The new Planet Hollywood Observatory restaurant finally re-opened on Friday, January 27 after being closed for almost a full year at Disney Spring, which is part of Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. Set at the company’s flagship location, the new “re-imagined” Planet Hollywood restaurant is pretty spectacular and only slightly resembles the restaurant it once was.
“It’s such a big project, such a large investment and there are so many new pieces to it. And to transform it within Disney Springs was a very big job. I think I expected it to have been ready two months earlier, or something like that. But all good things are worth waiting for,” said Robert Earl, founder and chairman of Planet Hollywood International Inc. to Biz Journals on Thursday. He estimates that the new restaurant cost his company about $25 million.
“It’s a lot more theatrical, more Hollywood. We’ve cracked a new wave of entertainment. It’s an immersive experience.”
Foot Network star and celebrity Chef Guy Fieri is a big part of the restaurant’s re-branding. He not only created a new burger and sandwich menu, but he also had nothing but nice things to say about Earl describing him as a “super creative, dynamic, mega power guy.”
Fieri told the Orlando Sentinel, “When you get a chance to come and play ball with someone like that, that has that type of energy and enthusiasm, you take the invite.”
Guy also took a humble approach when talking about his own contribution saying, “It’s not rocket science. I’m not reinventing the wheel. It’s a burger, but the difference between a good burger and a fantastic burger is the quality of ingredients and how you treat them.”
Guy Fieri was on hand a week before the opening of Planet Hollywood Observatory to give out samples of his new burgers and sandwiches including his Bacon Mac-N-Cheese burger with “Donkey Sauce” (a mix of mayonnaise, roasted garlic, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper) and the Mayor of Flavortown sandwich.
“Look at what’s going on here – this huge renovation that they’ve done here,” Fieri said of the venue. “What they’re offering here, what people can see, what they can do, we got to back it up with some real deal burgers and sandwiches and that’s what you get.”
The new four story restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner but for the next few weeks, reservations are strongly recommended.
“Inside it’s an immersive theatrical dining experience, with each floor providing a different ambience, including the fabulous curated collection of film-making memorabilia and a 4,500-square-foot video wall the uses trompe l’oeil 3D technology – images with such realism that they appear to be in three dimensions,” says Pam Brando, Food Writer for Disney Parks. The images shown come from 20-30 projectors and can change whenever the restaurant wants it to. For instance, the images shown during the day could be more family-friendly than the ones shown at night.
Planet Hollywood Observatory features the 5,000 square foot Stargazers Lounge that sits “under the stars” serving 20 Florida craft beers on tap and ten signature cocktails. There is also a new outdoor terrace for those who would rather not be cooped up inside.
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Planet Hollywood Before:
The original Planet Hollywood restaurant has virtually stayed the same since its 1994 opening. The restaurant closed in January 2016, laying off 468 workers according to the Orlando Sentinel. It was to re-open in June of that year, but due to “unexpected construction delays” it didn’t open until this weekend. While much has changed, some has stayed the same. Favorite menu items are still around as well as lots and lots of Hollywood memorabilia from classics like The Ten Commandments to the most recent like Deadpool. Here you’ll find items like geometric sweater worn by Matthew Broderick in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and an ax used in The Shining.
Planet Hollywood After:
[Featured Image by: Gerardo Mora/Getty Images]