What should be the next theme park restaurant overlay?

March 2, 2017, 12:32 PM · Disneyland appears to have another hit on its hands with the overlay of its Village Haus Restaurant into the Beauty and the Beast-themed Red Rose Taverne. I reviewed the new eatery here on Theme Park Insider, and in my Orange County Register column this week, I write about the trend within the industry toward better tying restaurants with franchise themes, including Harry Potter, The Simpsons and even Star Wars.

So what should the next Red Rose Taverne be? One of the nice things about overlays is that it allows parks to bring a new theme to its restaurant line-up relatively quickly, with minimal downtime. There's no expensive new location to build (or rebuild) — just develop some new menu items that can be produced in the same kitchen, design new signage and maybe additional decoration, and you're ready to open. And if the theme fails to hit with visitors, the park can just as swiftly return to the restaurant's previous theme.

Tying an existing restaurant to an overlaid new theme probably makes the most sense as a promotion for a new film, which is why Disneyland's Tomorrowland Terrace became Galactic Grill when Star Wars: The Force Awakens came out. And why Village Haus changed now, with Disney's new live-action Beauty and the Beast about to debut. But if parks were open to trying to boost sales at established restaurants by switching them up with existing franchises, opportunities abound.

More than a few Disneyland fans would be thrilled to see the park switch Redd Rockett's Pizza Port into a Toy Story Pizza Planet, especially if that meant re-opening the Tomorrowland arcade across the way with a Pizza Planet theme. Or maybe Cafe Orleans or the French Market Restaurant could become Tiana's Palace, from The Princess and the Frog.

What if Universal Orlando switched Cafe 4 at Islands of Adventure to an Avengers-themed Shawarma Palace? (This needs to go into Disney California Adventure's future Marvel land, regardless.) Should Epcot's Les Chefs de France commit to its occasional Ratatouille flirtations and become Gusteau's?

Obviously, switching to a franchise with an established culinary element helps here. Disneyland's Galactic Grill was a stretch, as the only restaurant reference in the Star Wars universe to that point was the Mos Eisley cantina, which Disneyland couldn't do because of its no-alcohol policy. (We'll see if that policy survives the opening of the park's Star Wars land in 2019, I guess.) But The Grey Stuff at the Red Rose Tavern is as much a slam-dunk as Butterbeer in The Three Broomsticks and a Krusty Burger in Springfield.

What is the next theme park restaurant overlay you'd love to see?

Replies (6)

March 2, 2017 at 1:08 PM · Let's see the list of Disney live action movies in development.

•Mulan. Director: Niki Caro. ...
•Aladdin. Director: Guy Ritchie. ...
•The Lion King (release date: TBA) Director: Jon Favreau. ...
•The Little Mermaid. Director: TBD (See ya later, Sofia Coppola and Joe Wright) ...
•Cruella (101 Dalmations) Director: TBD. ...
•Peter Pan. Director: David Lowery. ...
•Tinker Bell.
- The Sword in the Stone
- Pinocchio
- Dumbo
- Winnie the Pooh
- Rose Red (Snow White)
- Prince Charming (Cinderella)

March 2, 2017 at 2:05 PM · Trump University
March 2, 2017 at 2:38 PM · The successful Lunar New Year Celebration at California Adventure means Disney can do a Mulan promotion in October 2018. The Paradise Garden Grill can get a makeover, but what if they did something more elaborate at Carthay Circle Restaurant by serving traditional upscale Chinese dishes.

The Lucky Fortune Cookery can offer some unique Mulan specials. The hardly used casual restaurant next to the Hyperion Theater can be used. There's enough space in the courtyard for a Mulan show.

March 2, 2017 at 4:30 PM · Toad's Hall in Disneyland Paris could be transformed in a Red Rose Taverne as well with minimal effort.
March 2, 2017 at 4:53 PM · Ooo! Ooo! They could overlay a Polynesian theme to the disused Aladdin restaurant thing at Disneyland and have a Luau-themed dinner there! The Hawaiian motif would blend nicely with the Tiki Room next door, as well as the look and colors of the Jungle Cruise on the other side. Also, a nice dinner show could take a handful of people off the crowded walkways!
March 6, 2017 at 12:19 PM · I was at DLR on Sunday, March 5th. There was quite a long line outside the Red Rose Tavern and we were not interested in eating there, but I did want to see what it looks like on the inside. To get a look, you can enter through the Merchandise location just to the left of the front door. That's where the Frozen sisters used to hold meet and greets. There is a door that goes directly into the dining room. There was no cast member stationed anywhere to prevent one from going in, so we did so.
The place was packed, so we had to move carefully to avoid tripping over strollers and princess dresses. There are some fun references to the characters from the movies, but not all that much has changed.
Just about every single party in the place had at least one service of "The Gray Stuff" on their tables. The rest of the food wasn't especially note-worthy in appearance. On that - If any of are fans of the movie, "Steel Magnolias", this take on The Gray Stuff is bound to remind you of the iconic "Bleeding Armadillo" Groom's cake from the film. While I'm sure the red cake/berries add to the flavors of the dessert, seeing it all hacked open was not especially visually attractive. I think a simple swirl of the mouse would have been more fun, but it's hard to charge what they are getting for this for something that simple.
We also saw the Belle and Gaston walk around characters in the area. The escorts had their hands full trying to explain that they are just there to greet, but not to pose for photos.
No idea how long this overlay will be in place
One thing I was hoping to at least see was the large plastic tumbler with the rose inside. As is often the case with these specialty items, they must have been out of stock. Just can't imagine why they don't foresee these demands in product.

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