Sock Hop Over to the 50s Prime Time Cafe

The 50s Prime Time Cafe is one of those restaurants on Walt Disney World property that just screams Disney

Photo by Christine Lydon

magic.  The cafe can be found in Disney’s Hollywood Studios in the Echo Lake area.  You’ll know you’ve found the eatery when you see the neon signs pointing you in the right direction.  The decorations outside set the tone for the great theming and decor inside.

Upon entering the restaurant you will find a living room which looks like it came directly out of a 1950s sitcom.  After checking in, make yourself cozy while you wait to be seated, but don’t put your feet on the coffee table.  (Well maybe you should put your feet up on the coffee table to see what happens).  There is also a bar in this area where you can order cocktails from “dad’s liquor cabinet.”  If you could not secure an advanced dining reservation, the full menu is also available at the bar.

Once inside the dining areas the tables are made of Formica and seat cushions are covered in vinyl just like your grandma’s left over 1950s kitchen furniture.  Old televisions are placed throughout the dining rooms broadcasting 1950s classic TV shows like the Mickey Mouse Club.  This area is meant to feel as though you’ve stepped into mom’s kitchen at the height of the 50s with all of its pastel colors and knick knacks.

The menu here is full of comfort food favorites.  Meatloaf, pot roast, and tuna casserole are featured at dinner reminding guests of good old days at mom’s house.    I’ve also heard good things about the milkshakes at the 50s Prime Time Cafe, although I’ve never indulged in one.  If you have a sweet tooth, but aren’t in the mood for a milkshake or malt, then check out the dessert menu that comes to your table on a view finder.  Yup, the same toy you had as a kid.  I certainly wouldn’t say the cafe serves the best food at WDW (or even in DHS), but it’s tasty and atmosphere is the star here.  The lunch and dinner menus are very similar so try the cafe at either time.

What really makes this establishment special is the colorful cast members.  If you are looking for a nice, quiet

Photo by Christine Lydon

meal this is not the place for you. The servers are referred to as cousins and they will tease and taunt you throughout your lunch or dinner, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.  They will make sure guests maintain their table manners and eat their veggies.  I have been scolded for putting my elbows on the table and I’ve heard tales of friends being forced to stand in the corner, being fed their vegetables, and general scolding for bad behavior.

I have been to the 50s Prime Time Cafe a few times and have had mixed experiences.  I’m convinced your reaction to this eatery lies on your server.  If your cast member is not into his or her roll, then it’s just not as much fun to eat here unless you really, really love meatloaf.  The whole point is to be rowdy and silly, and if that doesn’t happen then what’s the point?  The last time my friends an I ate here our waiter simply was not embracing his chance to play with guests.  His lackluster “performance” did not leave me with the need to return any time soon.  But, on my next trip in August a huge group of us will be dining here so I’m hoping for a lot of shenanigans.

Photo by Ryan Kilpatrick

A special thanks to reader Christine Lydon and this weeks guest blogger Ryan Kilpatrick for the photos used in this post!

So what do you think about this kitchy restaurant?  Let me know what are some of your favorite menu items or cast member antics!

Next week I’ll take a closer look at one of my favorite attractions for my favorite holiday…

Kristen Helmstetter

Kristen Helmstetter is an Unofficial Guide researcher who will share her 20-something perspective of all things Walt Disney World with blog readers. Kristen’s email address is khelmstetter05@yahoo.com. You can also follow her on Twitter: @khelmstetter.

28 thoughts on “Sock Hop Over to the 50s Prime Time Cafe

  • June 23, 2010 at 2:58 pm
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    We eat at 50s Prime Time Cafe at least once every trip. It’s all good comfort food, the atmosphere is fun, and as a bonus, the desserts are really interesting and enjoyable. Last year, we enjoyed sharing the Boston Creme Cupcake. Yum!

  • June 23, 2010 at 3:13 pm
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    Ohhh that sounds yummy! Maybe I’ll have to give it a shot in August. Thanks for reading!

    • June 24, 2010 at 10:57 am
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      I am going in August also and we already have reservations. I haven’t been there in years. It was a lot of fun

        • June 24, 2010 at 11:05 am
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          We will be in Orlando Aug 19 – 23 then we are going on a RC cruise. While in Orlando we are only going to Disney for 1 day then 2 days at Universal

          • June 29, 2010 at 11:07 am
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            Aww we’ll just miss you I’ll be there from the 12th-16th. Have a great trip!

  • June 23, 2010 at 3:31 pm
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    Do not, repeat, DO NOT check Lines at your table in Prime Time! The server scolded us soundly for playing with our “walkie-talkies” during family time! Ignore this advice at the peril of having to stand in the corner!!

  • June 23, 2010 at 4:16 pm
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    We go every trip and my 4 year old gets a kick out of her grandmother getting her leftover green beans feed to her by the server every time.

    • June 23, 2010 at 7:30 pm
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      That sounds like a lot of fun, Debbie! I’m pretty sure I would get a kick out of that happening to my grandmother too and I’m 27. I’m also pretty sure my grandmother wouldn’t stand for anyone trying to feed her. 🙂

  • June 23, 2010 at 7:11 pm
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    Glad you liked the pictures I submitted. I took them when I went in 2008 to celebrate my 40th birthday. I was scolded for talking to my mother on my cell phone:-) I also was almost force fed my veggies from my waitress aka Aunt Helen, using the airplane method. It is the place to go for the experience and nostalgia.

    • June 23, 2010 at 7:31 pm
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      Thanks so much for the pictures! They were great since there was no one around. I’m hoping for a good time on our next trip. Our aunt or cousin had better be up for a challenge with our crew.

  • June 23, 2010 at 11:42 pm
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    We ate at 50’s Primetime in May and had an awesome experience! I had the meatloaf and really enjoyed it!

    Our server made us sign several Birthday Cards for guests celebrating at surrounding tables!

    I agree this place is what separates WDW from anywhere else in the world!

    • June 24, 2010 at 8:18 am
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      How fun! 50s Prime Time Cafe is definitely uniquely Disney. Where else could the servers yell at you and get away with it? Well, besides Whispering Canyon Cafe.

  • June 24, 2010 at 7:03 am
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    So glad everyone likes it as we’re eating there this July.

    • June 24, 2010 at 8:19 am
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      Have a great trip! I’m sure you’ll have a great time the 50s Prime Time Cafe.

  • June 24, 2010 at 9:21 am
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    It’s hard to argue about a reservation for Prime Time. Consistently good food and such a fun theme!

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  • June 28, 2010 at 5:06 pm
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    My family and I visited Disneyworld last week and I had the best vacation ever. It was an absolute blast! We made previous reservations to eat at the 50’s cafe and we were not disappointed. Our server was great and absolutely into the role. I was called “Skippy” and told to take my hat off and take my elbows off of the table. I was thoroughly scolded for not finishing my onion rings and the server played “airplane” with my wife’s “greens” to get her to eat them. We were all rolling on the floor.

    We did see one unlucky fellow who did not eat all of his green beens. He was told that he would not get desert. A little bit later, the server brought the green beens back out, but topped with whipped cream. He was told that was his desert! We laughed and laughed.

    I agree that the fun is based upon who you get for your server. Hopefully, you get a good one. BTW…the pot roast was really good and so was the chocolate malt.

    • June 29, 2010 at 11:08 am
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      I’m glad you had such a great time, Jason, or should I say Skippy? I’m hoping for a lot of laughs next time I head there. Thanks for reading!

  • June 30, 2010 at 3:35 pm
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    Wow! I was just talking to my husband about maybe eating here, but after reading these comments I think it will be a must for us! Sounds like alot of fun. 🙂

    • June 30, 2010 at 3:40 pm
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      I hope you have a great time! Glad I could help you decide where to eat on your next trip!

  • July 18, 2010 at 9:23 pm
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