Star Wars Character Dinner Review at Hollywood & Vine

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New for Star Wars Weekends, Walt Disney World is offering Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine at Hollywood and Vine in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This Star Wars character dinner is available during the entire Star Wars Weekends “season” (in other words, weekdays in addition to the weekends) and features Disney characters dressed in Star Wars attire. This dinner will return for Star Wars Weekends 2015, with booking opening December 3, 2014.

The Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine costs $55.99 for adults and $33.99 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 discounts (we’ve heard Disney Visa Cardholder discounts have been honored, but we forgot to bring our Disney Visa credit card!). It can also be done as a Fantasmic dining package for $59.99 (adults) and $36.99 (kids). This option is probably the way to go if you want to see Fantasmic. 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.

When the Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine at Hollywood and Vine and the Star Wars Galactic Dine-In Breakfast were announced, I decided to call immediately and make us reservations. The prices for these meals made me a bit uneasy, but I knew they were going to be fairly popular with Star Wars fans, so better to make the reviews and cancel later if we decided we just couldn’t stomach the prices. We wavered back and forth on canceling, but ultimately decided to bite the bullet and just do both meals. We love unique/special offerings at Walt Disney World, plus…we have to find something to blog about, right?! ;) Make sure to read our Star Wars Galactic Dine-In Breakfast Review, too!

We had never dined at Hollywood & Vine previously (well, I did long ago when it was not a character meal), mostly because it’s a meal with obscure (to us) characters that hold no interest for two adults with no children. Plus, the venue looks fairly dull. So, on the one hand, this meal presented an “opportunity” for us to dine in a place we normally wouldn’t. On the other hand, even with some mild Star Wars overlays, it was still a really uninteresting venue, especially by Disney’s Hollywood Studios standards. I don’t know what they’re going for with this place, but it reminds me of actual generic mess halls at which we’ve eaten at movie studios. I guess kudos for nailing that if that was the idea, although it’s probably a “theme” that should have never been attempted.

Despite this, we both were incredibly glad that we didn’t cancel either meal. This review of Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine will cover why we enjoyed it, who it will be a good idea for, and who should probably skip it. Let’s dig in!

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My understanding (and I could be wrong) with regard to Hollywood & Vine is that it’s one of the least popular character meals and in-park restaurants at Walt Disney World. Given that, and given it would have been fairly easy to predict that a Star Wars meal would be far more popular, it would have been nice if Hollywood & Vine went ‘all in’ on the Star Wars character meal concept, and offered only those meals during the period of Star Wars Weekends. This would have allowed the restaurant to create a better Star Wars environment than just some hastily put-up decorations each day. My guess is that the Star Wars meals were a last minute idea, and Advance Dining Reservations had already been taken for the regular meals there prior to the Star Wars meals getting the final greenlight, so maybe this wasn’t possible. However, given the popularity of these meals, they’ll surely be back next year. Hopefully Disney takes the opportunity to turn this successful test into something more elaborate then.

As for the food, my understanding is that the menu is fairly similar to Hollywood & Vine’s standard buffet, with a few tweaks. We had heard a range of opinions of Hollywood & Vine, most of which ranged from awful to pretty good. Not many (if any), “OH WOW, BEST BUFFET EVER!” type comments. We both definitely skew towards the pretty good end of the spectrum, perhaps a little higher than that. Our expectations were not high for Hollywood & Vine, and it far surpassed what we expected.

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This is just speculation, but I think a big reason why we enjoyed our meal so much more than many have enjoyed Hollywood & Vine is because we were there when the place was really busy, which meant no food sat under the heat lamp for very long. Basic freshness could probably explain a lot here.

Most of the food at Hollywood & Vine is American comfort food. This is no Boma or Tusker House, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad. There were certainly some foods we didn’t like on the buffet, but overall we felt it was pretty good. Sarah tends to prefer healthier and higher quality foods, and she found plenty that she liked on the buffet. I’m perfectly fine eating unhealthy, guilty pleasure foods, and I found several probably-not-good-for-you foods that I really liked.

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Just to give you an idea of a baseline here, we had dined at Chef Mickey’s for dinner a couple of nights before this (it has the same style of food), and we found Hollywood & Vine considerably better than Chef Mickey’s. It wasn’t even a close call. Many of the foods were similar or even the same at both, but preparation, quality, and freshness all were much better at Hollywood & Vine.

Let’s take a look at some of what we tried at the buffet:

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The Lobster and Shrimp Mac & Cheese was one of my favorite things. Nice texture, great flavor, and plenty of (large) chunks of meat.

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Sarah got pasta from the “Create Your Own Pasta” Station. She really liked it, and was pleased that she was able to order a healthier option without oil.

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The salmon was pretty good. Not the most flavorful, but not rubbery like buffet salmon can be.

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These garlic mashed potatoes were amazing. I’m not sure whether they were cheesy mashed potatoes or if there was just so much butter that they just tasted like it, but I ate way more of these than I should. I’m sure they were awful for me… awfully delicious! 

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This shredded pork was another hit with both of us. The meat itself was juicy and well-seasoned, and the onions were the perfect accompaniment.

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More importantly, here are some of the unique desserts. These mini cupcakes with buttermilk topping were the star for me. The Yoda one was mocha flavored and the Darth Vader one was peanut butter flavored. I thought the Darth Vader one was just a bit better.

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The cookies and cheesecake were fine, but nothing to write home about.

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Most of these desserts weren’t memorable, but they all were fairly good.

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The blue ice cream was raspberry flavored and was great. Typical soft serve, but I’m a sucker for soft serve.

Obviously, the big thing about this buffet is the Disney characters dressed in Star Wars attire. Featured at the meal are Ewok Chip & Dale at the entrance to the restaurant in front of a backdrop (you receive a PhotoPass card containing a download of your photo with them included in the cost of the meal), and roaming the restaurant are Darth Goofy, Stormtrooper Donald Duck, Princess Leia Minnie, and Jedi Mickey Mouse. So 5 separate Star Wars Weekends meet & greet scenarios included in the cost of dinner.

Despite the restaurant being packed, we were very pleased by the level of character interactions we received. Many of the characters, especially Darth Goofy and Stormtrooper Donald, engaged us more than just the normal ‘pose for a photo and move on’, which was great. Both Donald and Goofy wanted to take Sarah with them, and the other characters were fun, as well.

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In addition to our individualized interactions with the characters, watching them go around the restaurant and the prompts to roll-up the provided paper light sabers provided gave the meal an incredible energy. Even though the food was good, the character interactions and light sabers totally made the meal.

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To put it bluntly, these character interactions and meeting opportunities are necessarily key to this meal. It is just so expensive that if you don’t care about meeting Disney characters in Star Wars attire, there is no possible way to justify doing this meal. The cost is a significant premium over the normal price of Hollywood & Vine, and while good, it’s not that good of food. You could do a similarly-priced meal at the Hollywood Brown Derby, and it would definitely be better.

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The only way this meal is even remotely justifiable is if you would otherwise do most of these character meet & greets at Star Wars Weekends, or would like to do them but for waiting in the heat and long lines. Essentially, you are paying an ~$15/person premium for this meal (the difference in price between normal dinner and the Star Wars dinner at Hollywood & Vine) to avoid waiting in line at those character meet & greets. If you wanted to do each of these character meet & greets in the park, you’d at a minimum wait 2 hours for all of them. Chances are, you’d wait even longer than that.

Whether or not that makes the Star Wars Weekend character dinner at Hollywood & Vine worth it for you is only a question you can answer. It depends so much on how important meeting those characters is to you, and whether you’d be willing to spend more money to save time standing in lines in the Florida heat and humidity (and probably also your party size: a party of 2 people would wait in line the same time as a party of 6 people, but the premium price for 2 people to avoid the line is $30, versus a $90 premium for 6 people). The food exceeded our expectations, but it still didn’t even come close to being worth the price tag alone. Then again, I can’t really think of any character meal that I think is “worth it” in terms of food alone. I suspect it’s pretty much universally understood that you pay a premium at every character meal for the experience and to avoid meet & greet lines.

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With all of that said, for us, Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine absolutely turned out to be worth the money. We aren’t even huge Star Wars fans, but we had a ridiculous amount of fun. It was probably one of our most enjoyable character meals at Walt Disney World ever, in fact. The energy was great, the characters were a lot of fun, and the food was good. Sarah said it was the most fun experience for her of the trip. (I liked it, but I preferred the Star Wars character breakfast at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater.) I still cringe at how much we paid for this meal, but I do not at all regret it, even at that price. If you somehow still have the opportunity to do Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine during this year’s Star Wars Weekends, we highly recommend it if the meals fit into your budget and you’re interested in meeting these characters without lines. If you cannot do the meals this year, fear not, as the meals this year have been a smash success; we can’t imagine Disney not bringing these meals back next year, or even keeping them around this year after Star Wars Weekends end.

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!

Overall Score: 8.5/10

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.

Your Thoughts…

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!

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18 Responses to “Star Wars Character Dinner Review at Hollywood & Vine”

  1. Aly says:

    Not a big Star Wars fan!?!? I’m not sure I can keep reading this blog…

    Haha jk. So glad you liked the meal! I’m bummed I missed out on booking these for our early May trip. In particular I would have loved the Sci-Fi Dine-In one, and I’m really looking forward to that report!

  2. Samantha says:

    My family did this meal on Mother’s Day. I definitely agree with your review. We had the Fantasmic package. I figured since I was already going to have to borrow from my son’s college fund to pay for the meal, the additional $4 would be a drop in the bucket. I’m glad we did. This was the most expensive meal that my son NEVER ate. He couldn’t contain his excitement. His four-year old mind was blown. He kept shouting “I wuv dis”. It was a busy night but we actually got to meet most of the characters twice (except Mickey). The only blip was that Darth Vader Goofy originally came to our table when my dad was the only one present (we had just gone to the buffet for our first round). The server tried to pull the “well, they can only come to each table once” routine, so I had to pull the “I paid the GDP-equivalent of some countries for this meal, get Goofy back over here for my son” routine and then all was right with the world. Overall, a great experience and completely worth the price for the absolute joy that we saw from our son. I’ll show him the pics when he is older and wants to know why his tuition check bounced.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Awesome to hear your son liked it. It seemed like there were a LOT of kids in our meal that were having an absolute blast. It was actually fun watching them run around getting in light saber battles!

      The extra $4 for Fantasmic is definitely a good deal if you’d otherwise wait in line for Fantasmic, and if you’re looking at other Fantasmic dining packages, it makes this meal even more appealing. We’re not too keen on Fantasmic at Walt Disney World, so we just opted for the basic package, though.

  3. Scott G says:

    Great review Tom! We just experienced this last week as well (Sci-Fi too) and had the same thoughts. This was our first ever Star Wars Weekend visit, and I thought this would be a great way to meet some of the characters, so we could have more time for other events.

    The price was a bit steep, and I was a little bummed that Tables in Wonderland wasn’t accepted, but as you mentioned, using the Disney Visa did save 10%, but no discounts at all at Sci-Fi.

    Even though the food and the character interactions exceeded our expectations, I feel that if these meals continue going forward (and probably will), this would still be a once every few years deal for us. The fact that we dined at Yachtsman and California Grill for less on this visit tells you something about the price of these meals.

    I’m still pleased that we did both meals though, as we did have a great time with the characters, and the food was better than we thought.

    Side note: I think I saw you guys at the 24 hour day at Magic Kingdom, but I didn’t know if it would be weird to come up and say hi and thank you for all the hard work with the Blog and photos!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Oh yeah, if these continue, we wouldn’t do them on a regular basis. A big part of the appeal for us was the possibility that these would be limited time only. I’d much rather eat at Yachtsman Steakhouse!

      You probably did see us at the 24-hour party. You should have said hello! :)

  4. Mike B says:

    We were one of the patrons who had reservations at Hollywood & Vine and were told that our night would be changed to the Star Wars night. We were on the Dining Plan, and at first thought about canceling and questioning the raise from one table service credit to two. But, I am a Star Wars fan (the original 3 only – the others were just, well, garbage, but I digress!)

    The main reason we didn’t change from this reservation and use our Dining Plan credits elsewhere was because of the late hour notice that this change was being made. Simply put, there weren’t a lot of available options for reservations to take our credits elsewhere. And, I am a Star Wars fan, so I thought, what the heck!

    I wish we would have changed. It is good food, nothing outstanding, and nothing memorable – although your dessert plate looks identical to mine! It is not, as you pointed out, a good value for those on the Dining Plan. I’m not even sure it justified the higher price point! So, basically, we wasted a Dining Plan table service credit. As a comparison, we used a single table service credit at Bongo’s and the final tab was essentially the same as this meal cost.

    We did enjoy the character interaction – we are, as yourself, two adults traveling without children, and enjoy seeing the characters from time to time. My wife’s favorite is the Winnie the Pooh experience during breakfast at Crystal Palace! The characters spend lots of time interacting with everyone and we got some great photos.

    My advice – if you’re on the Dining Plan – skip this. I’m not even sure we would do this again – even with being big Star Wars fans!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Yeah, although it doesn’t affect us personally, I was a bit disappointed to see these as 2-credit meals on the Dining Plan. That makes them one of the absolute worst uses of credits (from an objective perspective) on the DDP. Based on pricing.

      My suggestion for others reading this would be to pay out of pocket and to use the DDP credits elsewhere. At least you enjoyed the meal! :)

  5. Tammy says:

    Not a Star Wars fan? I find that decidedly unpatriotic!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Not a *big* Star Wars fan. I really enjoy the original trilogy, but I’m not a fan of it like I am of the Disney parks. Definitely more of a casual like rather than a hobby/interest.

  6. Sara Swain Roberts says:

    We did it a couple weeks ago for trip furing the opening of Star Wars weekends. We do the Play and Dine as well, since I also have a 4 year old. The buffet was the same, but they added the clever Star Wars names to the food. The only reason I stomached the price was because it truly made the entire trip for my 12 year old. We had a large party of adults and only two kiddos. The characters took ample time with us and the atmosphere made it even more fun. Hollywood and Bine in many ways is the diamond in the rough and the lobster Mac and cheese is awesome! Best thing for us was our timing was perfect and we were able to find some prime viewing for the fireworks.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      In your experience, was the food ‘fresher’ at the Star Wars dinner, or is that about the norm for Hollywood & Vine?

  7. Rachel Taylor says:

    Sorry this is off topic ,Tom were you and Sarah at the 24 hour event at MK ? I was watching via webcam from England and was sure i saw you two around 6.30 am the day it closed ,making your way out with the last few.was it you ?

  8. Tommy Erwin says:

    Thanks for this write up! I’ve always longed to go to Star Wars Weekend but have not yet been able to swing it. This review was practical and very informative, as any review should be. Thanks again for all the effort that you and Sarah both put into this blog!

    And of course this review caused me to, quite literally, laugh out loud. Anybody can share their opinion online. But your thoughtful and hilarious write ups are why I come to the blog first for anything Disney related. Thanks Tom and Sarah!

  9. Tom Phelps says:

    We did the Stars Wars Fantasmic Dinner Package here on Sunday May 18th. My wife and I haven’t been back to to Hollywood & Vine since a horrible Fantasmic Dinner package meal in 2005. That was the year Katrina struck and FDP guests were seated at the far right of the theater. A situation since rectified by Disney. Center section front row this time. What has not changed, in our opinion, is the poor quality of the food.

    I believe our dissapointment was hightened by the fact that we had such a FABULOUS SWC breakfast at the Sci-Fi Dine In earlier that same day. Although I have not read your review for that meal yet, I am betting in advance that you came to the same conclusion we did. We believe DHS as a “Hyper Space” Hit on it’s hands with that meal.

    We were seated in the (smaller, I think) left side dining room. All the characters were great. Only problem we had, was waiting over one and a half hours for Princess Minnie to arrive at our table. She was surrounded and besieged by photographers and autograph seekers near the macaroni & cheese. Our princess, trapped like a rat! We complained around 7:20 P.M. to what appeared to be a cast member manager that we had been there since 5:50 P.M. and wanted to get to the hollywood gate by 7 :30 P.M. He did nothing to expedite Minnie’s availability on our side of the room.

    Finally she showed up at out table and we got our pictures. I got a hug from her and all was forgiven. I realized our princess had probably been in that outfit for over and hour and a half. We made it to our seats by 8 P.M.

    Since we only had one day to get SW character pictures we chose to do both meals in one day. Turns out, we were able to get pictures of all of these H&V SW characters with the exception of Chip and Dale in the late afternoon prior to this meal in Darth’s Mall. We had been miss informed that R2D2 and CP3O would be in the mall for photographs. Instead it was Darth Goofey, Storm Trooper Donald and Mickey & Minnie. A CM working the photograph line inside informed us that they were aware of the mix up on the Disney Parks Blog. Once inside, we were able to take pictures with all four of these characters by getting back on line within 30 minutes.

    As for the food, a gentleman next to me made at least a dozen trips to the buffet. Plate after plateful was devoured with all the power of the force until his final trip. When he arrived back with a mountain of chicken nuggets, he took one bite and left the entire pile. I could be wrong, but I believe they served Di-Lithium crystals from the Starship Enterprise disguised as chicken nuggets. Good thing a food fight didn’t break out. Those nuggets were rock hard and could have pierced a Storm Trooper’s helmet.

    First and last SW character meal at this location!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      That’s too bad that the characters took so long to get around to your table. Our entire meal was probably a little over an hour, and 3 of the characters made 2 visits. I guess we just got lucky? The character manager definitely should have helped Minnie get to you faster.

      As for kids food at these buffets, unless it looks really special (a rarity) I never touch it–for the exact reason you touch upon!

  10. Cari Lyford says:

    Hi Tom, Thanks for this review. I have three avid little Star Wars fans in my family and we’re planning a Star Wars weekend trip for 2015. My question is, if you book this meal as a Fantasmic Package, does that interfere with seeing the Symphony in the Stars show? I know they happen at two different times, but if you’re busy seeing Fantasmic, are you screwed for getting a good spot for the Symphony? It sounds like the Symphony is the better show in your opinion, so I wouldn’t want to miss that.
    Thanks!
    Cari

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