Menu_tcm13-47740.pdf.


Unlike Tony’s, just about everything is made fresh in the restaurant daily, including the pasta throughout the evening.

Open kitchen.

They have two long bars, in addition to outdoor patio seating. Reservations are always smart, but the bar makes it a lot easier to pop in unannounced and there are no credit card holds or other nonsense.

Lisa’s Pappardelle – toasted pine nuts, pesto, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes – $14.95. A lousy camera phone picture, but significantly fresher with more robust flavor than anything at Tony’s.

Squid Ink Seafood – sautéed shrimp, clams, squid, white wine, basil, butter, black squid ink pasta – $16.95. Mmmmmmm.

Tagliatelle & Sausage – Fennel sausage, spinach, roma tomatoes, garlic, house made tagliatelle – $10.95.

Gnocchi – sautéed rapini, tomato, fennel cream sauce – $12.95.

Linguine and Clams -seasonal clams, red chili flakes, garlic, white wine, butter – $16.95.

And they serve drinks.

Anyway, Vivo destroys Tony’s on food quality, variety of options, service, and drinks at a significantly lower price point. A fairer comparison might be Tutto Italia at Epcot, which Vivo fares well against, again at a significant discount. I have a few thoughts on the opening of Diagon Alley here. Warning: It’s titled “Diagon Alley Will Exceed Your Expectations.”

Hub construction continues, but at least the area in front of Tomorrowland Terrace is rubble- and marooned-boat free.

#humidity.

PeopleMover/Astro Orbiter refurbishments continue.

Lunching Pad remains open underneath, though it’s now relegated to one side. PeopleMover is slated to reopen August 5th and Orbiter on September 20th.

FASTPASS machine removal at Space Mountain.

Mine Train continue to see long waits – 120 minutes here.

While actual waits with FastPass+ shouldn’t exceed ten minutes.

Mine Train is worth experiencing both during the day and with the sun down.

The track isn’t well lit to the point where it’s nearly impossible to see what’s actually happening immediately around the ride, though the views of New Fantasyland are great. It’s easier to see the Snow White scene in the cottage at the end in the dark – and nearly impossible to see it in the light.

Here at 9:21pm the posted wait for it’s a small world is 10 minutes.

But so few people are actually in line that boats are leaving empty.

It’s impossible to overemphasize how great nights are at Magic Kingdom in the summer. If you can stay through 11pm, 12am, 1am, or later with evening EMH, then you can have a tremendous amount of success in the late night hours.

Anna and Elsa began greeting separately toward the end of June.

In order to cut costs and wait times. It seems to be working as peak waits are down from four hours to “just” two. Evening standby waits are in the 70 to 100 minute range. At 9:45pm on July 9th, the posted wait was 70 minutes and it looked to be about accurate.

The separation is a pretty big bummer – it’s a better picture with both characters and you lose the fun banter between them. What you’re left with isn’t much more than a “Hi how are you” along with a quick picture.

Plenty of princess merchandise at the exit:


















There’s always more stuff.

Big crowds on the back side of Cinderella Castle at 9:57pm – if you’re not going to brave the crowds in front of the Castle, you’re better off heading somewhere other than here as most of the show is actually behind this crowd.

My preference is to head back a bit further. You get a nice view of the fireworks shot from behind Fantasyland and can turn and watch the bursts shot over Cinderella Castle from Tomorrowland.

That’s about it.

{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

Donald July 18, 2014 at 2:53 pm

I’m glad to see Vivo earned your seal of approval – both the pappardelle and squid ink pasta impressed me, especially considering the price point.

Still haven’t been to Diagon Alley, but will be heading there in less than two weeks – your update has me even more excited about it (and I didn’t think that was possible)!

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josh July 18, 2014 at 3:03 pm

Yeah the price point compared to other theme park meals is what cemented it for me. Although I like Portobello at Downtown Disney for lunch also (where the same entrees as dinner are about half as much).

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CB July 18, 2014 at 3:25 pm

I’m with ya on the Tony’s dinner. We tried it on a whim after having read your more favorable lunch review and were quite underwhelmed. Service was fast and friendly but the food was just “blah.” We won’t be back.

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marianna July 18, 2014 at 3:27 pm

Looking forward to trying Vivo. Thanks!

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RebeccaMcK July 18, 2014 at 4:02 pm

We have a lunch booked at Tony’s in October, and it’ll be our first time there. Question: On a November party night (the 14th) I’m supposed to go try and meet a fellow easywdw’er inside Tony’s briefly – just to say hi and we’ll agree on where/when to meet later when her dinner is over. She already tried to add me to her reservation but was unsuccessful and there appears to be no other availability there that night. Will the CMs let me just go in and find her to say hi and leave? I’m okay with leaving to go grab dinner at Casey’s (if I can…it’ll be around 7 pm once I get there – arrival day for me). Just wondered if the CM host/hostess will let me into Tony’s for just a few minutes. Now I have to check out your review of Diagon Alley!

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Megan July 18, 2014 at 5:27 pm

I’m salivating over the gnocchi and the princess merchandise.

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aobrien July 18, 2014 at 6:07 pm

Got the book today for my birthday!

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Melissa July 18, 2014 at 7:56 pm

Excellent as always. When can we expect a merchandise update. I’m interested to see what may be available come end of August for my trip. Time to start spending my $$

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Anonymous July 18, 2014 at 8:37 pm

What did I miss? Who is the blond with the striped green dress in the Merchandise pic?

I have to agree with you regarding Tony’s. In fact, we steered clear of ALL Italian on property for our next 3 visits. Then we tried Via Napoli – much better! But the menu at Vivo looks far more palatable – both in price and in variety! Yum!

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Annie July 18, 2014 at 8:42 pm

Josh, do you have to kill 2 FP+ if you want to see both Anna & Elsa now or can you see one and then the other on a single FP+?

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Linda July 18, 2014 at 9:05 pm

What a shame that Elsa and Anna are greeting separately now. The first two “friends of Anna and Elsa” were so spot on and the “playful banter” was what made the wait so bearable. This is really the only movie that had 2 main female characters (princesses) and they should be together.
I hope it changes back soon.

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RebeccaMcK July 18, 2014 at 9:13 pm

@Anonymous
The green striped dress doll I think you’re referring to….that’s Anna in the dress she wore in “Frozen” during the coronation scenes (and in the scenes preceding them: “First Time in Forever”). The hair might look blonde in the photos but it’s really reddish with the blonde streak.

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Zavandor July 19, 2014 at 1:56 am

Tony does not serve italian food, but “Americanized italian food”. Nothing wrong if you like it, but Vivo and Tutto are restaurant that could survive even in Italy, Tony would close after 1 month.
Rule of thumb: if anywhere on the menu there is the “Salsa Alfredo”, it’s an “Americanized italian” restaurant. It might shock someone, but salsa Alfredo is not italian and you cannot find it served anywhere in Italy.

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Sara July 19, 2014 at 2:42 am

HA! I got the ketchup joke!

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dusty cheatham July 19, 2014 at 4:38 am

I have a friend whose husband is a chef who helped open BE OUR GUEST . he then got transferred to tonys . to says he wants to stick a tooth pick in his eye is putting it mildly . with the dinning plan any degree of specialty that sets a dinning place apart at Disney is ruined due to costs . tonys being one of them . trust me folks if josh says it belive him . there are still excellent places to eat BUT be prepared to pay. cittircos ,yachtsman steak house , cali grill , . my beloved ROSE & CROWN has sadly hit rock bottom . great place to see fireworks on patio but the food blah .

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dusty cheatham July 19, 2014 at 4:56 am

rebeccamck: you should have no problems getting past the hostess to see you friend . if by chance you are questioned just drop JOSHUA HUMPHREYS name & the finest brand of bottled water will be delivered to their table & everyone can enjoy .

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Mitzi Matata July 19, 2014 at 5:36 am

Hi Josh,
Great article and reviews, as always!
Could you be more specific as to where you are suggesting we view the fireworks ?
I can’t tell where you were located when you took that picture.

Thanks so much!

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John July 19, 2014 at 8:21 am

Funnily enough this website is slowly turning into the ketchup website with pushing theis websites book.

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RebeccaMcK July 19, 2014 at 9:26 am

@dusty cheatham
Haha! Thanks. Well, I won’t be sitting at their table since I’ll just be in there briefly – but if a CM says I can sit down that would be even better. Not counting on it, though, since there were no more ADRs available so I figure they’re busy.
———–
I re-read Josh’s lunch review of Tony’s, since I was thinking of cancelling our October ADR. If I like Olive Garden and places like that, though, I think we’ll be okay with one lunch at Tony’s? I have a dinner at Via Napoli a month later.

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Aileen July 19, 2014 at 9:51 am

Great post. I’m sure even your ketchup reviews would be interesting!

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Dani July 19, 2014 at 6:37 pm

McK, I wouldn’t waste my money at Tony’s ):

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RebeccaMcK July 20, 2014 at 8:22 am

@Dani
Thanks. I went ahead and cancelled the lunch reservation today. We have a Chef Mickey’s breakfast and an LTT dinner booked for that day, so we’ll just do a quick service lunch somewhere.

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Kerrie July 20, 2014 at 9:27 am

I’m not a huge fan of Tony’s myself. It really disappoints me. I gave it once more shot last trip and probably won’t be back. I would also love your ketchup review -because I’m certain it would be hilarious!

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Shinah July 20, 2014 at 4:07 pm

Just got back from a week at Disney with my 2 kids my brother and my parents. On Tuesday I left the kids with my parents and went to Mk at about 10:30 I did Haunted Mansion, small world, Little mermaid Mine train (only a 20 minute wait), and carousel of progress in about an hour and a half. I could have easily done space ship earth or buzz but I made the mistake of getting on COP first and the park closed in that time. It was really cool just walking on all those rides in July

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Mike July 20, 2014 at 6:29 pm

Wow that pasta at Vitos looks orders of magnitude better than Tony’s.

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Dani July 21, 2014 at 5:44 am

McK, that would have been a lot of food for that day, had you kept that res! The only thing I find satisfying there is the pistachio creme brulee…and now I make it at home so I don’t have to go there. It’s that bad!

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IndyND July 21, 2014 at 7:43 am

Out of all of the New York Strip Steaks I’ve had that are served around Disney, Tony’s was still the best. Medium rare and fork tender. It was seasoned perfectly too.

Looks like Anna and Elsa have finally each gotten their own pin. My daughter will need both of those.

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Traci July 21, 2014 at 11:33 am

Well, we love Tony’s! After a week of eating rich food for every meal it’s nice to sit down to regular old spaghetti like you eat at home. :) I think the point about Tony’s is that little kids will eat the food for the very same reason.

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Tim July 21, 2014 at 12:38 pm

Tony’s is the worst restaurant I have ever eaten at. I’d sooner eat a can of chef boyardee. My wife and I are not picky eaters and we both left our food. Easily the worst restaurant at all of Disney World and probably in all of Florida.

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Janelliz July 21, 2014 at 12:53 pm

I feel like the only Italian restaurant on Disney Property that might give Vivo a run for it’s money is Ravello opening over at the Four Seasons.

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RebeccaMcK July 21, 2014 at 3:07 pm

I think that my family would have been okay with Tony’s overall, but since we have a lot of TS meals scheduled for our 8 full days in October I was fine cutting that lunch ADR (especially since there is no Free Dining during that trip). If we want pizza we’ll just do Village Haus or see what’s at Contempo Cafe in our hotel.

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Phyllis July 21, 2014 at 5:22 pm

@McK
I was allowed to drop in and visit a friend at 50′s Prime Time Cafe. I told the hostess that I needed to see a friend who was eating there and I was waved through with no questions asked.

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RebeccaMcK July 22, 2014 at 7:59 am

Thanks, Phyllis!

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Joanne S. July 22, 2014 at 1:13 pm

Oh, Josh, I cringed inside when I saw you were going to Tony’s for dinner. It was easily the worst dining experience we have ever had at WDW in over 25 visits. I’m sorry that your experience did not vary from our’s.

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Christine July 23, 2014 at 4:05 pm

Wow, those entrees at Tony’s look so pathetic. I’ve never been there and don’t think I ever will. Thanks for the review.

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BoSoxGal July 24, 2014 at 3:59 pm

We like Tonys for lunch. The meatball sliders are good. They also have a good salad which I was dying for after so much junk. Oh and the fried zucchini are pretty amazing!

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Anjie July 25, 2014 at 8:12 am

I actually like Tony’s. Their steak has great flavor is always cooked as requested. Didn’t mind the chicken parm either but I’m not a very adventurous eater and I do love ketchup. ;) The kids like the spaghetti and the pizza. We’ll be going back in December.

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Karen July 28, 2014 at 7:31 am

I am trying Tony’s for the first time in a few weeks. I am nervous about the review but I find the food at WDW mediocre at best to begin with. I am going to try the steak I think.

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