Thursday, October 9, 2008

Plaza Inn - breakfast review

The Disneyland Resort has a number of locations that offer not just a meal but also interaction with various characters. It has been a number of years since I've been to Plaza Inn - the last time we were there, it was still themed to the 100 Acre Woods characters (and one random friend). It has been themed to Minnie and Friends for some time now. When Disneyland was recently open very early in the morning because it was closing early for a special event, we decided to give the restaurant a visit for breakfast.

We arrived at the restaurant later in its operating time, and the restaurant wasn't terribly busy. I checked in with our reservation, and our group of five adults was herded to have our picture taken by the official photographer. I actually wasn't very happy to be forced to do it, but I suppose if I really objected, they would have relented. We then paid for our meals and then were taken to our assigned table, and we each picked up a themed button on the way. By this time, most of the diners were indoors, with very few people seated at the table outside.

Plaza Inn's character meal is a buffet, though not all character meals are buffets. I was actually a little disappointed with the food selections because it was truly a breakfast buffet. When we've done a breakfast buffet, we've usually gone to the Chip and Dale breakfast at Storyteller's Cafe, and that's actually a brunch selection, with a wider range of offerings. Plaza Inn had a small omelette bar (which also had whole eggs, so I was able to get two fried eggs, over easy, which I prefer to having an omelette), and then they had a separate section where you could get scrambled eggs, potatoes, bacon, link sausage and oatmeal. Potatoes were the only vegetable available, and I would have liked to have some other choices as well, maybe grilled tomatoes or something. They also had a section where you could get various pastries, muffins and croissants as well as Mickey-shaped waffles and fruit. Cereal selections are also available. Drinks are also included with the meal, but for some reason, both juice dispensers were out of order. Instead, they were putting out the small kid's juice boxes of orange juice and apple juice. I get that sometimes, things go wrong, but it doesn't bode well for business when both juice dispensers are out of commission at the same time.

When we've gone to character meals, we've generally gone with all adults, but that hasn't put a damper on our character interaction. We like to talk to the characters, and they seem happy to be able to interact with adults in a way that they don't with small children. We had a fairly weird visit with Tigger, and a very nice visit with Cinderella's Fairy Godmother. We were also able to observe Genie's antics, especially when he stole Captain Hook's sword. By the end of our visit, there weren't very many people left, so most of the characters came around, which included Minnie, Chip, Dale and Eeyore.

During our meal, a cast member came by with the picture that had been taken of our group, and everything was already printed up to see if we were interested. We all declined. That seems to be much more of a hard-sell, though I guess people might be more inclined to buy the picture if they see it in person rather than just on a screen. Seems to be a waste of paper to print all the pictures for all the people who don't end up buying them.

Because I wasn't that happy with the food selection, I don't expect a return visit anytime soon, maybe every several years just to give it a try. For my money, I'd much rather do the Chip and Dale breakfast.

The Plaza Inn breakfast is $24 for adults, with a 10% discount for premium annual passholders. The breakfast closes at 11am, and I wouldn't recommend a reservation later than 10am to make sure you have enough time to enjoy your meal and interact with the characters.

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