Podcast Episode 33: Retro Food

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Welcome to Episode 33 of the Retro Disney World Podcast: “Retro Food” – We appreciate your support and hope you have been enjoying each and every episode. Be sure to check out some of our previous shows.

Taking you back to restaurants and food items that are now longer there. 


Corrections & Listener Mail

Universe of Energy Volcano being prepared by an ImagineerTodd kicks us off with the infamous Universe of Energy dog food pump for the lava. ProgressCity USA had some information on this, which we discuss. 

The Universe of Energy, which we found had always been planned for the actual spot it ended up. Well…We found and heard from some listeners that this isn’t entirely true. Brian also discusses some initial problems with the big turntable for the ride vehicles. This story is so crazy and absolutely amazing it happened this way.

We also go over the audio poll from last month, Graces vs. Braces – Well we have the results and here is the final tally.
Faces – 1 vote
Graces – 8 votes
Braces – 14 votesWonders of Life Overhead Shot

Mike wrote in and asked about our Tom Nabbe episode, regarding the monorail power systems. We clear up what we think Tom meant and how this was slightly confusing. Reese also wrote in, asking about the voice of ‘Buzzy’ and how it seemed to be two different people in the attraction compared to the pre-show. We all chime in on this to give our opinion.

Thank you for all the emails, tweets and comments you have sent our way. We try to respond to almost everything and do our best to pick unique questions for the show.

Last month’s discussion– Pet food pump or Dog food pump that moved.  Progress City mentioned it in one of his articles needed to move the highly viscous lava in the Universe of Energy.  They found a pump that was used to fill dog food cans. 

Marty Alchin called out on one of the Tweets of the photos of one of the early concept shots of EPCOT.  They had said that Energy was never in a different spot, but it turns out that it was over where Living Seas is now. 

The turntables, grabbed a screen full of conversation between ex cast members about the turntables used in the Universe of Energy and it’s unique drive system.  Conversation was about the turntable had a big problem and they had to import a special talcum powder to cover underneath of it.  They added 3 colors in half inch strips next to the inground wire on the testing tracks, it was to distinguish the animation stops.  The weight, with 50 guests per car made it difficult.  Originally the surface was supposed to be concrete, but the overworking of the concrete, but it weakened it so that the concrete shattered.  In the beginning the vehicles crashed into the show scenes.  They reengineered it many times.

Audio contest put out part of the song of Energy.  The final tally is 1 vote is faces, 8 votes graces, 14 votes heard braces.  Based on listening through headphones, you hear graces.  Over speakers it sounds like braces. 

They found an event, The Disney Project is doing an event on October 28, with the Imagineer, Tom Morris, and 1 of the 2 original Dream Finders, Steve Taylor.  They will be talking and he will be doing a live narration over a slide show of the construction and behind the scenes.  Tickets can be bought on the website TheDisneyProject.com.  Tom Morris retired within the last year and has been doing a document dump of some of what he’s accumulated.

Mike Mara from Delaware County, PA, he mentioned listening about the monorails.  The monorails ran on diesel electric, but also ran on 600V DC on the rail, hence the need for the Nabbe grabber.  He doesn’t remember the monorails being diesel electric.  Tom was talking about the maintenance tug that runs on diesel. 

Reese regular writer was wondering if they had any information on the voice actor who did Buzz in Cranium Command.  It sounds like his voice changes from the preshow to the actual attraction.  Wondering if it’s 2 different people or if it’s the videos on You Tube.  Scott Curtis is credited as the actor.  Guessing that it may just be an audio issue.  There is a mention of the attraction having initial difficulty as it was being done by a third party.   Tammy Tucky, Tierra Talk interviewed Jerry Rees who said Met Life wrote the first show.  The show was too technical and Jerry Rees reviewed the script and changed it to make it more fun and include known actors like John Lovitz and Dana Carvey and coming up with the Buzzy idea.  Will do a Cranium Command episode having seen the attraction is intact behind the walls at the Life Pavillion.  Highly doubt that it is 2 different people, but highly likely that it was 2 different recording sessions.   Gary Trusdale & Kirk Wise were hired on to direct Cranium Command and given their success in saving that attraction they eventually got to direct Beauty & The Beast. 

For questions, comments and concerns, please write us – podcast@retrowdw.com.

Audio Rewind

World Of MotionOur audio rewind this month turned out to be The World of Motion, It’s Fun To Be Free! The winner is Laura H, winning some RetroWDW pins and a 1986 photo envelope. Great job and thanks for the entries.

If you think you know the answer to this month’s audio rewind puzzler, email us! podcast@retrowdw.com – This month the winner will get a 1983 Disney News Magazine, all about food in WDW! Perfect to accompany this months episode.

All entries due 10/2/2017 and a random winner will be selected. Even if you don’t win, you will gain an entry into the Fall/Winter Prize Pot, being picked in December.

Prize Pot

This year, we are going to do a new and exciting prize giveaway. The RetroWDW Podcast will have two prize pots this year; one summer, one winter.

We have moved onto Prize Pot #2! All prizes added to the pot will be given to one lucky winner this December.  Here is what we have so far:

  • Life Magazine – 1971 (Courtesy of David)
  • Look Magazine – 1971 (Courtesy of David)
  • WDW Easter Egg Hunt Invitation – 1986

All entries for the audio rewind go to winning the next prize pot.  Email us to enter: podcast@retrowdw.com

World of Motion- It’s Fun to Be Free.  Laura Haddon won a set of RetroWDW pins as well as the photo envelope. 

Prize Pot – 1971 Life magazine, 1971 Look Magazine, 1986 Eastergram – invitation to the WDW Easter Hunt

Prize Pot Item #1
Prize Pot Item #2
Prize Pot Item #3

Main Topic

Retro FoodConcourse Steakhouse

This month, we travel all over the vacation kingdom, looking at vintage restaurants and menus. We start off on the Seven Seas Lagoon & Bay Lake, taking you to each resort and discussing what has come and gone over the years. The offerings at time are very interesting and unique, while some are still the same to this day. Everybody brings out their old menus for this episode, refreshing your memories.

The episode is really a must listen, mainly because it focuses on lots of great places and cuisine items you may have never heard of. We continue to the theme parks, which almost need their own episodes just to discuss the varying items. We hit on many random things and have a somewhat order, but like any discussion, we go off randomly reflecting on some memories. Hope you enjoy and let us know if you have any retro menus to share!

They have menus and memories of foods.  When they’ve shared information on the restaurants that aren’t there any more, the response is immediate and intense.  They are putting together an archive of classic menus.  They have a pretty eclectic collection of

1980 Todd stayed at the treehouse.  They ordered a pizza to be delivered.  They describe what was delivered as “Wet cardboard with some sort of melted object on it”. 

Polynesian.  Brian has the last Tangaroa Terrace menus.  The Tangaroa Terrace was off on the right hand side of the Great Ceremonial House, it was between the Maui and Pago Pago buildings .  Right next to it was the Snack Isle, the laundromat was there and an arcade.  Moana Mickey’s FunHouse.  The building is still there, it’s primarily used for cast member meetings.  Tonga Toast – cinnamon sugar French toast with banana slices inside with a Sweet Leilani drink (nonalcoholic). 

That restaurant was used intermittently in the 90’s.  During the last refurb in the 90s they had it open as a temp dining location and that was the last time it was used.  Brian has the dinner menu which they served from 5-10.  There were 3 sandwiches, 3 entrees on the menu, one appetizers sampler platter and 3 deserts.  Had elaborate carved poles that ran through the center.  There’s a picture in the hallway on the way to Captain Cooks of a sculpture working on the poles.  Three large tikis done by Ocaenic Arts, two of which are in Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto.  The outside tikis are now outside the Tiki Terrace.  There is a video on YouTube outside the last time they were using it for meals. (link)

Great Ceremonial House had 2 restaurants.  The Kona Café used to be the Coral Isle Café.  Slide from inside the Kona Café looking out, so you are on the second floor.  There is a newly acquired film that has footage outside the restaurant looking in.  The Coral Café had a very low ceiling, and it was more closed off.  The Kona Café is very open.  Papeete Bay Veranda, which is now Ohana.  Food was included on the Gold Key Plan.  Todd has a menu from 1976, rock Cornish game hen is on the menu.  Brian has a menu from Papeete Bay Veranda, guessing from the early 90s, most of the entrée between $15-20.  High end food, but dishes were given a Polynesian name with more a colonialism feel to the menu.  Chicken Pago Pago was one of the famous dishes, a lot like a sweet and sour chicken.  There was also the South Seas Room where the boutiques are now.  It was a more intimate dining experience.  No menus have been found from that. 

How recreates the cocktails from the Polynesian.  Completely awesome and funky fonts that were used on the menus for the drinks.  Drink menus at one time were just type written sheet.  One oddball recipe found on the bottom of a sheet with drawings that John Hench had done.  Orlando Sour – only lived for a year or two.  Reverse engineered the drink based on Trader Vics doing a sour drink for each of their restaurants.  What type of lemons and limes were available in the area at the time and put together an idea of what that drink may have been.

Grand Floridian

Narcoosees – which is still there.

Citricos which was Flaglers – named after Henry Flagler the Floridian hotel tycoon.  They have the adult & kids menu from Flaglers.  Adult menu from 89-90’s Italian seafood fair, nothing out of the ordinary.  Most seafood was market price.  Pastas were the standard fair. Osco Bousco & filet of beef.  The descriptions were extremely short.  1988 Kids menu from Flaglers was a complete coloring book featuring pinocchi & Gepetto taking the train to go to Flaglers to eat dinner.  Book plate with the name & I visited Flaglers on ______date.  The second page described Pinochioo and Gepetto getting their menus frm their waiter Antonio and had a spot for the child to fill in their waiter’s name.  Petit Filet 10.95, ½ Chicken breast with veggies 8.95, Hamburger or Cheeseburger with fries 4.95, Make your own pizza or Spaghetti & Meatballs & beverages.  The entertainment at Flaglers was a strolling musician who serenaded the tables with Italian love songs.

Narcooses has a platform in the front of the restaurant where they played jazz in the evenings.  The ceiling however is all wood beams and the acoustics were so bad that they stopped.  1988 Narcooses menu

  • Fried soft shell turtle with lemon- turtle was a standard menu item around the turn of the century which is the theme the GF was going for
  • Main lobster
  • Seafood stew
  • Blackened gator steak
  • Veal chop
  • Lamb chop
  • Three citrus cobbler with whisky sauce

The monorail pitched these restaurants, especially Narcooses.

Food service at the resorts, there was no established food service distributors in central Florida, Disney built it themselves and called it Central Foods. In the 1980s, with the building up of EPCOT, LBV and the resorts, central Florida had built up enough of a distribution and Disney outsourced to Aeromark the employee food.  Not a welcome change as the central foods was preparing better food.  Eventually Central Foods was phased out entirely.  Resorts & theme parks have their own culinary departments, but a lot was outsourced out to third parties.  The menus became more homogenous and Disney had a poor reputation with food in the late 90’s and the 2000’s until they started catering to foodies. 


1982 & 3 room service menus – All Day dining is not all day


-Turkey bacon club

Tuna salad


– The monorail- open faced ham, turkey, swiss cheese, Russian dressing

Italian spaghetti

NY sirloin

Sunburst salad  *back when the resort opened they had a contract (15 years)  with the Florida Citrus commission.  It’s why the Orange Bird was there.  Michael Crawford’s book there is a whole chapter in how they tried to incorporate Florida Citrus in the menus around the resort.  

Grand Canyon chef salad

Cocktails by the pitcher between $8-12

Cocktail snacks

Crabmeat royal street- stuffed mushrooms

Cheese tray

Difference between the Contemporary & The Grand Floridian.  The Contemporary was a convention hotel. The Pueblo Room, The Top of the World, The Gold Coast Room

The employee cafeteria at the bottom of the Contemporary Hotel was called the Bottom of the World. 

Brian went to the Top of The World for Sunday brunch. It had tons of all you can eat food.    Nightly at 6 & 9:15 was the Top of The World Revue Show. 

1994-1995 American Express presents Walt Disney World Dining Guide.  The white glove logo on it.  It had the direct dial phone number for each restaurant. 

Fort Wilderness

Crocketts Tavern – back and forth from a menu place to a bar food place

1992 menu they describe all the random artifacts that they have on display throughout the restaurant.  Birch bark canoe that they had hanging from the ceiling. 

Tavern drinks from the Tennessee Hills.  The Gullywumper which was Mike Finks Boat- cranberry and orange juice, peach schnapps and vodka.

Kentuck homemade sausage, cheese & fruit platter

Ragin Cajun shrimp cocktail

Crockett’s hickory smoked prime rib

Texas T Bone

Georgie Russells bourbon tenderloin

Blazing buffalo wings

Magic Kingdom

At the entrance to the right- Originally The Gulf Hospitality House – the restaurant has been through many changes through the years.  The menu was always set up like a newspaper.  You have the Main Street Gazette & there are fancy articles with the

1987 Hormel was a sponsor – The Times Square Times- Opens up with a giant menu inside.  Smoked meats was a staple on the menu. 

BBQ shrimp


BBQ chicken

Smoked beef

Smoked pork

T Bone



Farm fresh catfish


Seafood & chicken plate

Before Hormel – Oscar Meyer was the sponsor

Little Oscar- Little Oscar- A little person, chef character, who greeted people in the restaurant.  Originally played by Meinhart Raabe, then George Mulchan (mid 70’s to 1987).  – he was a spokesman for Oscar Meyer.   He would greet at the table & would hand out little hot dog rings & weiner whistles.

Two breakfast menus – Oscar Meyer & Hormel the menus were identical.  The food prices oonl went up as expected.  The drink prices went up a lot. 

1976 Bicentennial menu for The Liberty Tree Tavern

English Walnut Bread was a famous from there. 

Interesting menu – colonial theme

Philadelphia Pepper Pot Soup- the meat in it is tripe

Chilled roast beef

Bouquet of seasonal fruit

Pennsylvania Pot Roast

Spirit of 76 The Bicentennial Special was Pennsylvania Pot Roast that included dessert & coffee – 3.95

Steak Monticello

Seafood Chesapeake

Kids Menu- fried chicken or pot roast

Adventureland veranda- now the canteen

Birnbaum stated in his book that Adventureland fast food took about 5 minutes longer than other places because of the greater amount of choices.  Birnbaum didn’t seem to like the restaurant

Sponsored by Kikoman

Polynesian burger- teriyaki glaze

Teriyaki chicken sandwich

Shrimp fried rice with egg roll

2 egg rolls as a side dish

Sweet and sour chicken

Stir fried beef and broccoli

Lo mein salad

South seas fruit salad

Tables on 2 verandas where you could watch the swan boats go by.

It was an affordable rare choice where there were mostly hamburgers and hotdogs

Cinderellas Castle the restaurant used to be called King Stephans Banquet Hall, now Cinderellas Royal Table.  It was called King Stephan’s who is from Sleeping Beauty.  It was just a mistake.  Reputation was that the food was barely edible in the restaurant.

Aunt Polly’s on Tom Sawyer Island – for a time it sold cold fried chicken or ham & cheese sandwiches.  Tom Sawyer Island had picnic tables.  Now it has snack fooods.

Diamond Horseshoe in the 1970’s had a lunch menu. 


Pecos Bill- ham, salami, pastrami & cheddar cheese on whole wheat bread

Diamond Jim- shaved turkey breast on white bread

Sloo Foot Sue- ham and cheese on white bread

All sandwiches were served with a choice of Ruffles or Fritos

Also the location where Pepsi & Coke sponsored

People would have to get a reservation early in the morning and a card was given to you with your reservation time.  Later on the reservation location was switched to Main Street.

The Columbia Harbor House

In the 1980’s had chicken fingers it came on a gigantic pile of French fires. 

It was one of the locations on property where you could get Disneyland’s famous Monte Cristo.

One of four locations where you could get the sandwich.  It was one of the items they could get very cheap in the cast cafeteria.

One of the few restaurants that has an upstairs kitchen also. Each of the rooms is named after the 13 colonies. 


Future World

The Sunrise Terrace Restaurant became the Fountainview which is now the Starbucks

In the early years it was fried cod, shrimp & chicken.  It was freshly battered.   Later it was an Italian restaurant.  It served breakfast lunch & dinner.


Steve used to work at the Odyssey.  Burgers, hot dogs, fries, sodas.  It was lunch stop between the 2 worlds of EPCOT.  It was very well positioned so that people were in that area around lunch time no matter which direction you went around the park.  It was always very busy.  There were 14 deep friers.  Could not keep up with the french fries.  One day he had to slice tomatoes, and he filled hotel pans with tomatoes all day long.   The Odyssey officially closed July 1994.  It has been deserted for awhile.  

The Stargate became The Electric Umbrella

Snack place that served breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 

Danish pastries & fruit cups

The stellar scramble- breakfast pizza

The Land

The farmers market – popular food court location for you could get the infamous handwich

The Good Turn, the rotating restaurant which became the Land Grill Room and the the Garden Grill

Late 80s menu from the Land Grill Room

Inside jacket cover was a celebration of America’s cuisine, many menu selections feature items grown in The Land greenhouse fresh herbs, vegetables, and some of the fish.  Kraft was the sponsor at the time.  Nothing crazy on there but you could get spicy chicken wings & drumettes. One of the great things on the menu were the accompaniments, and one was a trilogy of rice.  The back of the menu has a list of Kraft brands with their logos.  Kraft, Philadelphia cream cheese, cracker barrel, miracle whip, Sealtest, Velveeta, Parkay, and Light & Lively (yogurt & skim milk).  Desserts- angel food cake, chocolate mousse cake, apple tart for two.  Now family style with characters.

Coral Reef – been there since the opening

One of the things that they used to do is hand out a fish finder – booklet so you can look and find the different kind of fish that are in the tank. 

Sgt Major, pork fish, yellow tailed damsel fish, blue tang, the chub, grouper, spot butterfly fish, and the hog fish.  On the back gives statistics on the tank and the employees.  Birnbaum describes the restaurant saying they will serve fresh fish, and that it’s a welcome addition since most of the other fish served in WDW was frozen.

World Showcase


Buffet before it became sit down.  Menu from 1980’s.  Cheddar cheese soup at the time was 2.95.  Canadian Ice Wine Labatts and Molson were on tap.  Steak, pasta and glazed salmon.  There was a period of time.  At one point it was a buffeteria.  In 1996 it was still a buffeteria.  At one time it was advertised as a place where you could get a more substantial meal if you couldn’t get a reservation at one of the more sought after World Showcase restaurants.

Not much has changed in the World Showcase restaurants.  They have all had some menu changes over the years.  They added some restaurants, Spice Road Table in Morocco, Via Napoli.  The original Alfredo’s was what originated in Italy, which is credited o be the creators of Fettucine Alfredo. The had jacketed waiters.  They’ve added The Wine Bar and Tutto Italia is now where Alfredo’s was.  They built the second restaurant on the water side, La Hacienda de San Angel. 

Biergarten was not a buffet for a long time.  They have menus.

France menus – 1982 have a kids menu that was used at Chefs de France & Bistro de Paris. Breast of chicken, ground beef steak, and filet of orange roughie- 3.99.   In 1986, beef braised with carrots & onions, casserole of chicken breast & macaroni topped with swiss cheese, or a large crepe filled with minced beef, mushroom, and cheese. Chicken nuggets did not

Bonfamille in Port Orleans resort- a photo album that follows the Aristocats characters.  Scales – grilled cheese sandwich.  Jazzy Gator- hot dog & curly fries.  Rollups- PB&J stuffed pancakes, dipped in batter, fired, and topped with powdered sugar. 

Two defunct resort restaurants

Bonfamille at Port Orleans French Quarter restaurants that opened with their resorts, and were closed after the slump in tourist travel after 9/11. Bonfamille drink restaurant- Mardi Gras punch (hurricaine), and N’Orleans Ice.  Cajun menu items appetizers Fire & Ice cajun grilled shrimp served with a cool bread salad and Cajun popcorn, deep fried crawfish tails. Entrees- etouffee,  seared citrus trout.

Ariels was the sit down restaurant at the Beach Club.  Now only open for private events.  Murano glass sculptures on the ceiling.  Plenty of seafood on the menu.  Where The Sea Meets the Land was their surf & turf option.  Ariels strudel- which was not a desert, but a chicken dish.

Test Your Knowledge

Obscure restaurant names

The Dock Inn- Contemporary

Enchanted Grove – Fantasyland

Fishermans’ Deck- Empress Lilly

Lancers Inn- Fantasyland

Mile Long Bar – Frontierland

Outer Reef- What is now the Outer Rim

Players Gallery – Golf Resort

Pop’s Place- River Country

Sand Bar- Contemporary

Space Bar- Tomorrowland

Starboard Lounge – Main Deck of The Empress Lilly

Terrace Café – Contemporary

The Thirsty Perch- Discovery Island

Tournament Tent- Fantasyland

Trophy Room- Golf Resort

Villa Center- The Vacation Villas

Didn’t touch at all at LBV and Downtown Disney.  And did not spend a lot of time at the resorts either.

Three Original Menus from the Opening of MGM Studios.

Enhance Show Notes by Donna (May 2021)

Food Menu Gallery

Check out our Walt Disney World Menus Gallery to see some of the menus we discussed in this episode.

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We hope you have enjoyed this episode! If you have any questions, suggestions or find errors please email us podcast@retrowdw.com.

Next Month

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Bob Heckel
Bob Heckel
September 16, 2017 1:02 pm

Fantastic stroll back in time as always. Thank you! Wondering if you could make interaction easier by using Disqus (I am not associated with them in any way) for comments. Google Plus login threw an error and Twitter login lets you post as me, too scary, like using Facebook.

Nicholas D.
February 25, 2018 10:06 am

Wondering what that background music used for this episode was… Great episode. I forsee a revisit to this topic and cover a lot of the quicker serve places!

October 11, 2019 9:59 pm

We stayed at the Contemporary in ’77 and I don’t remember tons about the trip but there are some things that have definitely stuck in my head …. 1) when you guys mentioned the “Citrus” I remembered mum’s daily breakfast … half a grapefruit BUT not any old grapefruit … they were huge!! At least huge compared to what she was used to back in Winnipeg. I remember her talking about those grapefruits WAY after we returned from the trip. 2) Because I was 9, every single morning for 2 weeks I had pancakes for breakfast and fried chicken for… Read more »

B.J. Major
May 1, 2021 5:32 am

I’m surprised that King Stefan’s Banquet Hall in the castle got such a bad rap for its food; I ate there at least one time in the 1970s and it was certainly no worse than Liberty Tree Tavern (which I also liked very much). At King Stefan’s I remember ordering the Hunter’s Stew which I really enjoyed. Liberty Tree Tavern was my first exposure to “Disney butter”; 3 butter pieces that would come on a single plate; the WDW logo (regular) butter, special honey butter, and apple butter. I believe at Liberty Tree Tavern I got the pot roast. I… Read more »

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