July 20, 2024

Toy Story Roundup Rodeo BBQ Review


Roundup Rodeo BBQ is the newest restaurant at Walt Disney World, located in Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios. This WDW dining review shares food photos, pros & cons of this family-style meal, whether it’s

Roundup Rodeo BBQ is the newest restaurant at Walt Disney World, located in Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios. This WDW dining review shares food photos, pros & cons of this family-style meal, whether it’s worth the money & time, and how to score a reservation.

The animating idea behind this restaurant is that Andy has built a restaurant consisting of Woody’s Roundup toys and other playthings. To create the restaurant, he cut and taped cardboard boxes together to create a new rodeo arena. Inside, it’s a broad assortment of toys assembled to create a fun, colorful mashup-atmosphere–pretty much whatever Andy had laying around.

Now that the creation is complete, Andy and all of his toys are inviting guests to participate in the fun of a backyard barbecue at Roundup Rodeo restaurant. This is how Walt Disney World has described Roundup Rodeo, resulting in some (understandable) confusion among Walt Disney World fans.

To that point, let’s start with what Roundup Rodeo BBQ is NOT: a character dining experience. Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Jessie, and pals continue doing meet & greets around Toy Story Land and NOT at Roundup Rodeo BBQ restaurant. As the ‘BBQ’ in the name should implies, Roundup Rodeo also is NOT Pizza Planet from the Toy Story movies.

So what IS Roundup Rodeo BBQ Restaurant? In practical terms, it’s a much-needed expansion to Toy Story Land that helps to round out the slate of offerings that were originally intended for the entrance to this land–including Al’s Toy Barn and Woody’s Western Village–but fell victim to budget cuts prior to construction. Roundup Rodeo BBQ is located exactly where that village would’ve been.

Speaking of practical, there’s good news for the Walt Disney World vacation planners out there: Toy Story Roundup Rodeo BBQ Restaurant is getting much easier to enter. For a few months after opening, this was one of the most elusive Advance Dining Reservations (ADRs) in all of Walt Disney World.

It was often booked more than 60 days in advance, and seldom had last minute availability. (See our Guide to Advance Dining Reservations at Walt Disney World for tips & tricks to score elusive ADRs, info about the 60+10 rule, and more.) Thankfully, that has changed in the last couple of months. At least, for now–all bets are off come Christmas.

I was able to score ADRs for Roundup Rodeo BBQ Restaurant only a few days in advance. In checking for reservation availability right now, there are options for most days (lunch, dinner, or both) in the next two weeks. I’ve also seen Roundup Rodeo at the last-minute thanks to cancellations or Walk-Up Waitlist. It’s still not an easy ADR, but it’s getting easier.

The bad news about the increased ADR availability is that Walt Disney World is being quite ‘aggressive’ when it comes to distributing Roundup Rodeo BBQ reservations. The result of this is that there are huge crowds of people loitering around waiting for their ADR time, and it’s common to wait 15-30 minutes after checking in before being seated. (This was not bad luck on my part–whenever I’ve passed through Toy Story Land in the last few months, there’s a huge crowd waiting here.)

This actually is not super uncommon. Since loosening cancellation policies, we’ve noticed that more and more Walt Disney World restaurants are operating this way, not wanting tables to go unfilled. It can make for a chaotic experience waiting to be seated, but it’s one that also happens with regularity at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater and Minnie’s Seasonal Dine. Nevertheless, figured it was worth a ‘warning’ in case you’re expecting to be seated immediately with ADRs, or get in and out of Roundup Rodeo BBQ quickly. That probably won’t happen.

Turning back to good news, as Toy Story Roundup Rodeo BBQ is a participating restaurant on the the 2024 Disney Dining Plan. Well, at least that’s good news in theory. Unlike a lot of character dining locations (remember, this is not a character meal), Roundup Rodeo does not make our list of the Top 10 Table Service Credit Uses on the 2024 Disney Dining Plan.

Unlike Minnie’s Seasonal Dine–its kinda, sorta counterpart in Disney’s Hollywood Studios–Roundup Rodeo is a pretty poor value on the Disney Dining Plan. That’s because Roundup Rodeo BBQ is relatively inexpensive by Walt Disney World table service restaurant standards, so the flip side to it being a poor value on the Disney Dining Plan is that it’s a strong value when paying out of pocket. Silver lining!

Stylistically, Roundup Rodeo BBQ is basically if Slinky Dog Dash and Toy Story Mania had a baby, and it was a BBQ restaurant. That makes perfect sense…right?!

Basically, this means that there are a lot colorful cardboard cutouts and tons of visuals from Andy’s toy collections. But it’s not just cardboard cutouts affixed to bare walls or in an open seating area; you’re also surrounded by dimensional objects and there’s decor in literally every direction. This gives the dining room plenty of depth and texture, making it feel substantial.

You actually feel like you’re immersed in one of Andy’s playsets, and I’d argue that Roundup Rodeo BBQ accomplishes this better than anywhere else in Toy Story Land. It’s like the game portion of Toy Story Mania in tactile, dimensional form.

Entering the main dining area at Toy Story Roundup Rodeo BBQ, we first find the Jessie and Trixie room. The other side features Bo Peep and her sheep, which is a nice way of subdividing the dining room.

These aren’t technically distinct dining rooms–it’s all one big space–but it’s broken up quite nicely with barriers and the seating arrangement.

Not only are there these large icons with attached booths, but there’s a lot going on in the middle of the room and around the periphery.

All things considered, the dining rooms in Roundup Rodeo BBQ are far nicer than what I had expected. Nothing is on par with the big three of themed dining at DHS (Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater, 50’s Prime Time Cafe, Hollywood Brown Derby), but it’s surprisingly good for what it is–and not at all what I feared.

My big concern, informed by past experiences with very mediocre Toy Story “themed” dining locations, was that this would feel like a windowless warehouse with decorations affixed to the walls. If you want to reduce this to its lowest form, that is more or less what it is. But you could also diminish other DHS dining in similar ways, if you were so inclined.

What separates Roundup Rodeo BBQ from other Toy Story offerings is the way its space is filled with a mixture of flats and dimensional objects. Everything is brimming with detail, and no surface is wasted. It’s not the pinnacle of themed design, but it absolutely nails the Toy Story aesthetic. For what it is, this is about as good as it gets.

There’s also a quasi-show aspect to Roundup Rodeo BBQ, with a variety of prompts played as overhead announcements. The main one of these is sure to be the warning that everyone needs to freeze because “Andy’s Coming!”

I thought maybe the novelty of this would wear off, and Cast Members would stop participating in the ‘play’ elements a few months after opening, but it’s all still intact. Kids are clearly having a lot of fun with these prompts, and they’re not too frequent to become tedious or annoying. If you have a long meal, you might hear a couple of repeats during dessert and while waiting for the check, but it’s otherwise fine and fun.

Even though it’s NOT character dining (yet another reminder for anyone still confused on this point), Roundup Rodeo BBQ entertains kids while offering hilarity and hijinks.

I’d liken it to a “light” version of Whispering Canyon Cafe. Personally, I prefer the approach of Whispering Canyon Cafe, which I think does interactivity better, and benefits from the servers being more responsible for creating magic and memories. Same goes with 50’s Prime Time Cafe, for that matter.

With that said, there are plenty of people who think Whispering Canyon Cafe is “too much” both with its over-the-top antics and decibel level. While I vehemently disagree with that sentiment, I can understand where people are coming from with it.

Roundup Rodeo BBQ is absolutely not for those people. This restaurant is loud. It’s chaotic. It’s a bit claustrophobic. Although it’s not the windowless warehouse that I feared, this is still a space with very little to absorb and dampen sound, and that space is stuffed with kids.

That’s not a complaint–the restaurant is what it is. But if you’re looking for a nice and relaxed meal, this probably is not it. If you want a dark place where you can go to cool down and not worry about your kids being a bit, uh, restless, this fits the bill perfectly.

If you delight in disarray and discord, this actually might be perfect for you–there’s a good chance you won’t be able to hear the conversation at your own table, so it could be a nice chance to disconnect in plain sight. (I dined here alone, which was awkward and not at all recommended, but the volume didn’t really bother me. There was enough noise that it all sorta faded into the background. To each their own on that, though.)

With all of that out of the way, let’s turn to the food, starting with a look at the menu for Toy Story Roundup Rodeo BBQ…

As noted above, Roundup Rodeo BBQ Restaurant is an all-you-care-to-enjoy, family-style restaurant. It’s priced at $45 for adults and $25 for kids, and (say the line, Bart!) it does NOT have roaming costumed characters from Toy Story.

One thing to note here is that you are not actually limited to the number of sides you can order (as previously indicated by Walt Disney World). That’s only true for round one–after that, you’re free to make additional or alternative selections.

All meals at Toy Story Roundup Rodeo BBQ Restaurant start with the following salads:

  • Rootin’ Tootin Tomato Salad – Cucumbers, Pickled Red Onion, White Balsamic Vinaigrette (Plant-based)
  • Rex’s Romaine and Kale Salad – Apples, Dried Cranberries, Pumpkin Seeds, Green Goddess Dressing
  • Wheezy’s Watermelon Salad – Fresh-torn Mint (Plant-based)

At an all-you-can-eat restaurant, it is a waste of valuable stomach space to chow down on filler. That’s just AYCE101–complete common sense stuff. Nevertheless, I ordered and tested these for the sake of very important research.

All were pleasant surprises. Pretty much what you’d expect, but elevated a bit. The watermelon, in particular, was really refreshing on an incredibly hot and humid day. I ended up eating that entire salad by myself.

With that said, the highlight of the opening act at Roundup Rodeo BBQ is the The Prospector’s Homemade Cheddar Biscuits with Sweet Pepper Jelly. This is arguably the high point of the entire meal and it definitely holds its own with the best bread services at Walt Disney World.

These cheddar biscuits are savory, sweet, and ever-so-spicy combo that’s incredibly high quality and addictively delicious. Again, I know it’s AYCE101 that bread is filler and an egregious misuse of stomach space…but I ate these all. (I also saved the leftover sweet pepper jelly and used that on the meat. Highly recommended!)

For my first (and only) round of sides, I selected the following four menu options:

  • Force Field Fried Pickles
  • Slinky Doooooooooog’s Mac & Cheese
  • Cowpoke Corn on the Cob (Grilled Street Corn)
  • The Married Spuds (Loaded Potato Barrels)

Of these, Slinky Doooooooooog’s Mac & Cheese was the only one that was downright bad. I get what they were trying to do with the noodles, but this mac & cheese was just too dry, had a chalky texture that was done no favors by the aforementioned dryness, and it all tasted cheap and low-quality. (And I’m normally at least okay with Walt Disney World mac & cheese from buffets!)

Next up are the fried pickles and loaded potato barrels. The latter are good for what they are–cheesy and creamy with the potatoes nicely-seasoned and withstanding the weight of the toppings. This is probably the ‘perfect’ side for a mid-tier picnic-style family-service restaurant.

With that said, I liked the fried pickles even more. Incidentally, I had just done Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater a few days prior, and ordered the fried pickles there. There’s an obvious quality difference between the two, but I found the Roundup Rodeo BBQ version to be ‘good enough.’ The breading was delicious and the pickles underneath still had a crunch, they were just lower quality.

For my final side, I ordered the grilled street corn.

No complaints here. The corn on the cob was good, as were the toppings. Once again, you’d notice a distinct difference between this and the street corn freshly grilled over at an EPCOT festival booth. For an all-you-can-eat restaurant, it’s good, though.

Now, let’s turn to the feast of meats that is the main course, consisting of the following:

  • Evil Dr. Smoked Ribs: Fall-off-the-bone pork ribs, slow-cooked for hours in our onsite smokehouse
  • Buttercup’s Beef Brisket: Hand-sliced beef brisket, smoked then slow-cooked to juicy perfection
  • There’s a Sausage in My Boot: Spiced pork sausage fire-grilled over live oak to give it an added kick
  • BBQ Chicken – with Style! Chicken brined for 48 hours, rubbed with our secret backyard BBQ spice and smoked to tender juiciness

Before dining at Roundup Rodeo BBQ, our prediction was that the meats would be on par with or akin to a slightly “elevated” version of Regal Eagle Smokehouse or maybe on par with the Signature Skillets at Whispering Canyon Cafe.

In actuality, it’s somewhere between the two–but closer to elevated Regal Eagle.

I hesitate to even review the individual meats, as they already seem inconsistent. (In comparing notes with friends who previously dined at Roundup Rodeo BBQ, that was one takeaway–we all had very different experiences with the meats.)

In a nutshell, I found the chicken and sausage to be surprisingly good. The chicken was juicy, smoky, and had a great texture thanks to the rub. The sausage had unique smoky flavor, presumably due to being fire-grilled over live oak. Generally speaking, smoked sausage is my least favorite of these meats–but it was objectively the best option in this spread.

The smoked ribs were more or less what you’d expect of pork ribs at Walt Disney World. Some were tasty, some were a tad too fatty. The upside to doing this AYCE is the option for rib refills. As a sucker for WDW ribs, I liked that feature–and these ribs in general. But I’m not under the illusion that these were high quality or the pinnacle of smoked ribs in the real world. They’re pretty mediocre by reasonable metrics.

The beef brisket was the biggest disappointment, but it was also about par with other brisket at Walt Disney World. It was too dry and lacking in flavor–definitely needing the help of a sauce. If you told me that this is the exact same brisket as at Regal Eagle Smokehouse, I’d believe you. It struck me as being very similar.

For dessert, each guest has the choice of the following:

  • Cupcake à la Forky: Forky is up to something sweet! A classic chocolate cake with a gooey chocolate ganache center topped with velvety graham cracker buttercream and a sugar cookie
  • Lemon and Blueberry Cheesecake: An iconic creamy dessert that balances the tanginess of the cheesecake with the natural sweetness of blueberries and lemon
  • Billy’s Chocolate Silk Pie: Layers of graham cracker crust and silky chocolate mousse topped with chantilly cream
  • Goat’s Apple Pie: A picnic classic! Tart apples and warm pie spices balance perfectly with the creamy sweet filling under a crumble crust
  • Gruff’s Peach-Strawberry Pie: With its silky sweet peaches and tartness of strawberries, this dessert is a fruit-centric delight! (plant-based)

I ordered the chocolate silk pie, which was very one-note. There wasn’t necessarily anything wrong with it, but if this were a buffet, it’d be the one-and-done dessert that I passed over on subsequent trips up in favor of more ambitious and varied alternatives. Definitely not something I’d buy again if this were an a la carte restaurant.

Ultimately, there are pros & cons to Toy Story Roundup Rodeo BBQ and it won’t be for everyone…just like virtually any other restaurant at Walt Disney World. The atmosphere is loud and chaotic, but it offers a sense of play and personality that make it fun and comfortable. I don’t personally like the theme or atmosphere at this Toy Story restaurant more than Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater, 50’s Prime Time Cafe, or even Whispering Canyon Cafe, but I also realize I’m not the target audience. For families with kids who love that film franchise–which is a huge demo–this could be the superior option.

On the food front, there’s both bad and good at Roundup Rodeo BBQ. As expected, this slots in slightly above Regal Eagle and below Whispering Canyon in terms of quality. That’s pretty much true across the board, and even with the good items, you’ll likely notice that Roundup Rodeo BBQ is more about quantity than quality. Even though there were some dishes that disappointed, there were still more hits than there were misses. This includes all of the salads, bread service, a few of the sides, and half the meats. Although I didn’t try Trixie’s Plant-based Trio for the main course, if even half of that is serviceable, Roundup Rodeo BBQ is a good option for vegetarians. So that’s an unexpected twist!

All in all, Roundup Rodeo BBQ fills an important role in adding an enjoyable restaurant to Toy Story Land. It will be worth the money for families wanting a place to eat unlimited crowd-pleasing cuisine while immersed in characters from the movies, and having fun in the process. As compared to other barbecue options at Walt Disney World, the price premium is not that significant for an in-park restaurant with a more expansive menu and intellectual property from a beloved Pixar film (but not the walk-around characters!). Roundup Rodeo BBQ is better than I expected, and ends up being a simple-but-satisfying and worthy addition to the dining landscape at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!

Your Thoughts

Have you dined at Roundup Rodeo BBQ? What was the good, bad or ugly of your meal at this restaurant? What do you think about the addition of a table service restaurant to Toy Story Land? Excited to dine at Roundup Rodeo BBQ Restaurant? Thoughts on its themed design, details, or atmosphere? How does it compare to other exquisitely Imagineered restaurants at Disney’s Hollywood Studios? Do you agree or disagree with our thoughts? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!

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