Review: The Plaza Restaurant at Magic Kingdom
The Plaza Restaurant is the cheapest table service restaurant in Magic Kingdom, located at the end of Main Street USA with views of Cinderella Castle. In this Walt Disney World dining review, we’ll share food photos, a look inside, thoughts on cuisine quality and value for money. (Updated August 20, 2022.)
Directly next door to the Ice Cream Parlor, the Plaza Restaurant is located in a high traffic area of Magic Kingdom. Despite this, for years it was never too busy and operated on a walk-up basis. It was one of Walt Disney World’s more casual in-park restaurants that was easy to do at the last minute.
You might notice that this is all past tense. A lot has changed about the Plaza Restaurant in the last several years, with the restaurant expanding its Advance Dining Reservations and also seeing a sharp spike in popularity. It’s now fairly common to see a crowd congregate outside waiting to be seated at the Plaza Restaurant, whereas several years ago, there were almost always empty tables inside.
Another thing that has changed is the menu. The Plaza Restaurant seems to be perpetually tweaking its options, adding and removing items more than most locations in Magic Kingdom. We’ve seen a lot come and go over the years, from the beloved Fried Green Tomato Sandwich to the Monte Cristo.
At its core, the Plaza Restaurant’s menu has remained relatively constant in terms of cuisine. The food is mostly American greasy spoon and soda-fountain classics, and is actually a lot like the Magic Kingdom’s version of Beaches & Cream.
In terms of ambiance, the Plaza Restaurant is basically a simplistic soda fountain with Victorian and Art Nouveau stylings. Its interior is very light and airy, with a lot of natural light plus some pretty, yet understated design flourishes.
It’s not going to win any awards for being one of the best themed restaurants at Walt Disney World, but I would definitely call its design intimate and charming. It’s perfect for Main Street, having just the right amount of detail and personality.
While these interior photos of the Plaza Restaurant might look appealing, keep in mind that these were taken without other guests around. When you’re actually dining here, that most definitely will not be the case unless you get the very first seating of the day, which is when I took these.
In actuality, the restaurant can be chaotic and crowded during peak dining hours. Tables are spaced just a bit too close together and the venue is noisy. This is hardly unique to the Plaza Restaurant, and is pretty much par for the course at Magic Kingdom–with only a couple of exceptions.
Window tables at the Plaza Restaurant will give you this view of Cinderella Castle.
With that said, this is the idealized low-crowds version of the view. In reality, there will be a steady stream of people passing by outside. That’s actually the best-case scenario, with it being equally likely that others with Plaza Restaurant ADRs will be loitering right outside the windows. For that reason, we typically don’t bother with requesting a window table.
We have dined at the Plaza Restaurant probably a dozen times, and were not initially sold on the place. It was one of those hyped up restaurants that many people sang the praises of, due to its regular availability and low cost as compared to other table service restaurants at Walt Disney World.
Even though we hadn’t been impressed with our first couple of meals there, we have returned, partly given the overall quality (or lack thereof) of counter service restaurants in the Magic Kingdom. Over time, it’s grown on us and we’ve become big fans of the place…despite removing menu items we grew to love and perpetual price increases. That’s progress, I guess!
For our latest meal, we started with the Chili: Pinto Bean Chili served with Cashew Cream and Lime Wedge.
Sarah wasn’t overly impressed by this chili, finding it to be a bit too watery and not having a robust flavor. I was more or less indifferent to it. It was fine, but not something I’m in a rush to order again. (Then again, that’s exactly what I expected–unless a place specializes in chili, it tends to be mediocre.)
The big question: what would Walt think? Since he loved canned canned chili, I’m guessing Walt Disney would’ve approved of this mediocre bowl of chili. Perhaps that was the Magic Kingdom culinary team’s goal all along? Making a middling chili that would’ve garnered Walt’s blessing?
For her entree, Sarah ordered the Steak Salad: Seared Spiced Sirloin served on Iceberg and Romaine Lettuce with Gorgonzola Cheese, Tomatoes, Slivered Apples, and Bell Peppers, topped with Fried Onions and Spiced Vinaigrette Dressing.
This steak was overcooked and simply okay (neither tender nor tough). Pretty much a ‘what you see is what you get’ kind of dish. You should be able to tell from the photo whether this appeals to you or not. We would not recommend it.
I ordered the The Main Street Burger: 7oz All-Beef Patty topped with Cheddar, House-made Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, Sunny-side Up Egg, Beer-battered Onion Ring, and Roasted Poblano-Mayonnaise served on a Flour-dusted Kaiser Bun.
This was definitely the highlight of our meal at the Plaza Restaurant, and probably of our last few meals there.
In just about every way, this is a ‘by the books’ soda shop burger. Good quality ingredients and beef that are better than the norm for Walt Disney World, but not necessarily gourmet or inventive.
For me, the bun and egg were the kicker. I love fried egg on my burgers, but adding one almost always results in a messy burger that falls apart. Not so here, as the oversized Kaiser bun was surprisingly resilient. That alone elevated this burger and the experience of eating it. Again, nothing revolutionary or envelope-pushing, but sometimes a solid burger served on the heart of Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom is more than enough. That was the case here, and I’d highly recommend this as a result.
Here it is, your moment of zen: Figaro Fries (known here as the “Plaza Loaded Fries”). Longtime Disney fans know that Figaro is a cat. Well, he/it is also some glorious fries. For those who are new to the Disney scene, Figaro Fries used to be served at Pinocchio’s Village Haus, but disappeared long ago.
These were the Magic Kingdom culinary counterpart to the Dole Whip for fans of savory snacks in the era before social media really got big. They have been named one of the most-missed extinct foods at Walt Disney World since, and for good reason.
If this little beauties don’t make you shed a tear of joy, your heart must be frozen.
Sarah has been trying to get us to eat healthy (something I want no part of, naturally), and upon seeing these, I suggested that they were basically a salad given the lettuce, tomatoes, and whatnot. You might try taking a similar approach to justify ordering them. I can’t promise it will work.
My only complaint is that they didn’t just go total fan-service and name them “Figaro Fries.” It’s not like it would be off-theme or some grave offense. Now that we have Figaro Fries back, maybe we can get BeaverTails back in Epcot? Now that would be the ultimate victory!
Prior to our most recent meal at the Plaza Restaurant in mid-August 2022, we’ve dined here a lot and experienced tons of menu changes over the years. As there’s always the possibility that some of these items will return, we’ll run through a few of them now with quick thoughts.
First up is the Fried Green Tomato Sandwich, which was on the menu for a while pre-closure and was a fan favorite. Sarah loved this, and felt it was a light, refreshing option on a hot day when you don’t want a salad, or as a vegetarian option. It was on par with a lot of counter service restaurant options in terms of price–for something of far better quality. (Which might’ve been why it was removed!)
Another time, Sarah ordered the Vegetarian Sandwich, consisting of Fresh Mozzarella, Hummus, Basil Pesto, Cucumber, Roasted Red Pepper, Tomato, and lettuce on Freshly Baked Focaccia with choice of Broccoli Slaw, Homemade Chips, or French Fries.
She described this as being really flavorful thanks to the basil pesto and mozzarella, which tied the sandwich together nicely and gave it a much more robust taste than an ordinary vegetable sandwich. As far as “healthy” theme park dining goes, this is a great option.
Another favorite of mine was the Kentucky Turkey Hot Brown Sandwich.
This was also removed around the time the parks closed, and hasn’t returned since. I’m still holding out hope that it’ll be back if/when the menu expands, as this was the ultimate indulgence.
Speaking of things that are still missing from Magic Kingdom, one thing we used to love about doing lunch at the Plaza Restaurant was that the Citizens of Main Street would routinely drop in to sing “Happy Birthday” to a guest or partake in pranks. During one such experience, a child at the table next to us was anointed Main Street USA Mayor (due to the kidnapping of the normal mayor–and theft of his fishing gear!).
This clearly made his day, and it’s always nice to see sweet interactions like this. These moments aren’t advertised on any park map, and they don’t pull first-timers to Walt Disney World the same way Space Mountain or Frozen Ever After do, but they are the core of the Disney experience. These are the little things that make lifelong fans out of people. I’m sure that boy will be bragging about this to all of his friends at school, and his parents will be sharing the photos from this for years to come.
It’s easy to get caught up in being cynical about too much CGI in Soarin’ or annoyed by this price increase or that. However, at the end of the day, anyone who has been going to Walt Disney World for years probably has had a special experience like this. It’s those heartwarming moments that keep pulling us back, and remind us of why we fell in love with the place to begin with.
The Plaza Restaurant always has a few different ice cream sundae options, which are usually pretty similar to the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor next door.
If you’re after a basic ice cream sundae, these will do the trick. Just keep your expectations in check, as these are basic ingredients and simply off the shelf Edy’s ice cream. Personally, I think there are better snacks in Magic Kingdom–even at counter service restaurants.
The Plaza Restaurant typically has one shareable sundae that’s meant to serve 2-4 people.
Unlike the Kitchen Sink at Beaches and Cream, this is entirely “normal” ingredients, consisting of hand-scooped chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry ice cream drizzled with hot fudge, strawberry, and caramel sauces and topped with chocolate and peanut butter chips, whipped cream, and cherries.
Overall, the Plaza Restaurant is now somewhere I’d highly recommend to others not wanting to do counter service, and instead contemplating the limited table service options in the Magic Kingdom. I still think some of the menu options are nothing special, but there are at least a couple that are excellent, and most (at the very least) are going to be superior to what you’ll find at a counter service restaurant for just a bit more money.
That’s what’s important to remember here: this is a table service restaurant, but it costs significantly less than all other sit-down dining in Magic Kingdom. The Plaza Restaurant is more expensive than it used to be an definitely no longer a “counter service+” restaurant (which is what we used to consider it), but it’s still cheaper than every other table service spot in Magic Kingdom. That alone makes it a good option for many guests.
However, it’s not going to be for everyone. If you have limited time in the Magic Kingdom, it may not be 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 just might not bring enough to the table to justify the use of that precious commodity.
Yes, the burger is great, but other items are so-so, and it certainly lacks the impressive theming found at other Walt Disney World restaurants. In short, the Plaza Restaurant is a crowd-pleaser and that’ll make it appealing to many families, but it’s that same lack of distinct theme or memorable cuisine will make it skippable for many others. Even as Walt Disney World regulars, we go back and forth on the Plaza Restaurant based on mood and the kind of meal we want–sometimes it hits the spot, other times it does not!
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Have you dined at the Plaza Restaurant in Magic Kingdom? Do you view the Plaza Restaurant as one of Walt Disney World’s hidden gems or think it’s overrated and overpriced for what it is? What dishes do you like here? Do you agree or disagree with our restaurant 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!
We went to MK in may and booked The Plaza as a late lunch on a whim and we’re pleasantly surprised! My kiddos got the grilled chicken with fruit and topped off with a sundae after meal, there eyes lighting up made the whole meal worth it! My husband’s sandwich was good as far as sandwiches go and my burger was wonderful! Would book there again just to see my kids’ faces when they recognize the place where they got their “awesome” sundae!
Yes!I was going to comment as well about the included Sunday with the kids meal being a great deal. As kids meals prices creep up at counter service restaurants, $10 for a kids meal and Sunday is awesome (even with the added tipping cost). They made ours to go for us and we strolled outside just in time so enjoy while watching the parade. As a family that usually only dines at counter service options due to cost, I found the experience at the Plaza 100 % worth it!
The Plaza is a must for my family. In our nearly 40 years of DisneyWorld vacations I cannot think of a time that we did not eat at the Plaza. Yes it has lost a little of the charm it had the first time we ate there, much busier and they keep trying fancier items that we could do without. But the shakes are always what I want from an old-fashioned milkshake, the service is friendly and sweet and we have seen several kids elected mayor to the delight of everyone!
My daughter and I ate at the Plaza Restaurant back in early December. Overall we enjoyed it, but there were some issues. We had a salad that tasted like chemicals. I’m not sure if it is what’s used to try to prolong the life of the lettuce, but it was inedible. I had the Monte Cristo, and it was really good. Greasy but good (couldn’t expect any different really!). My daughter had the Impossible burger (vegetarian), and it was ok. She didn’t love the chili on it (but she doesn’t love a lot of different types of veggies). I tasted hers and thought it was good. It wasn’t something I would order, but I liked it. All in all, we enjoyed the ambiance and would go back if the opportunity presented itself.
This was a deeply disappointing meal during my family’s last trip. We were seated directly next to the door, where incoming guests could routinely bump their bags into our shoulders. The food was bordering on disgusting – my strawberry chicken salad was mostly a plate of brown, slimy lettuce and a couple of strawberry slices, and the service was unfriendly. Maybe a different table and ordering a burger would have made a big difference, but I would need to hear that all manner of things had changed before recommending the Plaza to anyone.
We dined at The Plaza Restaurant for the first time during our trip last year. It was a one-and-done for us. I got a club sandwich and couldn’t eat it. The toast was stale. It’s like when you toast some bread in the morning, but don’t eat it until late afternoon. It loses its crunch and flavor. And the bacon was hard as a rock. I’m not sure if it was over-cooked to the point of turning to stone or what, but it actually hurt my teeth when I tried to bite into it. I would have returned it and asked for a fresh sandwich had the server ever come to our table after dropping the food off and before bringing us the check. It may be the cheapest restaurant at Magic Kingdom, but you get what you pay for.
We literally ate at the Plaza restaurant yesterday before leaving MK to catch our flight. This was our first time trying it out and we were not impressed. We (2 adults) were seating almost immediately which was great. We were in the sunroom and it was nice but a bit loud. We ordered the crab cakes (3) as an app and those turned out to be the best thing we had. My husband ordered the steak salad, medium rare. His steak was over cooked, barely warm and had no flavor, plus he had to ask for dressing as it had none when served. I ordered the fried chicken sandwich w/ fries. The chicken was served on a type of seasoned ciabatta roll with pickled onions and a spicy mayo. Overall my sandwich was tasty (I did have to ask for extra mayo because it barely had any on the roll) but the portion size was good. Fries were standard MK fries plus a chocolate milkshake. The milkshake was in a fountain type glass and although the taste was great, there just wasn’t enough of it for the $7 price, plus it was melted by the time our meal arrived. Our server was nice, but slow. Two 6 top tables seated after us received their food before we did, and it seemed like we were kind of an after thought because she would be making her rounds and disappear for long periods at the time, almost like she was distracted consistently. Our meal ended up being $75 +change after the tip (and I leave 20% always). For us, it was a one and done. I don’t think we’ll go back anytime soon, especially when we’re perfectly happy with a Casey’s hot dog- we just wanted to try something different and it didn’t work out for us.