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!
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.
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.
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:
The Lobster and Shrimp Mac & Cheese was one of my favorite things. Nice texture, great flavor, and plenty of (large) chunks of meat.
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.
The salmon was pretty good. Not the most flavorful, but not rubbery like buffet salmon can be.
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!
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.
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.
The cookies and cheesecake were fine, but nothing to write home about.
Most of these desserts weren’t memorable, but they all were fairly good.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!