Noshing In Wonderland #7: The Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge, or “Above all the lights with a passion that kills…”


This picture © Disney

And we’re talking about food again. At Disney. Go figure.

Our subject for today is The Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge, nestled away in the snug confines of Disney’s Hollywood Studios on the corner of “Hollywood” and “Sunset”. The Hollywood Brown Derby restaurant is, by itself, much beloved by Disney foodies everywhere, but in today’s review we’re bypassing the comfy, air-conditioned exterior and going straight for the Lounge itself. The Lounge is a separate outside area, located on a shaded patio adjacent to the restaurant itself.

The exterior patio seating area at the Hollywood Derby Lounge.

The exterior patio seating area at the Hollywood Derby Lounge.

The Lounge specializes in “tapas”-styled dishes and appetizers, paired with specialty cocktails (along with your standard beer and wine offerings). In other words, this is the perfect oasis hideout when you’re hungry but not famished and looking for something fun, tasty, and share-able. Boots and I arrived on a Saturday afternoon around 12:30 PM. We had a dinner reservation at Boma that evening, which was a certain pig-out event for sure, so we didn’t want to go too heavy and all-out for lunch. Thankfully, the Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge hit just the right spot.

There wasn’t any wait time when we arrived. We were seated very quickly, affording us a very accommodating view of all the goings-on near the Sorcerer’s Hat (mostly Summer of Frozen activities; that movie is the juggernaut that simply won’t quit). Even though it was a sweltering July afternoon in Central Florida, the patio felt comfortable and cool, thanks to the generous shade rolling off the building’s decorative awnings. I never felt sweaty or schmootzy, and as soon as a cold frosty Blue Moon was brought to our table I was certainly in my Happy Spot!


So with all that out of the way, we cracked open our menus to see what caught our eyes that afternoon. The Lounge has a limited menu (compared to the restaurant proper) of “small plates”, but pretty much everything looked like a winner. That day we were given the following options: Artisanal Cheeses, an Artisanal Cheeses and Charcuterie Board for Two, the “Famous Hollywood Brown Derby Cobb Salad”, Derby Sliders, and “Big One” Mussels from Maine. Pretty much everything looked amazing from top to bottom, but we decided to go with split two small plates.

The first was the Artisanal Cheeses and Charcuterie Board For Two:


Artisanal Cheeses and Charcuterie Board

This magnificent creation featured Comte, Beehive Barely Buzzed, and Point Reyes Blue Cheese with Salami Calabrese, Salami Toscano, Duck Rillette, Imported Prosciutto, and Pate de Campagne, served along with sweet pickles, pecans, and a chicken spread. That might be a whole bunch of Descriptive Marketing Hooey for “meat and cheese, plus friends”, but with something this magically delicious all is forgiven. This mountain of meticulously melanged merriment was utterly leveled in no time whatsoever. Served with various breads and mustard, this plate was not only both simple and tasty, it was the perfect dish for to enjoy in the shade on a hot July afternoon; upscale Disney picnic fare while you’re enjoying the festivities around you.

Our other small plate for the afternoon was the Derby Sliders (photo courtesy of the awesome Sarah at Eating WDW):

© Used with permission. Aren't they awesome? Go check them out

© Used with permission. Aren’t they awesome? Go check them out at

The two gourmet sliders were both paradigms of awesomeness. The first one was the Wagyu Beef with Cognac-Mustard Aioli, Smoked Gouda Cheese, Bacon, and Avocado, while the latter was introduced as Duck Confit with Taleggio Cheese, Chipotle Vegetable Slaw, Sweet Onion and Orange Conserve, and Crispy Leeks. By the time we were done with the meat and cheese board, the sliders weren’t exactly necessary anymore; we were PLENTY satisfied. But they made for a great topper. The beef slider was tender, juicy, and full of flavor, while the duck slider had that familiar duck consistency with just enough (but not too much) delicious fatty flavor, blending well with the cheese, slaw, and leeks. Between the two of us, these were gone in a flash. The gourmet chips served as a side didn’t last much longer either.

So now let’s talk dessert, shall we? Or as they call it, The Finale. The Lounge offers a Dessert Trio, which is a sampler consisting of three of their specialty desserts for $9.00. That afternoon they were offering the following options:

Let the drooling commence...

Let the drooling commence…

Yeah… you know, the word “ZOWIE!!” doesn’t get as much play as it should these days…

After careful consideration, we decided to go with the Chocolate Sphere with Hazelnut Praline Chocolate and Orange-White Chocolate Mousse, the Milk Chocolate Cremeux with Mojito Concotion on Almond Rocher, and the Banana Toffee Cake on Cocoa Crunch and Strawberry-Banana Pearls. Typing that sentence alone gave me such a longing to try those all over again, it’s not even funny. Let’s compound that with some pics from the Gallery:

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All three achieved a level of explicit majesty that could only be described as “Jack Kirby Cosmic”. If I had to rank them — and I will — I’d say my favorite was by far the Banana Toffee Cake, followed by the Milk Chocolate Cremeux and then the Chocolate Sphere. But honestly, all three were not only winners, they only existed on this planet for mere seconds before they were scarfed down by beautiful, wide-eyed devourous types. Is devourous a word? It is now…

I can honestly say that hitting up The Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge was the best idea we could have had for some quick, enjoyable plates that left us VERY satisfied without feeling overly stuffed or dreadfully heavy on a hot summer afternoon. The quality of the food was wonderful, and the prices weren’t too steep. (especially with our Tables In Wonderland 20%-off card; if you don’t have one, GET one!) While I had a few beers, neither of us really took advantage of the vast selection of cocktails available, including the celebrated Dessert Wines, Scotch Flight featuring 12-year, 15-year, and 18-year old Macallan, and even a Hollywood Gone Country moonshine sampler from Troy and Son’s! This is a great choice the next time you’re visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios and you want to beat the heat but remain outdoors, with tapas-styled small plates, an impressive array of desserts, and a full bar available to you. Fun times, indeed. Here’s the video:

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