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Spotlight: Planet Hollywood

Movie buffs, this is the restaurant for you!  Planet Hollywood Restaurant and Bar offers an extensive collection of Hollywood memorabilia.  This planet-shaped restaurant is huge!  Towering on the outside is a spinning globe with “Planet Hollywood” in bright red neon lights. By the entrance to the side, anchored down, sits the Shrimp Boat ‘Jenny’, used in the movie “Forrest Gump”. They have Father Merrin’s cross and purple scarf from “The Exorcist“, Madonna’s high school yearbook AND one of the original blue/white dresses Judy Garland wore in “The Wizard of Oz“.  This place is loaded floor to ceiling with tons of stuff like that, everything from the rubber model of Christopher Lloyd that was run over with the steamroller in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” to Terminator’s body cast. In addition, some vehicles used in blockbuster films like Herbie the Love Bug and the Terminator 2 motorbike are hanging by string wires from the ceiling. Scary but cool!

I would recommend requesting a table on the 3rd floor, as it provides a great view of the entire restaurant.  Since this place is literally shaped like a planet, it is split into three separate levels…the rounded off edge of the planet structure makes the inside truly a grand sight to see.

It generally is super-busy here…partially because of its location at Downtown Disney, one of the most-visited tourist destinations in the world, but also because it’s so unique and everybody wants to see it.  Reservations are recommended, especially for parties of 8 or more.

I thought the food was decent, although a bit over-priced, but I have seen mixed reviews regarding the food quality.  One of the most popular meals is the World Famous Chicken Crunch, which are tender strips of chicken with a crunchy-sweet coating, similar to that of ‘Captain Crunch’ cereal.

Planet Hollywood is a fun place with plenty to see, including wall-to-wall memorabilia and a huge projection screen; a great atmosphere!

$-$$, casual dress, American cuisine, reservations accepted, full bar, open for lunch and dinner
LOCATION: Downtown Disney® West Side Walt Disney Resort – Located adjacent to Disney’s Pleasure Island
ADDRESS
: 1506 E. Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
HOURS OF OPERATION: Restaurant: 11am – 1am; Bar: 11am – 2am; Merchandise Shop: 10:00am – 2am
PHONE
: 407-827-7827
FAX: 407-827-7847
CREDIT CARDS ACCEPTED: American Express, Diners Club, Discover, JCB, MasterCard, Visa
RESERVATIONS: For group reservations of 15 or more, contact their Sales Office at 407-827-7836.

Planet Hollywood, Hard Rock and Rain Forest Café, To Do or Not To Do?

First off I must say if you do not like loud restaurants then you probably will not enjoy any of these themed restaurants. If noisy restaurants do not bother you then there’s a good chance you will enjoy the experience because all three have themes with broad based appeal.

Hard Rock Café is the forerunner of themed restaurants and in my opinion it is the best of the breed. Featuring classic rock music and memorabilia these huge restaurants are really an entertainment option. I have found the food to be hit or miss at the Hard Rock Café’s that I have visited in Orlando and other tourist destinations. Quite honestly the food is average and priced well above average but everyone should go at least once.

Planet Hollywood has star appeal because that’s what the concept is all about. The music is very loud at Planet Hollywood I think noise is an element in most themed restaurants. The memorabilia is the star attraction of Planet Hollywood and Orlando has one of the best collections in the chain. The entertainment aspect is reflected in the prices at Planet Hollywood. Unfortunately the food is not the star attraction but their food is as good as any of the themed restaurants.

My least favorite of the bunch is Rain Forest Café’ for many reasons beginning with the quality and prices. If you are expecting anything other than a silk forest I hate to break it to you but there’s not a live plant in the place. There is a lot of activity going on and is quite stimulating for young children so prepare yourself for it if you have children or not. I have been twice and both times I left disappointed. My most recent visit with my family I had my three year old nephew and my infant great nephew. Their reactions were very different my three year old nephew had a fun time (although the mechanical gator did scare him) while my great nephew was not a happy camper. We all took turns either chasing my nephew or comforting my great nephew. They are VERY busy so many people don’t agree with my opinion. Honestly I would not have picked this restaurant but we went for the kids. One more thing the service has been horrible on both my visits.