Posted 13 June 2017 - 11:27 PM
A few thoughts about food at Disney...
I worked for the Mouse for 8 years (5 in Tokyo and 3 in Florida). I'll only refer to my time in Florida.
The quality of the food and the value paid has generally been better than its competitors. As much as I complained about the cost at Disney, when I went to Universal or Sea World, the prices scared me.
My first job at WDW was working in F&B at the Yacht and Beach Club resort hotels. The cast member (employee) cafeteria was located in between the two hotels. They offered food left over from the restaurants from both hotels. Most memorably, they served AWESOME New England Clam Chowder from Cape May Cafe for only 90 cents.
Then Aramark signed a contract with the company to provide for all the food service to the employees. Prices tripled and quality deteriorated. Meanwhile, the customers could still rely on Disney-Employee-Prepared food "on stage". Only the cast backstage had to suffer.
Then the newest (at the time I was there) resort opened - Coronado Springs. In addition to Fulton's Crab House and most of the Pleasure Island restaurants being contracted out, for the first time, a Disney resort was outsourcing their F&B. By that time, I left, and I have no idea what's happened since 1998.
That all being said, for the most part, you won't be getting bargains at Disney - but you tend to get decent value - a differentiation from other themed properties.
Amtrak's F&B is one of the most disjointed operations that I'm aware of being under one company banner. Even though some routes are subsidized by states, etc., the inconsistencies in Business Class are legendary - with absolutely no apparent effort in the past TWO DECADES to correct (or improve).
I find ways of talking myself out of riding Amtrak more and more lately.
You know - the Shinkansen in Japan when it opened in 1964 made the 320 mile journey in around 4 hours. Now it takes as little as 2 hours and 22 minutes. The dining and buffet cars were abolished not necessarily due to revenue/cost, but because the necessity of it was obsoleted by the speed. The only staff on board the train are pushing trolley carts or the conductor and assistants. No OBS or car attendant. Everyone knew where their seat was.
(1) I'll generally agree about the decent value. I will also say that the food at WDW (particularly Epcot) is definitely better than at Sea World and somewhat better than at Universal (though the Harry Potter areas are better than the parks tend to be on average). It depends on where you go, though, to be fair (and Magic Kingdom has traditionally lagged the other parks in this respect). I will say that while I love Busch Gardens Williamsburg dearly, outside of the Food & Wine Festival the in-park options leave something to be desired (though I should check out some of their overhauled venues this year).
(2) The disconnect reached an all-time peak when they forced Ed Ellis to label what he was offering on the Hoosier State as "Business Class". When I compare the salmon and fresh-baked cookie I had in February with the complementary soda or juice on a Regional...dear gods, it was an absurd contrast. Amtrak really needs to work up some sort of way to differentiate the service differences a little bit (even if it's pointedly labeling different BC offerings by their service names). Of course, I'd also love to see them actually offer something "better than" Regional Business Class on some of the VA Regionals...but that's another rant entirely.
(3) I cannot speak to transitions over time in Japan, but I also wonder if the abolition had something to do with the rise of available grab-and-go food options at stations as well? I can imagine that this has improved since the 1960s as well. I remember a mention that the rise of vendors at Grand Central was dinging the performance of the New Haven Line bar cars.
Edited by Anderson, 13 June 2017 - 11:28 PM.
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