REVIEW: Have New Menu Items Made a Hollywood Studios Restaurant BETTER?

Roll out the red carpet, because we’re about to attend a (food) premiere at Disney’s Hollywood Studios!

Backlot Express

If there’s new food to be explored at Disney World, you KNOW we’ll be there to check it out! So when we heard that Backlot Express at Disney’s Hollywood Studios was set to roll out a new menu, we marked our calendars for its debut. Join us as we dive into all of the latest additions this quick service spot has to offer!

Atmosphere

If you haven’t been to Backlot Express before, then you should know that it’s located in the Echo Lake area of ​​the park, right around the corner from the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular. The building itself is tucked back a little bit from the walkway, and there are both indoor and outdoor seating options.

Backlot Express

Once you enter the main part of the restaurant, you’ll walk through an open-air courtyard seating area to go inside. There are plenty of tables out here!

There’s plenty of open-air seating.

Inside, there’s a counter setup where you can pick up your Mobile Orders or order your food directly with a Cast Member. There should be additional Cast Members stationed around the entrance to help you find the correct line.

Let’s order!

Well, the restaurant doesn’t look any different than what we’re used to — so what’s different? Oh, that’s right…the menu!

Menu

The revamped menu at Backlot Express is now available and it features several new entry options.

©Disney

Some of your old favorites are still here as well, including the classic Angus Cheeseburger and Chicken Strips. But we’re here to check out the NEW and CHANGED offerings, so let’s dig in!

foods

First up, we decided to try the new Teriyaki Chicken Bowl for $12.99. According to the menu, it’s made with Seasoned Jasmine Rice, Teriyaki Chicken, Yuzu-pickled Edamame, Carrots, Cucumber, and Onions drizzled with House-made Lemon-Tahini-Chipotle Vinaigrette and Sesame Seeds.

Teriyaki Chicken Bowl

Starting with the chicken itself, the pieces are a decent size and they’re well-cooked, and we could definitely taste the teriyaki flavor. However, they’re also pretty pepper-heavy and we caught a hint of the chipotle kick from the vinaigretteso we wouldn’t describe it as a solely teriyaki flavor. It would be best described as a teriyaki chipotle because of the blending of the sweet and spicy.

Teriyaki Chicken Bowl

The jasmine rice was very sticky — exactly how we were hoping it would be, almost like sushi rice. We couldn’t really taste the jasmine, but the seeds on top gave the dish a nice crunch. As far as the veggies go, the pickled edamame was a WINNER. All the veggies together really brought a freshness to the dish that we really enjoyed.

Teriyaki Chicken Bowl

The sauce was really drizzled lightly on top of the vegetables, and we honestly wish there was a bit more of it, or that there was extra sauce that came on the side of the meal. It’s got a nice kick, but there’s also a bit of zing from the lemon. Overall, the flavors of this plate blended well together and were a nice surprise coming from a quick service, where you might expect more “standard” flavors.

Teriyaki Chicken Bowl

We also ordered the Southwest Salad, considering its ingredients have changed a bit. It’s now made with Romaine mixed with Roasted Corn Relish and Diced Tomatoes topped with Pickled Red Onion, Cheese, and served with House-made Jalapeño-Lime Ranch Dressing. It used to be made with Mixed Greens topped with Tortilla Strips, Black Bean Corn Relish, Avocado, and Cherry Tomato, served with a Vinaigrette Dressing.

You can grab one of these for $9.99 without chicken, or for $11.29 with chicken on top. And let’s just say that the one without chicken…well, it looks a little bit sad.

Southwest Salad

Right off the bat we were definitely wishing for more dressing on this salad. (What’s with the skimpy sauce portions?) It was almost hard to even get the flavors of the dressing because there was so little of it — all we could taste was a slight spice from the ranch, but it was incredibly light.

Southwest Salad

The seeds (which weren’t mentioned in the description!) and corn do give a nice crunch and change in texture, but we’re definitely missing the flavors from the dressing and we wish they would’ve added a little more depth — maybe some croutons on top as well? The feta cheese was dusted lightly on the dish, so it was hard to find that flavor as well. The pickled onions ended up being the savior flavor-wise, but we were (overall) a bit disappointed with this salad.

Southwest Salad

And finally, we ordered the new Smoked BBQ pulled pork burgers for $14.29. Backlot Express used to have an item called the Backlot Burger (which came with a 1/3 Angus Beef Burger topped with Barbecue Pork, Pepper Jack Cheese, Lettuce, Tomato, and Pickles, served with carrot sticks or french fries), but it has been upgraded a bit with new ingredients!

Now you can enjoy this 1/3 Angus Beef Burger topped with Slow-smoked Pulled Pork, American Cheese, Coleslaw, Crispy Onions, and House-made Sweet-and-Tangy Barbecue Sauce served with your choice of side. (We got fries!)

Smoked BBQ pulled pork burgers

The burger patty is your pretty basic Disney burgernot much special there, but y’all…we need to talk about the pork! YUM! It’s fall-apart juicy and has a nice tangy-sweet barbecue taste. The portion size on the pork was also pretty decent, which made us very happy.

Smoked BBQ pulled pork burgers

We wish the American cheese on top had been a little more meltedbut it wasn’t really the thing we were the most focused on. The coleslaw balanced out the burger with some freshness that we were really craving, and it was (overall) a great combination. (There’s wasn’t too much mayo in that slav either and it added the perfect amount of crunchiness!) Our bottom bun got a little soggy, but that’s mostly because the coleslaw sat for a while during our photo shoot. Gotta get those perfect food photos!

Smoked BBQ pulled pork burgers

For our plant-based friends out there, there’s a new one Teriyaki tofu bowl as well. This one is made with Seasoned Jasmine Rice, Marinated Tofu, Yuzu-pickled Edamame, Carrots, Cucumber, and Onions drizzled with House-made Lemon-Tahini-Chipotle Vinaigrette and Sesame Seeds for $12.99. If we check this one out soon we’ll be sure to give you our thoughts!

In terms of other menu changes, the Cuban Sandwich now notes that it comes with Plantain Chips, so that’s something you can also check out during your next trip.

overalls

Wow, Backlot Express is stepping up its game! We really enjoyed both the Teriyaki Chicken and the BBQ Burger, but if you’re craving a salad, you may want to search elsewhere. (There’s a really amazing one over at the Hollywood Brown Derby, hint, hint!)

If you’ve got a group with different food tastes — some craving the more “standard” options and some wanting adventure — this may be the perfect place to stop in the middle of your day. However, it can get busy here, so we recommend placing those Mobile Orders well in advance!

Our whole meal!

Between the new menu here and the improved options at ABC Commissary, the Hollywood Studios quick service spots are really starting to change things up. Even though Backlot Express is still mainly serving up burgers and chicken, they’re doing it in a fresh and new way that adds a little bit extra excitement!

That does it for the new menu items that have made their grand debut at Backlot Express for now! As always, we’ll continue to be on the lookout for any other menu changes around Disney World, so stay tuned to DFB for all of the latest snacking news and food reviews!

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Which of these new menu items from Backlot Express would you like to try the most? Share with us in the comments!

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