Planet Hollywood Observatory Disney Springs has opened after many unforseen delays, cancelled reservations, a forgotten media event, and a whole lot of hype about the newly imagined menu and interior refurbishment. The restaurant opened its doors for business late in the afternoon on Friday, January 27th. Since reservations were unavailable, we showed up as a walk-in and only waited about 20 minutes to be seated. Here is our review of an interesting meal experience at Planet Hollywood Observatory Disney Springs.
As you enter Planet Hollywood Observatory, you will notice the staircase that used to be outside the building and is now housed within the enclosed entrance on the ground floor. You will be greeted by one, or more, team members asking if you have a reservation. We spoke with a young lady and told her we did not have reservations but would like to be seated as a walk-in. She directed us to head up the stairs to a young lady standing at the top of the staircase. As we headed towards the stairs we were asked by another young lady if she could help us. We told her we had been directed up the stairs. After going up a couple of stairs, another young lady asked if we had reservations. Told her no but that we had been directed to the young lady at the top of the staircase. I have to admit, this was not a good first impression for my party of three. They will need to get their act together on how they approach guests as they enter the building.
As we arrived at the top of stairs, the young lady handed us a red ticket and instructed us to take it to the podium to check in. We asked what the “V.I.P. Photo Experience” is. She told us it is a photo-op at the bottom of the stairs where you have your picture taken and then they will bring them to your table for you to decide if you wish to purchase them. The bottom of the stairs? All we could do was laugh as we headed back down to face the fiasco again. There was no line for photos so we waited a couple of minutes as the young man was speaking with another team member. We finally asked if we could get our picture taken. He took our photo and we headed back upstairs to finish checking in. We gave a phone number to the young lady at the podium so they could text us when our table was ready in about 40 minutes.
I decided to meander around the first floor area. There is a bar and seating area just to the left with a feature wall of Planet Hollywood souvenir glasses and bottles of alcohol. The main dining area is situated to the right. There is also a large outside patio seating area towards the back. It was too cold to eat outdoors so there was no-one seated out there.
The many carpets of Planet Hollywood Observatory Disney Springs will boggle the mind. We are not sure the actual intent of the variety of carpeting we saw throughout the restaurant, but it does not have any kind of flow to it. We feel pretty strongly that they should have just stuck with the tile we saw in the bar areas.
We were escorted up to the second floor after only 20 minutes of waiting. Our table was along the round central point of the dining area where the large observatory telescope is situated. Things were looking up now! We asked about why our red ticket stated we would be seated on Floor 3, but we were actually seated on Floor 2. The young lady told us that Floor 3 was still undergoing construction and was not open yet although they had just served a large tour group of 250 young ladies from Argentina and had to utilize the third floor for part of that group. Our table offered excellent views of the first floor, the nearly 5,000 square foot projection video wall, the memorabilia along the walls, and some of the third floor as well.
We really liked the smaller, more intimate bar located on the second floor. The entire restaurant is quite dark and the music videos playing on the projection screen are too loud. This bar area is tucked away from all that just a bit and we really liked this spot.
After we were seated Kat arrived to show us our pictures from the photo-op downstairs. You can purchase one print for $20 or the package for $30. Kat was very sweet even though we did not choose to purchase any of the pictures.
The menu is broken down into sections. You will find Appetizers, Salads, Pastas, Sides, Big Bite Burgers, Knuckle Sandwiches, Specialties, Beverages, Signature Cocktails, Big Dipper Shakes, SuperNova Shakes, and Non-Alchoholic Specialty Drinks. Pricing is a bit steep so keep that in mind. The Disney Dining Plan is accepted although you will have to ask what items are covered as the menu does not have the standard Disney Dining Plan symbols most of us are familiar with when ordering at Walt Disney World Restaurants. Kids Meals run $9.99 each and cover the standards of Cheese Pizza, Chicken Fingers, Macaroni and Cheese, Salad, or Spaghetti and Meatballs.
Now on to the food! First we ordered the High Roller Sampler. The presentation of this appetizer was amazing, although it really would have put it over the top if the ferris wheel it is presented on actually rotated, which it does not. The High Roller Sampler includes Five Cheese Dip with chips and pita bread, Buffalo Wings, Peri-Peri Shrimp, Texas Tostados, and Chicken Crunch. We all liked the Texas Tostados. The Peri-Peri Shrimp was very good and our favorite was the Chicken Crunch with Creole Mustard Dipping Sauce. There was four of each item and the menu stated it served four which was appropriate for an appetizer. That being said, the items did not quite justify the price of $34.99.
For our entrees we ordered the Bacon Mac-N-Cheese Burger and the Turkey Pic-A-Nic Knuckle Sandwich. The burger itself was done medium-well and was quite flavorful. The Mac-N-Cheese, on the other hand, was very bland. We were expecting a sharper cheese flavor but honestly it tasted like pasta without the cheese and that was a bit disappointing. If you are not a fan of shredded lettuce, you might want to ask for it to be served on the side as there is a lot of it! The Crispy Onion Straws were quite lost in the lettuce as a result. This burger is impossible to eat without a fork and a knife. Unless they do something about the Mac-N-Cheese, we will not order this again. The Turkey Pic-A-Nic was quite good with the exception of the pretzel bun. While an interesting concept, the pretzel bun was not warm or even toasted and it is quite dry as you would expect from pretzel bread. The turkey, cranberry relish, and donkey sauce are a good combination of flavors and when you throw the BBQ Kettle Chips you get a crunch of added flavor. The seasoned fries were just okay and nothing to write home about.
The dessert menu had some interesting options. After seeing the SuperNova Shakes we knew that was what we would like to try on our first visit. The Ice Cream and Gelato Challenge is not yet available as they were unsure of whether or not they would be open this weekend. The three Star Jars that are available on the dessert menu are your options for dessert under the Disney Dining Plan.
We have seen the pictures for some time now of these SuperNova Shakes that would be available on the Planet Hollywood Observatory Disney Springs Menu. The Chocolate Comet option features a brownie, a Kit-Kat Bar, Whipped Cream, and Chocolate Sauce on top of a frozen mason jar coated with chocolate, M&M’s, Whoppers, and Peanut Butter Cups. We realized afterwards that our Chocolate Comet was missing the Large Straw and the Cookie Straw so we had to ask for spoons and straws. Our Server was not happy that this was brought to us without being complete. The chocolate milkshake itself was pretty good, but not the best we have had. The Strawberry Big Bang features an entire piece of Vanilla Cake with a Swirled Lollipop on top of whipped cream. This is all served over a vanilla frosting and sprinkles coated mason jar. We are big on Milkshakes and while these are good, at $14 each they are not great.
Our favorite part of the Planet Hollywood Observatory Disney Springs experience was this guy right here. Joshua Lozada was our Server and he was absolutely amazing. Joshua answered all of our questions and he was very knowledgable of all the food offerings. He has an excellent sense of humor, he is quite patient, and we enjoyed speaking and laughing with him. If you do plan a visit to this restaurant be sure to ask for Joshua. You will not be disappointed as he really made the experience special for us.
As you exit the dining room, you can step into the first floor of the Planet Hollywood Observatory Store. If you miss it, never fear because they will have you exit to your left mid-way down the staircase so you can exit through the ground level section of the store.
Our first experience at the Planet Hollywood Observatory Disney Springs was very interesting. A day later and we are still reeling from the mish-mash of flooring and overall theming of this newly re-imagined restaurant. The third floor is still undergoing construction of sorts and the Celestial Projection that is supposed to be projected inside the dome is also not ready. We strongly recommend seating on the second floor as the first floor is louder with an over-abundance of sound and confusion.
If we do decide to try another meal at Planet Hollywood Observatory Disney Springs we will be doing so during warmer weather with a table on the outdoor patio overlooking the Disney Springs. The music videos being displayed on the large video projection screen were fun for the ten-year-old in our party but are simply too loud to enjoy a conversation through your meal. The space is also quite dark, which one should expect when dining in a dome.
Based on our taste preferences, and our overall experience with this new restaurant, we highly recommend the High Roller Sampler and Desserts or Milkshakes. If you are traveling with school-aged children, they will enjoy the menu choices and the massive video projection screen. There are a few items we would still like to try from the menu, however we are not going to make a special trip to Planet Hollywood Observatory. Rather, we will stop by on a future Disney Springs visit to try and enjoy the outdoor patio seating, overlooking Disney Springs, for appetizers, desserts, and another quality service experience by Joshua. We will be sure to check out the Stargazers Bar area, located on the lower outdoor level overlooking the Disney Springs at that time as well. Planet Hollywood Observatory Disney Springs is open from 11:00am-1:00am.
You can see our Live Video tour of Planet Hollywood Observatory Disney Springs here:
What would you like to try on your visit to Planet Hollywood Observatory Disney Springs? Please leave your comments in the box below.
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