The Edison Review
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.
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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!
We have a 5pm reservation is there any entertainment going on at that time..
On the Disney website, it says some dining plan accepted, but when you click on it it says N/A for both lunch and dinner. Any word if it does accept the regular or deluxe dining plans?
I just looked at the menu and the lamb burger doesn’t seem to be there. I was interested in trying it next time. Thanks for the review.
It’s about time that there is a venue for adults only. Having children running around or sitting on bar stools certainly takes away from a bar lounge atmosphere but many Disney families seem to feel there should be no area that the little ones can’t attend. It would be nice if a reservation was for an adult only party that disney staff would give them an option of sitting in a family area or an adult area. Nothing like paying for a $$$ menu only to be seated next to noisy misbehaved children whose parents don’t care to control them. My first experience at the Edison was with my adult friend for a lunch reservation. The hostess sat us at a small table, next to a pole on 1 side and a table for 4 with 2 adults 2 young children and a crying infant on the other. Needless to say we asked for another table. Children will be children but in a restaurant this size the staff should be more aware of providing alternate seating options. Looking forward to my first adult night visit to the Edison!
I love this review—-I am so excited to visit next month.
If we are going to drink only after 10, am I correct in my thinking that we do not need a table reservation? Is there a first come first come type of seating as in most drinking establishments?
Great review! We’re looking at going on our visit in April. Would we be really out of place attire wise if we came from the park in jeans and tennis shoes?
Thanks for the informative review. I was distinctly in the “not-for-me” camp, but now I’m considering giving it a try!
Where does it fall in the Dining Plan? 1 or 2 credits per?
Tables in wonderland and Disney Vacation Club is accepted! Annual pass and Cast Member Discounts are only accepted at lunch however !
Did they just start accepting TIW? We were there last Friday and asked our bartender about TIW and were told “no”.
If they are accepting it now (which very well could be the case–it usually takes new restaurants 1-4 months before they start), that would be a new development as of this week…or a mistake. They definitely weren’t accepting on our visits last week and the week before.
THanks for such an in depth review! Its got me very excited to visit 🙂
Thank you. This is one of the most informative and comprehensive reviews of a restaurant I’ve ever read. And it wasn’t pro-Disney or anti-children, but it provided your opinion while including disclaimers that it WAS your opinion. Excellent job!
Man, I really don’t agree. I found it severely lacking in information and nowhere near comprehensive. I wouldn’t expect every item to be covered, but only a handful of food items are touched on. I guess because they never made it to dinner they didn’t have anything else to discuss? That seems like a rather sizable omission in coverage. What food is covered doesn’t even have basic information like the prices. There are pictures of a few drinks and a price, but no names. I was hoping for a lot more.
This looks really fun and cool. I suspect some of the grumbling from people who think there are “too many” bars is resentment / jealousy of cool themes that families feel excluded from. E.g. Indiana Jones themed bar instead of restaurant. I don’t feel that way, but i suspect that’s the root cause, and therefore “don’t go if you don’t like it” probably isn’t an answer for that attitude. But I completely agree with your remarks that it is great to have a variety of entertainment that is targeted to different demographics, easy to avoid the ones that don’t appeal to us, and if we are “left out” of a couple of things, well,
there are about 900 other options to drown our sorrows in.
We go with our kids to everything and (thus far anyway) aren’t much interested in an adult only night at WDW. On our next trip, they’ll be 8 and 9 and from the pictures, this looks like something our kids would enjoy, or at least not mind if there is a burger and a coke on the table for them. If I understand correctly, the age restriction does not kick in until 10:00 PM. So is this something you would consider taking 8 and 9 year olds to for lunch or early dinner?
I want to mention:
1. Of course you cannot possibly know my personal sensibilities, so I am genuinely asking whether you think YOU would take 8 and 9 year olds, and even whether there is something enjoyable in it for them in your opinion. For what it’s worth, we are not bothered at all by the odd risque joke in front of our kids and, for example, the sitcoms Parks and Recreation, Brooklyn 99 and The Good Place are big family favourites, all of which have a lot of ‘adult’ humour which mostly flies over their heads (and either cracks their parents up .
2. From what i can extrapolate from your many entries over the years, you do seem to have fairly similar sensibilities to us. That is: separate and apart from Disney love. But who knows. I won’t be mad if you express an opinion I asked for even if I end up disagreeing with it. Promise.
And thanks as always for all the awesome stuff you have produced that has helped us enjoy our trips that much more, and enjoy a slice of Disney when we can’t be there. (Live in Canada; go once a year.)
Yes, I think kids would enjoy the Edison at lunch or dinner. At least, I would have as a kid. The environment is fun and inventive (also, there’s a walkaround character–we somehow missed her twice, even though we saw her in the restaurant) and it’s in no way risque during the day.
We took our 6 and 9 year old with us for lunch last month and they loved it! If your kids are used to sitting in a restaurant, it shouldn’t be a problem. Our server and the walk around character were both very kind and engaging with them!
Thanks for the review! Am I reading things correct? The dress code is just for the 10pm entertainment, right? If you go for lunch or dinner you can dress however?
Got it, thank you!
“take the crown as the best themed bar at Walt Disney World” plus “A pretty robust beer lineup is also available.” I just made a fist pump in excitement.
Great review! I have been wondering what was so exciting about The Edison and you are the first to actually pique my interest. It’s now on my list to check out!
I’m excited to try The Edison in April. I’m fairly certain my wife and I are going to love it for the entertainment (even though neither of us really drink much). I’ve been looking forward to reading your thoughts on it (although I already knew it would be positive due to twitter).
Perhaps you can help me out with a question regarding the layout of the venue. We currently have an 8:30 dinner reservation for a Monday night. We plan to have a long relaxed dinner before the entertainment gets going, then enjoy the atmosphere once 10 pm rolls around. I guess my question is, where are the dining tables in regard to the entertainment. Would we be able to remain at our dinner table and enjoy a drink or dessert while we watch the entertainment, or is it strictly in a bar area where we would be better off giving up our dinner table and finding a new place to hang out in the restaurant?
It really depends upon where you’re seated. We sat in the booths above the entertainment area (pictured in the fisheye shot of two booths), which was an okay spot for viewing some of the entertainment, but not ideal. Other seats are going to have no view of the entertainment.
I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Entertainment continues for 3-4 hours, so even if you miss the start of it while enjoying dessert, it’s not going to be a big deal.
Does the Edison have entertainment every night after 10 PM, or is it only on weekends? What night would you recommend going (or does it matter)?
There’s entertainment every night, but the cover charge is only weekends. Personally, I’d do a weekend anyway. We found the entertainment to be better then, and well worth the cover charge.
Of course, this is all subject to change–the restaurant is still in test and adjust mode, so who knows what’ll be cut/added/tweaked as they figure out what works and doesn’t each night of the week.
Thanks for this review! This has been the place long awaited given we live in LA and know the Edison downtown. Love that it has a home in WDW, makes sense to us, and will be a welcome night spot when we decide to vacation in Orlando. Thanks again!
Question about the pre-10PM experience. Sans entertainment, is it still worth visiting? Or is the energy of the place pretty dead until the dancing, etc, begins? I’m fascinated by the Edison but the late night entertainment might not be for everyone in my travel group. Is it just another restaurant during daytime/early evening or does it still carry something special?
It definitely does not have the same energy at lunch or earlier in the night, but the themed design plus the menu makes it a good option. I’m not so sure I’d choose it over the Boathouse or Morimoto Asia for an earlier meal, but it’s a close call.