What a fun way to spend a Friday night – visiting Disney Hollywood Studios and having dinner with a group of TravelingMoms. Being the wife of an Ironman triathlete, eating healthy is just part of our lifestyle and something we do on a daily basis. So, whenever I travel, I search for restaurants that will offer some healthy or at least, healthier food options. These days, with so many people trying to include more fresh and wholesome foods in their diets, my search has become easier.
After discussing several dining choices with the group, we opted for Hollywood and Vine, a buffet-style restaurant. As we were a large group of diners – nine, which soon turned into 11 – we made reservations several weeks in advance. They do recommend doing this and will accept reservations up to 180 days in advance. As we heard people walking in being told it would be at least a 15-30 minute wait, probably well-advised.
Much to our chagrin, it was a rainy night at Disney World. So, after taking a journey on the Star Wars ride and visiting Toy Story, we opted to see if we could get in early. We showed up around 7:00 pm for a 7:30 pm reservation and were told it would be about a 20 minute wait – at least we were under cover from the rain. Pleasantly surprised, we had hardly sat down on the porch when they called our party.
The restaurant itself is an art deco design, reminiscent of an old Hollywood-style cafeteria, with lots of stainless steel. We were greeted promptly by our server and offered a choice of beverages, including a full bar if interested. As we were a hungry group with more of the park to see, we headed for the food. The buffet offered something for everyone, with a variety of hot and cold options. The menu features American cuisine that has been freshly prepared at cooking stations.
The dinner items this evening included specialties such as herb-crusted salmon, citrus marinated baked chicken, multigrain pasta, carved roasted turkey breast, several sautéed vegetables, fresh salads, and peel and eat shrimp. This gave me plenty of options, so I knew I wasn’t going hungry. If you want to be a little decadent, like I did, you can always just take a small portion of the lobster and shrimp mac and cheese; one of the benefits of a buffet. You are on vacation, right?
Desserts were plentiful and included a chocolate fountain with fresh-dipped fruits, a variety of pastries and hot cobblers, and soft serve ice cream. As I heard, “Oh, you have to try this one” at the other end of the table, people were quite pleased with the selection.
If you have small children, you might want to take advantage of the Play & Dine breakfast which features character meets for the kids. Sofia, Handy Manny, Jake, and Doc McStuffin make rounds at the tables for autographs and pictures; always a pleaser for the kids.
All in all, we had a very favorable experience at Hollywood and Vine at Disney World. The service was pleasant and efficient, the atmosphere very fitting for Hollywood Studios, and the food quite good for buffet-style dining.