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Has the disney dining plan ruined disney dining?

Discussion in 'Restaurants, Dining, Dining Plans' started by AKLnut, Sep 13, 2008.

  1. AKLnut
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    AKLnut Imagineer

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    friends just back are saying they felt more rushed than ever, service was worse, food was worse

    Is this all the disney dining plan? Is it particularly bad during free dining?

    How about the question of whether you get better or worse service if you're on the dining plan?
     
  2. Tink
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    Tink Cead Mille Failte! Staff Member Administrator

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    In my opinion? Yes to all the above.

    It's no secret that I have nothing good to say about the DDP. :sorry:

    It's ruined spontaneous dining. There is no more walking up to any full service restuarant. During free dining it's particularly bad. We were there staying on property and had ADRs during the stay at several places.

    Each place was mobbed (and we had later ADRs trying to avoid too much chaos) with screaming kids who really needed to be in bed instead of waiting for their dinners. :sigh;

    The service is markedly different from my unscientific point of view. You are asked if you are on the DDP of course, and when you say no, you are greeted with a beaming smile and a great service.

    The quality of the food is hit or miss. At the YSH and Bistro de Paris we had no loss of quality. Kona Cafe was so poor (service and quality) that we won't be returning anytime soon.

    So, for me? I'm not happy with the affects of the DDP on Disney dining at all!
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2008
  3. Slowhand
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    Slowhand Cruise Director Forum Host

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    Totally agree with those comments Tink.
    Many of the CM`s I`ve spoken to have also the same opinion. :mad:

    Bring back the good old days of relaxed dining, albeit using PS`s [or ADR`s as they are now called] is my view on the subject.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2008
  4. uscwest
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    uscwest Senior Cast Member

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    I also totally agree with Tink and Slowhand. While we eat at a lot of the signature places we also eat at the non signature and have indeed notice a downfall in the service.
     
  5. Tink
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    Tink Cead Mille Failte! Staff Member Administrator

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    Yes. I have no real problem with making ADRs, although I really did like the days that saw us strolling the WS of a Friday evening and then deciding where we wanted to eat and GETTING IN! *gasp*

    I'll happily make an ADR if I know I'm going to have a relaxed dinner, good service and food commesurate with the cost.

    This last time was a real eye opener. Using YSH as an example, the place was heaving with people waiting outside the actual restaurant for their seating. Kids were running up and down the hallway shrieking, crying, asking to go for ice cream, not understanding that they couldn't swim in the pool. :sigh; Some of the adults weren't much better. Shouting at the podium staff that they had a RESERVATION and didn't see WHY THEY HAD TO WAIT... :sigh;

    We took refuge (as we always do) at the Crew's Cup lounge which was surprisingly empty and quite peaceful, and had a nice pre-dinner drink and chance to visit. Once we crossed into the YSH and were placed in Ricardo's very capable and impeccable service hands, all really was well, however the noise level of the restaurant was markedly higher than at any other time we had been.

    Again, people not familiar with the menu talking loudly about "what the hell is that do you suppose" and kids saying "YUCK THIS IS GROSS!"

    If families are going to dine in a nicer restaurant with an atmosphere that is conducive to low voices and pardon me, manners then they need to educate themselves and their offspring before hand. I know that sounds dreadfully harsh, but I promise you if I had behaved the way the majority of the children I saw that night (and no, I'm not talking exclusively about two year olds, there were children well into their teens behaving like hooligans) my parents would have removed me from the restaurant and there would have a very unpleasant "discussion" ensuing. When we were taken to a proper restaurant we were taught and expected to behave with proper manners.

    There. I sound like a hateful old woman now don't I? :sorry:
     
  6. keith
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    keith Camera nut Staff Member Administrator Forum Host

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    Agree with everyone here, it's taken an awful turn for the worse! I guess Disney's view is that they've managed to pack every restaurant so more money for them, but long term it has an effect on level of enjoyment and return business (in my opinion)

    The crews cup now does a limited YSH menu and no booking needed. I did this last time and it was brilliant!
     
  7. Tink
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    Tink Cead Mille Failte! Staff Member Administrator

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    :yes: It was clear that the DDP hadn't yet invaded that sanctuary. :lol:

    DDP is going to end up being a mistake in the long run. Many, many people who go to Disney as adults for adult dining experiences (that doesn't mean no children present, it means excellent service and gourmet/high quality food) have already started to head elsewhere with their dollars.

    We used to spend nearly every "dining out" dollar with WDW. Now? Only if we are staying there. We've taken to exploring our locale and have found some wonderful places that give us what Disney no longer can't seem to do.

    CMs in the nicer restaurants have noticed the difference, and have tried to reason with "management" but to no avail.

    I guess we will have to adjust our thinking back to the days when Disney was a great theme park but a lousy place to eat. (Not ALL that long ago).
     
  8. Slowhand
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    Slowhand Cruise Director Forum Host

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    Those were the days eh?
    It would be nice once in a while to be able to decide where and when to dine without having to make that decision months in advance! :mad: This is one of the reasons why we are using more and more off site places whenever we visit, much as we love dining on site.
     
  9. keith
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    keith Camera nut Staff Member Administrator Forum Host

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    Agree completely!

    We were fortunate to dine offsite with Slowhand and his charming wife. The difference in service, quality and heck value for money too was extremely noticeable.

    We would normally only dine offsite once a visit perhaps but in December we've already booked several offsite, upscale places.
     
  10. keith
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    keith Camera nut Staff Member Administrator Forum Host

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    I remember walking up to Le Cellier, being seated immediately at a great table. Excellent service, not so packed that it was unpleasent, server took time to explain the offerings etc. Perfect.
     
  11. Slowhand
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    Slowhand Cruise Director Forum Host

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    You are getting me all nostalgic for the good old days now Keith. :cry2:
     
  12. Tink
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    Tink Cead Mille Failte! Staff Member Administrator

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    Yes! Yes! Those are the days I'm talking about.

    Walking up to the French cafe (downstairs) and being seated. Ordering "pour le table" and having a wonderful meal with a server who was truly interested in our enjoyment of the food and the time!

    Auld lang syne. :sigh;

    I will say, the service at the Bistro de Paris is quite nice still. :yes: They are not safe from the DDP though. There was a large party there when we were (maybe 8 adults) and they were carrying on terribly. :sigh;
     
  13. MystikPiglit
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    MystikPiglit Peace, Love and Mickey Mouse

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    No, you don't. :hug2:

    That's how I was brought up and how I brought my children up. I am a strong believer in good manners and correct behaviour. Sadly, we seem to be a dying breed....

    So, would you agree that it's better not to be on the DDP? DH has never thought of it as a good idea but I assumed as it was so popular that it was worth doing?
     
  14. Figment
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    Figment Imagineer

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    We must have just been very lucky with our servers. With only one exception, we had absolutely lovely servers who spent lots of time with us...making suggestions, checking back often, offering extra little touches with no demands. Even the one exception was certainly not a terrible server, he simply paled in comparison to the really wonderful ones.

    I cannot comment on quality remaining the same, because before the DDP, we were never able to afford to eat at very many of the table service restaurants. I'm sorry so many of you have such bad experiences, but we really enjoy having the opportunity. My son, however, is an angel :)D) and has never been the cause of any bad behavior in a restaurant situation.

    We did see one example of uncontrollable kids when we were at Liberty Tree Tavern...a couple of children waiting in the foyer ran up to Goofy asking for an autograph...the *handler* wasn't paying any attention (was chatting up a server) and poor Goofy had no real choice other than to sign their books. Oh, and there was another family sitting on a bench near the steps that was letting their toddler play on the steps nearly causing a huge wipeout with our server.:slap: Parents should have never let that happen.
     
  15. Beccaberry
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    Beccaberry She's beccalicious! Forum Host

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    So if I'm being honest I have to say when I first started reading these threads (and there are LOADS of them because it is a HOT BUTTON issue at the moment) I always felt a bit "embarrassed". I worried that because people disliked the DDP and what it had done to dining in general at WDW, they would look down on my family and I for taking advantage of it when it was offered for free.

    Since *really* reading the threads for their worth and not just reading them "on the defensive" I have learned that most people who are frustrated aren't frustrated with those using the DDP, they are frustrated with Disney for OFFERING it without being able to MANAGE it properly.

    Personally, I feel fortunate that we're able to take advantage of the DDP...would I *purchase* it? No, not a chance. But when we have the opportunity to eat in places we normally would not, I feel quite fortunate. I also have manners, and my children have manners (at least in public, where it matters :wink: ) That being said, I think ANYTIME you encounter unruly or uncouth people disturbing the enjoyment of someone's meal, it is just plain rude. I don't care if your at Bistro De Paris or Pizza Hut, it's uncalled for. And if I had to choose between having the dining plan for free w/ bad service/bad food/bad experiences or eating counter service every meal every trip for the rest of my life in contentment....I'd pick the counter service EVERY time. I saw a sign today that read, "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of a low price is forgotten." This has never been more true then when applied to this situation.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2008
  16. MystikPiglit
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    MystikPiglit Peace, Love and Mickey Mouse

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    So, summing up -

    For free = good idea
    Paying for it = not so good?
     
  17. Beccaberry
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    Beccaberry She's beccalicious! Forum Host

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    I would agree with that MP...though others might not...*AND* some might even throw in a third option altogether...

    GET RID OF IT AND BRING BACK THE GOOD OLE DAYS :D
     
  18. Tink
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    Tink Cead Mille Failte! Staff Member Administrator

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    DIIIIING!!! WE HAVE A GRAND PRIZE WINNER!!!! :yes:

    Under no circumstances is my dislike (and disparaging) of the DDP aimed at anyone who uses it at all. We used it once too.

    It's totally directed at the managment of the program by WDW.

    I know that some folks would never be able to try some of the restaurants at WDW without DDP, and in particular free DDP. If I were offered a free dining plan, I'd take it and I'd be choosing restaurants that I couldn't otherwise afford, and I'd choose those items on the menu that I couldn't otherwise afford. That's just clear as day for me. Why wouldn't you?

    I am really pleased that Figment had an excellent experience! :yes: I really hope you do to, Becca. :yes:

    Remember, I've been around a long while (careful there, not quite so much sniggering at the back) and remember when you could walk up to nearly any restaurant and be seated, fed quite well, and not feel as though your pockets had been vacuumed. I remember when the Buffet at Germany was one of the best values on property (along with Akershus). It was roughly $12 to have lunch there ($15 for dinner) with entertainment, great service and food that was much more authentic then than it is now. :yes:

    Are all the changes due to DDP? Nope. But it is a major factor in the reduction of quality and the move toward bland recipes instead of recipes authentic to the country in which you are dining (in EPCOT I mean) or to the cuisine that you are eating otherwise. :yes:

    I remember one of our favorite things to do for lunch was to go to France's Bakery or Norway's and get the cheese plate and some wine. It was filling, and enough for two to share for a light lunch. We looked at the cheese plate this last stay and I was honestly saddened. Gone was the authentic experience replaced by three (maybe four) miserably thin slices of mundane cheese. :(

    Norway no longer offers a cheese plate or those wonderful (authentic) open faced sandwiches. :(

    Again, not all due to DDP but the DDP exacerbates the "condition" if that makes any sense.

    And yepper, my parents would haul us out of McDonalds if we didn't behave properly there just as quick as they would a more elegant restaurant. :yes:
     
  19. Johnie
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    Johnie Budget Queen Forum Host

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    We've enjoyed the DDP every time it has been offered free. We also paid for it in May when they had the special for AP holders. I've eaten everywhere in Disney except most of the 2 TS credit places. With and without the DDP, I have had mostly great service. The times I recall poor service has been when we haven't used the DDP. We were treated like red headed step children in Le Cellier once upon a time until I ordered alcohol (then he perked up :mad:). I suppose he thought since DD and I were sharing that he would get stiffed for a tip. I overtip to compensate for that. I don't tip well for bad attitudes though. The other time was when we went to Sci Fi and just ordered shakes and onion rings. Again a surly server who must have overheard my quiet complaint to beccaberry b/c his attitude did a complete 360.

    Personally, I think they should get rid of the DDP. I've noticed they've raised prices in many of the restaurants. I won't pay OOP for that, even with my DDP discount. It's ridiculous and there are LOTS of lovely off site restaurants.

    I WISH they'd bring back the vouchers. Those were a FABULOUS deal!!!
     
  20. disneywishmom
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    disneywishmom Earning my ears

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    We have always dined at the Disney Table Service resturants without the DDP. We even ate at some of the 2 TS places without the plan. We would just budget it into the trip. However, this time we are using the DDP cause we went through a travel agent. I am nervous about it cause we are not big "quick service" fans (for dietary reasons). We know it will save money, but I don't know if I will like having to think about it during the trip. Like, "How many snacks do we have now?"
     

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