There’s something about an amazing atmosphere that can really boost the taste (or perception of taste) of food you are eating. I’ve read studies on this theory and many successful restaurants follow this strategy. Yes, I know. I’m talking about atmosphere and not about gluten free. This is something I try not to do in these reviews but I just can’t help it with this particular restaurant. Let me explain.
Sci Fi Dine In is a truly unique sit down restaurant within Disney World’s Hollywood Studios park. It is a restaurant I make sure to get a reservation for on each trip every year. The food is great, the service is great but the atmosphere is out of this world cool. You walk into a small lobby that looks very un-Disney like, filled with unfinished wood beams. You wait for about 10 minutes in this weird area until your server, dressed like they still exist in the 60s, comes out to get you. As they walk you back to the actual entrance of the restaurant, you are transported into a true outdoor drive in movie setting beneath a starry sky. There are a bunch of cars that are transformed into tables in front of a massive screen that is showcasing highlights of all of the best movies from the 60’s, along with authentic clips from commercials during that time. It is simply amazing. If I had a rating section for atmosphere on this website, the score would be an easy 11 out of 10. So now that that is out of the way, let’s get onto the important stuff.
So I described the atmosphere in great lengths to help you understand and re-enforce the taste perception theory I mentioned above. Because the food here is probably mediocre at best if you had it in a normal setting. But for me, a 9.2 is perfectly accurate. I’ve never had a meal here that I didn’t love, including this most recent trip. But I can never truly tell if the incredible atmosphere enhances the taste and if so, how much.
Sci Fi Dine In has a great allergy friendly menu and because this is Disney (they will try and accommodate your craziest requests) I felt like taking a shot on ordering a philly cheesesteak from the main menu. This is NOT featured on the allergy friendly menu so I made sure to ask the chef if they could put it on an allergy friendly bun and then modify it as needed. The chef assured me this would be no problem and that the equipment to cook this would be safe as well. It was AMAZING. I love cheesesteaks and never get to have them so that alone is a huge plus for this experience. The steak was juicy with provolone cheese smothered all over along with tasty red peppers. The sandwich was huge but still held together perfectly. The fries here are cooked in a dedicated fryer and were of the thick cut variety – very different from most other Disney fries. Overall, this was one of my favorite meals of the whole trip. I will be getting this again next year.
The server was very knowledgeable but as I’ve stated about Disney, the chef will always come out to speak with you on request (which I always do). The chef made an incredible accommodation for me and was able to ensure my safety with this being prepared fully gluten free. The service at Sci Fi Dine In is always amazing but this experience was above and beyond.
The allergy friendly menu here is one of the best in Disney. There are so many good options in the comfort food variety. They even have buffalo chicken tenders (breaded and fried gluten free) on the menu which is such a rare item in the gluten free world. This place is very dark (part of the ambiance) so I apologize for the bad picture quality on the menu pics. You can always visit www.disneyworld.com and search for Sci Fi to find the allergy friendly menu.
Did I Get Sick (NO)
Another great experience in Disney World where me, my taste buds and my gut health (maybe not my heart health) came out on top.
If you read this review fully then it goes without saying that this spot is one of my all time favorites in Disney World. Although the theming and atmosphere have nothing to do with being gluten free – the theming is so immersive that it probably enhances the taste of your food. So keep that in mind. But the service, gluten free options and everything else about this place is just down right awesome. This is one of those places that fills up quickly with regards to Disney’s Advanced Dining Reservation system. So make sure you book a reservation way ahead of time for this spot. We go during Easter which is a very busy time which requires us to book this place 6 months in advance. That may sound crazy, but if you are traveling far to visit Disney World (along with millions of others) then you must do that if you want to visit the best places. This restaurant included.