*DIS Contributors review meals, resort stays, and entertainment that they have paid for during their own vacations. They only utilize discounts and offers if they are available to the general public, such as annual passholder discounts, Tables in Wonderland, or DVC membership discounts. They receive no additional compensation for dining experiences or events, so that they may give their honest opinions about price and value.
Food seems to be one of the most talked about parts of Disney World. Every day, my social media platforms are filled with posts about snacks or restaurants you can find throughout the parks and resorts. I have a few favorite snacks but I like to sit down for a meal occasionally. When visiting Hollywood Studios, the top of the list for most folks is Sci-Fi Diner, Hollywood and Vine or The Brown Derby. I tend to find myself at Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano when I’m feeling like splurging and spending money on a nicer Disney restaurant.
I have to clarify that I personally don’t care for Olive Garden. I know that might sound crazy but I’m just not wild about it. I think this is why it makes me sad to hear people say Disney’s Italian restaurants are bad Olive Gardens. I disagree with that statement, but everyone is entitled to their own opinions. So I figured I would share why I love Mama Melrose.
The restaurant is tucked back behind PizzeRizzo and near the Muppet Vision 3-D show. The theme is an abandoned backlot warehouse turned into an Italian restaurant. I think the lights are super cool as well as the random movie memorabilia you can find hanging on the walls.
I have a degree in History, so I will always like anything that shows me a blast from the past. I promise it doesn’t feel like a museum and it still looks like a nice restaurant.
Now on to the most important part: the menu. If you want pizza, I would suggest PizzeRizzo, but if you are looking for more specialized Italian dishes, this is the place for you. My family really likes the chicken parmesan and it is a HUGE portion. They do have some other classic favorites like spaghetti. There are a couple pasta options that include shrimp as their main source of protein. If your group really wants Italian but you’re leaning toward something more like a steak, well I have great news. They do have a steak on their menu that comes with a four cheese macaroni. I won’t wear you out by typing out the entire menu, but these are some of the most popular items.
They have an assortment of appetizers to choose from and you get free bread. The bread comes with olive oil topped with Italian seasoning. The bread is really good in my opinion and I do enjoy that it is free. I love getting the most bang for my buck. Personally I have never ordered an appetizer here, but they sound pretty good. I will say that there aren’t that many appetizers on the menu. As far as desserts, I rarely eat them, so I cannot give an opinion on those.
For those of us like myself who cannot eat dairy but sometimes crave it, I have more great news. They have an item on the menu that has a dairy-free cheese sauce!! It is called the Polenta Cake, Mushroom and Herb Cauliflower. The polenta is the base and all of the items in the title are on top of them. It also has a red sauce and some red peppers. But the best part is that it includes a cashew-based dairy-free cheese sauce. This is also the vegan option if you live that lifestyle. I do eat meat but this was so amazing I didn’t even notice there wasn’t any. The flavors were super great and it is one of the rare dairy-free cheese meals I have found while at Disney. I usually have to just avoid things or clarify “no cheese.”
Now on to the part most people are concerned about: how much is it going to cost me? On the My Disney Experience app, it has two $$ by its name. This means it is moderately priced compared to all Disney food options. It’s a bit more than what you would pay at most quick service restaurants but cheaper than a three $$$ place such as the Brown Derby. I tend to like the security of a reservation because on a hot day the last thing I want to do is walk around carrying food looking for a spot to sit. However, there are many days I do not eat at a sit down restaurant because I live near Disney, so I would be broke!
Overall, I would definitely recommend giving Mama Melrose a chance. I like it better than Tony’s Town Square Restaurant when it comes to Italian food. Hollywood Studios actually has quite a few food options, so I’m sure your family will be able to find something each person likes. If you take my suggestion, let me know if you like Mama Melrose.
Happy traveling, Disney fans and follow me on my Instagram page: @thesingledisneylady.
Kayln Epperson is a 31 year old hardcore Disney fan. She is also a lover of history, St. Louis Blues hockey, the Florida Gators and the gym. She is an annual pass holder to Disney and visits quite often. She currently works in the horse industry and is a World Champion in the American Paint Horse Association. She has 3 horses, 2 dogs and a goldfish. She is passionate about being a single, childless adult in the Disney community and wants to help others like herself.