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View Full Version : Menu Quality Deterioration Because of DDP



Duchess99
04-03-2007, 03:40 PM
I've been reading that a lot of you feel the the quality of food offered has deteriorated since the DDP started. I didn't find this to be the case.
Can you let me know which restaurants this has happened to and what dishes in particular? I'm just curious to know.
Thanks!

jonsmom
04-03-2007, 04:12 PM
When we went in November of 2005, we experienced only one problem. That was at Alfredo's in Epcot.

Once we informed th server we were on the dining plan, the atttitude changed immediately.

My son was 7 at the time, he is not a big fan of sauce on pasta. We ordered pasta with butter for him. Him spilled his chocolate milk into the plate. We had to ask for napkins to clean it. We did the cleaning, the didnt ask if he wanted another dish of pasta. There was milk in his bowl. I should have asked for a replacement.

We were ignored throughout the meal.

When it came to dessert choice, he had selected what looked like should have been on a kids meal menu. It was pink sherbet ice cream dressed up with m&m's to look like a lady bug. She wouldnt give it to him, I had to get a kids dessert and he had my ladybug dessert.

I have waitressed before and I would have given it to a child. That was terrible. Never again and I guess its closing so I dont have to worry - I have recommended friends not eat there cause of it.

Bruegge
04-03-2007, 05:17 PM
Boy, is this a pet peeve...


The grilled tiger shrimp at ohana's... gone
(now a bowl of peel and eat)

Surf and Turf at coral reef ....gone

Halibut at Narcoosee's and CG ....gone.

Chefs de France... big menu reduction.

But boy!! do we have lots of Salmon and lots of pasta and shrimp entrees on every menu you look at. (sarcasm intended)

Disney fine dining is as "Magical" to me as the rides.

And lets be honest...is only so many ways to fix Salmon.


One post I just read mentioned to "get your money's worth" you should order the most expensive item on the menu.... like it or not.

The DDP shouldn't be a game of "how much can I save" How are the restaurants going to be able to offer a wonderful, new, fresh item if there is "CAP" on what they can get back for it.

I guess the best thing to do is to price the Pasta dish as the most expensive on the menu and let the budget hunters have a field day.

I can hear it now...

"I saved $180.00 on dinners... boy am I tired of Shrimp pasta...."


Scott

Goes4FastPass
04-03-2007, 06:30 PM
Whispering Canyon family style skillet

Beef Brisket

then

Beef Stew

now

nobeefatall

Dining Plan or not the bean counters have been trying to figue out how to place fewer beans on every plate for some time now.

Willowwind
04-03-2007, 07:00 PM
Oh I'm so sad to hear this! We don't live in a culinary Mecca and Disney Dining is a HUGE part of our vacations. I plan my whole trip around where we want to eat and when we'll be there. :(

Seasonscraps
04-03-2007, 07:14 PM
DH & I were just talking about this today -- there are very few standouts on the menus these days since they are all almost the same. It seems obvious the menus were downgraded b/c of the popularity of the dining plan and the fixed $$ disney is now getting for meals.

Bruegge
04-03-2007, 09:56 PM
Oh I'm so sad to hear this! We don't live in a culinary Mecca and Disney Dining is a HUGE part of our vacations. I plan my whole trip around where we want to eat and when we'll be there. :(

Ditto...


I lived in Valdosta GA. for 3 years... Applebee's red lobster, texas roadhouse and an independent japanese place... oh and a hooters...

The good part was we were 3+ hours form WDW or 2+ hours from Amelia Island Florida. When we drove to disney (or Amelia Island ... try the Ritz-Carlton) we felt like we died and went to culinary heaven...

I miss the short drive... It'll cost us $1600 to fly from Tucson

Scott

Cathy S
04-03-2007, 11:56 PM
I guess I'll start a minority on this page. We have used DDP twice. Both times I was really impressed by how well we were treated at TS restaurants, including the signature dining ones. Not once did I feel we were treated diffrently (read worse) because we were on the plan. At both the Flying Fish and Citricos we were treated to excellent meals, outstanding service and wonderful menu choices. At the R&C we requested and got a great table on the terrace for Illuminations and waitstaff who "stretched" out our meals so we had dessert with fireworks. At Le Cellier, again, great. Because we were on the plan we were able to eat at restaurants that normally we might have passed up or would have to share a meal at. I have to say, Hooray for the DDP!:joy:

jedigrrrl
04-04-2007, 12:43 AM
The food has become watered down for maximum profit. Period.

All our favorite restaurants have removed expensive entrees or changed the ingredients in others. My brother and I are major cooks and we can tell immediately. Every menu is beginning to look and taste the same and we are so frustrated with the lack of quality that we are barely wasting our $$ on TS anymore.(and we had some major faves)

We've been enjoying CS places more than TS: Tusker House, Colombia Harbor House, Casey's, Lotus Blossom, Tempura Kiku(they were walk up last we ate there), Tangierine Cafe, Cantina de San Angel, Kaki Gori, Sleepy Hollow, The Earl of Sandwich, and Wolfgang Puck Express.

On our most recent trips this past year(7 trips since Jan 06), we've enjoyed those places better than any TS (Boma, Le Cellier, and O'hana included).

DizneyRox
04-04-2007, 07:57 AM
I have been staying away from this thread because I don't want to sway any opinions. I will say it's nice to see that others are noticing what I've been saying for a while now.

We refuse to get the DDP. I have priced it out many times and have never hit a point where the benefits of getting the DDP have moved in our favor. Last time we would have been in the hole about $75 pp.

The menus are definitely changing. While the majority of people I would guess are not frequent visitors and don't see the actual changes, going each year of more really helps pick these changes out. We also tend to go to the same places to eat often as well.

There are still a bunch of great places to eat, and I'm not saying the food is awful, BUT there is a point where I refuse to pay X amount for what boils down to spaghetti and meatballs.

I won't get into service issues. The CMs they find these days are a whole different story. I'm not sure if you can really equate the service to the DDP more than you can to the training and lower hiring standards.

ldn324
04-04-2007, 09:17 AM
DH and I had discussed this not too long ago. While we enjoyed using the DDP for the first time last December, we did find a couple of issues with it. There were a few places where I feel we received diminished service because of being on the plan Ė Yachtsman Steakhouse was just a disaster and one of the worst experiences weíve ever had at WDW. But there were some where I didnít notice a difference at all Ė Cali Grill comes to mind. Our server there was fabulous.

Menu selections, on the other hand, have definitely gone downhill. We are adventurous eaters and donít like boring, bland food. We also donít have a ton of culinary choices where we live. With that being said, the menus at WDW are starting to look more like those same boring menus youíd find at one of those chain places where we wonít even go when we are home. I donít eat beef, and prefer veggies and seafood but donít like salmon, so Iím out of luck at several places. Again, Yachtsman Steakhouse wasnít for me. Not that I expected a ton of beef alternatives, but tuna was the only thing available that I like and it was just not good because Iíve found that no one but a seafood place can properly cook tuna. How nice it would have been to have shrimp, white fish Ė you know, something that canít really be cooked wrong Ė to choose from.

A positive thing that the DDP did for us though was to force us to try CS restaurants that we may have never tried. Seasons at Epcot and Tusker House at AK were two that we had never tried until this last trip and we thoroughly enjoyed them both.

Ultimately, we had a positive experience with the plan and would consider it again. I can find something to eat at each place we go and I still donít feel that we would be losing money. I would like to see the menu expand a little bit and even have a couple of healthier options added so you donít get the huge dose of guilt with every meal (like the CS dessert that no one really needs). Actually, Iím surprised that they donít fluff up the menus with loads of pasta, potatoes Ė the cheap stuff. Yikes Ė hope no one from WDW reads that and gets any ideas Ė LOL!

SurferStitch
04-04-2007, 09:23 AM
Oh I'm so sad to hear this! We don't live in a culinary Mecca and Disney Dining is a HUGE part of our vacations. I plan my whole trip around where we want to eat and when we'll be there. :(

Fear not....there is still an abundance of amazing dining at WDW. On our last trip I had lobster, scallops, shrimp, filet, mahi, and more lobster....and it was all incredible. You will not be disappointed in the menu choices at WDW. :thumbsup:

Personally, I have absolutely no problems with the dining choices at WDW. I'm a big seafood and filet person, and all of the restuarants I've always had these at still have them, so I just can't agree with the idea of menu quality deterioration...but that's me (and DH).

A great thing about the dining plan for us is that we have not changed our dining habits at all. Appetizer/main course/dessert is the norm for us. I set up an Excel spreadsheet to calculate OOP dining cost (no DDP), and compared it to our dining costs with the DDP (including the need to still pay OOP for some meals and alcohol), and we saved around $850 on food. We did get a deal on the DDP and only paid about $25 per person, so even if we paid full price, we still would have saved around $500, so the DDP was a huge benefit for us.

OctDisney
04-04-2007, 09:48 AM
I just reviewed some of the menu items and I do agree that the choices are more limited now.

Even with the Dining Plans, Disney has to be careful not to standardize too much or else even the ones on the Dining Plan will get tired of eating similar food all the time.

I took a sampling of menus, such as Yachtsmans, Whispeing Canyon, Boatwrights, Grand Floridian Cafe and Kona Cafe. For Dinner, all of them have some sort of similar penne, strip steak, angus burger, and chicken. There are one or two different items, but disney better watch itself or people will just opt for CS or food courts at some of these places. Personally, very limited beef selections at Whispering Canyon was quite disappointing when we went last Fall.

ChipDale2708
04-04-2007, 10:13 AM
We have never done the DDP either since there are two of us and it's way to much food for us - we'd rather split a meal. We also don't do a lot of TS restaurants either since we usually only go for a few days and would rather spend our time on the run or passed out by the pool, however we noticed two differences last February at our favorite places. Not sure to attribute it to the DDP or not, but Casey's only served the large sized hot dog - really too much for me and Chef's of France no longer served good quiche. I ordered it and received what looked like a single order frozen quiche in a pie dish. It's exactly what they serve at the French bakery in the back. I was extremely disappointed. We are giving they another try this month, but will order something different.

Goofy Pluto
04-04-2007, 11:43 AM
We are adventurous eaters ... I donít eat beef, and prefer veggies and seafood but donít like salmon...

I just thought that was funny. :D :laughing:

Katiebell
04-04-2007, 12:05 PM
Haven't been to WDW yet...first trip is in May. I've read menus, and I don't know what they used to look like, but the current choices look as good or better than what I've seen at DL. At DL we usually eat at Ralph Brennan's, Hook's Point, Blue Bayou, Wine Country Trattoria, Uva -- the WDW menus appeared to be on par with those places. If I get fabulous food and wonderful service, that's fantastic. If I get decent food and friendly efficient service, I'm happy, too -- I'm on vacation and didn't have to cook. :thumbsup:

I recently had an interesting conversation with a Disney CM who bartends and trains wait staff at a restaurant. He told me that yes, the menus have changed, but it really had little to do with the Dining Plan. There was a WDW-wide menu revamp in November 2006, and some restaurants were affected more than others. The purported idea was that it was to make the menus "healthier" -- for example, all of the fried appetizers were evidently removed from Jiko's (? I think that was the restaurant mentioned) menu. But yes, some of the costlier ingredients and higher-end items came off the menus, too, and quite a few were pared down in number of choices. That's actually been going on for a while. Although it was done in the guise of "healthier" choices, the CM's know it was to homogenize the menus somewhat across the board, it's easier and cheaper to buy in bulk, and bottom line...it's best for Disney's bottom line. And it's not just WDW...restaurants all over are constantly changing their menus, not just for the sake of creativity and freshness but ultimately to make them more profitable. It's an industry trend.

The DDP is really a cash cow for Disney, not a money pit that is causing them to slash their menus -- any menu slashing is being done to make more money. The DDP is designed to keep guests on the property (like the free ME, so guests won't rent cars and go elsewhere), and spending all of their vacation dollars at Disney instead of Universal or Sea World. It's to make WDW more of an all-inclusive resort, or like a cruise ship.

Now that Disney fixed the glaring loophole that allowed people to order adult meals with kids' TS credits (what a fiasco that was! :spend: I'll bet somebody got canned for not anticipating that possibility), they are taking steps to curb the same type of abuse of CS credits; for many guests it's still a savings but not a huge bargain. And once you calculate in the percentage of credits that are never cashed in, that further increases Disney's profit. Even by offering a period of dining free (which they have for the last two years and probably will again this year, they already offered it to the UK and for bounce-back), they made a ton of money and were able to fill their hotels during hurricane season at rack rate. If that's not marketing genius, I don't know what is :rolleyes:

Bruegge
04-04-2007, 01:04 PM
I recently had an interesting conversation with a Disney CM who bartends and trains wait staff at a restaurant. He told me that yes, the menus have changed, but it really had little to do with the Dining Plan. . :

And I got some swamp land just south of Gainesville for sale CHEAP...

Scott

ldn324
04-04-2007, 01:05 PM
I just thought that was funny. :D :laughing:

He he he...yeah, I see your point. My "duh" moment of the day. I guess I should have elaborated - I am adventurous in that I enjoy different flavors, ethnic cuisine, hot and spicy - adventurous in that sense. Funny how things seem to make sense in your head at the time you are typing them :blush:

Katiebell
04-04-2007, 05:23 PM
And I got some swamp land just south of Gainesville for sale CHEAP...

Scott

Uhhh, sure...I'll have get back to you on that, though. :D

What he said made sense to me, whether or not you agree -- YMMV. The menu changes are there, and they are real, no doubt about that. But they are corporate cost-cutting, period. If the Dining Plan was the direct cause, and Disney is losing so much money on the plan, why do they keep selling it? And why do they keep offering it for free during the slowest season? Even offering free dining, Disney is making money hand over fist. Not that that's a bad thing -- it's the goal of every company. I'd probably appreciate it more as an employee or shareholder than a consumer, though. :rolleyes:

The only reason the DDP may have been initially a money loss for Disney is because people were cheating the system, but now they are working the kinks out of that. And if any of the menu cutbacks were caused by the plan at all, I suspect it was to offset the loss caused by kids' credits being used to purchase adult meals. Gotta recoup losses somewhere.

Guests may be getting a "discount" on their meals, but unless they are visiting during that brief "free" period, they are paying for the plan. And now they are staying in the parks, spending all of their money at Disney, coming when the weather is the worst and paying full price for the rooms, eating in TS restaurants every single day, when before they may have eaten only CS or gone offsite. Guests are being trained to order off menus without concern for the prices, and that a proper sit down meal at Disney includes appetizer, entree, and dessert for every single person in your party aged 10 and over -- even if you can't eat all you order. People often end their vacations with unused, non refundable credits -- more profit for Disney. People don't understand how to use the plan to the best benefit (because the majority of guests don't frequent boards like this), and they waste credits at their least expensive meals that they should be paying for OOP instead -- more profit for Disney. We bought the plan for the convenience, but the cost may end up being a wash...we could definitely get by on less than $80/day for two adults, but liked the idea that our food budget is prepaid and we can try a lot of different restaurants.

JPL
04-04-2007, 05:46 PM
A good place to see this is the size of steaks. Lecellier use to offer a 16 oz NY strip last time I was there it was down to 12 oz for the same price :(

jedigrrrl
04-04-2007, 08:44 PM
Although it was done in the guise of "healthier" choices, the CM's know it was to homogenize the menus somewhat across the board, it's easier and cheaper to buy in bulk, and bottom line...it's best for Disney's bottom line. And it's not just WDW...restaurants all over are constantly changing their menus, not just for the sake of creativity and freshness but ultimately to make them more profitable. It's an industry trend.

And this is why not only am I straying away from WDW TS places but TS places in general. We don't even go to restaurants at home anymore unless it's for Sushi or Thai. Food is becoming so boring and it all tastes the same. I cook better meals at home than most restaurants do.

Bruegge
04-04-2007, 10:48 PM
[QUOTE=Katiebell;1245800]
The menu changes are there, and they are real, no doubt about that. But they are corporate cost-cutting, period. If the Dining Plan was the direct cause, and Disney is losing so much money on the plan, why do they keep selling it? And why do they keep offering it for free during the slowest season? Even offering free dining, Disney is making money hand over fist. Not that that's a bad thing -- it's the goal of every company. I'd probably appreciate it more as an employee or shareholder than a consumer, though. :rolleyes:

The only reason the DDP may have been initially a money loss for Disney is because people were cheating the system, but now they are working the kinks out of that. And if any of the menu cutbacks were caused by the plan at all, I suspect it was to offset the loss caused by kids' credits being used to purchase adult meals. Gotta recoup losses somewhere.

Guests may be getting a "discount" on their meals, but unless they are visiting during that brief "free" period, they are paying for the plan. And now they are staying in the parks, spending all of their money at Disney, coming when the weather is the worst and paying full price for the rooms, eating in TS restaurants every single day, when before they may have eaten only CS or gone offsite. Guests are being trained to order off menus without concern for the prices, and that a proper sit down meal at Disney includes appetizer, entree, and dessert for every single person in your party aged 10 and over -- even if you can't eat all you order. People often end their vacations with unused, non refundable credits -- more profit for Disney. People don't understand how to use the plan to the best benefit (because the majority of guests don't frequent boards like this), and they waste credits at their least expensive meals that they should be paying for OOP instead -- more profit for Disney. QUOTE]

Most of your points are well taken..

But, how can you say menu limiting is just "corprate cost cutting" you cut staff, equipment, expansion. You cut menu items if no one buys the items you have for the price you want/need to get for it.

Restaurants can charge whatever they want for an entree...right?? A food cost margin is just that...

But because of the DDP ... free or Pay THATS NOT TRUE ANYMORE!!!

Can't you agree that the Free DDP is being used just a way to fill up the RESORTS...

If the Resorts were full why give anything away.

Once you get the people in the Resorts the money begins to trickle down to restaurants, shops and park tickets??

So, rather than offer discounts on rooms they offer free food. And in the case of Pay DDP they offer it again for only resort patrons.. again FILL UP THE RESORTS rather than stay offsite and take the trickle down as gravy.

MY gripe is the entire restaurant sector is taking the hit.....they are bearing the brunt for all of the "discounting"

The DDP limits the restaurants to a set menu cost.

You have "CAPPED" the 1ts credit dinner at $24.50 ...and because you have made this a "perk or discount" a large segment of the people will feel the need to Maximize their savings by ordering the most or more expensive items just to "save money" Not even mentioning the large segment of people that will try and "cheat" the ts kids thing etc...

The resorts don't suffer... more full rooms, at an overall higher price per room. The restaurants have to adapt to limited check average... the only way to be profitable or more profitable is to "cheapen" the food.
Just my thoughts..

Scott

Marker
04-04-2007, 11:18 PM
Well I guess I just have lower expectations to begin with, or am easily pleased, or just don't know any better..... I use the DDP, I enjoy the meals, and I feel it's worth it. I think I always get more food than I need, and usually I think it's really good. I love not worrying about the cost of my selections, but I also don't intentionally order the most expensive, I just order what sounds good to me at the moment.

Menu changes, portion modifications.... I don't think Disney's restaurants are the only one making such changes. I've seen many similar such changes out in the "real" world without the DDP to blame.

And actually, I think a lot of us could do well to reduce portions. Some places offer way too much food, Disney or not.

MsMin
04-04-2007, 11:57 PM
Whispering Canyon family style skillet
Beef Brisket
then
Beef Stew
now
nobeefatall

I just had to say that Maddy is sooo cute!;)


I guess I'll start a minority on this page. We have used DDP twice. Both times I was really impressed by how well we were treated at TS restaurants, including the signature dining ones. Not once did I feel we were treated diffrently (read worse) because we were on the plan. At both the Flying Fish and Citricos we were treated to excellent meals, outstanding service and wonderful menu choices. At the R&C we requested and got a great table on the terrace for Illuminations and waitstaff who "stretched" out our meals so we had dessert with fireworks. At Le Cellier, again, great. Because we were on the plan we were able to eat at restaurants that normally we might have passed up or would have to share a meal at. I have to say, Hooray for the DDP!:joy:
I agree with you 100%-- our experience has been great.


Fear not....there is still an abundance of amazing dining at WDW. On our last trip I had lobster, scallops, shrimp, filet, mahi, and more lobster....and it was all incredible. You will not be disappointed in the menu choices at WDW. :thumbsup:
Personally, I have absolutely no problems with the dining choices at WDW. I'm a big seafood and filet person, and all of the restuarants I've always had these at still have them, so I just can't agree with the idea of menu quality deterioration...but that's me (and DH).
A great thing about the dining plan for us is that we have not changed our dining habits at all.
:ditto: We save a lot b/c of the way we use our DDP. I think the scales prove it. I used to go to WDW and lose weight. :scale:

I recently had an interesting conversation with a Disney CM. He told me that yes, the menus have changed, but it really had little to do with the Dining Plan. There was a WDW-wide menu revamp in November 2006, and some restaurants were affected more than others. The purported idea was that it was to make the menus "healthier" -- for example, all of the fried appetizers were evidently removed from Jiko's menu. But yes, some of the costlier ingredients and higher-end items came off the menus, too, and quite a few were pared down in number of choices. That's actually been going on for a while. Although it was done in the guise of "healthier" choices, the CM's know it was to homogenize the menus somewhat across the board, it's easier and cheaper to buy in bulk, and bottom line...it's best for Disney's bottom line. And it's not just WDW...restaurants all over are constantly changing their menus, not just for the sake of creativity and freshness but ultimately to make them more profitable. It's an industry trend.
I agree here too. I remember having spaghetti and meat sauce @ DL years ago-- How cheap is that? There has alway been a range of foods.
I understand that the number of items on a menu drives up costs b/c of the variety and preparation, not any small differences in price.
Honestly, I see many people going to character meals that have much lower end food selections then many of the TS places. How much does it cost for Disney to put someone in a costume for 1K ppl and serve them meatloaf or roast turkey? Not that we don't love the charaters and have fun but really if you want to talk about where the money is $$.
We are all adults now and when you pay nearly 300 for lunch splitting entrees, eating the same pasta (this is before ddp) It's a great deal for us. That one lunch with less food cost nearly two days of ddp and I had the shrimp and pasta now I have steak.
We love our food down here and have loads of it :scale: but I still enjoy a great meal at WDW.

Bruegge
04-05-2007, 12:12 AM
Well I guess I just have lower expectations to begin with, or am easily pleased, or just don't know any better..... I use the DDP, I enjoy the meals, and I feel it's worth it. I think I always get more food than I need, and usually I think it's really good. I love not worrying about the cost of my selections, but I also don't intentionally order the most expensive, I just order what sounds good to me at the moment.

Menu changes, portion modifications.... I don't think Disney's restaurants are the only one making such changes. I've seen many similar such changes out in the "real" world without the DDP to blame.

And actually, I think a lot of us could do well to reduce portions. Some places offer way too much food, Disney or not.


Well put and I agree....

Just another note that restaurants at home (friday's comes to mind, advertising cheaper cost, smaller portions... great idea) are doing this to GET PEOPLE IN TO THE STORE.

Disney restaurants are in an envyable (sp?) position.
Disney Restaurants don't need more people to eat... at 95 days out I cant get into lecellier.

They just need to fill the Resorts. Everything else takes care of itself

And now they can't maximize the money they make (check average) because they are limited to $24.50 a head.

I love disney fine dining. But I also love and miss Halibut over Salmon, Large grilled tiger shrimp over medium peel and eat. Etc.. I don't need to eat a lot...

Portion size makes little difference to me... I will always accept smaller portions if the quality is there. That is why dislike buffets (not so much Disney buffets) for the same reason ... All you can eat... mediocre quality.

I don't hate the DDP though it may sound like it. I just feel it's a burden on the restaurants and it will limit choices and quality.

Boy, could you imagine a DDP senario for resorts... one price pick your hotel.... Poly would look like a motel 6 in 2 years.

Scott

Katiebell
04-05-2007, 12:29 AM
But, how can you say menu limiting is just "corprate cost cutting" you cut staff, equipment, expansion. You cut menu items if no one buys the items you have for the price you want/need to get for it.

Restaurants can charge whatever they want for an entree...right?? A food cost margin is just that...

But because of the DDP ... free or Pay THATS NOT TRUE ANYMORE!!!

Can't you agree that the Free DDP is being used just a way to fill up the RESORTS...

If the Resorts were full why give anything away.

Once you get the people in the Resorts the money begins to trickle down to restaurants, shops and park tickets??

So, rather than offer discounts on rooms they offer free food. And in the case of Pay DDP they offer it again for only resort patrons.. again FILL UP THE RESORTS rather than stay offsite and take the trickle down as gravy.

MY gripe is the entire restaurant sector is taking the hit.....they are bearing the brunt for all of the "discounting"

The DDP limits the restaurants to a set menu cost.

You have "CAPPED" the 1ts credit dinner at $24.50 ...and because you have made this a "perk or discount" a large segment of the people will feel the need to Maximize their savings by ordering the most or more expensive items just to "save money" Not even mentioning the large segment of people that will try and "cheat" the ts kids thing etc...

The resorts don't suffer... more full rooms, at an overall higher price per room. The restaurants have to adapt to limited check average... the only way to be profitable or more profitable is to "cheapen" the food.
Just my thoughts..

Scott

I understand your frustration -- and I hear it from others, too. You remember dining at WDW in its glory days, and as a frequent visitor, you have had the dubious honor of watching it slowly decline. I'm a Disney veteran, but DL, not WDW...so it's hard for me to relate. Growing up, there were so few "dining choices" at DL -- the Tahitian Terrace was a huge treat, and Blue Bayou was almost the impossible dream. The TT has been gone for years, and now that I've eaten at BB numerous times as an adult, even though I know they share the kitchen with Club 33, it's very good but it ain't all that. DL dining improved dramatically with the addition of the GC, DTD, and believe it or not, DCA even contributed. But it's never been known for fine dining the way WDW was.

I totally agree -- the DDP was a way to fill up the resorts...and it worked. It's still working because they are still offering it. This year I expect will be the grand experiment. Free Dining was originally offered only to a few select guests -- UK visitors and bounce back guests. It looks like it will be offered to the public again, but for a considerably more limited time. And tons of people have booked vacations in September already on just the *hope* of free dining being offered.

I don't see the DDP as the cause of the decline of dining at WDW, but I see both being part of the same corporate strategy. WDW had wonderful restaurants that many, many guests never set foot in because they didn't equate "amusement park" with "sit down dinner". Now those restaurants are accessible, and they are full to capacity, sometimes months in advance. Some restaurants are owned by Disney, and some are not -- and they had the option of whether or not to participate in the plan. Remember, when the 2007 brochure came out, there was a minor panic because so many restaurants weren't listed -- but ultimately, most decided to get with the program. They compensation they receive from Disney may be less than from OOP customers, but they want their piece of the juicy tourist pie, and were willing to accept the parameters of the plan in exchange for never having a slow night. Not that many people talk about dining at Bongos, or HOB. Even if it gets panned, more people make reservations for PH -- which just happens to be on the DDP.

The cost cutting is way beyond the Food and Beverage budget at WDW. I don't want to get too far off the subject, but full time Disney employees used to get 2 weeks' advance training (Disney Knowledge, Park Knowledge, Traditions, etc), then two weeks' more specialized training on site. Now, most of the newer CM's are part time, often contract employees, no benefits, and received one week of training -- sometimes less. Construction work used to all be done when the parks were closed, magically behind the scenes -- now it's all done during open park hours, no more budget for "third shift".

But don't want to get too far OT :teleport:

Katiebell
04-05-2007, 12:44 AM
I cook better meals at home than most restaurants do.

Sadly, me too. But then I have to cook, so then it loses some of its appeal ;)


Well I guess I just have lower expectations to begin with, or am easily pleased, or just don't know any better..... I use the DDP, I enjoy the meals, and I feel it's worth it. I think I always get more food than I need, and usually I think it's really good. I love not worrying about the cost of my selections, but I also don't intentionally order the most expensive, I just order what sounds good to me at the moment.

Menu changes, portion modifications.... I don't think Disney's restaurants are the only one making such changes. I've seen many similar such changes out in the "real" world without the DDP to blame.

And actually, I think a lot of us could do well to reduce portions. Some places offer way too much food, Disney or not.

Well said, ITA. I'm looking forward to trying the variety of restaurants at WDW, enjoying the Disney atmopshere -- and as long as it's decent food and friendly service, I'll be happy.

About portion sizes...have you ever looked at the Shula's Steakhouse menu from the Dolphin? They have a 48 oz Porterhouse for $75. OK, come on, seriously. That is a 3 lb steak. A serving size of beef is 4-6 oz, so that is...8-12 servings on one plate. Oh, but you can share with your date for a $10 plate splitting fee. So, for $85 before tax and tip, you and your honey can each eat...1 1/2 lbs of steak. Moo. :funny:

Bruegge
04-05-2007, 12:48 AM
many guests never set foot in because they didn't equate "amusement park" with "sit down dinner". :teleport:


That to me and the DW is the single most important part of our "Magic"

I hope I didn't come across too harsh or negative but..

Being able to enjoy (IMHO) the premier set of amusment parks, in a resort setting (i.e. not touching the car for the entire stay)

And at the end of the day enjoying a 3-4 star dinner Is the Disney Magic for us.

Any loss of quality because of the DDP I find upseting.

I've told people that I stayed onsite at disney. They asked how much I spent and I tell them.

They are stunned.

I can't tell you how much I loved eating a lovely dinner at CG and having my DD 4 (then) able to join us, draw on the table paper and not get a second look. DD4 even got to "turn on the fireworks" the nite we were there.... she turned down the house lights just as the fireworks were set to start...(They called it starting the fireworks) they made a big deal out of it...

I can't put a price on that..

Scott

Katiebell
04-05-2007, 01:17 AM
I hope I didn't come across too harsh or negative but..

Being able to enjoy (IMHO) the premier set of amusment parks, in a resort setting (i.e. not touching the car for the entire stay)

And at the end of the day enjoying a 3-4 star dinner Is the Disney Magic for us.

Oh, not at all...I totally understand where you are coming from. It's just that I don't believe the changes you and everyone else are seeing are being caused by the Dining Plan; rather the Dining Plan is part of the changes you are seeing. And I've seen some harsh words, not just on these boards, but a few others, from people who are basically tired of the "riff raff cluttering up our nice restaurants" :humph: Well, certainly not that bad :funny: but there have been some hard words and some hard feelings. Not everyone has the opportunity to visit WDW every year, or several times a year. Not everyone can afford, or could use an AP, or own a membership in the DVC. And for those guests, the DDP makes their vacation more affordable, and more enjoyable -- but they don't want to feel like they are "ruining" things for everyone else by taking up table space.

I really do have to say, though...DH and I chose not to book any 2 TS restaurants because we have such a short trip, and really wanted to try more restaurants specifically for atmosphere. I live near SF and can dine in upscale gourmet restaurants anytime I want to shell out huge sums of money (which isn't often!) But we can't always eat with Princesses or Stitch or Tigger; we can't always sip a shake in a vintage car under the stars at the drive in; we can't always snack in Norway, China, France, and Morocco all in the same day. But...I looked at a lot of the signature menus, and they look wonderful, imaginative and fresh and intriguing. So, even if some of the high end costly ingredients and specific dishes have been cut back, you really are still getting an excellent dining experience. Next visit, hopefully we'll have more time and get to try some of those restaurants. I really doubt they'll all be serving corn dogs and sugar free jello by then... :D

Bruegge
04-05-2007, 01:24 AM
I live near SF and can dine in upscale gourmet restaurants anytime I want to shell out huge sums of money (which isn't often!) .. :D

DW had a surgery conference in SF a few years back... got booked into the Ritz on knob hill... the dining room is to die for...

Also ate at some chinese place .. Named after the owner... memory failure ....great food in sf... Had to drag me away kicking and screaming.

Scott

JPL
04-05-2007, 01:56 AM
I was going to save this for a seperate topic but figure it fit this one so here goes.
I actually talked to a friend who is a restaurant manager and has a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management. Here is what is happening at WDW now you can deny it if you want but this was his explanation. First off the mark up on food is extremely high already and add alcohol to that and that mark up is even more.

Restaurants have several ways they can increase their profits

1. Increase Volume
A. Add tables to the restaurant
B. Clear Tables faster

Disney has not added tables but they are clearing tables faster thus allowing more people to eat. They are doing this 2 ways first they are limiting menu choices(this is also brought up again later) which makes decision about what customers want faster. They are also rushing you through the meal bringing appetizers faster and then cutting the time between them and the main meal. They can bring the appetizers faster since they have fewer selection which leads to less prep time.

2. Limiting Menu Selections
A. Able to buy more in bulk
B. Able to cut prep chef jobs

By limiting menu selections across the board, Disney is able to buy more items in bulk thus cutting their cost. It also allows them to hire fewer prep chefs since they don't have the need to prepare a large number of items. This also relates back to moving people through faster. The less of a choice people have the easier and faster their decision.

3. Smaller Portions

This one is easy if you cut portions even but a 1/4 you get an extra serving of something like mashed potatoes for example every fourth meal you serve. Or if you cut down the size of a bowl of soup from 12 oz. to 10 oz. it works the same way.

4. Lower Quality food

While some restaurants use all high quality ingredients if you start to cutback on certain items the profits can add up quickly. Most people won't notice the difference between and expensive imported Italian cheese and its' domestic counterpart. Not many people can tell the difference between fresh and frozen fish especially if it heavily prepared. Yet it will save the restaurant a lot of money.

5. Reuse certain Items

OK this one sounds bad but really isn't and believe it or not most restaurants do it to some extent. This is when the Vegetable one day is peas and then the next it's carrots. The third day it's peas and carrots.

And yes Disney is doing all of these things together that is how the DDP is feasible. That is how they are able to charge $24.50 - $49.00 a person for meals that they use to charge $60+ per person.

Katiebell
04-05-2007, 02:02 AM
DW had a surgery conference in SF a few years back... got booked into the Ritz on knob hill... the dining room is to die for...

Also ate at some chinese place .. Named after the owner... memory failure ....great food in sf... Had to drag me away kicking and screaming.

Scott

SF has some fabulous dim sum in China Town...that's on our to-do list next time. We usually will go for the unusual and new over upscale...daring, I know...

We went to the City for our anniversary over St. Patrick's Day weekend. Ate dinner one night at Biscuits and Blues -- awesome club, great blues, Southern food with a "gourmet" slant, very cool. And we ate breakfast the next day in the heart of Haight Ashbury, at the advice of a pony-tailed proprietor of a head shop/posters/rock memorabilia store. He recommended a place across the street with a line out the door, called, of all things, "The Pork Store" :funny: We stood in line for about 20 minutes with some colorful locals, then wedged in at the counter of a cafe about 15'x25' total area (maybe), and it was the best dang breakfast I can remember in a lonnnnnnng time...hippies can cook! :thumbsup: