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Can anybody confirm the legitimacy of this rumor?

Biff215

Well-Known Member
Well,it's only wrong if you only care about margin and not guest experience and you don't mind letting everyone know that. For how many decades has the system they eliminated been just fine?

Handing out cards gives kids the thrill of meeting a new business associate! It's so warm and special! In fact, why do we even need the costumes? The waiter can just bring four cards with your meal!

The key to running an entertainment corporation is to maintain the illusion that some of your emphasis is on "entertainment" rather than "corporation."
I'm not a fan of the cards, but I'm also not okay with sitting at a table waiting for characters when I'm already done eating. They should be able to get the characters to you in a timely fashion without feeling rushed. Again, maybe there are simply way too many tables for four characters to be able to cover.
 

DABIGCHEEZ

Well-Known Member
Perhaps 2 different character sets? Different characters in each(#1 Pooh, Eeyore, Tigger and Piglet and #2 something like Snow White, Dopey, Pinocchio and Gepetto) With each set only visiting 1/2 the restaurant.
Handing out signature cards kind of cheapens the interaction/experience IMO.
 

drizgirl

Well-Known Member
This article from Disneyfoodblog shows what said Pre-Signed cards look like...http://www.disneyfoodblog.com/2017/...n-voyage-character-breakfast-in-disney-world/
Boardwalk-Trattoria-al-Forno-Bon-Voyage-Character-Breakfast-autograph-card-1-700x448.jpg
Why even bother handing out autographs. Just put them online and let people print out their own. Wouldn't that be magical!!!!!
 

drizgirl

Well-Known Member
I'm not a fan of the cards, but I'm also not okay with sitting at a table waiting for characters when I'm already done eating. They should be able to get the characters to you in a timely fashion without feeling rushed. Again, maybe there are simply way too many tables for four characters to be able to cover.
Or maybe they aren't hiring doubles of the characters any more to step in right away when the other steps out for their break. The times we have waited there have been no characters on our side of the restaurant at all.
 

asianway

Well-Known Member
Or maybe they aren't hiring doubles of the characters any more to step in right away when the other steps out for their break. The times we have waited there have been no characters on our side of the restaurant at all.
There's no physical way they could cover the restaurant without using b2b
 

doctornick

Well-Known Member
So, let me preface this with my opinion that I think the whole characters signing is silly and I really don't get it when adults have the characters do it. Yes, for kids who "believe", I can see and understand the value. YMMV and I'm not criticizing, just that it seems like an odd thing to me to do.

With that said, I love this change. We typically do 1 or 2 characters meals a trip as we need to eat anyway and its a good way to get our fill of meeting characters without waiting in significant lines. But I find it really annoying to be done eating and still waiting for the rotation of characters to hit our table -- especially when you can see the characters slowly creeping along as they spend valuable time signing autographs.

I wouldn't be surprised if they are making this change in response to guest complaints and in an effort to satisfy patrons. They've surely gotten a ton of complaints about how slow the characters get around and are trying to do what they can to speed up the process. Turning over tables quicker is certainly a bottom line plus, but it's probably what the majority of guests want too -- who wants to continue to sit in a restaurant at a busy theme park when there are rides to ride and you've already finished your meal?

However, I would also be a fan of having more characters at the meal. It seems like the WDW standard is 4, unlike the greater numbers at DLR. I wish it was more like DLR and each meal might have 7 or 8 or 9 characters. I know some would feel obligated to meet every one, but I think seeing 4 or 5 in a meal would feel like "enough" that I got my time/money's worth and I wouldn't feel like I'd "have to" sit there waiting for me. I mean, it would depend on the character, maybe there would be one I'd really want to meet and would wait but at least it would feel more satisfying with more characters. Even if they wanted to keep Crystal Palace as just Pooh, maybe they could add Rabbit and Owl (or Kanga/Roo).
 

TangledUpInKnots

Active Member
As someone whose number one must do dining experience next trip is trattoria Al forno with my two little girls, I know my oldest (and myself really) would be most devastated if she didn't get the actual autographs of her two favorite princesses but instead just got a card. Especially because our autograph books have room for an autograph on one side and the picture to go along on the other. If they are all on one that wouldn't work so well. I hope they'll continue to sign of asked because my daughters would be heartbroken if they asked and were told no by a favorite character.
 

IanDLBZF

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Even if they wanted to keep Crystal Palace as just Pooh, maybe they could add Rabbit and Owl (or Kanga/Roo).
Rabbit is pop-up character at Epcot Training last I've seen. You're right I'd rather have Rabbit at CP, I doubt they would bring out Owl, Kanga, or Roo (those three haven't done any M&Gs at WDW or DLR).
 

IMFearless

Well-Known Member
The easiest solution would be to change the way the character meals work. For example...
You get taken to your table and seated by Pooh & server when you arrive.
Tigger is always found in the buffet area and you can go up and meet him when you go to get food.
Eyore and piglet could be placed in a meet and greet area which guests pass through as they leave.

I think the issue with rotation is that guests either see the same character more than once during a meal or they end up waiting for a particular character for a long time. There must be a percentage of guests who are not that interested in the characters and are just there for the buffet, as an adult group we tend to prefer the buffets at WDW for the variety and ability to eat what we feel like at the time, the characters are less important to us, and though it is always nice to see kids enjoying meeting their favourite characters it can also be annoying when you are constantly interrupted during the meal.

If the restaurant was set up so guests went to the characters instead of the other way around it would make much more sense.
 

drizgirl

Well-Known Member
The easiest solution would be to change the way the character meals work. For example...
You get taken to your table and seated by Pooh & server when you arrive.
Tigger is always found in the buffet area and you can go up and meet him when you go to get food.
Eyore and piglet could be placed in a meet and greet area which guests pass through as they leave.

I think the issue with rotation is that guests either see the same character more than once during a meal or they end up waiting for a particular character for a long time. There must be a percentage of guests who are not that interested in the characters and are just there for the buffet, as an adult group we tend to prefer the buffets at WDW for the variety and ability to eat what we feel like at the time, the characters are less important to us, and though it is always nice to see kids enjoying meeting their favourite characters it can also be annoying when you are constantly interrupted during the meal.

If the restaurant was set up so guests went to the characters instead of the other way around it would make much more sense.
They would never seat people fast enough with just one person (character) seating them.

Plus I go to character meals to get off my feet and avoid standing in lines. Yuck.
 

DisneyFans4Life

Well-Known Member
I am personally not a fan of cards. To me, one of the nice things of meeting someone (a character, celebrity, etc.) is getting their autograph. This isn't just Disney, but think things like comic book conventions, sporting events, etc...kids (and adults) enough getting stuff signed. I get that this is just an experiment, but I hope they don't follow through with it, or if they do, still offer actual signatures to those who want it. My daughter (and I'll assume my son when he's old enough) loves getting her book ready and giving it to the character to sign.

What might be a better option is to limit the time each character spends at each table, which would put more pressure on each character's handler. This may be something good to implement or "experiment" with around the park at every character experience. Trust me...I totally understand families wanting to spend time with characters, but it can take up a lot of time when a family has to get 10 different picture combinations. The only question is how do you "nicely" limit a family's time with a character and not make them feel like they're being rushed?
 

drizgirl

Well-Known Member
I am personally not a fan of cards. To me, one of the nice things of meeting someone (a character, celebrity, etc.) is getting their autograph. This isn't just Disney, but think things like comic book conventions, sporting events, etc...kids (and adults) enough getting stuff signed. I get that this is just an experiment, but I hope they don't follow through with it, or if they do, still offer actual signatures to those who want it. My daughter (and I'll assume my son when he's old enough) loves getting her book ready and giving it to the character to sign.

What might be a better option is to limit the time each character spends at each table, which would put more pressure on each character's handler. This may be something good to implement or "experiment" with around the park at every character experience. Trust me...I totally understand families wanting to spend time with characters, but it can take up a lot of time when a family has to get 10 different picture combinations. The only question is how do you "nicely" limit a family's time with a character and not make them feel like they're being rushed?
There really is no nice way of limiting time at certain tables. I'm not sure what the right thing is though. If it's a big group and paying for more people, they should get more time. People pay the high prices at character meals for a little extra access. I can't even imagine paying the tab for a large group at one of those meals.
 

jaklgreen

Well-Known Member
I'm not a fan of the cards, but I'm also not okay with sitting at a table waiting for characters when I'm already done eating. They should be able to get the characters to you in a timely fashion without feeling rushed. Again, maybe there are simply way too many tables for four characters to be able to cover.

We used to go there when our kids were little and we always ended up waiting for characters there. It seems like they do a few tables and then disappear so in order to see all of them it takes well over an hour. If the characters need that much of a break then they need to have 2 of each so they can rotate them out and have them constantly out. Or maybe have 1 of each on either side, but they would have to find a way to screen the seating areas so the you did not see 2 Tiggers out, etc.
 

sfbntpc

Member
I don't like the idea of handing out cards, BUT the Crystal Palace has a serious problem with the speed of character rotation and needs to find a way (some other way) to improve the experience. (The obvious solution -- the one WDW is avoiding in the interest of money-grubbing, I assume -- is to have two identical sets of Pooh characters touring at the same time, one in each of the two wings of the dining area, and to restructure the atrium so that those at the buffet won't run the risk of seeing both sets and having to explain to the kids why there are two Tiggers.)

My family had dinner there last November, and although we were pleasantly surprised by the quality and freshness of what we found on the buffet, the timing of our meal was AWFUL. We waited more than 30 minutes to be seated for our 4:55pm reservation, and it took another 90 minutes for just TWO of the four characters to have reached our table -- the other two hadn't even reached our dining room! By that time, we were long finished with our meals, and the characters were preparing to halt their tour of the tables to get ready for a second hourly "parade around the restaurant," even though they hadn't yet made one full circuit through the two dining rooms. DH and the kids ended up simply ambushing (politely) the remaining characters in the other dining room, just so we could get the heck out of there. Had we waited for the characters to get to us on their own time, we'd have spent two-and-a-half hours at the restaurant (three if you count the time we spent waiting to be seated). When it takes more than 2 hours for 4 characters to circulate during a hugely expensive character meal (which would appear to be the reason that within 90 minutes of opening, the restaurant already had a 30+-minute backup to be seated -- it certainly wasn't the fault of the servers, who were all but sprinting from table to table to take care of everybody), there's a problem.
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We had the same experience there about 4 years ago and hadn't been back. People that were seated after us were in and out in an hour because they were seated in an area of the character rotation where they come first. We were seated in the area where part of our party sits in a booth. After 90 minutes we had only seen 2 characters, and I had the manager bring them over to us in the atrium. I agree that they should have 2 sets of characters.
BTW, has anyone been to Ohana's lately?? We were there last month and did not know that Stitch does not come around to the tables anymore. If you don't get a picture with him at the beginning, then you have missed him. Just and FYI...sorry if this ends up getting posted twice, my touch keyboard is so sensitive
 

brb1006

Well-Known Member
So, let me preface this with my opinion that I think the whole characters signing is silly and I really don't get it when adults have the characters do it. Yes, for kids who "believe", I can see and understand the value. YMMV and I'm not criticizing, just that it seems like an odd thing to me to do.

With that said, I love this change. We typically do 1 or 2 characters meals a trip as we need to eat anyway and its a good way to get our fill of meeting characters without waiting in significant lines. But I find it really annoying to be done eating and still waiting for the rotation of characters to hit our table -- especially when you can see the characters slowly creeping along as they spend valuable time signing autographs.

I wouldn't be surprised if they are making this change in response to guest complaints and in an effort to satisfy patrons. They've surely gotten a ton of complaints about how slow the characters get around and are trying to do what they can to speed up the process. Turning over tables quicker is certainly a bottom line plus, but it's probably what the majority of guests want too -- who wants to continue to sit in a restaurant at a busy theme park when there are rides to ride and you've already finished your meal?

However, I would also be a fan of having more characters at the meal. It seems like the WDW standard is 4, unlike the greater numbers at DLR. I wish it was more like DLR and each meal might have 7 or 8 or 9 characters. I know some would feel obligated to meet every one, but I think seeing 4 or 5 in a meal would feel like "enough" that I got my time/money's worth and I wouldn't feel like I'd "have to" sit there waiting for me. I mean, it would depend on the character, maybe there would be one I'd really want to meet and would wait but at least it would feel more satisfying with more characters. Even if they wanted to keep Crystal Palace as just Pooh, maybe they could add Rabbit and Owl (or Kanga/Roo).
Speaking of Pooh, did Owl or Kanga get a makeover a few years ago? Because I remember seeing a photo of one of them at Paris or the other parks. I think it was Owl that I remember the most but it could be my memory messing with me.
 

TubaGeek

God bless the "Ignore" button.
The fact is that a vast majority of dining locations were not made with characters in mind. Locations have to be smaller than perhaps Disney would like, have a dedicated break room so you're not fitting a dozen people (and costumes) in a utility closet, and not have any low ceilings for poor Goofy to knock his stupid Tusker hat against.
 

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