Review: Lunch at The Plaza Restaurant in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

On a recent visit to Walt Disney World, I made it my mission to visit some of my favorite spots. And when it came time to dine in Magic Kingdom, I knew I wanted to visit a classic –The Plaza Restaurant

Sure, Magic Kingdom has the hot ticket, Be Our Guest Restaurant. And I have so many counter service favorites here, it’s hard to keep track of them all. But when it comes to the crossroads of nostalgia, value, and a (fairly) easy advance dining reservation to score, nothing compares to The Plaza.

I bet you’ve passed it on a dozen visits and never given it a second thought. Allow me to show you around a bit, and maybe even change your mind.

Atmosphere

The Plaza Restaurant occupies some primo Magic Kingdom real estate. You’ll find it at the corner of where Main Street USA joins with the bridge to Tomorrowland.

Plaza Sign

Plaza Sign

Its central location makes it accessible to all corners of the park, so it’s a great spot to dine, especially if you’d like to take a break from touring and enjoy your meal at a more leisurely pace.

The Plaza Restaurant -- Outside

The Plaza Restaurant — Outside

The restaurant isn’t very large. It’s made up of two main dining areas. The first room is pretty, comfortable, and bright, with lots of natural light. The mirrors, which feature ornate etching, also reflect the light and make the space feel larger.

Atmosphere and Seating

Atmosphere and Seating

The art nouveau decor is in keeping with the rest of Main Street, and the pastel palette is pretty timeless. I especially love these delicate brass light fixtures.

Lighting

Lighting

Attached to the main dining room is a smaller, octagonal room that’s filled with windows. It looks a bit like a conservatory (without the glass ceiling), or maybe a patio or gazebo that’s been walled in. While it is a beautiful space, the hard floors can make it a bit loud for my taste, and banquette seating means that I’ll spend my meal listening to my neighbor’s conversation. (Totally true. This visit I was seated at that little round table with two big parties on either side of me. I pretty much knew all of their plans by the time I was finished.)

Sunroom Seating

Sunroom Seating

Here’s a nice close-up of a table in the main dining area. Kind of feels like eating in Grandma’s parlor, right?

Window Table

Window Table

Spending time on Main Street USA means that you’re likely to run into some of the town’s most notable characters. This is one of those fun Magic Kingdom traditions that unite us with the customs of the past; we’ve enjoyed visits with the Mayor as we dined before.

The Mayor Often Visits The Plaza Restaurant

The Mayor Often Visits The Plaza Restaurant

But this time out, it was the Fire Chief who paid a visit! He had important business to attend to, as he handed out the Mayor of the Day Badge to this Lucky Young Guest! (By the way — the prize for being chosen Mayor of the Day? One fastpass for your whole family to any ride you choose.)

Main Street Fire Chief Gives the Mayor of the Day Badge to a Young Guest

Main Street Fire Chief Gives the Mayor of the Day Badge to a Young Guest

Usually the Mayor himself handles this important task; we are assuming he was on vacation and had left the Fire Chief in charge of things. :-)

Eats

After a look around to see that everything was just the way I had left it on my last visit (it was), it was time to settle down and take a look at the menu.

And do you know what? I found something new!

Normally, the Plaza menu doesn’t change much, but right at the top, I spied something I hadn’t tried before — the Meatloaf Meal! Consider this your foreshadowing for the day…

Menu -- Click to Enlarge

Menu — Click to Enlarge

Meatloaf aside, the menu at the Plaza tends to lean heavily on the sandwich genre, with one notable Salad thrown in for good measure.

We didn’t order the Chicken Strawberry Salad this time, but we’ve enjoyed it on past visits. Here’s a picture, in case it piques your interest. You can see a few more dish reviews here!

Chicken Strawberry Salad

Chicken Strawberry Salad

I’ve already hinted at the first entree we decided to try. Yep — I couldn’t pass up the Meatloaf Meal.

Meatloaf

Meatloaf Meal

Served with Red Skinned Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, and Whole Kernel Corn, this thing was ah-mazing!!!

Meatloaf -- Another Angle

Meatloaf Meal — Another Angle

The Meatloaf has little bits of onion and is super flavorful. The Baked Ketchup Topping provided a little sweetness, while the Beef Gravy added even more awesomeness. I know ordering meatloaf at a restaurant isn’t always a great idea. But this, like, the best idea I had all day. I’ve been craving it ever since!

Meatloaf -- Cross Section

Meatloaf — Cross Section

The Angus Chuck Cheeseburger has been a menu staple for a while, but we had to go for the newer Beef Brisket Onion Burger. Sandwiches at the Plaza come with your choice of Broccoli Slaw, Homemade Chips, or French Fries. While the chips were tempting, we decided to stick with Fries as my side.

Beef Brisket Onion Burger

Beef Brisket Onion Burger

This is one serious meatlover’s burger. The Hamburger itself is topped with a helping of shredded Beef Brisket, cooked with Onions. But it also comes with Bacon. And because that’s not decadent enough, it’s capped off with a slice of Provolone Cheese.

Beef Brisket Onion Burger -- Up Close

Beef Brisket Onion Burger — Up Close

How was it? Well, I’d say we have a new contender for the “What’s Your Favorite Disney Burger?” poll. Because it’s really great. (Not “meatloaf great,” but very good.) I was really surprised by the moistness of both the burger and the brisket.

Beef Brisket Burger -- Cross Section

Beef Brisket Onion Burger — Cross Section

Well, it wasn’t easy to top that, but we knew we wanted something for dessert. And when you’re at The Plaza Restaurant, dessert nearly always equals Ice Cream! With the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor right next door, it’s a no-brainer. :-)

We decided to go with a Hot Fudge Sundae. It’s nothing fancy, but it hit the spot!

Hot Fudge Sundae

Hot Fudge Sundae

And I also snuck in an order for the Mickey Ears Kids’ Sundae — a Mickeylodeon, if you will. This is what your kiddos can order as dessert on the dining plan, and it comes with your choice of ice cream. Pretty cute, right?

Mickey Ears Kids' Sundae

Mickey Ears Kids’ Sundae

And whether you call it a Beverage or Dessert, if you’re a Milkshake fan, do NOT pass up the opportunity to enjoy one of these hand-dipped babies. It’s an absolute must-have on our Milkshake Crawl Challenge!

Plaza Milkshakes are Legendary

Plaza Milkshakes are Legendary!

With another great Plaza meal added to our experience, off we went to enjoy the day.

Overall

Oh Plaza. You are everything that we hope still exists when it comes to food at Walt Disney World.

Even these days, there is comparative value to be found. And The Plaza Restaurant is an excellent example of that. With entrees priced just a little higher than some counter service spots, it’s hard to believe that you can eat this well, and still enjoy a table service experience. But it’s there. And it’s consistently good. And I rarely have a problem getting a table, even at the last minute.

Add to that the fact that I enjoy the breathtaking views of Cinderella Castle and that feeling of history that the restaurant instills, and I’d say that The Plaza Restaurant definitely fills a niche in your Magic Kingdom dining plans. If you haven’t tried The Plaza Restaurant, make room in your itinerary to do so. I think you’ll appreciate it.

Have you enjoyed a meal at The Plaza Restaurant? Join the discussion below by adding your recommendations in comments!

Comments

  1. Joni says

    Do they have a kids menu?
    So you would not recommend dining there to see fireworks?
    Looks like people stand up next to the windows is that the case?

  2. Claire Gregory says

    The Plaza Restaurant rocks! I know that the chicken/fruit/blue cheese salad craze is everywhere now, but many years ago this was the first place I’d ever had it. I loved that combo, still do. One time when we were there they happened to be out of strawberries and replaced them with red pear sliced up on top of the salad, it was amazing too! I’ve got to admit, I can’t really remember the last time I ordered a burger there. Now don’t get me wrong, the burgers are awesome too, and I am a true carnivore at heart, but I have a seriously soft spot for that Chicken Strawberry salad.
    Fireworks viewing is not great from there. Too many obstacles/people/trees between you and the castle, and right now great big walls up around the hub.
    And some how the smaller size makes it feel cozier than some of the HUGE restaurants (yes, I’m looking at you Be Our Guest). Always a nice meal to be had there.

  3. Katie says

    I haven’t been to the Plaza Restaurant at WDW, but I have been to the Plaza Inn at Disneyland. I wish the Plaza Restaurant had the Plaza Inn’s Fried Chicken. The chicken was so good, it would make the Plaza Restaurant a must-try at WDW if they had it.

  4. Galloping Gourmand says

    This is a great place for non foodies. My best Disney friend for life (Bdffl) is the opposite of a foodie and loves it here. It’s their families tradition to end their stay with lunchbox the Plaza.

    I’d describe their menu as “family resteraunts” It’s your local mom and pop establishment, but a little more upscale. The sandwiches are a good filling portion, the plates are simple with a minimum of fuss. It’s a very good overlooked option.

  5. Karen says

    Dinner at the Plaza has become a tradition for the first night of our trips to WDW. Great comfort food, wonderful service and milkshakes to die for. Because two members of my family have food allergies, I can say that the Plaza has been the best of all the table service restaurants we have visited for catering to our needs.

  6. Kimberly says

    We love the Plaza for lunch. Such a nice respite from the weather/crowds. My husband particularly loves it because he loves non-counter service sandwiches/burgers, which are getting more and more difficult to come by at table service restaurants.

  7. Nancy says

    Well, looks like I’m gonna have to try the Plaza restaurant the next time I go down. It looks and sounds great! I actually just realized this restaurant was there for the first time when I went in September and stopped by the Ice Cream parlor for a Halloween cookie sandwich during MNSS and was wondering why I’d never heard of it!

  8. Emma says

    We ate at the Plaza for dinner last Feb and were disappointed, but that was because of two things: One, we made the mistake of paying with DDP table service credits, and two, we had a rather surly chef who was quite insistent about what I could have, despite me telling him I was able to eat baked dairy. I did like the fact that they had a book with ingredients of every dish though, I just won’t declare my lactose intolerence again.

    My club sandwich was very large! It was a bit dry, but I think I didn’t have any sort of dressing on it. The fries were good. It would be good value out of pocket! I had chocolate Tofutti ice cream & enjoy life cookies for dessert.

    Mum had the angus burger which she thought was too dry and the brownie sundae for dessert which she said was good.

    I didn’t like that you had to go outside to the rather crowded restrooms on the walkway to Tomorrowland which were manic because the main street electrical parade was soon.

    I would go again, if only to try the brownie sundae myself and try the strawberry chicken salad which I didn’t fancy at the time but pay out of pocket.

  9. ARLENE says

    Just made ADR’s here for the first time for our May trip to Disney. We have been to Disney at least 10 times or more but never tried this place. I have a question; is the Chicken Strawberry Salad a “hot” salad or a “cold Salad”? Is the chicken served “hot” on top of the lettuce? I’m really curious about that. Also- have you tried the “Hand made Fried chips” that you can have instead of the French fries? I’m curious as to how they taste. You get your fill of French fries at Disney and I’d like to try something different. Can you get a side Salad or a side of anything else?
    Thanks!

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