It appears that the “tale as old as time” is true! Be Our Guest, the first restaurant to offer Advanced Meal Planning (AMP), will be concluding its experiment with the FastPass+ lunch in the near future. According to MyDisneyExperience.com, Disney will no longer will be emailing invitations to Resort Guests allowing them to reserve a spot and pre-order their meal prior to even arriving at the Magic Kingdom restaurant. The website states, “On Feb. 24, 2015 the lunch testing at Be Our Guest Restaurant will be ending. Beginning Feb. 25, log on to MyDisneyExperience.com for more information about dining at Be Our Guest Restaurant for lunch.”
I can remember receiving my first email invite in early 2014 to test this new pre-ordering option, at which time Guests without invitations were still allowed to stand in line to enter the ever-so-popular restaurant. I felt so special to have received such a royal opportunity; however, I also remember the glitches that occurred at that point. From the timing of my reservation to my pre-ordered meal not making it into the system, it was a learning experience for all. However, on a positive note, I also remember walking by the extensive line of Guests that were not on rides, visiting Characters, enjoying a show or taking in the rest of the Park. I also knew that Walt Disney Imagineers would take the information they received from those selected to participate and improve upon it for the Guests at large. As the testing period progressed, Imagineers made changes such as cutting the line down by making the lunch option exclusive to those receiving email invitations and exclusive to those staying at Walt Disney Resorts. Clearly, the project was designed to address and improve efficiency.
That is what tests like this are all about – figuring out how to do things better. Of course, now that the testing period for Be Our Guest is over, what will they do with this information? Did they obtain enough to employ this in several other restaurants throughout the Resort? Is Disney simply trying to find ways of cutting down the wait time or traffic at popular restaurants? Why was this testing initiated in the first place?
Multiple theories and rumors exist outside of this simply being ready to be utilized by other restaurants. One theory involves a breakfast menu that supposedly surfaced a few months ago. Since this rumor broke, there has been talk that Be Our Guest may be adding a character breakfast to its schedule. Another thought buzzing around is that the FastPass+ lunch option will be offered to the General Public. If so, this begs the question whether it will eat up one of the three initial FastPass+ options (my guess is no; that does not make any sense to me).
In a former Magical DIStractions article (The Evolution of MyMagic+), our own Christen Francis mentioned Advanced Meal Planning expanding across the Walt Disney World Resort. In fact, this past summer, I had opportunity to speak with Chef Michael Thompson at Disney’s Animal Kingdom who mentioned a form of this system being utilized for those with food allergies. He spoke about a pre-ordering system that would allow those with food allergies to approach the Garden Kiosk at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, review the ingredients of menu options and then pre-order their meal, so that, when they arrived at the test restaurant, the Guest and Chef would already know the meal that would be prepared. Again, we are seeing ways Walt Disney Imagineers are working to improve upon the Guest experience.
I have never had reason to doubt Disney’s practices. They are an efficient corporation that focuses on the Guest and the experience. Nonetheless, tests take time and working out the kinks is a necessary evil in any project. As always, I am looking forward with anticipation to whatever Walt Disney Imagineering has in store. I invite you to “Be Our Guest” here at Magical DIStractions and “put our service to the test” as we provide you with the up-to-date information on these changes and more.
Until next time….