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.
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.
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.