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 dÃ©cor.
The restaurant closed in 1994, but opened again for a very brief period of time in 1998 when Pecos Bill’s CafÃ© 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:
- Do you remember the ORIGINAL Adventureland Veranda? If so, what are your memories?
- Would you like to see the Veranda open permanently? If so, what type of menu would you like to see?