Lunch at the Plah-zuh Restaurant, Little Construction, Rapunzel Bathrooms Open – 3/8/13

Edit: Oops, forgot I took a two minute video of Wishes.  It’s included below or you can watch here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2i1_QK2UDM

If you can afford the $195/point to “borrow” at the Disney Vacation Club arm of the Grand Floridian Resort, you probably don’t read this website.

But construction continues as Disney aims to open by November.  Expect the first guests to be invited over from other Vacation Club properties as part of a test and adjust phase.

Spring break crowds have arrived a couple of days early.  Every Park is going to be swamped every day from now through April 7th.

Brandi and Andy were nice enough to add me to their reservation for lunch at the Plaza Restaurant at the end of Main Street.

Boasting Disney’s least expensive table service menu all day, The Plaza Restaurant is an excellent choice if you’re on a budget and don’t want to fight the quick service crowds at Cosmic Ray’s or Pecos Bill.  Most items are only a dollar or two more than their quick service counterparts and every item other than the meatloaf is less expensive than the Half Chicken & Ribs Combo or Pork Glop Platter.  Don’t show up without a reservation though.

The kids menu is fairly basic.  Note the “Mickey Check Meal,” which is an easy identifier for something your kids won’t want to eat.

There isn’t much to the restaurant, which is small and has a capacity south of 100 people.  As Disney describes it: “Step inside this charming dining parlor awash in turn-of-the-century Art Nouveau touches, including beautifully embellished light fixtures and mirrors and an inviting solarium. From the main dining room, enjoy a stunning view of Cinderella Castle as you eat.”  That’s what I meant to say, I guess.

Brandi ordered the Chicken Strawberry Salad – Fresh Garden Greens, Grilled Chicken Breast, Cucumbers, fresh Strawberries, Gorgonzola Cheese, tossed in a White Zinfandel Vinaigrette Dressing – $14.99.  Interestingly, the salad is the second most expensive item on the menu.

Despite being attractive, Brandi commented that it didn’t have much flavor.  She realized all of the salad dressing had pooled at the bottom of the plastic bowl about half way through the salad.  With Main Street Bakery closed for refurbishment now through mid-June, Plaza is using plastic bowls and plates because it doesn’t have access to the dishwashers that it shares with the Bakery.  It’s not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but the cheap plastic bowl did tip on occasion, creating an opening for escaping croutons.

I ordered the Grilled Chicken Sandwich – Grilled Chicken Breast topped with Shaved Ham and Swiss Cheese served on a Flour-dusted Kaiser Roll – $12.49.

This was a lot better than most Disney quick service chicken sandwiches, and certainly worth two or three dollars more, but it was far from great.  It needed a mayonnaise, sauce, or condiment of some other variety to add flavor.  As it stands, most of the flavor comes from the ham that sits in between the mostly unseasoned chicken and Swiss cheese.  For the money, I can’t really complain, but it was far from memorable.

Deeming the Broccoli Slaw more interesting than French Fries, I went ahead and ordered.  The slaw could not have been more flavorless if they purposefully extracted all of it with a syringe.  It didn’t even taste like broccoli.  The fries looked a lot better – thick cut and crispy.

Brandi and Andy were on the Dining Plan, which means a dessert is forced upon you.  I would stipulate that this is basically the worst possible use of a table service credit, but sometimes you just want a salad and a sundae.  This is the Brownie Sundae –  Vanilla Ice Cream and a Fudge Brownie topped with Hot Fudge, Whipped Cream and a Cherry – $6.49.  It was certainly decadent with two large brownies, ice cream, and whipped cream, but you might hate yourself if you consumed the whole thing.

I hated myself after consuming an entire Plaza Restaurant Sundae – Ice cream of your choice with choice of of Hot Fudge, Strawberry Sauce, Crushed Pineapple, topped with Whipped Cream, Chopped Nuts and a Cherry – $5.49.  It was a lot of sundae for the money.  I’m not sure it was necessarily the smartest concoction with the strawberry at the bottom and the cold, wet pineapple spooned on top, but it more than worked.  I still regret eating the whole thing and probably will continue to for the rest of my life.

Service was attentive, if not a bit rushed.  We had an aversion to Red Dye 40 in our party, and Chef Ken came out and was extremely friendly and personable.  I don’t have a lot of experience meeting chefs for allergies, but you didn’t get any sort of sense that it was a hassle for him to pop out and discuss options.  I was impressed.

Overall, the meal was worth a few more dollars than quick service, but it was far from an amazing experience.

This cart sits in Liberty Square across from Columbia Harbour House.  The entrance to Liberty Square Riverboat is to the left and Haunted Mansion is on the right.

The cart used to serve Disney cheese pizzas, but now offers hot sandwiches.  I’m not sure if sandwiches will continue to be offered after spring break/Easter, but they should be available at least through April 7th.  Disney tends to increase dining capacity by increasing the number of food carts when crowds are extremely heavy.  Look for Sunshine Tree Terrace to offer food over the next few weeks as well – something they don’t ordinarily do.  From the reviews of the sandwiches I’ve seen, neither is worth going out of your way to order.  The horseradish sauce is more of a mayo and the ham sandwich has an odd aftertaste.

The weekend’s big news is the opening of the Rapunzel bathroom area.

There has been some amount of hate leveled in the general direction of the bathrooms.  The sentiment is generally that Disney should be spending money on new attractions rather than bathrooms.  I wouldn’t be too concerned about a lack of construction.  Look for an earth shattering announcement coming the first week in May.  Anyway, the Rapunzel bathrooms replace the Peter Pan bathrooms, which have already closed.  Disney is expected to demolish the bathrooms and build an interactive queue for Peter Pan’s Flight in its place.

In addition to bathrooms, the area provides an opportunity to sit down and relax for a minute outside.

If you think about Old Fantasyland for a moment, there really isn’t anywhere to sit down comfortably other than Pinocchio Village Haus.

In addition to a comfy place to sit, these cleverly themed stumps house electrical outlets.

Plug in your phone, ECV, or other electronic device without fear of the DISboards condemning your theft of Mickey’s electricity.

There’s a wide walkway that connects the bathroom/it’s a small world area with Haunted Mansion.  This picture was taken with the Haunted Mansion queue directly behind me.  If you were to walk up and exit to the right, you’d be standing outside the entrance to it’s a small world.

The extra walkway didn’t seem to do much to alleviate congestion outside it’s a small world and Peter Pan’s Flight, which is often the most congested walkway in the Park.

But it does provide a large area for stroller parking, which gets the strollers out from in front of it’s a small world.  So the walkway is at least as wide as possible.

In the area around the stream, there’s a cute little game where guests are tasked with seeking out friends of Pascal, the color-changing Chameleon from Tangled.

It’s not as easy as it sounds.

There are ten in all.

Otherwise, the area is as pretty as can be, with rushing waterfalls, lush vegetation, and amazing rock work details.

Disney loves themed concrete.  Here, you’ll find apple cores that Maximus the horse has discarded.

If there’s any question as to who is responsible.

Yes, it’s mostly restrooms.  But it’s obvious a lot of thought went into the area:















I’m not a background music expert, but the area features what I think is original music that fits the Tangled theme perfectly.  It’s turned up a little too loud at the moment, but that’s easily fixable if they elect to turn it down.

I don’t really have anything negative to say about the area.  It would have been nice if they could have figured out a better transition to Haunted Mansion down the path from Fantasyland.  You sort of go from the cheery waterfalls of Rapunzel to what is supposed to be the eeriness of Mansion.  But the area provides a huge set of convenient bathrooms (that I’m letting you explore for yourself), an outdoor area to relax and charge electronics, and an easier path down to Liberty Square, which is exactly what Disney wanted.

At night, the lighting package works well with it’s a small world and Peter Pan’s Flight in front.

Not too long ago, this area was a deserted slab of concrete covered in stollers.

Overhead, the lanterns flicker like there’s candles inside.

Another example of “sitting opportunities.”  Like Storybook Circus, the area is surrounded by rock ledges and little gardens.

In Old Fantasyland, there aren’t a lot of places to sit.

The seating area with the charging stations is on the dark side, with just a few lanterns providing light.  It may be difficult to find the plug.

Rapunzel’s Tower is lit similarly to Beast’s Castle in shades of blue and purple.

I would have liked to have seen some lighting on the stream and waterfall.  They’re pitch black at night.

But it’s otherwise very pretty – Imagineering really outdid themselves.

Wishes.  Larger: http://www.easywdw.com/reports7/wishes.jpg.

Wishes finale video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2i1_QK2UDM

Larger: http://www.easywdw.com/reports7/urine.jpg.

In other news, Mine Train construction continues.

It only gets bigger and more elaborate.

Rock work is being completed on the back side across from Journey of the Little Mermaid.  I’d look for the store here to open a lot sooner than you might expect.

A 45 minute wait around 2pm looked to be pretty accurate for Journey of the Little Mermaid. I’m not sure if it’s indicative of Disney putting accurate wait times up instead of the over exaggerated wait times that they have been, but it’s a start.

Splash Mountain continues testing.

It was cycling logs at full speed.

The logs I saw looked like they had been painted and refurbished.

In case you’re visiting for spring break, Disney has a few shirts you might be interested in:




That’s what’s going on at Magic Kingdom.

Comments

  1. RebeccaMcK says

    Good to know about those electrical outlets in the bench stumps near the new restrooms, for charging phones. Do you happen to know where there might be other outlets like that in MK and the other parks? The whole restroom area looks very nice. You can bet, though, that the waterfall sounds will ensure that everyone waiting around for their group members to come out of the restrooms will wind up using the facilitiles themselves, too, lol.

  2. josh says

    This is the first of the areas designated as “charging stations” so to speak. There are outlets around the parks, but nothing like this where the outlets are specifically designated for guest use.

  3. Jolie says

    “If you can afford the $195/point to “borrow” at the Disney Vacation Club arm of the Grand Floridian Resort, you probably don’t read this website.”
    Great opening line….made me laugh.
    Thanks for the updates.

  4. says

    Great photos of the Tangled area, it looks really well done. I think the vitriol surrounding the area is a bit puzzling. Sure, it’s fun to make wisecracks, but some people genuinely hate these restrooms. Yet, if they were built in 1971, I’ll bet money that these same fans would be pointing to them and saying, “why can’t Disney build things like back in the day; look at how much effort and detail went into something as simple as restrooms. WHERE IS THE ‘DISNEY DIFFERENCE’ NOW?” Instead, the refrain is that the budget should’ve been spent on building a dark ride there instead (nevermind that one wouldn’t have fit, that restrooms–even themed ones–have significantly less up front cost than attractions, and that restrooms have significantly lower labor/staffing costs than attractions…among other things).

    The Plaza seems to be one of those really hyped up (by the fan community) restaurants, and I don’t quite get the love. It’s better than CS for a near-CS price, but only by a slight margin, and you also have to take the time to eat there. I feel about the same about it as you, I’d say.

  5. josh says

    I hate when we agree.

    mike – I’d expect the announcement to concern an expansion of Hollywood Studios primarily. We should also hear more about the rollout of MyMagic+, including the fact that Annual Passholders will be first to try out the new system.

  6. Chris says

    A point price for VGF AND a park construction and “Mine Store” tease! You’re killin me! Details, man, give us some details!

  7. Jennifer says

    Thanks for posting about the rapunzel area, looks very well themed indeed!Cannot wait to see all the improvements in the park in may!
    Love your reviews, keep them coming!

  8. Al says

    Agree completely with Tom about the bathrooms. This is the kind of thing that made me love WDW in the first place, the attention to detail on things that no other amusement/theme park in the world would care about.

  9. Ondina says

    I love the pic of Wishes over Rapunzel’s village. is that a good spot to watch from if you don’t want to be in the main st./hub area?

  10. josh says

    No, not really. You’d have to watch out to the left over it’s a small world as well as over to the right over the Castle and Tomorrowland depending on where the fireworks were being shot from. It’s also loud since you’re close to some of the explosions.

  11. cupcake says

    So excited for a HS expansion announcement, but terrified it’ll be a giant Star Wars-themed addition. Ugh.

    Pretty bathrooms! I’m disappointed you took no pictures inside them though. Come on, all it can’t be much worse than all those creepy pool pictures!

  12. desiree says

    What I want to know is, which door is for men and which for women? I am hoping the girls get to go in the round tower looking door. Don’t really know why…

  13. keri says

    I like the Plaza Restaurant better than any other in the MK for a few reasons.

    1) The food has enough variety while still being something where I’m willing to eat almost everything on the menu (Columbia Harbour House appeals to me so much, except I HATE seafood of any kind).
    2) It’s not heavy greasy burgers or pizza all over. There’s a burger on the menu, but several other choices.
    3) It’s smaller then the CS places so it’s not as noisy or crowded (especially since it’s seated).
    4) The fact that it’s table service but at CS prices, more or less, makes it a lot more relaxing but feels like a better value out of pocket.

    Dunno if I’d eat there on the dining plan, especially since they force you to get dessert and as good as the sundaes are, it seems like a much better deal paying up front.

    I love the strawberry chicken salad because it’s filling but not a heavy lunch? I also request the dressing on the side, so I’ve never had problems with it settling. I’m not a big fan of most of the other salads available on property, but this one is more like a sandwich served on greens instead of bread imo, so it works for me. I also really liked the steak and cheese sandwich last time I was there, though there was a little too much bread and it wasn’t quite the right kind.

    Mostly if I’m going to be eating in the park and I want table service, I go to the Plaza. I have never had problems getting a reservation a day or two before I plan to go, and have even managed to get a walk-up on a Saturday in June (it was my birthday and I was eating alone, and they fit me in between the reservation times – if you’re a walk-up, try to go around 4:45 or 5:45 – after the 4 and 5pm reservations have all been seated and no-shows are accounted for, but before the next hour’s tables start to arrive.)

    But the best thing to do if you want table service is to go to Kona for lunch. Or, i guess, any of the other MK resorts, but I like Kona best. If you’re following Josh’s advice, there’s likely no real reason to be in the park between noon and 2pm anyway.

  14. Gregg says

    I wasn’t the biggest fan of Plaza either. Good, but meh. Tangled area looks very nice. Now, if they have the new and improved urinal soaps that have the spikes so there is no “splash zone” then I will hang out there all day.

    As an annual passholder, let me say “boo” about us being the first to try out MyMagic+.

  15. Danica says

    I will miss those Peter Pan bathrooms. I have fond memories of my girls changing out of their itchy princess dresses in those yucky bathrooms…:)
    I sure hope those apple cores in the cement are not real, what if someone is allergic? Tee hee, just remembering some of the stupid comments about the peanuts in the cement in Storybook Circus…thanks for the update on the U.R.I.N.E. project!

  16. CM says

    “I’m not sure if sandwiches will continue to be offered after spring break/Easter”

    Yes, they will be

    Source: I work there

  17. Brian Noble says

    I’m not sure the animosity for the new bathrooms extends much farther than WDWMagic, which has come to be dominated by a few personalities over the past year. I read it much much less than I used to—it’s no longer discussion, but has become something of an echo-chamber.

    As for the Plaza: I’ve never thought of it as “hyped” in the way that, say, One-Credit Le Cellier was. (And that one, I truly never understood). The sense I’ve always gotten is that people think of it as a simple place that’s a little nicer than counter service, and therefore a nice change of pace. I’ve been there once, and enjoyed it for what it was.

  18. Claytonia says

    I’ve also eaten at the Plaza once, during my last trip to WDW way back in 2006. I was by myself, and my server was so nice and really went out of her way to make me feel comfortable. The sundae I got was awesome as well. It was a relaxing break from the MK-in-August craziness.

  19. Jenn says

    Thanks for the Plaza review! We will not be on a dining plan when we return to Disney so ths would be a nice priced dinner for us! I was thinking of a late reservation and watching the night parade then Wishes without waiting on the crowds. Is it possible to do? Can u somewhat see the night parade from indoors? Anyone done this? Thanks!

  20. Carly says

    Thanks for the update! I love Tangled – so it is nice to have something themed after them in the parks – even if it is restrooms! Also thanks for the Plaza review – we have a supper there in June – hope they get the dishwasher back by then. Can’t wait to hear the exciting news in May – and if it’s about the MyMagic+ and Annual Passholders – hopefully it’s there in June for us to try out!

  21. Ayla says

    If anyone has a problem finding the outlets in the dark in the new Princess and the Pee area, they can use the flashlight app on their phone. 😉

  22. Sue says

    Thanks for the Plaza review. We won’t be on the DDP in August, and have that as a cheap TS lunch. I’ll know to go for the chips or fries :-)

    New Tangled area looks fantastic. Not much shade though, I’m thinking of our August visit, lol. Great that they have some places to recharge cell phones!

    Sooooo happy to hear that AP holders will be included in the fast pass +. Does this mean they will also be able to add AP to the magic band?

  23. keri says

    Jenn –
    You won’t be able to see much of the evening parade from the Plaza at all, because of so many people standing in between you and the parade route. Also, only about half the tables get a view through the windows. The Plaza isn’t really on Main Street, and you’ve got the moat between it and the hub, plus trees and the tables with yellow-striped umbrellas.

    However, if you’re in the sunroom nearest the Tomorrowland Terrace, next to the windows especially, you get a not-too-shabby view of the castle and fireworks. The windows in the main room aren’t too bad, either, but I think the view is better from the sunroom. (One of my favorite cellphone pics of the castle is through those windows on a rainy day, actually.)

  24. pfalcioni says

    Those night pics are incredible. It really is a beautiful area, and I’m so happy they’ve finally done something with that space finally.

  25. websteroni says

    I’ve enjoyed past meals at The Plaza but I’m easily pleased. The turkey club was pretty darn good, mainly because of the whole grain bread.

    I’ve come not to expect too much when Disney says they’re making a “big” announcement. The big to-dos they make over their celebration announcements are such a let down compared to the huge build up they give them. Although I would love to be included in an AP test when I’m there the first week of May!

  26. John M says

    I wish the DHS was for Star Wars and some non Cars Pixar things. However, it is 99.9% Cars Land in place of Lights, Motors, Action & Backlot Tour. I am not upset by this but as a Star Wars fan and Disney Parks fan, I like diversity from park to park and Star Wars would be really cool.

  27. Dana says

    I’ve been ignoring all other websites that have the Rapunzel bathroom updates…waiting just for this site. Glad I did. Thanks for the great job again!!

  28. Molly says

    I would like to know if Josh is ever available for autographs or photo ops? I’m a long time lurker and my family and I will be heading down this Friday for 10 days. My husband would love to know who the heck Josh is and why I am so obsessed with him!

  29. Melanie says

    I think WDW did inspired work with the new Rapunzel rest rooms. The nighttime pictures with the fireworks look like a scene right out of the movie. The only problem now is that I will undoubtedly run into people because I will be looking down at the pavement to find Maximus’ hoof prints.

  30. Anonymous says

    Best line of the week.. made me laugh!
    “Plug in your phone, ECV, or other electronic device without fear of the DISboards condemning your theft of Mickey’s electricity.”

    I do like the plaza – good food at a good price…

  31. Elizabeth says

    A salad and a sundae sounds like the perfect lunch to me. :)

    I love the Rapunzel area but if I were Rapunzel I would be offended that other princesses had rides and castles and all she has is a rest area. But regardless it looks beautiful. I can’t wait to go again.

  32. says

    I always get the Plaza and Tony’s confused. I thought the Plaza was Tony’s until about a year ago. Shows how much I know, eh?

    The bathroom/stroller area looks phenomenal; aided of course by Josh’s every growing photography/editing skills. Hopefully it will alleviate the mass of strollers parked in the middle of the walkway by the Carousel too, not just outside “it’s a small world.”

  33. Mike says

    Hey Josh or anyone else. Tables look pretty small at the Plaza. How many can fit at one table? Can they pull tables together?

  34. Erika says

    ‘I would like to know if Josh is ever available for autographs or photo ops? I’m a long time lurker and my family and I will be heading down this Friday for 10 days. My husband would love to know who the heck Josh is and why I am so obsessed with him!’

    THIS :) my hubbby got over this two trips ago…:) but the kids made fun of me when I would be Josh Sighting in the parks… But dont think I wint try again in Aug 😉
    hubs thinks this blog is prob Disney owned media stunt! Even teased me that there are multiple Josh’s blogging…

  35. Beth says

    I know you have to leave something for your next post, but I came here looking for pictures of the bathroom. I haven’t read any of the complaints about the bathrooms, and now I wonder what all the fuss is about.

  36. RebeccaMcK says

    Maybe if and when more electrical outlets are set up or made available to park visitors, you can let us know where they are. There was a time when I was at DCA a couple years ago and my phone went dead. Someone in our group knew every nook and cranny of the park, and he took my phone and cord over to a quiet place inside the Animation Bldg and sat with my phone for about an hour while it charged a bit – the outlet was behind a trash can. No one bothered him, sitting on the floor against an interior wall. I wondered if there were areas like that in any of the Disney Orlando parks. I have a backpack that has a built-in battery charger for my phone now, but it would be nice if I didn’t have to take that everywhere I go. Also, those trees near the Rapunzel restrooms might eventually have leaves and thus provide some shade….right now trees are in winter mode (not sure if it’s the same in Florida) and are pretty much bare.

  37. Juanita says

    I enjoy the Plaza. It’s nice to avoid the craziness of counter service restaurants, and I prefer the food there over most of the CS meals I’ve had. The fries and chips are both good choices for sides.

    Nice URINE pics! It really looks like Disney did a great job there. I’d like more attractions, of course, but bathrooms are always good.too.

  38. Samantha says

    Hey Josh, thanks for the heads up on the upcoming announcements. I’m guessing Cars Land for HS, but that’s just my hypothesis. As for the My Magic plus and AP holders, I’m going to wait to purchase our park tickets for our scheduled June trip then. I was going to just go with regular tix as we had APs for two years and decided to take a break, but if I can see a decided benefit to having an AP in June I’ll probably opt for that instead.

  39. says

    We were there on Friday, but I didn’t see you! :( It’s hard to keep an eye out with four kids in tow & 9 million other people milling about, but I tried. I kept telling my husband “Josh says to ride this, this, then this.” He would sigh or roll his eyes. When I’d come to a point where it didn’t really matter and I’d ask him what he wanted to do next, he would say “Well, what does Josh say?” LOL
    We used the Rapunzel bathrooms. I obviously don’t have an eye for Disney detail like Josh does because I didn’t see half of that stuff, but they were nice clean bathrooms & really, that’s all that matters. Oh, and there were plenty of stalls.
    We wanted to eat at BOG for lunch but there was an hour long wait when we got there at noon! Ridiculous. We have TIW now, so next time we will just make reservations for dinner because all 6 of us wanted to eat there.

  40. Olaf says

    Although I chuckled at URINE, I see how you refrained from using it this blog post. You see, that’s why I like Easy WDW. Ultimately, you aren’t a hater, you’re a fan.

  41. Brandi says

    We enjoyed our lunch with you. I’m sure our company more than made up for your mediocre sandwich. And, for the record, that brownie sundae was amazing. I guess I should have skipped the salad and just eaten the whole dessert.

  42. RebeccaMcK says

    I know we don’t have pictures, but are the new restrooms themed nicely on the inside, too? Or do they just look like ordinary restrooms?

  43. Trudy says

    We adore Chef (Cousin) Ken at the Plaza. He really does seem to enjoy helping guests with allergies. There’s a good reason he has that blue name tag.

  44. Tony says

    I think the problem people have with the tangled bathrooms is that the money could be used better… after all its an elaborately themed bathroom area, beautiful none the less

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