/ Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

As you pass over the bridge from the hub of the Magic Kingdom into Adventureland, you see what has for years been a shuttered building to your right. This, my friends, is the former home of the Adventureland Veranda restaurant.

Looking at it from the outside, the red tile roof covered in Bougainvillea gives you the feeling that this building was lifted from a postcard of the tropics. Inside, under the mahogany ceilings peppered with fans and chandeliers was one of the most unique dining experiences anywhere on property at the time. It was decorated in dark woods that, like the rest of Adventureland, didn’t represent one specific region, but a combination of Polynesian, Asian, and other cultures and themes.

The Adventureland Veranda opened with the park in 1971, and originally served items such as hot sandwiches and fried chicken. In 1977, when Kikkoman, the soy sauce company, signed on as a sponsor, the menu changed to include items such as Teriyaki hamburgers topped with pineapple rings and served with French Fries and raisins on the side. Sweet and Sour Hot Dogs and other Asian-inspired dishes such as stir-fry were offered and mirrored the dining room’s exotic, Polynesian-inspired décor.

The restaurant closed in 1994, but opened again for a very brief period of time in 1998 when Pecos Bill’s Café in Frontierland was closed for refurbishment, but unfortunately without the Polynesian menu.

Today, the building is still occasionally used for special events such as character meet and greets but no longer serves any food… or does it?

This past weekend, I was fortunate enough to be walking through Adventureland when I saw what I thought was a heat-induced mirage – the doors to the Adventureland Veranda were open. And there were people inside. Eating!

It seems that literally just two hours earlier, the doors were opened to diners once again. While the Polynesian menu was nowhere to be found, nor was the entire venue in use, it was thrilling to be back in the space again. The dark woods, shuttered windows, light fixtures and ceiling fans were all in place – just as I remembered them.

What was very different was the menu… and the name.

Now known simply on an (appropriate) sandwich-board sign, as the “Veranda Refreshments,” it now serves the following items:

  • Hand-carved turkey sandwich $8.39
  • Hand-carved ham sandwich $8.69
  • Hot Beef sandwich $8.39
  • Tuna salad with croissant $8.39
  • Asian salad with pineapple (chicken optional) $7.89 or $9.09
  • Chips, cookies and chocolate or carrot cake (various)

There is also a kids menu of turkey, ham or beef sandwich, or the standard PB&J

According to Cast Members, the location is possibly only open temporarily (they literally were there for only 2 hours and still were learning the menu) for the busy Spring/Easter season. What happens after that is anyone’s guess.

I had lunch there (all in the name of research, of course) and had the Asian Salad with Chicken. It was a good size portion, full of fruit and plain chicken breast. My friend had the hot beef sandwich, very much like a pulled pork with barbecue sauce. I have to say that my salad was a nice alternative to the counter service options in Frontierland and Tomorrowland, but would love to see this be more than a simple “grab and go” dining location.

I’ll leave you with some photos from our meal, and some QUESTIONS for you to comment on below:

  1. Do you remember the ORIGINAL Adventureland Veranda? If so, what are your memories?
  2. Would you like to see the Veranda open permanently? If so, what type of menu would you like to see?

Adventureland Veranda entrance

Adventureland Veranda

Adventureland Veranda

Adventureland Veranda

Adventureland Veranda

Adventureland Veranda

Adventureland Veranda

14 Responses to "The Adventureland Veranda is Back! (sort of)"

  1. Jonathan Grant says:

    I would LOVE to see the Veranda stay open as a dining option! My requests: a Hawaiian style “plate lunch” similar to (but a little less fancy/expensive than) what they have at Kona Cafe, and how about a selection like they have at the Pan-Asian section at Sunshine Seasons in Epcot? Oh, man… Pecos Bills or Adventureland Veranda would be a tough decision!!

  2. Dan says:

    We have been in there a couple of times. It has been open randomly in the past 2 years, on and off.
    I have been in there last year when they were serving food. Didn’t eat anything, but menu sounds fairly similar.
    There were some managers there talking about it being open and I went right up and told them flat out they should open it full time!
    They appreciated the feedback I think, but were surprised I was so bold haha.

  3. DizWiz says:

    Count me as one who would love to see the Adventureland Veranda stay open full time with an Asian/Polynesian menu. I loved the Teriyaki burger. But a menu with healthy items would be welcome as well.

  4. Liz says:

    I love the idea of a different food choice.

    I don’t mind the occassional hot dog or good burger in WDW, but I truly appreciate the different tidbits found in restaurants around the world.

    Hopefully, the restaurant will still be open after Easter, then I can try something new!

    Yea!

  5. I remember the Adventureland Veranda as our family’s ‘go to’ place when we visited Magic Kingdom when I was very young. My parents weren’t big fast food people but loved the terriyaki options there. I always remember loving that it was sponsored by Kikkoman, since that was the soy sauce we used at home, so as a 6-8 year old, this was my first experience identifying with a sponsor. I really wish I had some family photos of our times there.

    As a cast member in 1995, I attended 2 meetings there, one on Guest Service satisfaction and one on Environmentality. I was also excited to get back inside for the cookies and hot chocolate portion of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party last December.

    I think these uniquely themed menu-items are what make Disney memories so strong for so many and really wish Disney would return to more of those options. :)

  6. Emma says:

    Thank you for sharing this – I heard about it on the Audio guide and wondered what it looked like!
    The menu looks good too!
    :)

  7. Julie B. says:

    I have vague recollections of eating at AV as a child, but remembering loving it! I’m going to be at WDW in a few, short weeks & will check it out (if open?) for myself. I’d love to see them expand the menu (more of a hawaiian or asian-themed type menu would be awesome..) I think there are plenty of ‘fast food’ options in MK, so something ‘in between’ that would be fabulous..Eating in Adventureland in a nicely-themed restaurant that has the feel of a ‘sit down’ but the ease of a quick-service would be a nice change. I love this land, but now only stop for a Dole pineapple whip..it would be nice to have AV back!!

  8. I would love to see the Verandah open on a more permanent basis. I think it would
    make for a nice addition to the dining lineup at the Magic Kingdom.
    I do remember dining at the Adventureland Verandah way back in the good old days, asAdventureland itself has always been a favorite with our family and although I am sure my memories are not as detailed and vivid as your own, since I am clearly not nearly as old as you are.

  9. Christine says:

    Wow Lou! I have never seen inside this building ever, and I cannot believe a location this gorgeous is closed to the public most of the year. It looks so big! I would love to see this location used more! The temporary menu seems pretty tasty, but more variety would be cool.

  10. pinkemma says:

    Looks lovely, have never seen it open. Fingers crossed it stays in operation, menu sounds very refreshing!

  11. Daley says:

    Hey Lou, it’s kind of weird. I was in the seating area eating a dole whip. We had no idea what it was, but I had never seen it before. We were there the last day Tiana’s Showboat Jubilee performed. They all came in and had a little banquet for their last day. There was a buffet set up. I just thought it’d be a great restaurant! Well, thanks Lou!

  12. Carrie says:

    Omg I’ve never seen this place,it looks amazing I totally love the decor n would love for it to remain open ,new experiences are welcome when visiting Disney.

  13. PinkRhombus says:

    Please stay open. If just for the fact my kids can get a basic turkey sandwich!!! All of WDW needs that!!!

  14. Arline North says:

    Actually I worked at the Adventueland Veranda before the park offically opened in 1971, The first food was fast food poly. There were honey ribs and fried rice as well as sweet and sour chicken.

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