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About the Column

Ashley Metz keeps a special book in her South Carolina chateau. It's called the Disney Book of Stinkin' Love. Into that book she pours her passion for the parks, her devotion to Disney World, and from that book, every week, she'll draw forth with characteristic exuberance a chapter exclusively for Disney Dispatch. Ashley welcomes questions, but no matter what you ask, the answer will always be the same, and it will always be correct: Because I Stinkin' Love Disney World!

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FROM: Because I Stinkin' Love Disney World Published Thursdays

Elbows off table. Napkin on lap. Clean your plate! Fond memories of Sunday dinner at crazy Aunt Tillie's? Nope. It's the 50's Prime Time Cafe. Misbehave here and you'll stand in the corner. Did Ashley Metz misbehave? Let's find out...

Most restaurants are all about letting you have it your way. You want fries with that? Done. You want a value size burger and a diet soda? You got it, no questions asked.

Same at Disney, right? After all, Disney is all about making the customer happy. No matter what you ask for at Disney World, there's a Cast Member ready to make it happen.

Except at one place.

Ashley Is Ready for Prime Time

At this place, the needs of the guest come last. Is that possible? Scratch your head some more, then come with me to the 50's Prime Time Cafe at Disney's Hollywood Studios, where 'Mom' is in charge, manners are a must, and you better clean that plate, young man (lady).

The point of the Prime Time is to take you back to a suburban kitchen from the 1950s. As soon as you enter this restaurant, you'll feel transported to another era. I seriously expected to see Beaver Cleaver clatter past.

Every detail of the Prime Time Cafe exudes that unmistakable Disney detail. For example, you don't wait for your table on benches in the lobby; instead, you hang out in the family room. And when you see your waiter or waitress for the first time, you know that you're not in just for dinner but for a show as well.

Ashley Keeps Her Elbows Off the Table

In this show, you become the family member, a not altogether trusted relative of everyone else in the kitchen. I ate there with my (real) family not that long ago. As my Disney 'cousin' led us to our kitchen table, she told us that our Disney 'mom' was hard at work in the back, ready to prepare one of her famous comfort food meals.

There's no tomfoolery in this kitchen. When our cousin returned to take our order, she told my father to take his elbows off the table. (My father wasn't much into the whole "Momma said" thing, but I quickly snapped him out of the grumps and told him to play along). Satisfied that no elbows were on the table, our Cousin left to convey our order to Mom while we occupied ourselves watching the vintage programs on the vintage television set attached to our table.

Now, if you have read even one week of my column, you know I'm a people watcher. So I began looking around. Our 'cousins' to the left were being reprimanded for not cleaning their plates. Their waitress announced their crime to the entire room, and right then and there I resolve to clean my stinkin' plate. It didn't matter that only two hours earlier I had consumed my weight in chicken nuggets and French fries. I had a mission. It had a name and an official sticker. My mission, which I whole-heartedly chose to accept, was to clean my plate, get that sticker, and wear it proudly for the rest of the night.

How hard could it be?

Ashley Cleans Her Plate

I ordered pot roast. I love pot roast at home. But then (with actual Jaws theme music accompanying its entrance) my plate was plopped down before me. What the heck. That's a mountain, not an entree. So I began to eat, with the stress of fully minding my manners, which was hard. As I gracefully transported fork after fork of my meal, it began to be too much. I looked at my other actual family members, who clearly weren't as stressed about the situation and who were leisurely cleaning their plates.

I casually (and with an empty mouth) asked my mother if she planned to clean her plate. She turned the question over in her head for like half a second before she said in a painful way, "Yes". Me and that lady are one in the same. We left no pea unturned, no sliver of meat behind, and as full of proper etiquette as is possible, we cleaned our plates.

You can imagine how proud I was to be the owner of a sticker telling the World that I indeed was a member of the clean plate club. On the outside I was smiling. On the inside I was miserable. I was so stuffed that my poor little self looked with loathing through the View Master dessert menu. That thing is on a view master, for real. Turning the dial to see each delicious dessert only pained me more and more.

Ashley Leaves Room for Dessert

So I got S'mores. I feel like the sentence "I got S'mores" should ALWAYS be followed with an exclamation point. They are the culinary ambassadors of happiness. But, with great disdain, I abandoned them on my plate. The good news is that I stayed out of the hot seat with my waitress. I have seen green bean sundaes for people who didn't clean their plates, and I avoided that like the plague. I also got that sticker, a feat in itself.

I am certainly no prize eater. I couldn't do much damage on a 7-oz steak much less a 72-oz, and one hotdog is my limit. But, this lady is a prize Prime Time Cafe eater.

And I did it with impeccable manners.


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