*This gluten free dining experience took place in September 2019 and includes information about gluten free and dairy free options, as well as options for fish/shellfish, peanut, and chicken & turkey allergies.
Dinner at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater
Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater, located in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, is a table service restaurant that’s our go-to spot to dine in DHS. Recently, we had two unplanned dinners at Sci-Fi Dine-In due to challenges with quick service restaurants in the parks either not being open or being unable to accommodate some of our special dietary needs. Of course, both Brandon and I really enjoy Sci-Fi Dine-In, so we’re always up for a meal there.
Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater is set to resemble a 1950s drive-in. Because Hollywood Studios used to have more of the TV and film set theme, Sci-Fi Dine-In acts as a restaurant / working set. I always enjoy looking around at the “behind the scenes” props as you walk to the main restaurant area.
Even the exterior of Sci-Fi Dine-In has a fun and retro vibe. It’s especially fun at night, when the restaurant signs are lit up like a old drive-in signs.
Inside the main dining room, the fun continues. That’s because you’re actually seated tables that look like vintage cars. Your server is your “car hop,” throughout your meal too.
While you’re dining, you’ll enjoy some nostalgic and charming videos that include retro drive-in theater ads and 1950s Sci-Fi film clips. It’s always a highlight of our meal experience at Sci-Fi Dine-In.
In addition to the drive-in car tables, you will also find several “flying saucer” tables in the back of the restaurant. These are often reserved for walk-ups (i.e. guests without dining reservations). Because we did not have reservations on our last two visits, we were seated in the flying saucers.
And, believe it or not, we actually prefer these tables. That’s because they are more brightly lit, and they’re a bit more removed from the main dining area. We really enjoy the more relaxed atmosphere in the flying saucer seating area.
Like most Disney-owned restaurants, Sci-Fi Dine-In does offer guests with special dietary needs an allergy-friendly lunch and dinner menu. You can also speak directly with a chef about options, as well. If you have special dietary needs not covered by the allergy-friendly menus, we always recommend speaking directly with a chef too.
On our last two visits, we spoke with Chef JR, who was really great at talking through the various options. Because of Brandon’s chicken & turkey allergies, we always double-check on allergy-friendly fryers. Locations like Backlot Express, for example, have a dedicated allergy-friendly fryer but fries allergy-friendly chicken tenders in them — making them not safe for Brandon. Sci-Fi Dine-In has not only an allergy-friendly fryer, but they also have a vegan fryer too. This means that Brandon can get safe fries whenever we dine there.
I’ve had quite a few blog readers ask about the paper straws that Disney is now using in their restaurants as there has been some discussion about gluten in paper straws. Disney’s official website has noted that any Disney-owned locations, like Sci-Fi Dine-In, currently use the Aardvark brand paper straws and that they are 100% paper.
That being said, from a personal perspective, I’m not a huge fan of the paper straws because they tend to disintegrate pretty quickly. There are lots of options though for reusable straws for purchase too online, if you’re not a fan of these type of straws.
On our first visit, I ordered the Oven-roasted Turkey Wrap. It is marked safe for gluten/wheat, fish/shellfish, milk, and peanut/tree nut allergies on the allergy-friendly menu.
The turkey wrap comes with Oven-roasted Turkey, Crispy Bacon, Lettuce, and Vine-ripened Tomato with Cilantro-Avocado Aioli on an Allergy-Friendly Wrap and French Fries. This has become a big favorite of mine whenever we dine at Sci-Fi Dine-In. Not only is it fairly reasonably priced, but it’s very filling too. And, of course, it’s also very tasty. I do really love the cilantro-avocado aioli that comes in the sandwich. So good! If you like turkey sandwiches, this is one I can highly recommend.
On our second visit, I decided I needed to try something new. I’ve had quite a few burgers at the restaurant, so I thought I’d check out the Buffalo Chicken Salad — minus the Buffalo Sauce. This is marked safe for gluten/wheat, fish/shellfish, and peanut/tree nut allergies.
This salad typically comes with Allergy-Friendly Chicken Tenders tossed in a Spicy Buffalo Sauce with Mixed Greens, Bacon, Tomato, Red Onion, Cucumber, Shredded Cheddar, and Fried Tortilla Strips with Cilantro-Ranch Dressing. Now, I love a good condiment, but for some reason buffalo sauce is one of the few sauces I’m not a fan of. So, I asked Chef JR to omit the buffalo sauce from this salad.
Overall, I really liked the salad. It wasn’t anything fancy. And, I would have liked to have seen a variety of mixed greens instead of just iceberg lettuce. My only other major complaint was that it came with 3 allergy-friendly chicken tenders, which seemed a little on the small side. But, overall, the salad was really tasty.
The salad came pre-dressed in the Cilantro-Ranch Dressing, but Chef JR added another cup of dressing on the side. I used a bit more of it, because the dressing was really good. But, the salad was fairly well-dressed overall. I’d definitely get this again if I wasn’t super hungry or just wanted a simple salad.
On our second visit, I also asked Chef JR about the Vegan Cookie Milkshake. It’s not listed on the allergy-friendly menu. But, blog reader Sarah C. had raved about it when we saw her family at the restaurant a few weeks ago. Chef JR confirmed that the milkshake was also gluten free, dairy free, and vegan and was made with Enjoy Life Foods Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies. The shake is also made currently with non-dairy milk (I believe either soy or rice) and a house-made coconut milk whipped cream.
This was such a good milkshake, and I was so glad that I ordered it! The house-made coconut milk whipped cream was really yummy. But, the best part was the shake itself. Not only did it have crumbled cookies and a whole cookie on top, but it also had cookies blended in the milkshake itself. This is definitely going to be a must-order for me the next time we have dinner at Sci-Fi Dine-In again. It was that good!
On our first visit, Brandon ordered the Flame-broiled New York Strip Steak with Roasted Potatoes, Seasonal Vegetables that included Asparagus and Blistered Tomatoes. This is marked safe for gluten/wheat, egg, fish/shellfish, milk, and peanut/tree nut allergies.
Brandon absolutely loves this steak and the roasted potatoes that come with it. He’s not a big fan of vegetables like asparagus. So, next time, he said he’s just ask for a double-serving of potatoes instead. But, overall, this is a winner if you’re a steak lover.
On our second visit, Brandon ordered a Bacon Cheeseburger. This also included grilled onions too. He was also able to get French Fries from the vegan fryer. This entree is safe for fish/shellfish, peanut, and chicken & turkey allergies.
Brandon and I both enjoy the burgers at Sci-Fi Dine-In, and he said this one was excellent. He also loves the steak fries that the restaurant serves. And, we both agree that they do a really good job frying the steak fries at Sci-Fi Dine-In. We’ve had that at some other Disney restaurants and been less than impressed with the cook on the fries.
Brandon also ordered a Hot Fudge Sundae on both visits. We both agree that it’s hard not to order milkshakes or dessert when we eat at Sci-Fi Dine-In! The sundae is marked safe for gluten/wheat, egg, fish/shellfish, and peanut/tree nut allergies.
This is definitely a good go-to dessert if you want something that is simple, yet delicious. Brandon did want to get the brownie sundae on our most recent visit, but Chef JR noted that the brownie has a cross-contamination risk with peanuts. So, we didn’t want to risk it. That being said, Brandon said the sundae was just as good as the one he had on the previous visit.
We both can’t say enough good things about Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Not only have we found a lot of options that we really enjoy, but the chefs at the restaurant have been super accommodating and helpful. We also really appreciate that this table service is relatively affordable compared to some of the other TS locations in the parks and resorts. Add in a great restaurant theme, and you have an terrific option for a delicious, safe, and fun meal in Hollywood Studios.
Have you been to Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater? What do you think of the special diets options there?