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View Full Version : Phone Call from WDW re DDP email


flipflop
08-30-2007, 12:36 PM
I took the advice of a poster on this board who encouraged those disappointed with the 2008 plan to send an email to WDW. I did just that and I am happy to report that I just received a phone call from WDW regarding my email. I was delighted that they took the time to follow-up. It was good customer service and I thought others here would want to know.

:goodvibes

Amber74
08-30-2007, 01:45 PM
What did they say?

flipflop
08-30-2007, 02:20 PM
A customer service rep, on behalf of the company, told me that the company had recieved my email and that customer feedback is important to management. She said that she was sorry I found the new plan disappointing - they apparently have received quite a bit of feedback on the new plan from other unhappy customers. She expressed appreciation for me taking time to give feedback because that customer feedback will be instrumental in evaluating the plan for 2009. They take customer feedback seriously.

That was the crux of it. Of course, I thought the plan was set for next 3 years b/c of the union contract so I don't know how any changes would be made for 2009 but since I'm not positive about that, and didn't feel like giving the rep a hard time, I left well enough alone. Probably a bunch of hot air (an dmost likely scripted) but the fact that they followed up at all was enough to make me feel like they care (whether or not they do).

Lewisc
08-30-2007, 03:25 PM
Disney will improve the dining plan in 2009 if bookings are less then projected. Disney could add back the appetizer or lower the price enough to compensate for the tip. Disney could also follow the deluxe plan and include a refillable mug.

The server who started the no tip in the DDP thread, the thread where posters accused him of making stuff up, said Disney reserved the right to bring back the included tip if bookings went down too much. We don't know if that was in the final contract or if that would result in removal of the "automatic tip" for parties of 6+ and DDE discounted checks.

disneyfan55
08-30-2007, 10:06 PM
The refillable cup would help somewhat, but the tip not included is the big thing, at least that's how I feel. We received the meal package for free and it's really great. I don't think I would have that much of a problem if the plan were free, but it is a big increase in actual price.

rogerram
08-31-2007, 01:22 AM
I also got a call and spoke to a rep for a long time. She also stated many people have complained and that although changes were unlikely, the plan could still be modified. I would guess if enough people complain and they get much less people opting for the plan, they would change it for the better to get more guests to use it. She sounded like there is a big backlash against the changes. I brought up everything possible that was negative and after I said it ,she said she had heard the same things from other people.

kaytieeldr
08-31-2007, 05:54 AM
Okay, here's the thing. A lot of DISers - and participants in other forums, and readers of other Disney-dedicated sites - may complain, but a lot MORE visitors are likely either first-timers and not aware of the 'old' plan, or people who don't care about the changes and still think it's a good deal and a convenience.

aubriee
08-31-2007, 06:02 AM
I called yesterday to add the DDP for my Dec trip. The CM asked me if I knew how the plan worked and I told her yes, I had used it several times in the last 2 1/2 years. I also mentioned that I originally was going to just use my DDE card, but decided I wanted to use the DDP one last time, since I wouldn't be using it again. She asked me why I said that and stressed that the plan was a really good deal. I told her I wasn't happy with the plan for 2008 and that without the appetizer and tip being incuded it wasn't such a good deal. I mentioned that the reason I liked the 2007 plan is because everything was included, espcially the tip. Her whole tone changed and she mentioned that quite a few people are saying that, almost everytime she tries to get them to buy the new DDP. She also asked if she could take my comments and name down to add to a complaint list. So, maybe Disney is keeping up with guests complaints. :confused3

bicker
08-31-2007, 06:33 AM
Disney will improve the dining plan in 2009 if bookings are less then projected.Or discontinue the program completely.

Actually, they may be aiming at some specific type of change, and this 2008 plan is just a stepping stone to that change. If they're that strategic, they could be thinking that they'll need to introduce the new plan they have in mind so that it appears to be a step above what they've been offering, so the 2008 plan could be the basis on which their eventual target is evaluated instead of the overly-generous 2007 plan.

Disney could add back the appetizer or lower the price enough to compensate for the tip.Those are two things that I believe they will not do.

Disney could also follow the deluxe plan and include a refillable mug.Yes, good only at the hotel. I could see that.

bicker
08-31-2007, 06:36 AM
I would guess if enough people complain and they get much less people opting for the plan, they would change it for the better to get more guests to use it.Actually, they'll be looking at the sales figures much more so than unsolicited feedback. There is no way to gauge how representative such unsolicited feedback is, given that it could be spurred on by things like Internet discussions. :rotfl:

And as I mentioned above, if they do get the message that the Dining Plan is causing dissatisfaction, they might determine that they're simply better off without offering it.

She sounded like there is a big backlash against the changes.They always work to make the guest feel like they're special. There have been cases where folks reported getting that kind of impression from the rep and subsequently Disney did something, as well as folks reporting getting that kind of impression from the rep and subsequently Disney did nothing.

ntsammy5
08-31-2007, 08:42 AM
Actually, they'll be looking at the sales figures much more so than unsolicited feedback.

That's right. Although not quite an accurate use: "Money talks and BS walks."

sherabby
08-31-2007, 12:52 PM
I took the advice of a poster on this board who encouraged those disappointed with the 2008 plan to send an email to WDW. I did just that and I am happy to report that I just received a phone call from WDW regarding my email. I was delighted that they took the time to follow-up. It was good customer service and I thought others here would want to know.

:goodvibes
What email address do you send a complaint to regarding the new dining plan? What doesn't seem fair is that the cost went down one dollar yet you need to add quite a bit of tip to each day. I have a feeling this may end up backfiring for the wait staff. I think they would have been better off keeping the tip as it is....I know we tipped extra quite often on the dining plan even though we didn't need to do so. My son has allergies and they really took great care of him. If you have a link or an email I would also like to send a message.

bicker
08-31-2007, 04:16 PM
What email address do you send a complaint to regarding the new dining plan?wdw.guest.communications@disneyworld.com

What doesn't seem fair is that the cost went down one dollar yet you need to add quite a bit of tip to each day.Well, it was clearly a deliberate price increase. That doesn't make it "unfair". :confused3

I have a feeling this may end up backfiring for the wait staff.They should fire their union management if it does.

ldbrown318
08-31-2007, 11:02 PM
I received a phone call from Disney too about my email. Spoke to avery nice man, for about 20 min, and he tried to explain why Disney did what they did. He said that whenever Disney gets a lot of feed back on a situation, which he then added happened about the DP and the vast majority was negative, they like to call the people who have commented back and speak with them.

He told me that the tip issue was set for the 2008 year, but could be changed for 2009. He said that many people had complained of sub-standard service which neccessitated the change. As far as the no appetizer change, he said that he has heard many suggestions of changing it to a choice between an appetizer or a dessert. He said that it was possible that the DP changes could be "ammended" during the year for that situation. He said that there was alot of wasted food from people who ordered food that just never ate it or ordered it because they could. I cant argue there, but made my suggestion nonetheless.

I agree with the poster that I felt good getting to talk to a real person to air my displeasure with the change. And that they called me! I was impressed.

So tell all of your friends and fellow DIS'ers to keep emailing. I dont know if it will cause it to change, but it has got someones attention and it's a start.

bicker
09-01-2007, 06:12 AM
That is one change to the 2008 plan that does sound plausible in the short-term: Changing it to be appetizer or dessert. It would probably be presented as an enhancement to the Dining Plan.

It is great that Disney provides guests with these feel-good calls. Part of the wonderful Disney service, and in synch with the customer service adage, "Make the customer feel like they're always right." :thumbsup2

kaytieeldr
09-01-2007, 10:20 AM
You know then, bicker, I have a theoretical complaint.
A couple visiting Walt Disney World in 2009 and using the potential DDP could get one appetizer to share, two entrees, and one dessert to share. That's not too much food, it makes a lot of sense, it's a reasonable value, and they get a good variety of tastes.
A solo traveler would need to choose one course or the other. I call this a theoretical complaint because, really, three restaurant courses IS too much food for one person :teeth: and I really would rather have the choice of which 'extra' course I want to include - and, if I did want both an appetizer and a dessert, I would/should have the option of which one is included in the DDP and which is paid for by me. But it wouldn't be fair, and doesn't everything at Disney have to be fair? ;)

Luv2Roam
09-01-2007, 11:10 AM
Never say never. But I will be surprised to see that happen. Only because sharing an appy and dessert is what almost everyone would do. (Can't blame them.)
Even if cost was not a factor (say the cost of the plan was increased later) the slowing up the turn around time of the tables would be there.
Time will tell. However I think the real comparison will be done by reviewing how well (or not) the various DDPs sell.
There is always has been, and always will be, tweaking to the system.

Angela Kay
09-01-2007, 09:31 PM
I say, if you're not happy with the DDP changes, then keep sending the emails. Remember all the upset parents because of the new kids menu? They definitley added more options for the kids after the backlash...at least it seems like they did.

bicker
09-02-2007, 07:21 AM
Emails won't have the same effect of simply not purchasing the Dining Plan next year. That will have effect. If enough people still purchasing the Dining Plan, then that will be a clear message to Disney that they've made the best decision.

Tricia1972
09-02-2007, 08:13 AM
I agree with bicker. Emails are an effective way of expressing our displeasure, but to really get our message to Disney - people need to not purchase the plan. A lot of people need to not purchase the plan.

I think it was this thread that mentioned that the cost of the DDP went up over 20% for the end user (us). Figure that our cost went down $1, but we lost 18% of value (losing the Tip) and the loss of Appetizer represents another % of value.

Because our costs went up, Disney is making more money on us. This extra money will help subsidize the cost of some people not using the plan the way it is now. 1,000 People who are upset and decide to not use the plan next year will not affect Disney's bottom line. Disney has a cushion built in.

Also, this could help the ADR situation. If lots of savvy Disney guests stop using the plan and start eating counter service, Disney is still getting their money. More tables may open up and this could help address the fact that non-savvy newbies can't eat where they want at Disney because all of us on the plan have secured our reservations at 180 days out. Those who don't 'do' Disney, don't really understand that you need to plan 6 months out where you're going to eat every single night of vacation. If trips are less magical for the newbie, then they probably won't spend thousands of dollars on a second trip.

bicker
09-02-2007, 08:22 AM
I think you're really hit the nail on the head: Fewer people will patronize the Dining Plan, and that is perhaps part of Disney's intent. They want to make the same amount of money serving fewer guests in the restaurants, because the restaurants have been overly-crowded. Less crowded restaurants will be better able to provide better service, with less turning customers away.

And they're not abandoning the whole idea of having the Dining Plan enhance staying on-site as an option, but rather balancing the conflicting needs. For the past three years, the needs of the hotels has dominated and trumped the needs of the restaurants. Now they're going back a bit and letting the restaurants have a bit more priority.

So hearing, "We're not going to be using the Dining Plan next year," is probably not going to prompt Disney to change -- they probably wanted fewer patrons for the Dining Plan. What will really matter is impact of these changes on the profitability of the whole enterprise, theme park admissions, hotel, and restaurants.

Luv2Roam
09-02-2007, 09:22 AM
I agree with bicker.
Another point we often hear and read is how the menus were dumbed down. And most would agree it came down to the DDP when restaurants had to turn the tables faster.
I think the increase is just a correction in the system overall -- ADRs, revenue, table turn over, etc.
Disney does not want unhappy guests. But they want to make money on the restaurants and keep the majority happy.

eeyore45
09-02-2007, 09:26 AM
Good to know - thanks to the thread (and in spite of Bicker's reasoning - ie I feel you made great points, that I wouldnt dispute... ) I added an email with my thoughts about the changes to the DP!! Even if it gets an "enhancement" of either app or dessert... it didnt take much time, and it feels good knowing it will be read by someone!!

(so much so I fired off another email about the price increase to the F&W ticketed events!! )

Shasta
09-02-2007, 10:04 AM
I just wrote my letter to disney. We will see what happens now. Personly, I don't need a call from Disney to explain thier decisions as much as a consideration to make the 2008 DDP include a choice of desert or app.

I like the idea of not excluing a mug from the basic DDP too. I'd like to see all plans get a resort mug.

kimkreis
09-02-2007, 11:03 AM
I just emailed and told them I didn't like the plan and that because of it they would be losing our lodging dollars as we forgo a Disney package for more economical choices.

ksumn1
09-02-2007, 04:35 PM
I think it's good that WDW is listening to what people have to say about the DDP changes.After the changes were announced I actually did a price breakdown on how much we would save on the DDP vs not. We were still going to save $$ (around $350) but I actually overestimated the costs on the non DDP to include more snacks than we would normally get just so I ended up with the same amount of snacks, meals etc for cost comparison basis. Even including tips.

And like others stated, one change I would like to see is to have a choice between an appatizer or dessert. One of the issues for me is that I loved (in June 2006) knowing all our food was paid for. Tax, tip, lock stock and barrell. (Except for a couple of Backscratchers at Ohanas) It made it very convenient, didn't have to take any $$ except a few bucks and the room key for charges. 1st timers won't even know of any changes, or that it's not as good of a deal as before, and will simply book a package: resort, flight, DDP and be done with it. And when you compare the # or non DIS educated people vs the DISers, well Disney's really not losing $$. And in the end, that's what will influence any changes in the plan. But I say let them know anyway, because you never know...miracles do happen:goodvibes

ntsammy5
09-02-2007, 05:02 PM
There were roughly 42 million guest who attended WDW parks in 2005. There are roughly 142,000 DIS members, 0.3% of the total number of guests. Does anyone seriously think that DIS members materially affect the decisions that Disney makes?

I know this is hardly scientific, BUT.......

bicker
09-03-2007, 05:46 AM
Yes that's another good point.

Tricia1972
09-03-2007, 07:01 AM
Thanks for the facts and figures natsammy5! Even if every single Dis'er went 4 times each year it's still not going to make a huge financial difference to Disney.

Shasta
09-12-2007, 07:10 AM
I just wanted to update inorder to add that I recieved my call from Disney yesterday. I left me darn cel phone at home so it was a left message but a long one.

Basicaly a feel good call. The CM notes that my comments would be taken into consideration for the 2009 DDP and that they will most likely not make any changes to the 2008 plan. She made a small disclaimer to say that it didn't mean that there was no chance that a change couldn't be implemented.

I took this as no change to come in the 2008 plan, the disclaimer was just that. So in short, the calls may help the DDP next year but as Bicker stated, the only was to make Disney pay attention is to not use the 2008 DDP and hope that isn't thier goal.

Muushka
09-12-2007, 09:46 AM
I was not that thrilled with the pre-2008 DDP, so for sure I won't be partaking the plan next year.
Solution: eat more off site, less on site and eat a few more meals in room (DVC).:thumbsup2

I don't care for the AP rise in price.
Solution: visit WDW parks less, visit USF more. We enjoy both. :thumbsup2

I didn't call or email WDW about either. I just won't buy them! No problem.:thumbsup2

PS But I agree that it is good to let WDW know if you are not happy with something.;)

flipflop
09-12-2007, 10:08 AM
There were roughly 42 million guest who attended WDW parks in 2005. There are roughly 142,000 DIS members, 0.3% of the total number of guests. Does anyone seriously think that DIS members materially affect the decisions that Disney makes?

I know this is hardly scientific, BUT.......

Excellent point.

Also keep in mind, however, that not all repeat customers who have used the current DDP and are ticked off about the 2008 DDP are DIS members. The percentage of annoyed customers who have complained is certainly not limited to DIS members. So while DIS members alone don't have a material effect on decisions by management, when combined with other annoyed customers we may be looking at a higher percentage.

In any event, I agree with Bicker. It is all going to come down to Disney being effected financially.

Tramp&TheLady
09-12-2007, 10:09 AM
We have booked a package for April and are including the DP again. For us, it is not a matter of saving a bunch of money. It is a matter of convenience. It's so nice to be able to pay for your meals way in advance. And then, we don't feel guilty about ordering the most expensive things on the menus. We're still saving money even with the new plan. I worked out a spreadsheet to calculate how much money we save vs. out of pocket costs.

rantnnravin
09-13-2007, 09:58 AM
i can't believe i'm about to say this:scared:, but i think i might be in agreement with bicker somewhat on this one...

i think Disney has been in the process of floating test balloons, trying to see how much we're willing to give up and at what price-point.
Does anyone remember the pool temperature debacle of 05-06? They lowered the pool temps to a ridiciulous level to see if anyone would notice, when people complained, they raised the temps halfway back up. So, essentially we were satisified and thankful with less than what we had before.

look at how many people on here are already saying they would "be happy" with a choice of appy or dessert...

anyone know how to boil a frog?

Muushka
09-13-2007, 10:01 AM
I know how to boil a frog :yay: . Great analogy. And I think you are right.

PA Princess
09-13-2007, 09:18 PM
Not sure how I feel about the new ddp or what impact it will have on future trips. We have only used it twice...both with free dining. Our nextr trip will be again next September, so we will wait and see how things play out.

I did want to mention that during our trip last week several times my husband had conversations with servers (and the servers initiated) who were quite anxious about the results for them with the new ddp...how many people will simply not tip? The employees sees to be quite concerned about how things will work.

So perhaps a double squeeze...unhappy guests and cm's will push Disney to change???? Guess we will wait and see.

Oh, and about the pool temp comment, I seriously think Disney is doing that this year with the ac temps in all of their buildings. Every building was so much warmer than on past summer visits. Used to be you could really cool off from the heat...this year it was more warm than cool in most buildings in the parks.

rantnnravin
09-14-2007, 05:41 AM
Oh, and about the pool temp comment, I seriously think Disney is doing that this year with the ac temps in all of their buildings. Every building was so much warmer than on past summer visits. Used to be you could really cool off from the heat...this year it was more warm than cool in most buildings in the parks.

Oh, that reminds me...i meant to send a letter - they were doing that with the Epcot area friendship boats too this year.

NMW
09-14-2007, 09:13 AM
What you have to also realize is that there are many people like my myself, and friends of ours, that go to Disney every year that WANTED the deluxe dining plan. My friends and I have been talking about wanting an all-inclusive meal plan that was reasonably priced and did not include all the extras we didn't want like boat rentals, child care, etc. I even emailed Disney asking for this very plan a couple of times. I also mentioned it in surveys, on the phone to CM's, to the WDW travel company, etc.

I wanted this deluxe dining plan. I added it to my May 08 BC ressie and I'm actually VERY happy about it. :goodvibes The first thing I did was call my 2 friends (who also vacation yearly in WDW with their families) and tell them about it. Guess what? They booked the plan too. My friend Laura could not get off the phone with me fast enough. She immediately called WDW and changed her GF room only to a package with deluxe dining. We don't rent cars and have zero interest in eating offsite. So, maybe some of those 42 million visitors are families like ours and we're happy. ;)

LandBoatRide
09-14-2007, 02:09 PM
As far as I know, I am the poster who first brought this issue up months ago, took some flack and skepticism (understandable), etc. And yes, my un derstanding is that the union contract (of which, servers, like the DIS, make up about .3% of all workers and have no power) - the union contract can revert to the old contract through a loophole if Disney decides they are negatively affected by the new 2008 DDP (financially). I don't know the details of this, only that it does apply to servers gratuity and such. I cannot 100% confirm this, but am simply passing info received from a reliable source. Still, take with a grain of salt.

I am happy that people are expressing their opinions to Disney. Do not be discouraged, every call and email helps. Disney, like any company, wants to hear the thoughts of its guests and get better insight into the decision-making its loyal consumers make.

Just so we put the DDP in perspective, here is its history over the last 5 years - after 9/11/2001, Disney and all tourism suffered hard. Remember, air travel and tourism has only really recovered in the last 2-3 years - there were some very very lean years in 2002 and 2003. How did Disney lure the guests back, and get them to stay in the Disney resorts instead of off-site? The DDP (which became very popular with repeat guests and got great word of mouth).

Central Florida was devastated by 3 hurricanes in late summer/fall of 2004. Hurricane season also falls in a very very dead time of year for Disney historically, late August and September. School has started so family vacation decline, yet it is still very hot and humid in Florida - thus, guests historically stay away in September. So, Disney offered resort discounts and the free DDP (called the "hurricane plan" in 2005 by the way). Disney figured it was better to get guest revenue through hotel bookings and ticket sales (as well as selling merchandise and all the extras that guests spend at Disney World) by giving away free food.

The key here is that SYNERGY was involved. Disney didn't care if it "lost" money in its food and beverage department, because the profits from other areas far exceeded these losses.

Indeed, it seems Disney resort profits (disney lodging) have been incredible the last few years; the hote's' occupancy levels are at very high levels year round (even with price increases at these very resorts). It is undeniable that DDP has contributed significantly to guests' decision to book on property as opposed to off-site.

Disney is indeed now testing the waters - it wants to make food and beverage more profitable while keeping its others line of business (ticket sales, resort profits, merchandise revenues, etc etc) the same or increased also. This year, in addition to the hidden increase in the DDP out-of-pocket costs, you will see restaurant prices increase again, though very modestly (a dollar here and there for buffets or entrees, for example). You will also see prices at popular buffets (character meals, Ohana, etc) increase a few bucks at peak times, like Christmas, spring break/Easter, etc.

Let me assure you that Disney will get a very quick idea of how this new plan is going over with consumers. January and February are also historical slow periods for Disney tourism. Rest assured that if DDP, and more importantly, resort reservations drop off substantially from previous years, Disney will take notice. As DIsney hears guests calling and writing that they will stay off-site because of the changes in DDP, and indeed Disney revenues at resorts suffer, they will put two and two together.

I am not advocating that you simply tell Disney this - be honest. Let Disney know how DDP changes will affect your future visits (if it affects them at all). Many on here have expressed that they will not purchase DDP, and some say they will save money by staying off-site, because DDP was the main reason to stay at Disney. Others will still purchase the plan and stay on-site. That is fine.

The bottom line is the bottom line - if Disney starts losing money, they will make changes. If this happens, they will make the appropriate changes ONLY if they stay well-informed from their loyal guests.

Melissa Rauchmiller
09-14-2007, 02:42 PM
We have booked a package for April and are including the DP again. For us, it is not a matter of saving a bunch of money. It is a matter of convenience. It's so nice to be able to pay for your meals way in advance. And then, we don't feel guilty about ordering the most expensive things on the menus. We're still saving money even with the new plan. I worked out a spreadsheet to calculate how much money we save vs. out of pocket costs.

I agree-as a family of 6 (three teenage boys) it is just nice to know that the meals are paid for in advance and we do not need to worry about the cost of food and if we can afford to eat where and what we want to. If we have to carry some extra cash for tips I can deal with that....it will be a lot less than what we would have to budget for meals:) I do agree however that a choice between dessert and an app. would be nice but Iwill be on vacation at WDW and that will be the last thing I will want to worry about:woohoo:

mommylicious
09-15-2007, 06:25 PM
I'm one that would love to see the choice of appetizer or desert but I am not so sure we'll see that happen. Reason being that I know for my family, DH would get one and I'd get the other and we would share both. That means we are taking up a table for 3 courses and paying no additional out of pocket. That means we are not helping turn the tables over a little faster. I still think that was part of the consideration for removing the appetizer option...get people out faster so you can get more in overall.

Tricia1972
09-19-2007, 10:33 AM
I'm one that would love to see the choice of appetizer or desert but I am not so sure we'll see that happen. Reason being that I know for my family, DH would get one and I'd get the other and we would share both. That means we are taking up a table for 3 courses and paying no additional out of pocket. That means we are not helping turn the tables over a little faster. I still think that was part of the consideration for removing the appetizer option...get people out faster so you can get more in overall.

I agree 100%!!

kaytieeldr
09-19-2007, 10:41 AM
Plus, that (one person getting an appetizer, the other getting a dessert, and sharing both) discriminates against solo travelers who cannot possibly have that option :teeth:... and there are more of us out there than you think!

Tricia1972
09-19-2007, 10:45 AM
Plus, that (one person getting an appetizer, the other getting a dessert, and sharing both) discriminates against solo travelers who cannot possibly have that option :teeth:... and there are more of us out there than you think!

See! Another good point :)