The new barbecue restaurant at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park will surround diners in a “Toy Story” setting from floor to ceiling while serving a comfort-food menu ranging from beef brisket to a Forky cupcake.
Roundup Rodeo BBQ is scheduled to open March 23. The entry to the family-style eatery will be just behind the gigantic version of the movie franchise’s Woody character that stands near the entrance to Toy Story Land.
The restaurant’s look plays off the design of the land, and in attractions such as the Toy Story Mania ride and Slinky Dog Dash roller coaster: People appear to be shrunk down to the size of a toy.
“We are set up as if Andy had seen a rodeo and then took his toys and the Western play set, and all those and combined them all together to create his version of a rodeo,” Jared Sell, Walt Disney Imagineering project manager, said during a preview for media members.
The restaurant “has to fit within the Toy Story Land, and that is heavily inspired by the various films,” Sell said. “And then we collaborated with Pixar to say, ‘What other opportunities do we have to expand that universe?’”
Pieces of the rodeo play set are scattered from the entrance and into the dining room, interspersed with Andy’s creative interweaving of playthings. One half of the room is dominated by a big Bo Peep and her sheep as the centerpiece. She stands atop a gaming console that doubles as a four-sided booth. The ceiling is a Buzz Lightyear board game; the floor is Woody’s bandanna.
“There are other parts and pieces that we’re able to pull from that you might not see necessarily in the films or they’re in the way background that we could pull in and use as additional ways to continue telling that story,” Sell said.
Bo Peep is in the space-themed half of the restaurant, which features upsized Jessie and Trixie, a Triceratops toy, on the opposite side.
Customers may spot a wall made of a puzzle (with a missing piece or two), a Zurg cutout, Monopoly cards as bench backs, comics and Word Find puzzles on the ceiling, a king-size sheriff badge, crayon drawings, assorted game pieces, a carton of milk, a train set and, as a long booth back, Andy’s ruler, which gives a sense of perspective.
“We actually went through and did the math of what that scale would be to the toys here and did the calculations,” Sell said. “So that ruler would be what a ruler in Andy’s backyard would be for us now as toy sizes.”
The theming continues onto the menu, which includes items such as Wheezy’s watermelon salad, cowpoke corn on the cob, Buttercup’s beef brisket and Bo’s lemon and blueberry cheesecake.
“We call it barbecue-inspired comfort food,” said Bobby Rivera, chef de cuisine for concept development at Walt Disney World.
Each table is served a platter of house-smoked items, including ribs, brisket, barbecue chicken and a pork sausage that’s dubbed, There’s a Sausage in My Boot. There’s a plant-based option that includes a cauliflower dish with bratwurst and Impossible chop.
The chop comes with “our barbecue spices and sauce, and then we skewer it with sugar cane to mimic that rib feel,” Rivera said. The edible “bone” is sugar cane.
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Parties will select four sides for their tables. There will salads beforehand and desserts at the end.
Soft drinks and tea come with a base price of $45 per person ($25 for ages 3 to 9). “Grown-up drinks” with alcohol and other specialty drinks cost extra. Beer and wine are available.
The restaurant’s Snake Eye Margarita has tequila, watermelon juice, lime juice, agave and smoked chili bitters.
It’s “refreshing but also a little bit of smoke and a tad of heat,” said Evan Rosenthal, food and beverage concept development manager for Disney World.
On the Lil’ Rider list, Partysaurus Tex, a nonalcoholic lemonade-strawberry drink has “fresh-picked Gummy worms right from Andy’s backyard,” Rosenthal said.
Roundup Rodeo BBQ will be open for lunch and dinner service. Reservations are “highly recommended” and can be made up to 60 days in advance, Disney says. Theme-park admission is required.
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