Hollywood Brown Derby
Reader Reviews

We booked the Brown Derby for our Fantasmic package early this month. We had never been to this restaurant before, but as we aren't big buffet people this was the only option for us. Also the package price seemed a good deal for the quality/average cost of the food. Well, we got mixed up with our reservation and arrived an hour late. Was this a problem? No, no problem, the staff dealt with this quietly and calmly, we waited maybe 5 minutes and were promptly seated. The restaurant has lovely atmosphere, from the caricatures on the walls to the the cozy booths, the whole restaurant has a calm elegant old-time feel.

But that wasn't the best surprise, the food was excellent! I had the Lobster Bisque to start, followed by the pork, my husband had steak (can't remember what he had for an appetizer). Absolutely amazing! I finished with the creme brulee and he finished with the grapefruit cake. Now please note that he isn't a "dessert" person but he loved the cake! The creme brulee was also excellent. The children were happy with the selections on the children's menu. The server even allowed our 12 year old to order from the children's menu as she isn't a big eater.

In conclusion, I haven't been to all the restaurants at Disney, but this is definitely my favorite so far! The service was excellent, atmosphere was lovely and food amazing, and you get reserved seating for Fantasmic! We enjoyed this meal much more than the California Grill, which seemed large, very bright and quite loud/busy. (Lise, October 2005)

*****

We tried the Fantasmic Dinner Package and chose the Hollywood Brown Derby. We have been to Disney World many times and we have never eaten here before. We were 20 minutes late for our priority seating, but they seated us right away. It was fabulous! We all split the appetizers (cobb salad and portobello mushrooms). Two of us had filet mignon, one ahi tuna and another had the pork tenderloin. All of us were extremely happy with our choices from appetizer down to dessert. Our waiter, Jason, was very attentive and gave us great recommendations. We then went on a few rides and headed over to the Fantasmic show and got great seats right away. All in all, a wonderful experience. (Kim, September 2005)

*****

Lunch at the Brown Derby on Wednesday, July 27--definitely an elegant experience and strong on culinary quality. Portions, however, were sized for people on a diet--including soup, dessert, and their famous Cobb Salad (which, unlike your previous reviewer's experience, was served in a regular entree dish and NOT mixed for me at the table). We weren't looking for all-you-can-eat, but I would appreciate some warning in your reviews when a restaurant's portion sizes are on the small side. I feel very sorry for anyone who brings hungry youngsters there for a meal. (Gene Zoller, July 2005)

*****

Unquestionably, the best dining experience at WDW is the Brown Derby. Management and staff could not be more accommodating. Service is superior in every respect. Would strongly recommend for large parties as management bent over backwards to satisfy our group of 25. The food is spectacular, in particular the Cobb Salad. However, what strikes me most about this restaurant is the impeccable service and attention to detail. I have been to the Brown Derby on over 20 occasions and have never been disappointed. I would strongly recommend as a must on your next WDW visit. (Wesley M. Kain, July 2005)

*****

We were pleasantly surprised that the Brown Derby at MGM, which is advertised by some as not terribly "kid friendly", had wonderful food (had the best fish I've ever eaten), excellent friendly service and our kids enjoyed guessing who the caricatures on the walls were. We hadn't even planned on going there - it was the only place we could get into for lunch that day. We had to wait a bit but it was worth it.

*****

My family and I decided to try the Fantasmic package at MGM Studios. We figured that it would be a good way to have a nice dinner and not have to stand in line for the show. We selected the Brown Derby. The food was great, but it took a very long time between courses. We had a 4 pm reservation and had to go directly to the show with only 20 minutes to spare. The bottom line is that a two and a half hour dinner is a bit long for a 2, 4 and 6 year old to handle. (Jennifer Shropshire, April 2005)

*****

Our family of three ate dinner this year at the Brown Derby. In the past we have chosen this restaurant for lunch but this year decided to book the Fantasmic dinner package, which entitled us to a three-course fixed price dinner plus admission to a reserved section for the Fantasmic show. The dinner is a good deal, as all of the menu choices are available. Ours (filet mignon, salmon, and tofu/vegetarian entree) were all amazing. In our opinion, as good as the California Grill, previously our favorite. The appetizers and desserts were fabulous as well. Our waitress was extremely knowledgeable both about the menu and the extensive wine list, making an appropriate and imaginative suggestion when one of our selected wines was unavailable. Beyond the meal, we were able to walk into Fantasmic only 1/2 hour before the show and get excellent seats. I would highly recommend this restaurant. (Cynthia Sullivan, April 2005)

*****

We had lunch at The Brown Derby Restaurant in MGM studios. We had priority seating for 1:00, but were so hungry by 11:30, we asked if we could eat early. Even though the place was packed, the staff was very accommodating and we were given a beeper like thing to be notified when a table would be ready, and even then we were seated within 5 minutes. Service was good. I had the Cobb salad, which was excellent and filling. My husband had the Grilled Atlantic Salmon Bruschetta, he said it was very good. The meal was pricey for a lunch, around $50.00. This is a restaurant for adults, there is not a lot that would interest children. (Shayna Friedman, April 2005)

*****

We came out of Beauty and the Beast at about 11.45 and decided to get lunch right away as we'd had only a light snack before setting out. As we were very close to the Hollywood Brown Derby, we decided to go in rather than walking around looking for something cheaper and end up with no-where to sit. We sat around in the comfy lobby for about 10 minutes before we were called, and were given one of the lovely semi-circular booths. Our waitress was very friendly and quick, and much-needed drinks were on the table almost before we'd opened the menus. DH and I both ordered the strip steak, eldest son went for (kids) grouper strips and youngest son (Master Picky) just ordered fries and milk. The food was excellent - probably the best main course we had in the whole two-week holiday. The steak was perfectly cooked and meltingly tender, served with three (delicious) sauces on a bed of mash with a fried plantain strip across the top. Elder son reported his fish slightly chewy but delicious, and younger son ate all his fries (not a regular occurrence!) plus a buttered bread roll from the complimentary bread basket - warm bread rolls and real butter appeared as if by magic while we were waiting for our entrees. We were too full for a dessert, although in the interests of research elder son did venture an ice cream which disappeared very quickly. I'd certainly eat here again, and would probably book it for a Fantasmic dinner package. (Marian, March 2005)

*****

We had eaten at the Brown Derby on our previous visit and loved it. So we decided to use 2 meal options for each of us and revisit. Once again it was wonderful. I had the crabcake and my husband had the ravioli appetizer ~ both excellent. My husband had his favorite tuna with the wasabi whipped potatoes and he swears it is his all time favorite meal anywhere. I had the filet and lobster tail. The filet was excellent but the lobster tail was a little to seasoned for my taste (but I'm a plain New England girl who likes it with just butter). I had the grapefruit cake and it was simply divine. The kids ate 3 bowls of the Mickey Chicken Soup between the two of them. It is a wonderful dining experience but keep it mind it is NOT light eating. The food is wonderful but very very rich - prepared with a lot of sauce and seasonings. (KDunphy, February 2005)

*****

Being a VERY picky eater, I was very surprised at the limited menu at the Brown Derby at MGM for dinner. My boyfriend and I had done the Fantasmic dinner package at the Hollywood and Vine (A+++ place) the night before, so we opted to try the Brown Derby since we were not rushed. I wanted a steak, but the filet was the only one on the menu. The sweet chef offered to cook a NY strip from the lunch menu, but it turned out to be a disaster. It was burnt all the way through, and not a great experience. The only high point was the manager's comp for two fast passes for the Rock N Roller Coaster. Bottom line, try the Hollywood and Vine for a relaxing experience! (Holly, February 2005)

*****

My party had a 3:30 p.m. PS for Brown Derby. This was also our Fantasmic Package meal. What a great restaurant! When you walk in, you totally forget that you are in a Disney theme park, which is great if you need the break. Plus this was the 1st time we had hard liquor drinks. In addition, I was celebrating my 35th birthday. Our server could not have been any more attentive, jolly and informative.

You could almost feel what it must have been like to dine in 'Old Hollywood' style, from the dark wood, the high white walls with all the celebrity drawings and the finely attired waiters.

Our meals were very tasty and done to perfection. For my birthday, the waitress gave me a flute of champagne to go with my dessert. After the meal, I had time to relax and enjoy more rides before it was time for Fantasmic.

At 6 p.m., we made our way to the special, long walk to the reserved section. We had aisle seats, about 12 rows up from the lagoon. It was perfect seating. What about the show? AMAZING!!! I highly recommend this Fantasmic dinner package. Yes its the most expensive of the packages, but I did feel I got more than my money's worth. We had a great meal, did not have to wait in long lines, had our own seating section and were able to be 'worry-free' about attending the show. (Purplebell1969, December 2004)

*****

We booked here for New Year's Eve, when we first arrived in Florida (night before Xmas Eve). We made a PS for 9.10 p.m., which we thought would be ideal timing for the fireworks and DJ party. We were told we were "lucky" to get one of the last available PS bookings - and oh, how "lucky" we were. We arrived at the restaurant at 5 past 9, and firstly were told that our reservation was for 9.20, despite our print-out (which we had with us) stating 9.10. Then we were told we may face a wait of up to an hour and a half!!! Which would have meant vastly rushing our meal to get a chance of enjoying any of the pre-show before the fireworks. The reception area was in complete chaos - one guest was behind the reception desk registering party arrivals! Apparently people at earlier sittings were not leaving their tables. It seems crazy for them not to have anticipated this on NYE and either impose a time limit on tables (which we have a lot in top London restaurants) or take less bookings!! Everywhere people were complaining - one party had been waiting nearly 2 hours already. And the pagers only work to the immediate vicinity, so you can't even go for a drink. One woman was hypoglycemic and had to be brought bread and water because she needed to eat and was being told she would have to wait. The chaos and frustration ruined our evening. We eventually got seated after 10 p.m. The waiter was perfectly civil, but that is what I would expect in a restaurant of this supposed standing. My mother and I both had French onion soup for starters, which was average. I had the tuna, which was very nice, but not groundbreaking. I do not think this restaurant lives up to the hype. There was no atmosphere and the whole experience put a real damper on our evening. I would avoid this restaurant in the future - try the upstairs dining room at Wolfgang Puck in Downtown Disney, or California Grill instead. (Alexis, December 2004)

*****

A Touch of Class -- in the middle of a Theme Park. I've never been to the "real" Brown Derby, but if it's 1/2 as good as Disney's version, then I know why it became famous. Both my wife and I had the Cobb Salad (she had hers without the Blue Cheese). Our son really threw me when he ordered the Grilled Chicken Breast with Vegetables and Potatoes -- and he cleared his plate -- declaring that this was a delicious meal. Service was excellent (I could see where it could be "stuffy" here, but we've never had that experience). Prices are reasonable, portions are good, and the atmosphere is just as I would have expected it to be at the Brown Derby, during it's heydey. Food - 3 Stars; Service - 3+ Stars; Value - 3 Stars; Overall - 3+ Stars. WELL WORTH A VISIT! (Stewart J. Dimon, June 2004)

*****

I just read the article in the latest All Ears® about the Hollywood Brown Derby. I highly recommend this restaurant also. My husband and I have eaten there numerous times since it is one of our favorite restaurants. The Cobb Salad and Grapefruit Cake are excellent. We also got I can't remember the exact name but it was Chicken in a maple grazed sauce it was scrumptious. So if your going to WDW I highly recommend this restaurant. (Linda, February 2004)

*****

I have read many reviews about the Hollywood Brown Derby in the past, they all were great, but until you experience it, you have no idea. First off, the service is outstanding. Not fast mind you, considerate and friendly are the words that come to mind. The Cobb Salad is to die for! I had the Sirloin Cobb and it is the bomb! I made myself eat dessert, and the grapefruit cake is all it is cracked up to be and more. The real treat for the meal, however was a dessert called Bananas Foster Cheesecake. OMG! Do yourself a favor, EAT HERE! Yeah it is a little pricey, the atmosphere is not over the top like the 50s prime time or Sci Fi Dine in, but the food is wonderful. Better for Adults than children, if you have a chance for an adults only meal, spend your money here. (Wayne Shaw, February 2004)


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