Chicken Guy is celebrity chef Guy Fieri’s counter service restaurant at Walt Disney World, located in the same complex as Planet Hollywood in Disney Springs. In this WDW dining review, we’ll share food photos and offer our thoughts. (Updated January 15, 2020.)
As the name would suggest, the fast food concept specializes in chicken, and touts itself as one of the best value options in all of Walt Disney World. The question is thus whether Chicken Guy is fast food done right, or suffers from the same overindulgence problems of the adjacent Planet Hollywood Observatory.
Right from the get-go, you might be wondering whether we are credible voices when it comes to Guy Fieri. Our Planet Hollywood Observatory Review was pretty brutal, and we ended by calling it one of the worst restaurants at Walt Disney World. That was unfortunate, as the idea of comfort food prepared as over-the-top indulgences is something that appeals to me, but Planet Hollywood just fails to deliver…
That review more or less distills where I stand with Guy Fieri. Criticisms of him are overdone, but there is some basis for them. (I will say that his Twitter account is pitch-perfect, and he’s self-deprecating in a way rarely seen from chefs, many of who take themselves way too seriously.)
While Fieri does a good job sniffing out and showcasing excellent hole-in-the-wall restaurants that the high-brow culinary world looks down on, but his own culinary concoctions tend to drown under the weight of their own Donkey Sauce; an example of excess taken a bit too far.
January 15, 2020 Update: Chicken Guy is expanding! Construction has begun on significantly enlarging the seating area of Chicken Guy, which will soon take over the totally unnecessary Planet Hollywood Observatory gift shop.
This is great news as (spoiler alert), Chicken Guy is extremely popular, with lines that regularly stretch out the door and a shortage of seating both inside and outside. Since first publishing this review, Chicken Guy has become one of our Disney Springs go-to restaurants, a sleeper hit that is deserving of its crowds.
Now, back to the regular review…
Upon first glance of the menu, you can see that the restaurants two of Planet Hollywood’s problems by simplifying the menu and offering foods at competitive prices. The staples here are all chicken, with pretty much every entree being either plain chicken tenders, or tenders in sandwiches.
It’s a back to the basics approach that’s a refreshing contrast to Planet Hollywood, which has a menu that practically needs a table of contents. (I blame Cheesecake Factory for the proliferation of restaurants with novel-length menus.)
Of course, this means that Chicken Guy doesn’t have much to offer if you don’t like chicken tenders, but the good news is that there are like 37,392 other Disney Springs restaurants for you.
Still apprehensive about what a Guy Fieri restaurant concept–even a more straightforward one–might entail, we opted to keep our orders very simple, ordering the chicken tenders and the Sauce Boss sandwich.
We’ll start with the Chicken Tenders, as that’s the foundation of everything Chicken Guy is doing. Getting these wrong would be pretty disastrous, as pretty much the entire menu is predicated upon them.
Fortunately, Chicken Guy nails the tenders. I wouldn’t call them revolutionary, but they are very, very good. Perhaps addictively good. The breading is mildly seasoned, conservatively applied, and perfectly crisp. The chicken underneath is juicy and flavorful, cooked to perfection.
The end result is something that tastes ‘fresh’ rather than having an artificial or frozen quality. Even Sarah was pleased with these chicken tenders, noting that the chicken is all-natural, hand pounded, and breaded daily.
However, it was the Signature Sauces that really put these chicken tenders over the top. This is a Guy Fieri restaurant, so it’s “necessary” to be over the top in some way, and that promise is delivered upon via a staggering lineup of 22 dipping sauces.
Literally every single one of these was delicious, offering a sweet contrast to the chicken or upping the savory ante. As we didn’t try all of the 22 sauces, I can’t speak to quality across the board, but the ones we tried were nothing short of excellent. My favorite was the Garlic Parmesan, but I plan on going for some outside-the-box options next time.
This is part of the appeal of Chicken Guy–dare I say what makes it a truly “fun” meal experience. While it was just the two of us, I could imagine going with a larger group and trying more varieties of sauces.
That’s one of the things I love about the fries at D-Luxe Burger, but perhaps I’m just odd about that.
For our other entree, we ordered the Sauce Boss sandwich. Per the menu, the Sauce Boss sandwich consists of “two Chicken Tenders (Crispy Fried or Grilled All-natural), Lettuce, Tomato, Onion, Pickle and your choice of any two Signature Sauces.”
This was also good. All of the toppings tasted fresh, and it was definitely more filling than the tenders by themselves, but I’d probably opt against it next time. Not because there was anything wrong with it, but because the heart of the experience is the tenders and dipping sauces, and nothing else should get in the way of that.
We also tried the Mac Daddy Mac ‘N’ Cheese. This was a mistake. It was inexplicably very creamy and dense, but not all that cheesy. I’m a sucker for mac & cheese, but this was a disappointment. We should’ve ordered the fries as our side instead.
Ultimately, that would be my recommendation for Chicken Guy: stick to the foods that can best use the dipping sauces, and lean into the communal, fun nature of the experience. While Chicken Guy would not top my Best & Worst Disney Springs Counter Service Restaurants list, it’s definitely in the top half of that list.
Thanks in large part to the value–on return visits, I see us splitting an order of Five Tenders and adding fries for a light meal–Chicken Guy is a restaurant we will revisit with regularity. For most Walt Disney World guests, it’s not going to be a must-visit “destination” dining spot, but the prices make it attractive if you’re on a budget or want something to tide you over until an ADR.
Have you tried Chicken Guy? Have any favorite sauces? Do you agree or disagree with our review? 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!