Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Year Of A Million Dreams to have Nightmare Ending?

Like Fantasmic, but without the Sternwheeler and Sorcerer Mickey, Walt Disney World's Year of a Million Dreams will come to a crashing end. Already gifts awarded have dwindled and the promotion machine in marketing has moved onto their next projects leaving YOAMD to crumble into dust.

Good riddance to bad rubbish, I say. Bring back the type of contest where everyone is a winner, if it's not a new car (Perhaps the Chevy Volt), or a shopping spree, then it's at least a 20% dining discount or free dessert. Or... how about new parades, shows, and a great theme!

Adding to the nightmare ending is the announced closing of Pleasure Island's night clubs including the well-liked and unique Adventurer's Club. is organizing a mailing protest where fans of the club send in masks. Although the site doesn't suggest where, I recommend sending it to John Lasseter's office. He probably has the most sympathetic ear.

Answering Disney fans prayer's everywhere Disney is finally getting rid of some of the massively over saturated character dinners. Alas, they're closing the wrong one. Princesses in Norway should be going and the unique dining experience returning, but instead they're closing the excellent character fest at Liberty Tree Tavern in the Magic Kingdom. I'm sure it looks better on the spreadsheet, but it's just bad show. Once again evidence that Goofy is in charge over there. The rumored date for this transition is sometime around the new year.

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Monday, July 7, 2008

Disney Dining at WDW to go back to 90 day window

MouseExtra chimes in with a rumor related to the one I posted below.

it appears Disney may be making a change to their dining reservations system.  Apparently they are going back to a 90 day window for advanced booking, from the 180 day window that currently exists.  There will be three exceptions, Chef Mickey’s, Cinderella’s Royal Table, and Victoria and Alberts.
Not sure if this will solve the DDP quality and value problem, but it's definitely a step in the right direction.

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Sunday, July 6, 2008

Changes coming to Disney Dining Plan at WDW?

Disney's Dining Plan was originally intended to give Disney Resort Guests an option for an all-inclusive experience, similar to what you find on the Disney Cruise Line. It certainly has been a good program for the first few years. In fact, Disney has even offered the DDP for free to encourage guests to book longer stays during the off-season.

So what's the problem? Well, the collateral damage from the DDP has been worse than anticipated.

  • Quality and value for the dollar has suffered in feedback and survey results at Disney's many sit-down restaurants.
  • The price of the DDP has been raised and gratuities are no longer included. This reduces the value for guests and complicates matters for the serving staff.
  • Complaints from Disney's most valued repeat customers, mostly Disney Vacation Club owners, have risen to the point where many are looking to use their points off Disney property and sales of new DVC contracts are dropping off. 
  • Additionally, the DDP puts a strain on the dining system causing sit down restaurants to book up months in advance with the low-margin DDP diners leaving few tables for guests who actually pay full menu price for the items they order. 
Now, forces appear to be in motion to put an end to this problem while still offering Disney Resort Guests something of an all-inclusive experience. One of the options being considered is a return to the Silver, Gold, and Platinum packages that would let guests choose an option that includes just snacks and counter service.

While I agree that Pleasure Island needs some reworking to fit in with the new image Disney is wanting to project for Downtown Disney, I'm afraid their perceived demand for more Dining is skewed by the DDP. Removing the pressure DDP puts on the Disney Dining system and bringing some profit margin stability back into the equation should be satisfied first before bringing in additional outside vendors.

I don't know what Disney will choose to do, but it's clear that they must do something before it's too late. Any suggestions from the peanut gallery?

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