First Look and Review! PizzeRizzo Now Open in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

PizzeRizzo is now OPEN for business in Disney’s Hollywood Studios!

This Counter Service eatery served its last pizza pie as Toy Story Pizza Planet in January of this year.

Throughout most of 2016 a HUGE makeover has been taking place, transforming this space that was once filled with visions of Little Green Men and arcade games into an establishment owned-and-operated by none other than Rizzo the Rat of Muppets fame!

Located in what is now known as the Muppets Courtyard section of the park, PizzeRizzo is at long last ready to welcome you and yours to the (literal) party! So join us for our very first visit to The Famous Original PizzeRizzo!!

Welcome to PizzeRizzo!

Welcome to PizzeRizzo!

Atmosphere

Over the past several months, we’ve been able to spy plenty of outdoor details of PizzeRizzo as the transformation has taken place.

PizzeRizzo

PizzeRizzo

The exterior fits right in with its nearby neighbor, the Italian eatery Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano, with its abundance of brick and signage custom-made for a cityscape.

PizzeRizzo sign

PizzeRizzo sign

(That exposed fire escape reminds me a bit of when this building used to be part of the Streets of America section of the park.)

PizzeRizzo sign for Banquet Hall

PizzeRizzo sign for Banquet Hall

The City's Top Rated Pizza

The City’s Top Rated Pizza

Aside from the name of the restaurant itself ;) , the plentiful signage on the outside walls and windows leaves little question as to Rizzo’s specialty of the house: PIZZA!

PizzeRizzo windows

PizzeRizzo windows

PizzeRizzo windows

PizzeRizzo windows

PizzeRizzo outdoor atmosphere

PizzeRizzo outdoor atmosphere

Oven "Fresh"

Oven “Fresh”

You’ll also spy a few tributes in the area including this one, which pays homage to The Best PIZZA on the PLANET.

"The Best Pizza on the Planet"

“The Best Pizza on the Planet”

And there are tributes to other Muppets, too. Check out this nod to the Muppets famous heckler duo, Statler and Waldorf, on this water tower advertising Heckler Tomatoes. (Those guys are THE BEST!!!)

Heckler's Tomatoes Water Tower

Heckler’s Tomatoes Water Tower

Even with that, though, don’t expect to find Kermit the Frog himself here yelling, “Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s the MUPPET SHOW!” Rather, you’re meant to feel as though you’ve strolled into Rizzo’s family-run business… which has been “Giving YOU The Business Since 1908.” ;)

PizzeRizzo Menu posted in window

PizzeRizzo Menu posted in window

Let’s step inside and you’ll see what I mean…

Inside PizzeRizzo

Inside PizzeRizzo

Okay, so… maybe the HUGE updated ordering area doesn’t exactly imply “small business” ;) . But it’s the touches you’ll spy all over the restaurant that bring the story to life.

PizzeRizzo wall decor

PizzeRizzo wall decor

For instance, Papa Rizzo’s original apron is hung on the wall among photographs showcasing a family’s journey from Italy to New York City.

PizzeRizzo wall decor

Papa Rizzo’s Original Apron

PizzeRizzo wall decor

PizzeRizzo wall decor

Wall decor

PizzeRizzo wall decor

Clearly, they’re pulling for the home team, the City Rats!

The City Rats

The City Rats

The City Rats

The City Rats

If you’d like to try to earn a spot on the Pizza Eating Contest Wall of Fame, it looks like you’ll be facing some pretty stiff competition from the likes of Big Mean Carl, Animal, Gorgon Heap, and Carla the Big Mean Mom. But don’t lose hope! There’s still one spot left on this plaque!

Pizza Eating Contest Wall of Fame

Pizza Eating Contest Wall of Fame

And let’s not forget take a look at the very first dollar ever made at PizzeRizzo!

"Our First Dollar"

“Our First Dollar”

Or not. ;)

There is even a souvenir window displaying PizzeRizzo mugs, t-shirts, hats, and such. By the way, these are just props — you won’t find any of these items for sale.

Souvenir Display

Souvenir Display

Not yet, anyway!

Downstairs, the overall decor of the seating area resembles what you’ll find in a classic Italian pizzeria, featuring lots of red, black, and white tile and simple tables and chairs.

Downstairs Seating Area

Downstairs Seating Area

(One of my instagram followers said it looked like a school cafeteria! ;-D)

Downstairs Seating Area

Downstairs Seating Area

And speaking of seating, there is plenty of it, both inside and extending outside.

Lower Level Outdoor Seating

Lower Level Outdoor Seating

No matter where you sit, though, be sure to pick up after yourself!

Trash Can at PizzeRizzo's

Trash Can at PizzeRizzo’s

Trash Can at PizzeRizzo's

Trash Can at PizzeRizzo’s

Trash Can at PizzeRizzo's

Trash Can at PizzeRizzo’s

Trash Can at PizzeRizzo's

Trash Can at PizzeRizzo’s

Trash Can at PizzeRizzo's

Trash Can at PizzeRizzo’s

Sheesh.

Moving upstairs…

Stairwell to Second Floor

Stairwell to Second Floor

Further seating is available, but the decor changes a little.

Upstairs Seating

Upstairs Seating

Tabletop

Tabletop

The main upstairs area also offers lots of tables and chairs (as well as booth seating), but the walls are themed more to New York City with more signs, records, and pictures lining the bricks.

Upstairs Wall Decor

Upstairs Wall Decor

hollywood-studios-pizzerizzo-wall-records-atmosphere-3

“El Pizza” Record

hollywood-studios-pizzerizzo-wall-records-atmosphere-1

“You Are the Sunshine of My Life” Featuring the Muppets Record

hollywood-studios-pizzerizzo-wall-records-atmosphere-2

Record by The Irish Rodents

None of them made me smile more, though, than the 18th Street Station sign that used to be on a Streets of America stairwell made to look like it was leading down into an underground Subway station!

Old Streets of America Subway Sign

Old Streets of America Subway Sign

The W and D here are a tribute to Walt Disney. This sign was always one of my favorite touches in the area, so I’m glad it found a new home.

PizzeRizzo’s even boasts a V.I.P. Booth! It’s surrounded by Hollywood Brown Derby-style caricatures, and this is where you’ll start to notice more of the Muppets influence, with likenesses of Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, the Swedish Chef, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, and more surrounding the table.

VIP Booth

VIP Booth

VIP Booth area

VIP Booth area

If you sit here, though, just be prepared to give up your seat in case one of Rizzo’s famous friends arrives!

VIP Booth

Sam the Eagle Caricature

As you look around to select your table, you may notice a sign located just outside another large room. Before you step in, be sure to peek at all the little gags and jokes filling up the nearby message board.

Message Board

Message Board

Message Board

Message Board

Message Board

Message Board

Message Board

Message Board

This won’t be the only place in the park you’ll find a reference to Gonzo’s Royal Flush.

Gonzo's Royal Flush advertisement

Gonzo’s Royal Flush advertisement

The nearby restrooms in Muppets Courtyard have been renovated and named the same.

Looks like PizzeRizzo’s snagged a couple of top honors!

ZaRAT Survey sign

ZaRAT Survey sign

Classiest Banquet Room Award

Classiest Banquet Room Award

Classiest Banquet Room Award

Most Authentic New York Accent Award

Congrats, Rizzo! But what we’re REALLY here to see is your Deluxe Supreme Banquet Hall.

Deluxe Supreme Banquet Hall sign

Deluxe Supreme Banquet Hall sign

You’re stepping right into the room reserved for the wedding reception for Gil and Lill (daughter of Will and Jill, and son of Phil and Bill. Of course.).

Wedding Reception Decor

Wedding Reception Decor

Wedding Reception Decor

Wedding Reception Decor

Isn’t it fabulously hideous?!?

Banquet Room Table

Banquet Room Table

The party scene is set by color-changing lights and a playlist featuring the “Greatest Wedding Hits of All Time” encouraging you to shake your groove thing!

Changing Hues on the Wall

Changing Hues on the Wall

Changing Hues on the Wall

Changing Hues on the Wall

When we stopped in, “Twist and Shout” was the pick. (This differs from the rest of the restaurant where classic Italian restaurant tunes the likes of Dean Martin, Perry Como, etc. can be heard).

Once again on the second floor, seating extends outside.

Upper Level Outdoor Seating

Upper Level Outdoor Seating

You’ll likely never find Rizzo himself up here, though, what with his fear of heights, and all.

Upper Level Outdoor Seating

Upper Level Outdoor Seating

I’d love to stay and take in the view…

View from Upper Level Outdoor Seating

View from Upper Level Outdoor Seating

But it’s time to get back inside and grab ourselves a bite to eat!

Eats

Now, before we get into what’s on the menu, here’s a little bit of info to put your mind at ease. You needn’t have one worry about the association of rats with your food here.

Employee of the Month

Employee of the Month

As Rizzo himself assured us in Muppets in Space, he’s “never carried the plague, not even once!” Whew! With THAT out of the way, let’s take a look at the menu!

Printed Menu

Printed Menu

We got a glimpse of the menu late last month, so we were already aware that options would be… well, a LOT like they used to be when the spot operated as Pizza Planet ;) . Entree choices include personal-sized Pizzas available in Vegetable, Pepperoni, Meat Lovers, and Cheese and each are served with a side Caesar Salad. Other entree options are a Meatball Sub and an Antipasto Salad.

(These menu “boards” absolutely remind me of the A&S Pizza across from my apartment building in New York City!!! I love them! And I saw those menu boards A. LOT. way back then.)

Ordering Area Menu

Entree Menu

Kids’ Meals are also, of course, available. Desserts include a couple of Italian classics: Cannoli and Tiramisu.

Ordering Area Menu

Kids’ and Desserts Menu

Oddly, the most interesting section of the menu is probably the Beverage section, which features a non-alcoholic Peach Bellini guests of all ages can enjoy. Adults can select the Wildberry-Basil Limoncello Lemonade or a selection from the beer and wine options.

Ordering Area Menu

Beverage Menu

Let’s start with our drinks! We just had to try those new signatures. The non-alcoholic Peach Bellini is on the left, and the Wildberry-Basil Limoncello Lemonade is on the right.

Peach Bellini and Wildberry-Basil Limoncello Lemonade

Peach Bellini and Wildberry-Basil Limoncello Lemonade

Again, the Peach Bellini contains no alcohol. I think it’s fun to have a mocktail to enjoy, especially if you’re sitting in the fancy Banquet Room at the wedding reception.

Non-alcoholic Peach Bellini

Non-alcoholic Peach Bellini

Better still, it’s tasty! This peachy drink isn’t overly sweet, making it a good option for anyone to try, no matter what age.

Only Mom and Dad, though (or anyone 21-and-over), can try the Wildberry-Basil Limoncello Lemonade.

Wildberry-Basil Limoncello Lemonade

Wildberry-Basil Limoncello Lemonade

I love limoncello in just about anything, but here the pucker is tempered with the berry flavors and very slight taste of herb for anyone who isn’t as big a lemonhead as I am :) .

But now we’re on to the main event, which is, if course, pizza! We grabbed a small assortment with the Pepperoni, Vegetable, and a Kids’ Cheese Pizza.

Assortment of Pizzas

Assortment of Pizzas

Each of the full entree pizzas is served with a small Caesar Salad.

Pepperoni Pizza with Caesar Salad

Pepperoni Pizza with Caesar Salad

Caesar Side Salad

Caesar Side Salad

The Vegetable Pizza is topped with mushrooms, peppers, onions, and tomatoes (Heckler’s Brand, presumably ;) ).

Vegetable Pizza

Vegetable Pizza

No matter the toppings, though, you’ve probably already noticed something very familiar about these pies (and you can count the Meat Lovers in with this group, too).

Pepperoni Pizza

Pepperoni Pizza

Closeup on Vegetable Pizza

Closeup on Vegetable Pizza

They’re pretty much the exact same pizzas as they were when this joint ran as Pizza Planet. Which is to say, it’s typical Disney Counter Service pizza: a plentifully (as in more than its fair share) thick dough-to-topping ratio, resulting in what I like to refer to as a “pizza pillow,” instead of a good, solid, New York-style pizza.

Slice of Vegetable Pizza

Slice of Vegetable Pizza

Heck, even the advertisement for the PizzeRizzo’s Los Angeles location describes it as only “New YorkISH!

PizzeRizzo Coupon Advertisement

PizzeRizzo Coupon Advertisement

Which, I’ll grant them, is pretty funny. Of course, you’ve long known how I feel about most Counter Service Pizza in Disney World. Honestly, the only difference I could detect from when this place was Toy Story Pizza Planet is that they use a little more Italian Seasoning here befitting the updated theme and giving them, fortunately, a little more flavor.

It’s more of the same with the Kids’ Cheese Pizza.

Kids' Cheese Pizza

Kids’ Cheese Pizza

Kids' Cheese Pizza

Kids’ Cheese Pizza

The difference here, of course (aside from being smaller) is that it comes in a Meal with milk, carrot sticks and GoGo Squeez Applesauce.

Kids'Pizza Meal

Kids’Pizza Meal

Dasani Water or a Minute Maid Juice Box are the other drink options, while the other side option is a packaged cookie (upon request).

Things start to look up with our other entree choice: the Antipasto Salad.

Antipasto Salad

Antipasto Salad

The bed of Romaine is topped with ham, salami, pepperoni, kalamata olives, chunks of mozzarella, tomatoes, and an Italian Vinaigrette. It impresses — as most Counter Service salads around Disney tend to — with its level of freshness. The cheese in there was especially yummy, and the salami and pepperoni help to make this salad a truly filling option, even for lighter fare.

It’s time for dessert! The new options here are Tiramisu and Cannoli. The Tiramisu, in particular, was a much bigger portion that I thought it would be.

Tiramisu

Tiramisu

Generally speaking, I’m not a huge fan of Tiramisu. But this gets a thumbs up from me due to a higher-than-standard ratio of the thick, mildly sweet layer of mascarpone cream to the ladyfingers (which are my least favorite part of a typical tiramisu).

The Cannoli, on the other hand, is just about what you’d expect.

Cannoli

Cannoli

And in the case of Cannoli, that’s a very good thing :) . It’s tough to beat sweet cream and chocolate chips inside a fried shell!

Inside Cannoli

Inside Cannoli

That said, I would like to have a brief moment to mourn the loss of the Chocolate Cappuccino Cupcake that was the main dessert option when this place was Pizza Planet. I know I’m not the only one who will miss it. Still, PizzeRizzo brings with it two solid desserts that go perfectly well with the whole old school Italian pizzeria theme.

So, there it is, friends! We’ve wrapped up our first visit to PizzeRizzo.

Overall

Okay, so, when it comes to the food at PizzeRizzo, there isn’t too much in the way of surprises. It’s your regular Counter Service pizza joint, though I have to give credit to the above par beverages along with some kudos for the desserts. Those are worth stopping in for on their own if you’d like to see PizzeRizzo to take in the atmosphere.

After all, the atmosphere was the biggest question surrounding this spot’s transformation, especially since Toy Story Pizza Planet — aside from the arcade-game aspect — seemed to fall a little flat in comparison to what it could have been when you consider the movie. And though some guests might prefer a more obvious or even over-the-top theming with regards to the Muppets characters, I really enjoyed the somewhat subtle take where you’re meant to rely on spying the details within a more authentic scene. How about you?

Pin it for later!

Get a first look and check out our review of PizzeRizzo in Hollywood Studios!

Will you be dining at PizzeRizzo’s on your next trip to Hollywood Studios? Please let us know with a comment!

Comments

  1. nursejackie says

    No thanks. We didn’t go to Pizza Planet and we won’t be going to this place as it’s exactly the same type of unpalatable pizza on offer.

  2. Kaz says

    The reception room seems to be much less exciting than teased.. Well there eventually be more going on here?

  3. jessica says

    I was long anticipating your review! I always know what I’m going into after reading the dfb! Thank you

  4. says

    I’m so excited to go here!! Not for the pizza really (typical stuff) but the themeing. I’m a huge Muppets fan and all of the little details look incredible. The Muppet store is one of my favorite places to explore and this looks even better! Yay Muppets!!

  5. Sarah says

    I really appreciate the theming here. With the exception of the ordering area, this actually looks like a pizza place that Rizzo may own in NYC! Had they gone over the top with paintings of Muppets on the walls, it would have looked like a generic theme park restaurant, which we all know is not Disney! The only thing I am truly disappointed in is the pizza, but not for the reason you might think. I fully expected “Pizza Planet” pizza, and honestly I don’t care that it isn’t that high quality. Disney has some absolutely amazing food on property, they’re allowed a couple of standard, cheap (in comparison), fast food places. But NY style pizza couldn’t be any more different than those pizza pillows! Again, I’m not complaining about the quality, but the theming. I think if you’re going to pay so much attention to the little details, why not make the pizza at least resemble NY style pizza? It doesn’t have to be great. I’m sure most of you have had pizza at the mall that is a lot closer to the real deal than this. It can still be made and sold very quickly and inexpensively. I really feel like this is an important, if not the most important, aspect of the New York pizzeria theme. With that said, I love the Muppets, Rizzo, and cannolis, so I will definitely be there!

  6. Patricia C says

    The decor is hilarious… but I’d never touch that food. First of all, I don’t even consider that pizza. Secondly, that is NOT tiramisu. I saw another blog that showed a cross-section of the alleged tiramisu and I couldn’t even identify the ladyfingers – which are supposed to be espresso-soaked and DARK! That dear friends is like a marscapone cheese cup. Finally, that cannoli filling is insulting. It looks so watery!

    But.. BUT .. the decor. It’s hysterical. My favorite part is that they use the old NYC phone numbers on the menus… I also adore that subway sign – and guess what?? The W train just replaced the Q, so those are both actual NYC subway lines!

  7. Mark says

    Ok, so it’s pretty much the same pizza they served in the past. And that pizza was universally panned. (Pardon the pun.) No kudos to Disney on this one.

  8. Jeff says

    It looks incredibly fun, so I’d certainly stop by and make a lunch of it.

    But I will cry lots of tears over the cappuccino cupcake. I was really,hoping it might stay, but alas, I have my memories….and a few pics from the old days.

    Thanks so much for all the pics and review!

  9. Tara Lane says

    Looks good to me! I might be in the minority, but I really like the counter service pizza. Tastes good to me – I like the chewy bread, and I appreciate that their pizza isn’t swimming in grease like a lot of counter service pizzas that you have to use napkins to soak up the oil off the top. Kudos on this addition! We’ll probably eat there every trip!

  10. Rod says

    How could they spend so much time on thoughtful theming and yet not fix the crappy pizza? I will definitely get a drink and a salad to enjoy the upstairs.
    I would invite the chefs to walk around the restaurant, talk to diners and observe how much food ends up in the trash.

  11. Lisa P says

    My husband and I always say how weird it is that out of all the quick-serve Disney has, they can’t get the 2 most basic ones- pizza and burgers – right. The photo you posted of “The Employee of the Month” has better looking pizza than what’s being served. Baked dough with toppings does not a pizza make.

    I’m a big fan of the Muppets. The decor does not “wow” me. It looks like it was done on the cheap. The upstairs, outdoor seating is nice, though. It looks like a nice place to rest and have an iced tea.

  12. mike jones says

    The pizza looks mostly like bread with some toppings in the middle. I would pass. When it was pizza planet I did enjoy the antipasto salad. Upstairs was a relaxing place to eat.

  13. Dave says

    Lots of these comments seem to be critical of the actual pizza quality. First off, this is a counter service, just like Catalina Eddie’s on the other side of the park, basically same quality and price. Now, I agree that they spent a heckuva lot of money to redo this restaurant and it would seem likely to either upgrade slightly or expand the menu commensurately with the quality of the physical building itself. Getting back to C Eddie’s, you’d expect the quality you get there from the lack of anything more than a kiosk building that it is. But Disney went all out on a quality, well built and thought out 2 level structure for this one. At least give the patrons more., more than just more excitement on the drink menu than the pizza for which its themed after. Its almost as if you built a Cheesecake Factory building that serves Subway level quality food. Doesn’t quite sync up, and no disrespect to either. But most people who really follow this blog, are really into all the different food choices throughout Disney, and most are foodies like myself. I know that in DS with Blaze opening, people who love Pizza, and need i re-mention the Subway earlier in my post, get to customize their pizzas like Subway for less $ than Pizzerizzo, minus the cup of salad. So i feel both sides of the arguments above, and personally feel the money spent by Disney was more for nostalgia and to create a unique “location and ambiance” to dine and just fell short of equalling that effort on the food side.

  14. Andrew M says

    I don’t understand why Disney chose to make a restaurant after Rizzo, they could have made such a great fine dining restaurant based off of the Swedish chef character! I really want to see Swedish Chef have his own place in the park!

  15. JennyGirl MSU says

    Thanks for the review! I thought I would chime in and admit that I actually like the “fat pizza” that is served here! I was very sad when they took it away at Pinocchio Village Haus a few years back. Then, this year, I went to Pizzafari and they too took away the fat pizza. Both said locations serve the flatbread pizza that is just plain awful! :( The one at Pizzafari tasted like ketchup on a cracker with generic cheese! I actually don’t even go to those restaurants anymore due to the pizza change. While, I agree that the pizza could be a whole lot better overall, at lease it’s not flatbread. I will miss the cupcakes as well but that’s mostly because I’m not a huge fan of the new desserts offered. I am excited to eat here next year and hopefully by that time the pizza will stay the same!

    Oh and I think the quality of food at Disney has gone way down mostly due to the mass quantities that need to be produced for 1) the free dining plan and 2) the raising attendance! :0

  16. Kimberly H. says

    WDW counter service pizza is ok, in my book. I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it either. I always thought, though, that it would be cheaper/easier to serve pizza by the slice (like they do at Busch in Tampa) and somewhat tastier. The decor is a little plain, but I love the outside seating areas. I think we’ll stick with a meal at Mama Melrose’s or Sci-Fi in HS, but if we’re ever in need of CS this’ll be our first stop! Some of the details are pretty cute and the reception room is hysterical!

  17. Kaz says

    While nowhere could be as good as the pizza we get here in New Haven, I actually prefer the “fat pizza” as people call it to the new flatbread trend.. I used to enjoy going to Pinocchio Haus to get a pizza… now I don’t bother going in there anymore…

  18. Suzy says

    Wow! Thanks for a great review. Listen, it’s the DISNEY version of everything at WDW and that goes for pizza too. I can’t wait to eat here. This ex-New Yorker, once a New Yorker, ALWAYS a New York, has had my fair share of crappy pizzas and every one I’ve had at WDW so far has been pretty good. It’s not just the food; it’s the atmosphere, it’s the employees, the -ish food!
    so

  19. Kelly says

    I agree with the comments that the pizza should resemble more of a NY Style of Pizza than it does. In all honesty, it looks like DiGornio pizza i can buy in the grocery store.

    The theming however, looks to be a lot of fun. But i doubt I’d go there unless they change the pizza.

  20. Rach says

    I went the Sat of opening weekend, made a special trip just to see it, & was majorly disappointed. Was told by a Cast Member that they went for subtle. Subtle? SUBTLE?!?! The Muppets are not subtle. If I’m going to Rizzo’s I want to see a window into the “kitchen” & see rats making that crummy pizza. ;-)

    I stuck my head into Pizza Planet once & never went back. It’ll be the same for PizzeRizzo.

  21. Betty says

    Not sure if you know or mentioned it but Gil and Lil and all those guys were the frogs from Muppets take Manhatten

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