Disney Dining Plan ruined Disney dining.

Jrb1979

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 2, 2018
On another Disney board I came across a post that the Disney Dining Plan has ruined good restaurants at Disney. Back in the 90s Disney had an executive named Dieter Hannig who is credited with bringing food up to a high standard. Once the dining plan came along they homogenized everything.

Do not forget how ridiculous it is that guests staying at a hotel can't often get a reservation at their own resort's restaurant for breakfast, which is something that's pretty unheard of anywhere else. Staying at the Polynesian and feel like 'Ohana or Tonga Toast? Sorry they're full.
 
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kaytieeldr

Post hoc, ergo propter hoc
Joined
Jun 11, 2005
:confused3 After 15 years, and with the popularity of the Dining Plans and the homogenization of the menu options, things are unlikely to change.

As for not being able to get a reservation at one's own resort's restaurants? Few, if any, other hotels are part of a 20+ unit resort at THE most popular vacation destination in the world. Diners who want/expect multiple tables each day held just in case hotel guests want to eat there, might be better served (no pun intended) by opting for a free-standing property which practices that.
 


  • Jrb1979

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 2, 2018
    :confused3 After 15 years, and with the popularity of the Dining Plans and the homogenization of the menu options, things are unlikely to change.

    As for not being able to get a reservation at one's own resort's restaurants? Few, if any, other hotels are part of a 20+ unit resort at THE most popular vacation destination in the world. Diners who want/expect multiple tables each day held just in case hotel guests want to eat there, might be better served (no pun intended) by opting for a free-standing property which practices that.
    I know that it won't change but it's worth a discussion to take our minds off what's going on.
     

    Heather07438

    WDW Apprentice
    Joined
    Oct 20, 2015
    The menu's have downgraded too much over the last 5 yrs and I see it as a direct result of DDP. They systematically removed expensive ingredients until we're left with NY strip steak, chicken, and string beans on every menu. Buffets are jacked up to $60 to help DDP look like a value. DDP has become detrimental to the WDW food experience.

    We were disappointed with DDP in December. The only way to avoid food pitfalls is by investing hours of time researching and planning. It shouldn't be that hard to get a decent meal when a family is budgeting hundreds of dollars a day for food. We used to enjoy it. Now it just keeps declining each year.
     

    Jrb1979

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 2, 2018
    The menu's have downgraded too much over the last 5 yrs and I see it as a direct result of DDP. They systematically removed expensive ingredients until we're left with NY strip steak, chicken, and string beans on every menu. Buffets are jacked up to $60 to help DDP look like a value. DDP has become detrimental to the WDW food experience.

    We were disappointed with DDP in December. The only way to avoid food pitfalls is by investing hours of time researching and planning. It shouldn't be that hard to get a decent meal when a family is budgeting hundreds of dollars a day for food. We used to enjoy it. Now it just keeps declining each year.
    It shouldn't be that hard to get a decent meal. You shouldn't need to make a spreadsheet just to make sure you're getting your money's worth. There is a reason most people have Disney Springs restaurants in their best list over other property ones.
     

    sharonabe

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 22, 2009
    It shouldn't be that hard to get a decent meal. You shouldn't need to make a spreadsheet just to make sure you're getting your money's worth. There is a reason most people have Disney Springs restaurants in their best list over other property ones.
    Care to share what that reason might be since all the Disney Springs restaurants ALSO participate in the DDP? By your own statement, these restaurants should also have mediocre food offerings, so why are these in the best list?
     
  • Jrb1979

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 2, 2018
    Care to share what that reason might be since all the Disney Springs restaurants ALSO participate in the DDP? By your own statement, these restaurants should also have mediocre food offerings, so why are these in the best list?
    Almost all of Disney Springs restaurants are 3rd party and not owned by Disney. I doubt a lot of people on the dining plan go there a lot.
     

    MickeyWaffles

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 28, 2010
    Almost all of Disney Springs restaurants are 3rd party and not owned by Disney. I doubt a lot of people on the dining plan go there a lot.
    I disagree. I think a lot of people use the DDP at Disney Springs. Every year, contracts are negotiated and 3rd party owned restaurants show up temporarily as not accepting dining plans. People freak out every time until it gets finalized.

    You also can get a lot for the dining plan cost at Disney Springs - Homecomin’ in particular is a great 1 credit meal value.

    Lots of people take a day off from the parks & go to Disney Springs. Value resorts don’t have TS, and moderate offerings are limited. Lots of people eat at Springs on an “off” day.

    Also, look at people’s dining lists here on the boards. Lots of people use the DDP at Disney Springs.
     
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    sandieb

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 5, 2002
    I don't know the percentage of guests who use the DDP - I suspect it is considerably smaller than folks paying per meal. I would hesitate to think the DDP is responsible for the homogeny in menus and limited choices. I do agree that many of the Disney Springs restaurants offer more creative menus.
     
  • maxiesmom

    The Mean Squinty Eye Works
    Joined
    Jul 6, 2004
    I don't know the percentage of guests who use the DDP - I suspect it is considerably smaller than folks paying per meal. I would hesitate to think the DDP is responsible for the homogeny in menus and limited choices. I do agree that many of the Disney Springs restaurants offer more creative menus.
    I firmly believe the guests are to blame. Any time Disney rolls out a menu that is a bit different, there is much wailing and gnashing of teeth. What, no chicken nuggets? I only like simple food, I can't eat anything on this menu! And don't get me started on how they had to redo the menus in Star Wars land because people couldn't figure out (by reading) what the food actually was!!

    Disney for the most part caters to the masses.
     

    rwdavis2

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 2, 2007
    Care to share what that reason might be since all the Disney Springs restaurants ALSO participate in the DDP? By your own statement, these restaurants should also have mediocre food offerings, so why are these in the best list?
    Probably because most are not owned by Disney. Just a guess.
     

    sethschroeder

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 24, 2013
    Care to share what that reason might be since all the Disney Springs restaurants ALSO participate in the DDP? By your own statement, these restaurants should also have mediocre food offerings, so why are these in the best list?
    Because Disney knows it has your money and profit from pushing the DDP. You miss out on the 1 or 2 places you really wanted a few days won't change you cancelling the DDP even if the food is okay (and overpriced for what you get).

    On the flip side the DS restaurants need to fight for you to come to their restaurants hoping once there you spend more on alcohol and other things not included in the DDP.

    I don't think anyone can't say DDP has negatively impacted food as I doubt menu prices would have went up as much if it was all oop.

    The only place where DDP maybe had helped is Epcot with pushing more options but not sure.
     

    vinotinto

    Just Keep Swimming
    Joined
    Sep 20, 2009
    Disney Springs has some good food. They get a lot more of the non-DDP, local guest and because of that, they have to make the menus interesting and the food worthwhile.

    And I agree about Poly. When we last stayed there, I tried arriving early for breakfast and getting seated without an ADRs. After a few days of this, I made an ADR. Would be nice if you could get seated as a perk for staying at the resort. But, I don’t think that is the DDP’s fault because most don’t want to use their TS credit on a $15 entree. From the loud and crowded lobby, to the pool hoppers, to the packed restaurants and bars, Poly is often the Victim of its own success.
     

    nkereina

    Last chance to lose your keys.
    Joined
    Feb 11, 2009
    I think cost and expense management played a larger role in homogenizing everything than the dining plan did. Its much more cost efficient to order and make items in bulk, using fewer suppliers, fewer products, and fewer people but with a greater output. Disney is also feeding the masses from all walks of life with all sorts of health concerns, and they are known for catering to those kind of travelers. They have to "dumb down" the food to keep it simple to appease the masses.
     

    Ecomommy09

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 6, 2019
    I have had some very good meals at WDW. I'm never sure what all the fuss is about. It is a theme park, after all. My closest theme park (Dollywood) has some good food to, but it is STILL theme park food. I certainly don't expect a restaurant as good as Tiffins or Skipper Canteen in a theme park.

    The hotels also have some very good options.
     





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