Walt Disney World Restaurant Review – Sci-Fi Dine-In
BY MIKE WARING – FEBRUARY 2013
I’ve got a soft spot for Sci-Fi Dine-In. I mean, science fiction and a drive-in, and food, what’s not to love? Actually there’s very little in the way of science fiction on display in the restaurant itself: it’s all up on the large drive-in theater screen that is the centerpiece of this venue. The main décor elements are faux convertibles lined up, sorta like at a drive-in, that have a little table in front of every bench seat. While you’re munching away on burgers and fries, they play a nonstop series of trailers from the absolutely worst old 1950’s science fiction and horror movies. An occasional cartoon is thrown in also, but only ones that keep to the sci-fi theme.
This was the sort of stuff I grew up watching on Saturday afternoons and late Friday nights back in the Sixties and Seventies. That’s what you did if you grew up as a Boomer. If you’re a Millennial or Generation X, Y or Z, you grew up with competently made science fiction movies and TV shows, so watching this stuff must be like watching the cavemen scrawling drawings of mammoths on the cave walls with charcoal. Anyway, if you like a bit of nostalgia, the Sci-Fi Dine-In is pretty cool, umm, daddio!
Anyway, I love the car-tables, I love the movie trailers, I like the carhops, so why, oh why, can’t the food measure up too? It wasn’t very good last time we were here ten-plus years ago and it still isn’t very good.
I had a burger and fries, because anything else would be silly in this type of establishment. Mary had the Reuben with a cucumber salad, which I guess implies that she’s silly, but I don’t dare say that to her face. All hail the advantages of a passive/aggressive approach, like putting it in a blog post or a restaurant review.
We shared a chocolate shake and I asked for a lime Coke, but apparently they only serve cherry- and vanilla-flavored Cokes, which seems a little limited. The server though, good fellow that he was, immediately volunteered to bring me some limes to add to the Coke, so all was good. Well, the lime flavored Coke was good, and the shake was excellent. Everything else was just not very good.
Considering the prices, the food — especially since we’re not talking haute cuisine here — could use a great deal of improvement. I know, everything has been jacked-up in price in recent years due to the prevalence of the Dining Plans, so it seems like you’re getting a better deal for your money. And it is true you get a show with your meal, so that explains some of the price, but I’d still like to get a burger that tastes a little better than one from McDonald’s when I pay $15. As I recall, the Unoffical Guide to Walt Disney World recommends in their review that you go to Sci-Fi Dine-In and get a hot fudge sundae, enjoy the scene and move on to someplace else for a meal. I think this is good advice.
Prices, as I mentioned, are high, high, high for what you get. Appetizers are $6 to $11.50. Mains are mostly $12.50 to $22, with a steak all the way out there orbiting around Pluto at $30. Desserts, the main thing you should go for here, are all $7 and $8. They also have a nice selection of beers and cocktails if you’re inclined toward that, which I usually am.