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Plaza Inn becomes Main Street Library Restaurant

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  • [Idea] Plaza Inn becomes Main Street Library Restaurant

    I have been to Disneyland 50 times over the last 50 years and I've never eaten at the Plaza Inn. There are so many other more interesting and thematic places, when I peeked into the Plaza Inn it felt very generic Victorian to me, and thematically, I was never sure what a "Plaza Inn" is...is it supposed to be a hotel? What's the back-story? Okay, admittedly, I never investigated much because the name and lack of promise just didn't motivate me.

    Though Main Street has all the normal civic institutions like City Hal, Fire Dept., bank, cinema, etc. What it doesn't have is a library. The turn-of-the-century was an important time when libraries came to small towns throughout the US, according to a Nation Park Service web article: "Between 1886 and 1919, Carnegie’s donations of more than $40 million paid for 1,679 new library buildings in communities large and small across America." It's a great time for Disney to enhance this underwhelming eatery, add theme, and celebrate knowledge and education by giving Main Street a library!

    A reimagined Plaza Inn as The Main Street Library Restaurant would include a multitude of unique dining "rooms" each themed after a topical section of the library. For example, the Travel section would have turn-of-the-century travel books, displays of plants and shells and things in Victorian glass cases, and era travel posters. The Science Fiction section would have Jules Verne books, framed prints, and models of the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea submarines ,etc. in antique glass museum displays. The fantasy fiction section would celebrate the original works of literature that inspired many of Disney's classic animated films. The ambiance would be warm and textured and thematic due to the books, art, and museum-like displays.

    The Main Street Library Restaurant could be "fine dining" like the Carthay Circle, something Disneyland needs more of. By adding a top floor of dining with large arched glass windows, the restaurant would offer an amazing view of the plaza and fireworks.

    The overall architecture could maintain the Plaza Inn's familiar mansard roofline, just lifted up, essentially, to include a second floor.

  • #2
    I've rarely been in to eat at the Plaza Inn once because a party member had food restrictions that made breakfast there the best option (even though it's usually out of my price range). However, I would love to see a library themed concept be adapted and think it could be done well, as long as it doesn't get too dark inside. I'm not too attached to the decor inside, which I think could use an update. I'm somewhat attached to the name, but I don't think there's any reason they can't change it to "the Plaza Inn and Library." Disney seems to be hopping on the long-name bandwagon these days and it's not any more confusing than Plaza Inn normally is. In the meantime, if we're thinking of things in typical 20th century towns that aren't on Main Street U.S.A., a church seems like the most glaring omission.

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    • #3
      In addition to arched windows in the mansard roof offering views of the castle, it could have a Victorian skylight like this bathing the upper floor and central stairs/iron elevator lifts, in light!

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      • #4
        There is already a book nook at the nearby Market House. Another library looking place might run the risk of looking like a lazy theme trend.

        I don't know if Disney would want to set a library up with a lot of sticky food around it, either (syrup for waffles at Minnie and Friend's breakfast). It's a place to eat that they probably want to keep as easy to clean as possible.

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        • #5
          The interior design would need to convey the theme while being durable with thousands of guests coming through as you point out. I think that's possible, the theming is about being strategic in placement of things, for example shelves of actual books could be above hand's-reach, while leaded glass- and wire-mesh- fronted bookcases (both typical of the era) could be in high-traffic locations. In some places the "books" are not really books but rather "book spines" perhaps digitally printed as a stain-resistant (think Sunbrella) fabric mural or simulated leather vinyl, then adhered to embossed formed panels providing the book spine texture. Anyway, plenty of set decoration and clever uses of materials would be employed.

          As far as layout, I think the layout of topical "rooms" could mimic the layout of the park as a whole, suggesting somewhat directly that the knowledge, inspiration and window-to-the-world that a library would have provided a turn-of-the-century child (like Walt) in a small midwest town could inspire the adventures and fantasy of Disneyland. The restaurant would have a central "hub" of wrought iron stairs and elevator lifts under a dramatic conservatory-like skylight and then the Travel room would be to one side just as Adventureland is, classic literature would be within the central-front tower with a window onto the castle, Science Fiction would be on the Tomorrowland side, etc.

          The menu for this elegant white-linen dining establishment would be a "leather-bound" book (there would be a variety of "designs" so each patron at a table would be handed what looks like a different book), with dishes names after classic books and authors. Perhaps there is The Librarians Lounge, where the back-bar -- an elaborate Victorian book case of glass cases, treasured tomes, and wondrous artifacts, could "come to life" periodically in the vein of Adventurer's Club or Trader Sam's.

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          • #6
            Was it common for people to have meals in libraries at the turn of the century?

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            • #7
              As an historical reference: The Carnation Plaza Inn used to be called the Red Wagon Inn or Red Wagon Restaurant before being completely remodeled and renamed 10 years after opening.

              https://www.yesterland.com/redwagoninn.html

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              • #8
                A bunch of old books would look cluttered and dirty - terrible surroundings for dining.

                I like the idea of second level seating and skylights, though!
                "Disneyland is a work of love. We didn't go into Disneyland just with the idea of making money." - ​Walt Disney

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Co Foo View Post
                  Was it common for people to have meals in libraries at the turn of the century?
                  No I don't think so, but I think that happens in the Disney Parks as part of the fantasy...something may look like, say, a gas station on the outside but be a retail shop inside, or a movie theater on the outside (the Carthay Circle) and be a restaurant on the inside. I think these surprising combinations -- when done creatively -- can be what justifies the ticket price to enter the park, to experience a fantasy outside reality where things "are as they should be."

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by EverThemed View Post

                    No I don't think so, but I think that happens in the Disney Parks as part of the fantasy...something may look like, say, a gas station on the outside but be a retail shop inside, or a movie theater on the outside (the Carthay Circle) and be a restaurant on the inside. I think these surprising combinations -- when done creatively -- can be what justifies the ticket price to enter the park, to experience a fantasy outside reality where things "are as they should be."
                    I don't see the need for it, but I don't hate the idea.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Co Foo View Post

                      I don't see the need for it, but I don't hate the idea.
                      I agree.........
                      IMO The place could use refresher up ,but stay as - early 20th century ~ "Victorian" ~ Dinning !
                      I think name work well "Plaza Inn" without the Library !
                      Last edited by Eagleman; 02-15-2021, 05:09 PM.
                      Soaring like an EAGLE !

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                      • #13
                        I both like the idea and don't at the same time. I love the idea of plussing the theme and artifacts from areas that represent different areas of Disney theme, I love a 2nd floor surrounded by glass for a possible firework dinning experience. I am just not 100% sold on it being a library.
                        BGood! It's not just my motto its my name!

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                        • #14
                          I like the idea of turning this into fine dining. I like the idea of glass ceiling or dome or tons of windows. It could be a library or it could be an observatory or maybe even a botanical garden theme - some kind of theme that links knowledge and exploration, very SEA type theming would be good.
                          "I wish they all could be California Bears!"

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                          • #15
                            Originally posted by Sun Bonnet View Post
                            I like the idea of turning this into fine dining. I like the idea of glass ceiling or dome or tons of windows. It could be a library or it could be an observatory or maybe even a botanical garden theme - some kind of theme that links knowledge and exploration, very SEA type theming would be good.
                            Like that concept better ,as a observatory or maybe even a botanical garden "Victorian" theme.
                            Soaring like an EAGLE !

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                            • #16
                              Great feedback folks! What was appealing about the Library to me was the celebration of knowledge during the Victorian era and the thematic rooms that could link to the rest of the park, kind of "bring it all together" and of course tie back to the idea of how a kid from a small town in the middle of the country could have his head so filled with imagination, fascination of science, regard for history. The other main purpose was to elevate a restaurant/location in the park that is underwhelming for it's incredible real estate, talk about "location, location, location." These things can be accomplished by shifting toward a museum, conservatory/botanical garden, observatory (and maybe some library) feel. In essence a "Museum of the Wondrous" -- a "cabinet of curiosities" wrought into a full-fledged building.

                              Sounds like the strongest support is for a second floor dining room with plenty of glass windows and views and that can work with whatever the exact favor and back-story is.

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                              • #17
                                My main objective for doing something with the Plaza Inn would be to get additional table service dining.

                                I like the hotel theme fine, but it could always be something else. A hotel could feature different rooms with different themes, including the conservatory or library that folks have mentioned.

                                I like adding a second floor for capacity at the restaurant, but I'd be hesitant to do anything that messes up the forced perspective of the castle.

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                                • #18
                                  Originally posted by Co Foo View Post

                                  I like adding a second floor for capacity at the restaurant, but I'd be hesitant to do anything that messes up the forced perspective of the castle.
                                  This was my thought too, as much as I would love the idea of a 2nd level that could give those views and the potential for firework viewing with dinner I would not want to ruin the perspective of both main street and the castle.
                                  BGood! It's not just my motto its my name!

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                                  • #20
                                    Originally posted by whoever View Post

                                    I fail to see how it would ruin anything.

                                    You and your fabulous pictures! Not fair to those of us with only phones and a D3400!

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