Today, we are going to reluctantly journey over to Tony’s Town Square Restaurant to try out the Festival of Fantasy Parade dining package.
For the most part, we have a pretty positive view on dining packages. While many dislike that you are required to spend more to get the best views of shows, we really enjoy having the option to do so. Plus, you can often times actually end up getting more value than cost when compared to ordering menu items ala carte.
We recently reviewed the Fantasmic package at The Hollywood Brown Derby, as well as the Rivers of Light package at Tiffins. In both cases we received significant savings vs if we had ordered the exact same meal off the regular menu. In Tiffin’s case, the savings were so great that we recommended booking the package even if you have no intention of seeing the show.
The potential problem with the Festival of Fantasy package is that it is only available at Tony’s. The restaurant is notorious for fans as being one of the worst table service options in all of WDW. While our past experiences haven’t been as lousy as its reputation would suggest, we still don’t consider it to be a good restaurant by any means. Unfortunately, booking the dining package is the only way to view Festival of Fantasy with a straight on view up Main Street USA.
Back in December, we booked the Christmas party version of this package in order to secure this spot for Christmas parade. You can see the photo above to get an idea of the reserved view. This is the Magic Kingdom’s best parade viewing location hands down. Whether or not its worth eating lunch a Tony’s for… well, lets take a look.
Despite the restaurant being fairly empty, I was still seated about 10 minutes after my reservation time. This can be much worse during the dinner rush as I have previously waited over a half hour past my reservation time here.
The dining package cost $54 per adult ($19 per child 3-9), with no AP or DVC discounts offered. For your money, you receive a non alcoholic beverage, appetizer, entree and dessert. You can order any combination of items off the full menu; there are no restrictions (aside from alcohol being extra). Here is a look at Tony’s current menu:
In an attempt to maximize my value, I started off with the $16 fried calamari. This was against my better judgement as I had no faith in the restaurant to serve any kind of seafood well. We had calamari served buffet style during Tony’s Merriest Town Square Party and it was very tough / chewy with a bit of a fishy taste.
Shockingly, this was pretty good. The calamari was nice and crispy with a nicely seasoned breading. It did not taste fishy at all, nor was it tough and hard to chew. If anything, it may have been slightly over cooked with the inside being just a tad on the mushy side. Still, I enjoyed it way more than I even would have guessed. It was a good start to the meal!
I also received a solid bread service along with my appetizer.
The bread was crunchy on the outside and warm and fluffy on the inside. The olive oil for dipping was seasoned well. It was simple, yet good.
For my entree, I ordered the Italian Trio. The $32 entree includes a healthy portion of fettuccine alfredo, chicken parmesan and spaghetti w/ a meatball.
Unfortunately, this was not good. The alfredo sauce was watery and bland, the pasta overcooked. The chicken was overly salty and tough to chew. The meatball was the best part it was still just an okay meatball.
Even loading it up with extra parmesan cheese did little to improve the flavors. As my meal was delivered to the table, a lady at the next table over commented on how good it looked and immediately ordered it based on that. That lead me to tweet this:
Kidding aside, this was one of the worst table service entrees I’ve ever been served at a Disney restaurant. It makes Olive Garden’s “Tour of Italy” dish seem like gourmet cuisine by comparison.
Fine dining restaurants rarely put salt or pepper on the table as the food is already seasoned properly. That is NOT the case here!
Since I only ate about half of my entree, I was hoping for at least a solid dessert to help fill me up. I chose the $9.50 chocolate cake, again trying to get the most value out of my meal.
While I have no doubt this was just a pre-packaged dessert right out of the freezer, it was still very good. It was more of a chocolate mousse than a cake which is a big plus in my book. The presentation was nice and I really have nothing bad to say about it.
Overall, including my soft drink, I received $61.50 worth of food for the $54 cost of the package. The problem, was that my entree was so poor that I only ate about half of it. Obviously the “menu value” doesn’t mean a whole lot if you can not enjoy what you are being served. I also purposely ordered some of the more expensive menu items to try and maximize value. I would guess the average value to come in slightly below the $54 cost line.
Still, I did enjoy my appetizer and dessert quite a bit so there is a decent chance I could find at least one entree I would enjoy as well. You never know with Tony’s though. So the question remains, is the parade viewing location worth the risk of a sub par meal?
We’ll answer that question in Part 2 of the post when we take a look the parade itself! We’ll be back with that later this week. Until then, thanks for reading and bye for now!