Important. Tasty. Life-sustaining.
An integral part of a magical WDW vacation, right?
Well, to see all those morbidly obese folks at the MK, it must be (even if all they eat is fried, greasy junk food).
Here's a theory: WDW Dining is heading to an all-time low due to a pin-trading sized push for selling its dining plan to onsite guests.
Much like DVC, Disney is using the dining plan as a guaranteed profit in the bank before you ever arrive at WDW. You've bought your meals in advance. So, please follow me, where's the incentive to provide the same level of quality ... and with the gratuity included, service too? Why not continue lowering quality and selections? Much like a DVCer who's paid for their vacations for decades to come, the meals are paid for and you aren't getting a refund if there suddenly are only four entrees on the menu.
I can't help but notice this as menus shrink even more, favorite items are eliminated, prices go up, restaurants have every table booked weeks and months out ... and, oh yeah, one of the key execs involved in the marketing/selling of the dining plan got a major promotion based on short term gain he was able to help generate with the plan (the second of his very ordinary career, btw).
In the meantime, things are cut, more of the Disney quality gets wittled away.
Some examples of the lowering of quality across the board:
Don't expect a bread service with any lunch across property because Disney has determined that they just can't afford to offer it. I watched a European family (on said dining plan) react with shock at Captain Jack's last week when told 'they took all our bread away ... all we have is the sandwich bread and we're not allowed to give that out.' I saw this coming months ago at Liberty Tree Tavern. Now, it's property-wide.
A manager at a DD restaurant (an operating partner) that participates in the plan explained how his menu has changed three times recently because they can't afford to give away their higher quality items the way Disney (AKA ... WALTmart) can, so less choice, less quality for everyone.
One of my fave locations for a drink at Epcot, the Matsunoma lounge in Japan is no longer open. No, it's been made into overflow seating for the restaurants at Japan destroying yet another location. Now, why are the pavillion's restauarants so popular in 2006 when for 24 years there's been no need to expand? I'm sure it has nothing to do with the WALTmart dining plan. When a group of us tried to have drinks there the other day, the manager at the podium (clearly a local, not Japanese) explained the situation to us. Then, afraid we were either execs in disguise or consultants (which of course we are, just the non-paid variety), came after us, noticing our disgust, and offered to get us the first table available and assured us that even if we had only drinks and no appetizer we'd still be served. We politely declined saying if the servers are now used to 18% gratuities on large food checks, they aren't going to be happy with four people (two of which don't drink alcohol) having a drink or two.
You can now go to Wendy's and get a white-meat chicken breast sandwich for 99 cents. But don't expect to find any quality chicken (or beef) at Yakitori House (again, once one of my fave quick serve eateries).
After two-plus decades of serving high quality breast meat, about 18 months ago YH switched to some kind of mystery, low quality, dark, disgusting chunks. I complained through intermediaries ... who were lied to that 'we only use the finest products.' So it must be just me, right? No one notices these things, right? People would eat cow turd if Disney served it, right?
Apparently not. I've heard that Disney has received MANY complaints about the obviously lower quality (and yet higher priced, funny huh?) meat now used. But in an incredibly ballsy show, did Disney raise the quality back? Nah. They just now in big bold letters on the menu let you know that you are getting assorted THIGH meat. In other words, they proudly tell you they are serving crap that even McDonald's won't put in their Nuggets. Where's the OLC when you need them?
Price gouging is in full force. $40 for salmon at Artist Point? Fish is expensive, what can you do? Or is it designed to simply let people on the plan THINK they are getting a deal, while encouraging those who aren't to think twice?
Then there's the poor CMs. Apparently due to all the people getting the food plan for free from 8/13 through 9/30, all CM food discounts are suspended for this period. Yes. Again Disney shows just how much they value their cast.
I actually had to break this news to a handful of frontliners who hadn't heard about it.
Finally, at the risk of being called a hypocrite, I admit I'm going to be on the dining plan this fall too. Considering that I'm a fat guy that likes to eat, I thought it was worth trying out.
I'm anxious to see just how much quality is taken out of the equation when everyone dining is on the plan. How many more items will disappear? How much fat will suddenly appear on my steaks? How the salads will shrink in size? How many of the creative desserts will disappear in favor of apple pie, chocolate cake and cheesecake? In advance, I picked up menus from all the places I'll be dining at this fall so look for a compare and contrast when the time comes.
Anyone think I'm being too critical? (that's rhetorical, btw)
Anyone want to argue how great this is for guests?