Disney Guests Ask "Where's the Beef?" Prime Rib Missing From Buffets
Prime rib has been replaced on buffet serving lines at Walt Disney World
restaurants with whole strip loins. The official, company line is that the switch was made for aesthetic reasons. Lenny DeGeorge told me that prime rib is not meant to be cut into small slices, which is how people in a buffet situation request it. He says they want smaller portions because they're sampling a lot of different things and don't want to fill up on just prime rib. And when cutting small pieces you can get a lot of fat.
The whole strip loin, he says, is better suited for smaller slicing. So at venues like Boma
, the all-you-can-eat walkabout buffet at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, the prime rib is out and the whole strip loins are in, and on the spit with the signature African blend of spices.
But is that the real reason for the change? Could it be that strip loins are cheaper than standing rib roasts? Restaurants, even those at Walt Disney World, are trying to find ways of cutting costs in this depressed economy.
DeGeorge says the strips are a little less expensive, but he points out that prime rib hasn't been banished entirely from the Kingdom. "We're still using tons and tons of prime rib," he says. You can still find it at such places as Olivia's, Boatwright's and Captain's Grill at the Yacht and Beach Club.
And when he says tons and tons, he means that quite literally. He estimates Disney serves between 400 and 500 thousand pounds of prime rib annually. Just not at all-you-can-eat venues anymore.
So watch that number to go down next year.