"Food, glorious food! There's
one thing everyone does ... and that's eat. This week the Food
Division opened up its 65th food location to help feed the thousands
of hungry guests who visit the Magic Kingdom each day. The
Plaza Pavilion Restaurant is located in the Hub area of the Magic
Kingdom and has a beautiful view of the Swan Boats and the
The building follows the contemporary theme of
Tomorrowland, with the unique feature of 'climate controlled'
terrace dining ... that is open-air dining (no windows or walls) yet
the area is air-conditioned or heated depending on the weather
The Hub is the crossroad of all the lands in the
Magic Kingdom and the menu at the Plaza Pavilion reflects that
meeting by offering our guests such items as a 'Tomorrowland,'
'Fantasyland' or 'Liberty Square' burger, a 'Main Street' hot dog or
'Plaza' French fries.
The restaurant, open from 8am to 1am
daily, serves between 9 and 12 thousand guests a day ... seating 663
guests at one time ... and has 93 employees. While dining,
guests will be entertained daily by a live
restaurant in the Magic Kingdom that doesn't rush you out the doors like
Homer Simpson at the Frying Dutchman if you linger past 10? Granted
we all know the park used to stay open later, and for more weeks, during
the busier seasons (with 2am closings every now and then), but I
don't remember being able to get anything to eat other than a Coke
Corner hot dog or popcorn as park closing drew near. Oh, wait, yes,
here it is ... deep in the fog of my brain I recall a time when
park operating hours meant PARK OPERATING HOURS and the only things that
closed early were those that relied on sunlight to function in a
meaningful way. Tom Sawyer Island, for example, always closed at
dusk. But most restaurants were there to serve the guests even
if they wanted to eat late. Still, 1am, wow!
* Would this open-air
climate control pass a Jiminy Cricket
'environmentality' test? Why not just put windows up and let people
look through them? It works everywhere else.
The placement of the Plaza Pavilion next to the building that became Main
Street's Plaza Restaurant prompts the obvious question as
to why the names had to be so similar. We'll never know what
they were thinking on that one, but let's just concede that Disney was
better at creating transitional zones between lands than coming
up with consistently excellent nomenclature. Yet, similar to the marriage
of Fantasyland to Tomorrowland (where Alice In Wonderland meets
a roaring race track), the Plaza Pavilion offered an abrupt entry into a
zone of white concrete where Victorian gingerbread came, as it still does, to a dead
stop. It definitely makes one think it was built quickly.
So with the Plaza Pavilion
cutting such a modern figure, try to explain how it was listed
under Main Street USA in the park's guide books until 1981. Maybe
because it was physically ringing the hub and, like the Plaza Swan Boats,
someone thought it should fall under Main Street by virtue of that fact
alone. More likely it was just a goof that took them eight years to fix.
I don't personally remember the entertainment
here - not even walking past and seeing anything
going on. Former cast member Jimmy Layle took a picture of a
band playing there around 1975, including a drummer and two guys on horns.
Since first posting this page in 2010 I've found a couple other
pictures of performers, including Disney characters, in front of the distinctive stage
backdrop. One of those images dates to 1979/1980. I
have a Summer 1983 Entertainment Schedule listing bands performing all over the park - including the
Tomorrowland Terrace - but not at Plaza Pavilion. This probably means
that the stage was scaled back in the early 1980s to make a
large dining area on that upper level, and from that
point forward the stage was used infrequently (if ever) because there really wasn't
anything left except its cool backdrop.
The Plaza Pavilion menu changed several times over the
span of its operation under that name. The above opening-year (1973) description is representative
of the restaurant's first ten years. Fried chicken on the
bone was also available. By 1986, pizza had
joined the menu along with chicken parmesan sandwiches and pasta salad.
Hamburger and hot dogs fell off the menu completely within the
coming year. Since this is a place where my family never
ate - to my recollection - when we were kids, I only remember that
the pizza from when Brian worked there was edible but nothing to scream
about. If you've ever had a store-brand frozen pizza that was so bad it
made Domino's seem fancy, then that was worse than what they served
at Plaza Pavilion ... but not by much.
Finally, while I consider the Plaza Pavilion extinct it is
true that its location has remained a restaurant, albeit one that was
down for rehab when I last visited that part of the park in mid-January
2010. It became the Tomorrowland Terrace Noodle Station in 2005,
taking over the name (a better one for sure) of the original
Tomorrowland Terrace ... which itself turned into Cosmic Ray's
Starlight Cafe in the 1990s. But this website doesn't care too much
about where the Noodle Station heads in the new century if they're
not bringing back those orange and yellow costumes or Liberty Square
The odds aren't looking