The chances are that everyone who has been to the Magic Kingdom has passed by Tony’s on the way into the park. It’s located on the right side as you enter, next to the meet and greet areas for Tinkerbell and Mickey & Minnie.
As many of you know, Tony’s is the restaurant in the Disney classic film, Lady and the Tramp. The famous spaghetti scene in the movie, where the two pooches are unknowingly eating the same piece of pasta and end up “kissing,” occurs outside in the back of Tony’s. Originally the space was occupied by a different restaurant called Town Square Café, first sponsored by Oscar Mayer and then by Hormel. Their specialty was Monte Cristo sandwiches. Hormel ended their sponsorship, and Tony’s first debuted on July 24, 1989. The menu has changed over the years, but the cuisine has always been Italian.
From the outside, it doesn’t look terribly interesting (with the exception of some cool looking signs with the name of the place), but all that changes once you enter the restaurant. It is a complete homage to Lady and the Tramp, with a plethora of drawings from the film festooning the walls.
All the characters are represented in the pictures, including those meanie cats! The centerpiece (and it literally is in the center of the main room) is a beautiful fountain of Lady and the Tramp. You might think the theming would be reflected in the serving dishes, and you would be right if you were there when Tony’s first opened. Sadly, guests kept stealing the themed china, so now the dishes are generic.
The main dining area is completely indoors, and you cannot see outside. But if you request it, you can sit in a smaller sunroom-like area that is also indoors but has a great view of Main Street USA.
There is also an even smaller patio area that is completely outdoors (but it is covered). If you get a sunroom or patio table you can people watch, and, even better, if you time it right, you can watch a parade on Main Street while you enjoy your meal. If you have your heart set on a table with a view, be sure to request it. (Of course, if the weather is bad you’ll want to be in the sunroom or the regular dining area, not the patio).
When you first enter Tony’s, you are in a fairly large lobby area. This is where you check-in or (if you haven’t booked ahead of time) inquire if there are tables available. If your table is not ready, there is a TV that plays the movie Lady and the Tramp to entertain you while you wait. Free cold water is available for guests as well.
Restrooms are located in this area, and although there is signage saying “women” and “men,” the doors have a picture of Tramp on the men’s room entrance, and Lady on the women’s, another of the wonderful special touches that Disney does so well!
By the way, while reservations are recommended, I was able to get the time I wanted by booking it the night before. Of course, this won’t hold true during really busy times at Walt Disney World, but it was nice to get the reservation with so little notice. I went with my friend, the restaurant was full when we went, but they seated us right away.
When you enter the main dining room, it is a feast for the eyes, especially for those who are fans of the movie Lady and the Tramp.
As I mentioned earlier, the walls are covered with awesome scenes from the movie, and the fountain in the center is fabulous. (As an FYI, the outdoor seating does not have Lady/Tramp decorations on the walls like the main dining area does. But there is beautiful stained glass all around the room, and the view of the hub on Main street can’t be beat). Don’t be shy about walking around the restaurant and taking pictures, even if you are not seated in the main dining area. There are so many great photo ops, and the Cast Members are fine with you enjoying them all. I would not get close enough to disturb anyone dining, but it’s not necessary, you can get great pictures without bothering anyone.
Tony’s is not open for breakfast, only lunch and dinner. We had lunch, and the menu had a number of good options, including some great appetizers (ie, calamari, Caprese salad, spinach dip).
The main courses included a number of pasta dishes: Spaghetti, ravioli, fettuccine, and ravioli. Most had the option of adding chicken or shrimp (or in the case of spaghetti, meatballs). There is also Chicken Parmigiana, a fish of the day, gnocchi, and shrimp scampi. If you have allergies or any other dietary restrictions, tell your server, he or she will help you find something you will enjoy. Most adult meals run from $15-$35, and the lunch and dinner menu is the same. Soft drinks, beer, and wine are available, as are Cappuccino, Latte, and Expresso. Dessert choices include Strawberry Shortcake, Cheesecake, Gelato, Raspberry Sorbet, Chocolate Hazlenut Cake, Tiramisu and Cannoli. For kids Tony’s offers Sauteed Shrimp; Grilled Chicken with roast potatoes; Mac and Cheese; Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs; Standard Spaghetti and Meatballs. Most kid’s meals run about $11.
We did not get dessert, but we both loved our main dishes. I had the gnocchi, small potato dumplings (which my friend, who is Italian, had to teach me how to pronounce properly LOL) with shrimp. It came with veggies and had a sauce that reminded me of vodka sauce, and it was filling and delicious! My friend had the chicken parmigiana, and she was very pleased with it. All tables get Italian bread with a dash of olive oil to dip the bread in.
The service was really stellar. Our server, Sasha, was so friendly and attentive. Never once did we need to call her over, she was constantly looking around at the guests she was taking care of and immediately came over if you looked like you wanted something. I was really impressed and told her so, and she was so gracious, saying she was only there a year, and it made her very happy to get the compliment. (I also wrote to guest services to tell them how great she was). We never felt rushed, and although it was loud at times, as many Disney restaurants are, the noise was not overwhelming.
There are two special events at Tony’s, one during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and one during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. During Halloween Cruella de Vil is your hostess for the Cruella’s Halloween Hide-A-Way. Beginning at 9:30 p.m., this experience gives you the opportunity to come and go as you please and enjoy all there is to offer. For example, there is creamy spinach dip with ciabatta crostini, assorted Halloween flatbreads, as well as other tasty choices. Sweets are offered as well, I.e. chocolate-dipped strawberries, cheesecake and mini cannoli, and Mini De Vil brownies. There is a nice selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Halloween music plays in the background, and Tony’s is specially decorated for the holiday. As a bonus a special viewing area for the later showing of the Halloween parade is reserved for guests who opt for this experience. The cost is $99 (in addition to the cost of the Halloween Party). The Christmas offering is called Tony’s Most Merriest Town Square Party. Similar to Halloween, there is a special parade viewing area, and the cost is $99, but Tony’s is themed for Christmas, and the food options vary. Expect to see meatballs, mini pizzas, Boursin-stuffed artichoke, and more.
Desserts at this experience include pumpkin tartlets, Yule Logs, cannoli, Christmas cookies, and red velvet cupcakes.
What else should you know about Tony’s Town Square Restaurant?
- If you are standing in front of the restaurant, look on the ground towards the left side of the building, close to the sidewalk. You will see a heart with paw prints inside, just like the one Tramp draws in the movie. Sometimes strollers cover this, so look carefully, so you don’t miss this adorable touch.
- Discounts offered are as follows: Tables in Wonderland 20%. Disney Vacation Club or Annual Pass, 10%
- If you are on the dining plan, Tony’s is one table service meal
If you have never tried Tony’s, I hope you give it a try. It’s a fun experience for all ages; the prices are reasonable. The food is very good, the atmosphere is terrific and the service is amazing. If you haven’t been there in a while, I suggest you go again. I was not that happy with the food quality when I first went in 1996. However, it was excellent when I was there this year, and I am really glad I gave it another try after all these years.