For years and years, Plaza Inn was merely a landmark in passing as we’d hurriedly round the corner from Main Street to Tomorrowland in hopes of seeing a short wait time for Star Tours. But then, a multitude of joyous, raving, happy-face and thumbs-up posts made it unequivocally clear: The fried chicken at Plaza Inn is the stuff of legend. In fact, every single photo of this highly documented deliciousness looked consistent in its golden perfection and portion plentitude. See for yourself!
So, in our effort to always try at least one new thing for every park visit, we decided the time was now for Plaza Inn.
It’s hard to believe we’d never even walked in to Plaza Inn, much less eaten there! In large part, that was due to timing: there always seemed to be a child’s birthday or character breakfast in progress and so we’d keep going. But on this particular Saturday, our timing managed to be perfect.
We arrived slightly before prime lunch hour, and at first we were surprised by how empty it was. Only, looks were deceiving: it was a hot day—and humid. In other words, it felt like WDW, and everyone was seeking the cool comfort of the indoors. Even the covered patio was unbearable, so we scouted for a table inside.
We got lucky. A perfect table tucked in the corner of the bright and beautiful crystal room seemed to be waiting just for us. A fresh pink carnation in a bud vase highlighted our setting, and the mesmerizingly colorful stained glass ceiling and charming Victorian accents and embellishments everywhere we looked infused a sense of serenity and lightness of being. Everything about the room felt full-service—except for the lack of place settings and linen napkins.
After recently trying for the very first time the “Chicken-fried Chicken” at Carnation Cafe, we were primed to experience its highly praised competition, that at Plaza Inn. Now granted, the two plates are very different: at Carnation, the serving consists of one white-meat cutlet, poised on mashed potatoes and enrobed in a luxurious helping of gravy. I.e., comfort food refined. It’s not quite as filling as what we knew to expect at Plaza Inn—thanks to the many photos and reviews—but that’s also a plus if you had a large breakfast or are saving room for a sumptuous dinner—or don’t wanna fill up when there are so many tasty snacks to be had throughout the parks!
The fried chicken at Plaza Inn is what everyone wants fried chicken to be: crispy, golden, flavorful, juicy, tender, plump, finger-lickin’ fabulous—and it lived up! Confession: We were armed with knife and fork, but only a fork was used—and not for the chicken! Fingers are definitely the preferred set of tools for optimal enjoyment!
With our order of chicken, we had the option of a 3-piece mix of light and dark—breast, thigh and leg; or white-meat only, with two breasts. Gravy on the mashed potatoes was also on option. Likely one could request it on the side, but we were too busy nodding an enthusiastic yes to the gravy that we didn’t think to make additional inquiries.
So… the chicken was such an immersive experience we didn’t give a second thought to abandoning ourselves to it, throwing any and all dainty decorum to the wind! And the mashed potatoes—with gravy—were the very definition of dreamy goodness, with just the right ratio of creamy to lumpy; and there was enough gravy (graaaaaaaay-veeeeeeee) to use as a dipping sauce for the chicken (bonus finger licking!). But on top of that, even the green beans were delicious, and the buttermilk biscuit did us no favors by being fresh and delectable. We looked at each other with the most satisfied of guilty expressions for not believing a) how good our meal was, and b) how much of it we polished off.
Rumor has it the Pot Roast is equally drool-worthy, but we’ll reserve that order for a cooler day.
Our secluded corner table not only afforded a quaint view of just-off-Main St.—and the rarely seen backside of the corn dog truck, but it was also next to a family of five: Grandma, Mom, and three kids ranging from around 9 to 17. From the moment we sat down, the atmosphere was filled with laughter as they shared their perspectives on the day’s experiences throughout the two parks: We knew instantly what ride “Grandma” was referring to when she said, “I knew I was in trouble when I heard, ‘5…4…3…2…’—at that point, I just closed my eyes!” To which the youngest of the two girls let her know she had missed the best part of the ride. All we could think was wow, they got Grandma on Incredicoaster! But it’s moments like that that fill our hearts with love and appreciation for this magical place that brings people together and sets differences aside.
We left, satisfied and gratified for the entire experience, still disbelieving that it took so long to get here. Part of that, aside from our usually “off” timing, is our wanting to keep our meals on the lighter side so we can indulge in more delights throughout the day. Still, the fact remains that park hopping requires fuel, and Plaza Inn fills the tank, but not so much as to slow us down or give a moment’s cause for regret. Plus, we probably worked off at least the buttermilk biscuit just getting to Incredicoaster!