It’s always hard for me to decide where and how I want to have lunch at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Do I want to grab a quick bite at one of the many counter-service or snack options? Do I feel like a home cooked meal at the 50’s Prime Time Cafe? Should I spend my lunch hanging out with movie monsters at the SciFi Dine In Theater? Decisions, decisions. What if I want to excape the crowds and enjoy a leisurely, relaxing lunch in a semi-swanky atmosphere? Well, that would be easy – I’d eat at the Hollywood Brown Derby! In May, on a Friday during Star Wars Weekend, that’s just what I did.
My family and I had been standing in the sun for about 90 minutes on the curb of Hollywood Blvd. to see the Legends of the Force Motorcade (fun and worth the wait and roasting in the sun!) and were more than ready to sit down, cool off, and enjoy a leisurely lunch. Modeled after the famed California restaurant by the same name, The Hollywood Brown Derby is located on Sunset Blvd. As you enter, you’re immediately transported by the restaurant’s open, airy interior to another place and time. This is classic Hollywood at the height of its golden age. The tall ceilings, dark wood accents and creamy walls covered in caracatures of famous stars give the Brown Derby a posh, yet welcoming feeling. Softly glowing lamps add just the right touch. Lunch usually begins at noon and the menu is so full of interesting choices, it’s hard to make a decision! I especially liked the atmosphere and how quiet and relaxing it was – even though our table was right in the center of the dining room on an extremely busy day at the Studios.
On the day we were there, my daughter and I both ordered the famed Cobb Salad after sharing the Blue Lump Crab Springroll appetizer. We do love bleu cheese – which is imperative if you want to order this salad as that was the most overriding flavor. Part of what makes the salad so special is when the server performs the table-side salad-tossing and presentation. My husband and son each ordered a bowl of Lobster Bisque, and their entrees were the Seafood Cioppino and the Herb-crusted Grilled Lamb respectively. The service, to us, seemed a bit slow. We did want a relaxed, unhurried lunch, but we thought the server wasn’t as attentive as we’d expected for the restaurant’s price and reputation. The food made up for the sub-par service, though. Everyone was satisfied with their choices and agreed we’d be giving this place another try in the future.
Some tips for enjoying a meal at the Hollywood Brown Derby:
- If you’re looking for a more serious, more adult place to eat at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the Brown Derby’s an excellent choice.
- If you want to enjoy wine with your meal, the wine list at the Hollywood Brown Derby is above average – far superior to anything else we’ve found in the Studios.
- This restaurant is eligible for the Fantasmic Dinner Package (dine and receive vouchers for reserved Fantasmic seating). Book this as early as possible, specifically as an Advance Dining Reservation choice. Package includes entrée, dessert, non-alcoholic beverage, and Fantasmic VIP seating voucher (currently $56.99 for adults and $16.99 for children).
- Set aside plenty of time. You won’t be able to fully enjoy this experience if you’re rushed or worrying about making a FastPass+ time. Be sure you are able to relax and soak it all in – the great atmosphere, food, wine, etc.
- Book an Advance Dining Reservation (ADR) 180 days in advance to ensure the day and time you want.
- The menu seems to change often (with the exception of the Cobb Salad) – The chefs make the most of available fresh ingredients.