Planet Hollywood has always been about the stars, so when the Disney Springs eatery reopened after an extensive renovation, it did so with the help of its very own celebrity chef.
Food Network star Guy Fieri joined the culinary team at Planet Hollywood Observatory to design a specialty burger and sandwich menu exclusively for the Orlando location. The restaurant features a curated collection of filmmaking memorabilia, a 4,500-square-foot video wall to entertain the entire family, in addition to a 5,000-square-foot outdoor Stargazers lounge overlooking Disney Springs. We caught up with Guy Fieri before the restaurant's grand opening to get his take on Orlando and his contribution to the menu.
Did you ever think you’d end up at Disney?
I have some really good friends in the Disney program. When I came out of college, I think I was a little too wild to work at Disney, but I respected the program. And it’s really the definition of organized hospitality. You have themes, characters, food, service, to transportation, everything … so it’s always been a really high standard to be invited. [The owner] Robert Earl is an amazing guy and an amazing character, and to be invited to be featured like in an album, like in a song … one of my favorite things to make is burgers, and to have my little piece on the menu, just to be the burger guy, it’s a pretty cool thing.
The over-the-top bacon, mac-n-cheese burger is just one of a dozen burgers and sandwiches Guy Fieri created for the menu. (Courtesy Planet Hollywood Observatory)
One of the first things you did in town was cook with children with terminal illnesses through Give Kids the World. Why did you want to be involved?
I lost my sister to cancer. She had cancer when she was a kid. She beat it, lived another 34 beautiful years more and then got it and passed away. Life is short. It's precious. Kids shouldn't be worried about cancer, and parents shouldn't be going through it. So any time I ever get asked to help a kid and a family, there's never a question.
What motivates you to make food for people?
There’s only one run. We only get this one time. There’s no dress rehearsal. If you don’t love what you’re doing, if you’re not happy with who you are, then why do it? I love what I do, I love food, and I love making food for people. I started cooking when I was a kid. I remember the proud feeling that I got when I cooked dinner for my parents—and both of my parents worked—and when they came home and dinner was ready, and I was 10 years old. I just remember my parents looking at me going, ‘you did this?’ And I just remember that pride. We all have a thing we can do, an instrument we can play, a song we can sing. My song is food. It brings me a lot of happiness. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
Why should a visitor try something new on vacation?
If you didn't want something new, and you didn't want an adventure, then you'd just stay home and go to the water park in your town, or the arcade around the corner and the pizza joint. You're coming here for an adventure. You're coming here for something new. Don't eat the same things you always eat. Eat a burger that's a little bit different. This is what it's all about. You're coming to an epicenter of all kinds of new experiences. Make food one of them. Guests come to Disney for the best vacation of their life. I’m gonna give them a burger they talk about when they get home.
Guy Fieri's burgers have just as much personality as he does with names like "Tatted Up Turkey" and "Mayor of Flavortown." (Courtesy Planet Hollywood Observatory)