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!
I would downgrade the quality of the menu to counter service quality, which may still be worthwhile if you’re willing pay a little extra to get off your feet and have your meal brought to you. That alone may make it more worthwhile than a run to Wilderness Lodge (or Grand Floridian maybe?) for counter service and a break.
“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”
This really ups the ante, and makes a theme into a THEME. Shame on me for every time I pushed the PR and did NOT mention that the Citizens come by a lot.
Okay I feel really weird because I’ve been to Disney World ten times over the past two years and I had NO IDEA this existed. It’s like finding an extra room on your house, suddenly. It still doesn’t seem like it’s for me when Skipper Cantina is oh-so-shareable and still easily-last-minute-scoreable, but maybe one day I’ll get tired of curry? Maybe? Wow, I even ate ice cream at one of those outdoor tables pictured and still totally missed that this was here.
It took me a long time to finally visit the Plaza Restaurant, but from my first visit I was hooked. I really appreciate finding the remnants of the old “Vacation Kingdom” era at Walt Disney World and in spite of not knowing how many things in there may have changed since 1971 I still get those “old WDW” vibes in The Plaza. I was lucky enough to get the Monte Cristo on my visit back in March and I’m sad to see it isn’t on the menu anymore. Even though the Monte Cristo is a Disneyland staple it can’t seem to find any traction in Florida, first leaving the Riviera Resort and now leaving The Plaza.
I’m hoping that Monte Cristo isn’t permanently removed. I know the MK culinary team was really excited about this addition, and originally planned on it outlasting the 50th. It sounds to me like they were having ‘efficiency’ issues with its preparation, and the current reuben that replaced it is a temporary addition.
Who knows how things will actually play out, though. Once something is gone, it’s often for good.
I miss the bottomless shake. There was a time it could count as your drink off the meal plan. Days long gone….
Didn’t know they got rid of the bottom less shakes…if adrs were easy to come by I’d swap out our upcoming plaza res. Oh well. Been a bear getting any decent adrs this time
I really miss the chicken strawberry salad that used to be on the menu. It was my favorite lunch at MK. Also miss the lobster fried green tomatoes. Really miss the breakfast menu. I hope at some point, MK will have all of the breakfast options they used to have, and I really hope that The Plaza is included in breakfast options returning, although I doubt the lobster fried green tomatoes benedict will be back.
The Fried Green Tomato Sandwich was my favorite entree in the entire park and I mourn its departure.
Hungry Bear at Disneyland just brought its fried green tomato sandwich back after ~5 years of it being gone from the menu, so don’t give up hope!
Tom, that makes me all the more excited to be returning to Disneyland in February!
Have to agree- this place is decent but nothing special. We ate here this past April, the kids stuff was what you would expect and I had the dip steak or beef sandwich. My wife had the burger Tom described. My wife and I split and both agreed the burger was the better of the two. The menu did seem limited in comparison to the other sit down places we have been to in DW.
Thank you for your review. We had lunch there three years ago with four adults and four teenagers and everyone enjoyed their meal. This time there are 11 of us and are looking forward to a repeat visit to the Plaza. Over the years we have often gone with the dining plan but this time we have ADR for all the days we are there. Interested to see how this works out for us.
The Mickey sink sundae had THREE scoops of ice cream and cost $14? Whew, that is pricey indeed! I know we pay for the special sink we get to keep (right?) but I think I’d take a pass. I still say we’ll skip the Plaza Restaurant until they have a bathroom INSIDE the restaurant and the tables aren’t crammed so close together!
We ate here in March 2019 and had an enjoyable experience. Food was good, waiter was attentive, offered to split checks without having to be asked. Best table service we had all week (not eating on the DDP.)
I have been eating there off and on for 6 years but had stopped because of the quality of my food and a women by the name of Sonya. When I first tried it the food was prepared beautifully, tasted great and the service was exelent. After that I was served a stuffed avacado that had been setting there for hours, the cheese was all dried up and I told a women named Sonya to take it back and I refused to pay for it. It seemed that no matter who my server was, Sonya wanted to bring me my food. If she had let my server brinv my good, I think I might have gotten a good meal. I stopped going there for about a year and went in there a few days ago. I orderef the chefs special and got a chilli releno about the size of my finger. About 4 bites to be exact. My server asked me if I would like him to ask tje manager if they could add another small one and I said yes. The manager said no without ever coming to talk to me. The server had to track her down for me becau see she was hiding. When I finally got to talk to her it was Sonya. I chewed her out pretty good and said I would never come back. She wNted to give me a free meal and I told her I didnt come for free food and had already paid for my food. She credited my ticket after I told her not to. I checked with my bank. I will never go back to The Plaxa in Amarillo. Time after time I get served up portions that are good for a child and are of very bad qualitu. Service has always been great if Sonya would let the servers do their job. She is discriminating for some reason. I do not know her.
Sorry for the mispelling
Firstly, sorry Megan. Trying to reply to Shannion Ferrell, but not familiar with this interface.
Second, readers, please disregard Shannion’s review. Tom Bricker’s blog post is regarding the Plaza Restaurant in Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Florida. Shannion’s comment is regarding the Plaza Restaurant and Bar in Amarillo, Texas.
Thirdly, Shannion, how rude have you been to the staff that their manager always deals with you directly?
Pros: inexpensive as far as WDW eating goes. It was clean. When I said I was allergic to asiago cheese and flaxseed Chef himself came out to talk to me and recommend choices.
Cons: no bathroom! Seriously, you will have to exit the restaurant and go use a bathroom elsewhere! Tables are VERY heavy and very close together. I tried to move the table to get behind it to sit and the wait staff stood there looking and didn’t help me. Wait staff was inattentive and water glasses went without refills. Food portions were so-so. I can’t remember what we had (September, 2017) but it was okay sandwiches. VERY VERY Crowded! Thus, very noisy.
Yep, it’s not expensive for a sit-down place to eat at WDW but we’d rather eat at Cosmic Ray’s or the chicken finger place (Golden Oak) since the staff is much more friendly and helpful.
We just ate there a few weeks ago. Food was bad and had no bathrooms. Rather go to Cosmic Rays is correct!
Tom, is this good viewing for the fireworks if you get a window seat for dinner? Thanks. Love your blog, it’s key to my planning!
I just came looking for Tom’s Plaza review in search of an answer the same question. We will be at WDW in late September for my mom’s 70th birthday and I was wondering if it would make sense to eat at The Plaza for dinner (7:30pm as Happily Ever After is at 8:00pm). This way she would not have to stand for 45 min to an hour just waiting for the show to start.
Sorry, I didn’t see the question the first time. While you will be able to catch glimpses of Happily Ever After from Plaza Restaurant, it’s not a good view. You’d be better off from the outdoor seating area there (or by Casey’s) and those also aren’t what I’d consider good views.
If you want to sit, the best bet is back in New Fantasyland. The problem there is no view of the projections, but those would be obscured by the seating areas around Plaza and Casey’s, too.
We ate there a few years ago, and you’re right. Despite the foot traffic pouring by it we didn’t wait very long and got a nice (air conditioned) seat inside right by the window.
The food was okay (it was lunch time) just burgers (me and son) and a salad for the wife.
You missed out by not ordering the cheese steak sandwich. I had this in October on our MNSSHP night, and I’m still craving a return visit. I’ve even tried ordering its equivalent in several places back home with no success. While it’s not a good value on the DP, it’s a great value for OOP and TIW. It’s going to be my first ADR for October 2016.
We stopped here during the week before Christmas. We experienced incredibly slow service, and an over hour wait (even though we had a reservation.) Very disappointing, for just a turkey sandwich we had to wolf down so we wouldn’t miss out next fast pass.
Thanks everyone, I have an ADR for May and wasn’t sure what to expect. You have convinced me to keep the ADR with actually a little anticipation with it. Tom, always enjoy your posts.
I think they are expanding the number of outside tables here. I wonder about two things. Will the enlarged outdoor terrace offer better views and photographer’s venues for Celebration and Wishes. Secondly my top WDW burgers ranking has always been the same: First Place to Le Cellier (now gone). Second Place to LTT, still better there and better than Pecos Bill. And the show place Pecos Bill’s which I only eat to get a root beer float served in a cowboy boot. Where does that onion burger stack up in that grouping. I have eaten at Beaches & Cream many times, but for some strange reason have never had the burger. So I don’t know where it fits in in my above rankings. But a larger and more important question is: do you get to keep that cute mickey’s pants bowl after you finish the sundae?
Yeah, you can keep the Mickey bowl after eating the sundae. Unfortunately, it’s built into the price of the sundae, so even if you don’t want it…you’re paying for it.
The Alphonse Mucha inspired menus are a nice touch. We’ll have to give this one a try on our next visit.
I love this restaurant. Great food and the staff is very nice and friendly.
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!
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! 🙂
That helps tremendously! I’ll keep our ADR and hope the same chef is on duty! Many thanks! 🙂