Pinocchio Village Haus Review

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Pinocchio Village Haus is a counter service restaurant at the edge of regular ‘ole Fantasyland and New Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom that experienced a resurgence of sorts with a new menu in 2012. It participates in the Disney Dining Plan as a one-credit counter service restaurant at lunch and dinner. It’s not one of the best counter service restaurants on the Disney Dining Plan, but it’s not a poor value either. Plus, thanks to the new menu, it’s now one of the better restaurant choices in the Magic Kingdom.

That Pinocchio Village Haus is now one of the better restaurants in the Magic Kingdom is saying a lot, especially as there has been a serious counter service renaissance in the Magic Kingdom during the past couple of years. No longer is it a race to the bottom. Instead, a number of restaurants in the Magic Kingdom have at least some intriguing and delicious menu items. Pinocchio Village Haus is just one of several restaurants that has had a nice turnaround, and it has gone from a place we’d never consider eating to one at which we’ll now dine during certain hours.

Before we get to the praise, let’s take a look at Pinocchio Village Haus’ primary weakness: being a popular restaurant in the middle of Fantasyland. During the lunch hours, Pinocchio Village Haus is more or less the trenches of a war zone. Except in Pinocchio Village Haus, tranquility is the main casualty. Our first visit to Pinocchio Village Haus was prior to the new menu and during this lunch hour. Not only did we have to deal with the mayhem of the crowds, but our food was generally bad. This time we wised up and didn’t dine there until later in the evening, but even then, it was still fairly busy.

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As far as theming goes, Pinocchio Village Haus is moderately interesting. The exterior looks Bavarian, and although it’s not quite a “village,” it’s made to appear as if there are multiple buildings in the area. It’s the most ornate building exterior in Fantasyland (not including the buildings in New Fantasyland, as I’m still unsure of whether this is a separate land; the capitalized “New” suggests it’s a proper name and as such is a distinct land, but what happens when it’s no longer new?) and unlike the other facades, has depth and dimensionality.

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The ordering area looks as if it’s a courtyard (it’s obviously indoors), with moderately sized rooms emanating out from this area. The most popular of these overlooks the loading area of ‘it’s a small world,’ and I assume this is the most difficult place to snag a seat. I’m sure if you waited you’d have luck, but we’re impatient and have never been able to find a seat in here. I’m not sure that we’d want to, anyway, as this room is rather loud. In general, these rooms are cutely themed with some neat details like murals, clocks, and statues, and have an “old-timey” charm to them. To some, that old-timey charm might instead look like dated ambiance that’s due for a refresh. While I think a refresh might be nice, the look is definitely intentional. It’s not as if this is your grandparents’ living room, looking the same today as it did during the Cuban Missile Crisis with its formaldehyde finishing and burnt sienna shag carpeting.

Rather than dining inside, we prefer eating outside on the balcony overlooking Fantasyland. For a while, whenever we passed by Pinocchio Village Haus this area was closed, but in December 2012, we finally saw it open and were able to dine up there! Seating is very limited up here but most people don’t know about this location, so you might have luck getting a spot up here. This location is great; not only do you get away from the noise and crowds in the main dining rooms, but you have an excellent view of Fantasyland and New Fantasyland. If all of the seating were like this, Pinocchio Village Haus would receive higher marks.

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One area where Pinocchio Village Haus does receive high marks is the food on the new menu. Gone are the greasy pizzas comparable to what you’d find at Pizza Planet, replaced by flatbreads. I’ve been a little surprised at the divided reaction to these flatbreads. I’ve read many complaints from people whose children (or in some cases, they themselves) prefer the regular pizza that the flatbreads replaced. I disagree with the notion of judging things based upon the preferences of children (who also love playing in cardboard boxes and eat things that come out of their own noses, among other suspect preferences) so the idea that kids won’t like flatbreads in no way impacts the score here. By any reasonable measure, these flatbreads are substantially better than the pizzas they replaced.

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The options for these new flatbreads are Pepperoni, Barbecue Chicken, and Caprese. Also present is a Meatball Sub Sandwich and a Penne Pasta, along with some salad. I’ve had the Meatball Sub Sandwich in the past, and it has been fairly decent, but probably not something I’d order again. On this trip, we tried the Barbecue Chicken Flatbread and Caprese Flatbread.

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Far and away, the Caprese Flatbread was the better of the two. Not that the Barbecue Chicken Flatbread was bad, the Caprese Flatbread just had a more nuanced taste, with the cheese, tomatoes, basil, and balsamic all offering excellent complementary flavors.  It was more like a flatbread that you’d order at the California Grill as an appetizer than the flatbread you’d find at a counter service restaurant in Fantasyland. The downside was that it was also more like a flatbread that would be served as an appetizer in terms of how filling it was.

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The BBQ Chicken Flatbread was much more filling and still tasted good, but definitely tasted like counter service restaurant fare. We probably wouldn’t order it again, but it was by no means bad or even average. Just not as good as the Caprese Flatbread.

Both flatbreads could have used more cheese, too. In the future, we’ll probably order the Caprese as a late-night snack to split rather than as a full meal, as we were hungry again shortly after eating at Pinocchio Village Haus.

Overall, Pinocchio Village Haus is now part of a trio of high quality counter service restaurants that also includes Gaston’s Tavern in New Fantasyland and Be Our Guest Restaurant in New Fantasyland that reverse the old words of wisdom, “never eat in Fantasyland.” While part of this wisdom still rings true in the sense that these restaurants are going to be a zoo (and not in the good way–the only primates this zoo has are human children) at lunch, but part predicated on the belief that Fantasyland has lousy food no longer holds water. Pinocchio Village Haus is a great place to relax late at night with a flatbread snack. We recommend it during off-hours for lunch or dinner with slight hesitation unless your party includes mostly small eaters.

Read our other Walt Disney World restaurant reviews and Disney Dining Plan resources

Overall Score: 7.5/10

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28 Responses to “Pinocchio Village Haus Review”

  1. James R. says:

    After a dinner at Pinnochio’s in June 2011 that was universally considered the worst meal of our trip, I’m stunned to read this. Glad to hear that they may be turning things around, but I still have a significant mental block to the place. May have to fight through that, though, and give it another whirl.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      We had a meal there in December 2010 that was one of the worst meals we’ve had at Walt Disney World. The new menu made a huge difference. I’d still like to see larger portions and maybe a couple more choices on the menu, but I’m more or less satisfied with it now.

  2. Chris says:

    Are you telling the truth? How much did your nose grow after this review? :)

  3. Kerri H. says:

    Great review! I agree…the flatbreads are quite good!

  4. Theresa says:

    I’m with some of the other commenters – this has been the most disappointing counter service we’ve ever had in Walt Disney World. And as someone who doesn’t eat cheese (I know, I’m weird), until their menu has a little more variety, I have no interest in heading back.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Not eating cheese is distinctly unpatriotic! ;)

      • Prof. Brainard says:

        It may not be unpatriotic, but it is certainly odd for someone to go into what is essentially a fast-food “Italian” venue in a theme park and then complain of a surfeit of cheese. I would have thought common sense might have pointed to the fact that such a place would involve a fair amount of cheese. I suppose it’s part of the current view among some that every restaurant should cater to every person’s likes and dislikes, health issues, allergies, fad diets, religious restrictions, and eating disorders. It’s incumbent upon the eater to find a place that suits his needs and tastes; it is not incumbent upon the restaurant to cater to every need or taste. Reviewing or commenting on a restaurant on the basis of one’s individual food issues is not helpful.

      • Bernadette says:

        Prof. Brainard – lumping food allergies in with ‘likes/dislikes’? I sincerely hope you +/or a loved one never experience the difference – others aren’t so fortunate, however.

      • Prof. Brainard says:

        You missed the point entirely, Bernadette. In no way did I imply or state that a restaurant should not alert allergy sufferers with regard to potentially hazardous food. I simply said that they are under no obligation to provide food that caters to every individual situation. Surely no reasonable person could disagree with that, at least not one with the reading comprehension skills to actually understand my comment.

      • Bernadette says:

        Ah, the ‘reading comprehension skills’ retort – an oldy-but-a-goody. As tempting as it is to deconstruct your comments, I enjoy this blog immensely so I’ll leave it at that. :)

      • Prof. Brainard says:

        Actually, Bernadette, it was the old “you missed the point entirely” retort, but obviously you missed the point of the old “missed the point entirely” point, so what’s the use of trying to reason with you. Next time You certainly haven’t done your cause any good, but I promise the next time I see some overprotective mother (or some little wifey) hovering over her weak, sniveling brat and fretting that there might be a peanut within a half-mile radius, I’ll think of you!

  5. Betsy says:

    Before Gastons, this was my go-to locale for a soda break. I’d grab a diet coke and sit on the outside balcony overlooking Fantasyland. It was one of my favorite resting places in the MK. I now prefer Gastons, but its nice to know the food has improved here so I can sometimes turn my soda break into a lunch break! Thanks for the review!

  6. InACents says:

    Hmm, we never tried eating here, so with the new menu, we may have to give it a try now.

  7. lebeau says:

    We had lunch at PVH right around noon last Nov. I was expecting it to be a madhouse, but it was not bad at all. We have vowed never to return to Cosmic Ray’s ever again after two terrible experiences with crowd control there. But have never had this problem at PVH. Weird.

    As for the food, we had the flatbreads and all agreed they were good. Surprisingly good. The kids had mac and cheese which they devoured. It was one of the best counter service meals of the trip and outranked a few sit-down meals.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      You’ve been lucky at Village Haus, although I suspect Be Our Guest will siphon away a lot of the Fantasyland crowd.

      Was the mac & cheese anything special, or just a solid “normal” mac & cheese? I love a good mac & cheese…

      • lebeau says:

        I’m sure we got lucky at PVH because I have heard nightmare stories. You’re probably right about BoG siphoning off guests, but it was not yet open at the time.

        The mac and cheese was the kid-friendly stuff. The kids enjoyed it so much, they went on a mac and cheese bender. Unfortunately, the mac and cheese at Landscape of Flavors was more sophisticated and not to their liking. If you’re looking for a good mac and cheese, LoF has it. But it also has better options.

  8. Shannon says:

    The flatbreads are tasty at least seem healthy…But I really miss the Figaro Fries. A seriously guilty indulgence, but they were magical! :-)

  9. Shannan says:

    My family loved Pinocchios! Thanks for a great review.

  10. Annie says:

    If I’d eaten there before December 2012, I can’t remember doing so. We LOVED it. We had the Caprese Flatbread and breadsticks and found it sufficiently filling. The breadsticks weren’t great but we were crazy about the pizza. I ate a whole lot of flatbread that trip, too. You could probably count down flatbreads in WDW these days. I had it there, Via Napoli, Mama Melrose and Wolfgang Puck’s.

  11. Kevin says:

    I had heard bad things about the flat bread, but was pleasantly surprised when we ate there last month (our first time ever). It wasn’t the best I’ve ever had, but it was pretty good overall (we had the chicken and the pepperoni). I’d take Be Our Guest over this, and probably even just the pork shank at Gastons, but if you are in the mood for pizza this hits the spot.

    We had forgotten how bad pizza planet was and went back there this trip. Not even comparable.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Pretty much agree on all counts.

      A lot of people defended Pizza Planet in our review of that, so I guess to each their own on that type of “pizza.”

  12. rol says:

    ok i guess i’m one of the oddballs who has always loved Pinocchio Village Haus…call me a donkey but this has always been a lunch spot for me since i was a kid. i guess the tradition never dies, can’t wait to try the new menu

  13. Katie says:

    “I disagree with the notion of judging things based upon the preferences of children (who also love playing in cardboard boxes and eat things that come out of their own noses, among other suspect preferences)”…I have worked 8 hours of nightshift work and have 4 more to go. Thank you for that statement; that just made my night hahahaha!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      One of the rare instances of successful(?) humor on this blog! Hopefully the rest of the shift flew by.

  14. Kitty says:

    Have to admit, this is somewhere that isn’t even ‘on my radar’ after an atrocious meal there years ago! Still, I’m so happy they’re turning things around a bit and will try and pop in for a flatbread on my next trip.
    Does it open during evening EMH? We’re visiting in September, if that makes a difference.
    Thanks for the review.

  15. This restaurant is looking fabulous…great review done here! Enjoyed reading about this awesome restaurant. I am really admired for this information in this blog.

  16. Lisa says:

    Their menu has definitely improved although I wish they would bring back the Figaro fries!! They were a Disney staple for our trips!

  17. Layla Martin says:

    We stumbled on Pinocchio Haus on our first visit to WDW in late August of 2012. We didn’t know any better of what was good or bad. We ate later in the day like around 2′ish. So it was fairly empty which was good because we have to seat a family of 8! It was very clean and didn’t smell like spilled mustard and ketchup. I love Pinocchio! Also we were handed a fast pass to Philaharmagic…I think. Which you probably don’t need a fast pass to, but the gesture was nice. My boys eat big so the meatball sub was right up their alley. The simple cheese pizza suited my littles well and I loved the light Caprise. It was really refreshing after a long hot day. We loved it! We will be eating there again! Did I mention I love Pinocchio?

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