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View Full Version : Disney raising food prices to force DDP on me?


Sassagoula Billy
12-09-2010, 04:24 PM
I just read this thesis in the recent Boma thread. And it is outrageous, because it sounds absolutely true.

And I believe that it is because of the dining plan, not because of inflation. Although inflation plays a part in Disney's dining plan-vacation package scheme.

I.
Hate.
The.
Dining.
Plan.

I.
Hate.
The.
Dining.
Plan.

Carrie772
12-09-2010, 04:30 PM
I hate it too. It certanily hasn't helped the menu selections at Epcot.

Kay1
12-09-2010, 04:54 PM
I think the high prices make the DDP seem like a better deal and Disney does want to sell packages.

Not that it matters, but I hate it too. :)

Sassagoula Billy
12-09-2010, 04:55 PM
I said I loathed the DDP a few months ago, and I was called a snob. I'm glad the tides have turned.

GailT
12-09-2010, 04:58 PM
I think the high prices make the DDP seem like a better deal and Disney does want to sell packages.

Not that it matters, but I hate it too. :)



Agreed

eliza61
12-09-2010, 05:00 PM
Disney will tell you they're doing you a favor. LOL. I tried the dining plan and although it doesn't fit my life, it's not so much the dining plan I hate, it's the mediocre food that may or may not be a result of the dining plan.

but in all honesty yes, they are pretty much leaving you not much choice if you are going to eat all your meals on site.

I pretty much rent a car, the price of the car is worth every penny to get decent food and I really don't have to go that far.

twooley2
12-09-2010, 05:09 PM
I said I loathed the DDP a few months ago, and I was called a snob. I'm glad the tides have turned.

Thats the kind of response I got too. Imagine that. I was thinking "what were the people thinking or not thinking". Maybe they missed my point but needless to say. I agree the dining plan is forced on you by the exorborate prices off the food if you do not buy the dining plan

Tiger926
12-09-2010, 05:19 PM
I totally agree...and I don't want people who take advantage of the DP to be upset by this (we have purchased the DP several times as well). I totally expect guests to purchase the DP, or, to take advantage of Free Dining. I am upset with Disney as to what has happened in the Dining Dept.

As I mentioned in that thread, in a few short years, a character meal breakfast at Crystal Palace or Cape May Cafe has risen to an approx $30.00 increase for a family of 4. That is outrageous! I really do believe it is to force the DP, as they are able to overinflate the value of the DP, by drastically raising menu prices.

This is also evident since the peak DP pricing has only risen by $2.00/pp, yet the cash price at a buffet during peak season is $4.00/adult.

We are pretty much cutting out all TS meals from here on in, as we just can't justify spending months worth of groceries for a 2 week stay at Disney. Been there, done that, and no more!

Tiger

Planogirl
12-09-2010, 06:12 PM
I understand those people who praise the convenience of the dining plan. That to me is its greatest value. I don't get those who praise the food and choices though. Of course there are some places that are good but so much isn't that great and it's too much food IMO!

I love going offsite. I discovered that Orlando has just about any kind of restaurant a person could imagine.

CHIPSTER
12-09-2010, 08:07 PM
I though it was just me as I posted several weeks ago that the quality has sure gone done and prices up and boy did I get flamed. Don't do much vuffets anymore as the prices for breakfast are out of control.

akadada
12-09-2010, 09:44 PM
You're not alone. . . I'm new to the board, so I'm suprised people would flame you. It's a reasonable observation.

Personally, I don't like the dining plan either; even though I will buy it. I get it because it's convenient and compared to the prices on the menu, the dining plan saves or at least breaks even without having to think about it once I'm there.

I agree that it seems it encourage sometimes bad food quality in some places. I've been going and eating at Disney for over 20 years and definitely some of the best places 20 years ago are nothing like they once were. That said I also think a number of Disney restaurants (basically Signature Dining) are very good and worth the trip and worth the price (Flying Fish, CaliGrill, Citricos, etc).

My bigger gripe is not food quality dropping because I think there are a lot of quality restaurants there. My problem with the plan is that the dining plan encourages ridiculously wasteful behavior; similar to cruise ships. My wife and I won't gorge ourselves out of principle even though we could with the plan.

In the end, though, I'm an economist. I value time and I value convenience, especially on vacation. I've done the front work calculation and it's a cost-benefit because you are working in a constrained environment that Disney has great control over and I'm okay with that because it's a shareholder's company and we really like going there a lot. That's part of the premium we all pay. It simply comes down to the economics of it which is why we still buy the plan.

I hope people don't take themselves too seriously and look to beat you up for this post. It's a good conversation worth having and at a minimum if we didn't have it; Disney wouldn't get the feedback it needs to hopefully become a better place.

princesspeach
12-10-2010, 07:55 AM
The cost of everything is going up except salaries of course. I would not expect disney to be any different.

NMW
12-10-2010, 08:37 AM
I really think it's the design of the whole "Magic Your Way" packages. Disney makes it so the longer you stay the less you pay for tickets. So you only pay a few dollars more for a 7 day ticket vs. a 5 day ticket. Then, you can add the dining plan and do all the character meals your kids want...no paying $30 per person OOP. Plus, you can get free Magical Express to and from the airport and use Disney transportation while you are there. No need to rent a car. No need to eat offsite with the dining plan. No need to spend more $$ on tickets to Sea World or Universal when it's only a few dollars to add days to your WDW tickets.

They have the perfect captive audience. It's brilliant really. Why would a family not do the whole package? EVERY family I know that goes to WDW uses either the basic or deluxe dining plan. That's a lot of families. I don't know anyone that went to WDW in the last few years that DIDN'T use it. Including our own...we do the deluxe dining plan.

As for the food quality, I have noticed a difference over the years. Portion size has really gone down. Appetizers in 2003 were big enough for a family of 4 or 5 to share...I have pictures somewhere to prove it! In 2005 with the dining plan, the size of appetizers really, really went down. I think it's because everyone on the plan got an appetizer, so they became more single-serve portions. Fine for people on the plan because they all got one. Not so good for famlies not on the plan. Same prices, but no longer big enough for the family to share.

In 2003 we did a package called the Dreammaker Gold package. It was similar to what is now the premium package. It included 3 TS meals (It didn't matter if they were signature or not) plus all activities like water craft rental, Cirque tickets, free child care, etc. We could dine at places that don't take todays dining plans like Rainforest, Portabello, etc. The tip was included as well.

I can tell you that when CM's found out we were on that plan, they were thrilled! Almost every restaurant we had dinner at offered us lobster tail add-ons with our entrees because our plan covered them. In fact, they insisted we take them. Of course we took them. :goodvibes Only 2 years after this, I don't believe ANY of these restaurants even offered lobster tail add-ons, even if you were willing to pay cash for them.

Now is this because of the new Magic Your Way packages with it's new dining plan, or is it because WDW cut spending for it's restaurants? Or is it both of those things? I really don't know.

Laketravis
12-10-2010, 09:52 AM
What we don't know and can't quantify is the nature of the internal negotiations among the various dining entities. On our recent trip I noticed a very slight hint of disdain when the hostess would ask "Will you be using the dining plan?" at a TS.

Small incremental changes have been made as to what constitutes a "snack" item, with downward pressure on the highest cost points.

CS items have become bland, central kitchen type items to cut costs.

Inflated pricing hopes to create a perception of value while driving away OOP patrons, contributing to the downward spiral.

The manipulation of portion sizes, menu choices, quality metrics, inconsistent levels of service and server attitudes simply prove that Disney hasn't figure it out yet. If they had, you wouldn't see any changes. But the changes are constant.

In my own personal opinion, they've created somewhat of a quasi-hybrid all inclusive but not really package. The further they go down this road, the more dangerous it becomes.

The fast food industry still despises Taco Bell for creating the dollar menu years ago, because now none of them can get away from it.

It will be interesting to see what Disney's next move is.

NMW
12-10-2010, 01:58 PM
What we don't know and can't quantify is the nature of the internal negotiations among the various dining entities. On our recent trip I noticed a very slight hint of disdain when the hostess would ask "Will you be using the dining plan?" at a TS.



I'm always surprised when I hear this. We have used the deluxe dining plan the last 3 trips and I have never been treated any differently by a hostess or a server. :confused3 I have to say that we always, always order alcohol and we tip very well-at least 20%. I have even ordered things not included in the plan like sides of mushrooms at Yachtsman and those light up tinkerbelle drinks for my DD. Servers will immediately tell me that those items are not included in the plan and I let them know that it's not a problem. I mean, we have to pay for our alcohol anyway, what difference does it make if we add something else?

All I'm saying is that in 3 trips with the deluxe plan and many TS restuarants, I have never felt like the hostess or the server was upset we were on the plan. This includes non-Disney owned restaurants too, like Raglan Road.

Tiger926
12-10-2010, 03:05 PM
I'm always surprised when I hear this. We have used the deluxe dining plan the last 3 trips and I have never been treated any differently by a hostess or a server. :confused3 I have to say that we always, always order alcohol and we tip very well-at least 20%. I have even ordered things not included in the plan like sides of mushrooms at Yachtsman and those light up tinkerbelle drinks for my DD. Servers will immediately tell me that those items are not included in the plan and I let them know that it's not a problem. I mean, we have to pay for our alcohol anyway, what difference does it make if we add something else?

All I'm saying is that in 3 trips with the deluxe plan and many TS restuarants, I have never felt like the hostess or the server was upset we were on the plan. This includes non-Disney owned restaurants too, like Raglan Road.

We've been doing TIW for years (DDE before that), and many servers are happy that we are not on the DP as well. We've even had a few voice this to us as well, and we've eaten pretty much everywhere, including Signatures, so we've noticed it at many restaurants.

Tiger

havoc315
12-10-2010, 03:15 PM
Of course Disney is going to try to maximize profits. Dining and the dining plan are tied into the profits in several ways.

First off, for every guest, within the parks, you are somewhat of a hostage to Disney controlled food vendors. Even if you are fairly local, and drove to the park, very few people are going to leave for lunch and then come back later.
So once you have chosen to spend the day at Disney, you are almost certainly going to buy some food at Disney. And Disney has every reason to know that people will pay somewhat inflated prices. Thus, regardless of the dining plan, there is a bases for higher prices.

Of course, Disney can make more money, if they get you to buy bigger meals. Prices can't be so high, that everyone simply buys the cheapest items offered. If every table service meal suddenly cost $200 per person, then they wouldn't sell very many TS meals. So there is a limit as to how high they can go.

Now where does the DDP fit in. How does the DDP help Disney to make even more money? Disney uses its DDP in several ways.

First off, the DDP increases profits throughout the entire resort. Since it is only available to resort guests -- and offered "free" to resort guests -- It provides an extra incentive to stay on-property. Especially if offered "free" it might be enough incentive for you to book a $120 room at Pop Century, instead of a $95 room at the Howard Johnson's.

Secondly, for guests who pay for the DDP, and would stay on property regardless -- It can be a way to extract extra dollars from your pockets.

The meal plan for 2011, costs about $46 per adult. So in this way, if you buy the dining plan, Disney is guaranteeing itself that it will collect $46 per day from you for food.
Let's take the hypothetical Smith-On-A-Budget family.
Without a meal plan, they might just have some fruit and cereal for breakfast, and share some counter-service lunch and dinners. They might only spend $25-35 per person, per day. Or even less. Now, thanks to the "great bargain" of the DDP, Disney can extract $46 from each of these people, and make them think they are getting a great deal!
In this respect, the inflated prices at the restaurants can really help Disney with the guest perception. "Wow... I paid just $46 for the meal plan, but I just got $60 worth of food!"
From Disney's perspective -- They just extracted $46 from you, instead of $25-35. Their costs were not massively impacted by giving you an extra dessert, or a TS meal instead of a CS meal.

So perhaps the DDP is 1 reason for inflation of regular dining prices, but it is not the only reason. It's about maximizing profits in every way possible.

spacemountainmom
12-10-2010, 03:39 PM
We've never used the dining plan and are not using it for our next trip. We chose to take a 40 percent reduction for the room rate. We just have a hard time with the idea that we are tied to a dining plan. We eat what we want, when we want. I have noticed that servers do seem to be relieved to hear that we are not using ddp.

It does seem as though there is a definate value to the dining plans. However we save up ahead for our trip and have plenty to cover our meals. I have exactly one dinner reservation for our 8 day stay. I don't like to plan my whole trip around meals. You can always find something to eat. I would rather enjoy myself than worry about where I need to be when to eat and did we use all of our credits.

I don't know if ddp has ruined dining at WDW. In our last three trips, I can really only say that we've had one "poor" meal. It is frustrating that it is very hard to get a sit down meal unless you plan six months out and have your trip revolve around your ressies. My family ends up eating many meals at the food court and can deal with that....heck, I'm not cooking....I'm happy!

AquaDame
12-10-2010, 03:56 PM
I can't help but feel directly targeted by Disney for this. I did the math and figured out that paying OOP for our meals would be the way to go but then they went and upped the prices. Now even with the TiW card it is less expensive for me to buy the bloody dining plan which I was trying to avoid BECAUSE it was more expensive. Now I've no option at all but to spend more money or give up meals I was already looking forward to since I had to book them back in August. Waste of planning, waste of time, and waste of money... :sad2: I really don't think we'll be back.

Tiger926
12-10-2010, 04:05 PM
I can't help but feel directly targeted by Disney for this. I did the math and figured out that paying OOP for our meals would be the way to go but then they went and upped the prices. Now even with the TiW card it is less expensive for me to buy the bloody dining plan which I was trying to avoid BECAUSE it was more expensive. Now I've no option at all but to spend more money or give up meals I was already looking forward to since I had to book them back in August. Waste of planning, waste of time, and waste of money... :sad2: I really don't think we'll be back.

You are so right about TIW - we don't drink alcohol, so for us, it was an ok way to go, as we could get the kids adult meals, appetizers, etc., but now with the raise in prices, and the darn holiday surcharges still in effect, it is no longer a savings for us either.

I hope you figure out what works best for your family, Tiger :)

akadada
12-10-2010, 05:45 PM
Great conversation going on here.

I haven't found wait service to be any less accomodating.

The DDxP actually encourages higher tipping because you eat three courses, so I don't understand why they would be less happy. On signature restaurants we've always had excellent service.

On some regular TS, it's been a mix.

Our worst was at Kona Cafe. Our best, California Grille, Citricos, Fly Fish, Artist Point - equally - all Signatures, though.

It's a market-driven equation. Disney is a publically traded company requiring daily ongoing interest in their debt and equity offerings. They do this through profit margins riding on a value proposition. Disneyworld has built the location and the location warrants higher prices. At the point prices pass equilibrium (i.e. people choosing to drive off site or pack their own somehow), then the pricess concerns could stabilize.

For example, when you to go Manhattan New York for even a reasonable quality steak, it's going to be far more expensive than going to Manhattan Kansas.

jlhill4444
12-10-2010, 08:42 PM
Disney has a smart marketing plan. The dinning plan is a great deal if you are getting it "free" and staying on property and filling up their hotel rooms. They want their rooms full and offering free dinning so that people think they are getting such a great deal is a great marketing idea. In order to offer free dinning some cuts must be made in the food.

As previously mentioned they are gearing it so that you never have to leave property and for the most part we haven't for our trips. The first time we visited we stayed off site and packed our lunches and left before dinner. This saved us quite a bit of money in the long run, but it was lacking in convenience. Now we don't leave property, we take the room discount because we prefer deluxe and buy either the regular or deluxe dinning because we enjoy HDDR and other shows and this is the most economical way to accomplish this.

All in all, it is all about the experience. What are we looking for during each trip? This is a deciding factor for all when choosing their Disney trip. This also includes those that choose not to come back because of the decline in quality and rise in prices.

TDC Nala
12-12-2010, 10:29 PM
Another way the dining plan maximizes profits for Disney is that more times than I ever though to anticipate, it seems guests do not use all of the dining credits they paid for (or traded a room discount for rack rate so they could get "free.") And don't forget that signature restaurants cost two credits.

PureTcrazy
12-13-2010, 07:19 PM
We just returned from a trip using the DxDP. I almost cried at times because of the waste. From my perspective, the appetizers are still large enough to share at a table, they're certainly too large for one person! If you can truly eat an appetizer, entree and a dessert each, then based on Disney prices it is a good deal. However, my family are BIG eaters and we could not even begin to eat all that we were served. My brother and I have discussed this and we will probably only use the DP one more time for our trip in January. I think the OP's thesis was correct, the inflated prices make it seem like a better deal to buy the DP. Of course, that does not take in to account that if one were paying oop, we would never order that much food.

As to the servers looking down on people on the DP, why would they? We were encouraged to order all of the appetizers, entree's and desserts...why? Because it was "free" right? Heck no, because it all adds to the bill and their tip is based on that bill. If I was a server, I would love it if you were on the DP!

Of course, the way they are eliminating DSA's (i'm a :smokin:) and crowding the restaurants, I am considering finishing out this year's AP trips offsite and probably won't renew. :sad1:

TDC Nala
12-14-2010, 08:22 AM
It's been noted that the servers may be relieved to hear you are not on the dining plan because they do not have to go into the explanation of how the dining plan works, which they are apparently required to give to all guests who are on the plan.

jen_eck
12-18-2010, 10:36 AM
If you don't like the DDP, don't buy it.....pretty simple. If you don't like the food, don't eat it. Disney is not forcing anything on anybody. If you think you are paying too much for food, then share a meal. That is what I do. The one thing Disney does have going for it is the portions are HUGE!!! Stop complaining and find a solution to your problem and stop blaming Disney for it.

twooley2
12-18-2010, 12:27 PM
If you don't like the DDP, don't buy it.....pretty simple. If you don't like the food, don't eat it. Disney is not forcing anything on anybody. If you think you are paying too much for food, then share a meal. That is what I do. The one thing Disney does have going for it is the portions are HUGE!!! Stop complaining and find a solution to your problem and stop blaming Disney for it.

I agree if the portions are still HUGE but they have been decreasing.

riomaggiore
12-18-2010, 03:12 PM
If the meal portions are HUGE, is it possible to order 1 meal to share between 2 people? Or is that not allowed on the dining plan? My party does not consist of people who are huge eaters, and generally I don't even finish a more regular sized entry, for desserts we've always just ordered one to share.

So say for a party of 4, is it possible to use only 2 table service credits if you know you don't want that much food? And if you order extra drinks/desserts/appetizers pay OOP for those?

DVCPAT
12-20-2010, 05:20 PM
Disney has a smart marketing plan. The dinning plan is a great deal if you are getting it "free" and staying on property and filling up their hotel rooms. They want their rooms full and offering free dinning so that people think they are getting such a great deal is a great marketing idea. In order to offer free dinning some cuts must be made in the food.



I think free dining is the best way to offer a discount without lowering resort rates. Disney has to have high resort rates to keep selling DVC contracts. DVC is a cash cow and if Disney raised the dining quality and offered resort room discounts, DVC sales would suffer.

threvester
12-20-2010, 05:40 PM
If you don't like the DDP, don't buy it.....pretty simple. If you don't like the food, don't eat it. Disney is not forcing anything on anybody. If you think you are paying too much for food, then share a meal. That is what I do. The one thing Disney does have going for it is the portions are HUGE!!! Stop complaining and find a solution to your problem and stop blaming Disney for it.

THIS :thumbsup2

loganpaulsmom
12-20-2010, 06:01 PM
If you don't like the DDP, don't buy it.....pretty simple. If you don't like the food, don't eat it. Disney is not forcing anything on anybody. If you think you are paying too much for food, then share a meal. That is what I do. The one thing Disney does have going for it is the portions are HUGE!!! Stop complaining and find a solution to your problem and stop blaming Disney for it.



I completely agree with this.. any business person would tell you.. if the dining plan wasn't working or wasn't making WDW money, they wouldn't be offering it.. Disney continues to do the things they do because we continue to "eat" up all things Disney and as long as we do that they will keep offering it to us..
No matter what they change, add, delete, upgrade etc etc there is always going to be someone complaining about it.. I feel lucky to be planning my 11th time to Disney..

deide71
12-21-2010, 11:40 AM
I had the exact same thought as the OP about the Disney raising the prices in their sit down restaurants and buffets to make the DDP look like a better value. When they took away the appetizer and tip (especially the tip) it really diminished the value...that's when you started to see a steep increase in prices at the sit down restaurants (particularly relative to inflation). I don't have a problem with anyone using the dining plan...but Disney is losing dining customers among those not on the plan. It is difficult to justify $35 for a mediocre buffet or $29 for a plate of pasta.

Interestingly I was in Orlando last week for 4 days. My friend and I decided not to stay on property though Disney was offering free dining at the time. We sayed in a very nice 1 bedroom condo for $75 a night. We were exactly 5 miles from the Epcot parking lot. I added up EVERYTHING we spent exactly $217 on all food, drinks and gratuities over the course of the trip for both of us. This includes:

Food at the airport
Dinner at Uno
Bagels, butter, and snacks for the room from Supertarget
3 bottles of wine and 2 6 packs of beer :0)
12 pack of Diet Coke
Coffee
Lunch at Tusker House (very good)
Lunch at Sunshine Seasons (Meh)
Beer and Pretzel in Germany
Pasteries in France
Margaritas at La Cava Del Tequila(awesome)
Lunch at Cosmic Rays
Dinner at Kobe Japanese steakhouse
Donuts at the airport

I would be willing to bet we would have spent almost that much on extras (tips, liquor, airport food) not covered in the dining plan and we would have had to stay in a smaller room without as many amenitites.

So go ahead and enjoy the dining plan...but realize the value is not quite what Disney is touting it to be.