Thursday, December 31, 2009

update from my WDW trip

For those of you who asked (and anyone else who was wondering), yes, I did write to Disney and tell them about my recent experiences dining at Walt Disney World.

Because my major gripe was the fact that the forms I filled out, via e-mail, before the trip turned out to be completely useless, I decided to e-mail my thoughts to the same people. I was careful to share both the good and the bad, giving praise where due, but also sharing my disappointments. In addition to sharing details about all of my table-service meals, I also gave my thoughts regarding counter-service in general, and the veggie burgers in particular. My only goal was to help educate Disney, in hopes that perhaps things could be better for other vegan diners.

I am happy to report that Disney wrote me back, and it wasn't a silly form letter. This was a very carefully thought-out reply, addressing my specific concerns. As I had already guessed, their main concern is the safety of their diners. While they didn't specifically say this, I'm afraid that, as vegans, we'll have to accept that we are now lumped in with allergies. Again, to anyone with an allergy, I mean no offense, and I truly admire Disney's efforts to make things safe. But I can't help feeling that dining has just gotten more complicated for the average vegan.

However, they did express concern over the fact that my e-mailed form had clearly not reached its target. Hopefully, they will fix this problem.

And, as a "goodwill gesture", they are sending me a Disney gift certificate. I didn't expect this, but since I did pay quite a bit for a couple of rather disappointing meals, I'm going to happily accept it. Had I been on the dining plan, it would have been different. But when you're paying that kind of money for what you hope to be a really good meal, and you leave disappointed (or worse, hungry), it's tough.

So, do I think Disney can do better for vegans? Yes. But even with the recent disappointments, I still eat better at WDW than I do at just about anywhere else. And, while some trips are better than others, I really do believe that Disney listens. I will happily plan many more trips to Walt Disney World, and I have no doubt that there will more good than bad to report in the future.

(And for those of you who are just looking for tasty food pictures... stay tuned. I might have a small treat for you tomorrow.) :-)

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