Following our update about recent developments of the table service and buffet restaurants at DLPR here comes the update for the counter service aka fast food locations. So what’s new at what are the most popular restaurants in the theme parks? As the transformation of the Backlot Express Restaurant in the Walt Disney Studios Park is still an ongoing project, this update concentrates on the Disneyland Park. So what’s new in the Disneyland Park?
According to the current guide map (valid till November 7, 2009) there is a new fast food location in Frontierland … called “Cowboy Cookout Barbecue”! As regular guests of the Disneyland Park know this restaurant is not new, in fact it is one of the fast food locations that opened together with the park in 1992. However what is new is the menu and choice of selections offered. While some burgers and the half chicken is still on the menue, the selection has been updated to fit the themeing of a wild west barbecue better, now including various grilled and smoked items inlcuding skillets of mixed meats and sides. While a la carte ordering certainly is possible, the restaurant also offers pre-set menues which offer a choice between selected meals at a special menu-price – and are heavily advertised outside the restaurant as seen in the photo above.
The trend to differentiate the various restaurants more clearly from each other by offering food fitting the themeing of the restaurant not available in other locations also resulted in new respectively updated menus at the Fuento del Oro Restaurante in Frontierland and the Restaurant Hakuna Matata in Aventureland. While the one at Fuente del Oro mostly underwent minor changes (and the replacement of the photos, which now look rather inviting and mouth wartering again at all the fast food locations with new menus), the menu at the Hakuna Matata was nearly completely changed. Gone are the various pasta creations which are also available at Colonel Hathi’s Pizza Outpost, instead new salad, rice meals, asian finger food, seasoned “Hakuna Fries” and in particular Kebab are now offered. In particular the Kebab seemed a real hit with guests during and is a premier for the Disneyland Park, which never offered Kebab before. Also the seasoned, large chunk “Hakuna Fries” were rather popular and thanks to the seasoning had a unique, enjoyable taste when tried. Certainly both are also offered in one of the new menues to choose from (in this case: the Timon Menue).
However, there is one more change that was established in the Hakuna Matata recently: guests now place their order right at the counter, where the cast member taking orders and accepting the payement seems to be supposed to help his fellow cast members (depending on the expected attendance either one or two cast members working with each teller). Originally the orders were placed and paid with one cast member at an ordering position, which served two lines that then went on to the counter where the food was selected. The result of the latest change (most probably realized to help cut down the number of necessary cast members on less busy days) so far at least on busy days are homongues, often unorganized lines moving much slower than in the past. In this connection it should be noted that Disney in the new Cucina Cucamonga counter service location in Disney’s California Adventure with the latest remodelling introduced the same ordering positions to speed up the service (see the according report from DCA by Mouseplanet).
The Cool Post close to the Restaurant Hakuna Matata underwent a change of menu as well. However, here not to introduce themed snacks, but to change the menu from the hod dog creations offered before to sweet snacks, popcorn and drinks. As another change at various Disney fast food locations in the resort the dessert selection has been amended with the healthy option of sliced apple.
Overall differentiating the various fast food locations more obviously from each other by introducing new meals fitting the themeing of the restaurant and only available in the according restaurant improves the guest experience significantly (and is a return to the original concepts of 1992) widening the choice available to guests. Also it becomes an exiting journey again to sample foods in the various fast food locations complementing the journey from land to land in the Disneyland Park.