Have dinner under the stars at Disney’s Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater restaurant

in Disney, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Food, Walt Disney World

sci fi drive in

Credit: Becky Burkett / ITM Reporter

If you’re looking for a fun, uniquely-themed dining experience at Walt Disney World, don’t miss your chance to stop in at Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant.

sci fi drive in
Credit: Becky Burkett / ITM Reporter

Do you like American fare—burgers, barbecue, salads, strip steak, fried pickles, crab fondue, shakes, and house-made candy and cookie barsscience fiction, and a totally unique dining atmosphere? If so, the Sci-Fi Dine-In should be on your list of Disney restaurants to experience on your next visit to the parks.

It’s one of the harder dining reservations to score, so it’s a good idea to make your reservations as early as possible. At Disney World, you can make those reservations up to 180 days in advance via the My Disney Experience app or online at MyDisneyExperience.com.

The Sci-Fi Dine-In is a great place for families, but it’s great for couples too. When you arrive, you’ll check in at the host stand. Enjoy popcorn while you wait, and when your family name is called, a server will escort you to your car. Yes, your car. At this restaurant, your table is inside an “automo-booth.” These fun “cars” seat two Guests on each row inside the car. Some cars have two rows; others have three.

The dining room is set up to look like a giant area of parked cars facing a huge screen, just like a 1950s drive-in. While you eat, you’ll enjoy sci-fi and B-rate “horror” movie clips from the 1950s and 60s—the likes of Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster, Plan 9 from Outer Space, and Attack of the 50 Foot Woman—as well as clips from outer space-themed Tom and Jerry cartoons and even a clip of Walt Disney giving details about a new robot he was working on.

sci fi drive in
Credit: Becky Burkett / ITM Reporter

So think of the theme as retro sci-fi and outer space.

First, let’s talk about appetizers. The fried pickles are very good. I’m from Texas, so I’m surprised when I meet people who’ve never heard of fried pickles. You don’t even have to like pickles to like these at the Sci-Fi Dine-In that come served with horseradish for dipping. Or try the shrimp and crab fondue. You seriously can’t go wrong.

As an entrée, order a strip steak cooked the way you like it, or try the Beef and Blue Burger served with bleu cheese, onion marmalade, and bacon (I don’t like onions, but this is good!). There’s even shrimp pasta with kale, zucchini, bell peppers, and fennel. If you’re feeling adventurous, ask about the Sci-Fi Dine-In seasonal specialty burger.

And I may be the only person from Texas who doesn’t like barbecue, but the platter of barbecue served at the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant is not only good; it’s huge and comes with pulled pork, ribs, grilled chicken, and sausage. (It’s rumored to have converted a few vegetarians into carnivores, but we’ll have to check our sources on that one.)

sci fi drive in
Credit: Becky Burkett / ITM Reporter

If you’re a vegetarian and you’re not budging, that’s cool at the Sci-Fi Dine-In. Choose from options like Szechuan Lettuce Wraps with crunchy tofu or a vegetarian Falafel Burger.

If, by some miracle, you’ve still got room for dessert, know that the Sci-Fi Drive-In has several offerings like lemon cheesecake and hot fudge sundaes. But don’t waste your time—but the only two things you need to remember are house-made candy bars and cookie shakes. The candy bars taste like Oreo cookies and chocolate ganache, and the cookie shakes are made with non-dairy milk and cookies and topped with coconut whipped cream.

sci fi drive in
Credit: Becky Burkett / ITM Reporter

Finish your evening by getting a citation. Yes, a citation. But don’t worry; everyone gets one. That’s because your bill comes to you in the form of a citation for being parked too long. It’s just one more little detail that adds to the overall experience! (Oh, and be sure to show your annual pass to receive a discount on your dining experience!)

I can’t stress enough the importance of making dining reservations at the Sci-Fi Dine-In well in advance. Often, if you try to make reservations even 6 to 8 weeks in advance, you’ll have a difficult time scoring one, and this is not the restaurant to miss at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

If you want to visit Walt Disney World to experience this fun and uniquely-themed dining experience, then don’t hesitate to reach out to our friends at Academy Travel. Click here for a free, no-obligation vacation quote from the Authorized Disney Vacation Planners at Academy Travel!

Have you had the experience of dining at the Sci-Fi Dine-In? Let us know about your experience in the comments section below.

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