Pym Test Kitchen Review: Disney’s New Marvel Restaurant
Pym Test Kitchen is a new Ant-Man and the Wasp-themed restaurant serving massive meals & tiny treats in Avengers Campus at DCA. This Marvel restaurant review features food photos, thoughts on the cuisine and ambiance, and whether this Disneyland Resort dining option is worth your time and money.
Along with the adjacent Pym Tasting Lab, which is the bar in Avengers Campus, this dining complex is part of the Pym Technologies site in Avengers Campus at Disney California Adventure. This advanced research and development facility is known for its revolutionary Pym Particles, which apply innovative technologies and science to food and beverage.
Pym Tasting Lab uses brilliant new brewing systems for its beers and alcoholic drinks, while Pym Test Kitchen shrinks and grows entrees and desserts for lunch and dinner. All told, Pym Test Kitchen & Tasting Lab is a relatively small venue, with only outdoor seating. This largely makes sense, as Disney California Adventure already has an abundance of dining options.
Pym Test Kitchen is also the first restaurant in Disney California Adventure (or Disneyland Resort as a whole) that appears purpose-built for the Mobile Order era. There’s only one register inside the eatery, with the expectation that the vast majority of guests will place their orders via the Disneyland app. (Keep in mind, Pym Test Kitchen was designed and built before the closure, so this was presumably the intent all along.)
Due to the popularity of Avengers Campus and the lack of registers, we’d highly recommend placing your Mobile Order early in the day. While dining availability is easier as the “new restaurant smell” wears off, standby lines can still be long and order windows still can be over an hour out.
With that said, let’s take a look at the themed design of Pym Test Kitchen…
As mentioned above, Pym Test Kitchen’s core concept is that the restaurant uses revolutionary shrink-and-grow technology of Pym Particles. With that, Ant-Man and the Wasp lead a team of research chefs as they pioneer a menu packed with inventive-sized entrees, tiny treats, and shareable bites.
Upon entering, you’ll find a variety of Easter eggs and graphics on the walls that offer nods to Marvel films. Any fans of the MCU will undoubtedly enjoy all of this. For casual visitors, the coolest thing is undoubtedly the conveyor belt overhead where you can see pretzels transmogrified right before your eyes. (I should’ve captured video–it’s cool.)
Upon picking up your Mobile Order at Pym Test Kitchen, you’ll head to the drink and condiments station in a separate room off to the side. In this room, you’ll see gigantic soda cans, humongous condiment bottles, and other massive objects.
After grabbing whatever you need in here, Pym Test Kitchen exits into a small outdoor seating area adjacent to the restaurant. This is a pleasant area, offering glimpses of Marvel characters and the ‘spontaneous’ little shows that occur in Avengers Campus throughout the day.
Before we dig into the food, we want to provide some relevant context for this Pym Test Kitchen review. At present, most–but not all–counter service restaurants at Disney California Adventure have reopened. This may sound great and a sign of near normalcy on the Disneyland dining front.
However, upon closer inspection, you’ll find that menus are still significantly scaled back. Two of our normal favorites, Paradise Garden Grill and Flo’s V8 Cafe in Cars Land, are serving menus that are shadows of their normal selves and incredibly limited.
This is important to note because some of our quibbles with Pym Test Kitchen might be a result of the location overextending itself to offer a more ambitious menu. In fact, Pym Test Kitchen currently has the most expansive and inventive menu at DCA by a pretty wide margin.
With all of this in mind, we’ll offer our tentative review of the food, revisiting it later this year when (hopefully) everything is back to normal!
Let’s start with the Atomic Fusion Pretzel: Buffalo-style loaded with Chicken, Hot Sauce, Ranch Dressing, Blue Cheese Crumbles, Celery and Dill-pickled Carrots.
Here’s what’s going to become a trend: excellent idea, iffy execution. The toppings are delicious, with flavors coming together wonderfully and offering a nice variety of tastes and textures. Unfortunately, it’s atop a pretzel that–for us at least–was a bit too rubbery and just okay. With a high quality pretzel (as we’ve had many times elsewhere at Disneyland), this would’ve been a home run.
Next, the Impossible Spoonful: Rigatoni and Ditalini Pastas, Plant-based Meat-balls, Tomato Sauce, Dairy-free Parmesan and Micro Basil.
This giant meatball is a really clever and fun idea. Again, the dish largely misses the mark due to preparation and (possibly) presentation. Our giant meatball was incredibly dry inside and the al dente pasta didn’t help. The tomato sauce tasted cheap, bland, and didn’t add anything. Sarah was most excited for this dish at Pym Test Kitchen, and she couldn’t even finish–it doesn’t hold a candle to the Felucian Kefta and Hummus Garden Spread at Docking Bay 7 in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
We start to turn the corner with the Not so Little Chicken Sandwich: Fried Chicken Breast, Teriyaki and Red Chili Sauces, and Pickled Cabbage Slaw on Brioche, served with crispy Potato Bites.
Previously, I melodramatically called the Not so Little Chicken Sandwich a “culinary crime” that the bun here is slider sized rather than the chicken breast being gigantic. I stand by that claim, but nevertheless really enjoyed this. The chicken had a crisp exterior and was juicy inside, with a fantastic mix of sauces. My only complaint is that it’s impossible to eat as a sandwich–the bun is too small, so be sure to grab a fork and knife.
For our final entree, we have the PB3 Superb Sandwich: Warm PB&J with Banana and Candied Bacon on Pym Particle Bread, served with Micro Banana Smoothie and crispy Potato Bites.
This is the biggest winner on the menu at Pym Test Kitchen. It’s normal bread topped with a gloriously sweet and savory mix of the three Bs: bacon, banana, and (peanut) butter. Brilliant. These flavors meld fabulously making this a nutritious (fact-check needed) entree and a satisfying dessert all in one. We would recommend splitting it and getting one of the other entrees, too. It’s amazing, but also a lot.
For dessert, we have the Celestial-sized Candy Bar: Choco-Smash CANDY Bar. This is a Choco Smash Candy Bar with Dark Chocolate, Peanuts, Caramel, Nougat, and Chocolate Brownie.
This may look like a generic candy bar, but holy cow is it incredible. Rich, decadent, and a fair amount of textural variety. (It’s also deceptively large–we’d recommend sharing it.)
It “helped” that we ate this on a day with extreme heat, and had to walk our food to the overflow seating area by Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout.
This gave the candy bar time to warm up, making it taste like a fresh out of the oven dessert. I know that’s not how candy bars are made (truthfully, I have no clue how candy bars are made…but probably not in an oven), but you get the idea. It was excellent. If you only order one item at Pym Test Kitchen, make it this–the Celestial-sized Candy Bar is the menu’s highlight.
Speaking of the seating area, it’s this big area behind the Shawarma Palace Too (which we really enjoyed) that previously served as overflow queue for the Hyperion Theater.
There’s a lot of shade back here and it’s a nice area, but it’s frustrating that Pym Test Kitchen was built with so little seating. Operational oversights like this are occurring a bit too frequently with new additions, and there are several of them in Avengers Campus.
Ultimately, Pym Test Kitchen is a lot like Avengers Campus as a whole: some flashes of excellence hobbled by uneven execution. The difference with this Marvel restaurant is that its core concept is outstanding, and the issues are entirely with food prep–and less pronounced versions of what’s happening all around Disneyland Resort right now.
The end result is that Pym Test Kitchen is our top pick for counter service restaurants in Disney California Adventure for right now. If it doesn’t tweak these dishes or improve its lineup once other locations restore their full menus or start offering more ambitious options, this Avengers Campus eatery will likely fall to the middle of the pack. Even so, it’ll still be a fun spot to grab a sweet snack or dessert and see the “Pym Particles” grow and shrink innovations with food science.
Planning a Southern California vacation? For park admission deals, read Tips for Saving Money on Disneyland Tickets. Learn about on-site and off-site hotels in our Anaheim Hotel Reviews & Rankings. For where to eat, check out our Disneyland Restaurant Reviews. For unique ideas of things that’ll improve your trip, check out What to Pack for Disney. For comprehensive advice, consult our Disneyland Vacation Planning Guide. Finally, for guides beyond Disney, check out our Southern California Itineraries for day trips to Los Angeles, Laguna Beach, and tons of other places!
Have you eaten at Disneyland Resort’s new Marvel restaurant? What did you think of the food at Pym Test Kitchen? Any standout menu items? Items you disliked? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? Any questions? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!
Best item was definitely the giant pretzel with the beer cheese dipping sauce. You need to get it next time you’re there Tom.
Just when I thought Disney couldn’t eliminate any more spontaneity out of a day at the park, now we’re asked to place a counter service lunch order hours in advance. And with only one traditional register in the restaurant, it looks like they intend to keep it that way.
Pretty much agree with everything you mentioned here. Loved the ambiance inside. Buffalo chicken pretzel was decent but not great. Chicken sandwich was our fav – we didn’t try the PB but will do so next time. Chocolate bar was incredible. Also liked the jumbo pretzel but thought the sauce it came with was terrible. The lack of seating was definitely the biggest issue we saw – constant stream of people waiting for a spot to open up.
Will also make note that when we went, about mid-July, it was much easier to mobile order throughout the day, compared to what we had heard/expected. We did order our food early, but when it got close to our time, we checked the app and there were lots of time slots available still.
Did you try any of the breakfast items? We didn’t, but heard from others that most of it was disappointing. Sounds like the lunch/dinner offerings are much better.
I would’ve offered you guys my seat, Tom, depending on your acting skills. That is the Darren guarantee.
A note for vegans: I was afraid of ordering the massive pasta and “meatball” dish as I was afraid that it would be bland and dry, which is exactly what Tom said it was. I ordered the kid’s version of the pasta instead, which comes with small regular-sized meatballs as opposed to the giant one. That tasted fine to me — nice and juicy, like most Impossible meat patties are if they’re cooked properly. So that is a good option if you want to dine with the rest of your party here. I agree with Tom, though, that the sauce was nothing to write home about (although thankfully my pasta wasn’t al dente).
I wonder if food-prep issues are also a result of having less preparation time with most cast not returning to work until maybe a month before the grand opening. Hopefully the cast members can start to fine-tune things and slowly improve on the quality of presentation.
I am fairly certain whoever designed this kitchen used to work at my Century City office, because this is an EXACT replica of the building’s kitchen that is only open for three lunch hours and serves mediocre ham sandwiches. I work from home now, and I had flashbacks, not of the ham sandwich. Almost couldn’t go in. Spitting image.
I tried the french toast thing, which was just this big ol’ loaf of french toast. It was frenchy. The quail egg or whatever it was was kinda cute. My gripe is on the seating as well. Maybe they can use some of their fancy expansion science to expand themselves some more dining space. Let’s go, Mr. Pym, or whoever runs this. Zap it with your expanding gun, you coward. You can’t even drink at the bar because what little space there is is shared with the kitchen, and I feel guilty sitting there with one (1) (or perhaps two (2)) beer and no food and someone’s walking around with a tray looking dramatically helpless. I know it’s a ploy. It’s like when I finally got to play with the Fisher Price garage in preschool but then Robert asked to play with it, and I said no, and he put his head down and pretended to cry so I gave it to him. I’m just a softie. I have to give up my spot and walk around with my weird nozzle-bottomed beer cup, just so the doe-eyed hungry family can sit down to eat. I demand to slouch when I drink.
This is why we like Paradise Garden Grill so much (not right now). It’s never particularly busy, so there’s no guilt in just grabbing a seat to listen to the band or staying a while after eating.
We were able to score the main seating area once at Pym Test Kitchen, and ended up leaving far sooner than we would’ve liked because of guests looking “dramatically helpless.” Another time, we were said “dramatically helpless” guests. It didn’t help us.
I had read a bunch of reviews of Pym’s before going in early July, so we ended up taking it off our list and eating at Carthay Circle instead. Your experience seems to be pretty close to the consensus everywhere, and since I have a vegetarian partner and this place is sponsored by Impossible meats, its really a shame that their meatball is so lacking. That said, we did stop in at night to watch the pretzels change, and it was much better looking in person than I’d expected.
Crowds had already thinned out by my travel dates and you could order without much wait, but we still opted not to.
“Crowds had already thinned out by my travel dates and you could order without much wait, but we still opted not to.”
It’s difficult to keep up with this stuff from the outside, but with the latest capacity increase, it appears that the crowds are back. Not to opening day levels, but worse than when you were there!
Like you, we really enjoyed the PB sandwich (best of several items we tried), and were disappointed most by having to walk to the Hyperion queue to find a spot to eat. I know it’s a separate food outlet, but curious to get your take on the shawarma?
“I know it’s a separate food outlet, but curious to get your take on the shawarma?”
It was my favorite savory entree in Avengers Campus. Simple and nothing special in terms of presentation, but a solid offering. I’m in no rush to get it again, but I liked it well enough.