The Plaza Restaurant Review

The Plaza Restaurant as seen from the Tomorrowland bridge. It may come as a surprise, but we aren't fans of the Plaza. Here's our review: http://www.disneytouristblog.com/plaza-restaurant-review/


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.

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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.

Your Thoughts…

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.

Overall Score: 5/10

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30 Responses to “The Plaza Restaurant Review”

  1. Kristi says:

    We have positive experiences there. We have dined there twice (Mar 2011 and June 2011). In June, Disney lost our reservation and made arrangements for us to get in very close to our reservation time and we did. (They thought there was something with the time in what they emailed and what went into their computers due to a time change).

    The food was good and the service was good. The server even told us where Disney buys their cheesecakes….Gasp! I know….I thought they were made with pixie dust.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I fully expect this to be one of the “least agreed with” reviews on the site, but even though I hear rave reviews about the place, I still review based solely on my experiences. None of us were impressed. We are not dining snobs (we love Cosmic Ray’s and Sunshine Seasons, after all!), but this was just nothing to write home about.

      If anyone is considering dining here, I hope they read the comments, too, and not just my text. Just because it wasn’t for us doesn’t mean it’s not for anyone. A lot of people really LOVE The Plaza!

  2. Ellen says:

    Gorgeous top photo!!! I also ate here for the first time in Dec 2010. We actually enjoyed it! I can totally see what you mean though…about it being counter service quality and not worth the waste of time. We ate here in the big freeze of Dec 2010 though and it was about 50 degrees at MK that day, so we actually enjoyed the “wasted time” sitting inside somewhere warm. The ice cream desserts and milk shakes looked great, but yeah, entrees were kind of “ehh…”

    • Ellen says:

      Oh and I should add that we were last-minute walk-ups and seated within 5 minutes…which also led to our enjoyment of the place!

  3. MIke Sperduto says:

    I agree with you totally! I was not impressed at all and lacked the magic that some of the other sit down restaurants in Walt Disney World have.

  4. Gordon says:

    We had pre-booked so were taken very timeously and the food I had was fine, nothing great but nothing spectacular. To be honest I really like Burgers so you have to go some way to wreck that. What made it suck for me was the service from our waiter. At best it was slow at worst it was disinterested but the doozy came when he brought me the wrong dessert but asked if I would rather not have that anyway….’no sunshine, I would not!’ was about as polite as I could be at that point. Glad I tried it though but its on the never again list and not many make it there after only 1 experience

  5. Jon Grant says:

    Comparing this place to to “one of the few restaurants in its class, the stand-out Beaches and Cream” is an automatic setup for disappointment. Can you even imagine if this place was near as good as B&C? Talk about a 180-day-out-or-you’re-out-of-luck type place THAT would be. Holy. Cow.

    The burgers (IMO) are better than Pecos/Ray’s. Not by a lot, but by enough that I don’t mind spending a little more. The fries are much better. The drinks get refilled. The food comes on plates and with metal silverware. The room holds many fewer screaming children than any counter service. All of that adds up to why I think this place is worth a visit.

  6. John B says:

    I’ll defend your review. I’ve been to Plaza twice. Both times the food was . . . fine. Like you said, nothing bad, but nothing to make me blacklist the place (like Tony’s).

    However, the service is VERY slow. It took an hour for my cup of soup and sandwich.

    The only part of your review I disagree with is that it’s not very busy. Both times I’ve been there for lunch it’s been MOBBED. And the place is really small, so it’s also very loud with all those people.

    With a TiW discount it’s not much more expensive than CS, but I still won’t rush back there. Won’t rule it out either.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Agreed completely. I guess it being slow was just the day we went–I was shocked by that, so I definitely believe you that it gets busier.

  7. Mary says:

    I’ve had hit and miss experiences at Plaza. Growing up, it has always been a favorite but the older my brother & I got, the less we ate there. I ate at the Plaza back in May (2011) and it was extremely busy the day I ate there. My waitress was an absolute DOLL. I recently, at that point anyway, had to make some serious diet changes due to being diagnosed with Kidney Stone Disease so she worked with my shyness about my diet restrictions. At the time, I was not comfortable with saying I had dietary restrictions to the point of needing to speak with the Chef, but she was more than willing to accommodate me in any way that she could. That time my food was actually pretty awesome. Fast forward to July of 2011 and my opinion changed. I was eating with my friend Christa who had met me after work for dinner and it was not the best experience. I was still experimenting with foods to eat within my diet situation (mainly, no meat and low sodium and not due to choice. Thanks purines and high uric acid levels!). I specifically asked how the veggie burger was. Was it the consistency and thickness of the regular hamburgers or was it a typical thin veggie burger? I know it’s silly, but for me, the texture makes a huge difference. Our waiter had no real explanation and that should have given me a clue. When the burger arrived I tried desperately to continue to eat it, but honestly, it was absolutely hard as a rock. I was pretty sure it was flash frozen in rock. Christa forced me to send it back and I reluctantly did so and ordered the veggie sandwich. The first time I had the sandwich was AWESOME, the second was absolutely horrible. I will probably eat at Plaza again in a pinch, but I thoroughly enjoy Cinderella’s Royal Table, Liberty Tree, and Crystal Palace enough to always choose those first. Even Tony’s! And quite frankly, when you have the GF, WL, Poly, and Contemporary THAT close, you really have even more dining options for the Magic Kingdom than the Plaza!

  8. Justin M says:

    I ate here for the first time in June 2011 and liked it alot. I really like the ambiance, but it definetly is a bit small and the tables are close together. I had the reuben and my girlfriend had the strawbery salad, both were excellent and it was one of the best meals I have ever had at MK and at reasonable price. We had a window table and a beautiful view of the castle. Give this place a try again!

  9. Glenn says:

    I’ve never eaten here because the menu is limited to mostly sandwiches. It seems very pricey for just a sandwich. Is it really any better than the counter services? The meat loaf is the only entree on the menu that’s not a sandwich; I would like to see a few other things offered. But it is someplace I’ve always wanted to try. Can anyone convince me why I should? We usually use the dining plan, and this doesn’t seen like a good use of a dining credit.

  10. Christa says:

    If you try The Plaza again, and decide to try the club again, be sure to order it on the multi-grain bread. This is what they used to serve it on, and when they switched to the sourdough bread it was yucky!

    For me, the love of The Plaza is that I can get a sit-down meal that’s not a buffet and get out of the heat and rest my feet a bit. Perhaps this may change with the opening of Be Our Guest?

  11. Rose says:

    The turkey club is on the sour dough and the turkey sandwich is on the multigrain(both have bacon,lettuce and mayo, but the turkey sammie has 2 slices of bread instead of 3 in the club). Burgers are good too but they usually undercook in our experiance. We eat here every trip. To me it is a lunch type place. I don’t use a dining plan credit if on the plan. But it is a MUST DO! They also have great soups. The fries and the new housemade chips are soooo good if hubby orders chips I get fries. So we can have both. Usually too full for dessert but the times we got sundaes they were yummmm. The only complaint is some of the tables are too close. Once the server even thought we were with the people next to us and took my order and then tried to take the other girls order. Kinda funny but not at the same time.

  12. Kerry says:

    We ate at The Plaza on our last full day at WDW just a month ago. And I have to say that I was so happy with out experience there. We have a difficult time dining anywhere (even outside of WDW) because my daughter has a tree nut allergy. We had mixed experiences at WDW in dealing with the allergy issue (but that’s for another reply). The Plaza was the best experience we had. The chef, Connie, came to our table to discuss my dd’s allergy. When my daughter (9 Years old but with a sophisticated palate) expressed disinterest in any of the meals on the children’s menu (which she’d been forced to eat since we’d been on the dining plan), the chef told my daughter she’d make anything she wanted. My daughter requested a chef salad. Chef Connie made my daughter the most amazing chef salad we have ever seen. It was enormous and so amazingly delicious. Yes, I sneaked a few bites. My own salad was just as huge and just as delicious. My husband was also thrilled with his meal.

    The three of us ordered dessert but I can honestly say that none of us finished them because the dessert portions were just as large as our dinners were. Amazingly delicious, as well. Chef Connie gave my daughter sugar cookies, nut free of course, to take with her since she wasn’t able to finish her dessert.

    Unlike the staff at every single counter service restaurant we tried, Chef Connie knew exactly what was in every bit of food in her restaurant. She knew what my daughter could and couldn’t eat. And she went out of her way to give us a wonderful dining experience. When we sent a thank you note back to the kitchen to thank Connie for our wonderful meal, my daughter received a glowing Tinkerbell and her own note as a thank you for our thank you. Tink now flies over my daughter’s bed as a nightly reminder of our trip to Disney and, of course, our dinner at The Plaza.

    So, no, The Plaza will never be Le Cellier. But sometimes, there’s much more than ambiance and a good steak that makes a fabulous dining experience.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I don’t think anyone is expecting it to be Le Cellier (or a high caliber table service restaurant). I don’t think it was much of a step up from counter service.

      Your story is a great one, and I can understand why you’d like it more because of that. Just realize that you can find stories like this for–literally–every single Walt Disney World restaurant. Above and beyond service is, thankfully, not all that uncommon at WDW. That said, isolated incidents of great service don’t make a restaurant great.

  13. michelle says:

    We ate there about 2 years and it was exactly how you described it! It took way too long for not great food! We haven’t been back since.

  14. Elonwy says:

    Agree completely with your review. Though I would caution to not bother comparing burgers from anywhere else on property to B&C or you will always end up disappointed.

    If you want to use it to it’s full potential order a dessert or drink only and sit and enjoy the view. That is the only thing that makes it worth a second look – the food is not.

  15. mitch says:

    It serves the purpose of allowing you to relax and be waited on for very reasonable prices and food that non-foodies will find appealing.

  16. Jessica says:

    We would go to The Plaza every time we came to Disney in the 90′s. My father and I religiously ordered the Ruben with German potato salad. We thought it was delicious but in recent years we have found the quality of food to be much lower and left feeling like it has “lost its magic”. I know my father had to save all year for our yearly trip and we took many shortcuts so we could go (yes I carried a can soda in my fanny pack) and this was a cheaper place to eat maybe that is why we came so much. Now that I have been bringing my own children The Plaza just doesn’t do it for us, my dad included. If we need a quick eat and there isn’t a wait then it’s ok but I wouldn’t be sad if I missed out on it.

  17. Andy says:

    I would likely rate this average. Its not awful food. We stopped here on our last trip and used our Deluxe Dining Plan, mostly because we were too full for another big meal. My main reason for responding is because of the remarks about Tony’s. I actually really enjoy Tony’s. I live in St. Louis which is infamous for our Italian, and im certainly not saying its great italian food, but its actually pretty good. Especially the calamari and Tiramisu (actually one of the best I have had). There pistachio gelato actually isn’t bad either.

  18. Donna A. says:

    I agree with your review, The Plaza just seems overrated. I have been there twice and doubt I will return for a third meal. The first time, my burger was cold and we were packed in so tightly our server couldn’t refill our drinks easily or quickly. The second time I had a glorified deli sandwich on semi stale bread and had a drink spilled on me. I could have gotten a better quality sandwich at Publix for half the price. Yes, I know it’s Disney and it’s theme park food but it’s for those reasons that I hold them to a higher standard. Overall, I haven’t been impressed with sit-down food at the Magic Kingdom. I’d rather get a hot dog at Casey’s and save my money to splurge on a nice meal at EPCOT or Hollywood Studios.

  19. Sadly, I agree with you 100%! The Plaza Restaurant used to be a favorite of mine and we would make a reservation at 180 days out for every visit. Unfortunately, the last few times we have gone there, it has really gone downhill. The service has been ridiculously slow even when the place was half empty. Even the servers didn’t seem to have their usual Disney pep and enthusiasm. Not to mention the food. I generally like plain food, but The Plaza’s food, has seemed exceptionally bland and flavorless. I’m hoping they turn it around. I would love to give it another chance once I see some good reviews again!

  20. Kevin says:

    They need to import some fried chicken from the west coast!

  21. Beth Jackson says:

    Tom, may I get your opinion, please? Reviews of the Plaza are obviously mixed. I made ADRs for this restaurant so we wouldn’t have to stand in line for lunch when we are WDW with my 4 year old son next month (and I’m going to be 20 weeks pregnant and would like to sit in an AC’d building for lunch!). Do you have a MK recommendation that is a similar price and doesn’t have a 30 minute line to order? Thanks bunches!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      This review is actually about to be updated. We recently revisited the Plaza Restaurant (which has added several new menu items since our last visit) and had an AMAZING meal. I would now highly recommend it.

      Hope that helps! :)

      • Beth says:

        That helps tremendously! I’ll keep our ADR and hope the same chef is on duty! Many thanks! :-)

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