In the realm of Disney dining experiences, a few select locations often come to mind. For many guests, the classic Cinderella’s Royal Table or even the somewhat newer Be Our Guest locations are reminiscent of that classic “Disney” experience. However one particular offering has grown to immense popularity over the years with very little tie in to Disney films, the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theatre at Hollywood Studios.
Sci-Fi is certainly high on our list as well, but it also holds a small Disney Imagineering secret that not every guest recognizes.
During the design process for the dining experience, Imagineers payed impeccable attention to detail in producing nearly life sized vehicles for guests to sit in while their drive in experience came to life before their very eyes. Today, that same experience remains as one of the longest running traditions in Hollywood Studios. On top of the impressive design for guests of all ages, the food offerings at Sci-Fi are typically regarded as some of the best in the entire park, if not some of the most family friendly offerings on all of Disney property.
However, while the dining experience overall is often considered a guest favorite, today we’re looking beyond the food and onto an overlooked detail of the location’s design, the vehicles themselves. As mentioned, a painstakingly detailed process was developed to replicate an authentic “drive-in” experience, but one creative aspect of the experience is hiding in plain site, the vehicles license plates.
As with anything Imagineering creates, little hidden details can often be found in the most unlikely of places that point back to the Imagineers themselves. In this particular case, next time you’re in the restaurant, pay particular attention to the license plates of the vehicles around you. Each license plate tells a story of an individual. The plates letters and numbers are inspired by the Imagineers initials and birthdates that played a pivotal role in the design and craftsmanship of the experience we get to take part in today.
Personally, it’s fun to think about who each of these individuals could have been. When you really take a moment to think about it, these are the cast members that we owe the entire experience to. These hard working individuals will rarely be thatked for their enormous contributions to various projects, but they continue to develop these parks we all have grown to love without the instant gratification employees in other occupations may have received.
While this “hidden gem” isn’t necessarily mind blowing, hopefully it gives you something to look forward to next time you visit the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theatre. When you’re in the parks, always take in the details of the experience and dare to explore the meanings behind seemingly meaningless aspects of the theme park experience. You never know what you’ll find in the Disney parks, and these little details help many guests develop a greater appreciation for the parks they have grown to love over the years.
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