Plaza Inn is a Disneyland restaurant that serves a character breakfast in the morning and becomes a quick service location for lunch and dinner. Located at the end of Main Street, Plaza Inn envelops a Victorian-style theme. In this review, I will cover lunch and/or dinner at Plaza Inn.
Disneyland is lauded for its charm and restaurants like this are part of the reason why. While Walt Disney World rules in sheer number of counter-service food options, Disneyland generally conquers in quality and making guests feel welcome. A portion of that ‘hospitality’ has to do with the use of real dishes and silverware instead of serving food on paper plates. It’s a minute detail, but something that makes Disneyland special. Of course, a plate can’t enhance the taste of food but it can enhance the quality of someone’s experience. Plaza Inn succeeds in that aspect as well as having really nice indoor and outdoor seating.
Plaza Inn’s outdoor seating is on a patio that curves around the restaurant. If looking out at the park from the patio, the far left views the end of Main Street and the far right has views into first few steps of Tomorrowland. Of course, this means that the middle (and, to a lesser degree, the sides) of the patio has some stunning views of Sleeping Beauty Castle. There is also plenty of shade on the patio so it’s beautiful on a warm day and not insufferable on a hot day.
The inside of the Plaza Inn competes with the classic views of the outside with beautiful and elegant decor. This restaurant, originally called the Red Wagon Inn, has been serving guests ever since Disneyland’s opening day. While this fact can’t alone make a place have charm, it certainly doesn’t hurt. The decor and Victorian them doesn’t hurt either. With a stained glass roof, elegant tables and chairs, and a helpful serving staff (more on that later), eating inside at the Plaza Inn welcomes guests into a different and simpler era.
Theming can only take a place so far though, especially when it comes to a restaurant. Ultimately, people are only going to go to restaurants that serve good food. That is unless they aren’t loyal, informed, Wandering in Disney readers (where’s the sarcasm font?). Fortunately for Plaza Inn, I think they serve food that at least almost matches the charming atmosphere inside.
For lunch and dinner, Plaza Inn offers a pretty interesting variety of southern food, pasta and salads (you can see a menu here). The restaurant is best known for their fried chicken. Knowing that, Melissa and I both ordered this on our last visit. We quickly got our food, paid for it and sat down inside by the big open windows, on the Tomorrowland side of the restaurant.
We were both pretty hungry but after seeing our plates, it was pretty clear that we should have shared our meal. The chicken plate comes with three pieces of chicken (both of our plates had one leg, one thigh and one wing on them). The plate, as you can see, also came with mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, and a biscuit.
We’ll start with the mediocre and progress to the great. The biscuit wasn’t anything special. While I’m the biscuit connoisseur some are, I trust my wife in her judging of all things biscuit and she thought these were just okay. They weren’t bad by any means, just not memorable. The mashed potatoes were creamy and buttery and the gravy was pretty good. I enjoyed them and they supplemented the chicken well. Coming in second place on the plate was the green beans. There was the right amount of seasoning on them and they also went well with the chicken.
All of those sides were simply a warm-up to the entrée that is theme park legend. Suffice to say, the fried chicken at Plaza Inn is fantastic. Fried to a perfect golden brown, the chicken was incredibly juicy and some of the best I’ve ever had. While I’m no biscuit expert, I’m slowly working my way up the fried chicken ladder of expertise and this was about as good as it gets. The only downside after I cleared up this large plate was that I had no room for dessert. Melissa barely finished half of her plate and still didn’t have any room left. I highly recommend sharing if you come here.
With of all of the praising out-of-the-way, I will say that Melissa didn’t love her meal. While she didn’t dislike the food, she said Plaza Inn wasn’t a place that she would care about going back to. While I’m fairly sure that she’s crazy, if you don’t like fried chicken then this place might not be for you. While I haven’t personally had another item here and think it’s absolutely absurd that anyone would want anything other than the fried chicken (again, sarcasm font seems to be missing), different entrees at the Plaza Inn haven’t fared well in other reviews I’ve read.
We had a great experience with the staff at Plaza Inn. Getting our food was extremely easy and our table was cleared and taken care of without us using a muscle. The man clearing tables was a cheerful man, who was eager to talk with guests. Towards the end of our meal, he pulled out a harmonica and played a few songs. He also led the group in singing Happy Birthday to two guests that were celebrating there. He also brought those guests a piece of cake with a candle. This was just another example of the detail and charm that Disneyland, and specifically Plaza Inn, offers.
As far as value, the chicken entrée was $16.49. Without looking it up, I think that is the most expensive counter-service meal at Disneyland. Is it worth it? Probably. Before we went on this trip I had a fried chicken meal at a sit-down restaurant near my home. The price was $16 for four pieces of fried chicken and included a salad. I’d say that’s about what most places would charge for a similar meal, if not a little more. The meal at Plaza Inn was much better than most other fried chicken entrees and served equal or more food than most places. So, with that in mind I’d say it was a decent value. Not the best in the parks but a fine option. While I was in there I did here someone complain about the price of the meal. I had to roll my eyes a little bit. I understand that Disney may overprice most of their meals but this wasn’t buying a 3-piece combo at KFC. It was quality food, served on real plates, while being waited on in an impressive restaurant.
Taking all of these items into account, I’ve gone back and forth on the rating I was going to give it. I completely enjoyed the experience while Melissa liked it but wasn’t eager to go back. I do think that Plaza Inn isn’t extremely versatile and other reviews seem to agree. They are incredibly good at what they are known for and may be lacking otherwise. That combined with the wonderful atmosphere made for a pretty high rating.
Overall Rating – 9/10
Have you eaten at the Plaza Inn? If you have, please leave your thoughts in the comments. If you want more Disney dining reviews, please visit our dining page. Thank you for reading!