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The Downtown Disney Thread

freebird72

Member
Good to know I'm not a jinx and others have had the same Amateur Hour experience at Steakhouse 55. I've never been in their private dining room in back though, I've just gone in with family a few times and was seated in a big booth. The last visit was several years ago when I finally wrote Steakhouse 55 off for good.

The giant warning flag for all should be the cocktail bar out front; that place is run like a bar at a Chili's in a mall parking lot. And then there's that hostess stand, staffed by some rather unfortunate souls who clearly have no idea that they are supposed to be the first impression for a swanky steakhouse. I assumed they are the same unpolished check-in staff that works at Goofy's Kitchen 30 feet away, and a few days a week they put on a lumpy burgundy blazer and work the Steakhouse 55 podium instead?

When you are charging the prices a fancy steakhouse needs to charge to meet their business plan, there is a level of polish and panache' and presentation and professionalism that simply HAS TO BE displayed. Steakhouse 55 was blessed with a lovely interior design by WDI, and then they ran it into the ground by staffing it and managing it with CM's who quite clearly have no idea how Fine Dining Steakhouses are supposed to work.
We did a private party in the Oak Room in August. The food was good, but the service was definitely not on par with a high end steakhouse. We had two servers, who were clearly covering other tables while they handled our party, the two were not communicating with one another, the lead server was rough (she could have been working in a diner with that manner) and the 2nd server was clearly inexperienced.
 

Disney Irish Bruh

Well-Known Member
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Hmmm... My guess would be a free shuttle between the two places. ART is worthless, but TDA partnering with Gardenwalk on a direct shuttle wouldn't be a bad idea.
I didn't bring it up before because it seemed like an outlandish idea, but now not so outlandish. My thought is that TDA could be trying to partner with one of the two new hotels at Gardenwalk. Basically give it the Disney brand while still being run by Marriott.

So outside of Disney just buying Gardenwalk outright, which may or may not be possible, this seems the most likely of news.
 

TP2000

Well-Known Member
We did a private party in the Oak Room in August. The food was good, but the service was definitely not on par with a high end steakhouse. We had two servers, who were clearly covering other tables while they handled our party, the two were not communicating with one another, the lead server was rough (she could have been working in a diner with that manner) and the 2nd server was clearly inexperienced.
I've never dined in the Oak Room, but not surprised their servers are the same as the regular dining room. And I gave up on that place after several visits where our server was all dressed up for the big show, but then it all fell flat as it was obvious they had no idea what fine dining service was about, how to deliver it, or any concept of fine details that must be attended to when you are a customer in an expensive steakhouse.

And then the Steakhouse 55 hostess stand and the cocktail bar out front are strictly amateur hour; like something you'd expect from a Chili's in a mall parking lot.

What is acceptable from staff at Wine Country Trattoria or a Cheesecake Factory is not acceptable at Ruth's Chris or Morton's or Capital Grille or what should be acceptable at Steakhouse 55 if they are going to pretend to be the same thing as the other real steakhouses.

Disneyland management is obviously really, really bad at training and then holding accountable the CM's they have for high-end experiences.
 

THE 1HAPPY HAUNT

Well-Known Member
The Capital Grille at South Coast Plaza has a huge portrait of Walt Disney in the back dining room, on the east facing wall.

However, the hostess at that Capital Grille always knows to seat me in the corner next to the portrait of John Wayne. I've had many happy meals and cocktails there in that corner with the Duke. And unlike the spineless dweebs in TDA, the Capital Grille had the cojones to leave the filter tip Winston in John Wayne's hand in that portrait.

View attachment 326926

But the real story here is the concept that The Capital Grille could take over ESPNZone. This tells me TDA is finally giving up on their Steakhouse 55 concept; a restaurant that did a good job with their interior design and well designed menu, but then let it all fall apart with their poor training of dining room staff, sloppy overall presentation, with a shockingly amateur cocktail bar out front, and a first-impressions hostess corps that has all the charm and beauty of a swap meet parking lot staff. For years Steakhouse 55 has been a lackluster dining experience that is great for the first two minutes as you look at all the swanky-retro pictures on the wall, then it slides down into Stewart Anderson's territory once you realize how badly trained and managed the CM staff is. :confused:

There is no way in heck TDA is going to keep Steakhouse 55 in business if there's a real steakhouse like Capital Grille with top notch service standards and sparkling polish and swanky panache' in business 100 yards away. Turn Steakhouse 55 into an extension of Goofy's Kitchen and give the kids more room to do the Macarena as they fight over the trough of Marshmallow Mac N' Cheese.

In short, apparently TDA is willing to admit they can’t cut it at the aging DLH and they’ll turn the Resort’s steakhouse business over to a company who can.
I liked it better when it was a parking lot
 

Darkbeer1

Well-Known Member
I also read somewhere that the AMC Garden Walk was canceled. Not sure if this is still the case but can anyone confirm?
I can confirm that AMC is being built next to the House of Blues at GardenWalk, signage is up, and construction has started.

With the JW Marriott progressing nicely, AMC is happy with the decision to move to AGW. Easier parking for locals, and a good base of hotel visitors to sell tickets to.
 

Darkbeer1

Well-Known Member
This morning I was talking to two friends who are very well-connected in OC's business/commercial real estate market. They had no specific information about The Capital Grille going in to the ESPNZone building, but the word is out amongst that community that TDA's property management team is actively trying to refill all of the square footage on that end of Downtown Disney with multi-year leases.

TDA is going the big corporate route right now; Darden, Landry's, etc. to try and get this space filled quickly, with at least some of it coming back online by next summer for Star Wars, but the full re-build of that area not complete until late 2019. But the spaces are being offered to deep pocket corporate interests who can put established brands in there as fast as possible. It would take longer and be more piecemeal if they continued the strategy they've been using on the opposite end of Downtown Disney the last few years, by going after small, regional businesses like Salt&Straw, Ballast Point, etc.

Also, there's an angle here that involves GardenWalk, but I'm just going to leave it at that as it's very sensitive to all involved. ;)

Again, while these knowledgeable men had no specific information about The Capital Grille or any other brands going into adjacent buildings, the word is out in the real estate world that TDA is refilling that property with multi-year leases from big corporate interests. The 4th Hotel on or around Downtown Disney is deader than the PeopleMover at this point.
I can agree with everything in this post, now that I have freedom to speak.
 

Darkbeer1

Well-Known Member
I didn't bring it up before because it seemed like an outlandish idea, but now not so outlandish. My thought is that TDA could be trying to partner with one of the two new hotels at Gardenwalk. Basically give it the Disney brand while still being run by Marriott.

So outside of Disney just buying Gardenwalk outright, which may or may not be possible, this seems the most likely of news.
Well, the ALWI is now law, but then lawsuits will be filed, and that will be a MAJOR circus.

Anyway, GardenWalk is subject to the ALWI, and if Disney gets involved, then it becomes subject to the ALWI resort wide, NO WAY will Disney do that. So unless lawsuits have Disney subject to the ALWI (unlikely), Disney will do nothing in regards to AGW, the 2 Hotels or the Time Share.
 

Disney Irish Bruh

Well-Known Member
Well, the ALWI is now law, but then lawsuits will be filed, and that will be a MAJOR circus.

Anyway, GardenWalk is subject to the ALWI, and if Disney gets involved, then it becomes subject to the ALWI resort wide, NO WAY will Disney do that. So unless lawsuits have Disney subject to the ALWI (unlikely), Disney will do nothing in regards to AGW, the 2 Hotels or the Time Share.
Even if its a licensing situation where its only the Disney name put on the property?
 

Darkbeer1

Well-Known Member
Even if its a licensing situation where its only the Disney name put on the property?
Maybe, because Disney would be making profit from a Resort Property that has a tax subsidy with the city. Based on a first reading of the law (a legal term, I have read that thing way too many times!) I would say yes in a court of law.
 

Disney Irish Bruh

Well-Known Member
Maybe, because Disney would be making profit from a Resort Property that has a tax subsidy with the city. Based on a first reading of the law (a legal term, I have read that thing way too many times!) I would say yes in a court of law.
Interesting, well lets hope ALWI gets struck down in court then.
 

SSG

Well-Known Member

Tue, December 18, 2018
Wetzel’s Pretzels Re-Opens its Flagship Store in the Downtown Disney District at Disneyland Resort

by Valerie Lee, Public Relations Manager, Disneyland Resort

Pretzel lovers rejoice! Wetzel’s Pretzels, an innovator of soft, fresh-baked pretzels, has returned to the Downtown Disney District at the Disneyland Resort after an extensive renovation. Wetzel’s celebrated its grand re-opening today with a deejay, festivities and a giant pretzel wall game, plus its famous pretzels you know and love!

This flagship store features a California-inspired design with an indoor-outdoor feel and a modern, upscale look. Wetzel’s commissioned two local artists: Trek Thunder Kelly and Dan Medina. Kelly, known for his large-scale murals—including the Sky Mural in Venice Beach—painted a mural that wraps around the inside of the store with images of Pasadena, Wetzel’s hometown, and 25 hidden pretzels as a nod to Wetzel’s 25th anniversary. Medina, known for his bronze sculptures, such as the Antonio Aguilar monument in Los Angeles, designed custom door handles that create a pretzel when the doors are closed.

What’s your perfect pretzel? Is it the Cheese Meltdown, a Pepperoni Twist, a Wetzel Dog, a Cin-A-Bitz or the Original? In the Downtown Disney District, Wetzel’s Pretzels serves its most popular items, including the company’s full line of pretzels, Wetzel’s Dogs, Bitz, and fresh and frozen lemonade. The pretzels are baked from scratch throughout the day from simple ingredients such as flour, filtered water, yeast and a touch of salt; it’s been the Wetzel’s way since the company’s first location opened 25 years ago.

Downtown Disney District is the place to be with a myriad of exciting venues, shops and entertainment. This year, the promenade welcomed Splitsville Luxury Lanes, The VOID, The Disney Dress Shop, Salt & Straw scoop shop, a reimagined World of Disney store and the new Napolini. Soon the district will welcome the new Naples Ristorante e Bar, Ballast Point brewery and Black Tap Craft Burgers & Shakes, all coming soon!
 

jmuboy

Well-Known Member
Why not a steakhouse? Can't there be more than one of a particular type of restaurant within the DLR? Last time I checked there was more than one place that served hamburgers. So I don't believe this is part of any plan to shutdown Steakhouse 55. Especially since it likely won't be Disney run.
Yes - but not high end steak houses steps from each other.
 
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