What Does Memory Taste Like?

Erica LandreneauArticles

Join Erica Landreneau on a journey through the nostalgic bliss of Walt Disney World in this new series! 

What is nostalgia? Merriam-Webster defines nostalgia as “a wistful or excessively sentimental yearning for return to or of some past period.” We all know of a place that causes us to feel a little nostalgic. OK, Walt Disney World makes us feel really nostalgic, but what is it about this magical place that makes us feel this way?

It makes us feel wide-eyed and innocent again, seeing our favorite childhood movies come to life right before our eyes. It brings our favorite characters alive, and they can now talk to us and give us hugs. We think back to our favorite childhood moments and memories, toys and stories, songs and even meals.

For some people, it isn’t just the Disney aspect that brings us that sense of nostalgia at WDW, but seemingly unrelated things like certain restaurants that make us feel that way. Do you remember going to grandma’s house to eat the best comfort food in the world? What about going to an old Drive-In with your family or your first date?

You can revisit these old memories in Disney’s Hollywood Studios at 50’s Prime Time Café and at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant.

Inside the 50’s Prime Time Cafe you’ll find this cozy kitchen. Photo by Cliff Wang.

50’s Prime Time Café

Remember walking into Grandma’s house and seeing all of her random knickknacks everywhere? The décor at 50’s Prime Time Café is a bunch of small kitchens with retro wallpaper and furniture as well as many of these beloved knickknacks. When I went with my family, my mom mentioned, “I remember my grandma’s house looking like this.”

Not to mention there are the coveted TV tables playing clips from popular 50’s shows like Leave it to Beaver and Mickey Mouse Club. The cast members definitely treat you like family going all the way to make you stand in the corner if you back talk to them.

There is also a well-known fact no one can deny: Nothing tastes better than Mom’s cooking. The comfort food here makes it feel exactly like you are home eating crispy fried chicken or incredible pot roast (while your aunt yells at your sibling to take their elbows off the table).

In Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater, you can enjoy your meal in a convertible. Photo by Judd Helms

Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater

Sticking with the retro 1950’s, Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater is another restaurant that will pull in those nostalgic feelings from those who lived in that era (or just have a romanticized sense of the decade from movies!).

I remember hearing stories from my grandparents about going to the local Drive-In. My grandparents would go to the Drive-In with their friends or just the two of them on a date. Having a way to go back in time and see what it was like to sit in a car, eat a burger, and watch clips of old 50’s films was amazing to me.

In a restaurant with the décor to be set at night with dim lighting to see your food but not too much light to take away from the ambiance of sitting in a convertible watching Attack of the 50 Foot Woman.

More Nostalgic Restaurants at WDW

Beaches & Cream Soda Shop: Take a trip down memory lane going to this quaint restaurant set in a time where soda shops were all the rage.

Casey’s Corner: For the baseball fans who remember its hey-day, head down Main St. USA for classic baseball fare in a restaurant taken after Casey at the Bat.

Aloha Isle: For anyone who has visited WDW before, you most likely have memories that turned into a family tradition of getting a Dole Whip every vacation.

Head on over to Main Street, U.S.A. to eat at Casey’s Corner.
Photo by Judd Helms

However, food and restaurants aren’t the only way that Disney brings a sense of nostalgia to WDW. 

Stay tuned for our next instalment of this series, in which we’ll talk about how people born during Disney’s “Renaissance Era” experience nostalgia at WDW.

By Erica Landreneau

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