The Edison is a table service restaurant and themed bar/nightclub in the Landing district of Disney Springs in Walt Disney World. In this review, we’ll venture inside the Edison, and share our thoughts on the atmosphere, entertainment, design, food, drinks, and overall experience of the Edison.
This one has been a long time coming, and we’ve been anxiously awaiting the Edison for several years. The concept sounded really ambitious and unlike anything else at Walt Disney World. We also found ourselves curious (and a bit apprehensive) of how the original Edison location in Los Angeles could be localized for Walt Disney World audiences.
During the course of our recent visit to Walt Disney World, we visited the Edison four times shortly after its grand opening; we did lunch once and went for the nightlife three times (unfortunately, we missed the full dinner menu every single time by like 15 minutes). We found ourselves pleasantly surprised by the Edison, which is probably obvious by the fact that we made three return visits over the course of one trip…
Thematically, the Edison describes itself as industrial gothic, which is commonly construed as steampunk. I think it’s wise to stop short of calling this steampunk, which is slightly more fantastical with designs incorporating a bit more artifice to create something akin to a whimsical science fiction style.
The Edison is more grounded in reality, meant to resemble a circa-1920s electric plant that has been repurposed into a bar. In Walt Disney World reality/history, this space was repurposed from the Adventurers Club, and fans of that establishment will recognize the core layout when entering above the atrium. Thematically speaking, the repurposing from power plant into sophisticated bar feels organic.
The repurposing of the Edison’s ‘electric plant’ is more deftly accomplished and in keeping with the 1920s style of the core industrial aesthetic. There are some interesting stylistic choices (like the screens playing silent film clips), but most of the details relate to the power plant itself, or the era of invention and technical innovations.
The Edison is also surprisingly lavish and has a sense of romanticism to it, which are not words I’d normally use to describe a power plant. Again, it all manages to work and feel organic.
From a thematic perspective, the whole here is more than the sum of its parts. The overall vibe you get from the Edison is definitely one of it being a power plant, with design flourishes throughout the restaurant to be discovered and peeled back that help reinforce this theme.
Thankfully, it doesn’t take reading some 20-page convoluted backstory to “get” what’s going on here. Even more thankfully, the interior was not repurposed by rustic hipsters, as is the case with many other Disney Springs venues. The Edison is a thematic gem.
Of course, the design is only one component of the Edison experience. A steady lineup of unique entertainment acts like contortionists, aerialists, live cabaret, bands, and DJs is a bit selling point of the Edison.
Many of these acts appear exclusively after 10 p.m. (on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, there’s a $10 cover beginning at 10 p.m.), and these late nights are when the Edison really shines. Earlier in the evening and at lunch, the food and theme of the Edison make it worthwhile, but we recommend visiting late at night if you can. After 10 p.m., it’s 21 and up, meaning this is one of the few places in all of Walt Disney World that is totally free of children.
Now, we know a lot of parents are going to scoff at this. “Walt Disney World was built for kids” and “there are too many bars now” (or variants thereof) are comments we hear frequently. Both of these points require ignoring Walt Disney World’s actual history (in 1971, Magic Kingdom was one component of the Vacation Kingdom of the World, which included golf, horseback riding, bars & saloons, boating, and more). More recently, Pleasure Island was an entire district for adults, and only a small part of this area has been ‘reborn’ with Disney Springs.
Today, an increasing amount of Disney’s business is coming from conventions, and adults without kids are increasingly turning to Walt Disney World as a place to honeymoon or simply vacation. True bars are still few and far between, and just because there are proportionately more than a few years ago does not mean there are “too many.” They are being built for precisely that reason–there’s unsatisfied demand.
However, if you’ve already made up your mind that drinking is evil, would make Walt roll in his grave, etc., nothing I can say here is going to change your mind. Suffice to say, you should avoid the Edison just as I avoid Disney Junior Live on Stage or Dino-Rama. Stop reading now: the Edison is not for you.
For those of you still with us, there’s still a good chance you might have some apprehension about the Edison. Be it the dress code (which is still fairly relaxed) or the style of entertainment, we’ve gotten the sense that a lot of people think the Edison is “not for them.”
My biggest fear with the Edison is that it’d be Dapper Days: the Bar. Nothing against Dapper Days, but it’s most definitely not my scene. My concern was that this venue would be less about the actual substance of the location and its experience, and more about people posing for glamour shots in costumes/period attire. We’ve witnessed some of that at the Edison, but it’s not overbearing.
To the contrary, the clientele is sort of what makes the Edison appealing. On our visits, we found a consistently eclectic mix: nicely dressed College Program kids, dapper folks, business casual conventioneers, and random older couples having a hoot. Really, though, everyone was having a hoot.
The Edison is approachable and the staff is welcoming, which might be a concern for those not sure if they’ll be comfortable here. It can seem intimidating from afar–and the concept might seem like a nonstarter for some–but once you get in the door and grab a seat, it quickly becomes comfortable.
Part of that is the familiar Disney vibe. Even though this is a third party venue with very ‘different’ entertainment, it has still been ‘adapted’ for Walt Disney World.
If you’re comfortable at Mizner’s, you’ll be fine at the Edison. (And if for some reason you’re not comfortable with the entertainment, there’s plenty of seating on the upper level nowhere near it.)
With that said, the entertainment at the Edison is top notch. It toes the line between risqué and Disney-friendly, striking a balance that makes it unlike anything else at Walt Disney World, sufficiently “adult” but also really well produced.
Consequently, it’s going to appeal to a wide array of guests. (The entertainment is undoubtedly why the Edison is 21 and up–I can only imagine the complaints from parents “forced” to shield their children’s innocent eyes from gyrations of cabaret dancing.)
No one with whom we visited felt the Edison went too far with its entertainment, but it does push the envelope a bit for Walt Disney World. Everyone we know loved the acts, and we found them to be polished and amusing. There’s also a solid amount of entertainment, with a rotation of about three acts per night.
Part of me wonders how sustainable this is long term, especially if the Edison stumbles to find an audience. Some things we witnessed felt like the type of stuff that would inevitably be cut over time–hopefully I’m wrong on that.
We’ve dedicated a lot of text to the theme, atmosphere, and entertainment at the Edison, but that’s because these are the integral aspects of the venue.
The Edison’s main selling point is its unique nightlife, and its entertainment acts definitely enhance the inherent theme of the Edison and are what elevate the venue to the best bar at Walt Disney World. With that said, let’s turn to food and drinks…
The DB Clothesline Candied Bacon is served with the bacon hanging from a clothesline, which is a neat idea.
We found this bacon to be delicious, with the candied preparation adding a light sweetness (almost like maple bacon) and the mostarda condiment perfect for dipping. However, it’s not something we’d get again due to the price and small portion size.
The Organic Tomato Soup & Gooey Grilled Cheese consists of fontina, muenster, gruyère, alpine swiss, on buttered sourdough.
We had this at lunch (when it’s cheaper) and it was fantastic. It also had way more depth than you’d expect from a grilled cheese sandwich, even an adult one. It was nutty yet smooth, with a mild and slightly sweet flavor. Of course, it was also incredibly buttery. Sarah said she’d go back at lunch just for this.
The Edison Burger is made with the Edison’s signature beef blend of sirloin, short rib, and brisket. It’s topped with cabot cloth-bound cheddar, onion rings, smoked bacon, house-made pickles, lettuce, tomato, and special sauce. It’s also served with the L. Burbank fries.
Our friends ordered this burger and I had the chance to try it. The meat was really good–juicy and flavorful–and the patty was hefty, but the price tag was still a bit high for a burger.
The Grass-Fed Lamb Burger is topped with creamy goat cheese, roasted pepper, pickles, and tzatziki sauce. Like the other burger, it’s also served with the L. Burbank fries.
This was nothing short of phenomenal. The lamb was high-quality, and tasted fantastic. If you like lamb, this one is a no-brainer, and I’d rank it in the top tier of Walt Disney World burgers. Better and cheaper than the Edison burger.
The Electri-Fries are the star of the late night menu. These are L. Burbank hand cut potatoes, Edison Special Sauce, bacon, crumbled blue cheese, and chopped green onion.
These might as well be called the ‘Eclecti-Fries,’ because they are an eclectic spin on loaded fries. Our table split an order of these one night, and everyone agreed that they were the highlight. I could see the blue cheese being a potential turn-off for some, but I felt it offered a nice contrast to the addictive Edison special sauce.
We’d highly recommend sharing these among 2-3 people, as the portion is huge and if you don’t devour them quickly, the fries could get cold and soggy. Nobody wants that. Having an order to yourself is also likely to be a recipe for a heart attack.
Speaking of heart attacks, the Black Cherry Cream is a one-liter milkshake consisting of vanilla gelato, sour cherries, gummi poppers topped with a pixy stix, rainbow pop, whipped cream, and nerds.
Unlike the milkshake monstrosities at Planet Hollywood Observatory and elsewhere, this is not simply a photo op gimmick. The vanilla gelato provides a delicious and straightforward base, and the added black cherry is not overpowering. Despite being topped with a number of candies, the shake doesn’t taste overly fake, artificial, or sweet. It’d be a great dessert to share if you’re so inclined (Sarah liked it, but I gulped down about 80% of this by myself.)
We received an Annual Passholder discount of 20% off at lunch, but Tables in Wonderland isn’t yet accepted. No discounts are currently offered at dinner or late night, which makes those higher menu prices even more pronounced. (The entertainment makes up for that, though.)
Drinks at the Edison were generally good, but over the course of our visits, the bars (there are three of them) were still finding their footing. Towards the end of our trip, the bartenders were beginning to find their groove, but we did experience some inconsistency earlier. Here’s some of what we tried:
With each drink being priced around $14, these drinks are on the pricey side, but not overly so given their quality and strength. A pretty robust beer lineup is also available.
Overall, as things stand today, the Edison beats Trader Sam’s, Jock Lindsey’s, and other fun establishments to take the crown as the best themed bar at Walt Disney World. It doesn’t hurt that the food and drinks here are also excellent–better than any of those “bar-first” venues. The menu alone would put it in the top tier of Disney Springs dining even without the entertainment. While I’m not yet sure the Edison surpasses Morimoto Asia or the Boathouse in terms of food, I’d say the sum of the experience is the absolute best at Disney Springs. Even if the concept doesn’t appeal to you at first blush, we’d encourage you to step inside and see it for yourself. It still may not appeal to you, but those who do enjoy this type of experience are really going to love the Edison.
What are your thoughts on the Edison? Have you visited yet? Does this concept or the entertainment at the Edison interest you, or is it not your scene? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!