Did you ever experience something awesome as a child, and the memory faded? It’s still there… but it can’t be awoken until you’re in the same place, under similar circumstances. That’s what happened to me when I stepped foot into Disney’s Hollywood Studios Sci-Fi Dine-In Theatre. It had been over 20 years since I had dined at the Sci-Fi, and yet it was exactly the same. Perfectly up kept, dazzlingly 50’s, and enchanting as ever. My Mom felt as if she were on-screen in the Twilight Zone (or is that the Tower of Terror?!) because it was just as she remembered, down to the car booth upholstery. I had originally made the Advanced Dining Reservation when I had been invited to #DisneySMMC thinking it would be a very cool place to take Red, making our last dinner together very special. Not even having been served our meal, I knew I had to give you a peek inside this special place; a real Sci-Fi Dine-In Theatre Review.
When you first approach this restaurant, be careful not to miss it. This gorgeous period sign hangs over the small door, and without a crowd waiting for their reservations (very few walk ups are available), the only exterior clue with be the small blue dining car out front. The restaurant is located very near Star Tours, and that, you can’t miss!
The original theme for Hollywood Studios (or as I remember it, MGM) was being IN the movies (suddenly Tower of Terror, the Great Movie Ride and Indiana Jones are making more sense, aren’t they?!). Slowly, Disney is creating more of an environment to celebrate the movies, leaving more obvious in-the-movies cues like Sci-Fi feeling strange. When you first walk into the restaurant, you’ll be greeted by this hostess stand, and you’ll see movie flats all around; the hallways may feel small… like you’re waiting to see something, or being separated. I swear it’s worth it. Give in to the behind the scenes feel and prepare for some fun.
As your hostess rounds the corner of the scenic flats with you, you’ll suddenly be outdoors. Shubbery, parking lots, and the hills of Hollywood will surround you. Stars shine above, and the great central movie screen rolls an hour and a half of vintage footage; everything from cartoons to fake advertisements to those terrible, hokey monster movies we all love. The car booths even have brake lights! REAL sound comes from vintage speakers that were used in drive-ins. We all know Disney doesn’t skimp on the details and Sci-Fi Dine-In Theatre is no exception.
You’ll be escorted to your car, where there are 3 rows of 2-seaters. Even with Red being as small as he is, three would be a crowd in these cars. Parties of three (or 7+, or odd numbers), be prepared to either have a less-fun traditional table, be split up, or lean forward and back to share the conversation. In the end, we were very happy with our set up, and I think the two girls seated behind us were fine, too. Each row has a sense of privacy, and the very dim lighting in the theatre allows you to watch the featurettes.
Check out the cool “snack bar” in the back of the theatre. Instead of you walking up to get some eats, this is where your waiter and kitchen staff stem from. Original and still authentic!
I snapped a few Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater menu photos for you; mainly of the extensive beverage selection they had. The names were very fun and the drinks were well mixed. I recommend the Long Island Lunar Tea. I had TWO!
If you’re more the wine and beer type, rest easy. They have you covered, along with Sangria and specialty craft beers. Prices are moderate, along the route of our downtown Atlanta restaurants.
Since y’all know I have a picky eater (he’s getting MUCH braver about trying new foods and new presentations) I’m giving you a look at the kids’ menu. Traditional options abound, with Mickey Check options and desserts. I’m very proud to say that Red chose the Chicken Penne Pasta, mostly because I explained it as, “spaghetti with different noodles!” He cleaned his plate…
Cheers, y’all! You’ve got to get here and experience this for yourself!
You can see that the light in the theatre is extremely dim. I have very good vision, but it was sometimes hard to read my own menu. Each row of booths has a table top (of course) and table top lighting, which suits well for eating and still being able to see the show and enjoy the “night.” It was a special experience when Red was gifted a big ice cream sundae for his birthday dessert. No fuss was made, but there was a candle for him to blow out and enjoy the last of his cartoons.
The Sci-Fi Dine-In Theatre is something you can’t miss if you’re spending the day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Make sure to get reservations at LEAST a month or two in advance, because they book up so quickly. You’ll pay a little more for a sit-down dinner, but UNLIKE other simple or “bland” options, this restaurant delivers a unique experience for all ages.