Walt Disney World has shared a sneak peek at the menu for Energy Bytes, a new snack stand next to TRON Lightcycle Run in an expansion of Tomorrowland. This preview shared food photos, dining details, and our commentary about the culinary scene in Magic Kingdom.
In terms of some quick background about this new expansion of Tomorrowland, Walt Disney World previously announced that TRON Lightcycle Run debut at Magic Kingdom on April 4, 2023. It’s safe to assume the new Energy Bytes stand stand will open on the same day.
Another detail Disney has announced is that TRON Lightcycle Run will use a virtual queue and sell Individual Lightning Lane access, meaning that a standby line will NOT be available. This is oddly relevant when discussing Energy Bytes, because it remains to be seen whether the snack stand will be accessible for guests who don’t have ride reservations of some sort.
One of the reasons that Walt Disney World is likely using the virtual queue is to facilitate crowd flow and prevent congestion in the pinch points leading up to TRON Lightcycle Run and under the canopy. Although short-lived, Disney actually did restrict access to Toontown at Disneyland when Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway opened. Guests who didn’t have Lightning Lane or boarding group access weren’t allowed to enter the land.
We could see this going either way. The shockingly ambitious menu at Energy Bytes is sure to be popular, and it’d be a shame to prevent access to guests who struck out at the virtual queue. That’d be like adding insult to injury!
According to Walt Disney World, the new Energy Bytes kiosk will be serving up some tasty eats and sips for you to grab, drawing inspiration from the futuristic environment around TRON Lightcycle Run. Whether you’re looking for some breakfast bites, savory snacks, sweet treats, or refreshing beverages, this new spot will soon become a go-to pitstop as you venture into the world of Tomorrowland.
If you’re kicking off your morning in Magic Kingdom, the good news is that Energy Bytes has breakfast options. For those wanting a sweet start to the day, the Chocolate Cake Doughnut Holes topped with mocha sauce are a perfect option. The coffee lovers out there will also have a new caffeinated beverage to try in the Joffrey’s Cold Brew Coffee topped with mocha sauce.
Now onto the savory options. If you love buffalo chicken and dumplings, you’re in luck because Energy Bytes is combining both of these classics into one delicious concoction: Digital Dumplings – Buffalo Chicken. This snack combines chicken dumplings, blue cheese powder, and cayenne pepper broth.
These aren’t the only dumplings coming to Tomorrowland. The Digital Dumplings – Beef & Broccoli transforms this iconic dish into dumpling form with beef dumplings, broccoli pesto, and ginger-soy broth.
For those looking for a little sweet pick-me-up, Energy Bytes has you covered, too. The Strawberry IceOform is the ultimate refreshing treat with the sweetness of the strawberry ice cream mochi, graham crackers, and even a little bit of cheesecake foam to finish it off.
Finally, the Watermelon Refresher with yuzu and ginger will be available at Energy Bytes. It’ll be the perfectly refreshing accompaniment to wash down the other items available at this location.
Turning to commentary, my main thought is that this looks shockingly good and ambitious. When I first saw the stand being installed, I figured it was simply another coffee spot—maybe the existing Joffrey’s stand in Tomorrowland would be relocated.
So obviously, my expectations were low, and based on details of the sneak peek alone, they’ve been exceeded. Frankly, this sounds a little too good to be true. Even though it’s only a few items, the flavors are unconventional and unexpected, and the plating looks really nice. This is something I’d expect from Skipper Canteen–not a counter service restaurant in Magic Kingdom and certainly not a snack stand in Tomorrowland.
Honestly, it might be on the adventurous side for Magic Kingdom guests…and thus might not stick around. I really hope I’m wrong about that, but it feels like we’ll be saying, “remember when Energy Bytes had envelope-pushing dumplings?!” while standing in line here this Christmastime to order hot dogs and stuffed pretzels, as if it were ancient history?
This is the kind of thing I could see lasting only a few months. (Magic Kingdom guests, please prove me wrong and make this popular. The park already has more than enough boring snack and entree options!)
To that point, this is a new dining spot in Tomorrowland. One of the “rules” of Disney Dining that’s applicable at just about every park on earth is do not dine in Tomorrowland. Of course, there are exceptions to this, but it’s true far more often than it’s wrong. I’ve had some of the worst meals ever in Tomorrowland (or its equivalents), from Cafe Hyperion in Paris to Tomorrowland Terrace in Tokyo.
Point being, low expectations are par for the course with Tomorrowland dining additions. If the actual snacks served at Energy Bytes is half as good as the photogenically-plates dishes in the stock photos, it’ll be a big win. (Sadly, that’s no guarantee—there’s often a big difference between the idealized images and real food at snack stands!)
Beyond that, Energy Bytes could be a big win for Magic Kingdom’s culinary scene as a whole. Despite this being the flagship park with the highest attendance, it is the worst park for food at Walt Disney World.
That was starting to improve preclosure, but there are a lot of little ways Magic Kingdom still has not fully recovered. It’s actually quite deceptive, as it seems like the park’s restaurants are close to 100% on paper, but that’s not the practical reality of things.
Magic Kingdom did receive a nice boost from the Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary menus (arguably one of the biggest highlights of the “celebration”), but many of those will soon disappear. Here’s hoping new menu additions take their place.
Speaking of which, we’re starting to see exactly that as the park gears up to launch TRON Lightcycle Run. In addition to Energy Bytes, there are new menu additions at the Lunching Pad, including breakfast items. (We will by testing those this week and reporting back.)
Ultimately, my hope is that TRON Lightcycle Run is the catalyst for more culinary changes at Magic Kingdom. In particular, breakfast is a big one—getting that restored at Be Our Guest Restaurant and other locations would be huge.
Same goes for more unique and ambitious menus at the counter service restaurants. It’d be great to see fun and inventive menu options at Cosmic Ray’s, along with a return of the full toppings bar. Ditto that for Pecos Bill (assuming it’s not closing soon for reimagining…).
In the end, all I really want is dining in Magic Kingdom to be fun again without dropping big bucks on in-castle dining or characters. More snacks, unique counter service dishes, fun seasonal stuff, and decadent desserts would all be very welcome. In the absence of that, well, I guess I’ll keep heading to the nearby resorts to “research” and conduct quality control testing on the best burgers!
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What are your thoughts on the menu at Energy Bytes at TRON Lightcycle Run? Are you pleasantly surprised by the ambitious menu, or do these items not appeal to you? Think this incarnation of the Energy Bytes menu will stick around, or will it be churros and chicken nuggets by Christmas? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? 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!