Tucked away behind the Ice Cream Parlor on Main Street USA in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, the Plaza Restaurant is in what would seem to be a high traffic area, yet it never seems to be too busy–at least not when we’ve stopped by. Perhaps this is because it’s a high traffic area when people are entering and exiting the Magic Kingdom, and at those times, a table service meal isn’t crossing the minds of most guests. The Plaza Restaurant participates in the Disney Dining Plan as a one credit table service meal. It also accepts the Tables in Wonderland card for a 20% discount. We always pay out of pocket when dining here, as this restaurant is a terrible value on the Disney Dining Plan (click to see top restaurants for maximizing your bang for buck on the Dining Plan) because the restaurant is so inexpensive.
We ate at The Plaza for the first time in December 2010. I remember back in 2007, I read some rather negative reviews of both the Plaza and Tony’s, and these reviews had scared us away from both places. Then, prior to our 2010 trip, I began hearing people sing the praises of The Plaza (I also actually heard a few positive things about Tony’s, but mostly still negative). With our Tables in Wonderland card, it was almost as cheap as a Counter Service meal, so we figured what the heck and made Advance Dining Reservations for a few days. I figured if we liked it when we ate there early in the trip, we could dine there again, since it was only slightly more expensive than counter service.
Suffice to say, we have only eaten there once. This was really disappointing, especially after hearing a lot of high praise about this place being a “hidden gem” of a restaurant. My entire family found it to be exactly in line with counter service food.
I ordered the Plaza Club and Sarah ordered the cheese burger. A lot of things on the Plaza Restaurant’s menu sounded good, I actually sought advice from my Twitter followers as to what we should order. I made my order based on volume of Twitter responses (yeah, I really can’t think for myself, I guess). Sarah asked the waitress if the burger was comparable to the burger at Beaches and Cream. The waitress didn’t know, nor do I think she even knew what Beaches and Cream was, but she said it was a “real” burger as opposed to the burgers at Pecos Bill’s or Cosmic Ray’s. I knew it! Bill and Ray were serving imposter burgers! I had to alert the authorities at once!
Not wanting to contact the authorities on an empty stomach, I decided to eat first. Honestly though, I had no clue what she meant by a “real” burger. Sarah’s burger tasted no different than a burger at Cosmic Ray’s or Pecos Bill’s, and was certainly not comparable to Beaches and Cream. My Club was decent, but lacking. It seemed like it had about half the things listed in the menu’s description of it. On top of that, it was dry (it could have used a more liberal application of dressing). The dessert list looked good, but given how slow our service had been for the main portion of the meal (and the quality thereof), we decided to just get dessert later at a quicker location.
Overall, The Plaza was definitely not somewhere I’d highly recommend to others at this point. It’s not that the food is terrible, it’s just nothing special. My expectations for this restaurant were proper, as I realize it is basically a Counter Service+ restaurant in price. Based upon the price points, I’ll concede that it’s not a bad value as compared to most Counter Service restaurants. Yes, it’s a bit more, but the food is of a slightly higher quality. However, I don’t think it’s worth the added time it will take you to sit down at this restaurant and be served, and the tip you’ll pay for the service on top of the food. On vacations when time is a precious commodity, The Plaza Restaurant is a poor use of that commodity.
It is especially bad when compared to one of the few restaurants in its class, the stand-out Beaches and Cream. I would say, “hopefully it was just us and we got a bad meal,” but given the (largely objective) quality of the food served to us, I don’t think that was the case. It was basically Counter Service+ food served at a Table Service restaurant. I have no issue with Counter Service food…at a Counter Service restaurant, but The Plaza did not live up to my Given the almost cult-like following it has, I’m sure plenty will disagree with this view, but unless you’re really looking to avoid carrying a tray from an order window to your table or you’re a local who has the luxury of time, you’re much better off dining at one of Walt Disney World’s excellent Counter Service restaurants. We’ll give it another chance someday, but for now it’s low on our list of Walt Disney World dining options.
Have you dined at The Plaza? If so, do you agree, or do you think we’re way off and view The Plaza Restaurant as one of Walt Disney World’s hidden gems? What dishes did you order? Share your thoughts in the comments!
To read other Walt Disney World restaurant reviews, check out our Disney Dining Reviews Index.