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  1. #181

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    Re: 2/13: FastPass the Rolls Please

    Part of my problem with dining is I'm spoiled by Las Vegas. Here, a restaurant is either an exclusive hideaway where reservations would have to be made that morning (but same-day reservations are usually STILL available, unlike most restaurants in WDW) or a place with a dining room that seemingly stretches on forever and ever and dog-gone ever.

    Here, they basically have more dining space and more tables than they'd need 95% of the year to make sure that nobody has to sit around and wait. Only when something is happening like a hotel is hosting both a major event and a trade convention at the same time does the place begin to sweat it.

    WDW, despite also being a full-sized city of tourism with even more consolidated control over the region than any casino operator, seems to basically treat table and waiter dining as a luxury. You either work hard to get that luxury or else you'll be ordering at a counter for breakfast, lunch, AND dinner. Even in the slow periods and especially if it's in a park.

    Meanwhile, you walk up to any cafe, any buffet, most any ethnic food or many steakhouses and you'll hear "Party of #? Why, certainly sir!"

  2. #182

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    Re: 2/13: FastPass the Rolls Please

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinYee View Post
    I think your AI analysis is spot-on, and well-written to boot. But I disagree that Disney should be catering to that audience *at the expense of the other audiences*.

    That means Disney can and should cater to the AI audience. Just not in a way that negatively impacts the non-planners.

    It boils down to this: why would you embrace a business philosophy that is so counter to the way you used to do business, it will make many of your core customers disappointed and not want to return?
    You know, I think that's very, very true. There's a minor analogy to the past, too, when the ABCDE tickets co-existed with an "all access" passport for a period of time, before the individual tickets were finally scrapped.

    I'm betting that Disney doesn't even realize that they're in an all-inclusive evolution - or that they're just starting to. The tricks like setting up the buffet at the Terrace shows they weren't prepared for the success of the Dining Plan.

    Hopefully someone at an operational level - since, thus far, the impact has been almost exclusively created at a marketing level - will stumble over a clue. Your suggestions of reserving blocks of tables for various uses is a sound one, and one that works in many industries. I believe that the software Disney uses to manage dining reservations is capable of "releasing" tables in precisely that fashion, if it's configured to do so, so only minor CM training would be required to implement something like that.

    Interestingly, other reservations at WDW could benefit from a "timed" release, as well - golf tee times, for example, or boat reservations, or perhaps even tours. Put a certain amount of inventory on sale six months out or whatever, and then release some inventory the week of, and then in some instances release the rest on the day of. Each venue's percentages might wind up differing over time as you saw how many seats went empty that could have been filled in advance, but it wouldn't take long to tweak it in.

  3. #183

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    Re: 2/13: FastPass the Rolls Please

    Not only did I make dinner reservations MONTHS before my trip, I consulted websites that had menus and decided what I would be ORDERING before my trip. That way I was in, out, done. We opted to eat our counter service meals in the parks, rather than at the Resort and I will NEVER make that mistake again! 20-25 minute long lines and hardly any immediate seating?! NO THANKS! Next trip it's back to the resort food court and dinning reservations all the way, so I can get back to my vacation and stop worrying about my stomach!

  4. #184

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    Re: 2/13: FastPass the Rolls Please

    I worked a short time ago at the Polynesian's 'Ohana. Not too long after I started, the managers let all the cast members know that we would be opening for dinner an hour earlier, because, and I quote, "Disney sold dining plans to more people than there are available tables in the parks."

    What?! I think a lot of the shortcomings in the restaurants are due to stupid moves like that by upper management. I always felt bad when I had to turn people away - I often heard comments like "I paid (X amount of dollars) for this vacation/dining plan and there's nowhere to eat!" And the worst thing was, sometimes we would be told not to take walk-ins - and then maybe an hour later, we'd have all these ADRs that just wouldn't show, and we couldn't get enough people to fill the restaurant until the next wave of ADRs came in. If they're going to do the ADRs, I felt they really ought to enforce accountability for them - the reservation system Disney uses allows any restaurant to go into the computer and make changes to a person's reservations, so it's not like it's super complicated. The greeters at the front of the restaurants don't always have time to do it - but I would always send people just down the elevator to the concierge. If a fee was charged to their room or credit card when they missed a reservation, you can bet people would take the five minutes to call up/stop at guest services/stop at whatever alternative restaurant they chose to eat at and cancel to make it possible for the restaurant to fill their place with a walk in.

  5. #185

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    Re: 2/13: FastPass the Rolls Please

    I completely agree with the concept of accountability, shakarific. Allow people to change or cancel up to 24 hours out, and then charge them if they miss their dining appointment. Not a big charge - maybe $10 or so. But that would both increase incentive to get there and eliminate those who do 2 or 3 different ADR's for the same meal, just to accommodate how they might be feeling on a given night.

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