News WDW Food and Beverage Price Increases 10/1/2019

n2hifi

Active Member
The beauty of a captive audience.

There are a few hidden gems amongst the sea of mass produced mystery meat dispensaries, however if the guests continue to patronize quality establishments such as the Electric Umbrella and Pizzafari (now serving ketchup with bread and grated cheese) then what motivation do they have to step up their game.
This! When I used to travel for work, it annoyed me to no end when we went to great foodie cities and the people in my group wanted to go to Applebee's for dinner. I like quite a few WDW restaurants, but too many people keep ordering the same horrible 'burgers, fries and pizza' that they are comfortable with.

In a similar vein there was a bar near me that charged twice as much for Bud Light than any other beer. The owners were tired of people ordering 'the worst beer they had' so they overpriced it and people still ordered it.
 

Chi84

Premium Member
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This! When I used to travel for work, it annoyed me to no end when we went to great foodie cities and the people in my group wanted to go to Applebee's for dinner. I like quite a few WDW restaurants, but too many people keep ordering the same horrible 'burgers, fries and pizza' that they are comfortable with.

In a similar vein there was a bar near me that charged twice as much for Bud Light than any other beer. The owners were tired of people ordering 'the worst beer they had' so they overpriced it and people still ordered it.
Even Pizzafari has a few things on the menu that are good - we've never tried their regular pizza. It's all about the choices.
 

erasure fan1

Well-Known Member
You mentioned that. For the sake of discussion, I was asking you to elaborate a bit so that I could understand what you meant when you said that the food at WDW “is barely olive garden in quality.”

The thread is about a price increase to food on property. I agree that food prices are unreasonably high. The meals I’ve had at WDW have not been worth the cost to me. While the price increases are something we can quantify, the food quality is a bit more subjective. Some here have said that they think the food is of lower quality. I’m interested to know the difference in perceived quality.

You mention “Olive Garden.” For some people, that might be a good thing. Personally, I’m not a fan because I know that very little of the food is actually made on-site, and much of it is frozen or comes in bags and buckets. But I also happen to know that much of the food at WDW also comes in bags and buckets, and that they’ve done it that way for many years.
I agree with the quality being a subjective thing. For me quality can also be reflective of price. I actually don't mind going to olive garden. I don't think the food is bad. Unfortunately I'm not paying olive garden prices while at Disney, of course. But a meal at mama melrose that cost me 3 times more, it shouldnt taste the same or in some cases worse, than meals I've had at olive garden. Same goes for quick service. When I order a chicken finger basket and they aren't even as good as the frozen tenders I get at Aldi, that's a quality issue in my eyes.
 

Chi84

Premium Member
The food I've had at WDW that is not chicken nuggets/burgers/hot dogs seems to be pretty good with a lot of interesting variety. Maybe Disney has decided to concentrate more on adding different foods and flavors and less on trying to make hot dogs taste good. Also, suppliers change the way they make their products in response to current trends and tastes. From what I read, even fast food chains have tried to avoid the products that are deemed very unhealthy. Changes in ingredients and preparation will change the way food tastes.
The food is expensive at Disney, but I think that's because it's an expensive vacation venue. Expecting the food to taste twice as good as what you get at home because it's twice as expensive seems unrealistic. You're paying for the location, not added food quality.
 

larryz

Today's Maytag Repairman
Premium Member
Right. In what ways has the quality decreased? Do you think Disney was serving fresh chicken and beef before, and now they’re serving frozen? Do you think they used to bake bread on site, but now it’s pre-packaged? I’m curious where you’ve seen a drop in food quality.
Frankly, I'd rather have well-frozen, then well-prepared chicken than fresh chicken that's been mishandled.
 

erasure fan1

Well-Known Member
The food is expensive at Disney, but I think that's because it's an expensive vacation venue. Expecting the food to taste twice as good as what you get at home because it's twice as expensive seems unrealistic. You're paying for the location, not added food quality.
We all get it's a theme park and that you will pay more. That is a given. I think you are giving Disney a pass that it doesn't deserve though. The location plays a part in price, but not food quality? I really can't agree with you on that one. For the amount that the food prices have increased, there is no excuse for quality to go backwards. It is very apparent that the prices didn't go up because the costs of food went up. It looks more like they went with lower tier food and raised prices strictly for profits sake. Maybe I'm a fool, but I believe Disney can find a better balance.
 

Chi84

Premium Member
We all get it's a theme park and that you will pay more. That is a given. I think you are giving Disney a pass that it doesn't deserve though. The location plays a part in price, but not food quality? I really can't agree with you on that one. For the amount that the food prices have increased, there is no excuse for quality to go backwards. It is very apparent that the prices didn't go up because the costs of food went up. It looks more like they went with lower tier food and raised prices strictly for profits sake. Maybe I'm a fool, but I believe Disney can find a better balance.
I don't disagree with what you've said, but it's based on the premise that food quality has gone down. I haven't seen that, at least not in the quick service restaurants where we've eaten. There's no question that prices have increased and portions (in some places, not all) have decreased, but that's a trend I'm seeing in my own hometown also. It's not particular to Disney, and it's not realistic to expect them to be immune to that trend. The one thing I didn't like during this trip to CBR is that the food court remodel, while beautiful, was clearly done to promote efficiency and turnover at the expense of the number of food options provided. We used to love the omelet station where multiple choices were available, but the line was so long that we sometimes avoided it for that reason. Now the ordering is centralized, which makes everything move more quickly, but there are fewer choices. We used mobile ordering, which worked very well for us, but we had to choose either the roasted veggie or ham and cheese omelet. On one occasion, we split the plant-based bounty platter, which I loved and highly recommend. That wasn't on the old menu, so I guess we kind of came out even.
 

_caleb

Well-Known Member
No, I don't see people at Disney's Italian restaurants making gnocchi from scratch with organic yukon gold potatoes, semolina flour and farm fresh eggs each morning. IF they do make it from scratch it would be with the cheapest of all-purpose flour, commercial russet potatoes, and the cheapest of eggs from sick/dying chickens stuffed in cages for their whole lives. More than likely, it's Sysco (or whatever food supplier WDW uses) "fresh" gnocchi in a package that is boiled to order and added to the finishing pan with the other ingredients.

Many people also don't understand that food quality grades are varied and complex. For example, you could say that you have steak on your menu. What grade do you think it is? Most people can think of a couple of grades. Actually their are 8 grades of beef all the with prefix U.S. : Canner, Cutter, Utility, Commercial, Standard, Select, Choice, and Prime. Some even fine-tune the grade with "AAA Prime" or other such variances. On top of the grade you have the cut, which we all know some are better than others. Then you have different breeds of cattle and how/where the animal was raised. You have free-range, organic, grass-fed, pasture raised, local (allowing for true fresh meat, never frozen), Kosher, Natural, Humanely-raised, no antibiotics/hormones, Angus, Wagyu, and Kobe.

From just one category of meat it is very easy to see the path a company can take to a slow (or fast) decline in food quality when you start choosing lower quality ingredients. Lower quality = lower cost. Unfortunately for current management that is the only equation that matters.

This type of hierarchy within a food category is not unique to beef. Other meat, such as chicken, have the same. For personal experience I highly suggest you cook a Tyson "fresh" chicken breast and a Joyce Farms Poulet Rouge Whole Heritage chicken breast and taste them at the same time. The difference will blow your mind. You will be convinced Tyson has you eating a rubber chicken. It's also not unique to meat. Try a Walmart bakery Italian loaf of bread and tell me it's the same as a fresh loaf from a real bakery. Read the ingredients. What's a dough conditioner or the other stuff you can't pronounce? I'll keep it brief...it's not what good bakers put in their fresh bread, but it does have to do with why you can keep it for about a week or more without it getting moldy. (That's not as positive as it sounds.) Also, take Kraft grated Parmesan and compare it to a Parmesan wedge you fresh grate yourself. Get a "cheaper" wedge from the local grocery in the cheese section, and then go get a "real" Parmesan chunk from Whole Foods. You will notice a vast chasm between Kraft grated (with anti-caking agents making up a significant amount of the "parmesan") and the "real" Parmesan from Whole Foods. The wedge from the local grocery will also taste a little different. Better than Kraft but not quite as good as Whole Foods.

The point is in just one dish a substitution or downgrade of several ingredients, even if not downgraded by much, will still be noticed in overall taste, flavor, tenderness, texture, and so forth. So, there are not two tiers of cooking: frozen microwaved and "fresh made". There are many nuances that will alter the quality and enjoyment of the food we eat.

Have I seen Disney's food quality slide? Yes. Majorly. The reasons would only be known if you were involved in the food order process for a Disney restaurant. A few "small" changes in quality of ingredients when all put together in the same dish will be noticed.
Thanks for your explanation.
I think what some members here see as a decline in food quality is not (at least not primarily) due to Disney serving lower-grade hamburgers and hot dogs, but rather a combination of things, such as prepared food (prepped, packaged, and portioned), which is done as a way to ensure “quality,” or at least, consistency and uniformity. No one will get sick from undercooked chicken at WDW because its probably been through a sanitizing bath, pre-cooked, and stored in a “flavor-enhancing” brine. The reliance on low-wage, inexperienced workers preparing the food doesn’t help, either. Combine all of this with the price hikes, and yeah, people are going to be disappointed.
 

erasure fan1

Well-Known Member
I don't disagree with what you've said, but it's based on the premise that food quality has gone down. I haven't seen that, at least not in the quick service restaurants where we've eaten.
We've seen it for sure on a lot of things. It doesn't help when you couple that with all the things you just mentioned as well. I can only take a year over year snap of the food. So could it be we just had a poor showing that visit? Yea, it's possible. But I believe the standard has dropped on a lot of items.
 

Disstevefan1

Well-Known Member
As in everything we experience when visiting WDW, it’s the frequent return guests that see the changes and more often than not, the change is for the worse in the eye of the beholder.

If you are a first timer or a less frequent visitor you are less likely to notice. Ironically, it’s the most loyal, most passionate, frequent visitors who notice the changes.

it’s happened to me; I want that one thing I really liked from a previous visit and it’s gone or changed. That’s just the way it goes.
 

Chi84

Premium Member
I'm definitely a frequent goer, and I've noticed the changes, but I'm not necessarily disappointed in them. For example, in my last post I talked about CBR no longer offering the particular omelet that we liked. But we tried the new plant-based bounty platter and loved it. So either I was being forced to settle for something less or being given the opportunity to try something new. It's possible to frame it either way. I chose the latter; others choose the former. People are different - it doesn't mean someone has to be right or wrong.
 

MickeyLuv'r

Well-Known Member
Right. In what ways has the quality decreased? Do you think Disney was serving fresh chicken and beef before, and now they’re serving frozen? Do you think they used to bake bread on site, but now it’s pre-packaged? I’m curious where you’ve seen a drop in food quality.

The thing is...I could give some specifics, but I'm not sure specifics would work to convince someone who doesn't want to be convinced that food quality has changed. Specifics are typically dismissed as 'anecdotal' in threads like this one.

I could actually give specific ways the food on our most recent trip was in some locations similar to past visits, in other spots not as good as prior visits, in a few spots better than some prior visits, and even completely new in a few spots.

But I don't think my efforts would actually persuade anyone who didn't want to be persuaded.
 

MickeyLuv'r

Well-Known Member
No one will get sick from undercooked chicken at WDW because its probably been through a sanitizing bath, pre-cooked, and stored in a “flavor-enhancing” brine. The reliance on low-wage, inexperienced workers preparing the food doesn’t help, either. Combine all of this with the price hikes, and yeah, people are going to be disappointed.

Oh, I'm not convinced of that

In the past 18months, I know multiple people who had bad stomach experiences while visiting WDW.

Again though, saying here that it might have been food poisoning, is not something I could 'prove' to anyone's satisfaction in a thread on a forum.
 

MickeyLuv'r

Well-Known Member
Exactly. People can say what they want about Eisner, but when he was in charge the food at Disney was high quality and totally worth the price, customer service was excellent and the parks were immaculate.
It does not help that there is not a Disney family member on the board.
There was significant change a little after the DDP and again during the free dining promotion dates (usually September).

Since then, food quality has waxed and waned a bit, but never returned to pre-DDP quality.

Remember when every TS and even many QS offered real house-made macaroni and cheese, and even the M n' C in the Land's QS was made with Mickey-shaped pasta? Then practically all of WDW, except the signature places went to the uniform kind of M n' C they now sell all over WDW.

I tend to judge places b the produce they offer. Again, I've seen produce wax and wane a bit all over WDW since the pre-DDP days.

I do think today's Blaze Pizza is way better than the tomato cookies once sold at Pizza Planet. Pizza at WDW used to be terrible.

I'd also say the way WDW offers options to those with food allergies and other special dietary needs has improved over the last 20 years. Very recently, they have streamlined the experience, but that is to be expected. Also fair to say this entire segment of the food industry has changed dramatically over the past 20 years. Allergy-friendly foods now get an entire section of the grocery store, that was not true 20 years ago.
 

Disstevefan1

Well-Known Member
Oh, I'm not convinced of that

In the past 18months, I know multiple people who had bad stomach experiences while visiting WDW.

Again though, saying here that it might have been food poisoning, is not something I could 'prove' to anyone's satisfaction in a thread on a forum.

a stomach bug rather than food poisoning is probably more likely. One guest or cast member with a stomach bug could easily spread.
 

John park hopper

Well-Known Member
Norovirus is easily spread and is one of those viruses that occurs on cruise ships frequently. stomach cramps, vomiting, diarrhea usually lasts a couple of days. Easily spread in food preparation if a food handler is sick, contaminated surfaces hand to mouth
 

_caleb

Well-Known Member
The thing is...I could give some specifics, but I'm not sure specifics would work to convince someone who doesn't want to be convinced that food quality has changed. Specifics are typically dismissed as 'anecdotal' in threads like this one.

I could actually give specific ways the food on our most recent trip was in some locations similar to past visits, in other spots not as good as prior visits, in a few spots better than some prior visits, and even completely new in a few spots.

But I don't think my efforts would actually persuade anyone who didn't want to be persuaded.
Thanks. I understand why you’d be reluctant to give specifics. I wasn’t looking for a debate, just a more substantial conversation. I kind of geek out about this sort of thing. I enjoy when it’s not about trying to convince people, but rather about thoughtfully expressing our opinions and experiences (which seem to be closer than some might expect). I appreciate the interaction!
 

_caleb

Well-Known Member
a stomach bug rather than food poisoning is probably more likely. One guest or cast member with a stomach bug could easily spread.
You’re not wrong, but ewwww.
423425
 

VaderTron

Well-Known Member
Even Pizzafari has a few things on the menu that are good - we've never tried their regular pizza. It's all about the choices.

:hilarious::hilarious::hilarious: If you have to choose something other than PIZZA at a PIZZA restaurant to get an edible meal and you are OK with that then I have some property next to an old nuclear testing site I would like to sell you. You just have to wear a radiation suit the whole time, but hey! It will be a cheap house with no noisy neighbors to bother you! I'm practically losing out on this deal. You better hurry before someone else takes it.
 

VaderTron

Well-Known Member
I agree with the quality being a subjective thing. For me quality can also be reflective of price.
I believe you are confusing value with quality. Quality is a standard, not an opinion. Value is an opinion. If you feel you get a decent meal that you enjoy at Olive Garden for the price you pay that's "value". The quality of the food doesn't change based on who is eating it.
 
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