Looking for a great meal at Disneyland? Try my go-to for top quality without the hassle that comes with trying to find a place to eat in the "Mobile Order" era. Head to the hub for lunch or dinner at Plaza Inn.
Finding a place to eat can be tricky these days at Disney's theme parks, as large crowds often overwhelm the Mobile Order system that Disney is now using at many of its quick service restaurants. With guests also snapping up reservations at table service restaurants, that leaves other guests on busy days to book Mobile Order meals hours in advance or to try to find a rare restaurant worth eating at that doesn't take reservations or Mobile Order.
At Disneyland, first on that list is Plaza Inn.
Fried chicken is the star at this Main Street classic, which has been serving Disneyland guests since 1965. It's one of the few remaining Disneyland restaurants that can boast, "Walt ate here." You also can find pot roast, salmon, pasta, and a Cobb salad on the menu here, but it's a rare visit when I can talk myself out of ordering the chicken.
For $18.99, you get three pieces of fried chicken - which actually is a half a bird, since the breast piece includes the wing. These are not the "FrankenChicken" pieces that you find too often in supermarkets and other restaurants, where large size seems to be more important than big taste. Plaza Inn gets its priorities right with reasonably sized and delicious chicken that's perfectly cooked and offers seasoning that supports rather than overwhelms the flavor of the chicken.
Seasoned green beans, mashed potatoes, optional gravy, and a biscuit complete the meal, which is presented on a real plate rather than the paper stuff many other theme park restaurants serve. (Please, Disneyland, now bring back the real utensils and ditch the disposable plastic ones.)
It's great value for the price - and I would say that even if Plaza Inn were located in some random neighborhood and not within one of the world's most popular theme parks. Given the setting, it's a crazy good deal. And I don't have to mess with reservations or Mobile Order to get it? The longest I've waited to get in here since the park reopened last spring was 25 minutes, and that was at the tail end of a post-parade rush.
For all these reasons, in my book, Plaza Inn is - by far - the best place to eat inside Disneyland.
Got a favorite theme park restaurant that you would like to recommend? There's still time to nominate your favorites for our 21st annual Theme Park Insider Awards. Sign up for our email newsletter, which is how we are delivering the nomination surveys this year. You will find links to the Best Restaurant survey this week in the Monday and Wednesday newsletters.
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