Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe is a counter-service restaurant in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. Residing in Tomorrowland, the restaurant has been a mainstay in the park since 1994. Cosmic Ray’s serves American fare and has an atmosphere centering around an audio-animatronic alien singing an eight song set. The restaurant does take part in the Disney Dining Plan (assuming that’s offered) as a counter-service credit. In this post I’ll review Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe, including my thoughts on the restaurant’s food, value and atmosphere.
Characters unique to Disney Parks usually get elevated to cult hero status before long. Figment, even without a quality current attraction, is adored by fans. The Hitchhiking Ghosts, Madame Leota and Country Bears adorn merchandise that is routinely popular. All of this is true of Cosmic Ray’s character, Sonny Eclipse. If I’m being honest, he’s the only reason that this review is being written and the only reason to go to Cosmic Ray’s.
Sonny has an evolved backstory and his own Disney Fan Wiki. Coming from the planet Zork and city of Yew Nork, Sonny has found a long-term gig in Tomorrowland. He lost his first set of backup singers on Mars during a gig and has had the invisible Space Angels backing him ever since. Sonny’s set lasts about 25 minutes and features 8 songs and some of his witty comedy.
Cosmic Ray’s is a huge restaurant with multiple ordering bays. Sonny Eclipse plays his set in a lower room with a number of tables and chairs. He is absolutely worth waiting on a table for and the rest of the restaurant does not have much in the way of atmosphere outside of this entertainment. In other words, don’t sit somewhere else if you find yourself at Cosmic Ray’s.
Tomorrowland is at times a mess thematically but I prefer the campy 90’s version as opposed to most of the other iterations we’ve seen. Sonny Eclipse fits that to a T. Characters like this add another layer to theme parks. Think of Star Wars and how Boba Fett has become a sensation even though he has next to no screen time. The theme parks need this too, where the attractions are clearly the main characters but other quirks add depth.
Unfortunately, Cosmic Ray’s brings nothing else to the table. That may seem harsh but please remember I spent the last four paragraphs complimenting an audio-animatronic alien before thinking I’m too mean. As I’ve mentioned, the rest of the restaurant has next to no atmosphere and acts as a big, spread out mess hall.
Sadly, the food is where things really fall apart. Here’s a look at the menu. Cosmic Ray’s is a stereotypical theme park restaurant, offering burgers, hot dogs, chicken strips and sandwiches.
This is the Chili-Cheese All-Beef Foot-long Hot Dog. This is one of the worst things I’ve eaten at Walt Disney World. The chili was okay but was low on beans and meat. Instead it relied on a broth that had a mostly bad aftertaste. As for the actual hot dog, it was tough and did not have good flavor. I know the menu says it’s all beef and who am I to question that? I will say that I like beef and I did not like this at all. Somehow this is $13.49 and that puts it in the running for one of the worst values at Walt Disney World.
The 1/3 lb Angus Bacon Cheeseburger is topped with Bacon, American Cheese, Lettuce and Tomato on a Brioche Bun served with choice of side. I generally prefer burgers to hot dogs and this was marginally better than the hot dog but was also bad. The patty was not of a high quality at all and the same went for the bacon. Overall, the flavor was lacking and nothing was cooked all that well. At $11.99, this is a better option than the hot dog.
Both options came with french fries and that was the best part of the meal. Not that the fries were anything special but they weren’t too bad, standard Disney World fries overall.
For dessert we had this aptly named ‘S’mores’ option. It’s a S’mores bake with marshmallow and chocolate in the middle and I do think it’s funny that it’s just named S’mores on the menu. The dessert was overly sweet but had good flavor and was baked well. This is the best thing on the menu. So maybe get this and go watch Sonny Eclipse?
Overall, Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe is a one-hit wonder that lands pretty low on our Walt Disney World Counter-Service Rankings. The restaurant has an amazing animatronic that is worth watching and the rest of it is terrible. I don’t recommend eating here outside of maybe grabbing a dessert and watching Sonny do his thing.
Overall Rating – 6/10
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Categories: Restaurant Reviews