The Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater and Restaurant
Posted By Scott Wolf
The Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World takes you back to the fabulous 1950s! Drive-In movie theaters were all the rage. You could drive your car in, park, hook a speaker on your car window, and for those that weren’t necking in the back seat, you could enjoy a movie in front of you on the big screen.
From the moment you walk in to the Sci-Fi Dine-In, you’ll remarkably feel like you’ve stepped back in time, under the starry night sky (whether daytime or nighttime!), for some silver screen entertainment of the day.
As you hop in your ‘50s convertible, you’ll be seeing actual 1950s science-fiction-themed footage, with sound coming out of the authentic drive-in portable speakers.
Once you’ve ordered your classic American cuisine, you’ll SHRIEK at the “Attack of the 50 Foot Woman,” BEWARE as “Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster,” and be TERRIFIED by “Robot Monster.”
It was always fun to get a cartoon short accompanying the movie back in the day, and you’ll be treated to classics such as Tex Avery’s “The Cat Who Hated People,” and Tom and Jerry in “Mouse into Space.”
Intermission reminds you to visit the snack bar, with classic animated dancing hot dog, popcorn and beverage cups!
Of course, this is a Disney version of the ol’ drive-in, so you’ll see a few Disney treasures in the mix. Watch for Walt Disney and robot Garco, as Walt discusses the possibility of life on other planets in an introduction from the 1957 “Disneyland” television show, and the zany animated short from that episode in which a scholarly man tries to determine if there is “life on Mars.”
Incidentally, Garco, was not just a prop for this TV show. Walt Disney was a man of vision and strove for authenticity. So for his robot sidekick for the television episode, he utilized an actual 5’8” 235 pound robot that was built by Harvey Chapman in 1953. He was built out of used aircraft parts and christened “Garco,” for the “Garrett Manufacturing Company” for which he was built. He had vacuum fingers to pick things up, a steel claw to grip, and he could telescope his legs to reach things on higher shelves.
Besides Garco, you might also spot 1967 Disneyland Ambassador Marcia Miner with Mickey Mouse in outer space apparel within the movie clips. This is footage from the grand opening of the new Tomorrowland in Disneyland which debuted the PeopleMover, Adventure Thru Inner Space and the General Electric Carousel of Progress amongst other things. You can listen to my conversation with Marcia here!
So the next time you’re in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, consider eating at a blast to the past, the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater and Restaurant. It’s out of this world!