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Guest Review: Planet Hollywood


Bill Iadonisi returns with a star-studded review of a Downtown Disney restaurant – Planet Hollywood. Take it away, Bill!

No one can mistake the iconic “Planet Hollywood” restaurant. With its girded blue starred globe and flying saucer overhang over the entrance, it’s like nothing else around.

This Hollywood themed restaurant was the brainchild of Robert Earl, a prominent figure in the food and beverage industries, specializing in themed based eateries. His financial backers at the start were stars Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Demi Moore, and Baron Montague.

At its peak there were over one hundred restaurants worldwide, now only 20 remain.

View from Upper Level

Hanging Props

Planet Hollywood is a themed restaurant in the style of Rainforest Café and T-Rex, other Downtown Disney watering holes. If you love anything about Hollywood, blockbuster movies and film stars, this is the place to dine.

It’s three floors of blaring club music, authentic props from major hit films, pictures of the stars and rock video screens.

memorabilia

Atmosphere

Guests enter the eatery via a covered walkway that passes under a flying saucer over the entrance door.

Entrance

From the minute you enter, you will see that almost every square inch of the walls are covered with film props and memorabilia from noted movies.

Amazing Collections

You will encounter life-sized posters, mannequins, mock-ups of monsters or just about anything else that played a part in a movie. And there are three floors of this.

Detail

In addition, there is an enormous round video screen viewable from all levels, showing continuous rock videos. The atmosphere is electric and upbeat. Everything seems busy.

Now I remember the Planet Hollywood in New York, and like here in Downtown Disney, it had rock and club music playing constantly. But the noise level here was, at least for our party, way too loud. When I asked about the music, our server Mark (a recent transplant from the Las Vegas Strip) said that it is the normal sound level.

Rock Video Screen

The seating is standard wooden chairs and cloth-covered tables, nothing special. Table sizes range from a two-top to a large 10 person round table. The seating seems to be haphazard; tables look as if they were placed around on a whim.

Despite the high music level, the atmosphere is exciting. The detail is amazing and I believe it would take a few meals here to take all in all the decor. This night (Thursday) was very busy, but our wait time was only 15 minutes. Joining us for dinner were daughter Kim and her husband Sonny.

More Props

Real movie props

Eats

The menu here is standard Roadhouse fare, if you will. If you have dined at Chili’s, Outback, Logan’s etc. you will see a common bond in offerings.

Menu -- click image for larger version

Menu -- click image for larger version

Menu -- click image for larger version

Menu -- click image for larger version

Menu -- click image for larger version

Menu -- click image for larger version

Menu -- click image for larger version

Menu -- click image for larger version

For starters, we all ordered the appetizer VIP platter ($19.99). There was a generous supply of Buffalo wings, the Planet’s Chicken Crunch pieces, Texas Tostados and Spinach dip. The plate also came with two small cups of ranch dressing.

Everything here was hot and flavorful, but at $19.99, a bit pricey.

VIP Platter

Anyone familiar to my reviews knows I am a salad lover from way back. I ordered their Cobb Salad ($15.50). I was very impressed with the size of the offering, which had Chiffonade of romaine hearts, turkey breast, Gruyere cheese, chopped egg, hickory smoked bacon, fresh avocado and tomatoes, and was served with Russian dressing.

It was very tasty, with ample amounts of bacon and turkey breast. My only complaint, and this is a personal one, it that the romaine was too finely chopped up. I prefer larger pieces. But again, a personal jab; it has nothing to do with the salad itself.

Another personal note, so far the Brown Derby still has the paramount Cobb Salad on property!

Cobb Salad

My wife Donna ordered the L.A. Lasagna ($17.99). This was another filling dish — fresh pasta tubes filled with ricotta cheese and Bolognese meat sauce, with a little variance from the norm: the dish was fried and served with garlic cream and tomato basil sauces.

The pasta was done correctly, and the flavors blended nicely, but she said it was nothing exceptional. The biggest drawback was the pasta sauce. Donna has been spoiled by years of my Mom’s homemade pasta gravies and the sauce on this dish had the flavor and texture of a commercial jarred sauce.

Many eateries because of time and expense do use this type of sauce, but for the price, more effort should be made on better sauce.

L.A. Lasagna

Kim and Sonny both ordered the Sizzling Fajitas ($19.99) with chicken (the dish could also be ordered with beef). This dish came with Mexican fiesta rice, shredded lettuce, red and green peppers, cheddar and jack cheeses and caramelized onions.

Both dishes were of ample size, and Kim and Sonny said they were the best they have had. Everything was hot and flavorful; no complaints here.

Sizzling Fajitas

For dessert, the girls split a Cool Planet white chocolate Bread pudding ($7.95). This was really a treat for the eyes as well as the palate.

This large-sized dessert had Homemade white chocolate bread pudding served warm with vanilla ice cream and smothered in warm Jim Beam bourbon sauce. The dessert serves two and was just decadent. Everything blended together in harmony and the Jim Beam Sauce put a little zing in your mouth.

White Chocolate Bread Pudding

Overall

Planet Hollywood is a unique dining experience. It is very loud and everything seems to move quickly! Unlike other themed restaurants like the Rainforest Cafe or T-Rex, which have a show (simulated storms and meteor showers) every half hour or so, the din at Planet Hollywood is constant. It is not for a romantic or leisurely quiet meal. If you relish the club atmosphere and music, or enjoy the movies and movie memorabilia, this is the place.

Great Bar

One complaint — our server was very slow. I could chalk it up to being busy, but it was not that busy — at least for an experienced server. It took a while for him to check on us for drink refills and the food took quite a long time coming out of the kitchen. However, I will not hold that against returning again.

The menu is quite extensive, as are the offerings from the bar. Hours of operation are 11am to 12am, for lunch and dinner. They accept Tables in Wonderland and the Disney Dining Plan. And I recommend reservations; the eatery always seems very busy. Call Walt Disney World Dining at 407-939-3463. As with all restaurants on property, most special dietary needs can be addressed.

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12 Comments

  1. Courtney says:

    Thanks for the review! I always get the free meal pass with the DDP to go to Planet Hollywood, and never use it. It never seemed worth it, with all the other places to eat at WDW. I think you have justified that decision :)

  2. Jamie in Jax says:

    My wife and I love PH! The Tostados are awesome and the spinach dip is pretty good too. We try to eat at PH every time we visit Disney… wish there was one in Jax! :)

  3. Bill says:

    I find the atmosphere of PH way too loud and chaotic for my liking. I keep going back though. Why? For the Chicken Crunch! It is great! I have tried to duplicate the recipe at home but have had no luck… You have to suck it up and go to a Planet Hollywood.

  4. Savorique says:

    Looks packed. The lasagna seems appetizing.

  5. Erica says:

    We have ate at DTD PH a few times. It does have good food, but Disney has so many other restaurants that are much better! Plus, you can eat at PH in other cities. Disney has one of a kind restaurants that are always fun to try!

  6. Galloping Gourmand says:

    With so many excellent choices at DTD I’ve often wondered why anyone would eat here. The food is fine, but the music, chaos, and service makes it hard to enjoy your meal. It’s different than the chaos at Rainforest and T-Rex, where the activity seems to have a point and be part of the show.

    I rarely dismiss places primarily due to atmosphere alone, but it’s way too much for me.

    Thinking about it, the place is very stuck in the 90′s in that way. Back then celebrity theme restaurants were the rage. We had the Hard Rock, All Star, and even Model Cafe. They built their name not on the quality of the food, which was rarely below average but sometimes skirted near average’s darker regions, but rather on the hype of memorabilia and the feeling that you were in a way brushing elbows with superstars by eating burgers near their jumpsuits. If they update the interior and brought the menu into the 2010′s I’d be willing to try it again.

  7. Charlotte Disney says:

    We usually resist eating at Planet Hollywood, and on my trip back in July, my first time eating there, I definately was not impressed. It was even a late lunch – the place was packed and they put the 2 of us at a table where we could barely even see the menu and apparently the staff couldn’t see us either. It was just loud and dark. The accoustics are horrible. After 10 minutes we moved to a bar table, bar was empty, ordered our food and enjoyed our meals. Also, get over the photo thing. Ask if people want their photo taken then bother then during their meals if they want to purchase. Leave the rest of us alone. I will not return unless I am desperate. They are way better options.

  8. Pudge the Fish says:

    GG, agreed. Planet Hollywood screams early 90′s to me. I do remember 1-2 hour long lines to get into this place, they snaked all the way back to the AMC entrance. Sadly, the displays/props were never updated.

  9. Shayne says:

    Wow, what a blast from the past! We ate at PH on our honeymoon at Disney World in 1999 and haven’t set foot in there since then. Not because of anything specific to the restaurant, but mostly because we rarely dine in Downtown Disney these days.

    The noise and chaos you describe is consistent with my memory of the place. It seemed cool when we were in our 20s, but I venture to say that I would find it annoying now! With that said, the lasagna looked really good — pasta, meat sauce and cheese put together and then fried? Sign me up!

  10. heidi says:

    We went last October(2010) on the dining plan. I ordered the World Famous Chicken Crunch as my appetizer and rib-eye steak as my entree. I really enjoyed the appetizer. The rib-eye steak was also good. The ordeal came when trying to order a dessert. Most of the desserts counted as 2 desserts. I, of course, wanted bread pudding which counted as 2 desserts. My mom is diabetic. The waiter wasn’t accommodating. We sucked it up since we didn’t call ahead for dietary needs(We’ve never had a problem anywhere else!) but given the loud noise and dessert ordeal I highly doubt we will go back.

    (I LOVE bread pudding! 1900 Park Fare has my FAVORITE bread pudding.)

  11. AFoodie says:

    It’s true, the theme is pretty dated & it is loud & crowded in there. That being said, I happened to really enjoy that L.A. Lasagna. I don’t have the advantage of being spoiled by an Italian family member, tho :) I love that they deep fried the pasta and paired it with the double sauces. My daughter (11) got a taste of mine one night and convinced us to take her back the next day so she could order it for herself!

    As for the salads, they are usually pretty good. From what I understand, the previous exec chef made everything fresh (chopping the salad, the tomatoes, etc.). The only thing they didn’t make were the dressings. My fave is the Southwest … hungry for it right now, in fact!

    For those who hate the noise but still want to enjoy the food, go back during lunch on a weekday and ask if you can be seated in those little hidden tables on either side of the main dining room (they’re enclosed and block out some of the sound).

  12. Bill Iadonisi says:

    Hi all, sorry I took so long to respond to your wonderful comments, but our Disney Cruise took us away for a week! I seems all agreed on the noise and atmosphere, and I completly agree with Galloping Gourmand and Shayne. It does reek the early 90′s and most teens and young adults savor this atmosphere, but as we (Unfortunately!) get older, our tastes become more refined and Sophisticated. But in spite of these few short-comings, when we get the urge to celebrate and party down, this is a great blast from the past to do it in. I will see ya all next review and thanks for the comments!

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