When it was announced that celebrity chef Guy Fieri would design the burger and sandwich menu for the Planet Hollywood Observatory at Disney Springs in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, Carnival fans were abuzz.
How would the burgers at Planet Hollywood compare to those found at Guy's Burger Joint aboard Carnival ships? Would it be worth paying for something you could get for free on Carnival? We sampled Guy's Burgers aboard Carnival Vista back in December, and recently got a chance to try out the Guy's menu at Planet Hollywood. Here's how they stack up.
Planet Hollywood originally debuted in 1994 at Pleasure Island in Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The remodeled Planet Hollywood Observatory opened in Spring 2017. Overwhelmingly popular with families, the three-level restaurant is a centerpiece of the Disney Springs shopping, dining and entertainment district.
Guy's Burgers originally debuted as part of Carnival’s FunShip 2.0 enhancements, and proved so popular it’s now on 17 Carnival Cruise Line ships, with additional vessels set to receive the restaurant later this year. Guy’s is always placed strategically on the lido deck, making it the go-to stop for sunbathing cruisers looking for a quick bite.
Our Pick: Guy's Burger Joint. You're on a cruise. Period.
The burger options at Planet Hollywood and Guy's Burger Joint are slightly different, but the Straight Up, Ringer, Plain Jane and one of Guy's classic ingredients, Donkey Sauce, all make an appearance on both menus.
In terms of choices, Planet Hollywood edges out Guy’s menu with six burger options compared to Guy’s five. Of course, numbers aren’t everything when it comes to menus — we’re looking for quality and creativity.
It's worth noting that at Guy’s Burger Joint, you can modify your toppings as desired. Planet Hollywood’s menu warns that “Guy carefully crafted these unique ingredients… to create a harmonious flavor profile. Modifying the ingredients will change the flavor and therefore revoke your ticket to flavortown.” You have been warned.
Our Pick: Planet Hollywood. The Bacon Mac and Cheese Burger is awfully tempting, and the veggie option is a nice touch.
Ok, here’s what it all comes down to. For comparison purposes, we tried the Straight Up with cheese at both establishments. The only difference was that the Carnival version came with SMC (Super Melty Cheese), Guy Fieri’s signature cheese recipe.
The first thing we noticed was the size of the burger itself. On Carnival, Guy's Burgers offer a 4-ounce patty, while Planet Hollywood served up a "Big Bite" burger that appeared to be a full half-pound of beef, twice the size of Carnival's patty.
Both burgers had the distinct Guy's flavor, though the larger patty at Planet Hollywood really put the delicious beefy flavor front and center. On Carnival, the beef was somewhat overwhelmed by the toppings, especially the Donkey Sauce. Planet Hollywood’s Donkey Sauce served as a nice compliment to the larger burger rather than overpowering it with garlic.
Another point of difference? The bun. Planet Hollywood came with a brioche bun, while the Carnival burger was served on a standard hamburger bun. Still, the bun really didn't seem to affect the overall flavor of the burger, so that's a draw.
The seasoned fries served at Guy's Burger Joint on Carnival were a bit too spicy for our taste, but the "triple fries" offered at Planet Hollywood were just about perfect — crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. Plus, Planet Hollywood’s fries came with both waffle-cut and regular-cut potatoes, a boon for those of us who always struggle to choose between the two.
Our Pick: Planet Hollywood. The more substantial burger patty really does improve the flavor, and the superior fries seal the deal.
Guy's Big Bite Burgers at Planet Hollywood start at $14.99 for the Plain Jane and go up to $19.99 for the Prime Time American Kobe. The Straight Up with Cheese is $15.99.
Guy's Burger Joint serves up all you can eat burgers during your cruise for free, included in your cruise fare. We're not even going to bother with a poll here...
Our Pick: Carnival. You can't beat free and unlimited.
Frankly, you can't go wrong with a Guy's Burger, anywhere or anytime. While we're partial to enjoying one of these creations on a cruise (advantage, Carnival), the options and better taste at Planet Hollywood stand out.
Our Pick: Tie. You just can't go wrong either way.