Tony’s Town Square Review
Tony’s Town Square is a table service restaurant in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom serving Italian cuisine in a Lady and the Tramp-inspired setting. This review features photos of food, our thoughts on the ambiance, and whether it’s worth dining here.
In terms of basics, Tony’s Town Square is a Disney Dining Plan participant as a one-credit table service restaurant for both lunch and dinner. Thanks to a couple of pricey entrees, it’s also close to making our list for the best values on the Disney Dining Plan. If you’re not using the Disney Dining Plan, Tony’s Town Square offers a 20% discount for Tables in Wonderland cardholders.
In most Walt Disney World fan circles, Tony’s Town Square has a reputation that precedes it. In this regard, it’s a bit like Le Cellier, a restaurant that still is popular from goodwill built up over a decade ago. Except, in this case, it’s bad-will. Basically, Tony’s is the “Reverse Le Cellier.” Despite spending a ton of time in Magic Kingdom, we had avoided eating here for years, hearing almost unanimously bad things from people we trust…
Recently, we had started hearing from regular readers via the comments and a couple of Florida friends that Tony’s Town Square had gotten better. We were still pretty reticent about giving it a chance since the long-term consensus on Tony’s is basically a chorus of negative reviews.
Nevertheless, we decided to give it a chance one day while doing our “experiment” with the Deluxe Disney Dining Plan. At least this way, we figured, we weren’t directly paying out of pocket, so if the cuisine at Tony’s Town Square were still a culinary crime, it wouldn’t sting quite as much.
Before we dig into the food we tried, let’s start with the theme and ambiance of Tony’s Town Square. In terms of ambiance, Tony’s is incredibly loud. The lobby is loud, the main dining room is loud, and the outside dining room is loud.
This is partially to be expected. Tony’s serves crowd-pleasing fare in Magic Kingdom, making it a strong draw for families. We did not expect an adult meal in a refined setting here, and to be upset about the loud atmosphere here would be ludicrous given the circumstances. It is, however, something to keep in mind if you’re new to Walt Disney World dining.
Thematically, Tony’s opts for an environment that’s decorated with paintings of the film’s characters rather than re-creating the iconic Tony’s Restaurant from Lady and the Tramp. While I’d prefer the latter approach, I understand why Disney went this route.
Evoking Lady and the Tramp without directly referencing the characters would not have been easy. Perhaps the Imagineers felt the more blatant approach was necessary since Lady and the Tramp is an older film, and most people wouldn’t pick up on the theme if it weren’t obvious.
Regardless, I think the interior dining room more or less works. It’s a fun setting that reminds patrons of the spirit of the film even if it’s not all that themed. Kids are sure to love it, and adults will too if they aren’t overly-critical bloggers. Even though it’s loud and chaotic, it attempts an intimate setting.
In terms of cuisine, Tony’s Town Square is one of the most brilliantly themed restaurants at Walt Disney World. Think about it: what other restaurant serves food the characters it’s based around would eat? If Lady and Tramp are anything like our dog, they eat just about anything–including objects that aren’t food. Tony’s Town Square is actually very fine dining…for dogs!
Relax Tony’s fans, I’m kidding. I know calling this ‘food for dogs’ is harsh, but I couldn’t resist making the joke. In actuality, Tony’s Town Square was not quite as atrocious as we feared. I can see how its crowd-pleasing style of Italian cuisine can be appealing on vacation.
The food at Tony’s is not even remotely ambitious, but it’s comfortable and the style is approachable. Even if the execution leaves a lot to be desired, Tony’s popularity is understandable. With that said, this is a definite one and done for us.
With one exception, our food was over-salted yet bland. It takes some doing to make such over-salted dishes this bland, so perhaps Tony’s deserves some praise there.
One of the best things we had was actually the bread service, which was nice buttery denseness to it. Here are photos and more specific thoughts on what we ate:
Here’s the Calamari with Marinara.
I’ve said countless times that I’m a sucker for calamari, and that’s true. I enjoyed this more than I should have, but I’ve made better frozen calamari at home.
Here’s the Italian Cheese Dip; creamy ricotta with roasted garlic topped with tomato jam served with crostini.
We appreciated the choice of ricotta here for what could otherwise be a really dense and unhealthy dish, but this was particularly bland. The tomato topping didn’t seem like jam so much as it did canned tomatoes. We didn’t finish it, instead opting for the complimentary bread service.
For my entree, I ordered the Italian Trio: Chicken Parmigiana, Baked Rigatoni, and Fettuccine Alfredo.
In recent memory, I don’t think I’ve had a worse entree at any Walt Disney World restaurant. The quality was low and the flavor was basically just salt and sauce. I can’t think of a single positive thing to say about this dish. Pick any random entree at Olive Garden–or even the freezer from Trader Joe’s–and it will be better.
I’m not normally one to ever count calories, but I stopped eating this about halfway through because I figured it just wasn’t “worth it.”
Sarah ordered the Braised Short Ribs with mascarpone polenta and broccolini for her entree.
Out of everything we had, this was the standout. The meat was tender, and the polenta was a nice accompaniment. The meat was a bit over-salted, but not terribly so. We think the dish is overpriced if you’re paying out of pocket, but if you’re doing Tony’s Town Square on the Disney Dining Plan, this would be our recommendation.
This was a pleasant surprise, and we’re not even grading on a curve when we make the recommendation to order the Braised Short Ribs.
For dessert, we ordered the Cannoli, ricotta cream-filled shells dusted with powdered sugar.
This was fairly average. There definitely wasn’t any nuance and it didn’t taste freshly-prepared, but it wasn’t terrible, either. While I wouldn’t order it again, it’s a decent choice if nothing else on the dessert menu appeals to you.
We also ordered the TiramisÃ¹; KahlÃºa espresso-soaked lady fingers and whipped mascarpone topped with mocha cream.
I actually liked this! It struck me as an ambitious twist on a classic Italian dessert, and one that had more subtlety, texture, and quality than anything else. If we somehow find ourselves at Tony’s in the future, I’d order this.
With all of that said, I’ll end this review on a positive note, with a couple of amusing vignettes that we observed during our meal. I’ve come up with an incredibly original name for these vignettes: Scenes from an Italian Restaurant.
Two women are seated on the terrace, each order two drinks (you could say it was a bottle of red, bottle of white…but actually, it was beer), slowly drink them over the course of about 30 minutes, and leave. A great hack for a busy day in an otherwise alcohol-free park. Pair this with a mid afternoon showing of Festival of Fantasy, and that’s about the ultimate Tony’s experience.
A small child jumps up from his seat, grabs a ball from his stroller, chucks it directly above him at the ceiling, it bounces back and hits the table, and he starts crying. This may not be all that funny to read, but I had to turn my head so the family didn’t see me laughing and I was almost in tears. It was inexplicably hilarious. This kid was expressing how we felt about dining at Tony’s.
Overall, Tony’s Town Square is not a restaurant we recommend. It was not as bad as we feared, but it was by no means good. If it has improved in the last couple of years (and I truly question whether that’s the case), I can only imagine how bad it must’ve been before. I don’t think it’s the absolute worst table service restaurant at Walt Disney World–but I would put it in the bottom 10. There are counter service restaurants in Magic Kingdom that are better than Tony’s, and I have a tough time envisioning any scenario that has us returning to give Tony’s a second chance.
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What do you think of Tony’s Town Square? Agree or disagree with our review? Are we being too hard on Magic Kingdom’s Italian restaurant? Do you enjoy the comfort food here? Would you rather do dinner elsewhere in Magic Kingdom, or is this a good option? Any questions? Hearing feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!
When was this review posted? (you never date your blog posts). I’ve heard that Tony’s was revamped with a new chef and the quality has improved. So I’m not sure if your review was pre- or post- change.
I’m seeing a lot of positive comments dated 2019, so I’m wondering if it’s gotten better before we visit Disney later in 2020.
We went in October of 2019 and the food and service were fantastic. “Sorry no strollers. Oh your toddler is asleep. Let me make space for the stroller.”
Great! I’ll have to give it another try, then. We’ve been debating paying the big bucks for the Disney’s Festival of Fantasy parade package since it was at Tony’s and the food wasn’t close to being worth it when we visited there in 2016.
We went in October of 2019 and the food and service were fantastic. We didn’t have a reservation. “Sorry no strollers. Oh your toddler is asleep. Let me make space for the stroller.”
Oh for Heavens sake. This is not supposed to be fine dining. It is exactly what you see the moment you step up to the description desk: a family-oriented restaurant with food that appeals to families with young children. Hence the themed ambiance which is adorable and engaging for little ones. Not every restaurant in WDW is, nor should be, Signature dining. Our adult kids ate at Tony’s with us a couple of years ago. We timed the reservations to coincide with the Christmas festivities and parade. The outdoor seating fit the bill perfectly. A glass of wine, perfect viewing and surrounded by our adult kids. The food was above Olive Garden fare and the service perfectly acceptable if not charming. Was it a ‘write home’ quality dinner? Maybe not everything but some items were very enjoyable. Did we have a good time? You bet.
I went with trepidation in July 2019. We booked it because of the parade lunch package before reading the reviews (also were vegetarian so Italian is a relief in WDW). It was great! I agree with the person who said it was above Olive Garden standard, ie fine and it’s in a theme park, not Italy! The service was good. I was with my father in law who is notoriously picky about service and even he thought it was good. The focaccia was delicious, my chicken salad was good, my father in law enjoyed his meal (I think he had some sort of steak). My daughter hardly ate anything because she was just so excited about being in Disney World. We were seated in the conservatory and it was pretty. I would go again.
His review was posted before they made changes to the restaurant, including a new chef and new menu. The food has improved since. We ate there in 2016 and it was bad. But most everyone who’s visited since the changes were made has said it’s gotten way better.
He wasn’t expecting it to be “fine dining.” He was only expecting it to be good. Which most everyone expects a restaurant to be. But in the past it wasn’t.
I absolutely agree. I went from Australia with my 2 adult children in November 2017. We sat on the deck as well, in gorgeous weather, perfectly timed for the Festival of Fantasy Parade. The food was delightful and we had a ball. Could I have made something similar at home for a third of the price?..absolutely…but that’s not what you’re there for.
Please don’t put people off going there,Tom, with your comments and overzealous standards (which you almost did to us).
Has anyone anyone tried the spaghetti and meatballs?
I thought they were good and have eaten their 4 times in the last 5 years. I like the food there. The last time I went, we had a terrific server who was so nice and friendly. I could tell she loved working there. She made it a nice time. My biggest complaint with Tony’s is that they never seat you on-time. I always wait 15-30 minutes after our reservation, but I know that’s because they get a lot of traffic.
I’ve yet to eat at any Disney restaurant in any park or resort that seats on time. We’ve waited 30 minutes past our ADR at both Chef Mickey’s (Contemporary for breakfast), Garden Grill (Epcot for dinner) and Hollywood & Vine (Hollywood Studios dinner). Shortest wait was 10 minutes at Tusker House for breakfast. Waited longer at Tusker House on a different visit. So there’s no telling how long past an ADR you’ll have to wait to be seated. I always add extra time for that when making FastPasses
I couldn’t agree with you more. I wish I had seen your post before we dropped $190 bucks for a terrible lunch. The chicken parm I ordered was probably the worst I have ever eaten. The frozen stuff at the grocery is far better than what they served us. My son had a shrimp scampi pasta which had no flavor with the exception of salt. Next time we will stick with counter service.
I have to agree with most of the comments. My family and I are at Tony’s the first week of August 2017 and the food was good. My son (13 at the time) had the huge, multi-layered chocolate cake and was in love with it. A year later, a different story. I believe our food was good but the cake compared to the year before was similar to what you used to get a quick lunch. It was small and not as inviting. I am not sure we will eat there this year. Some other places with the amounts given in 2018 versus 2017 also may not get our business this year (like the Brown Derby and 2 credits). This may be the last year for the dining plan for us.
Hubby and I ate here in late January. We, too, had avoided this restaurant for years, given a previous bad experience and TONS of poor reviews since. But after several years, and seeing recent positive reviews, we were inclined to give it a second chance. Our starters were simple – Caesar salad and seasonal (squash) soup – the soup being the standout. Then I went with the gnocchi and hubby had the tuna. Both were wonderful! In addition to tasting great, the presentation of the gnocchi was just beautiful with all of the veggies. Perfectly cooked asparagus, watermelon radish – just lovely. Online reviews are particularly critical of the chicken parm (and the trio, which includes it)…so I guess the trick to a good meal here is not ordering that, or pasta? LOL. I can see us returning…
Those who have written that Tony’s has improved recently must have ordered what I did in spring 2017. I have lived in Florence and dated an Italian for years so I’m no stranger to cucina italiana, and my lunchtime ravioli at Tony’s were quite passable indeed, incredibly enjoyable. I also had remarkably courteous service and very much enjoyed the ambiance. I guess we should only order the ravioli and call it a day!
We ate there March 2019 for an early dinner. We were sat immediately without a reservation, which was nice.
Our server asked if we were on the DDP and we said no. Thereafter he was brusque, acted like he couldn’t wait to get us out of there.
I realize that people eating on the DDP wind up tipping more, but it’s really rude for him to be so obvious about his disappointment.
The food wasn’t bad, though!
Looking for suggestions on table service dinner time for our Magic Kingdom day while using the dining plan. We were lucky enough to eat at Be Our Guest before it became two dining credits. While we loved it, I’m not wasting two on it this time since we’ve already been. We had planned to stay in the park late using extra Magic Hours, is it simply better to book an early dinner somewhere else and just come back to Magic Kingdom afterwards??
If you’re on the dining plan and don’t mind leaving Magic Kingdom, I would book dinner at 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian. Great value on the dining plan and excellent character dinner with Cinderella and her Prince plus the Step-mother and Step-sisters. It’s only a quick monorail ride away. The only other place I would consider that would be good value on the DDP would maybe be Crystal Palace.
I love Tony’s town Square restaurant the first time my husband and I when we sat right there by Lady and the tramp fountain and then that was in 2000 and then I took my sister and 2013 and they were so wonderful to make as I have lost my husband a few months before and we had a wonderful meal and everybody was just wonderful absolutely cast members everybody I love that place God bless to all who work there
By and large this describes our experience with most of the dining options. We lucky to have a car so we eat in the Doc Philips neighborhood we we get terrific food and service. No more Disney dining for us!
Avoid at all costs! Very rude host stand. Very regrettable experience.
We ate at Tony’s to get the VIP viewing spot for the parade. Your review was spot on. Tony’s is not as horrible as many have said, but at best I would call it mediocre. We going again in November and when I suggested we do lunch there with the VIP viewing (which was great) everyone said they would rather find a spot earlier and wait rather than to eat there again.
OH this is so sad to read, I haven’t been to Tony’s since I was a kid (as we generally leave MK for dinner and opt for options where we can order drinks now) I remember loving it then – we would always get there for breakfast right after rope drop and they had the absolute best cinnamon roles. This was over 20 years ago now, and I’m not sure they even do breakfast, but good to know not to try it again out of nostalgia!
We ate there for lunch in Feb of 2017 as an opportunity to view the parade from a special viewing spot. I totally hope the quality of the food improves as I would not eat there again. While I did like the atmosphere, the food was sub par and totally not worth the spot on the parade route. The pasta was overcooked, the sauce mediocre at best. From your review I wish I had ordered the short rib.
My family ate Tony’s March 2018 and the food was terrible! I will not eat there ever again!
Hey Tom, your review is spot on, I consider it rather kind and generous. Tony’s is awful. And it could be so much better. I get that people need an approachable, kid friendly place in MK. But they could open a can of Chef B— and it would be better. Common WDW, you can do better.
We ate at Tony’s in Sept. 2017 and although we didn’t expect much (we had been before) this time we paired it with VIP seating for the Festival of Fantasy parade. This seating made Tony’s one of our favorite dining experiences from this trip. We got to the VIP seating area less than 20 minutes before the parade started. My daughter got a seat on the curb, she was high fived by multiple characters in the parade and there was space between us and the people next to us and no one behind us. It was the most relaxing Disney parade I have ever attended.
I didn’t even know this place existed. So what does that tell you?
OMG you’re so right. We went there in Feb 2018 and it was HORRIBLE. Not only are the choices for adults few and lazy, but the chicken parm looks and tastes like it was put together out of one of those kid’s recipe books where they open a can of chicken, a can of sauce, and a green can of spaghetti parm then served it on Mother’s day.
This place needs a culinary makeover. It could, and SHOULD, be so much better. Tony would be mortified.