’50s Prime Time Cafe is a unique, atmosphere-rich eatery found in Disney’s Hollywood Studios (it was moved there from Disney MGM Studios in 2008). The restaurant is decorated like a gigantic stereotypical 1950’s family sitcom house, from the plastic flowers to the tacky knickknacks, to the ankle-height end tables, just made for wacky slapstick antics.
There are no cast members here, but rather family members. If your server is a woman, she isn’t a waitress, she’s “Mom,” ready to make sure you eat your peas, clean your plate, and feel guilty for not calling her more often. If you’ve got “Dad” waiting on you, he’s wearing a suit, smoking a pipe, giving out advice, and calling “Mom” over from another table whenever actual work needs to be done. And of course there’s “Brother,” bussing tables, giving out random wedgies to unsuspecting diners, and saying “good boy!” to Fido, who is constantly underfoot.
Each table (either a Formica counter or a TV tray) has a small television on or near it, showing clips from old black-and-white family sitcoms. Observant guests will notice that every show has a common theme — something wacky or embarrassing that happens to someone who harasses or under-tips a waiter or waitress.
The dining experience is quite unique. Mom makes you set your own table and gives you “homework” to do while you wait for your food to arrive. (For example, she might ask you to calculate the corporate profit on an annual pass or list the atomic weights of everything on the table.)
We’ll talk more about the food in a future post, but suffice to say it has a heavy emphasis on comfort and sitcom-like fun. For example, here’s the meatloaf, a popular entree:
After you eat and Mom has confirmed that you cleaned your plate (because there are children starving in China), you bring your dirty dishes to the kitchen and wash them before you are allowed to pay your bill, brush your teeth, and “go out to play until bed time.”
A few entertaining bits of dialogue overheard in the Cafe:
- You want what they’re having? If they jumped off a bridge, would you do that, too?
- That napkin isn’t going to pick itself up.
- I’m not going to ask you again — what would you like to order?
- How do you know you don’t like it if you haven’t tasted it?
- You want me to take that back? What am I, your maid?
- What part of “we don’t serve Pepsi” don’t you understand?
- It’s no use crying over spilled Lightning McQueen Raceway Punch.
- Don’t put that in your mouth; you don’t know where it’s been.
- If you’re going to the restroom, call me when you get there, just so I know you’re okay.
- Why are glowing ice cubes extra? Because I said so, that’s why.
- If I told you once I told you a thousand times, appetizers aren’t included.
- I know it isn’t fair that the dining plan no longer includes a tip. Well, life isn’t fair.
- This bill is going to hurt me more than it hurts you.
- I brought you into Disney World and I can take you back out!
- Don’t eat that — you’ll get worms!
- You call that a tip? Do you think I’m made of money?
- Everyone got clean underwear?