Sentinel Slams Disney (Again)

This time it’s Scott Joseph, the Sentinel’s restaurant critic. In an otherwise glowing review of the new chef at Citrico’s, he takes a swipe at Disney’s reservations policies for diners.

Something’s been going on with the restaurants at Walt Disney World. There seems to be a shift in the way the tourist destination looks at its local constituency. There was a time when Disney, quite wisely, I thought, considered the local trade an important part of its target market. Yes, the restaurants on property cater primarily to visitors, but the culinary leaders seemed to understand that locals were a built-in market that could supplement the tourist trade and help fill the restaurants during the off-season.

Now I’m not so sure anyone even cares about the local market. It starts with the phone call to secure a reservation, or, as Disney prefers to call it, priority seating. There is a general assumption that everyone calling the number is a Disney guest. Which resort are you staying at? was the first question I was asked, and when I said I was staying at my house the young woman taking the reservation wanted to know if I was enrolled in a meal plan. Huh? I said I had no idea what that meant, so she moved on to ask if she could have the ages of the children in my party. I told her no, she could not.

The questioning seems to assume no local would care to dine at a Disney restaurant, which, of course, is indeed a stance that certain Central Floridians take. And it’s too bad because it keeps them from experiencing a fine restaurant such as Citricos, which I consider to be among the top tier of Disney restaurants and certainly one of the better ones in the Orlando area.

Joseph’s sentiments were seconded by the Windermere community blog, also at the Sentinel.

As frequent Disney guests, we notice the second-class treatment just because we’re not staying on-site. It’s been especially apparent since the promotion of the pervasive “dining plan.”


Oh well, if Disney doesn’t welcome you, there’s still plenty to do in the Other Orlando.

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