The very popular Lamplight Lounge emerged in 2018 during the transformation of the Paradise Pier to Pixar Pier. It replaced the also very popular Cove Bar and Ariel’s Grotto, which merged to form the Lamplight Lounge. It is located at the beginning of the Pixar Pier before you reach the Incredicoaster. Disney Magic Diva reviewed this location soon after it opened, and didn’t find it to live up to her expectations. So how has it matured? First a little bit more about the restaurant.
Lamplight Lounge is billed as a ‘gastropub’, or basically a pub/bar/restaurant hybrid. As was the Cove Bar before it, they have signature cocktails and even more fun, there is a secret menu of cocktails, which dates back to the Cove Bar days (ask for the Fun Wheel – a Disney twist on the Long Island Iced Tea!). There is a food menu with appetizers and entrees, so you can make this stop your meal for the day or just a rest for a drink or two. DIVA TIP – reservations are very popular here, so you should make a reservation at least 60-days before your trip.
There is also a standby waitlist upstarts at the Lamplight Lounge Boardwalk Dining you can join if you did not get reservations, but that option may or may not be available during your trip based on demand. This location upstairs gives you a great feel for the Pier. You can watch riders zoom away on the Incredicoaster, and see the action around you.
There are two seating areas – downstairs outside and downstairs inside. You can make a request for one of the options when you check in at the host stand. A special request may mean that you could wait longer for your table, so ask about that when you check in. We have dined at all of the locations, and each one has its perks.
- Downstairs outside has great views of the water. This is the PERFECT location to sit and watch World of Color if you have a reservation for about 7:30 pm or later.
- Downstairs inside is great for a hot day or when you want a more intimate setting.
There is a restroom on the bottom floor, inside just to the left of the spiral stairs. There is an elevators for those that cannot take the stairs.
We’ve had meals at the Lounge many times and I can say that our experiences have been mixed.
We typically (but not always) take one of the last reservations of the night. When we do this, we ask for outdoors downstairs so we could watch World of Color. However, even when we are seated indoors, we area able to move outside to an empty table or high bar to watch the show. We love being able to watch the show while seated, and enjoy our food and drink. Note that the kitchen will close before World of Color starts, so your server will ask you for a last call. Also, the lights will go dark and when we were there in the winter, the outdoor heaters were turned off. Keep all that in mind and prepare.
The service we experienced has been mixed. We have had very good attentive service with great food, and some non-attentive service with good food. There was one time soon after reopening when the server took our order in a timely fashion, but our food arrived at varied times. We had 6 people, and two of us received our food, followed in about 5 minutes but two more. But the last two people in our party were not served again after another 5 minutes, so we flagged someone who was not our server to ask for our food. It took nearly 10 minutes for someone to come back and tell us that our last two orders were still delayed, and we still hadn’t seen our server. At this point, we involved a manager and we finally received the last two orders after everyone else had finished. The manager was apologetic and did comp those orders.
About the food – we do love the Lobster Nachos. They are tortilla chips with warm lobster with black beans, aged cheddar-oaxaca cheese sauce, pico de gallo, and chipotle crema, and you can customize by leaving off any of those. And they are huge – my daughter and I will share them and it is perfect. They are not super spicy (but I’m from Arizona so I like spicy). But don’t stop there! We really like the potato skins. They are crispy (fried) Yukon gold potatoes with brown butter-caper yogurt, smoked paprika aïoli, and manchego cheese.
There is also a kids menu with burger sliders and grilled chicken tenders, and a fun selection of mocktails. My kids LOVE the Infinity Fizz – the bubbles make the cherry pearls dance in the glass! It’s super fun. And to finalize your meal, they have donuts. They are house made, are served nice and warm, and include two dipping sauces to top them off. Very yummy!
While our experiences here have been mixed, we do enjoy the food, the views, and the atmosphere. When World of Color reopens, we will again take a late reservation and enjoy watching the show from our seats. I can still recommend that you dine/drink here, and hopefully your experience will be more like the good ones we had.
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