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.

plaza-restaurant-magic-kingdom-disney-world-021

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.

plaza-restaurant-magic-kingdom-disney-world-023

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!)

plaza-restaurant-walt-disney-world-food-096

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.

plaza-restaurant-magic-kingdom-disney-world-020

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.

mickey-mouse-shorts-kitchen-sink-ice-cream-walt-disney-world

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.

plaza-restaurant-walt-disney-world-food-094

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!

Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!

Your Thoughts

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!

69 Responses to “Review: The Plaza Restaurant at Magic Kingdom”
  1. Aaron August 22, 2022
  2. Maggie August 22, 2022
  3. Matt B. August 21, 2022
    • Tom Bricker August 21, 2022
  4. Peter G August 21, 2022
    • Steve August 21, 2022
  5. Liz August 20, 2022
  6. David Z August 20, 2022
    • Tom Bricker August 20, 2022
    • David Z August 20, 2022
  7. James August 20, 2022
  8. Dona McIntyre June 14, 2022
  9. Susan September 20, 2019
  10. Megan Foss March 30, 2019
    • Shannion Ferrell September 20, 2019
    • Shannion Ferrell September 20, 2019
    • Jamie Lewis April 21, 2022
  11. Jane May 21, 2018
    • Tara Bischoff February 17, 2019
  12. Kathy April 14, 2018
    • Penny May 16, 2018
    • Tom Bricker May 16, 2018
  13. Gman July 14, 2016
  14. Mary-Lynne Eason December 27, 2015
  15. Tim May 4, 2015
  16. Mike March 5, 2015
  17. Tom September 6, 2014
    • Tom Bricker September 9, 2014
  18. Sarah September 4, 2014
  19. Michael Voumard September 4, 2014
  20. Beth Jackson June 15, 2014
    • Tom Bricker June 16, 2014
    • Beth June 16, 2014

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.