California Grill closing... (rumor)

Discussion in 'Disney Rumors and News' started by Empress Room, Dec 11, 2011.

  1. jlewisinsyr

    jlewisinsyr DIS Veteran

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    Change, it happens and I choose not to put much value into material things that rarely stand the test of time.

    I have had good and bad dining experiences at the CG, if it closes, oh well and we'll see what it gets replaced with. Not saying the new option will be better or worst, but it will be different, which is a good thing in my opinion. Change needs to happen, because without it, innovation never comes.
     
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  3. mjstaceyuofm

    mjstaceyuofm Mouseketeer

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    I've always had good experiences at this restaurant - great service and food. Seeing as the place is always packed and has limited availability for a fairly sizable dining room, I can only guess others think the same thing. I actually think the decor and menu, while not uber-trendy, have stood the test of time.

    On the other hand, I can see how Disney would want to make sure it doesn't fall into that stale category as some of you think and make some tweaks to menu and decor if they have to shut it down for physical reasons (roof repairs, etc.) anyway...

    Should be interesting.
     
  4. lockedoutlogic

    lockedoutlogic DIS Veteran

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    I would contend that disney has made the choice to let all the restaurants fall into the stale category intentionally

    while some places offer a little more than others...the overall experience has been one of cookie cutter streamlined designs as of late...

    Now, instead of their being a great experience at a restaurant...you might just happen to have a surprisingly good dish.

    That is a shift...blame the dining plan
     
  5. doconeill

    doconeill Fastpass Jedi Master DIS Lifetime Sponsor

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    I don't know if it was necessarily intentional, but as an effect of its success. If they are always 100% booked, and enough of a waiting list, there isn't necessarily the drive to be great.

    Does Disney have any Michelin stars for any of their restaurants?
     
  6. KYMickey

    KYMickey Adding EARS to Kentucky!

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    You're kidding right? I believe there aren't even any in Florida. I highly doubt that any of the Disney ones would even meet one of the criteria required to get one star.
     
  7. doconeill

    doconeill Fastpass Jedi Master DIS Lifetime Sponsor

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    Well, that's why I'm thinking it might be something for them to strive for, instead of mediocrity :)
     
  8. lockedoutlogic

    lockedoutlogic DIS Veteran

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    great restaurants can't have cost accounting and revenue generation as their number one priorities...


    ..so i guess that ends this argument, huh?:wizard:
     
  9. OldsDr

    OldsDr DIS Veteran

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    Plus if the customer is paying the same for chicken, steak, or the veggie stir fry, why would you offer something better. (and when people perceive the food as free they are even less likely to complain I.e. "free dinning" promotions"

    With my low post count a high percentage of my posts are in regard to how WDW is in a decline in quality. I have been to WDW pretty much every year at least once a year since 1993 or 4. During those trips a minimum of 50% of the meals were eaten on property. I first noticed a decline in the late 90s when they went from menus to buffets (biergarten is my biggest complaint about this). Then as dinning plans became more popular I noticed the selections at the buffets (trails end is my biggest complaint on this) became fewer and fewer. They were also doing things like changing from real fried potatoes at whispering canyon to the burger king style deep-fried hash browns. All the while the food quality seemed to be in decline no matter what the delivery method was (buffet Vs menu).

    The reason for the preceding dissertation was to make the following statement. On my trip this past September it seemed the food quality (not variety) had improved from recent years. The cost/quality ratio was still a little out of whack, but at WDW you expect that to be a little more off than in Hartford CT. I walked away from a couple meals surprisingly happy. Specifically Kona and Restaurant Marrakesh.
     
  10. lockedoutlogic

    lockedoutlogic DIS Veteran

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    Marrakesh never seems to march to the drum of the other food service locations in WDW.

    They never have and apparently never will.

    Kona is one of the last "hidden jewels" left at WDW resorts.

    You get a little more variety at what can be loosely termed a reasonably competitive price.

    Olivia's used to be like that...whispering canyon used to be like that...boatrights used to be like that...concourse used to be like that...
    but they schmucked all those up...and in the case of concourse replaced it with the horror we now know as "the Wave"
     
  11. sotoalf

    sotoalf DIS Veteran

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    I respectfully disagree with a few posts decrying the decline of Disney cuisine.

    Since my first visit in the mid seventies I've seen a number of changes, mostly for the better. As Floridians we have the privilege of visiting more often than most. We don't expect excellent cuisine at the parks; if we get better than average food and service -- as we did rather surprisingly at Chefs de France a couple of weeks ago -- we're impressed. Park food must cater to thousands of people a day. Freshness isn't a priority.

    However, because we choose to stay "deluxe" we insist on deluxe dining experiences at the resorts. Citricos and Artist Point, to take two examples, still provide above average to wonderful meals. Two weeks ago we were delighted with our lunch at the Contempo Cafe. My turkey sandwich on multigrain bread with Brie and apples was several cuts above the breaded food and French fries we would have had as options in 1986. Again, not first-rate, but surprising and reflective of the change in American diets since the eighties and nineties.

    As for The Wave, we didn't eat there, but we enjoyed the bar twice during the slow period between lunch and dinner; it's the only bar besides Tambu in the MK resort area open all day. The drinks were well mixed and the bartenders affable and informed. Our flatbread appetizer was imaginatively presented.

    I realize our experiences may not represent the average. I'm not a fan of the dining plan and acknowledge that it may well have diluted the quality of WDW dining in the last seven years; but as I pointed out we've never expected quality meals at the theme parks or buffets, which is why we avoid those eateries.
     
  12. Masonmj84

    Masonmj84 DIS Veteran

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    We ate here last week and specifically asked our server about this rumor.

    We were told the restuarant would be closing early January of 2013 for about 6 months. FWIW, I didn't sense that there would be drastic changes to the staff and menu, only that the internal decor of the restaurant would be completely rennovated.
     
  13. princesspooh323

    princesspooh323 Mouseketeer

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    Yeah, so our Aug. reservations are safe. Thanks
     
  14. mjstaceyuofm

    mjstaceyuofm Mouseketeer

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    We too noticed a little "uptick" in food quality and service our last two times there (Aug. 2011 & Jan. 2012). As far as price, I guess we've always expected to pay more (like good Disney sheep....) because, well, It's Disney.

    Went to the Wave once, and found the dining room loud, dingy and dark in appearance and the food an unmitigated disaster. Service was not good and my cocktail literally tasted like dish soap. That was in it's first 6 months of operation though... Maybe they've cleaned it up since then, but I'm not willing to risk it.

    Olivia's, on the other hand, I felt was undergoing the same slide you mentioned. We tried it again in August and was delightfully surprised at the food quality. Give it a shot again. You may be surprised.

    Seems in line with other posts here. If they HAVE to shut it down because of some larger roof/structural problems, why not take the time to freshen things up...

    In general, I think that as cooking has become more hip (check out any tattooed chef on 'Chopped') and less Julia Childs, more people are paying attention to food shows like Triple D, Iron Chef, etc. People are recognizing that restaurant food could and should be better quality, made with better ingredients and progressive cooking techniques, etc. It's not too tough to cook a plain old meal at home and people, as they go out to dinner, are demanding more. I know I am. And I think Disney is responding with a step up in their offerings.
     
  15. lockedoutlogic

    lockedoutlogic DIS Veteran

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    I don't even mind paying the ridiculouso out of pocket fees (death to the dining plan!!!)...

    ...IF...big IF the quality is similar to the 1990s variation.

    Back then, i never had a bad meal...not one. And we were still getting ripped off...maybe a little less so, but still.

    But it was worth it- it was an experience...a vacation.

    Lately they've been using what seems to me olive garden or chili's cost accounting garbage...and it is distasteful on several levels, not just the tongue.

    We did have what i would determine as a solid dining experience in september...particularly at Garden Grill, Kona, and Brown Derby...but i still am not confident that the tide has turned...we'll see in march (one month from today...actually).

    Why?
    Cause they are profit hounds (that is a PG edit from the real word...starting in "wh"), and i don't think they have the integrity or vision to provide better service or product anymore.

    $5 JC Penny suits.
     
  16. OldsDr

    OldsDr DIS Veteran

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    OH but they do have better service. A free ride from the airport to your hotel. Then complimentary shuttles from your hotel to the parks and DTD. Free Dinning plans a couple times a year. Service service everywhere and a captive audience is just an unfortunate bi-product.

    I am still keeping an open mind on food quality after this last trip. But, I am afraid you may be correct and nothing will make a change for the better until people have their butts in rental cars and are mobile enough to get off property for a couple meals. Or if all the MBA courses start teaching that profit is important and one of the best ways to guarantee future profits is to have happy customers today. They also have to realize there are in fact hidden costs to outsourcing that are not accounted for in traditional formulas.

    Here is a pipe dream for you. They find more and more repeat customers decide to rent cars and they find the reason for that is it is cheaper to rent a car and eat off property and have a comprable or better meal, than it is to use their “free” Magical express and either buy a dinning plan or pay out of pocket on property.

    Or I can hope my observation from this past September was accurate and food is really getting better on its own.
     
  17. mjstaceyuofm

    mjstaceyuofm Mouseketeer

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    OldsDr - I like your line of thought and completely agree. We've kind of spoken with our feet (or car in this case) as we are DVC members and stock up on breakfast foods, snacks, etc. in the fridge and go off-site occasionally for dinners. When we eat on-site we try to hit higher end restaurants that don't involve characters, buffets or the same ole stuff you can get at Chain Restaurant X.

    I've never understood the dining plan and also agree that it has single-handedly been the largest contributor to the food downfall. Hopefully they are in the midst of minor turnaround.

    That being said, I'm still not going to the wave... ;)
     
  18. doconeill

    doconeill Fastpass Jedi Master DIS Lifetime Sponsor

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    Likewise, we are DVC so we're in it for the long haul, but with everything else we are being more frugal with how we are working it. We're going to be working in using the villa kitchen for breakfast and making food to take to the parks (when I can get a large box of quality chicken nuggets at the store for less than the price of one serving the crappy ones they serve to kids, guess what my chicken-nugget-luvin' DD's getting?), to perhaps even a dinner or two.

    I'm not paying Red Robin burger prices for sloppily-made assembly-line low quality burgers, just because it is Disney. Especially on a daily basis.

    That said, I can't recall a particularly bad table service experience we've had, food or service-wise. Some may have been merely "good".
     
  19. lockedoutlogic

    lockedoutlogic DIS Veteran

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    This is the easiest question in the WDW to answer...but nobody really stops to think about it.

    Why free dining? or dining plans?

    there are a couple of good arguments that probably are a small part of the consideration...

    the first is that by maximizing the capacity of the sitdowns they are still getting a better yield out of their workforce...even with the discounted math of "free dining" in play. that is most likely true.

    the second is that by filling the sitdowns...more people are then forced to use the quickserves (because those that would just skip meals/snack now don't because they are getting "free"/discounted meals) where the profit ratio is higher. That undoubteldy is also true.

    But the REAL reason?
    Is because they know the modern vacationer so well...hell, they practically invented him...that they know how the money comes to them. People budget/pay off the capital cost of thier vacation..be that 1000, 2000, etc. That is the first step or the thing that they square away first (or if you're a frequent traveler...you treat it like your electric bill, just casually accept it...and pay). The second thing that people do is then pool "pocket cash" for months or even years leading up to the trip. kids get giftcards...grandma gives one for christmas...mom and dad put a little away each week or month.

    And then they descend on the swamp. The used to buy food, drinks, balloons, and their assorted junk with it.
    But wait...now the food is already paid for!
    But the traveler's urge is to still spend...afterall, they worked for this. They saved, they waited...they went to work and school. It's time to party.

    So you have no car...you are surrounded by giftshops...you are bombarded by the ambience...and you want to live it up, dammit!!

    That is the point. Disney's parks unit (disneyland, da world, and disneyland paris) generate as much revenue off merch as they do off everything else (roughly 3.5 billion each year...for a quaint seven billion per year according to their annual report). the "everything else" is low profit margin if at all...that's where almost all your operating costs are covered. The profit off merch? 20 to 1 in some cases.

    It's made in sweatshops, packaged in mass, and shipped in with no tarrifs via free trade agreements...and all it costs is minimal supply, labor, and transport costs.
    And its conveniently made in China...hmmm....that's funny...i heard disney might build a park or two there...

    That is the reason. The dining plan also allows other savings...because that "free" or "25% savings" on the plans covers alot of cheapskate black ops...
     
  20. wdwcrazy

    wdwcrazy pixie dust for all

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    I have been going to WDW for 30 years and have watched some of the restaurants go from good to great to crap. All because of the dining plan.

    Think about this.. why would they give you a grade A prime cut of beef if they could give you rump roast for the same money. Prior to the dining plan there were quite a few good and a handful of great restaurants on Disney property. And then the dining plan came to life. Now they have restaurants teeming with captured guests (with no cars) that they have to give free food to for the duration of their vacation. The restaurants suddenly all had menu changes and modifications made that would save them a bundle. Would the bean counters want them to dine on fine epicurean delights? Not when they can serve them mediocre food and they will still walk away saying I had a free meal.

    Our family used to eat on property 95% of the time. Now we choose to eat some meals in our DVC villa and the balance off property. If I am going to eat mediocre food then I want to pay mediocre prices. Not $35 a person where they used to serve wiener schnitzel and 3 types of bratwurst and now serve you frankfurters. Or the Wave where they serve you 3 bites and call it an entree.

    I haven't eaten in California Grill in a few years and I have fond memories of it. But I also have fond memories of the Concourse Steakhouse and Spoodles too and it didn't stop them from replacing them either. Only time will tell.
     
  21. mitros

    mitros <font color=red>I'm not nuts, I just appear to be<

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    Couldn't have said it better myself. We feel exactly the same way. At one time, Dining at WDW was one of the highlights of our trips. Living down here in Florida for the last 15 years, sometimes we would just go to WDW to eat at the restaurants. Now, the meals are mediocre at best. We do the same thing, bring our own food, and eat meals off property. As you say, why pay premium prices for just fair food. Nice going Disney, you screwed up yet again. Are you trying to drive your regular customers away on purpose? I guess now that obama gave the Brazilians free reign to come to this country, they will take up the slack that we "regulars" used to. Sad, actually. If our dollar ever becomes worth something again, and Disney has to rely on us for the bulk of their business, maybe things will get back to the way they used to be. :sad2::sad1:
     

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