New for Star Wars Weekends 2014, Walt Disney World is offering Star Wars Galactic Dine-In Breakfast in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This Star Wars character breakfast is available during the entire Star Wars Weekends “season” (in other words, weekdays in addition to the weekends) and features Star Wars characters roaming the “outdoor” drive-in theater at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater. In addition to this Star Wars character breakfast, we also did the character dinner. For a look at that, check out our Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine at Hollywood and Vine Review.
Star Wars Galactic Dine-In Breakfast costs $47.99 for adults and $29.99 for kids ages 3-9, or two table service credits for those on the Disney Dining Plan. This meal does not accept Tables in Wonderland nor does it accept any other form of Walt Disney World discounts. Since it does require 2 credits, it is not a good use of Disney Dining Plan credits if you’re trying to maximize your value on the Disney Dining Plan. It will forever go down in the record books as the most expensive breakfast we’ve ever eaten. (ALERT GUINNESS! ;))
We have dined at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater previously, and absolutely love the ambiance (and, unlike many others, the food!). In fact, we like it so much that it is near the top our of Top 10 Themed Restaurants at Walt Disney World list. You can read more of my thoughts on the theming in those posts, but suffice to say, we are big fans of the ambiance at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater.
In this case, I was worried that the ambiance would be what would make the experience unpleasant. Since Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater is themed to be an outdoor drive-in set at night, it’s dark in there. And since it’s not actually nighttime during the meal (well, unless you eat there at night–but the restaurant is still indoors, so you get the idea), this theming is accomplished by way of lighting and a little Disney wizardry. A character meal in this setting means two things: flash photos and poorly lit photos. The former could potentially ruin the ambiance, while the latter is the probable result even when using a flash (since most people won’t be able to balance the ambiant light in their exposures).
Despite the exorbitant cost and the difficulty of photographing characters in Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater, we loved the experience. This Star Wars Galactic Dine-In Breakfast in Disney’s Hollywood Studios review will cover why we enjoyed the breakfast, who it will be a good idea for, and who should probably skip it. We’ll also have some photo tips to help you get at least decent photos.
My concern was that Walt Disney World was shoe-horning this experience into Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater despite it not being a good spot for a character meal, because they wanted to put a Star Wars character breakfast somewhere in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and this was the most suitable location. It turns out that I was right and wrong.
I was right in that it’s very difficult for most guests to take character photos in such a dark environment. Even I struggled with it, as my autofocus was often stubborn, and I could only balance the light so much. I was wrong in that, in terms of ambiance, Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater is perfect for a Star Wars character meal. Think about it. When Star Wars was originally released, it was the golden age of drive-in theaters, and I’m sure many Americans first saw some of the films in the original trilogy at a drive-in. This makes Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater a great “throwback” setting, and the Star Wars clip show on the big screen was probably a bit like a trip down memory lane for some guests. Add to that the way that the characters were able to interact with the drive-in setting and the guests, and it was a great location that made for an incredibly fun experience…so long as you weren’t interested in character photos (and presumably, most Walt Disney World guests are very interested in character photos).
Unlike the Star Wars character dinner, this was not a buffet. Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater doesn’t normally do breakfast, so I assume that’s why it was a set menu with “refills” available. Here’s a look at what we had.
The breakfast started with pastries, a couple of which were cute. While decent, these were nothing special. We’d recommend skipping them altogether and saving room for the rest of the food.
Of course, we had to order the Bantha Milk. I think Star Wars Land is an inevitability, and when it does come, I hope Walt Disney World has some sort of delicious blue drink they can hype up. Maybe a speciality Bantha Milkshake or a Bantha Milk cocktail?
The Yoda parfait and fruit cup were each fine, but again, nothing special.
Sarah had the Mos Eisley’s Morning, which was an egg white omelet with shitake mushrooms and caramelized onions, garlic roasted fingerling potatoes, and greek yogurt with berries. She liked this, noting that the omlete had a good taste and everything seemed freshly made.
I had the Kessel Run, which was grilled beef tenderloin on baby Spinach with bacon and cheddar custard on a roasted tomato and cheesy horseradish potatoes. Mine was surprisingly good. While the beef tenderloin wasn’t the best I’ve ever had, it was good. Well-prepared and flavorful, although not quite as tender as I would have hoped. The bacon and cheddar custard struck me as odd when I saw it on the menu, but it was actually delicious. Same for the cheesy potatoes.
We were still a bit hungry, so we ordered the Imperial Delight to split. This was caramelized banana-stuffed french toast with caramel sauce and strawberry compote. It was really good, but really, really sweet. I’m glad we got it to split, because I couldn’t have eaten an entire order of it myself.
I don’t recall what this dessert was called, but it was delicious. Really simple (and it doesn’t look very appetizing) but it had a nice texture and great fruity flavor. Plus, it had boba in it!
One thing that annoyed me a little about our meal was that our server never indicated that we could order extra entrees. After we were done with our first round, he simply said, “do you need anything else?” To me, that’s a standard question that’s asked at meals, and implies more drinks or the basics. It’s not quite the same as, “you can order as many entrees as you’d like, do you want another?” Thanks to the internet, we knew you could order another round of entrees, but it was annoying nonetheless. Maybe that’s just me, though.
As for getting better photos, here are a few tips. First, if you’re using a phone, low-level point & shoot, or any camera on automatic settings, there’s a good chance you’re going to be disappointed with your photos. My first tip is taking the nicest camera you have, and preferably one with manual settings. If you don’t have a camera with manual settings, you will have to make do with what you have. For those lower-level cameras, you will want to turn on the flash, ideally at the ‘fill flash’ setting (if you can). If you have a smart phone, use its flashlight (or bring a separate flashlight) to illuminate the scene before starting to take your photo. This will assist with both autofocus, and your camera more accurately metering the scene. This is in addition to the flash, which you also definitely want to use. If you don’t use a flashlight, the problem you’re going to have is blown out faces from the flash trying to overpower the overall darkness of the scene, and your backgrounds will still be dark. Even if you don’t understand this photo jargon, just trust me and do it.
If you have a camera with manual settings, there are a few options. One is to set the camera in aperture priority mode close to wide open, and crank up the ISO until you have a reasonable shutter speed. You can also try shutter priority mode at a reasonable shutter speed, crank up the ISO, and let the camera choose the aperture. Another yet is to go full manual, setting each element of the exposure at a reasonable number and letting the flash fill out the exposure. With all of these in a setting as dark as Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater, I use “slow sync” mode on the flash to allow for a proper (or close to it–I still kept my backgrounds underexposed because it’s just so dark in there) exposure of the background. I also prefer using a fast lens and/or one with vibration reduction, as a “reasonable” shutter speed can still be pretty slow. For most of these photos, I got the best of both worlds, as I used the Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 VC.
Following these tips should be a decent start for getting better photos at the Star Wars character breakfast at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater, but as you can see by these photos here, it’s still a real challenge, and you’re likely to have photos that aren’t the best.
We thought the Star Wars breakfast was great for character interactions. Most guests who are character hunters will probably be there for Darth Vader and Boba Fett, both of whom normally have long lines during Star Wars Weekends. These characters are in front of a backdrop just inside the restaurant, and while their cold demeanor in interactions is fun, you have the least time with them of all characters.
Inside the restaurant, it seemed the overall guest favorite was the Jawas, who love to barter. The film was a nice prompt for this, as at various times, it indicated what the Jawas might like to trade. The people in front of us traded with them, but the only thing I had to trade, an empty gum wrapper, they declined. One thing to note is that the Jawas do not photograph well with the flash.
Greedo was also great in terms of interaction. He was very suave and generally charismatic. Greedo was another fun character for meeting, although I wasn’t sure what his ‘gimmick’ was the first time around, so we ended up just touching fingers. That sounds way creepier than it actually was. By his second time around, I realize he wanted to take our food and collect a bounty.
The Stormtroopers were also a lot of fun, stopping to watch the film clips at various points and pointing out to the audience whenever they were on the screen. They also took various guests as prisoners (including me, and this was a case where our autofocus failed and Sarah was only able to capture blurry photos of the interaction) and just generally kept everyone in line.
Although the restaurant was pretty busy during our breakfast (and we were towards the end of breakfast seatings), the characters all managed to make it around to us multiple times, and each interaction was a ton of fun. Kudos to whomever was handling the characters at both of these Star Wars meals, as they were some of the best and most efficient character meals we’ve experienced, and usually good interactions and efficiency are at odds with one another.
Overall, we had a blast at the Star Wars character breakfast, and I actually preferred it to the Star Wars character dinner, but it does have me a bit torn. On the one hand, I would say that the food was not as good as the dinner, and was the most overpriced breakfast we’ve ever had. We basically paid the same price for a moderately good breakfast that we would have paid for an excellent dinner at a Signature Restaurant. On the other hand, the ambiance and character interactions at this Star Wars meal were spectacular. Despite my initial fears, and the difficulty in taking photos in the environment, it turned out to be a wonderful setting for a Star Wars meal. It would have been nice if there were a better way to allow guests to take photos while maintaining this ambiance, but putting the two most popular characters in a well-lit area in the lobby was probably the best compromise that could have been achieved in this temporary setting. I already commented on the inflated pricing of these Star Wars meals and how it may or may not be worth it to you in our Star Wars Character Dinner Review, so read that if you’re interested in further analysis there. I would not be surprised if a long time from now (say, 2020) in a galaxy not so far away, Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater is modified into being a Star Wars drive-in if Star Wars Land really does end up replacing the Backlot.
If you are planning a Walt Disney World trip while this is offered, make sure to also read our Star Wars Weekends Tips and our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide to make the most of your experience!
To read other Disney restaurant reviews from Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Tokyo Disney Resort, Disneyland Paris, and Hong Kong Disneyland, organized by location, check out our Disney Dining Reviews Index.
Have you done the Star Wars character meals at Walt Disney World? What did you think? Is this meal something you’d like to try? Any specific recommendations from the buffet? If you have any questions or thoughts to share, please post them in the comments. We love hearing from readers!